Challenge: Suggest a game for this lapsed group

edited May 2015 in Play Advice
Okay, so one of my regular groups has been on hiatus for a while (largely due to the popularity of Netrunner), but I want to try and revitalize it in a way that works for everyone. I've listed the group's criteria below - see what you can come up with! Apologies if you find these "suggest me a game!" threads tiresome but I think they're kinda fun.

- Supports a fluctuating group of 3 to 6 players in any given session
- GM-less play
- No/very low prep
- Supports ongoing campaign play
- Fits broadly within familiar genre fiction tropes (ie: not kitchen sink drama)
- Some kind of mildly tactical dice rolling or conflict resolution
- Fits these criteria out of the box, rules as written, without hacking

So far I think the closest thing I can think of is Archipelago III, but I'm curious to hear other suggestions. Have at it!

(Edited to remove misleading reference to "adventure.")

Comments

  • Eternal Contenders, by JJ Prince fits your criteria. 2-6 players, GM-less, no-prep, extended play is possible depending on PC Renown values, the types of conflicts are shaped by the players, conflict resolution is conducted using playing cards. The PCs can be rivals, but the game also includes "Quest" rules that allow PC cooperation. It's based on the earlier "Contenders" game, which focused on boxing. Eternal Contenders expands things to more generic gladiatorial or duelist settings (Rome or Musketeers) as well as fantasy type play. The one area that may not match what you're looking for is that the warrior styles in Eternal Contenders have names such as Rapscallion, Militant, and Dark Friend etc. If you squint, these styles could align with typical classes such as Rogue, Fighter, and Wizard, respectively. And there are no provisions for different fantasy races, although that could be color. I'm going to run Eternal Contenders at Dexcon in July--we'll see how it goes!
    Mel
  • In a Wicked Age... comes to mind.
  • IAWA isn't GMless. (Really.)
  • I'd suggest Remember Tomorrow by Box Ninja. I'm not sure if the conflict resolution is mildly tactical enough for you, but it fits all the other criteria (as long as "cyberpunk noir" is an acceptable "Adventure" genre, aka Cyberpunk 2020 and Shadowrun).
  • Thanks for the suggestions so far! Remember Tomorrow looks like a potentially good fit, since this group is very into cyberpunk and enjoyed Technoir a lot.

    I love IAWA and it definitely crossed my mind but as JD points out it puts a fair amount of work on a single GM's shoulders.

    (I realized "adventure" wasn't really what I meant, so amended the OP to just say "genre fiction.")
  • It just occurred to me that Kingdom might work as well, although its "tactical" elements are largely social. Anyone have any experience playing Kingdom over a longer campaign?
  • IAWA plays great without a GM, but your first instinct is a good one - Archipelago.
  • IAWA plays great without a GM, but your first instinct is a good one - Archipelago.
    Are you referring to Wicked Archipelago, or is there another GMless version of IAWA I'm not thinking of?

  • Unless GMless play is a complete weird unknown to you, just approach IAWA as though it had no GM and see what happens. What happens is you will have a good time, because it does not need a GM. I would not recommend this for every game but it does work well for IAWA. But this is a digression from your thread - Archipelago III addresses all your wants except, perhaps, tactical crunch.
  • If GMless play was a complete weird unknown, what's your advice?
  • Unless GMless play is a complete weird unknown to you, just approach IAWA as though it had no GM and see what happens. What happens is you will have a good time, because it does not need a GM. I would not recommend this for every game but it does work well for IAWA. But this is a digression from your thread - Archipelago III addresses all your wants except, perhaps, tactical crunch.
    Cool! I just leaned that at least one player who I thought wanted a bit of tactical grit actually wants to go full story game goober, so that's become a secondary concern.

    I presented the group with Archipelago III, Kingdom, and Remember Tomorrow and put it to a vote.

  • @veav then play it as written, which also works fine.
  • I'd say the biggest challenge with GMless IaWA is making sure that someone is still devoted to handling important GM responsibilities (especially making aggressive Best Interests, framing scenes towards escalating or circling conflicts, and remembering to cut scenes and Chapters shorter rather than longer).

    If you're all on board with those (and many GMs who play IaWA are not, in my experience!), you should be fine, I'd imagine!
  • Annalise will do this, if you want to play slowly unraveling horror. It's GMless (or GM-full), will support characters coming in and out, and has fiddly dice resolution. Zero prep necessary. Designed for ongoing play, but maybe not "campaign play" (I'm not sure what you're looking for there.
  • Annalise will do this, if you want to play slowly unraveling horror. It's GMless (or GM-full), will support characters coming in and out, and has fiddly dice resolution. Zero prep necessary. Designed for ongoing play, but maybe not "campaign play" (I'm not sure what you're looking for there.
    Oh neat, I have Annalise from a bundle, but I haven't read it. Will have to take a look. (Ongoing stories that span multiple sessions is all I meant by "campaign.")
  • How does Annalise work with players coming in and out? That sounds challenging.
  • Update: Remember Tomorrow was the popular choice, so we played our first session last night. So far so good! Everyone seems happy with it so far, looking forward to playing more.
  • If you are still looking around you might consider these two options, as they fit 100% of your criteria:

    Tactical Ops, if you dig the classic "united team that faces missions" and a mildly crunchy ruleset (simple rules, but tons of dice).

    FateLess, same deal but focused on individuals and their personal goals, with lighter (kind of Fate-inspired) rules.
  • Thanks @Hasimir - I'll keep these in mind for sure.
  • I think tactical ops by unplayable games fits the Bill. @hasimir
  • Sorry, forgot to flag the thread and didn't see the questions.

    In Annalise, often the stories are not tightly connected anyway. They'll intersect but each character has her own storyline. It's not a "party" or "troop" game really. The characters probably all interact at some point, but maybe one at a time. It's unlikely they'll all be in the same room that often, and that's fine. So if a player doesn't show up a few sessions, their character becomes background and nothing falls apart.
  • Ah! I see. So players come in and out but play consistent characters. Makes sense to me; although it may be difficult to deal with recurring story elements and such - if you weren't there last session, you might not know about a certain location, a certain Theme, and so on. Not an overwhelming problem, of course.
  • Doesn't matter so much. The "claims" are things you claimed when you saw them. They're written on stickies in abstract terms: "a knock on the door," "the smell of rotting meat," "unmade bed," "newspaper blown by the wind." You don't have to be there to understand them.
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