#RPGaDay Day 24 – On Giving a Game

Today’s Question: 

August 24th:What is the game that you are most likely to give to others?

This is simultaneously easy and challenging to answer. I could just cite my favorite game because I am very likely to give a good GM a copy of my favorite game to see what they do with it. A gift can often say a lot about the giver, and sharing games in this way is another form of interaction which can strengthen bonds and improve communication about how we do what we do. For example, I have given away quite a few copies of All for One: Regime Diabolique over the years. This year, if I am going to give a game to an established gamer I would be very surprised if it were not Leagues of Adventure, bundled with the Leagues of Gothic Horror expansion.

That said, I also very much like to give people games that remind me of them or the things they have reacted to positively in the past. I have a friend whose love of the Lord of the Rings is perhaps unmatched by any single person I have ever met. It was with great pleasure, then, that I presented him with a copy of The One Ring when it became available. Likewise, copies of Palladium Fantasy, copies of Hollow Earth Expedition, of Aberrant, and of A Time of War have gone out to people that I felt would appreciate them. Even if circumstances never allow these gifts to see much play, it still gives me a good feeling to know that these people have them. Again these are decisions based on their histories as gamers and as friends.

For this question, I think I will make my decision based on giving a gift to a newcomer to roleplaying games, based solely on the game itself. If I were to give a roleplaying game to someone as a gift, which game would it be?

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It would have to be a game that I felt reasonably sure they would not already have. It would need to be a game I could feel reasonably sure most people would appreciate, and have a chance to play. Suddenly, this seems like a tall order. Too narrow a focus and it is harder to find players. Too broad a focus, and it is harder to choose a pitch for an actual game. Too light or too heavy and the ability to please as wide a section of potential gamers is affected.

Decisions, decisions…

One of the first things to come to mind for this question, now that it is phrased this way, was Fiasco. After a lot of consideration, I came back around to it again. Ideally, you want your gift to be of some use, not require too much of the recipient, and be memorable. It might be a blast to gift a teenager with Edge of the Empire (and we should do that at every opportunity!) but generally speaking, a sampler may be a better way to go. I think of it like meeting a stranger for coffee rather than signing on to dinner and a movie right away.

Fiasco is easy to run but has some interesting rules. Its concept, and the number of free resources available for it, makes it easy to entice a group of people. It is good for nights when a regular game cannot happen, and it is good as a means to find and recruit players. It is long on meta-level story creation, and offers opportunities to act, which is good for one-offs, parties, and events. It is, however, relatively short on in-character level roleplay, so it won’t please everyone for the long-term, but most gamers can have a good time playing it.

All in all, this seems like a good contender for giving to a group of regular game players who are curious about but not that experienced with RPGs, yet. A group with a regular board and card game night would be ideal for this game, and it might lead them to trying out other things.

As another plus, if they already have the game, it makes an excellent re-gift.

Tomorrow’s Question:

August 25: What makes for a good character?

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