Top Plays of 2017

My game plays in 2017 really dialed in on my personal preferences. Lots of the new Arkham Horror LCG and the Northern Crown role-playing campaign. Cat Tower is the weird outlier, because it’s easy to play 3 games of that in one sitting, especially when observing International Tabletop Day at the local barcade.

Arkham Horror: The Card Game 36
Northern Crown: New World Adventures (Pathfinder) 15
Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu 9
Sentinels of the Multiverse 8
Betrayal at House on the Hill 5
Eldritch Horror 5
Codenames 4
Night’s Black Agents 4
Cat Tower 3
Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate 2

#RPGaDay2015 11: Favorite RPG Writer

RPG-a-day-2015Kenneth Hite is the clear winner here. He writes gold, and would be the first to admit he’s just sourcing really good inspirational material before hitting “puree.” Suppressed Transmission, The Day After Ragnarok, The Madness Dossier, Night’s Black Agents, Bookhounds of London . . . the list goes on. Hite’s got the knack for that edge of “is this lunacy, or is this inspired?” that gets the brain burning.

Stoker’s Dracula Unredacted

As per usual, when I let myself listen to Ken Hite explain his upcoming project, regardless of whether I’ve already decided I’m going to let it pass, I find myself being sold completely and totally — this may be part of why I let my Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff subscription lapse.

This time, he’s raising funds for The Dracula Dossier, presenting the unredacted, annotated first draft of Dracula, which is the after-action report of British intelligence’s miserable repeated attempts to recruit the vampire called Dracula. Ken dropped in on his friends David and Dave at Blurry Photos to talk about the project, Dracula, Bram Stoker and vampires. Blurry Photos has become my favorite paranormal podcast these days, thanks to Stecco and Flora’s inimitable style and collective sense of humor. So when Ken drops in to talk about Cthulhu and role-playing games, it’s like a crazy crossover between your favorite, yet separate things. Their level of familiarity with role-playing is also adorable; Stecco talks about modules, encumbrance and showing up to Castle Dracula with a 40 person raid party for the loot drop.

I’ll be thinking heavily about whether I want to back The Dracula Dossier before the fundraising campaign ends on December 4th. You can check it out on Kickstarter.

Adventures in Darkness

When it comes to Kenneth Hite’s work, I don’t know why I continue to fool myself with the platitude, “Oh, that doesn’t sound quite for me. I’ll let that one go by.” Almost invariably, the work, whatever it is, crosses my consciousness still more times. And every time I encounter it, the idea appeals more and more.

And so it was when I listened to Hite’s interview on The Game’s the Thing. The episode was mostly about Night’s Black Agents — itself a game I thought I wouldn’t want, but have since reversed position — but host Ron Blessing brought up Adventures in Darkness, a super hero universe created in an alternate history where Lovecraft survived his cancer and developed a writing studio to populate the pages of a comic book line.

I’d read about Adventures in Darkness before and thought it was a little too off my usual topics to be interested. But when I hear people talk about it and share their enthusiasm, I get enthused too. Now my appetite is whetted and I’m thinking about snapping up the Mutants & Masterminds edition. But I know what would or will happen: I’d page through it and enjoy the prose, never putting the game material to work.

In the same episode, I had a similar reaction to the mention of Bubblegumshoe, a GUMSHOE iteration for teen mysteries. Totally not my thing, until Hite included John Bellairs‘ young adult occult mysteries as one of the sources. I think that’s the first time I’ve encountered someone in gaming wanting to draw on Bellairs’ oeuvre, which is a rather exciting prospect.[1]

[1] Until such time as a kindly reader reveals someone else has done it better, faster, earlier.