What was new and fresh in 2012?

edited December 2012 in Story Games
Which RPGs and story games would you recommend from the year that went by? And could you please tell me a little bit about them? I'm thinking of starting up a new campaign after New Year's, so I'm looking for something that lends itself to campaign style gaming. I'm fond of rules-light systems. I kind of want there to be a GM function. :) (But I'm interested in all high quality tips, I might run them as oneshots.)

Comments

  • Monster of the Week sounds great.
  • I tested a couple of Wilhelm's designs at HolmCon, Daughter's of Verona, his Shakespeare simulation and the sci-fi game While the World Ends. I liked both, slightly preferring the latter. Both had intricate and original systems for sharing authorship (or watchamacallit). I think the game's were some of the more innovative stuff I've seen on the scene.

    At HolmCon we usually try out lots of weird shit. Hug Street was a (slightly akward) game of trading hugs in a stock exchange kind of way. Play With Intent is Matthijs' and Emily's set of free form principles, which produces very random results... .

    I also at some point tested another Shakespear-type game. Was it Shakespear's daughter? I liked that one too.
  • Played Fiasco for the first time, read a ton of games including Apocalypse World and My Life With Master and Itras By. 2012 was a year where I was introduced to and learned about so many new games, I just didn't get to play them dammit. So that's 2013 goal, play these things.
  • Monsterhearts was the new game of the year for me.
  • Hillfolk for me -- I think it's a great game for anyone who's wanted a more campaign-oriented Fiasco.
  • Hillfolk for me -- I think it's a great game for anyone who's wanted a more campaign-oriented Fiasco.
    That right there sold me on this game I'd only heard about peripherally.

  • Hillfolk will be something I get to next year. But it is on my list.
  • Hillfolk for me -- I think it's a great game for anyone who's wanted a more campaign-oriented Fiasco.
    That right there sold me on this game I'd only heard about peripherally.
    It filled a sweet spot for me, too!

    The first session of a campaign is likely going to be devoted to character creation and relationship setup. You don't have the constrained choices as per Fiasco, which is an important difference. (Hm, pity Fiasco isn't under Creative Commons, I see a hack coming...) PCs will absolutely conflict -- it's a bit more driven there than Fiasco, since everyone will have at least one desire directed at another PC and that PC will have a stated reason not to grant it. The obstacles to success are more built into the mechanics.

    The other featured system is a currency system that nicely balances out the decision to grant those desires or not. So a bit more structure than Fiasco. The best way to think of this from a Fiasco perspective is that Hillfolk puts the positive/negative outcome weight on the individual characters; if I get what I want out of you, it's a positive for me but not necessarily for you.
  • The one thing I hate about hearing about games like Hillfolk is that I can't immediately buy the pdf and start reading it right now (it hasn't been released yet, has it? Just finished a Kickstarter?)
  • I would say it was the French Psychodrame. You play dysfunctional humans in a contemporary France. The game system is an improved Dogs in the Vineyard. What I discovered was how fun it was to play slow scenes without anything happening on the surface, and how a game system can direct how you act out your character.

    Another surprise is the Swedish While the World Ends. It got a really cool mechanic that lets you create relations, otherwise you wont get what you need. Both sessions I had were great.

    Both these games above seemed really boring, until I tried them.

    Another surprise, and this is about enjoyment in a game, was the thrill of just throwing yourself out into nothing and exploring a story. The game that achieved that feeling was the Norwegian Archipelago.

    And of course, the Swedish (and non-existent) Svart av kval, vit av lust (Black of Despair, White of Lust). A vampire game that is what Vampire should be. The mechanic is both simple and really genius.

    Surprisingly all the games above are GM less.

    I tried and playtested heaps of games this year thanks to a new RPG group that I found: my own This Is Pulp and Thrice, Bad Family, The Coyotes of Chicago, The Shadow of the Trees, The Daughters of Verona, Polaris, In a Wicked Age, Sea Dracula, A Thousand Years Under The Sun, GxB, Fiasco, Dragon Stone, A Taste for Murder, My Life With Master and Montsegur 1244. A range from "Not that fun" to "OK".

    A good year of gaming for me.
  • edited December 2012
    A range from "Not that fun" to "OK".
    8^O

    ...You have very high standards, if none of that list rose above "OK"! One is a seminal influence of story gaming; one is a multiple-award-winning game that's widely considered the best 'entry' or introduction to 'this thing of ours'; and one has the most clever core mechanics of the past decade.

