Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A few games I'm currently interested in

There are quite a few games that are new (or at least new to me) or coming out soon that I'm looking at with great interest. I'll probably do more in depth reviews of some of these as they come out, but here are a few glimpses for now of some of my favorite ones. In this blog, I'm going to be doing a lot of stuff on Dungeon World, which is rapidly becoming my go-to game of choice.

Dungeon World
A really novel approach to the current fad for simple systems and retro games. The DW system is so easy to pick up on (roll 2D6, maybe add a bonus, 10+ succeeds well, 7-9 succeeds but... and 6- is a miss). Each archetypal class has Moves, so each class is different, but has a range of expertises, fancy actions etc. The background (there's no real setting at the moment) is of early D&D games of yore - dungeon-bashing, looting for treasure, that sort of thing. XP are not necessarily gained by killing and looting corpses though - some are alignment based (protect the weak, prove yourself in combat, lord it over the weak etc) and through Bonds with the other characters (X knows my darkest secret, I have a scam running with Z, etc). The accent in this game is on fun and creating a shared story. Notable things include the GM never needing to roll a die, but having his or her own set of Moves, some soft (the creature is charging at you, what do you do?), some hard (since you decided to ignore the creature in order to frantically pick the lock before the rest of its mates get here, it hits you for 4 damage).
This looks like it will be a really cool game. The kickstarter (which I just missed) has finished, and the full version of the rules should be out soon (around gen-con-ish), so I'll be snapping that up and will probably give it a full review then. The DW forum is buzzing with people trying old D&D modules and having a whale of a time, writing their own modules and posting them, and suggesting new classes. The nice people at DW have even given access to the beta files so there's no excuse for not checking the game out. I'm in two minds whether to dust off some old D&D modules, convert the Savage Worlds Hellfrost setting to DW or just come up with my own stuff, but I'm pretty sure I'll be running something in DW soon. I like PBP games, and DW seems like an excellent choice for a system to run stuff. The problem I've seen with too many D&D games is that one combat can take weeks, even months in some cases, to play out, by which time many of the players have gotten bored and wandered off. There's a PBP game running on rpg.net here ( http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?635614-Dungeon-World-Lost-in-the-Storm) that's doing a great job of showing how cool and easy the game is to run online. The players all seem like they're having great fun too (now if only they had a spare place so I could join in...)

Shadows of Esteren
A new game to the English-speaking world, but one that's been out in France for a while. The art is really atmospheric, the setting sounds intriguing, and the system seems like it would be pretty fast too. There's a kickstarter which is about to end (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1176616619/shadows-of-esteren) with a load of goodies on offer. Looks like a spooky setting, based on Celtic myth, with apprently more of an emphasis on mental rather than physical dangers (20 pages or so on sanity, half a dozen or so on combat). Kind of a fantasy Celtic Cthulhu game.

Cold and Dark
There's a few bits about this game on the website, some fiction and a brief scenario. A cool-looking SF RPG in the vein of Event Horizon, Alien, Pandorum etc. The system is pretty simple from what I can tell (have you spotted a trend in this post yet?), looking to deal with things like Void Psychosis and the like rather than space opera like Star Wars etc. Looking forward to this one coming out too.

Foreign Element
Haven't heard a lot on this one lately, I started playing a PBP playtest on rpg.net run by the author but it appears to have gone dark. Another really simple SF RPG where the characters go off on missions to planets etc that have been declared out of bounds after some mysterious event changed the universe. I don't know if it was the playtest scenario or the full game, but there was an element of Paranoia (the game, not the mental affliction) to it - some dark humor here and there. Looks really cool, and I hope this sees the light of day sometime.

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