grandexperiment (grandexperiment) wrote,
grandexperiment
grandexperiment

Best RPGs of 2014

This is cross-posted in NZRAG.

So each year I put up a post to get a feel from Wellingtonians what RPGs published that year have been their favourite. Though this thread is aimed at RPGs published in 2014 only, please feel free to mention supplements or any other RPG you encountered this year that stood out.

Last year's thread is here: http://grandexperiment.livejournal.com/243831.html.

2013 was a simply amazing year with two new RPGs entering my Top 5. This year was almost as good and continues the trend since 2010. In addition to new RPGs, there was also a new edition of the hobby's granddaddy, D&D, which looks to achieve an excellent balance between broad appeal and focussed design. While KS continues to fuel new RPGs of high quality, this year also seemed to see the first wave of Kick Failures. Combined with backers growing more discerning, the KS surge seems to be ebbing to some extent.

My main success this year was actually running my top 2 RPGs from 2013. Atlantis is the first game since much venerated Exalted (and my having two daughters) that saw me return to running ran a long term campaign of my own creation; also replacing the long running Exalted game that I was playing at the same time. This culminated with Atlantis' 3rd and final KS that took place earlier this year. I took advantage of the opportunity to show appreciation by spending the most money I have ever spent in one go on an RPG. It felt good and justified to me why KS can be such a positive process.

My top five for 2014 are:

1. Far Away Land: Far Away Land was something that was bubbling on the forum unnoticed for almost a year before the KS hit. Its a quirky and light hearted fantasy RPG along the lines of Adventure Time, Order of the Stick or Rat Queens. I was initially concerned by a seeming lack of wider knowledge of the RPGs shown by the creator, but it proved unfounded. He is a great guy and his RPG is refreshingly free of baggage plaguing many RPGs out there today.

Though the RPG is great on many levels, it has been especially notable for me as it proved a perfect RPG for young players. It combines a simple system with processes which younger players can engage and have fun with such as the freeform setting creation. This culminated in my eldest daughter running a game of it a few weeks ago, ensuring it a special place on my shelf for years to come.

2. D&D 5e: As a big fan of 4e, I approached 5e with caution. But when it landed, I found there was a lot to like as a 4e fan. It also provided a return to many of the older D&D approaches without many of the hang ups, which worked for me as a older D&D fan. I think it's the version of D&D that it (and the hobby) needed, and will hopefully see D&D return to its number 1 spot.

3. Ryuutama: D&D meets the heartwarming tales of Miyazaki. After a recent run of impressive Japanese RPGs being translated into english, Ryuutama proved to up to the task as well. A simply beautiful game with great and refreshing approach to the GM's role and how to bring "metagame" concepts like house rules and GM rotation into the game.

4. Book of Cairn: This RPG was one of those Kick Failures I mentioned. But another company picked it up and the result is great. An anthromorphic woodland animal RPG along the lines of Mouse Guard or Redwall. Like Far Away Land, the RPG is simple yet has depth and several processes that engage the player. As such, I think it is the second best RPG for young players that I have come across in my last few years search.

5. Icons: Assembled Edition: This is a revision of a great supers RPG. It is a complete RPG in a single compact book, emphasising the good parts of Icons whilst cutting down the cruft. I was very happy to see Gareth Skarka dropped from doing layout and publishing in favour of Daniel Solis and Green Ronin respectively. The RPG would have a higher rating if I was a bigger super RPG fan.

A notable mention goes to [b]Star Wars: Age of Rebellion[/b], following notable mention last year to its predecessor, showing FFG can stay the course, despite its previous poor track record. It's still too conflicted an RPG to be in my Top 5 but there is a lot in there to like and you could certainly do a lot worse for Star Wars.

My 2013 choices: Atlantis: The Second Age, Doule Cross, Warbirds, Golden Sky Stories, Lords of Gossamer and Shadow.

My 2012 choices: Tenra Bansho Zero, Shadows of Esteren, Marvel Heroic , Hellas 2nd Ed., Legends of the Wulin.

My 2011 choices: One Ring, Mistborn, Fabled Lands, Vampire the Masquerade 20th Ann. Ed., Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2e.

My 2010 choices: Eclipse Phase, Gamma World D&D4e, Dresden Files, Eoris, Icons.

My 2009 choices: D&D4e, Mouse Guard, Summerland, Anima, WFRP3e.

My 2008 choices: CthulhuTech, Dragon Warriors, D&D4e, Dark Heresy, Grimm.

My 2007 choices: CthulhuTech, Star Wars Saga Ed., Monte Cook's World of Darkness, Solomon Kane, BlissStage.

My 2006 choices: A Game of Thrones OGL, Spirit of the Century, Qin, Burning Empires, Agon.
Tags: atlantis, cairn, d&d, far away land, icons, ryuutama
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