During a recent conversation with gaming friends, the topic of “what games most influenced us over the years?” came up. It was so interesting to hear how games we played as kids, in school, and later in life influenced our gaming interests today and led to some of us working in the game industry. This Monday series will take a personal look into my history as a gamer with my #Top10InfluentialGames. This week we take our fate into our own hands and discuss emphasizing storytelling over mechanics in our roleplaying.
A little over five years ago, I was looking for a change of pace in my roleplaying. I had a new gaming group that at the time was not as interested in D&D but still wanted to play fantasy. I had just read the Starblazer Adventures RPG from Cubicle 7 and heard about the spin-off sequel, Legends of Anglerre. The Fate system within both games fascinated me at the time. The idea of an rpg that was heavily story focused and gave the players opportunities to alter the adventure and world interested me. We had dabbled a little into Deadlands with its Bennies and Adventure! with its Inspiration, so the idea of Fate Points and their impact wasn’t completely foreign to our group.
With my encouragement, the group decided to give the Fate system a try and use Legends of Anglerre as the game system within our own home brew fantasy world. It was a rough start for us as we had to learn to play within a less stringent rule system, but over time it opened up our storytelling quite a bit. The players and I really enjoyed the flexibility it gave us. My enjoyment of the Fate system as a game master led me to start up a Dresden Files RPG campaign with my other gaming group at the time that met once a year. We were all Dresden fans, and the idea of gaming in that world fascinated us. We have played Dresden files each year ever since. We are now looking into the new Dresden Files Accelerated from Evil Hat that is coming out soon. My second freelance proofreading job was a Fate game called Mindjammer, so even my freelancing has been influenced by the Fate rpg. As a game master, I have an itch to return to my roots for some superhero gaming again, so I am planning to run some games using ICONS Assembled, which uses a modified system similar to Fate.
I feel this enjoyment of the Fate rpg system is one of the strongest reasons I am enjoying D&D 5e so much. The new fifth edition feels like a continuation of my favorite elements of 1e/2e AD&D merged with the flexible storytelling of Fate by the 5e use of the Advantage/Disadvantage and Inspiration mechanics. I get to enjoy my passion for running D&D along the flexibility of more light, story-centric rules.
I have learned a lot about myself as I have reflected through these influential games. Each game taught its own lessons, but there are two that flow from Fate and into all the others.
Storytelling matters more than rules. As I have gotten older, I find I don’t like as crunchy of rule systems, whether they be RPGs or tabletop games. Yeah, I will still play the occasional heavy game, but I prefer relaxing with friends, building relationships, and telling epic stories. Even when rules are heavier, I recommend that the story should always come first. If you have to bend a rule a bit to keep the story flowing, then I encourage you to do so.
Playing games can change you. I am not the same person I was before I started gaming. Because I care more about relationships and stories, I have become much less competitive and rules lawyer over the years. I have developed talents in leadership, organization, writing, and storytelling. As I reflected over all these games, I have come to realize how much closer they have brought me to friends and family.
Well, that concludes my series on my #Top10InfluentialGames which included
- 500 Rummy
- Villains & Vigilantes
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Champions/Hero System
- World of Darkness
What about you? What games have you played the most over the years that had a huge impact on you? I would be very interested in others writing about their #Top10InfluentialGames.