I was inspired to start a new thread about a couple of observations that resurface regularly. Here's Paul saying it well:
I think your expectations for a game which delivers on the whole "plotting and intrigue" dimension haven't been met yet, by existing game design*. I hope you're driven enough to break through that barrier yourself!
*: It is entirely possible - and even likely - that some *people* have, in terms of game practices and clever use of existing mechanics. I've yet to see that myself, though. And then the next step would be finding how to transmit those abilities to other people (whether through design or something else), which may be an equally daunting task.
So yeah, I agree with Paul on this: it is interesting how there is a glaring hole on intrigue games. The best games in the field are Paranoia, Amber, Diplomacy, Conspiracy of Shadows, Houses of the Blooded, Covenant
(I'm sure there are others, that's just my list off the top of my head), and that's just a mix of old classics and games that only brush the topic instead of tackling it head-on. I think this is pretty interesting, as it's clearly a topic and an idea of gaming that has clarity: many people think of it, it's obviously appealing, and we can sort of see how it goes. There are many boardgames about it, too. Many of us have played highly successful campaigns around the idea of intrigue (myself included, with Paranoia), yet here we still are, without an obvious go-to rpg.
Compare this to some other clear, definite creative concepts, like "I want to play a tv show game" - the obvious answer is Primetime Adventures
, an excellent and well-rounded classic text on the subject. If that doesn't satisfy, go for InSpectres
or Cartoon Action Hour
or - well, there are options.
Furthermore, intrigue is not the only big creative concept that has such a conspicuous lack of games. As we remarked here last month, slice of life games are also strangely absent, all in all; just like intrigue games, some do exist, but apparently none are comprehensive enough to rise to a prominent position as the obvious answer in the field. (I do not speak authoritatively on this, as I haven't read the recent field of entrants - for all I know that Ryuutama-whatsitsname is exactly this, for example, and I just don't know about it yet.) This, despite the fact that people regularly ask for games like that, it's a genre obviously entrenched in other artistic mediums, and it can
be done in roleplaying.
So, this brings me to my question for the board: are there other similar interesting gaps in the game text selection? Things for which people routinely ask for, yet you can only suggest a generic title in good conscience, or some weird little game that takes 50 hours to hack into shape? Note that what we're looking for is not just a lack of tools, but a lack of tools combined with prominent desire for such. What is it that we, as a scene, are not providing for as of yet?
In case you're wondering why I'm curious, it's pretty straightforward: I love roleplaying, and am naturally interested in any challenges. The above two topics (intrigue games and slice-of-life) are obviously on my desk as challenges to be considered at some point in the future for the simple reason that we seem to be lacking in tools. If there are other similar blind spots out there, I'm interested in hearing more about them, too.