Skip to main content


Tabletop QOTD 2020-05-23


Borrowing from the idea of the Pluspora Check-in get some tabletop conversation going. If you have any questions that you want to get on the list to be asked, let me know. Also, if you'd like to be added or taken off the list of participants, let me know.

Which games that you liked when you were first exposed to them do you feel less enthused about now? Which games that you disliked when you were first exposed to them do you feel more enthusiastic about now? What changed your mind?

When I first played Cards against Humanity and others like it, I liked the social experience. But being the non-social person that I am, I like to interact with the rules more than just the social aspects, so I find that it now is more of a job to play than an enjoyable diversion.

I have fond memories of D&D, but left it behind a while ago. So when the idea of OSR games came about, I was less than enthusiastic about them. Kevin Crawford single-handedly changed my mind, and made me look at OSR as it is- bring older sensibilities in gaming back to the fore but with the benefit of newer design concepts.


# #

@Eric Franklin
@frasersimons
@Board Games Forum
@Curt Thompson
@Douglas Bailey
@Jesse Butler
@Keith Davies
@Martin Ralya
@Martijn Vos
@Nathan V
@Marsha B
@Stuntman
@Moe Tousignant
@PresGas (OSR) Aspect
@Craig Maloney
@Patrick Marchiodi
@Nathan Norway
@silverwizard
@Stephen Gunnell
@Joseph Teller
@Charles M
Outgrowing some games is always likely to happen.

The first RPG I played was Tunnels & Trolls, but in the end the mechanics were too simple and the options too few... I also played D&D, primarily 1st edition. 2nd edition came out and I was a lot less enthused with it, the settings and the mechanics... and way too many GMs that only ran stock modules. I was always a 'modules are something to borrow from but never run as is' kind of GM and player. I thought outside the box and beyond the limits of the system. Even under 1st ed I threw out the spell memorization and alignment system stuff and went to spell points and deeper characterization.

I had a love/hate relationship with other games, always feeling too limited or not liking some element of setting when they had forced settings. Build my own always worked best for me in regards to setting. And I needed mechanics that were robust. Still do.

As for the distaff side of the question.... not sure theres too many games I've played that I ditched that I came back to and found better later. I'll need to think about that.
Cards Against Humanity is the one that my enjoyment has faded. I still will play with folks, in part because it's incredibly simple to get started and the party aspect of the game is more important than the mechanics of the game. But yeah, I'm not going to be the one suggesting it.

Munchkin is also one that I've cooled on. At first I thought it was hysterical, but over time I've realized that there's just not a whole lot there game-wise. Also the push for the Collectibles and Artist Editions pulled it from a "here's a quirky thing that I like" to "here's a money-pit that demands allegiance no matter if I care about it or not".

GURPS was another one that I really liked. I thought it was the everything game that could model everything. It was only after a few times trying to do anything with it that I realized that GURPS was the barbecue sauce of gaming: yes, you could literally add it to any game, but should you? I kept it around longer than I should and collected for it more than was reasonable until I realized I didn't care for it any more. My breaking point was when I went to the SJGames forums and noticed someone asking "how do I model a gaseous cloud in GURPS?". It also didn't help that a lot of the folks that are into GURPS are also into simulating things that I couldn't care less about.

GUMSHOE was originally a game that I picked up because I respected the designers more than the system. Trail of Cthulhu seemed like an interesting game but after reading it I wasn't sure what to do with it. Now I understand what it does with fiction and how the points work in the game. It's influenced a lot of my thought son gaming and point economies.
This entry was edited (4 months ago)
Also when I managed to get the GURPS BBQ sauce out of my gaming I started understanding why you'd want to play Call of Cthulhu with the CoC system, and why a game like Pendragon was so good. Also why something like the various versions of BRP were out there and what purposes they served.
This entry was edited (4 months ago)
Fudge was another game that I didn't quite understand at the time. Why do I need special dice for this game? Bah. Humbug. Once I dropped that preconceived notion I found Fudge was an amazing game system. That lead me to Fate and the myriad of games that it inspired.
This entry was edited (4 months ago)
I used to love GURPS. Then I grew over it, decided it was too heavy for my taste, and it's often better to tailor a system to a specific setting or play style.

Though maybe I should give Dungeon Fantasy a try.
This entry was edited (4 months ago)
@Craig Maloney - I had a similar experience with Gumshoe. Now it rivals Fate and PbtA as my favorite system.
This entry was edited (4 months ago)
@Chuck Dee I love what they've done with One-2-One as well. I think that was where it kicked in from "system I like and folks I admire" to "Holy carp, I might actually want to create content for this".
@Craig Maloney - I don't know if you've seen the playtest for Swords of the Serpentine, but that one is great. They asked me to hold off on posting my blog publicly until it's out at the end of the month, but those are some of the most evocative rules I think I've ever seen.
I started with MERP and Rolemaster, and I liked them generally. In particular, I always thought the combat was much better in the specific sense that (1) the higher your combat roll, the more damage you inflict (no second roll for damage); and (2) different weapons are better for different types of armour! AFAIK no other games do this, and I loved it.

Now... I play mostly heavily-narrative games, in which often there's not even the _concept_ of combat in the rules. Definitely no hit points or equivalent.

