Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The 10 Best (and 6 Worst) TSR Games that Weren't D&D

There is an article making the rounds again from Topless Robot.  It was originally posted in September of 2009 but hey, that's how social media works sometimes (and I guess Bob Denver is dead! [yes I knew this already]).

Here are the 10 Best,
And 6 Worst

I want to talk about some of these since a few of my favorites are on the list.

Vampyre was a mini-game in a time when many new D&D players (read fans of TSR) had no idea what a mini-game was.  I certainly didn't, not till later anyway when I discovered Steve Jackson.   This was a great little game.  You played hunters looking for Count Dracula.

It had a cool Hex map of Transylvania. A not as cool, but still cool map of Dracula's castle. Counters for the surviving members of the novel vs. Dracula, his brides, gypsies and other monsters (werewolves and wolves I think).   You had till the game ends, either by time or Dracula killing everyone, to find his coffins and destroy them.  It's an idea that has come up again and again in games before and since.

Obviously I loved this little game.  I loved the idea of going up against Dracula.  This was also when I was in my "Marvel" era so I loved the idea of using Dracula, as he appeared in the Marvel comics, as a bad guy.

The game was full of awesome Erol Otus art, Souvenir fonts and maps that looked like they were right out of Basic.   Long before my players ever heard of Count Strahd they clashed wits and swords with Count Dracula!

I remember the game being fast to play and it was surprisingly deadly.  This was also lost in the great game loss of the 90s when so much of my early stuff went missing.

Boot Hill and Gang Busters
Never played these, but I was always curious about them.  I borrowed a friend's copy of Gang Busters and decided it wasn't for me.  I picked up a copy of Boot Hill at a game auction (just the book) and thought it looked fun, but the Old West isn't my thing.

Star Frontiers
I loved this game. We ended up playing a lot of "D&D in Spaaaaace!" with it, but it was still fun.  Love all the support it gets these days.

Gamma World
Again, a game I always wanted to play and never got around to it.  In my mind a game that combined the best bits of Star Frontiers and Gama World would have been perfect.  One of the reasons I REALLY enjoy Mutant Future and Starships & Spacemen. They allow me to combine both as I like with a game system I know better than some games I wrote.  I really need to do more with both of them.

Marvel Super Heroes
Talk about timing.  I was heavy into D&D and I was getting into Marvel comics pretty deep too having just left DC (I came back, maybe you could tell) and there was Marvel Super Heroes.  I really loved this game and I had a blast playing it.

I have gone on and on about this game ad nauseam.  But I still love it.


Tom Doolan said...

I still list MSH in my top five all-time favorite RPGs. There's a reason it served as a basis for mown supers creation, Mutants & Marvels.

Also, DwD Studios is coming out with a new SciFi game that is the spiritual heir to Star Frontiers called FrontierSpace. I bought their spy game, Covert Ops, and it's really slick.

Rich Howard said...

I still own Vampire, Revolt on Antares, Saga, and Viking Gods. We played the heck out of all of them, especially Revolt.

Anonymous said...

Revolt on Antares was a blast, I still have a copy somewhere I think.

Personally, I think Alternity was a fine RPG that gets very little notice these days.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Oh I agree. Alternity was fun and sadly disused.

~Brandy~ said...

I must confess that I have never played D&D or any RPG and know pretty much nothing about it. I have to admit, Vampyre sounds pretty darn cool though!

What was it about Shadow of Night that threw you off the series? I'm curious!

Brandy from Brandy's Bustlings

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Oh. I was not a fan of Emily Mather dying. I thought it was unnecessary and a lazy choice. But really it was a last straw. Diana went from an assertive, independent woman to someone that needed her vampire for everything.

Adam Lane said...

I'll have to track down a copy of vampyre, sounds fun!

Rachel Ghoul said...

Now that is a wonderful little hex map.

J Lenni Dorner said...

If we're talking fav tabletop RPG...