Thursday, February 6, 2014

March Madness - Non-D&D OSR Blog Challenge





No doubt about it, D&D dominates the gaming scene old and new. That is not necessarily a bad thing, as D&D is a solid game (both in terms of system and genre) with an enormous fanbase. It serves as a ‘lingua franca’ for the gaming community, much as English serves as a global language for the world. As Nelson Mandela said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Make no wonder then that D&D has captured the hearts of so many for so long.

But just as English isn’t the only language and just as its hegemony causes others to be forgotten, D&D blots out many other worthy games. Although the OSR has made great strides in bringing old editions of D&D back into circulation and discourse, it has largely failed to do the same for other lesser-known old school games. Although fans diligently create materials and run sites for Traveler, Star frontiers, and MSHAG, I feel that there is a desire and need to unearth more obscure games, as evidenced by blogs like Mesmerized by Sirens, and the proliferation of non-D&D posts on OSR blogs.

I seek to encourage this widening of the OSR spotlight by throwing down the gauntlet of an RPG blog challenge about games other than D&D. I participated in a 30-day challenge last year and had a great time, but also felt really limited by its adherence to D&D, and a little lost because it demanded knowledge of the terminology from later editions that I did not have. I also participated in MbS’s Obscure RPG Appreciation day, which I found inspiring and enlightening, and learned about the lost siblings of D&D. Although I celebrated D&D’s recent 40th birthday, I’m all blogged out about the game and thus didn’t participate in the challenge.

In this vein, I have created a 31 Day Blogging Challenge for March that asks questions on a wide range of genres and systems, and I hope that we can introduce lots of great games (and a few terrible ones) that are not as well known as they should be. Although I hope primarily to hear of older games, I have left the questions vague on the age of games so as to encourage younger bloggers or hobby latecomers to contribute as well.

Because participating in a 30 day blog challenge takes up so much time and energy, I’ve decided to publish my questions here well in advance of March to give those interested a chance to reflect and start writing drafts of their posts. I hope to see other blogs take up the challenge, and will be posting reminders as March draws near. I hope you will contribute to this widening of OSR perspectives and look forward to learning and reading much from the participants.

- Tedankhamen

March Madness 31 day Obscure Game Blogging Challenge

1 What was the first roleplaying game other than D&D you played? Was it before or after you had played D&D?
2 In what system was the first character you played in an RPG other than D&D? How was playing it different from playing a D&D character?
3 Which game had the least or most enjoyable character generation?
4 What other roleplaying author besides Gygax impressed you with their writing?
5 What other old school game should have become as big as D&D but didn’t? Why do you think so?
6 What non-D&D monster do you think is as iconic as D&D ones like hook horrors or flumphs, and why do you think so?
7 What fantasy RPG other than D&D have you enjoyed most? Why?
8 What spy RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
9 What superhero RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?
10 What science fiction RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
11 What post-apocalyptic RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?
12 What humorous RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
13 What horror RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?
14 What historical or cultural RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
15 What pseudo or alternate history RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?
16 Which RPG besides D&D has the best magic system? Give details.
17 Which RPG has the best high tech rules? Why?
18 What is the crunchiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?
19 What is the fluffiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?
20 Which setting have you enjoyed most? Why?
21 What is the narrowest genre RPG you have ever played? How was it?
22 What is the most gonzo kitchen sink RPG you ever played? How was it?
23 What is the most broken game that you tried and were unable to play?
24 What is the most broken game that you tried and loved to play, warts and all?
25 Which game has the sleekest, most modern engine?
26 What IP (=Intellectual Property, be it book, movie or comic) that doesn’t have an RPG deserves it? Why?
27 What RPG based on an IP did you enjoy most? Give details.
28 What free RPG did you enjoy most? Give details.
29 What OSR product have you enjoyed most? Explain how.
30 Which non-D&D supplemental product should everyone know about? Give details.
31 What out-of-print RPG would you most like to see back in publication? Why?

34 comments:

  1. Cool. Spreading the word on my blog, and I'll do what I can to participate.

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    1. Cheers D! I'm looking forward to this, should be a blast!

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  2. Right up my alley. Consider me a Participant.

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    1. Excellent! Thanks and I look forward to your posts Tim!

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  3. Sure i'll participate, thanks for letting me know.

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    1. Hey CL, you inspired this, so it'll be an honour to have you aboard.

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  4. Call me a sucker for these things! But I think I will be on board!

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    1. Pleasure to have you with us, Timothy!

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  5. Can you quickly help me figure out the difference between question 1 and 2?

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    1. Good point, that'll have to change. That'll have to change. Maybe 2 will be 'What type of character did you play in your first non-D&D game, and how was it different?" Any other suggestions?

