Looking at my shelves filled with RPGs, it’s abundantly clear that a good deal of my games will never see action in this lifetime… in spite of the fact that I’d love to play quite a few of those systems again.
In the interest of clearing space for stuff that I’ll likely play, I’ve been “weeding” the shelves and selling off games that I’ll probably never use (which differs from never playing) again. Here’s my quick way of noting what games will stay and what won’t:
- Play List: Games that I’m currently playing with one of my gaming groups.
- Reference List: Games that I use (or may use) as a resource when running my D&D game.
- Wish List: Games that I’d love to play but can’t find a group for (yet!).
- Dead List: Games that I’ve purchased but don’t have much interest in.
Play List: D&D 5th edition and DC Heroes/Blood of Heroes. At this point, these are the only games that I’m playing or running (3 D&D and 1, infrequent, DC Heroes game). These games aren’t going anywhere… especially because they’re my favorite game within their respective genres.
Reference List: AD&D (1st & 2nd edition), Basic/Expert D&D (Moldvay edition), and D&D 3.5. AD&D is the game that got me into roleplaying and the game that most heavily influences how I run my game (episodic adventures and with a sandbox feel to the campaign). Between the inspiring Gygaxian prose and tables of the original Dungeon Master’s Guide, excellent adventure modules like The Village of Hommlet and The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, and amazing campaign settings like the original Greyhawk boxed set and Planescape, AD&D provided a great foundation for creating and running a fantasy game. Back in the day I didn’t give Basic/Expert D&D credit (I thought it was a dumbed-down version of AD&D) but, looking back, I can see that it was a much tighter, leaner, and meaner system than AD&D. It also was a great tool for teaching DMs how to run dungeons and, with Expert, wilderness adventures. As for 3.5, it’s the version of D&D that I played the most and grew to loathe over time (too much math, too much reliance of skills and feats, too many stacking effects, etc). Still, the d20 system serves as the basis for 5th edition and I’m sure that I can find bits to adapt (cleric domains for example). Then again… maybe I should sell most of the books and only keep the PHB and awesome bits (Ptolus, the Forgotten Realms settings, Rappan Athuk, The City of Brass, The Wilderlands boxed set, etc). The Thieve’s World RPG/boxed set is something that I’ll NEVER play but can’t chuck for some reason… probably because I dig the art and would love to run a game where the entire group plays a bunch of thieves.
Wish List: Barbarians of Lemuria (it looks like the perfect system for a pulp fantasy game… I’d love to use it for a Lankhmar campaign), Pendragon (in spite of its needing an overhaul to move it out of the 1980s), The One Ring (I love this game but would much rather play in it than run it), Feng Shui (fun, cinematic game that encourages wacky stunts), Star Wars (WEG’s d6 system is the only one that does the movies justice), Irradiated Freaks (for a post-apocalyptic, gonzo kinda game), Yggdrasill (this looks like a brutal game but I’m intrigued by it!).
Dead List: Atlantis, 2nd Edition (I’d rather use Barbarians of Lemuria), Call of Cthulhu (I’m interested in the newest edition of the game but don’t own it), Warhammer FRP, 3rd edition (good game but it’ll never see use), Star Trek RPG (I’m not a big fan of scifi, other than space opera settings like Star Wars), Star Frontiers (I’ve owned this for years but never got a game off of the ground), Fantasy Hero (dated and too rules-heavy), Rolemaster and MERP (too complicated), Decipher’s Lord of the Rings (The One Ring blows this system away… though I should probably keep the sourcebooks), Savage Worlds (I have a TON of stuff for this system, particularly for the Hellfrost setting, but it just doesn’t do it for me), Shadows of Esteren (beautiful books and a lot to love in terms of the thought and care put into this system… but too much for my addled brain to digest), BASH! (DC Heroes does “supers” much better), Runequest (meh… too dated), Traveller (I guess I’d play a game but don’t think it would really inspire me… unless the GM had a great idea for a campaign), James Bond 007 (an innovative system for the time but I’d rather use Feng Shui for a spy game), Marvel Superheroes (once again, DC Heroes does it better).
So… what games are on your Play, Reference, Wish, and Dead lists?