Like last year, I’m doing a non-review of my favorite RPG products of the year.
I don’t review RPG products anymore, but I can certainly tell you what I loved. This is simply my impressions and responses to products that have come out.
Consider these recommendations, but there are so many great RPGs out there. It was hard to choose the best of list, and there are many more I wish I could mention.
It’s been a rough year for a lot of folks, and gaming is a great way to cope with life stresses!
I also never put my games on this list. But if you want to buy my games, there’s links in the menu on the left!
10.) Savage Rifts: Technically, this was a 2016 release, but I didn’t get my print copies from the Kickstarter until January 2017, so I think it counts. It wouldn’t be a Best of list for me without at least one Savage Worlds game on it!
An update of Palladium’s Rifts setting to the excellent Savage World ruleset, Savage Rifts brings the gonzo and weird Rifts world into an accessible ruleset.
It doesn’t feel like Savage Worlds, instead feeling like Savage Worlds reflected through a funhouse mirror. All distorted, weird and fun.
It’s imminently accessible, the books are a fantastically fun read.
9.) Starfinder: There’s a lot of Science Fiction on my list this year, which is interesting.
Starfinder is a great book. I’d pretty much gotten off the Pathfinder bandwagon when D&D 5e came out (I preferred the streamlined nature of 5e), but man, if Starfinder hasn’t grabbed the lapels of my attention and stared me down.
It’s got great art, a fun setting, and a strong focus on streamlining some of the crunchy bits of Pathfinder, while still obviously being Pathfinder.
It’s still a bit crunchy for me, but unlike Pathfinder, I can actually see myself attempting to run Starfinder.
8.) Changeling: The Dreaming – 20th Anniversary Edition: I missed the boat with the original editions of Changeling, but man, if I am not fully on board now.
These edition is gorgeous. It’s equal parts throw-back to the early editions (which I now have and own), and equal parts advancement.
The art lands, the prose is exactly what I’ve had expected, and this is a game that knows what it wants to be.
I love it.
7.) Tomb of Annihilation: As long as Wizards of the Coast keeps pumping out great 5e products for D&D, I don’t see it’s inclusion on this list fading. This year, there’s actually two D&D products.
First, is the Tomb of Annihilation. A modernized homage to the classic Tomb of Horrors, it’s a huge campaign with lots of cool pieces (like dinosaur races), and a fun setting.
It’s got a good mix of the “old-school” feel, while still being squarely the modern D&D we know and love.
6.) Xanathar’s Guide to Everything: Oh look, the second D&D 5e product.
About three years into the D&D 5e life-cycle, Wizards has released it’s first major “crunch” update, providing tons of options for players to change, improve and differentiate their characters.
Lots of cool subclasses. Lots of cool feats.
Just, lots of cool here. I see this being an essential tome at my table.
5.) Blue Rose: So I never played the previous True20 edition of Blue Rose, but I remember it catching my eye on the shelf.
This new edition is a massive tome, chock full of content. It’s got a super developed setting that feels very different from other fantasy settings, a complete inclusion of the Fantasy Age ruleset, and a lot more!
I really dug this book, and while we didn’t play a campaign very long, I can see myself returning to it.
4.) DEGENESIS: The Killing Game: So, DEGENESIS is one of the prettiest (if not the prettiest) RPGs on the market. Period.
The ruleset is fantastic, and The Killing Game is an amazing adventure/campaign for the DEGENESIS setting. It’s just packed with amazing art, stunning layout, and it’s visually, just a work of art that I can’t help but stare out.
The game deserves far more attention and market penetration than it’s getting.
3.) Paranoia: Red Clearance Edition: Man, I dig Paranoia. Always have. I loved the zany rules, the crazy take on satire.
This new edition is a surprising amount of content in a tiny box. A totally revised ruleset, with lots of new elements, a shift in focus (no longer Communists, but Terrorists), and a lot to love, I can’t recommend it enough.
It’s a steal for what you get at the price point, and we’ve already had hours of fun from it.
2.) Middermark: So, I’ve not played Torchbearer in the Middarmark setting yet, but hot damn, I love this book.
It’s a work of art. Carefully crafted and an obvious labor of love by the lead writer, Thor, Middarmark pushed my like of Torchbearer into a full-blown love affair.
It introduces new rules, a new class, tons of wonderful world building (tree and weather tables, a throwback to Greyhawk,) with evocative and great art throughout.
I absolutely adore this book, and it is just amazing.
1.) Star Trek: Adventures: So yeah. This is absolutely the best game of the year. Let me list the reasons why.
I love Star Trek. It’s a two decade long love, and it shows no signs of abating (despite Discovery’s attempt to kill it.)
I love this version of the 2d20 ruleset. It’s a perfect match, and it’s clear the designers of this game are on the same page as I when it comes to what makes Star Trek, Star Trek.
It’s a fun, easy read.
It’s huge. Just packed with stuff. It’s crunchy in all the right places, while simple and fast in the right places.
Yeah. It’s the perfect Star Trek RPG!