Of course it is pen & paper, because I don’t play computer rpg games!
1. Mouse Guard. No magic, no people, just adventure. The stripped Burning Wheel system of Conflict Resolution is magical, once you get the hang of it. Too many people try to learn it from the book; you have to play it to understand it.
2. Thousand Suns. Imperial-age sci-fi adventure. Read the likes of Asimov, Heinlein, or even the newer John Scalzi and this is the game that makes it happen. Their newest supplement, Transmissions from Piper brings my favorite sci-fi author right into the game!
3. Battlestar Galactica. Using the CORTEX system this game plays out much like the TV series. The use of Plot Points is ingenious.
4. T5. Why? Because Traveller is always at the center of my gaming heart. Oh yeah, this one is incomplete but it’s getting there, in a form I like!
There are many more games. Thanks to LEGAL download sites like DrivethruRPG I have discovered (or rediscovered) many newer, and older, rpg.
Which brings me to this topic, WotC halting pdf downloads. There has been lots of indignation on the ‘net. IMNSHO, WotC has screwed the pooch on this one. The rpg hobby is not like the early 1980’s. This is now a niche hobby with a small support base. Now we all understand that times are tough and profits need to be made by companies, but alienating your consumer base is not generally viewed as a proper method.
Now I have all the Star Wars Saga Edition books; all eight and the GM screen. I have the Star Wars miniatures games (though finding booster packs overseas is VERY limited). I have also discovered through an atempt to participate in the WotC Star Wars forum just how, well, anal other people are about their Star Wars Universe.
I have always viewed it as a problem trying to game in a set universe. Maybe that is why all the games above, with the exception of BSG, are really free of a comprehensive metasetting. Even BSG has the flexability to allow the Director to make a seting free from the constraints of the series. This freedom allows me to make the setting.
The core issue that got people angry at me on the forum was my “control” issues as a GM playing with my kids. I pulled my post because I don’t need to defend my actions as a parent to others, especially those who probably have no kids of their own and really don’t know what it is like (and only a parent can truely know what raising kids is all about; no amount of book reading or ‘when I was a kid’ can help).
More importantly, the criticism focused on what I did with no thought to the why. I was criticized for not making the game “fun.” Now I never said the kids didn’t enjoy the game; that was an assumption made by the critics because I failed to meet their definition of fun. Another criticism was that I didn’t follow the rules exactly. Now that criticism I am used to – I tend to be a “game effect” rather than a “game rules” GM; i.e. the effect on the game and story is more important than slavishly following the rules.
So at the end of day what does this mean? Mouse Guard for the kids, and Star Wars for the shelf.