System/Product Recommendations

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mwchase
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System/Product Recommendations

Postby mwchase » Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:02 am

We're discussing getting our gaming group back together, and if we're getting a gaming group together, we need some games picked out. I'm not sure what to go for, though.

Data points:
Combat-focused games tend to work out well, even if we don't necessarily care about how the combat goes.
Detailed modeling and bookkeeping is a drag.
DnD was all right, but Legend worked out mostly better. Fiasco was not a good fit for our group.

When Rutskarn talked about Durance, I got interested, but it looks to be in a similar enough part of design space to Fiasco that I'm leery of going for it.

We'd prefer rules-light systems... with the caveat that my wife and I have entirely different things in mind when we say "rules-light". I'm not into spatial modeling, she is. I'm ambivalent about classes, stats, and skills, she's all for them.

Can anyone recommend anything that falls onto other side of that?
Steve C

Re: System/Product Recommendations

Postby Steve C » Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:57 pm

Paranoia?
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Supahewok

Re: System/Product Recommendations

Postby Supahewok » Thu Jul 23, 2015 4:41 pm

I dunno about Paranoia. It has thematic similarities to Fiasco. (focus on improvisation, spontaneity, dark humor, cannot maintain an ongoing campaign) It would really depend on why Fiasco didn't work for Mwchase's group.

*sucks teeth* This is really a toughie to answer, for me. It would help if you narrowed the field a bit, as mechanically you've left it pretty much wide open. You haven't expressed any preference for theme, genre, tone, or what you're looking to get out of the game. Do you want a longterm campaign? A short one? One-offs?

As it stands now, I want to say Savage Worlds, with the caveat that I've never played it and have only read the rule book once, which was a while ago. But if I recall correctly, its attributes and skill systems work off of a progressive die system, by which I mean that the better you are at something, the bigger the die you throw for it. For instance, somebody may have a Strength of d6, but on leveling up they can upgrade to a d8. Most checks are just adding your attribute roll and your skill roll together*. (Str d8 + Climbing d6 means you roll d8+d6) There's some other simplifications too. Bennies are basically free retries: all of the PC's have 3 per session, and the GM gets a couple general use ones along with 2 per named villain, which helps both sides of the table take chances to create dramatic moments. Its good stuff, and I think that enough of the simulation aspects of GURPS and DnD have been simplified to satisfy you while there's enough stats and skills to satisfy your wife.

Savage Worlds is a general use system, like FATE and Gurps. It doesn't have a particular default setting. There are plenty available, although my limited knowledge (and the ads in the rulebook) seem to lean toward the stronger systems being Weird Science and other off-beat stuff. Pirates, Weird WW1, Space 1889, and Solomon Kane, rather than straight up Fantasy or Sci-Fi. Supplements are probably available for whatever sort of setting you want though.

*Mostly. There's also something called a Wild Die that all named characters, including PC's, roll with their checks. Its a d6 that, if it is better, can replace the attribute die roll.
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mwchase
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Re: System/Product Recommendations

Postby mwchase » Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:12 pm

I think Fiasco didn't work for us for a variety of reasons. I'd personally be down for messing with Bully Pulpit stuff in the future, but, let's see...

It was a problem that I knew the rules more thoroughly than everyone else, but not well enough to give good advice. Partly a problem (of attitude) with me, but it should be less of an issue with a system that's closer to DnD/Legend/etc. (Her main objection to Legend, by the way, is how elaborate the action economy is. As I put it: "Legend has five things. You can do up to eight, unless you did nine, in which case you can only do seven.")

The idea of the game nights is less "let's really get into the systems and conceits of this game" than "let's shoot the shit and describe what's happening to some made-up characters".

Weirdly enough, even the ending montage ended up going too slowly for the group. Not sure what to do with that data point, but there it is.

More data points: Microscope also didn't work for us.

