The long form example of AD&D at play has been a fascinating experiment, and one that has taught me a new appreciation for both AD&D and the joys of solo RPGs. Discovering the hidden gem of solo gaming buried within Gygax’s masterpiece has led me to wonder what other treasures lie buried out there in the trash heap of old and unplayed games.
Part of my inspiration here is the work Jeffro Johnson is doing in the dig site of the Palladium Mecha game. The Palladium company has a complicated and controversial reputation, so it has been fascinating to watch Jeffro ditch all expectations and approach the game on its own merits. It’s not to my tastes, but still makes for a fine read. It also makes me wonder what other games deserve a second look through new grognard eyes.
Most of my experience with solo play has been with paragraph style game books or miniature wargames and hybrid style games like Rangers of Shadowdeep and FiveCore and Necromunda. The latter two of which use a narrative style campaign to build to generate tabletop skirmish battles. If the press is to be believed, Five Parsecs does allow for handwaving the tabletop with a few dice rolls so you can get back to campaign management. However, these games fail either my “no miniature battles” or “old game” requirements.
Rather than spend a small fortune and the rest of my days hunting up a new game to explore – and we all know search engines are useless for such things these days, what with an over-reliance on the reddit cesspit – I have the happy honor of turning to the real experts, the giants on whose shoulders I happily perch.
You tell me. What sort of older RPG game would work well both solo and on camera? What older games deserve a second chance? What games have just enough of a fanbase for me to lean on and learn from?
A few thoughts:
- Traveller might work, hence the image above, but it has a massive fanbase already and has been picked to pieces by smarter Gunga Dins than me.
- Mystery and secret-knowledge games like Cthulhu and Paranoia are right out, but faction games could work if the “fog of war” effect is manageable.
- Random creation tables – oh sorry we call them procedural generation now because it sounds more pretentious – are helpful and probably mandatory. It would take more analysis before I came down firmly on one side of that issue.
- It should be reasonably available in print and reasonably priced – I ain’t dropping two hundred bucks on HoL.