This past January, we launched the first annual New Year, New Game (NYNG) challenge with a simple goal: Run a new game this year. We held a contest, ran a blog carnival, and received 57 game ideas for 39 RPGs from readers who were planning to run a new game in 2012.
With NYNG 2013 roughly six months away, we’re at the halfway point — a good time to ask folks who are taking the NYNG challenge how things are going. Have you run a new game this year? Do you have plans to run one before 2013? Have you run what you planned to run, or gone in a different direction?
My NYNG challenge games
I’ll get the ball rolling. I came into 2012 planning to run Legends of Anglerre for my group, and at the moment it looks like one of the other GMs in the group is more likely to run it than me. Which is fine, because that means I get to play!
I have, however, run two new games: Labyrinth Lord and DCC RPG. As you can probably guess, I’ve been on an old school RPG kick; I haven’t been good at catching my players up in my excitement though, as neither game clicked with them.
LL is a clone of B/X (Moldvay) D&D, and I used it to run Tomb of the Iron God in a homebrewed setting. I plan to revisit the setting, possibly with a different system, in the future. Most things about LL and old school gaming conflict with what my group tends to prefer, so in retrospect I’m not surprised this didn’t take — but I thought it’d be fun to try.
DCC RPG (DCC is short for Dungeon Crawl Classics) is nuts, especially the facet of it that I ran: the “adventurer funnel.” For the funnel, each player randomly generates multiple zero-level peasant PCs…who then try to survive in a deadly dungeon where they have no business going. The ones who live advance to first level and take on a class. It was a hoot, but the parts of the system my group saw turned them off, and the funnel doesn’t showcase the things that make DCC unique — Zocchi dice, corruption for wizards, Mighty Deeds of Arms, etc. — because the peasants can’t do that stuff.
I wish both sessions had gone better, but they were fun and I learned some things about how to pitch one-shots, how much time to invest in them, and what my group likes. Running new games doesn’t guarantee that all will go well, and these were both good learning experiences.
How about you?
This year, I broke out DC Adventures for my players, attempting to run more campaigns, but shorter campaigns. I’m following that up with not new – a 1-year quick-in, quick-out Pathfinder.
It’s not new to me, but I also got my wife and my son into Shadowrun this year, thanks to the one-and-done Missions modules.
I had planned on running a Pathfinder side campaign, in which players would alternate between two warring sides – playing PCs that would, eventually, maybe even come to blows against each other. It never worked out and we moved in another direction.
I did, however, run a few sessions of Marvel SuperHeroic RPG, which I think offers a really funky riff on the Cortex system, taking what they did for the Leverage RPG and pushing it farther down the road for the telling of stories. Anyway, it was fun for a short story arc – 3 sessions, I think.
I will be running a Leverage table at RinCon, the newly-resurrected con here in Tucson, AZ, later this year; and I’m currently fishing through my brain for other ideas for games to run there.
So this year has offered some new, but not the new I’d originally planned…and that’s okay.
I got to run my noir style Burning Wheel game: Finding the Silver-Dove. The game was great. I had three players who bought in fully, and had strong characterization for their pcs. With a few books and films for a tone and style reference point, the players all made characters that fit the setting.
The game was shorter than the semester we had to play due to playing at college before two of us graduated. But, the game has set a new bar for my GMing. I hit all the major points I wanted: the big risks for trivial rewards, the rolepaying intensity was high, the story was character drive, my npc were much more memorable and more differentiated, and the players loved it. My only regret is that I never managed to work in one pc’s runaway slave background.
I ran a Marvel Heroic RPG adventure and hope to make it a campaign. The systems got some great design ideas to capture the comic book flavor, but it’s got some quirks. Overall, we liked it.
Was going to play in a Mouse Guard test game, but it fell through.
All my 2011 plans for 2012 went nuts when my reality crashed into Marvel Heroic Roleplaying. I am sad to say I managed to run few games this year so far, but oh the game has struck my sweet spot!
And my players seem to love it as well.
For the last half of the year, I plan on running Strange FATE (Kerberos Club, a new for me) and checking the GM-emulator Mythic.
I’ve run Mouse Guard and Marvel Heroic Roleplaying this year as new games to me. I’ve very much liked MHRP. Didn’t think so much of Mouse Guard.
I’ve run three adventures for my Deadlands Reloaded campaign from the NYNG contest and it has been an absolute ball. The players have been terrific and have really taken the campaign to some terrific places.
In addition to that game, we’re currently exploring the option of trying out Agents of Oblivion and running a campaign utilizing three different GMs over the course of the story.
I ran the Hellas campaign I set out to run this year and so far it has been fun. The maxim “What would Kevin Sorbo do?” has lead my players through all problems so far and I hope to pick the campaign up as soon as the chaos of moving to a new place has settled down somewhat.
I ran Marvel Heroic Roleplaying for the first time this year and loved it. It’s not going to be something I run all of the time, but I’m definitely going to take bits and pieces (doom pool) and try to implement them into other systems.
I also am in the process of developing a homebrew system that I plan on running within the next month or two. Looking forward to it.
I’ve done a lot less new games and advocacy in 2012 than prior years, but so far, I’ve run several games of Dungeon Crawl Classics (entirely new) and OpenQuest (1st time for me and players).
My group’s played two sessions of MHR and loved it. I’m excited to see so many people playing and talking about this one, particularly because it’s taken a whole mess of indie/story game elements mainstream and introduced them to a lot of folks who might otherwise have never experienced them. (Note that I’m not saying that applies to anyone here, or that not trying indie RPGs makes you a bad person.)
I tried something different this year. I ran the same game (kinda) in a one-shot and campaign format.
In January, I took the Unknown Armies system and some of the setting for a one-shot, which I shared at the beginning of the year on this site. I ran the one-shot for three players, two ladies and one gent. The two women were from out of town and just wanted a quick pick-up game.
Being the only local player, the third player asked to play in the upcoming campaign with two other guys and one newbie girl. He made his own character for the campaign and quickly discovered I changed the motivation of one of the chief NPCs. His expectations created from the one-shot allowed me to surprise him throughout the campaign.
Designed for ten sessions, the campaign comes to a head this Saturday. I can’t wait to see if it pans out as well as the one-shot. Revisiting Unknown Armies, which I think is one of the ten best RPGs created, has been a blast.
Thanks, Martin for revisiting this post.