    I wish I had access to such awesome games that I would find items on that list to be "OK" at best! :)
  • @Rickard Can you tell us more about Svart av kval, vit av lust ?
  • edited December 2012
    Svart av kval, vit av lust exist in several forum posts, and has mostly been spread by word of mouth. It's a game about vampires, their desires and their inner beast. It's a setting free and GM free game so you have to discuss an environment that has some sort of vampires in it. We've been playing in worlds like the Caribbean with voodoo priests as vampire hunters, and in a futuristic North Korea with bio-created vampires and a revived Kim Il Sung.

    You take the roles of elder and younger vampires that are connected through a relationship map, and where a situation has come to change the status quo in the city. It's time put your agenda into work. All vampires has an anchor - a human - that they really care about. It's their last connection to humanity. To loose the anchor is to loose humanity. As you probably understand, the game is about putting a vampire's anchor in the way of anyone's agenda.

    The conflict resolution is simple. Elder vampires always win over younger vampires, unless the younger ones let loose the Beast. The Beast is the violent side of the vampire and hate it's human side. It wants to be fierce. To create chaos and despair. It also wants to ridicule it's host. To unleash the beast, is to solve a conflict in the most violent way possible. This means that if the younger vampires wants to reach their agenda, they path must sooner or later be filled with blood.

    The Beast always tries to get control over the vampire, which is done by the other participants commanding a player to do something violent, cruel or to do something that humiliate the host. The vampire may resist the urge, but must in that case take a token. At any time the vampire unleash the Beast to win a conflict, anyone may take away a token. That means the Beast is refusing and the vampire has lost the conflict.

    I can give an example of what happened during a game at a convention. A young vampire's anchor was a human that he loved. During one scene, a participant gave him a Beast command by saying "Take her as yours". He sat for a couple of minutes, trying to make the love interest to answer his feelings. The thing is, he had something else going on (fulfilling his agenda), so if he got a token, it would mean that he forfeited his plans. He went through with the command, but left then the table shouting "I hate you". He came back after a visit to the loo and played on. :)

    What I like with this game is that it with really small means can create strong feelings.
  • Svart av kval, vit av lust exist in several forum posts, and has mostly been spread by word of mouth. It's a game about vampires, their desires and their inner beast. It's a setting free and GM free game so you discuss an environment that has some sort of vampires. We've been playing in worlds like the Caribbean with voodoo priests as vampire hunters, and in a futuristic North Korea with bio-created vampires and a revived Kim Il Sung.
    ...is there an English translation of this game. Please say 'yes'.

  • Monsterhearts for me -- but for someone else? I'd need some idea of that person's tastes.
  • edited December 2012
    ...is there an English translation of this game. Please say 'yes'.
    No. There is no translation, but you can send a message to the creator @Simon_Pettersson and ask him about it? :)
  • @Rickard any links to online material? Google translate is not that bad these days
  • Oh man, gotta be Monsterhearts. Game of the year. OF THE FRIGGIN YEAR.
  • @Rickard any links to online material? Google translate is not that bad these days
    There's a huge thread (200+ posts) if you care to take a look with Google translate, but I don't know if the ideas in there are up to date: http://www.rollspel.nu/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/754980/all

    AP with reflections: http://www.rollspel.nu/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/795240/all

    Some more reflections: http://www.rollspel.nu/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/788527/

    There is also a short thread about clarifications and updates of the system: http://www.rollspel.nu/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/801022/

    Except for those who played the game, this is - to my knowledge - the only source of information.
  • I was really blown away by The Quiet Year. It has all these neat emergent qualities and just captured my imagination. I want to play all the years.
  • Dog Eat Dog is super compelling and challenging (challenging in terms of content). I really like it.

    I have a feeling Durance would be on this list if I could manage to finish it. Christmas break has been busier than expected, so far.

    (2012 is the year of games about colonialism and colonies for me, between these two and The Quiet Year.)
  • I've had great experiences with Fiasco, and while Durance was great for setting things up, the resolution mechanic did more to confuse than help us. Still, we had fun.

    Dog Eat Dog is amazing. Written with clear vision and understanding of the subject matter, making the political personal and vice versa. I've only played it once, but that was crazy memorable. Probably GOTY for me as far as design goes.

