August 23, 2017

RPGaDAY #23 - Best RPG layout

Which RPG has the most jaw-dropping layout? 

I'm going to go with the 5E Monster Manual. There are so many to choose from that I have to go with one of the ones I have seen most recently. I actually like the way they integrate the monster pictures with the layout where they are not always in neat little boxes and instead overflow into other boxes/areas of the page without being obtrusive. They also did a nice job adding sub-boxes of interesting tidbit information on the monsters for some of them that enhance the monster description while making the point unique. You can also tell they purposefully tried to keep descriptions and stats on one page per monster, thus making it easier to read and follow. They did an excellent job. Would I call it jaw-dropping? No, but their attention to detail is excellent with this product and one of the best.

August 22, 2017

RPGaDAY #22 - Easiest to run RPG

Which RPGs are the easiest for you to run? 

The ones where everyone at the table already know the rules. I prefer to focus on the story going on and I've at various times defaulted to the players for a rule. I make them look up a rule as I keep the game moving forward. I am actually okay with letting a player know the rules better than myself. 

That said, I prefer the "lighter" rule systems that don't have a rule, or subsystem, for every type of action. I am okay with a system that is crunch heavy or math-intensive at character generation as long as once play starts things can move fast without the heavy crunch or rules.

Right now, that means 5E D&D. Most of my players know the rules at some level, even if it is just knowing previous editions. It is a fast system (at least at 8th level). The Advantage/Disadvantage system is beautiful for making fast judgements on bonuses to a die roll ("that awesome speech earned you advantage on persuading the guard to let you pass") because it comes down a simple 'did your action gain you an advantage on the task at hand? Yes or no.'. No more is there the question of 'does that action give a +2 or +3 or +5 bonus?'. Between al those points, right now, it the easiest for me to run.

August 21, 2017

RPGaDAY #21 - Most succinct RPG

What RPG does the most with the least words? 

There does seem to be a trend in game design to use the most words possible. This is usually done to either sound intelligent or to pad the word count for a higher paycheck. Some do it well and others are painfully obvious. So who has the most succinct rpg? To be honest I am not sure. Each rpg seems to fall into some sort of verbosity either by explaining the same rule in multiple locations or wanting to add flavor text. There are of course various rpgs out there are specifically designed to be short and limited to as few pages as humanly possible (the result of various online contests) but these tend to be fringe or one-off niche rpgs. I personally am looking at rpgs meant to appeal to a broader market.
If I have to give an answer right now without looking at my stack of games, I'd go with Savage Worlds. The rules are fairly trim and to the point. This seems to actually extend to supplements/settings written even by third parties. Overall Savage Worlds keeps on target and endeavors to provide only as much written material as needed.

August 20, 2017

RPGaDAY #20 - Out-of-print RPGs

What is the best source for out-of-print RPGs? 

If I am looking for a particular hard-copy of a game  I usually go to eBay first. The pricing tends to be fair and they usually have what I am looking for. Amazon sometimes has them but not as often and not always at a good price, mostly because the sellers charge a lot. I also find myself buying from Noble Knight Games on occasion but they do not always have everything in stock that I came looking for; though their sales are pretty darn good.
As for pdfs of out-of-print games the first I check is Drivethrurpg. A lot of companies have started putting out pdfs of their old games and more seem to be doing it of late. They seem to be slowly coming to the realization there is a market for them.

August 19, 2017

RPGaDAY #19 - Best writing

Which RPG features the best writing? 

This is a tough one. There can be many forms of "best" for "writing". Do you mean flavor text? Do you mean that the rules are clear with good examples? Do you mean the writing is evocative and makes you wants to play the game. Do you mean the writing is inspiring and makes you want to run the game? Do you mean the writing is lean and to the point? Do you mean the writing comes across as written by and for an adult? Do you mean the writing is not dry and boring? For the sake of this post I am going to assume all of these points are relevant.

White Wolf. Vampire and others.
I have always felt that White Wolf paid close attention to how they wrote. They seemed to approach their books as entertainment themselves. It wasn't just enough to give you rules and a setting so you could play a game. Some rpg books are nothing but tools for the gamers so they could make an interesting night of entertainment themselves. White Wolf instead seemed to want to have the writing itself entertain and be engaging. Sometimes they would get a little heavy with the prose, almost to the point of obscuring the game, but overall they were the best at presenting an rpg as something more than just rules.