Basically, what would probably work is anything that is or can trivially become "Like Legend, but with a simpler action economy". I think we usually do fantasy settings, but I don't know any reason why that would be set in stone.
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Trix2000
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Re: System/Product Recommendations

Postby Trix2000 » Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:45 pm

Could always modify an existing system to remove some of the complexity, but that really depends on the system and how much time you want to spend tweaking things.
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Supahewok

Re: System/Product Recommendations

Postby Supahewok » Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:52 pm

Yeah, I don't really know what to tell you. It sounds to me like your group doesn't want to spend time to learn new rules, whilst wanting the rules simple. The problem with that is that the two games that you cited that did well, DnD (presumably 3.5) and Legend, are both based off of the d20 System. There is no simple version of d20. Legend is as streamlined as it gets, from what I've read of it. If your group isn't willing to take time out to read the rule book on their own just to get the basics down, you're going to have a real hard time transitioning to something that fits your needs better because most of the simpler games do not work like d20 at all.

Maybe try DnD 5e. There are a maximum of 4 actions a single character can take in a round: Full Action (attacking or spellcasting), Movement, Bonus (minor stuff like activating abilities, some classes use it more than others), and Reaction (which is something that you can only do when its not your turn, like a monk swatting an arrow or taking an Attack of Opportunity; you only get to do ONE of those things ONCE a round, which very much simplifies AoO). Usually only Full and Movement actions are used in a single round, with the occasional bonus action. A group that has played 3.5 can recognize most of the stuff in the game, but it plays a lot smoother and tries to keep all classes viable. Its a fairly simple action economy.

Otherwise your best bet is to do what Trix said: make an existing system fit your playstyle. That's a lot of work on the GM, though.

This is of course assuming that the problem is your players not wishing to spend time learning new rules (which I'm not judgmental about: life is busy). If yall are looking for a narrative game and just haven't hit the one that fits well yet, give FATE and Heroquest 2 a try. I cannot personally recommend either, as I haven't read the books for them nor read reviews. They're just a couple of games on my list of games to investigate when I have the time do so, but they're both reputed to be heavy on the narrative and light on the simulation.
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mwchase
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Re: System/Product Recommendations

Postby mwchase » Fri Jul 24, 2015 1:29 am

Turns out I jumped the gun in assuming that we'd be going for RPGs. That frees me up to try to design my weird-ass super-abstract stuff, and we'll actually play, like, board games for three to five people. Which I think is a lot easier to look for. (The only restriction I'm aware of is "no pure co-op".)
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Cuthalion

Re: System/Product Recommendations

Postby Cuthalion » Sat Jul 25, 2015 4:59 pm

Hmm... well, I didn't read the whole thread, and it looks like you're not looking for RPGs specifically anymore, but you might try The One Ring. It's LotR/Hobbit-themed, obviously, and in my opinion absolutely nails the flavor. None of the rules are really that crunchy, but it does have a weakness in that it has a large number of simple, easy rules and no easy way to remember which situation uses which one. The combat is pretty good, but not as varied as something like DnD where you have a large variety of enemies and people are positioned on a grid. (In One Ring, at least the way our LM runs it, the enemies just divvy up and attack you a max of three at a time per player, with any extras doing ranged stuff or waiting their turn. The players choose a stance which determines both the bonus/penalty they get trying to hit enemies and vice versa. So, forward stance needs a roll of 6 + the enemy's parry, while the enemies need to roll 6 + your parry. Defensive stance needs 12 + enemy's parry, while the enemy then needs 12 + your parry. So the enemy positions are very abstract, and the player positions are kind of abstract.)

The game, at least in the pre-made modules we've been doing, is more about incidents that occur while traveling, then a bigger encounter when you get to your goal, which makes the pacing feel a little different and more formalized.

Anyway, if that's your thing, you could try it out. The rules are lighter than DnD in that they're less intimidating or mathy, but it's harder to remember which thing you roll in what situation.
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Santa_Jaws

Re: System/Product Recommendations

Postby Santa_Jaws » Tue Dec 15, 2015 6:25 pm

Savage Worlds is really dope. We're using the superhero book for it, and our campaign is super fun.

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