    Also great is They Became Flesh, a game about angels, humanity, power, redemption, and so much more. Very awesome.

    And of course I'm a Monsterhearts fan. That's what my group is playing currently.
  • I spend some time helping to playtest and mold Durance. It was a tough go at some points, but I'm really proud of the job Bully Pulpit did on the end result. Quality game.

    World of Dungeons punched me right in the old-school c@ck. I mean, seriously.

    The Quiet Year pissed me off in some ways. But in good ways. Made me think a lot about how games are played and rules are presented.
  • The Quiet Year pissed me off in some ways. But in good ways. Made me think a lot about how games are played and rules are presented.
    I would love to hear more about this, probably outside this thread.
  • Durance. Oh, Durance.
  • I played a LOT of games this year, but not a huge amount of new ones (outside of playtests!). Dog Eat Dog is my fave so far, and I need to play more Serpent's Tooth and Monsterhearts and Quiet Year. I've enjoyed all three, but really only scratched the surface. I also am pretty excited about They Became Flesh. Only had one mediocre session, but it was pretty bad conditions, and I think I learned a lot about the game from it.
  • Thank you @Rickard ! Here I summon @Simon_Pettersson to ask if it is ok to mine these threads for good content on Svart av kval, vit av lust and wikify it over at the codex wiki.
  • Thanks for all the answers so far! Interesting stuff! :)
    Dog Eat Dog
    I played that one, too! It was very good (about colonialism in the pacific islands, for those who don't know).

    BTW: could we try to include a short sentence about what the games are about? Like, I had to google Serpent's Tooth, The Quiet Year and They Became Flesh (about a King loosing his power, a year of rest and building for a post-apocalyptic society, and Lucifer and his host coming down to earth (?) respectively.)

  • edited December 2012
    In my older years I am becoming a preserver and collector, so here is a page with this basic discussion on Svart av kval, vit av lust. Let's see what the author says about how and if to evolve it.

  • Dog Eat Dog was this year? It is on my list for sure then.
  • I would say it was the French Psychodrame. You play dysfunctional humans in a contemporary France. The game system is an improved Dogs in the Vineyard. What I discovered was how fun it was to play slow scenes without anything happening on the surface, and how a game system can direct how you act out your character.
    Sounds interesting. Could you tell more about this one? Is it available in English?
  • edited December 2012
    Here's my favorite new corebooks of 2012 (I'm not counting new editions like Champions Complete or Colonial Gothic 2e):

    Deadlands Noir - YUPPPPPPP THAT HAPPENED

    Monster of the Week - YUPPPPP

    Kuro - came out of nowhere with a J-horror game that actually seems like a J-horror game

    Dungeon World - YUPPPPP

    Our Last Best Hope - nobody who has played this has ever disliked this

    Monsterhearts - surpasses the source material. By a lot.

    Honor and Intrigue - gets back to the core of a rules-light swashbuckling game.

    Crossroads - the unofficial Booth at the End RPG

    The Bell - prepackaged LARP, VERY solid setup

    The Agency - swingin 60s secret agents

    The "caters overwhelmingly to JDC's interests in the most ludicrously on-target way" award goes to:

    The Play's The Thing

    This was a great year for kids' RPGs:

    Hero Kids - came out of nowhere, BRILLIANT for kids

    School Daze - kind of ditto, needs some creative direction brought to it but works GREAT

    Mermaid Adventures - this is SO FUN, I can't wait to play it with my niece

    And for me the game of the year was: Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Premium Edition). This was actually better than the Basic Game because the Event structure was much more detailed and clear. It's really, really, amazingly good.

    (Edit: Accidentally included a new edition of an older game that I just wasn't aware of before. That might have happened elsewhere on this list too.)
  • Monsterhearts!

    Until MH, I had never played a game that had truly functional and non invasive social mechanics. The concept of "Strings" really is revolutionary.

    If you haven't played this game then you should. I've persuaded two people that hate the genre to play and they have left wanting more.

    I've persuaded one person who is more interested in what their characters do (they are missing out IMHO) rather than what they feel and quite committed to "winning" to play and they now love drama in games as much as I do.

    Strings and the way you attain, lose and spend them keep you in your character's head like no other game I've ever played.

