I’m participating in the #RPGaDAY 2018 challenge, so August is going to be busy with posting. They’ve broken up the challenge into 5 themes, corresponding with the weeks. Week One focuses on the What, Week Two the How, Week Three is Describe, Week Four is Which, and Week Five brings it all home with Share. But for now let’s just settle in and focus on today’s question:
Day Twenty-One: Which RPG Do You Think Deserves Greater Recognition?
It’s tempting to answer Traveller and be done with it. It’s a game that’s been on my mind of late, I’m going to be refereeing a game of it soon, and compared to the amount of resources and posts it gets compared to the D&D, Pathfinder or Savage Worlds (the Big Three of online gaming), it’s practically unknown.
However, it’s one of the first RPGs, coming out in 1977, one of the first scifi RPGs, and certainly a game with fans all over the world, for the last 40-odd years. It’s disingenuous to say Traveller is an unrecognized game, surely.
So I’m going to swerve and point out a game I don’t believe many of you have heard of. Outrider Studio’s Warbirds is an RPG cut from the same cloth as Crimson Skies, with desiel-punk sensibilities and background that suggests pulp adventuring and the Golden Age of Aviation. It’s also firmly science fiction, taking place in a Caribbean that’s been transported to a world of gigantic storms and flying islands. There’s even a Space Age expansion.
Warbirds is a very fast-playing game. It uses one d6 for rolls with your character and for fighter combat. The system isn’t unique (stat+skill+roll to meet or beat target number), but it gets out of the way and lets the players make fast, interesting decisions. The fighter combat shines with an abstract take on initiative and how that’s reflected in air combat. Essentially, a higher initiative plane can attack any other plane with a lower initiative score. If you’re dead last, you’re quite a target, but there’s maneuvers to help players seize initiative to get out of a jam.
If you like Warbirds, or if you like the system but want something besides air combat, there’s Remnants, a mecha game by the same published. Which mecha that level up with the characters, it’s a stand out setting compared to other Giant Stompy Robot, all-war, all-the-time games.