During a recent conversation on Twitter, a question was asked: What RPGs do you own, but have never played? I literally could not answer that question in 140 characters. I came up with twenty-plus titles, depending on how you count.
So many games, so little time.
Games Owned, Never Played
Gods of the Fall
Cypher System Core Rules
Are these one game, or three? Should I even count the Cypher System Core Rules? I’ve played Numenera, so it could be argued that it’s close enough and these don’t count. On the other hand, they’re each self-contained and have their own twists on the Cypher System rules.
Deadlands – Hell on Earth: Reloaded
Interface Zero 2.0
I’ve played Savage Worlds, both in pulp games and in a Space: 1889 game. I even ran a Realms of Cthulhu adventure, but like with Cypher System, I think all these variants have enough of a twist on the rules that they count a games in their own right.
This would be a great game if I had kids or a group of friends really into Anime, or both. I’m still keeping it around because it’s so charming and well-done.
Feng Shui 2
Hong Kong Action Movie Fu! When I read this, I immediately thought of the ways I could essentially run a Shadowrun game with it, but without all the baggage of the Shadowrun system.
A classic… that I’ve never played. I like running wacky, off-the-wall stuff at conventions, though and I found these mint condition books at Half-Price Books for a steal, so I couldn’t afford NOT to buy them.
Mad Max meets Fallout! Seriously, if you ever read these rules, that’s exactly the vibe you get. The V8 system the game uses maps almost exactly to the SPECIAL system the Fallout CRPGs use and it’s easy enough to bolt-on perks, if you like. Plus, there’s a robust set of vehicle rules in case you want to die historic on Fury Road.
Middle-Eastern themed sci-fi with a heavy dose of spirtualism. It looks very cool and it lets the PCs configure their own ship. You could probably play a less gonzo/grimdark version of Rogue Trader with this with a bunch of mysticism on the side.
Mutant: Year Zero
This game reminded me of the settlement building portion of Fallout 4, but without the frustration of using a set-up that was not designed for a left-handed person to change the controls. Sorry, that’s a rant for another time. Post-apocalyptic goodness that’s more Fallout Shelter than Mad Max.
This has dual rules for Savage Worlds and Call of Cthulhu, which is why I didn’t put it up with the rest of the Savage Worlds stuff. It has a real “First Ten Minutes of the Hellboy Film” feel. Nazis, Eldritch Horrors, what’s not to like?
Pulp action using the BRP rules (aka the same system Call of Cthulhu uses). You don’t even have to use the Mythos to do proper Indiana Jones-style pulp action/adventure with this game. It’s a close race between this and Hollow Earth Expedition for my preferred pulp game, though that may change once I play it (Savage Worlds does pulp well, too)
Shadowrun 5th Edition
Shadowrun is the setting I love most couple with a game system I like least. 10 – 15 years ago, I’d probably be all over it, but as I’ve gotten older, my interest in complex, fiddly system has diminished. I had hopes that 5th edition would reduce the complexity I grew to dread in 4th edition (which I played several times), but alas… DIS-A-PPOINTMENT!
Green Ronin’s Age system intrigues me, but I’ve yet to run it. D&D 5E does everything I really want a fantasy game to do right now.
Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea
Pulp Fantasy (like the original Conan stories) meets AD&D, but with a more standardized system. Seems to be popular with the crowd that likes Old School, but wants bit more modern rules than a retro clone could provide.
The 77 Lost Worlds
I think this is the ONLY RPG my wife has played that I have no. James Ward playtested this at Gary Con for several years and she really enjoyed it. If I recall, it’s like a far-future sci-fi RPG where society has survived by building domed cities, each of which is themed, sort of like a theme park. So you might have the Medieval Europe dome over there and the Ancient Egyptian dome over here, along with 75 others.
Shadows of Esteren
This is a French horror-fantasy RPG I’ve been acquiring mostly because my wife loves the art and production values.
Star Trek Adventures
I have the PDF, but the print version is still en route. I’m going to count it anyway, even though I haven’t counted any other games I own solely on PDF.
Owned – Played once or twice, Back in The Day
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Forget the cartoon. Forget the films. This game is based on the Kevin Eastman comic. I played it once on a bus during a school trip. I remember having a lot of fun, but it is a Palladium game, so who knows if I could even get past the system now.
Top Secret, SI
I haven’t played this since the height of the Cold War. It’s the action/James Bondian version where the original Top Secret was more about the espionage. The new TSR is currently running a Kickstarter for a modern, third version (Top Secret: New World Order — written by the original Administrator, Merle Rasmussen!), which I’ve played the last two years at Gary Con (and I played the original Top Secret the previous two years at Gary Con, once with Merle, which is why it’s not listed here).
Marvel Super Heroes
I remember liking this more than it’s contemporary, DC Heroes. I’m still looking for that perfect Supers game that has rules I can grok along with enough inspiration within that I don’t have to wonder, WTF do I do this session that isn’t a variation of the last game? Maybe the Sentinels Comics RPG will do it for me. Of course, now you look at Aunt May’s stats (Feeble in just about everything) and you look at Marisa Tomei and have severe cognative dissonance.
Buck Rogers XXVc
AD&D 2nd edition if it was a pulp sci-fi game “based” on the Buck Rogers comics. The history of this game basically boils down to a cash grab by the then-owners of TSR since they also owned the Buck Rogers estate. No funny Mel Blanc-voiced robots or hawkmen here, but there was a heavy dose of transhumanism and solar system exploration. It was actually a really well-done game, as I recall.
I think making a character is the best part of this game. You can literally tell the story of a character’s entire Starfleet career during character creation (you’re supposed to stop when you get to the point at which your game starts). It’s really a solo game all to itself.
I knew about The Doctor and Jelly Babies for decades before I actually saw the show, because of this game (not strictly true, I rented Pyramids of Mars on VHS from the base video store, but only had vague memories of it until I started watching the show in earnest sometimes during the 10th Doctor’s run). FASA really need some better quality control because the black & white photos used to illustrate this game are DARK.
Did this post need pictures? I feel like I should have tracked down box art for all of these games… but dang, that’s a lot of pictures and I only have so much time in the day!