#iHunt: Did a few sessions of this. It remains one of the best Fate adaptations out there in terms of mechanics and theme. It goes high on my list of rpgs I want to play again. I’m usually a GM but I wouldn’t mind doing this with someone else running. The support materials for the game are dynamite and worth picking up PoD.
13th Age: My go-to for trad style play, though that’s changing this coming year as I experiment with playing D&D 5e. This year I had two campaigns. On the one hand I ran half a dozen sessions for the Gauntlet, using the Shards of the Broken Sky sandbox. On the other our home group moved back from online to f2f. We had a number of bumps, especially during the end of the year holiday season. But they still managed to get to just a hair away from 8th level. I expect to get them to 10th and wrap that in 2022.
Apocalypse Keys: I ran four sessions of the latest version of this as a playtest and I love it. I want to run a longer, more extended campaign this year. I dig the moves, the emotional play, and the way it sets up the mysteries.
Before the Endgame: I did one session of my superhero reskin of Before the Storm, a storygame about heroes on the eve of a final battle. I still adore this game. I love the character building process and really enjoy the play—especially the way the picks affect how you decide your character’s fate at the end. We did realize that 3-4 hours isn’t quite enough time. I want to run this as a two-part event at GCOG, with two 3-hour blocks and a break in between.
Chronicle: Microscope: This was a three-game series of linked mini-games. In the first we built the history of our world. I continue to really like Microscope, especially replacing Scenes with Questions. I might have to use this to run a bloc of D&D 5e in 2022. Or maybe to create a city for use with another fantasy game.
Chronicle: Arcana Innominta: The second game in this series. This is a smallish storygame which has you coming up with the suits, symbols, and meanings of cards from an imaginary tarot-like deck. You use those meanings to tell the story of a quest. We based this on our Microscope-created history.
Chronicle: Kingdom: The final part of this series. We did two sessions of Kingdom set within our created world. I still love Kingdom and the 2e changes are welcome. But it’s also a game which rewards system mastery. It’s easy to make some choices which end up being not as interesting to pursue in play. If you’ve played it a lot you get the sense of what works and what doesn’t. It also helps to work with a clear vision of the setting and themes.
Dune: Adventures in the Imperium: I was shocked at how much I enjoyed this. It’s a nice iteration of the 2d20 and captures a good deal of the flavor of the setting. I’d like to run this again for a longer term campaign. However, I’d want to make a few tweaks, especially to movement and some of the talents. It also need more resources and guidance for handling the “game of houses” which could be excellent, but is only lightly supported by the rules.
Fate: Skyship Concerto: My Fate hack which drew a lot from Opera House. You can see my blog post about it here. I would go back to this concept again, maybe with another system. I’m not sure. It does offer proof of concept that some of what I like about Sky Racers Unlimited could be done online with Fate. More about that when I talk about Tachyon Squadron.
Free from the Yoke: Still a great, great game. I enjoy the base version and I've gotten good at running it. I've hacked it for L5R and I've been looking at a couple of other versions I want to try in 2022.
Godbound: Still my favorite OSR-adjacent game. I love how wild and big you can make things here. I just envision Magic cards and I’m halfway there. I had run a few sessions of GB in 2020 and Dan Brown asked if I’d run it again so I decided on a three-month series. It went so well we end up scheduling a second quarterly game for the first part of 2022. I’m super excited to come back to this world and these characters.
Hearts of Wulin: Mystery Academy: We did another few sessions of an earlier series covering characters in a surreal academy dueling for memories and hearts. I love this setting and want to come back to it (maybe even hack it for a school of magic game), unfortunately illnesses and real life meant that this got cut short and we never picked it up again.
Hearts of Wulin: Numberless Secrets: My attempt to emulate wuxia mystery dramas (like Ancient Detective). To that end I bolted on a version of Brindlewood Bay’s clue and mystery system. In our first run, we did two cases. The first one I paced like I would BB, but that ended up feeling too fast. For the second I stretched things out, giving time for set up and interactions. It was four full sessions before we solved the second case. Right now I’m running another series with the same characters, five sessions for the mystery (the victim died at the end of session two). I also tweaked the mystery mechanics for this. I’m really loving it.
Hearts of Wulin: Star Wars Episode IX: For Rich Rogers’ Star Wars Saturday Special Edition event, I wanted a redo on Episode IX. So we have three sessions and players have chosen from a cast of pre-gens (Leia, Poe, Rose, and Rey). It’s been really fun so far—we have only the first eight movies as canon, but players can bring in other things so long as they provide context. This is going to be an exercise I try again both with Ep IX and with other stories.
