Friday, December 21, 2012

7th Heaven

So the Mayan predicted apocalypse failed to come to pass. Your welcome.

My crew and I don't mind slingshotting around the Sun and teaming up with Gary Seven (especially if a late 60's Teri Garr joins in) to save your sorry 21st Century butts from ancient alien gods but the least you can do is say thanks.

"Not even a cookie? Boy the 21st Century is full of ungrateful jerks."
"Now, now Roberta...language."
Back in normal spacetime, I had this idea after reading Ark's comment at the end of his post on the subject of the 7 games he's played and run the most. Ark states...
"Funny how this doesn't represent what my Top Seven Favorites are. :)

- Ark"
Funny indeed...and intriguing (to me at least).
How and why would those games in your Top 7 list of most played and most GMed not be the same as your list of favorites? Well, a little thing I like to call 'compromise'.
For many compromise is a dirty, downright evil word and surely, many forms of art suffer from the inclusion of this concept. You'd be hard pressed to find a film, television show, video game or even a comic book that benefited from the creative team compromising in some way. Zak has said as much in the past, in words both more eloquent and venomous than I could hope to articulate here.
In my recent experiences however, compromise is necessary to even get a game started. My group(s) of late have been both too opinionated and too diverse to easily come up with a campaign idea without some degree of compromise. Simply picking which game to run is a compromise, less you alienate players you really want to have join you.
Now I'm going to play devil's advocate with myself here and say...wait Adam...what if you didn't have to compromise. What if you could run exactly what you want to run (or play what you want to play for that matter). What if you said, "Screw this. We're playing X!" Would it result in a better campaign?
Maybe it would. Given the chance to be as awesome as I can be, in the place I feel most awesome, would I not be at my awesomest?
Surely it would be a better product than one I did not really want to produce. Smaller but better. I often feel like less people would be interested in exactly what interests me the most. Unfortunately, I prefer larger groups to smaller ones and so I find myself in a Catch-22.
I'm sure there are further ruminations I could entertain on this particular train of thought but that's not why I began this post. No, I am here to guilt you over not springing for drinks or a simple 'Congratulations' card in regards to the whole End of the World thing and list my Top 7 Favorite Games of All Time!
This is in order of how I feel tonight. While the games listed wouldn't change, which one is first or second or third, etc. might alter with my mood.
1. Star Trek (Last Unicorn Games - ICON)

I love this game. It gets extra love points because its Star Trek, granted, but I just think it's the best balance between cinematic attitude and Star Trek fanboy technical information. It's a very 'user friendly' game and the system makes it so easy to translate my ideas to paper when creating adventures. That is probably one of the key things I look for in any game.
2. Star Wars (West End Games - D6)
While I love Star Trek as an IP more than Star Wars, the Star Wars D6 game was just amazingly cool to me. It was one of those very few games that hit the sweet spot between simplicity and detail and it just worked for me. Still does. So smooth, so fast paced, I almost never have to look up a rule or check a chart. Love it.
3. InSpectres (Memento Mori)
So simple and yet so much you can do with it. In all honesty, it doesn't come off as a new idea in gaming for me as much as an incredible reboot of the old West End Games 'Pre-D6' system for their Ghostbusters RPG. At the same time it's so much more. Just an awesome piece of work.
Perhaps one of the reasons I love this game so much is it's adaptability to being modified and messed with.
4. Faery's Tale Deluxe (Green Ronin/Firefly Games)
I've talked about this game before and it formed the basis of my Smurfs RPG project from August of last year. I've houseruled it a bit and made a great deal of background and adventure material for it but alas, this is one of those games that it is hard to get my buddies to see the potential in. While aimed at both a younger gamer and those of a fun-for-all-ages mentality, I feel there is a major untapped market with this game. Anyone who is a fan of classic faerie folklore and fairy tales (By the way, today celebrates the 200th anniversary of Grimms' Fairy Tales) need only dedicate a little time and effort to make this fantastic game into something extra extraordinary.
5. Champions (Various - Hero System)
There is no good reason I should like this game. It's complex, crunchy, full of charts, math heavy and Just. So. Freaking. GOOD! It's so bizarre to me that I love Champions as much as I do. It is the opposite of my usual game preferences. It is the Anti-Faery's Tale Deluxe. Yet it is a game that appeals to my main gripe about games I do not like. Champions is a game that gives you the tools to create what's in your head in a way that matches with everything else in the book, in your players' heads and in supplements to come. One system, a million, billion ways to make something.
This game is also one of the few I will jump at the chance to play and from me that says a lot.
6. Mutants & Masterminds 3E
What's not to like about 'Champions Made Easy'? ;)
Obviously anyone who's played the game knows there is more to M&M than that but the fact remains that it's a point-buy-and-build system that doesn't hurt the head of the math deficient (such as myself). Excellent support of the earlier editions and a great website are the icing on the cake for this fast paced, easy to understand Superhero RPG.
7. Mekton (I and II - R. Talsorian Games)
I am in the minority here I know but I prefer the original and Mekton II to Zeta. While Mekton Z is a work of genius, to me it over complicates the beauty of the system. The previous editions have that Japanese minimalist design meets Japanese technical complexity dynamic that puts it close to LUG Star Trek for depth of design combined with ease of use.
When looking at this list I think I'm pretty lucky. I got to play most of my favorites a few times and run them numerous times. When all is said and done, what else could a gamer ask for.

What are your favorites?
Barking Alien 


  1. Mini-Update:

    I left out two games I really, really love. Limited to 7 instead of the standard Top 10 (it just occurred to me - Why 7?) I was forced to drop Traveller and Ars Magica.

    Technically Traveller could replace or tie with Mekton on this list as far as how much I love it. Ars Magica would have to become #8 on a list of 1-7. I do so like the Ars Magica game but its Fantasy and things like Star Trek, Star Wars, Traveller and Mekton are always going to edge it out.

    Others that could make the list if it continued past 7 would be Teenagers from Outer Space and the Japanese RPG Wares Blade.

  2. I think that when you run a game you love, the interest and enthusiasm you have is infectious, but only up to a point. There is a bit of compromise at work here. You need people to buy into your concept, but you also can't run a game you aren't really feeling either.