Monday, November 19, 2012

Recent Gaming Innovations: Savage Worlds Explorers Edition

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I would post a bit this week about some of my favorite recent developments in this hobby we share.

My totally arbitrary cutoff for this is things released in the last 5 years.

My first nomination is the Explorer's Edition of Savage Worlds.

Now why one particular edition of one particular game? Because this one gave us a complete multi-genre RPG in a 160 page full-color softcover rulebook for $9.99. I have never seen another RPG with the bang-for-your-buck value of this game.

One of the things people love to complain about in gaming is having to buy multiple rulebooks - this is one book. People complain about the high cost of said rulebook - this one is not costly. People complain about edition obsolescence - while small tweaks have been made with each new printing Savage Worlds at the core is the same game as when it was first published in 2003, so this is not really an issue.

Now I was already a fan of the game and have been since the pre-release discussions on the SW mailing list years ago, but this version took the "Fast, Furious, Fun" mantra and added "accessible" as a descriptor. I've given at least one of these away to a friend and kept one in my car for a period of time for those "what are we going to do tonight" conversations that come up at times. I've run pirates, cowboys, fantasy, and superheroes with these rules and plan to do even more in the future. I've run it with heroclix, D&D mini's, warhammer figures, and legos in the past as well as completely free-form with no figures at all. It's a powerful system that always has me shaking my head at just how much we can get done in a session compared to more traditional, complex games.

The particular aspect I want to celebrate here though is the price. With a ten dollar cost of entry how can you not have this on your bookshelf? And no, you don't need to go buy Deadlands to make it playable.

Here's a link to the book. Note that this is the new version released just a few months ago - and it's still $9.99. I picked up a copy over the weekend at the FLGS and it's even better than the original version.

Here's a link to Savageheroes, which has a long list of player-developed settings

So much of what we discuss online are the finer points of mechanics, design, and running a game - none of that matters if no one can afford to pick up the game. While I have embraced the PDF age of smaller RPG's as much as anyone I still like having a book on the shelf and in my hands and I don't think I could buy this as a PDF and print it out for under $10 - there is just no downside to picking up a copy of this game. Instead of spending $50 on a copy of the core book for some big game, you could pick up 5 copies of this, pass them out to your group, and start a new campaign where everyone has a copy of the rules right from the start!

Anyway that's the first Innovation I wanted to salute - a gold star to Pinnacle for creating this book and another one for continuing it this year!


Barking Alien said...

I wish I liked Savage Worlds, I really do. I tried. I wanted to like it so badly. I bought it on a good friend's recommendation but sadly I just can't get into it.

A lot of it has to do with the way the rulebook is written. It refers to certain game terms before explaining what they are. Like I am supposed to know what they are referring to even though the terms are unique to this game.

It also uses multiple die types and unless you really wow me with your game (Marvel Heroic), multiple die types are actually a turn off for me these days.

Still, much of the supplemental material for the game is very cool and I'd certainly play it if someone was running it. I just don't feel like running it myself.

Blacksteel said...

Well it does help if you like the game, low price or not.

No worries - there are a lot of games where I feel the same way as your final point - happy to play them, not interested in running, whether it's due to mechanics or the subject matter.