RPG: Year-End Reader’s Poll

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It’s December, so it’s time to start looking back on the year that was.

For better or worse, we’re nearing the end of 2017. Who knows what 2018 will have in store for us. Well, aside from more sci-fi RPGs. This year started the ‘Season of Sci-Fi’ in the RPG Realm, with big releases like Starfinder, Star Trek Adventures, and Tales from the Loop, accompanying smaller but still significant releases like Aethera, Mindjammer, and Polaris 2.0.

Accompanying that we saw some pretty big announcements, like the reveal of an upcoming 40K RPG from Ulisses, who are really making waves with their other big release this year, the Dark Eye. Because though it’s the season of sci-fi, fantasy is never out of style.

Especially fitting since his year we had some pretty sweet sword-and-sorcery releases as well, including the aforementioned Dark Eye, Conan, Blades in the Dark, Bluebeard’s Bride, Fantasy Age, and the Tal’Dorei campaign setting. And that’s not even taking into account all the big D&D releases like Tomb of Annihilation, Tales from the Yawning Portal, and Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.

There were plenty of fantasy related announcements as well, things like the upcoming Warhammer Fantasy RPG, which is being developed for the World that Was; or the big news from FFG: next year we’ll see the return of the Legend of the Five Rings rpg.

In the next week or so, we’ll doubtless be going through our own year-in-review, but we want to know what you played, what you loved, what you loathed, what you wish you’d tried. All that kind of thing. So let’s kick off a year-end poll. Now’s your chance to weigh in, just head down to the comments and mash on your keyboard until you’re satisfied with the results.

What did you love?

So, let’s try and keep this to releases that came out this year. But we wanna know what you’ve been playing, and what you’ve been enjoying. Was there a Pathfinder module you tried; did you and your friends brave the jungles of Chult in search of the Tomb of Annihilation? Did you take to the Stars with Starfinder? As we mentioned there’s been a ton of Sci-Fi and Fantasy this year, so feel free to lane one of each in your favorites category.

What did you hate?

Not everything is for everyone. Maybe there was something out there you tried and it not only wasn’t good, it kicked your dog, stole your gas money AND your car–well, maybe not quite that bad. But, what wasn’t working for you this go round? Again, keep it to things that came out this year.

What are you looking forward to most next year? 

As we mentioned, there are some pretty big announcements for things we’ll see in the coming year.  Whether it’s new Starfinder, or L5R, or 40K, or some soon to be Indie Darling–what has you excited and ready to play?

What do you wish you’d tried? 

The end of the year is also the time for regrets–what do you wish you’d had the chance to try out? Some experimental concept game? A classic module reprinted that you just couldn’t find time for? Worth mentioning, there’s still time this year to cross these off your list.

What did you play? 

So what did you play the most? Released this year or not, we wanna know. Tell us about your campaigns and characters.

Best gaming moment of 2017?

What’s the one moment/story/character you’re going to look back on and remember in the years to come?

Top recommendation? 

I mean, you’re here, so clearly you’ve got good taste. What’s a game you’ve tried that others might not have? Bestow your refinement upon us.

Well, that’s it for now. We’ll revisit these next week once the results are in. So get to commenting!

  • Pilipinas Tara Na

    Time constraints to just live makes gaming nigh impossible. Only reading gives a moment of peace! The will to game exists but not the time. So to your question no gaming moment surpassed any other 2017. Only overtime at work made record numbers.

  • euansmith

    Blades in the Dark is a cool game.

    • af

      My extremely cursory look at their website makes me think it’s an RPG with a similar theme to “Thief: The Dark Project”, is this right? That’d be cool. And is it played with miniatures or is it a pen & paper RPG?

      • euansmith

        It is set in a world of Ghosts and Intruige and Industry; so a bit like that D&D setting with the magical trains or Warmachine. However, the focus is on setting up your gang and making your way in the criminal underworld, whilst fighting demons both external and internal.

        • Aurion Shidhe

          Hmm…sounds interesting. I’ll give it a look. thanks for the tip.

    • Aurion Shidhe

      Does BitD use the Fate system or its own?

      • Jay Arr

        It uses its own reworking of the Powered by the Apocalypse engine.

        • Aurion Shidhe

          I will have to check it out then. We tried Evil Hat’s Fate engine and it failed miserably in my gaming group.

    • Jay Arr

      It is an incredibly cool game.

