Monday, May 27, 2013

Blogfest: Towel Day Blogfest

Towel Day Blogfest

This one is easy.  I am going to talk about what is the best RPG to play a "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" game.

So what makes a good Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game?
Well it needs to have a lot of aliens, or at least the ability to make a lot of aliens.  The weirder the better.
Faster Than Light travel is a must.  Lots of different ways to get from A to B.
Things it doens't need. Details.  Remember Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent didn't know how spaceships worked. Especially Arthur.  They didn't care about the trillions of calculation Marvin could do. All Arthur knew was the ship's computer could not make a decent cup of tea.

So lets evaluate my choices.

Warhammer 40k
No.  The HHGTTG is about fun and lighthearted romps through the universe.  Warhammer is where fun  goes to die.  Not saying you couldn't do it, but it would break things too much.  Though HHGTTG does have a Galactic Emperor who is also thousands of years old. Though he is in a state of perpetual death.

Ah now we are talking.  I like to ignore a lot of the tech in Traveller anyway.  The publishing firm of Megadodo Publications of Ursa Minor Beta has some similarity to the Traveller's Aid Society, in that they are an organization that gives plot reasons to go all over the Galaxy.  There are plenty of races in Traveller and I bet you there are online resources dating back to the Mainframe and FTP days of resources to play a Hitchhikers Guide-like game in the Traveller universe.

Star Frontiers
Another good choice really.  In fact one of my SF characters was named Zaphod.  SF though doesn't have enough aliens to fit the bill.  Afterall this is a universe where mattresses are grown and not manufactured.

Star Wars or Star Trek (any Version) 
In both cases there is too much emphasis on combat in these games.  Star Trek at least has the exploration bits down. But really too much emphasis on combat really.

No there really is only one game perfect for playing in a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game.

Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space
The new Doctor Who game is perfect for HHGTTG. With it's easy to use (and easy to get out of the way) rules fits the tone of what I want.  The rules also focus on the talkers and the runners not the fighters, so that helps us get past that issue.  Also let's not forget that there is a strong Doctor Who/Hitchhikers connection.  Douglas Adams was the script editor on Doctor Who around the same time he was working on Hitchhikers Guide.  I also always felt his episodes were very much the model of the of the Hitchhikers universe.  I always thought the Zygons and Vogons were the creatures or at least closely related.  There is also the overt connection, the 10th Doctor after his regeneration refers to himself as being "very Arthur Dent" and commenting "now there's a nice man".  Establishing that at least some version of Douglas Adams' worlds exist in Doctor Who canon.

All the characters can be created using the basic Doctor Who rules, Trillian for example is pretty much a Boffin archetype.  Ph.D. in Math and Astrophysics? She is like a 5th Doctor companion.  Ford and Arthur are easy and Zaphod...well Zaphod he is just this guy you know...

So I think my next Doctor Who game might end up being a little bit Hitchhikers as well.
I think I have a few characters I could even use.


L.G. Keltner said...

Great post! Hitchhiker's is indeed all about fun. The only technical details needed are the ones that are there to be funny and strange, and those tend not to be really technical anyway.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go make a cup of really hot tea in an attempt to create an infinite improbability drive!

Pun Isaac said...

I don't think there is a better match than Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space. The two do share so many connections and the system is perfect for Hitchhiker's style.

I'm going to admit to an audible "squee" when Ten referenced Arthur.

If I ever get to be a player in a DWAITAS game, my companion will definitely always bring a towel.

Irishredfox said...

But do any of them have an improbability drive?

Anonymous said...

'The weirder the better'? Well then: 'Call of Cthulhu'! But, OK, I can see some problems . .

Anonymous said...

Personally, my choice for a Hitchhiker's game would be Risus.
Character creation is super fast, and you'd be surprised how much depth you can actually get from a game where your character is a collection of cliches. Too my mind, that suits a Douglas Adams story perfectly.

Tammy Theriault said...

i agree..sometimes the weirder, the more intriguing!