In this final part of reflecting back at the RPG systems I’ve tried over the years, I’m going to look at the four RPGs that never really made it for me, for the various reasons explained below.
The Palladium RPG (PRPG)
I was always interested in different game systems and my thinking at the time was that more always equals better. More rules, more background, a thicker book would result in a better gaming experience. One of the systems that offered this gaming nirvana was the Palladium RPG – a huge big thick soft cover black book with simple red and white graphics. Having flicked through the book at GW Birmingham, I saved some pennies and decided to pick up a copy when my gaming oppo Carl and I decided to travel via National Express coaches to Games Day ’86, in London. Having procured a copy from a trader there, it seemed to offer hours of reading when I flicked through the pages whilst sat at one of the table seats on the coach on the way back home.
…and that was part of the problem I found with the system – there was simply too much to absorb. There were rules for this, rules for that and I felt overwhelmed by trying to get my head around it. Carl read it and came to the same conclusion. Aside from providing a little inspiration for a few monsters, the book remained on my bookshelf until I bought my own house several years later, I think its now ended up in the garage stored in a box somewhere.
On reflection, with more life-experience and maturity, I’ve found that such systems are fine if you have the time and commitment, but there is a saying; less can sometimes be more. I think this is why I’ve been able to pick up TnT and CT after periods of inactivity and get straight back into the system – they’re simple and the mechanics are easy to understand. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to get into a complicated gaming system and due to work commitments and ‘real life’. I can have periods of not being able to even write for this blog, let alone have a work through a gaming book. At least for now, ‘simple’ gaming systems are the way forward for me.
Runequest (Games Workshop Edition – RQ)
Though I’d purchased a number of the Runequest miniatures that tied in with the 2nd edition ruleset back in 1983, the rules never interested me. GW doing one of their re-issue / under license publications, launched their edition of Runequest in hard back form in 1989 (I think). The production was of a very high quality, with loads of pencil artwork. Again, this was another system that my initial enthusiasm fell down after rolling up the initial characters and thought ‘what do I do next’. I introduced the book to my gaming group and we bought a few of the supplements, including ‘Griffin Island’, ‘Land of Ninja’, ‘Advanced Runequest’ and ‘Runequest Monsters’ but they ended up being used as source material for WFRP.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness (TMNT)
I’d come across this advertised no doubt, in White Dwarf magazine, where it received quite a reasonable review if I recall correctly. In the interests of trying a system that was a ‘bit out there’, I thought I would pick up a copy of the rule book from GW Birmingham. Perhaps I should have learnt my lesson from the Palladium RPG… Unfortunately I found the rules laid out in an illogical way for me and I had to keep flipping back and forth to try and make sense of the system.
That was as far as I got with TMNT and to be honest it put me off venturing any further with ‘superheroes’ RPGs. Not a natural format for me so this was quickly abandoned and consigned to the bookshelf.
CyberSpace (Iron Crown Enterprises – CS)
At the height of everything ‘cyber’ in the late eighties and early nineties, I picked up a copy of this as one of my gaming group (Matt) had also bought a copy and was interested in setting up a game as a diversion from WFRP. It was an ok system, to be honest I found reading the background and future timeline more interesting than anything else. Matt ran a short game where we had to extract some information from somewhere for a patron but the diversion was too far out of our comfort zone, so we never played it again and reverted back to WFRP at the next meet-up.
Conclusions from looking back at these game systems
I am very much a person (and to some degree the people who I have gamed with) who once I find a system that suits me, I stick to it for some considerable time. Tunnels and Trolls and Classic Traveller are evidence of my current systems that I started playing a number of years ago and through various means, continue to have involvement with. Warhammer FRP I played and developed scenarios for at the height of my gaming in the early nineties but aside from the occasional product read, that’s as much as I’m involved with the system now.
It’s been interesting reflecting back on my gaming history and expanding on the original Twitter hashtag, I hope you have also found these musings enjoyable as well! I really must clear that garage out one day and find those books…