The blog is on an unanticipated hiatus at the moment while I take care of some real life stuff. I am now a business owner, and have to deal with business owner type things.
I will post off, and on as time allows, but don't expect a lot of material until December. I do intend for, and expect, December to be a pretty full month for Barking Alien, with a lot of things to discuss, so please bare with me until then.
Noted scholar, and sage Lowell Francis of Age of Ravens, also known as 'Lowell The Lister', and 'He Who Knows The History of Fun', recently posted a series entitled RPG Top 100.
Oddly, this isn't a list of the 100 Best RPGs in his opinion, nor his 100 favorite RPGs, and it isn't the 100 most popular RPGs in the history of the hobby. No, in Lowell's own words, these games are notable by the following designation:
"...these aren't necessarily the 100 Best RPGs, but they're ones I want to play."
He goes on to note that those identified by an asterisk ( * ) are games where he enjoys the setting, or premise, but would want to use a different rule system to run, or play it.
An interesting exercise, but one that left me with a lot of questions. Such as:
- Are these games you (Lowell) have never played?
- Do you want to run them, play them, or both?
- Why haven't you played some of these? I can understand it being tricky to find someone who knows about Wrath of the Autarch (a game I've only ever heard of from seeing it listed on peoples blogs!), let alone who's running it, but Mutants & Masterminds? It's hard to trip without knocking into someone running that game in my experience.
I don't know that there are 100 RPGs I've never played, that I'd want to. I'm serious.
Surely there have to be numerous games I've not tried out, but the idea that there are more than a few dozen Superhero, Sci-Fi, Giant Robot, Anime, or Folklore Fantasy RPGs out there that I haven't tried is hard to imagine. Honestly, I wouldn't be able to list them either. If they exist, and I haven't played them at least once, it's because I do not know of their existence.
Now, let's say I know about them, I've read them, or I've spoken to friends who gave them a rave review, but I haven't tried them yet, and really want to. That sounds fantastic! It also sounds...just...I don't know...utterly unlikely. If there is a game I want to play, or run, I do so. Often I do it as a one shot just to say I have, and to have the experience. If I liked the game, I would probably find a way to get it, and run it at some one point.
I know I sound a bit matter-of-fact, and perhaps even unrealistic in my simplified answer to the situation of wanting to try new games, but that's just how I've always been, and how I continue to be.
However, the bigger issue is that I just don't see that many new games coming out that I feel I have to play. There are very few that I am chomping at the bit to try out. I would be very interested in checking out The Warren, Spirit of '77, The One Ring, and maybe...well...I'm curious about 13th Age, and Fantasy AGE, but it won't kill me if I don't get to play those.
I was going to try, and challenge myself to come up with a similar list, but I just can't do it. There simply aren't enough games that fall into that category for me. Instead, here is a different kind of list.
The Barking Alien Blog Proudly Presents, The BIG DAMN LIST OF RPG LOVE!
Here are 100 RPGs that I just love. I love to run them, I'd probably like to play them I guess*, but they are the games I love, and that's what counts.
