I had planned a series of posts with a deep dive into my favorite games. By game, I mean more than the core rules, I mean a combination of the game mechanics and playability of the game, the robustness of 3rd party products or related games, and the game community for that system.
As of late last year, here were my favorite games. I’ll post a new version of this soon since due to the OGL kerfuffle, D&D 5e has fallen down in priority.
- Fate (Core, Condensed, Accelerated). I like to use a hack to use a single d6 die instead of Fate dice, an extended skill lists or 2-level skill lists, multiple skills for combat, and starting characters have 0 stress.
- BX D&D (Old-School Essentials, Basic Fantasy, Starships and Spacemen, BX Gangbusters, Basic Fantasy, Labyrinth Lord, etc.). Simpler than AD&D, BX (or Basic / Expert, the Red Box D&D basic rules from the 1980s) have the largest suite of adventures and modules (except for maybe D&D 5e). The game focuses on rulings not rules and procedural adventure generation.
- d100 (BRP, Call of Cthulhu, Rivers of London, OpenQuest, Jackals Clash system, Amboria (coming soon), d00Lite). In particular, I like DWD’s d00Lite series (FrontierSpace, CovertOps, Art of Wuxia, Barebones Fantasy). I have 65% in Shoot so my odds to hit with a gun are 65% — simple, intuitive, and very fast in gameplay to run these games.
- Traveller (Mongoose Traveller, Cepheus Engine Games, Classic Traveller). I most like Mongoose Traveller, but with house rules to add grenade deviation, and adding a change in character creation to prevent sequencing issues. 2d6 mechanic is simple and intuitive. There are also dozens of genre-specific settings like Wild West, Noir Detectives, etc.
- D6 (WEG Star Wars, OpenD6, Mini6). I like to use HP instead of wound levels (rules-as-written in WEG Star Wars 1e produces an invulnerable Wookie). Play it where all characters are Jedi or no characters are Jedi to prevent balance issues.
- Pendragon. Essentially a d100 RPG but scaling down to d20 rolls. The main appeal is the highly regarded, multi-generational The Great Pendragon Campaign.
- The One Ring 2e. I’ve mostly played Adventures in Middle-earth (5e), but in the future, I’d move to use the simpler and more narrative TOR rules.
- D&D 5e. World’s oldest RPG’s latest edition.
- QuestWorlds (HeroQuest). A very narrative system, flexible to play any genre, and a joy to create characters.
- PbtA (Dungeon World, Masks). Narrative system, but mechanics and rules quality vary widely from setting to setting.