I’ve been playing D&D off and on since 1979, and I’ve played all the editions. I’ll rank order my favorite editions from a GM perspective. I’ll also comment on the edition from a Player perspective.
My top four favorite D&D games were from the ‘D&D as War’ approach. Things were deadly, scary, and character death was a real possibility. If you encountered an Ancient Red Dragon, you had better run! My least favorite three D&D editions were the 3rd to 5th edition era, all of which approached the genre using a ‘D&D as Sport’ approach where you are expected to have balanced encounters, and monster stat blocks had about 10 times the amount of text and creature special features of the early edition, making things harder to run and slower to play.
In a traditional dating back ten years, I like to inventory the ‘games I’m itching to run someday’. This particular list focuses on settings that have robust and concise commercial campaign adventures. I have dozens of settings I’d love to run someday, but the list I picked all have campaigns which provide 2-4 pages of adventure text for each session, which will make it easier to run. The 20-30 page of adventure text for each session (the more typical format for D&D adventures) is not my preference, I find the shorter stuff easier to prep for and easier to run.
I’m not quite ready to get into the world of model ships for Star Trek, but when I do finally pursue that, here are notes on what I’ve learned from my research.
I started my research by looking into STLs that I could print myself. I find the 3D, free fan-made models to be a mixed bag. Most don’t have a slot on which you can mount the ship on a stand, so you’d be doing some tricky drilling to retrofit that into the model. Having a stand-ready model is important enough that I’m willing to pay commercial rates for that.
Had a great time today running a one-shot using the one-sheet 2400 BC: DUNES & DENIZENS rules! We took about 30-35 minutes creating characters and running through the basic rules, and another 5-8 minutes whipping up some character art and tokens in DALL-E 3 to use in our Owlbear VTT.
I enjoy trying out new games, but I’ve also found that ‘mastering’ a game system often takes many sessions of running those rules. These days, I’m usually more comfortable converting an existing IP over to a game system I like and have mastered, rather than learning yet another rule system from scratch each time I run games in a new setting. Conversion does time some time, but so does learning a new system!
Anyway, with that background, here are my favorite game systems and some notes.