Games of 2010
- Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game: We played this twice this year, once near the beginning of the year and once just last week. Both sessions have been a blast. Street Fighter is an effortlessly fun game for me. I know the rules, I know the world, and I have plenty of ideas for modern pulp and martial arts adventure. It plays fast and always has a good balance between action, adventure, and banter. This time around, Street Fighter also served for a Christmas adventure involving fist fights with the Bavarian Illuminati in an Alpine castle ski resort with the krampus running amok on the slopes.
- Dungeons and Dragons (Rules Cyclopedia): The Rainy City campaign is primarily built on a D&D Rules Cyclopedia chassis, with D&D pastiche elements. One of the players is running an OD&D alchemist from Dragon Magazine, and I use the 2nd edition AD&D spell and magic item compendiums as well as any monster books from any classic edition of D&D that are handy. It's also an easy pick up game for me as I have the city handy for play when needed. It doesn't hurt that it's a chance to use my favorite version of D&D, the BX/BECM/RC line.
- Apocalypse World: I enjoyed this each time we played it. I ran it once and played it twice, and I'd be happy to play it again. I regret not having done any linked sessions -- each play session was more of a independent one shot, and my understanding is that the game works best with campaign play.
- Dungeons and Dragons (4E): Played a one shot of this at a con. I had a good time playing a classic wizard (i.e., one with more ego than ability).
- Dungeons and Dragons (Pathfinder): This is our default system for The Royal Subterranean Diplomatic Corps. I've run it for most of the sessions but also played in one. I especially like 3.x D&D from the player's side of the screen. RSDC tends to be a very talky game, with relatively little in the way of action and fighting, so we're probably not leveraging most of the 3.x game system. But I'd be hard pressed to imagine some of the PCs having been conceived had a different game system been the basis.
- The Fantasy Trip: I just love this game. We used it for a campaign last year, but this year I think we only played it once as an RPG, using it for a one-shot Rainy City session at Halloween. It's a good fit for the rainy city, as it comes pre-packaged with alchemy and gargoyles and skill checks for burglary and the like.
- Call of Cthulhu: CoC made a cameo appearance in one of our Royal Subterranean Diplomatic Corps games, when a group of diplomats entered the Desert of Cosmic Horrors. We did an on the spot conversion of the characters to CoC terms and used a loose approximation of the system for action resolution and sanity checks in the desert and pyramids of cosmic horrors. The players were, I think, rightly relieved when they returned to their D&D stats.
- Gamma World (D&D 4E-based edition): This game seems to have almost entirely taken over our gaming since its release. It's easy to see why. It's sleek, random fun, and it accommodates all the weirdness you throw at it. Here are some examples from our recent play of the game: a Chernobyl blasted plant super soldier; a pyrokinetic samurai named Markus (but if you like you can call him "sensei"); a spirit of the earth emerged from a cave to set things right (and destroy abominations); ninjas made of nightmares serving a baboon ninja lord with a nightmare sword; vampires of the frozen north with an undead army, a frankenstein's monster mad scientist, a werewolf in the basement, and a crashed flying saucer out on the snow; a robot shark death machine serving fish men in a nautilus submarine; the robot collective's "vandals" poisoning a river to kill mutants; a fat crocodile crying on his jet ski because it won't start; getting trapped in the fever dreams of a super-psychic little green man from outer space still stuck in stasis; competing in the "pain games" (think Running Man); and of course, The Curse of the Kill Bot...
And 2011 promises more of the same thrills, plus! Rolemaster! and Heavy Gear! and more.
So cheers to a great 2010 and great expectations for the coming year!