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Subject: Fantasy RPG game rss

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Ted Kostek
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I like RPGs, but I just don't have the time anymore, and I am looking for a board game to give a similar type feel with a low time commitment.

I see several possible contenders here on the 'geek, but to my surprise I can't find a compare/contrast. I'm sure it's out there and my search skills are the problem. In any event, I'm looking for input.

I see a few in-print options:

Dungeoneer: short and simple, but maybe too short'n'simple

Shadows over Camelot: coop, light

Runebound: looks good, but I see complaints that it drags too long

Return of the Heros: also looks good, and I see the same length complaints

I think we're up against a complexity/time trade-off. An RPG needs to have a wide degree of freedom, and that's gonna translate into long play time.

The last two seem fairly similar, and I'm looking for differences. I'm also open to other options.
 
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David Rauscher
New Zealand
Mount Victoria
Wellington
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This is something that's been bothering me for some time too. I love the IDEA of a good fantasy RPG, but the usual detail level (add +d3 if your character had ham for breakfast, but make it only a +d2 if he's carrying a machete...) and time commitments to play are just too much.

I've been playing around with a "casual RPG" idea, but as I'm not a professional game developer and haven't the time, no-one should be waiting around for me.

I envision a nice game with some miniatures (helps the theme, and they don't fall over as much as cutouts), modular boards or a Memoir style "blank" board with individual hex chits showing different items, a semi-cooperative element (that is, the adventurers go forth together to battle evil! but it might still allow for one-off games where there's a winner based on, e.g., a "who earned the most xp? model"), and some simple game mechanics that allow for special bonuses and variety without the mechanics getting bogged down in minutiae.

I had hoped Descent would fit this bill, but it's mechanics are a little too gimmicky and complicated (surges and what-not), and it's solely a dungeon crawl instead of a true adventure - the story is almost non-existent and in no fantasy adventure I've read have the characters spent all their time underground - it's mostly outdoors.

Runebound lacks the true cooperative element - the characters are miles apart from one another, and will fight one another. Her, the mechanics are TOO simple - you have three stats for attacks, with some bonuses and a couple of special abilities. I'd like at least to have some testing for other skills.

Various miniatures games get closer to this, but they also tend to lack the character development element - I'm thinking here of things like Heroscape (never played this one) and Games Workshop games.

I haven't played the popular Dungeon Twister yet either, but that's the same problem, and it seems prepped more like a complex chess game rather than a character-driven game.

I think there's a big niche here that would be very popular but hasn't been adequately addressed. A game that can be played on some kind of a board, where the characters can develop, but from session-to-session, not in one go, and where each adventure containing episodes that can play in an hour. I like the idea of a one-hour short story arc for the games, which can be easily linked together, and provide more opportunities than just attack/fire/spell, but provide plenty of action in that one hour period.

I'll keep playing with my idea - though I'd be amazed if it ever saw the light of day - any game company willing to take a try?
 
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David A
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See my geeklist here for a recent discussion on this very topic:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi...

You express my sentiments exactly, but I was surprised with how many people disagreed with me and how many more didn't really get what I was talking about. I think what we're talking about is a VERY specific theme, and there probably isn't enough interest in it. If such a game DID materialize, though, you can bet that I'd be first in line to buy it.

My opinion? If the D&D experience made into a boardgame is what you crave, go complicated rather than light. The light games just feel too...well, light!

I hear promising things about Descent but haven't tried it yet.

Return of the Heroes is disappointing to me, but I'm definitely in the minority. To me, it feels too "kiddie".

Talisman is a wonderful and fun game, but it's not at all cooperative.

Shadows Over Camelot is very, very fun and cooperative, but its replay value suffers, I think.

Magic Realm is still the best of all of the options. It's absurdly complicated, but definitely worth it. In fact, if you're thinking of designing your own game, I would say Magic Realm is a must, if only for study purposes.
 
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Billy Compton
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If you can get a hold of Warhammer Quest or Advanced HEROQUEST, I think it would fit what you are looking for. Warhammer Quest was a lot of fun for me, but I eventually sold it on ebay.
 
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George Munzing
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Heroquest and Dragon Quest are very light but could fit the bill for the time commitment if that is the major concern. I consider these a skimmed down version of Descent (as the other BGGers groan) and they offer short game times (1-2hrs tops) with some character developement. All the thrill of battle and carnage is there, albeit less eloquent than Descent.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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You want the D&D boardgame available in the UK.
 
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David Rauscher
New Zealand
Mount Victoria
Wellington
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I'm beginning to think there's a hidden market here that's larger than I originally considered. I agree with what several of you mentioned above.

HeroQuest (I have this and Advanced in my closet - unfortunately, never played) is probably closer to what I'm thinking, but again it lacks the narrative element I think is essential - I think it suffers from being, what, 10 years+ old? It lacks some of the finesse we see in games today. In addition, it's "trapped" indoors - doesn't fit with your typical RPG campaign.

