Wednesday, September 8, 2021

How it Started versus How it's Going


Barking Alien had a great post about those games we started with and which ones we still play. It's been awhile since I've gone down this road but let's see ...

I started with Holmes Basic D&D. Still have my copy though it is in rough shape from major use. This was 1979-1980. It was pretty much just D&D for the next few years though I did start writing up my own game with Jedi and Cylons and things in there too. Lots of graph paper was consumed as I dove into AD&D and the new Basic Set and then the new Expert Set and Dragon magazine. 

By the summer of 1982 I added Traveller. That was the second game I really dove into. So many cool things - character generation, ship construction, star system generation - so much in those 3 little books.  

I had been aware of the other TSR games for some time but had not acquired any of them. Later that year I had picked up Star Frontiers and it was not all that much like Traveller but it had its own attractions - the maps! The counters! An interesting take on actions and combat and races and gear - I really liked playing it. 

During 1983 things really exploded as I added Gamma World, Star Trek (FASA), Top Secret, Boot Hill, and Champions. 

The 80's were a great time for RPG's as by the end of the decade I had jumped into Marvel and DC supers games, Twilight 2000, Star Wars, Warhammer Fantasy, Ninja Turtles, Runequest, GURPS, Mechwarrior, and Shadowrun. There were new editions of various games in there as well plus starting up a miniatures hobby with Warhammer, 40K, and Battletech.

Out of those first few let's see ... I do still play and run D&D. Not that same version but I have run Labyrinth Lord (briefly) in the last 3 years. I'd like to do more as it does feel different than "normal" D&D now but schedules are such a constraint we are lucky to keep one game going steadily these days. 

Traveller is one I have taken off the shelf and considered but I haven't run it in at least ten years. Another one I would love to run but it just gets squeezed out every time.

I haven't run Star Frontiers since the 80's but I do still have everything and I do still love a lot of things about that system and setting. Nowadays it mainly serves as a source of inspiration for a potential Star Wars campaign - the adventures in particular. 

As far as the batch from 1983 ... 

  • Gamma World is another of the want-to's but I haven't run it in ... 20 years at least? I really should put together a short run at least.
  • Star Trek - I haven't run FASA Trek since maybe the 90's but I still have all of that material ... and the LUG Trek stuff ... and Decipher Trek ... and I just picked up the Klingon book for Modiphius Trek. So the systems have rotated over the decades but the setting is definitely still a player. Just have to convince at least two of my players to give it a shot. 
  • Top Secret - another box unused since the 80's. I did do the kickstarter a few years ago for a new version from the original creator but it is not a good game. These days when I get the itch for a spy game I'd say Spycraft comes to mind the most but it's just not a genre my guys care a whole lot about. Odds are this will keep gathering dust on the shelf. 
  • Boot Hill was a lot of fun back when but has since been rendered obsolete by Deadlands. Considering we had the most fun with Boot Hill crossing it over with D&D anyway this was not really a surprise. I usually hate "tech" analogies when it comes to RPGs but this is the best case for one that I can think of - everything we wanted to do in Boot Hill can be done easier, faster, and better in Deadlands ... any version of Deadlands. 
  • Then there is Champions ... so good and yet so long since I've actually run a game with it. I still love the system even if it's been bumped aside by M&M a lot over the last 20 years when a superhero game is discussed among the crew. I would still like to run it again so I picked up the lean and mean version and then earlier this year I grabbed the full double-textbook version. It may take a little while but it's on my radar and it will happen eventually.

So most of those early games are not major players for me these days. The oldest thing I've run aside from a D&D game with some regularity these last few years is probably d6 Star Wars and that will continue - it almost became the new game I'm running now. 

BA asks a good question about how people play only one game and for so long and I admit I have no idea. I love the bubbling concoction that is RPG design where new and innovative things emerge and change the way we look at things. D&D is a nice constant in some ways but there are so many other things to do out there that I cannot imagine sticking to one game only and ignoring everything else.  

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