    You have to play this game. I'm not familiar with hangouts and whatnot but I love this game so much that I'm willing to play the evangelist and run it online (or offline, I'm in Sydney) if anyone wants to play.
  • I also at some point tested another Shakespear-type game. Was it Shakespear's daughter? I liked that one too.
    My Daughter, the Queen of France. Yes, that one too.
    Also, Heart's Blood, a Dracula jeepform (see my review).
  • edited December 2012
    Sounds interesting. Could you tell more about this one? Is it available in English?
    I don't think it's available in English and I don't know where to get it. I learned the game through @Simon_Pettersson who speaks French, and who brought it to a gaming convention.

    You start the game by coming up with a tilting event, like "a father that everybody thought were dead returns" or "there is now known that a member in a gentlemen's society is gay". Then you create characters, mostly by discussion. Every player comes up with two traits each to their characters: "police" or "married with Susan". After that, you create something that's the opposite of another character's trait. Like "Been to prison" or "It's not Peter's child".

    As you can tell, here is where all the troubles are created, but it also binds everybody to each other in a tight relationship map.

    The conflict is usually played out through a conversation. It works similar to Dogs in the Vineyard, but uses cards instead and is less tricky. Each "round", you may draw cards by calling out one of the four aspects - avoiding, manipulating, caring (and one more that I can't remember) - and one of the six moods: anger, mellow, sadness, happiness etc. The aspects and moods tells you how to play out the conversation. And because the aspects and the moods can change from round to round, the conversation will take turns. For example, one person can be happy while manipulating the other person, and after a while it may turn to angry and caring. "Don't you see that I'm just trying to help you?!"

    You can also call out one of your traits each round - "police", "It's not Peter's child". And as you probably can tell, they tend to stir up things. "Why do you care?! It's not your child anyway!" Each conflict will give you a mental backlash (in game terms: it raises your stats). The backlash depends on how many cards you drew and if you lost any rounds during the conflict. So it's a choice: should you draw a lot of cards and possibly win the conflict or should you consider yourself beaten?

    The conflict resolution could be smoother, because you sometimes forget what have been said after you've drawn your cards, but I'm a little angry about myself for not thinking of using moods like this. :) It's actually the combination of aspects and moods that makes the conversation alive. Just having "anger" and "sadness" would make the participant to play it out the same way all the time, but being angry while avoiding or caring are two totally different things.

    [edit] Oh, and one more thing. You should play everything slow. Slow scenes. Should put most of the energy in bringing forth a mood. Scenes without a content. Just showing how you feel IC. Play it slow up to the conflict, where all hell breaks loose. The father is drunk and forces himself into the house to finally see his daughter. His ex-wife screams at him and tries to push him out of the house, and her new husband looks at everything in despair. The teenage daughter wakes up and looks down the stairs to see what's going on. Her mum looks up at her and says: "Look what you're father have become!" (She won that conflict when we played.)
  • edited December 2012

    Deadlands Noir - YUPPPPPPP THAT HAPPENED
    hahahaha what

    Kuro - came out of nowhere with a J-horror game that actually seems like a J-horror game
    I'm really curious about this one. Got any impressions, or know of any links to any?
  • Sounds interesting. Could you tell more about this one? Is it available in English?
    I don't think it's available in English and I don't know where to get it.
    I do now. :)

    http://froudounich.free.fr/PDF/PSYCHODRAME-FINAL01.pdf

    (In French)
  • I might be wrong, but I think this is the last working version of the game.
    With a new name though (that's why I am not 100% sure).

    http://www.limbicsystemsjdr.com/PDF/LES CORDES SENSIBLES 01.pdf
  • I might be wrong, but I think this is the last working version of the game.
    With a new name though (that's why I am not 100% sure).

    http://www.limbicsystemsjdr.com/PDF/LES CORDES SENSIBLES 01.pdf
    Yeah, that should be right. I haven't got 100 % insight, but I've heard there's a major rules revision between these two versions (basically a whole new system for the new one).

    Rickard and Simon have played the older version, and IIRC Simon prefers it over the new one.
  • Correct. I keep playing the old playtest version called Psychodrame. I've read the new version called Les cordes sensibles, but I haven't played it. After reading it I found it changed in many ways and since I like the old version so much, that's what I've been playing. Since I haven't tried the new one, however, I can't claim it's not as good. I just think the old one is so good I don't want to change it.

    Also, for the people who are interested in Svart av kval, vit av lust, I made a thread about it here.
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