Friday, 11 September 2015

#Threeforged RPG contest (thoughts so far)

I've just finished reading and reviewing the first 50 games in the threeforged rpg design contest and you can find the full list here.

At the moment I want to give my overview so far.

Organising a shortlist to vote on has been challenging due to the high quality of the majority of the games. Even some of the games I've rated as "meh" have had some really good elements, but the sheer number of four and five star submissions is impressive. For a hundred free games you can download right now they're exceptional value.

So far I've listed:
7 meh games
16 OK games
and 27 Contenders

which is a pretty good ratio, especially since some of the OK ones are fantastic. Nothing has struck me as a particularly bad product so far.

Card games are huge and the Microscope approach has been tackled in various ways. Some have created custom cards, though only some have gone to the effort to supply printable versions

There's a lot of games relying on previous gaming or scene setting experience and many seem to shift responsibility for system responsibility onto the GM's shoulders.

Broad character traits seem to be the focus of most character design. However, some others take a more prepared approach and have complete character booklets. Sometimes the "stats" are overly familiar, but on the whole they tend to be alright.

There are many cases a game starts off well but disappoints by the end of the document, but the result is equally true. More often than not you can see that a lot of effort has gone into presentation and a few of the games are visually stunning.

I adore weird ways of selecting a first player and the best two so far have been "the person with the largest forearms" and "the player who was most recently abducted by an alien". Humourous games are an assortment of hit and miss, though always welcome.

There are a few very dry games as well and sometimes the systems can't quite live up to the excellent concepts otherwise involved. And there have been a few surprising twists along the way as well.

What you should be looking at

  • Collaborative adventures -  Anonym, Automaton, Fear of the Dark, Fetch This!, Field Work, Gho5t, Imperial Measure
  • Could be a board/card game - Aquila, At Any Cost, Forgeborn, Game of the Gods, 
  • Munchausen freedom - Ad Libitum Absurdity, Last Year's Magic,
  • Interplayer conflict - A Hard Goodbye, Dark Secret, Friends of the Venom Spider, If at first you don't succeed, It Is Forbidden, Mixtapes and Mistakes
  • One session set-pieces - Conspiracy and Cowards, Life As It Was, Children's Radio Hour
  • Different approaches - Among Humans, Fallen Sky, House of Hades, Langer Memorial Trauma Centre

Final Note
Reading all of these games and reviewing them is a long and tiring job, but there's a number of folks doing it. My respect to all of them, especially since most of them also worked on the games.

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