The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Der Webbenstuff

Gamasutra has an interesting outsiders (well, perhaps “Not quite as insider as those of us who read/write boardgame blogs”) point of view of classic games. I don’t have any particular quibble with any of those. (I assume D&D wasn’t included because most videogamers are well aware of it and it’s tropes). Incidentally, if I were discussing influential RPGs, I think Paranoia and Call of Cthulu are quite reasonable (from a setting, not mechanical, standpoint).

Personally, I’ve done my most recent RPG-ing in the Legend of the Five Rings universe, but a) it’s been a while and b) “Like Kurosawa I make mad films, ‘k I don’t make films, but if I did they’d have a samurai.” The Onion’s AVClub has a good primer on Kurosawa. (In fact, I’ve had “High & Low” on my instant queue for a few months … once I finally watch it I’ll have seen all of  “the essentials” they list).

Despite understanding all the tropes involved, I still find the XKCD Agricola comic surreal. (Although the tooltip joke amuses me). And instead of Porngricola, who’s up for Wookie Scrabble? (Now that I think of it, I suspect that within 30 days we’ll see an “Agricola, XXX deck.” Internet, make it so!)

Apparently adding Meepletown to the blogroll was the kiss of death, since they stopped posting the same day.

The new Race AI is out. Buh-bye.


Written by taogaming

August 13, 2010 at 4:23 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Call of Cthulhu has a very direct influence on computer gaming; Sandy Petersen, one of the developers, went on to work on Pirates! and Doom among other titles.

    Vampire (from a tone standpoint) and Traveller and GURPS (from the rules) are probably more important than Paranoia, which is really an oddball game. Ask me about the Ottoman Seraglio Mutes campaign setting sometime.

    Fred Bush

    August 15, 2010 at 3:11 am

  2. I agree with Fred’s three suggestions, but any list of influential RPGs would have to include Runequest. I’m not a big fan of the game, but its innovative mechanics, detailed setting, and its sheer differences from D&D (it was the first non-TSR game to make any kind of impact) made it extremely influential and a very important advance in the genre.

    Larry Levy

    August 15, 2010 at 11:53 am

    • Well, I think that Paranoia is rightly singled out because of encouraging inter-player conflict as a legitimate goal, but forcing the players to be clever about it. (Amber, in this sense, is also interesting, but I’ve never played it).

      Vampire certainly had a stunning tone (I remember the original 8 page pullout in game magazines from ’91, I think). As for mechanics, I’m willing to argue them but less interested. I play board games for mechanisms, I’m happy to play Fudge/Feng Shui style RPGs with little rules.


      August 15, 2010 at 4:14 pm

  3. Also, after playing a bunch of games with the new Race AI, max-Prestige seems to overwhelm all other strategies. Having a prestige card in your initial draw is worth a lot, and the cards that let you manufacture prestige are game-winners without some strong leeching cards from your opponents, or an opponent who also has a pile of prestige.

    Fred Bush

    August 16, 2010 at 10:19 am

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