Hearts of Wulin: Supernatural: My formerly f2f and now online group has been playing HoW with the supernatural materials throughout the year. Because of being b-weekly and lots of real world events, I guess we’ve actually gotten about a dozen sessions in. Still the play has been fun and we have a big climactic battle coming up which will probably signal the wrap up of the campaign.
Last Fleet: This is a dynamite PbtA game: evocative and interesting. It has some of the most novel mechanics out there and I love how it handles pressure. However at the table, it really wasn’t for me. Not because of anything wrong with the game but more my expectations of subject matter and tone. I wish this had clicked with me.
Little Katy’s Tea Party: A fun story game with an interesting premise. It has you switching back and forth between modes as Katy and as the toys protecting her. I backed the Kickstarter.
Masks: Days of Shadows Past: A Masks game where something has gone really wrong with the world—I had the players collaborate and develop that background. You can see my write up of that here. I enjoyed it and if the other Masks game hadn’t been so compelling, I might've considered running it again.
Masks: Year One: You can see my write up of this here. Basically players chose an existing comic character (in this case Dr Strange, Catwoman, Thor, daredevil, and She Hulk). We then play them as teen versions in their first year of suprherodom. It was terrific and I would definitely do this again (and again) with new groups of characters.
Night’s Black Agents Express: My attempt to use The Yellow King-style investigative mechanics, PbtA-style resolution, and Solo Ops –style talents to run Night’s Black Agents. It worked OK, but needs more work. Still I did get 16 sessions out of it. It was a worthwhile experiment, plus I got to use a bunch of the Pelgrane stuff I’d bought for NBA.
Raccoon Sky Pirates: A really fun one-shot about raccoons in a junkyard flying vessel raiding suburban homes. I backed the Kickstarter.
Red Markets: I got hooked on this after I read the set up material for my Year in Post Apocalyptic Games lists. Will H mentioned he’d run it and was interested. We ended up with him running which was great because he had a handle on the mechanics and the requisite cold-bloodedness necessary. It’s a dark, dark game. I’m not sure I could go quite that dark. It’s really good but does have a lot of detail to it which means it won’t work for a lot of groups. Plus, wow, it has a dire, dire world. More dire than most post-apocalyptic worlds. And that’s mostly because it echoes rw elements.
Ryuutama: I was glad to get a chance to finally play this. I had a good time with the characters—some fun interactions and I liked the crew. We didn’t really get a chance to explore the combat mechanics which are a little more involved.
Songs for the Dusk: We played a couple of sessions of this weird, Forged in the Dark post-apocalyptic game. I liked what I saw—but then a new version of the game came out which changed a bunch of stuff. And then another version which tweaked things more. Rather than try to keep up we ended up tabling this until a more final version is out there.
Space Wurm vs. Moonicorn: What a great game. Tyler ran a couple months of this from the Quick Start version. It’s great and I really enjoyed my character all the way through. I highly recommend this game. Like I think two months is a real sweet spot for it.
Star Trek Express: I did one more story for our Sunday Star Trek game before I got more than a little burned out—I started a second story, but we didn’t finish it up. I still love the characters and setting, but coming up with dramatic, TV-worthy adventures is a challenge—unless you want it to feel more like a conventional ttrpg, which kind of wastes the setting.
The Veil Inheritance: We played this from the quick start and reference sheets. I leaned into the Cowboy Bebop vibe where I could (despite only having watched one or two episodes). Like the best of The Veil stuff, Inheritance leans into some great themes: in this case identity, memory, and self. We had a great series but literally never got to do the final session because of various illnesses (a running theme this year).
Trail of Cthulhu: I ran this series by request. I’d run ToC for my home f2f group, but I hadn’t done it online. I stayed pretty core to the core rules, with some tweaks drawn from Cat Ramen’s advice. I had a good time with this, riffing a little on some older Lovecraft stories. In particular I dug the 1930s New York setting we used. If I run it again, I’ll probably use that again.
Vergence: This is a Forged in the Dark game with elements of Amber. It’s got some good stuff going on and it’s one of the more interesting stripping down of the rules. But there’s some places where the cutting leaves some interesting choices and options on the table. The campaign types as crew sheets idea is cool, but needs some work—especially in how to handle experience. I’m glad I ran it but I probably would look for something else to take care of my Amber itch next time.