No doubt about it, D&D dominates the gaming scene old and new. That is not necessarily a bad thing, as D&D is a solid game (both in terms of system and genre) with an enormous fanbase. It serves as a ‘lingua franca’ for the gaming community, much as English serves as a global language for the world. As Nelson Mandela said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Make no wonder then that D&D has captured the hearts of so many for so long.
But just as English isn’t the only language and just as its hegemony causes others to be forgotten, D&D blots out many other worthy games. Although the OSR has made great strides in bringing old editions of D&D back into circulation and discourse, it has largely failed to do the same for other lesser-known old school games. Although fans diligently create materials and run sites for Traveler, Star frontiers, and MSHAG, I feel that there is a desire and need to unearth more obscure games, as evidenced by blogs like Mesmerized by Sirens, and the proliferation of non-D&D posts on OSR blogs.
I seek to encourage this widening of the OSR spotlight by throwing down the gauntlet of an RPG blog challenge about games other than D&D. I participated in a 30-day challenge last year and had a great time, but also felt really limited by its adherence to D&D, and a little lost because it demanded knowledge of the terminology from later editions that I did not have. I also participated in MbS’s Obscure RPG Appreciation day, which I found inspiring and enlightening, and learned about the lost siblings of D&D. Although I celebrated D&D’s recent 40th birthday, I’m all blogged out about the game and thus didn’t participate in the challenge.
In this vein, I have created a 31 Day Blogging Challenge for March that asks questions on a wide range of genres and systems, and I hope that we can introduce lots of great games (and a few terrible ones) that are not as well known as they should be. Although I hope primarily to hear of older games, I have left the questions vague on the age of games so as to encourage younger bloggers or hobby latecomers to contribute as well.
Because participating in a 30 day blog challenge takes up so much time and energy, I’ve decided to publish my questions here well in advance of March to give those interested a chance to reflect and start writing drafts of their posts. I hope to see other blogs take up the challenge, and will be posting reminders as March draws near. I hope you will contribute to this widening of OSR perspectives and look forward to learning and reading much from the participants.
March Madness 31 day Obscure Game Blogging Challenge
1 What was the first roleplaying game other than D&D you played? Was it before or after you had played D&D?
2 In what system was the first character you played in an RPG other than D&D? How was playing it different from playing a D&D character?
3 Which game had the least or most enjoyable character generation?
4 What other roleplaying author besides Gygax impressed you with their writing?
5 What other old school game should have become as big as D&D but didn’t? Why do you think so?
6 What non-D&D monster do you think is as iconic as D&D ones like hook horrors or flumphs, and why do you think so?
7 What fantasy RPG other than D&D have you enjoyed most? Why?
8 What spy RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
9 What superhero RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?
10 What science fiction RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
11 What post-apocalyptic RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?
12 What humorous RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
13 What horror RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?
14 What historical or cultural RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
15 What pseudo or alternate history RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?
16 Which RPG besides D&D has the best magic system? Give details.
17 Which RPG has the best high tech rules? Why?
18 What is the crunchiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?
19 What is the fluffiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?
20 Which setting have you enjoyed most? Why?
21 What is the narrowest genre RPG you have ever played? How was it?
22 What is the most gonzo kitchen sink RPG you ever played? How was it?
23 What is the most broken game that you tried and were unable to play?
24 What is the most broken game that you tried and loved to play, warts and all?
25 Which game has the sleekest, most modern engine?
26 What IP (=Intellectual Property, be it book, movie or comic) that doesn’t have an RPG deserves it? Why?
27 What RPG based on an IP did you enjoy most? Give details.
28 What free RPG did you enjoy most? Give details.
29 What OSR product have you enjoyed most? Explain how.
30 Which non-D&D supplemental product should everyone know about? Give details.
31 What out-of-print RPG would you most like to see back in publication? Why?