And I guess you could argue that I used to be confused and sceptical about GM-less games... and that's basically the only thing I play now 😅

@Chuck Dee @Charles M @Craig Maloney @Curt Thompson @Douglas Bailey @Eric Franklin @frasersimons @Jesse Butler @Joseph Teller @Keith Davies @Marsha B @Martijn Vos @Martin Ralya @Moe Tousignant @Nathan V @Patrick Marchiodi @PresGas (OSR) Aspect @silverwizard @Stephen Gunnell @Stuntman
GURPS fills several feet of my bookshelves, because the source books (especially for different time periods and cultures) are terribly useful for reference in play. The mechanics of the system suffer from two things I have real problems with, too few attributes that are the basis for skills (everything is either INT or DEX).and that as a GM you have to go thru ALL the character data and make a list of what is or is not allowed in a setting at start. Giving folks a 5 page setting handout of "Can't Have This' can be very annoying to players.

As a Player I found my favorite characters were ones where I simply made all the base stats a 12 at start (so the calculations would not change and I had a good 75% chance of success in most things unless I put extra points into the specific skill). I found most GMs avoided the nightmare of task penalties and bonuses, since that made the probability math more complex than they wanted to deal with (as a -1 or +1 was not a straight percentage value of change).

The last time I played GURPS was about 3 years after the 4th Edition came out.
This entry was edited (4 months ago)
@Chuck Dee I haven't seen the rules yet but it's pre-ordered based on the strengths of the comments I've seen. Hoping the PDF drops soon.
This entry was edited (4 months ago)
@Craig Maloney - It's supposed to drop on the 31st!
I know. I can't wait. Except I guess I can. :)
This entry was edited (4 months ago)
I used to really like the World of Darkness games. Really really like them. Spent hundreds of dollars on them. This is the late nineties, when they were still the New Hotness. I can barely look at them these days. They're ... not great. Setting has some cool ideas, but the system ... ugh.

On the flip side, I bought Ron Edwards' Sorcerer when I was young, and wasn't impressed. These days, though, the more I read, the more I see. It's not perfect, and, in many ways, it's showing a bit of its age. But I can definitely see how this inspired the Indie movement.
This entry was edited (4 months ago)
Burning Wheel is a game I read once and basically went "this is the dumbest shit", then I read it again when older and listened to people play, and now it's most of my favourite game.

WoD is a game I played a lot in university, then then found The Dresden Files and Unknown Armies and I can't look at WoD without seeing its inbuilt mysogyny and racism that I always used to be able to just try to ignore.
Talisman is the game the exemplifies a game I used to love that I won't even play now. I still have my copy of hte 2nd edition with all my painted metal miniatures but that's just due to fond memories. Every 10 years or so I break it out, I have a great time for an hour or two and then consider quitting as the game just keeps going on and on.

As for one I didn't like but then came around to: Cry Havok. I bought a copy online and for whatever reason the shipment got delayed. In the meantime I played a friends copy and had a horrible time. The factions were so asymmetric that I couldn't figure out what was going on, fighting seemed neat but unfathomable, and card combos I thought would work failed time and time again. Then my copy showed up. I almost sold it still in shrink based on that first experience but found no takers at full price. Not able to get my money back I figured I would play it. This second time it was with a totally different group, plus I had read the rules myself instead of being taught and everything just clicked. Things I found were a problem were actually features of the game and not flaws.

That just goes to show how important the teaching is of a game and how games can play very differently with different groups.
This entry was edited (4 months ago)
Pathfinder. For a long time 3.x was my preferred D&D because it was easy to design for. Pathfinder came along and buffed it up (and I admit, I was somewhat cheesed with how WotC botched 4e -- 3e marketing was great, 4e marketing was underpants gnomes all the way down and they lost me).

Then it went to 11 and got crunchier and crunchier with more exceptions to remember. It became something I no longer wanted to play because of the expertise required. I went back to old school games.

That said, I do still mine Pathfinder for other game projects. Just because it's more fiddly than I want to play doesn't mean it's not a good place to get ideas for other systems.
This entry was edited (4 months ago)
GURPS. When they announced D&D 4 was coming down the pipeline, we jumped ship and bought into GURPS. But, because we didn't game very often, we never really figured out how to do GURPS the right way. This meant we spent WAY TOO MUCH TIME flailing around in the rules book vs. time playing fluidly. That's more on us than the rules, but there are LOTS of rules. We finally realized that if we stuck to the basic stuff, we didn't have nearly as many issues with it. But it took a while to figure that out. Plus, it just has a different feel than other engines we knew at the time.

I bought the core books for D&D 4 years later, but I have never played it. My read of the rules made it seem like they drifted too far into video game territory. D&D 5 seems to have corrected most of what I disliked there, but not 100% (mostly around things that reset immediately at the end of a combat sequence).

D&D 3.x had too much reliance on miniatures. I enjoy miniatures -- to a point. But you basically couldn't do combat in D&D 3x without them, due to how many things relied on knowing exactly where things were. Feats, primarily. Oh and gods there were too many feats and prestige classes!
This entry was edited (4 months ago)
I've started roleplaying with AD&D2 but then played especially 3rd edition, like A LOT. Then I grew tired of the unneccessarily complicated mechanics and lots of subsystems, and now I play much lighter, narrrative-focussed games.

As for boardgames, I think 7Wonders is the one that falls into this cathegory for me: i played it at a convention and immediately bought it. But then I played it more times, and I don't really...understand it? I feel you can't really make a long-term strategy, you just have to optimize each hand. It seemed a lot more varied and profound to me than it actually is.

Muchkin is another game i had a lot of fun playing for the first 3-4 times, then got really bored: each game is basically someone getting to level 9, everyone else using everything in their hand to prevent them from leveling and then the next level 9 player winning the game.
I think Munchkin is funny to read, not enough fun to play though