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Subject: Board Games with RPG Elements that 'Carry Over'? rss

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Myself and my friends get together for a game night twice or so a week. We used to play D&D, but one of us having to DM made things less than ideal as we all want to play, advance and customise our individual characters.
The question is, are there any board games, for five players minimum that utilise some sort of RPG elements which can be carried over from campaign to campaign. As for setting and style, we're open to anything.
Something polished and well presented, with some sort of reliance on skill as opposed to luck would be a bonus of course.
I notice with expansions Battlelore offers the choice of creating a leader character and using him across several campaigns which seems pretty cool.
If there really is nothing suitable, then something as close to described would be great too

Thanks in advance.
 
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Damian
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Not that meets every one of your criteria, I don't think so. Warhammer Quest, but it's out of print and expensive and tops out at 4. Everything else is either not persistent from game to game or requires a DM.
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Eric Etkin
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I'm partially loathe to suggest this, based on my dislike of D&D 4E, but have you guys considered just drafting up a series of dungeons and then randomizing the encounters? Since everything is so easily quantified and binary, 4E seems well suited for this style of play. Obviously, you'd need to use minis and maybe a dry-erasable battlemat or dungeon tiles.

Basically, all the players work together to draft the dungeons in advance, possibly create some sort of random encounter and treasure charts based on the appropriate challenge rating, and then just play through them.

For even less work and more randomization, get some Dungeon Tiles, sort according to type, and put them in a bag, a la Scrabble tiles. As the party moves forward, rotating players take turns blindly drawing and placing a tile. Or just have players take turns sketching the new sections. Or make your own tiles or find some free PNPs online - I'm sure there's loads available.

And if you simply use the concept that "dumb monsters attack the closest character(s)," then each turn have a rotating player control and plot the monster actions. The Monster manuals are full of dumb animals, undead, and other creatures.

It should be pretty feasible with little prep required.

[EDIT]: Blech - I keep submitting this before completing all my thoughts.

My eventual intention with TactDecks is to provide some sort of rules or expansion for this kind of play that takes advantage of the existing combat system and cards.

It might be awhile before anything is released officially (probably some ways after the card redesign we have slated for later this year), but if enough people were interested, I'd consider drafting something quick and dirty for free PNP as a teaser.
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http://www.arkhamhorrorwiki.com/Scenario
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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Dungeon Bash is a stripped-down adaptation of D&D 3.0 (or 3.5?). There's an option for the monsters to act according to a flowchart, so no DM would be necessary.
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Aaron Morgan
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Descent plus the Road to Legend or Sea of Blood expansion sounds like it fits the bill.
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Sean Franco
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EitherOrlok wrote:
Descent plus the Road to Legend or Sea of Blood expansion sounds like it fits the bill.

This isn't a bad recommendation, providing the OP realizes that there is a DM-esque player, the Overlord. The Overlord is a competitive player, who is trying hard to kill the other players, which makes him different from (most) DMs. Also, there are clear rules for the Overlard to customize his avatar and storyline, which is good, since the OP mentioned that his players "all want to play, advance and customise our individual characters." Road to Legend is a great halfway point, but be aware of what you're getting into first.

(Also, getting some good experience with the scenario game really helps with the campaign game. Getting some other expansions too can't hurt, and will help significantly.)
 
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Dave B.
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Have you tried the two recent D&D board games? They're basically 4e light without the need for a DM, and a single game will probably take around an hour. Each game supports 5 players, though I suppose you could combine characters from the two and go higher than that. There are even some official adventures from WotC that require you to combine both games.

There isn't much continuity between quests, however. Normally you play each adventure as a one-shot starting from scratch. The Wrath of Ashardalon materials provide a few simple mini-campaigns, but that's about it. I suppose there's no reason you couldn't play through the adventures retaining your levels and/or treasure, but with the amount of treasure the game throws at you in a single adventure, you might get too strong too fast. Check the files sections for the two games, though, because there might be some fan-made stuff you can use without breaking the game. There are some replacement character cards that go beyond level 2, for example.

If you guys have D&D experience, then the door is wide open to expand and customize the games. I'd really like to try playing them with actual 4e character sheets and Monster Manual/Monster Vault stats. If that works without totally ruining balance, then you could really go wild converting 4e material to the board game system.

I plan to try roping a few of my in-laws into playing them with me and my wife this weekend.
 
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Jim Wilde
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I've been down this road myself.

Have you looked into DM-less RPGs? There are several out there. They tend to be more story-telling style and less number crunch.

If you like combat and the cooperative play of an RPG, I suggest Ghost Stories. It's the best match to what I like in RPGs, but there isn't much in the way of character building.

Defenders of the Realm has a fantasy setting to it, and each player runs a different character. It's not bad.

For a sci-fi setting, Battlestations is pretty good. It requires a GM, but it's different than usual RPG in that the GM is actually cheering for, and supporting the players, rather than opposing them.

For something heavier, you may look at Arkham Horror. It's a pretty good cooperative game that will take hours to complete... most times.

Another approach would be a game like Runebound (Second Edition). It has all the fantasy elements, and the characters develop as the game progresses. There is no cooperative play, but maybe that's not what you want. Plenty of expansions too.

Hope this helps...
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Cheers for all the input guys, plenty in here to consider.
I hadn't even thought of DMless RPGs, so that's deffo an option.
If I take the persisent levelling out of the equation (since it seems to be limiting choices really) and mention that co-op or competative is fine, do you guys have any other recommendations for general five player and up, RPG element titles?
Got one mention of Arkham Horror, Runebound and Descent so far. I'll also check out the D & D board games.

Cheers.
 
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David Gorski

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The granddaddy of the dungeon crawlers: HeroQuest. It's light and perfectly in between PnP RPGs and "common" board games. The game is actually 15 quests, and there are 6 official expansions of 10 quests each. There's also lots (50+) well made custom quests.

Some Concerns
* It's out of print. However it was overproduced and you can get it for around what you would pay for it new. The furniture pieces and plastic minis are worth it.

* Characters don't level up, they just better equipment. There are home variants that allow level ups.

* 4 Hereos vs. one DM. However there are lots of custom characters. The DM will have to adjust the monster rates to compensate though.

* You attack & defend with dice. However who gets what, who attacks first, are you blocked off, do you use your healing/buff spells are all concerns while playing.
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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mentioned the referee-less RPG in a GeekList and was good enough to follow up with me on it today. Here's a wikipedia article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troupe_system
 
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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Completely different genre, but Blue Max has rules for WWI pilots progressing (those that survive - it's not easy).
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Zubbus O'Really
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There's also, of course, the even harder to find than Warhammer Quest, Space Crusade - There's an Alien Player and up 3 to Space Marine player, but the Alien player also scores points like the others so he's not just a DM.
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Greg Filpus
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Space Alert's expansion technically fits your criteria. You have a character that gains experience, levels up, and gets new abilities, but it's only a minor part of the game.

Other than that, a +1 to Battlestations.
 
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Richard Linnell
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Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel might be something for you to look into, but of course you would need to find a copy. It features a rotating GM-type of position, but whoever is the GM gets advancement points for their characters while they kill off their buddies. Kind of a neat compromise.
 
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