Categories
Story games Tabletop RPGs

The cutting-edge Bullwinkle and Rocky RPG

Epidiah Ravachol posted about the Bullwinkle and Rocky RPG the other day (note: in 2014, when I first posted this on Google+), making the point (assuming I’m smart enough to have understood him correctly) that you can design the most cutting-edge game in the world but if you produce it in a context no one cares about, no one will care.

Bullwinkle and Rocky, published by TSR in 1988, is nuts. It looks like a story game before there were story games, and it’s packed with interesting stuff: spinners instead of dice, hand puppets, three versions of the game, cards as story prompts, and more. It’s pretty amazing how different this game is from most RPGs produced in 1988.

I never got into Bullwinkle. I didn’t watch it as a kid and it holds next to zero interest for me now. But this game is totally nifty.

And because, circling back, I’d guess it went over like a lead balloon, you can still find a copy in shrink for not much money despite it being 26 years old.

Categories
GURPS Tabletop RPGs

GURPS Time Travel is neat

I’ve got time travel gaming on the brain, and haven’t yet found a time travel RPG that hits exactly the vibe I’m after.

Epidiah Ravachol‘s Time & Temp is at the top of my shortlist to play, with the excellent Timeworks setting from Fate Worlds: Worlds in Shadow running a close second. But those both do specific things (nothing wrong with that!), and I’m after something more open-ended. It may become more specific as I think about it more, but for now loosey-goosey is good.

I want to pack my brain with interesting, RPG-oriented time travel stuff, and whenever I’m that mood the answer is usually GURPS. In this case, GURPS Time Travel (paid link), by Steve Jackson and John M. Ford.

Like GURPS Warehouse 23 (paid link) and GURPS Illuminati (paid link), which I’ve written about on Yore, Time Travel is a toolkit.[1] It takes one huge enchilada of a topic and comes at it from several angles, teases out the best bits from each angle, and gives you the stuff you need to put it back together how you like.

The book provides a default campaign setting, and it’s a good one: Timepiece agents vs. Stopwatch agents, each group trying to ensure the survival of their own timeline, with lots of clever details. For example: Time travel “windows” are always about 8 months apart, so sometimes you need to go back too far and wait for your moment; and whether history can be changed depends on whether an agent observes it, so there are delightfully perverse incentives to walk away from problems so you can take another run at them later on.

In a (parallel) world . . .

One of those angles, dimensional travel/parallel worlds as an alternative to time travel, wasn’t even on my radar until I started looking into (and then bought) this book. It features many of the best bits of time travel — alternate worlds, ahistorical elements, fish out of water — without all the brain-burning paradoxes and temporal physics.

There’s a whole setting in Time Travel, Infinite Worlds, which delves into dimensional travel, and the topic gets quite a bit of attention in the book. It also got blown out into a much bigger book (which apparently also reprints some of what’s in this one), GURPS Infinite Worlds (paid link). That one’s on the way, and I’m excited to read it.

TPS reports

One of the tools Time Travel offers is a form: one for time travel games, one for dimension-hopping games. Here’s the time travel version:

That’s just handy! It covers a host of common questions — the stuff everyone at the table will ask — while also rounding out some corners, establishing a solid baseline, and piquing the group’s interest.

It also makes me want to know more. What’s the Recency Effect? What’s a Temporal Snarl? Those both sound awesome! (And yes, they’re both covered in the book.)

I’m not sure what I’ll do with it yet, although that Fate bookmark peeking out the top isn’t an accident. I think Fate (paid link) would be a great fit for a time/dimension travel game, particularly since I can lean on what’s already in Timeworks.

Whatever I do with it, Time Travel (paid link) is a great starting point. It’s my favorite kind of GURPS book: the kind that fires my imagination, gives me new ideas to chew on, and provides the tools to implement them — all in a tidy package of reasonable length.[2]

It’s also dirt cheap, at least at the moment — I paid $6 for my copy, and it’s in fine shape.

[1] All of my favorite GURPS books are toolkits.

[2] Nope, leaving that one alone. Noooothing to see here.

Categories
Board games Tabletop RPGs

My 51 in 15

Back in January, Epidiah Ravachol issued a fun challenge: Play 51 games in 2015. I paid attention to folks’ posts about it throughout the year, but figured I didn’t have a shot at hitting 51 — it was a busy year. To my embarrassment, I also spent nearly the entire year thinking the challenge was 51 games new to me in 2015, which sounded very unlikely indeed.

But taking stock here in late December (edit: updated through the end of the month), I made it to 80 games in 2015, of which 12 RPGs and 22 board games were new to me. Across my 19 RPGs, I logged 46 gaming sessions. For board games, it was 184 plays across 60 games.

In 2014, I played 12 RPGs and 58 board games, for a total of 70 games. I love trying out new RPGs, so I’m glad to see that total up 63% this year. 2015 was also the year I played my 100th RPG, which would put my 200th something like 5-6 years out, in 2021-2022.

Just typing those dates makes me feel old! Somehow, I’ve lived to see The Future.

RPGs

  1. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition
  2. Apocalypse World
  3. Barbarians of Lemuria
  4. DCC RPG
  5. Dragon Age
  6. Executioner
  7. Fear Itself
  8. Honor + Intrigue
  9. Microscope
  10. Mini Six
  11. Psi Run
  12. Savage Worlds
  13. Star Wars: Age of Rebellion
  14. The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game
  15. The Final Girl
  16. The Plant
  17. The Quiet Year
  18. The Thief
  19. tremulus

Board Games

  1. Animal Upon Animal
  2. Bausack
  3. Biblios
  4. Candy Land
  5. Click Clack Lumberjack
  6. Concept
  7. Connect Four
  8. Cosmic Encounter
  9. Disney Dazzling Princess
  10. Don’t Break the Ice
  11. Don’t Spill the Beans
  12. The Duke
  13. Duplik
  14. Elefun
  15. Enchanted Cupcake Party Game
  16. Escape: The Curse of the Temple
  17. Fibber
  18. Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
  19. Funemployed!
  20. Go Away Monster!
  21. Go Fish
  22. Hamsterrolle
  23. Hedbanz: Identity Crisis Game
  24. Hold On Scooby-Doo
  25. Hollywood Game Night Party Game
  26. Hungry Hungry Hippos
  27. Kingdom Builder
  28. Labyrinth
  29. Last Will
  30. Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
  31. Let’s Go Fishin’
  32. Longhorn
  33. Loopin’ Louie
  34. Love Letter
  35. Memory
  36. Mermaid Island
  37. Monopoly Junior
  38. Old Maid
  39. Pandemic: The Cure
  40. Patchwork
  41. Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords
  42. Quiddler
  43. RARRR!!
  44. Red7
  45. Rhino Hero
  46. Richard Scarry’s Busytown: Eye found it! Game
  47. Risk Legacy
  48. Scrabble Junior
  49. Seasons
  50. Slamwich
  51. Sorry! Sliders
  52. Splendor
  53. Spot it!
  54. Superfight
  55. Sushi Go!
  56. Temporum
  57. The Castles of Burgundy
  58. The Magic Path of Yoga
  59. The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game
  60. Tsuro
  61. XCOM: The Board Game