Best RPGs of 2017

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Best RPGs of 2017

Postby Luke » Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:40 am

So each year I put up a post to get a feel from Wellingtonians what RPGs published that year have been their favourite. Though this thread is aimed at RPGs published in 2017 only, please feel free to mention supplements or any other RPG you encountered this year that stood out.

Last year's thread is here:

2017 was a solid year paralleling the peak of 2013 and 2014. More notably is that this is the first year where all the entries on this list feel part of a larger shift in the industry which is moving in a good direction and that are self aware of this. Several trends that have been around for a while are now making their way to the surface and a few newcomers to the industry (Fria Ligan, Modiphius, and Magpie Games to name a few) are really making their mark in doing this.

This change also mirrors own gaming, which I have found has finally transformed to suit my adult lifestyle as a parent. This is particularly true with my GMing, where I went from years of needing to rely on pre-written material to running several games of my own devising, thanks to RPGs mindful of the GM load and shifting fun to play at the table. This has been the real highlight for me with this years releases and makes me hopeful as to the coming years and what RPGs will be released in 2018 (which is already looking to be a stellar year).

My top five for 2017 are:

1. Tales from the Loop: Tales from the Loop is a great example of the shift in RPGs I noted above. Its a fantastic RPG on any level and skilfully executed. It blend together the best parts of PbtA RPGs with a more traditional RPG style for great effect, buoyed by the success of the genre with Stranger Things and IT. Its deep, fun, mindful of play at the table, and supportive of the GM and players.

Fria Ligan seems unable to put a step wrong since it first appeared a few years ago. It has had an RPG in my top 5 for each of those 3 years, and this year it also has a second RPG as my honourable mention. With Forbidden Lands releasing next year, FL's fantasy RPG, it looks like this trend will continue.

2. Masks: A New Generation: Masks is a great dramatic RPG and was a load of fun to run (in fact it is the first supers RPG that actually seemed to work for me). I have been trying to break into PbtA RPGs for some years now on a belief that the style suited my own well, but with not much success. PbtA RPGs have been in my top 5, but none have broken the top spot. This year saw that change and it was Masks that changed it specifically. It may not be my no.1 RPG this year, but I feel like the gates have been blown open, and fully expect that next year may see a PbtA RPG achieve just that.

3. Robert E Howard’s Conan: Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of: Like the first two RPGs, Conan is of a similar ilk of blending new ideas with more traditional ones. But it is more heavily anchored in a more traditional RPG style, especially the supplement churn of the 90s. I don't think I will be playing this style of game much more in the future but as a last hurrah to indulgent bloated gaming it is pretty spectacular. I originally thought I wouldn't like this, but it worked hard and won me over. The fact that its Conan did influence this but also makes the victory (defeat?) that much sweeter.

4. The Watch: A PbtA RPG that I have yet to run, but one that has impressed me considerably. I love the focus on drama in a fantasy setting and the mechanics are a nice blend of being supportive, easy to use, and inspirational. In addition to the game being good, its gender awareness makes it a good snapshot of my world today.

5. Blue Rose (AGE): This was an RPG that I was initially not considering buying, due to not being impressed with Dragon Age. However, I did and found it was a good revision of an old favourite. Blue Rose has an interesting place on this list as it was my number 1 RPG of 2005, being the year immediately prior to me making these lists, and I have been fond of it ever since. It is also interesting given that it was the first RPG to really support alternative lifestyles which has blossomed into the like of the Watch, which is placed immediately above this revision of Blue Rose. As such, I am happy it made this list.

A notable mention goes to Mechatron. This is Fria Ligan's third instalment of Mutant Year Zero and a continuation of that company's excellence. This time it covers robots, rather than mutant humans or mutated animals, and is just a pleasure to read and looks like a blast to run for all the reasons above.

My 2016 choices: Godbound, Coriolis, Adventures in Middle-Earth, Amethyst, Genlab Alpha.

My 2015 choices: Shadow of the Demon Lord, Urban Shadows, Mutant Year Zero, Star Wars: Force and Destiny, Exalted 3e.

My 2014 choices: Far Away Land, D&D 5e, Ryuutama, Icons: Assembled Edition, Book of Cairn.

My 2013 choices: Atlantis: The Second Age, Double Cross, Warbirds, Golden Sky Stories, Lords of Gossamer and Shadow.

My 2012 choices: Tenra Bansho Zero, Shadows of Esteren, Marvel Heroic , Hellas 2nd Ed., Legends of the Wulin.

My 2011 choices: One Ring, Mistborn, Fabled Lands, Vampire the Masquerade 20th Ann. Ed., Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2e.

My 2010 choices: Eclipse Phase, Gamma World D&D4e, Dresden Files, Eoris, Icons.

My 2009 choices: D&D4e, Mouse Guard, Summerland, Anima, WFRP3e.

My 2008 choices: CthulhuTech, Dragon Warriors, D&D4e, Dark Heresy, Grimm.

My 2007 choices: CthulhuTech, Star Wars Saga Ed., Monte Cook's World of Darkness, Solomon Kane, BlissStage.

My 2006 choices: A Game of Thrones OGL, Spirit of the Century, Qin, Burning Empires, Agon.
Playing: Zweihander
Running: Mutant Year Zero
Planning: The Watch
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