Some noteworthy new roleplaying games

I just finished adding new games to our Finnish webstore, here. This is something of an annual event for me, as we get new games after Gencon, after which I read the games and write some short descriptions for the site. I usually update the code base of the site at the same time, too, which might take a while when I have other things to worry about as well. Regardless, now I’m done; it seems that all told we have 26 new games in the webstore this year. (In total we have 150 titles in the database, roughly.) I’m thinking that now that I’ve read everything I’ve bought I might make note of some of the more interesting titles here.

Noteworthy new games

The following is not an exclusive list of quality titles, it’s just what strikes me as particularly good in value/price department in this year’s catch. Not all games are even published this year, and not everything published this year is on my list; this is just based on what I’ve decided to retail and managed to get my hands on this time around. The links are to my Finnish-language introductions at the webstore, of course.

  • Death Frost Doom is a very refreshing and original D&D adventure that is completely unconcerned with balancing the consequences of the adventure for the campaign world while not getting stuck with pesky realism, either. It’s like playing Russian roulette with Dracula, insofar as the stakes go. The only question in my mind at this point is whether this is a fluke, or if the author should have more of this caliber stuff to offer; one adventure is a bit sparse, after all.
  • Misery Bubblegum is very pretty, as befits a game where the designer made the art as well. Furthermore, the game seems totally frank in how it tries to convince us to play stories about teenage romance with a clever and quick cards-based rules-set, stories that take just an hour or two per play. What’s not to like, aside from the horrid way the rules are written?
  • MSG™ was a completely unknown thing for me when I encountered it, so I was very positively surprised by the acidic political awareness and cynical way that turned into a darkly humorous, interestingly designed office politics roleplaying game. It’s like if Dilbert worked in a place where your choices actually mattered and caused lifes and deaths in Africa.
  • S/lay w/ Me and Trollbabe were basically what Ron Edwards published this year, and I like them both to an unhealthy degree. The slash-monstrosity is so ambitious for its size and simplistic approach that you can’t actually believe that it’ll pull off a full-fledged fantasy story until you try it, while Trollbabe could be the best game text I’ve seen for narrativist adventure gaming so far, procedures and all. Both are very interesting reads even if you don’t care for the genre, which I do.
  • Time & Temp is a novel time travel adventure game with quite many original ideas packed into some few pages. The numbers-subgame that controls everything is so clever that I can’t wait to play this thing, especially as the whole purpose of the game seems solidly simulationistic: the GM’s job is pretty much to put up some fun milieu adventure in various historical eras. Easy fun, that.
  • World of Near isn’t getting much attention from the Internet, but I still think that it’s a great book. I probably should re-read it just to be sure. We’ll see if anybody in Finland wants it; the last edition of TSoY hasn’t done too well in Finland, all told.

There were other games that were good as well, but the above ones are such that I have little compunction for recommending them to others who are interested in reading and playing games with fresh ideas and solid execution. Some other quality titles disqualify from my list due to their extremely narrow appeal or confusing writing, for example.

I don’t have too many copies of some of these games (MSG™, for instance, was a total speculation purchase, so I just got a couple of copies), so readers of my blog get the first pick of the stuff now, I guess. I’ll write a customer email of some sort this week, once I pretty up the site some more and have Jari double-check the prices.


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