What to play, what to play…

De’s providing all my material lately.

This weekend, she writes me and says: get to start GMing here shortly. What indie RPG should I take a look at, that we haven’t played? High story, low/medium number crunching, run it for about six sessions before we decide whether to keep going/try something else.

So De’s played Burning Wheel with me, which is certainly on the high end of number crunch. Also In a Wicked Age, though not Dogs. The Shab al-Hiri Roach. The Mountain Witch. Spirit of the Century. Stuff like that. Assume she’ll be playing with Lee, who tends to like stuff that’s a little more trad in how it expresses characters, cuz he’s old school awesome.

The problem: I have a 7 month old, so I basically haven’t played anything but Pilgrims of the Flying Temple and Castle Ravenloft in the last (feels like a) year. Therefore, I can’t knowledgeably recommend stuff like Apocalypse World or Dungeon World or whatever the current hotness of trad-like indie gaming is. I believe them to be awesome, but I don’t know for sure.

What I do know, however are the things I put on my “OMG I Wanna Play This” list before Sean was born. So I grabbed the ones on there that looked like they’d meet her criteria, and when it was all done it looked halfway useful for more than just her, so:

Some Cool Games to Play

De didn’t specify genre, so this list is all over the place. Only thing you’re not seeing on here is Fantasy, because for that I like Burning Wheel too much, and it doesn’t meet her criteria. Still: Burning Wheel Gold.
  • Suspense/Horror – Dread:  It’s good. It works for what it wants to do. Also gives you an excuse to buy Jenga.
  • Shooting Aliens and the Human Condition – 3:16 – Carnage Amongst the Stars  – Space Marines kill aliens, get shafted by the Government, and eventually (over the course of the campaign) flip out or rebel against The Man or something. Super-simple mechanics. The damage die determines how many aliens you kill, not the damage you do. We played this once on a pick-up game night last year, and my only complaint was that we didn’t play it more – I wanted to see who was going to gank who, and who was going to try to fly home and take revenge on COMMAND.
  • MI5 + sitcom vs. Cthulu – The Laundry: Based on the book series. Yes, that one, Dave.  Very fun, very functional game that a lot of folks are saying nice, happy things about. See also Gareth’s brilliant supplement, Black Bag Jobs.
  • Leverage, the RPG: In another era, this would be called Cons & Capers. Good system, much-loved by the gamerati, somewhat restricted by the necessities of the genre, and could probably be hacked into a fun espionage serial missions game with little effort.
  • Smallville RPG: I know what you’re thinking, but by all accounts (and I do mean all) this game is probably one of the best that came out last year. It’s good, it’s easy, it’s written by damn smart people, and it kicks out good stories. Also fairly easily reskinned for other genres, like Buffy or what have you.
There are a few more, like Fiasco, that I really want to try. I’m reading that one right now, so more on that later.
Anyone out there have good suggestions of new hotness to check out? How’s Apocalypse World?

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