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    2. How's this?
      1 What was the first roleplaying game other than D&D you played? Was it before or after you had played D&D?
      2 What was the first character you played in an RPG other than D&D? How was playing it different from playing a D&D character?

      If you have any other suggestion bring em on.

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    3. Maybe change #1 to "played or ran as referee/GM" along with your proposed change to #2. I kind of assume you were implying that, but a lot of people don't consider the game master to be "playing."

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    4. I think I may save DMing for a blogpost later the year or 2015.
      I think part of the issue I had with the D&D BDay hop is that it retreaded lots of the questions I answered last year. Thanks for the tip anyway. By the way, get anything in the mail?

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    5. Part of my last post got cut off - what I wanted to say is I'm trying to create more thematic blog challenges. I think a challenge every 6 months about a set theme (DMing, worldbuilding, recruiting players, etc) would help ferret out some good ideas instead of stopping at being fun nostalgia exercises.

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    6. Nothing in the mail yet, but then the Korean customs people seem to have taken more interest in things arriving in Korean ports since the new year. It should probably arrive some time this week.

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    7. Then there is the whole Korean-Japan hissy fight that slows down trade and mail... sigh. I wish they'd grow up.

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  6. Yep, I might have to go for this. It's definitely more relevant to my interests, even though the D&D Blog Hop has been a fun trip down memory lane thus far.

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    1. I liked the D&D blog hop I did last year, but I found this new 40th Anniversary one is just retreading a lot of terrain so I skipped it. I am hoping that March Madness brings back a lot of that first time energy and enthusiasm.

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  7. This sounds like a perfect palate cleanser after the (admittedly fun) D&D 40. You have my blog! (too nerdy?)

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    1. Let's see, we're grown men blogging about 40 year old games who use handles like 'Tedankhamen.' I don't think level of nerdiness is a problem unless we get Ice T to record our posts in an audiobook. Welcome aboard!

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  8. I'm in. Mainly because I dislike D&D and the so-called 'Obscure Games' are the ones I actually run and care about.

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    1. Good to hear it! This looks to be wicked fun both to read and write.

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  9. can you explain what "gonzo kitchen sink RPG" means in question #22?

    Sorry, but at times my english is limited. I just can't understand the english meaning of that phrase.
    Thank you ;)

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    1. also the meaning of #23 and #24...what is meant by "broken" game?

      i also searched for the word "wart" in the vocabulary..but then i cannot link the meaning i found to "warts and all". thanks again.

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    2. CL, your English is amazing (I didn't know you were non-native till now), and I am glad to teach you some obscure gaming lingo. 'Gonzo' means crazy and 'kitchen sink' means everything all mixed together. Spawn of Fashan or Rifts would be good examples of gonzo kitchen sink games.

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    3. A 'broken' game is one where the rules don't seem to work as written. Many people think Palladium is broken. To love something 'warts and all' means to love it despite its problems. A wart is a bubble on the skin, so if you love someone warts and all you don't care what they look like or what problems they may have.

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  10. I promise this is the last question of mine!

    #30 Which non-D&D supplemental product should everyone know about? Give details.

    -are we talking here about supplement, not rpgs, right?
    So let's say for instance this would be a supplement worth knowing:

    http://tomeoftreasures.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=16902&sid=82700a00fa50788ab8333e17c68468d5

    whereas we cannot mention here an old fantasy rpg such as "Arcanum". Correct?

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    1. I am not sure if I understand you 100%, but a 'supplement' is any book besides the main rule book. City books or gazeteers, class splat books, magic books, etcetera. The link you gave seems good.

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  11. thank you for your kind replies :)

    now i can complete my answers. Yes, english is not my mothertongue but i love its intricacies...basically i am a lexicomaniac. When at University i remember when i stumbled across Oxford english dictionary for the first time, twenty volumes, and it was love at first sight ;)

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    1. I guess we have something in common - like any good Canadian I speak English and French, but I also taught myself Japanese (JPLT level 1) while living here. I learned Latin at uni, and taught Spanish and German without ever having studied them. I used to have a smattering of Arabic, Russian, Chinese, and Mongolian from my travels but it's largely forgotten.

      By the way, I am studying German on Duolingo, which is a GREAT and FREE application if you love languages. Definitely check it out.

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  12. I've done mine, although I did it all in one post.

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    1. A Death's Head and a Small But Vicious Dog reference? Your answers are some of the best yet! Thanks for the head's up Kelvin.

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  13. It's the first time that I'm doing a 30 day challenge so here's to hoping it will go smoothly. Day 1 has been posted. March Madness Day 1

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