50 Games in 50 Weeks

Castellan, courtesy of GeekDad on Wired

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Castellan

Castellan is an unusual building game. Each player lays out plastic towers and walls, connecting them into courtyards, limited by the pieces listed on special cards (new cards are added and old ones removed as the game progresses). As soon as you enclose a courtyard, it’s yours, and you get points based on the courtyard’s size and the number of towers around it. However, both players are connecting their pieces to the same structure, […]

'Sexy Jen Lounging in the Hammock Hangout' by SanFranAnnie on Flickr

50 Games in 50 Weeks: The Hangout RPG

New online video tools provide new opportunities for tabletop role-playing. Games that used to require face-to-face meetings can be played by people from around the world. However, these games are still being played with systems built for heavily scheduled, face-to-face gaming. What would a system built for this new world look like? That’s what I […]

Warrior, Rogue, & Mage cover

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Warrior, Rogue & Mage

I love Warrior, Rogue & Mage because of its statistical approach to fantasy role-playing. The System It’s a beautifully simple system. Instead of various attributes, races, and classes, WR&M uses three attributes: Warrior, Rogue, and Mage. Each player-character has 10 points total to divide among these three attributes. A character with many points in Warrior and […]

Action Castle logo

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Action Castle

You may have played early text adventures like Zork or, well, Adventure. They feel strange to those who didn’t play them at the time, like Victorian mechanisms: quaint contraptions for which one can see the intended use, but appear hopelessly outdated and silly. But there is an ineffable power to interacting with words. Action Castle […]

'Map of ancient Seoul' by sociate on Flickr

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Microscope

One fun thing about the role-playing hobby is its kaleidoscope of worlds. I get to leap into so many interesting, thought-provoking worlds. Players often move into world building at some point. And, of course, world building is hard. There are so many variables. Microscope is a structured game of cooperative world-building. It’s a game you play with friends, but instead of exploring worlds or telling specific stories, you’re […]

'040 Witchcraft and Sorcery' by cthulhuwho1 on Flickr

50 Games in 50 Weeks: 1974 Dungeons & Dragons

While at PAX East this year, I was determined to play a game of original 1974 Dungeons & Dragons, primarily to be able to say that I’d played it. Fortunately, I was at PAX East with the Gamer Assembly, and they were interested in the idea, too. We played the Temple of the Ghoul scenario, my go-to adventure for old-school gaming. It has a skittish village population, an abandoned temple on a hillside, stirges, powerful supplies if the heroes are […]

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Take 6

Take 6 is a card game that relies on two left-brained skills, math and probability, which usually cause my brain to leap out of my skull and run away screaming. The game involves taking a hand of cards, each of which has a number on it from 1 to 104. Each player then lays out a card, in turn, building six columns. When building a column, a higher-value card must go on top of a lower-value one. Once […]

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Pathfinder Arena

I have a difficult time reviewing this without getting snarky. So I’m going to get a bit snarky. While I was at PAX East 2012, a friend and I walked by a table the size of a Mini Cooper. It was ringed with miniature walls and its surface sprayed with a sandy finish, so it looked like a miniature gladiatorial arena. Beautiful work. We approached the two men who stood nearby and asked them […]

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Old School Hack

Holy guacamole, do I love this game. Imagine if Arneson and Gygax were teleported from 1970 to the modern day, and shown all sorts of modern RPGs. Then teleport them back to 1970. Old School Hack is how they would have designed Dungeons & Dragons. OSH is part of the Old School Renaissance, but rather than re-using the mechanics of early D&D, it provides modern approaches to the classic […]

detail of Journey start by jiuge

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Houses of the Blooded

I’m building an “RPG Tour,” a set of RPGs that, if played, will give one a broad appreciation for different approaches to tabletop gaming. The list includes Dread, Fiasco, Old School Hack, and Dungeon World. I ran my second session of Houses of the Blooded last night, and I’m adding it to the list. Houses is a game of high court intrigue. The players are all powerful nobles struggling to get their way in a complex society. In many ways, it’s […]

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