      • euansmith

        I backed the kickstarter and I’m really looking forward to the dungeon bash version and the Firefly version.

  • Aurion Shidhe

    What did you love? I’m a big fan of D&D’s 5th edition. We’ve been playing an Eberron campaign using the new rules and having a blast. We’ve had to fudge psi a bit but that’s okay for now.

    What did you hate? I kickstarted Hyperlanes as a 5th edition sci-fi add on. It feels half completed and rushed. The classes are dull and the spell replacement just doesn’t work. I’m sorely disappointed with it.

    What are you looking forward to most next year? I am tentatively excited about the L5R game. I’m also waiting for my Faith RPG kickstarter books and cards. I’m eager to try their cards-based system. Also, I kickstarted the TORG update and am looking forward to giving that game another shot.

    What do you wish you’d tried? Fragged Empire. It seems like a solid system. I picked up the core book and let it sit on my shelf for too long. Now I wish I had started that instead of Hyperlanes.

    What did you play? FFG Star Wars, D&D 5th, Hyperlanes (yuck)

    Best gaming moment of 2017? My gaming group getting involved in a lightning rail “train heist” in our Eberron game.

    Top recommendation? 5th ed D&D. I was a hardcore 4th ed D&D lover but now I’m a convert to 5th.

  • zemlod

    The only RPG I played this year were Warhemmer Fantasy RPG (1st ed.) and half an evening of D&D 5th. Which appears to be surprisingly elegant.

  • marxlives

    What did you love?

    I loved diving into Dark Age, losing at Malifaux, and “getting” MkIII Warmachine.

    What did you hate?

    Finally getting around to playing Warmachine Tactics. The game needs a lot of work, but I hope this doesn’t dissuade PP from trying a IK rpg or other genre of video game. Even a Level 7 Omega Protocol game.

    what are you looking forward to most next year?

    O.G.R.E. competitive ruleset.

    what do you wish you’d tried

    Runewars, the reviews are a mixed bag but it looks fun and solid.

    what do you play

    Warmachine, Malifaux, Dark Age and Undercity mostly.

    Best gaming moment of 2017

    Seeing a Khadorian gunline get into a never ending attrition war with Cyriss infantry spam. Lamb Chops would have been proud.

    Top recommendation?

    I really cannot stress how great Dark Age is. I know its tough with the Necromunda hype and the glut of skirmish games but really give it a go, even if you are using proxy models. All the materials you need to play are free and there are YT tutorials by CMoN online. It is very easy to pick up and fun to play.

    • Aurion Shidhe

      Dark Age…isn’t that the game Brom had a hand in creating? I dig the artwork I’ve seen for it.

      How does it stack up against something like Malifaux?

      • marxlives

        You know they are pretty similar, the D20 and card system pretty much even everything out. The action point system is cleaner in Dark Age but the terrain rules between the two systems are pretty even.

        Crew building in Dark Age is more organized and crews are defined by what is in them and faction rather than a Master. Critical success and fails in the game operate like a Red or Black Joker, they increase the brutality of the game. Both have limited rounds and are scenario driven games. However while Malifaux is about knowing your crew and how they operate around your Master, Dark Age is about knowing your faction and the different ways to build within it.

        Model wise difference between old Dark Age models and new ones is pretty comparable to Malifaux 1ed and 2ed. There is a world of difference between the two and CMoN has done a great job updating the range and in my opinion it is a better game than Wrath of Kings because the rules are so intuitive. Dark Age models do require less effort to put together however. There are a mixture of resin, plastic, and metal models. All high quality and very clean. Both Malifaux and Dark Age are aesthetically different but excellent in quality.

        Lore wise both games benefit from age. While Dark Age benefits from a revived Brom inspired game and additional stories, Malifaux benefits from having been in the market for 8 years now?

        Rules wise both are similar enough that if you know how to play Malifaux or Company of Iron, you will pick up Dark Age pretty easy and it is a good alternative if you are looking for a low point of entry sci-fi skirmish game and it is the best one I have played.

        Having played Dark Age and Deadzone, Dark Age is a much cleaner game and resilient system with scenarios that are updated and available for free every year. While Deadzone is a pretty solid Nottingham style beer and pretzels game.

        Both Malifaux and Dark Age systems reinforce the motto of the two systems in how brutal the games are and how every action counts.

        Malifaux: Bad things happen.

        Dark Age: Everything dies.

        • Aurion Shidhe

          Thank you, sir, for that write up. I will have to check this game out.