Warhammer Quest, with which I'm familiar, has only a pasted-on narrative. It failed by tying down the characters - if you wanted to play the Elf lord (I cannot remember the names of all the characters, but I have them painted in my minis drawer) you were stuck with just his improvements. Frankly, it lacked robustness - you chose a character, but your development of that character was severely limited.

I would be interested in playing the D&D game, which I've heard about and seen the nice indoor/outdoor environment options, but Wizards (TSR) is still pushing its core rules, really, and I find them simply too much when that's taken into consideration - I want a NEW take on the genre.

I've also played many fond games of Talisman (both editions. Or were there 3?), but it suffers from the same flaws as Runebound and so many others, compressing a lifetime in a single couple of hours of play (and the story is pretty lame - I don't even remember the purpose).

Damn, I wish I had more talent. I really think this is good. I'll have to get a play group together and start firming up some rules and see where they take me. So many issues, though...

P.S. David - Remember your list fondly when I saw it. Liked it! Didn't take heed of Magic Realm (counters - Ugh!) but just read through the comments others made. I think you're right that a lot of people simply missed what you were saying - and I think we could co-opt them to this concept! Several comments seemed to be justways of saying they liked Magic Realm, what's wrong? To protesting or advocating the games mentioned so far in this thread that we feel are in the genre, but entirely mised the narrative experience that sells.

My goal for 2006 - develop workable rules and upload for comment.

I think David's sentiment is on-point - there has to be SOME degree of complexity, or you have generic characters (or get "stuck in a rut as with WH Quest).


 
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Eric
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David_Rauscher wrote:
I haven't played the popular Dungeon Twister yet either, but that's the same problem, and it seems prepped more like a complex chess game rather than a character-driven game.


Dungeon Twister will NOT fill the bill. Although it's a nice game, it has the fantasy theme, but it doesn't looks like RPG. It's more akind to chess than RPG IMHO.

I'm also currently looking for a nice RPG-style boardgame. I was thinking of Descent. I will probably try it out sometimes. Meanwhile, I'm getting my ideas together to create such a boardgame.
 
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Destiny's got her hand way, way up in their puppets! It's an unpleasant tingling! The deepest of wriggles!
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Melee, Wizard and the associated Microquests published by Metagaming.
 
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J. Green
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I would suggest World of Warcraft for a Talisman-y adventure game rather than Runebound. For a more RPG like campaign game, try Battlestations. It's like Star Trek where you build a ship from the tiles in the box and have short missions that string together. Components aren't the greatest but the gameplay is probably the most like a DND lite you'll find. Trust me, I've looked.
 
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James Forsythe
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resin wrote:

Return of the Heroes is disappointing to me, but I'm definitely in the minority. To me, it feels too "kiddie".


I for one, actually agree. My kids love it, but I am very hesitant to pull it out.
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David Rauscher
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I think the others would agree that, for what we're talking about, World of Warcraft, like Runebound, isn't what we're looking for here, either. (I haven't purchased this yet - it was on my wishlist for Christmas but wasn't under the tree...) It does have an interesting character improvement mechanic, but, like Warhammer Quest, it's TOO focused on individual characters - there's little real chance for players to develop them on their own. And, it's limited to development over one game, not over the course of playing now and then for a year. In addition, it's focused on adventurers on a Macro level - in my mind, the RPG experience is skirmish-oriented, with characters maneuvering and trying their tricks.

Something else I just realized today - one aspect of RPG's I really enjoy is the character creation. I think this is an important element of any such game - you want to create YOUR character, and spend some time doing so. Descent has some of this, but it's pretty minimal.

Battlestations has some good reviews - I was thinking of looking into that as a stand-alone. But from what I'm hearing, it falls into the Too-Detail-Oriented trap. Oh, and it's not a Fantasy setting. I wonder if the game mechanics could be translated?
 
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Sven
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Sorry, but what you are looking for is...a RPG!
All Fantasy-Boardgames abstract and reduce the full fledged idea of a RPG in order to make them playable in shorter time and with less work.
I would love to stand corrected (as I would be very interested in that game too) but I guess that you won´t find a game that meets your demands.
 
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Tom Scutt
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Hi,
I've been trying to put together a co-op fantasy game for ten years now, on and off. Having gone through about eight complete revisions, the game is finally approaching what I wanted (a DM-less co-operative RPG card game), and I should be looking for playtesters in the next month or two... I posted this in another thread (on co-op fantasy games) a couple of weeks ago and already have a number of people signed up. Let me know if you're interested.
Cheers,
Tom
 
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David Tolin
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Does it need to have a fantasy theme to fit the bill? If not, the most RPG-feeling game we've played in our group is Duel of Ages. At the root level, it's just a wargame, but the mix of characters and adventures has led to some pretty vivid sessions for us and it tends to evoke a lot of the classic RPG "feel."

I will readily admit it's an odd fit, though, and--as always--YMMV.
 
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