Sunday, November 22, 2015
Over that past few years, I've been working to whittle down my RPG collection, purging the games that I will never play. Over the four decade that I've been gaming, I certainly collected a lot of different RPGs, some of which I've actually played, but many of why just took up shelf space. This really got me thinking about the question of, "What is my game?", and what do I even mean by "My Game." By "My Game", I'm talking about the game that I think in terms of regardless of what game I'm actually playing. This isn't to say that I compare other games to it and find them wanting, but rather that it is the game that permeates my consciousness like a native language. The game that I dream in, so to speak.
Way back in the day, circa 1979, the answer to this question would have been Dungeons & Dragons, as that was the game that I played the most and the one which informed my view of roleplaying as a whole. As time went on, I found myself wanting more, and I was exposed to more varied systems. I found other games that spoke to me more than D&D, games that let me do things beyond the strictures imposed by that venerable system. By the time that I was in college, "My Game" was the Hero System. It gave me free range to create almost anything that I could think of, provided that I had the time and energy to do the math.
After college, real life intervened, and I gamed less for a good while, but I kept buying RPGs since I had a job and could better afford them. However, I would still look at everything through he Hero System lens. As I got back into gaming, and played newer systems, I found many to be very enjoyable. Savage Worlds is now one of may favorite systems. I love that I can create adventures quickly and get a session going without hours upon hours of preparation. Also, I think that Savage Worlds works really well for the types of games that I like to run (Barbarians wandering around the wastelands killing evil wizards). I'm also a big fan of the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. I love the zero level funnel idea and the whole "You're not heroes" vibe, plus Goodman games puts out some great supplements and has amazing artwork. Far Away Land is also a great rules light system with some wonderful art and some really fun adventures.
If I were to run a game today, it would probably be Savage worlds, DCC, or Far Away Land, yet I can't call any one of them, "My Game". "My Game" to this day is still the Hero System, even though I haven't played it in over a decade, and very likely will never play it again. I can't create a monster or a magic items for another system without at least vaguely thinking, "How would I create this in Hero?" So, what is your game? What system do you find yourself thinking in terms of even when you aren't playing it, and do you still play it?