So, without further adieu, in no particular order, here are my 100
- Star Wars D6 (West End Games)
- Star Trek ICON System (Last Unicorn Games)
- Star Trek, The Role Playing Game (FASA)
- Champions 4th Edition (ICE/Hero Game)
- Traveller (Classic, and MegaTraveller, Game Design Workshop)
- Teenagers from Outer Space (R. Talsorian Games)
- Mekton (Especially Mekton II, R. Talsorian Games)
- InSpectres (Memento Mori)
- Ghostbusters (West End Games)
- Mutants and Masterminds (Especially 1st and 3rd Editions, Green Ronin)
- Faery's Tale Deluxe (Firefly Games / Green Ronin)
- Ars Magica 3rd Edition (White Wolf/Wizards of the Coast)
- Changeling: The Dreaming (White Wolf)
- Aberrant (White Wolf)
- Monsters, and Other Childish Things (Arc Dream Publishing)
- Wares Blade (Hobby Japan Games)
- SATASUPE ReMix (Adventure Planning Service / Hobbybase)
- Peekaboo Horror (Adventure Planning Service / Hobbybase)
- Paradise Fleet (Fujimi Dragon)
- Alshard (Enterbrain)
- Risus (Cumberland Games)
- Paranoia (West End Games)
- Toon (Steve Jackson Games)
- Sketch! (Corsair Publishing)
- Red Dwarf (Deep 7)
- Meikyuu Kingdom (Make You Kingdom) (Adventure Planning Service / Hobbybase)
- Pendragon 3rd, and 4th Editions (Chaosium, Green Knight Publishing)
- Bushido (Phoenix Games / Fantasy Games Unlimited)
- Hunter Planet (TAGG)
- Golden Sky Stories (Star Line Publishing)
- Castle Falkenstein (R. Talsorian Games)
- Marvel Heroic Role Playing Game (Margaret Weiss Productions)
- DC HEROES (Mayfair Games)
- Bunnies and Burrows (Fantasy Games Unlimited)
- Cyberpunk 2013 / 2020 (R. Talsorian Games)
- Metal Head (Hobby Japan Games)
- Mobile Racer Championship (Hobby Japan Games)
- M.I.S.S.O.N. (Kabal Gaming Systems)
- Happy Birthday Robot! (Evil Hat Productions)
- The Secret Lives of Gingerbread Men (Itesser Ink / Wicked Dead Brewing Co.)
- Doom and Cookies (Andrew Peregrine / Corone Design)
- Steal Away Jordan (Stone Baby Games)
- MAID (Sunset Games in Japan, Star Line Publishing in the U.S.A.)
- Villains and Vigilantes (Fantasy Games Unlimited)
- The Muppets (Barking Alien Games - What? I can't love my own game?)
Er...um...give me one second here...everything's fine here, now, thank you. How are you?
Psst. Barkley. I need your help.
What seems to be the problem?
I can't think of any more games that I love!
Well, you liked Space Opera when you were younger, right? And Star Frontiers?
Liked yes, but not loved. If I did, it was a long time ago.
Yes, yes. How about...wait...perhaps...no. Hmmm.
Well now, this presents a bit of a conundrum does it not? What am I to do?
As noted above, there are a lot of games that I like, even like a lot, but I don't drop the 'L' word lightly, and I really can't say I love something I don't love.
Now, it's possible, even likely, there are games I love that I'm not thinking of right now. To those games, I apologize. Seriously, I love ya man. I think.
A few games I like a lot (and I mean A LOT!) include (but are by no means limited to):
Adventures in Oz (F. Douglas Wall Publishing)
GODLIKE (Arc Dream Publishing)
James Bond: 007 (Victory Games)
Mouse Guard (Archaia Studio Press)
Ryuutama - Dragon's Egg (Kotodama Heavy Industries)
Star Frontiers (TSR)
Dread (The Impossible Dream)
What does it all mean? Is there some grand purpose behind it all? Is Humanity missing out on a great insight into its higher nature by not being able to unravel the hidden truths these lists hold within them?
No. Probably not.
At the same time, I believe I see some interesting insights into my own preferences. I see some consistency, and a few things in my personal tastes that strike me as odd.
Of course, in the surprises-no-one category, there is a distinct lack of Fantasy RPGs. There are a decent amount of comedic games as expected, as well as Science Fiction, and Superhero games, although the former is somewhat spread out over a number of subgenres. Nonetheless, Space Adventure Sci-Fi, and Comic Book Superheroes do rule the day.
Perhaps less obvious, and more surprising (to me anyway) are the number of games listed that have crunchy, more mechanically heavy systems. My appreciation for rules-lite games is well known, but I do not appear to disdain the more complex ones as much as I initially thought.
This warrants further study. I hope to get back to you soon with the results of my research.