Games That Really "Wowed" You?

Retreater

Legend
I just got back from GenCon, and I make it a goal to try different systems every time I attend a convention.
Here are some that I tried this time that I enjoyed. Feel free to add yours in this thread....
1) Pirate Borg (Mork Borg): fast character creation, simple rules (but based on d20 so it's familiar), very flavorful.
2) Zweihander: it really played like a streamlined Warhammer Fantasy. I thoroughly enjoyed the session.
3) Mother Ship: fast character creation, simple rules (percentage based), flexible skill choices (pick a skill and attribute you think are relevant - and the GM decides), interesting random charts that give lots of flavor
4) Vaesen: another Year Zero game by Free League - and I haven't been disappointed yet. Dice rolling and damage is simpler than Forbidden Lands. Would work great for any supernatural mystery game (a la Cthulhu).
 

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payn

Legend
I enjoyed Forbidden Lands as an old school flavored fantasy RPG. Didnt care much for the setting at all, but I enjoyed the system. I think it did resource attrition well, and gave a real sense of exploration. Combat was very deadly, so it had that OSR feel going for it.

Pathfinder classic. Seriously, I loved that it did some work on 3.5E, which I was just getting mastered at the time. The adventure paths turned me onto using published adventures again. I got a good decade of solid gaming from Paizo. Had many great campaigns and tons of great characters during that time!

Oh, how was Pirate Borg? Is it age of sail type of game?
 

Staffan

Legend
Last time I got seriously impressed with an RPG design was FFG's Star Wars. Having two different axes of task resolution (success/failure and good/bad side effects) added a lot to the game, and I also liked the combination of traditional skill improvement and class-based talent trees. In particular, I like that the talent trees let you make it so certain abilities can be bought in multiple levels, but you can't laser-focus on them because you can only buy them once per "spot" in the trees.

More recently, I've enjoyed the Troubleshooters. It's not so much "wow, can you do that?" as Star Wars, but it's a really solid implementation of BRP, and I like that they've turned classic ability scores into skills just like any other (which means you never have to go "The lawyer is really smart so he should be good at tech too"), and also that they have binary Abilities which are sort of like feats. Story points are icing on the cake, but nothing that hasn't been done before. That goes for most of the Troubleshooters really: made mostly from off-the-shelf components, but put together really well, and given a really attractive package.
 


thullgrim

Adventurer
Genesys (the generic version of FFG Star Wars). The first time I read it it blew my mind.

Had the same feeling the first time I read Blades in the Dark as well.

Numenera as a setting was eye opening.

I love WHFRP 4e and I have Zweihander. I’m curious about how you feel comparing them.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I only tried Forbidden Lands recently. I am really impressed with the system and, like someone upstream, not in love with the setting. I played in one short game that had a Fantasy Celtic pastiche kind of approach, and that was glorious.

Swords of the Serpentine continues to wow me as well.
 

Funny enough, both Pirate Borg and Mothership also wowed the heck out of me at Origins. Great GMs and great tables at both games.

I just got back from GenCon, and I make it a goal to try different systems every time I attend a convention.
Here are some that I tried this time that I enjoyed. Feel free to add yours in this thread....
1) Pirate Borg (Mork Borg): fast character creation, simple rules (but based on d20 so it's familiar), very flavorful.
2) Zweihander: it really played like a streamlined Warhammer Fantasy. I thoroughly enjoyed the session.
3) Mother Ship: fast character creation, simple rules (percentage based), flexible skill choices (pick a skill and attribute you think are relevant - and the GM decides), interesting random charts that give lots of flavor
4) Vaesen: another Year Zero game by Free League - and I haven't been disappointed yet. Dice rolling and damage is simpler than Forbidden Lands. Would work great for any supernatural mystery game (a la Cthulhu).
 

innerdude

Legend
Ironsworn "wowed" me from first read, through 8-10 sessions of GM-ing. Not one time was I ever disappointed. I honestly kept saying to myself, "At some point, is it ever not going to be awesome? When does the letdown happen?" Hasn't happened yet.

I also have to agree with FFG Star Wars. I was pretty neutral to the whole narrative dice resolution mechanic up front, even though I'd heard good things about it. In the 6-8 sessions I've GM'd of it, it has consistently "wowed" me with how well it delivers what's promised in the pages. Admittedly, it also helps that I have a tremendous group who's highly capable of narrative contribution and collaboration.
 


Retreater

Legend
I love WHFRP 4e and I have Zweihander. I’m curious about how you feel comparing them.
I like WFRP because of the setting (it was one of my earliest fantasy RPGs and I got into the lore of the miniatures wargame).
The current edition didn't really connect with me (or my groups): opposed checks, success levels, lengthy character creation, character creation "traps," keeping track of advantage, etc. - all this really slowed down the game.
Having not run Zweihander myself, I can't say if it's simpler behind the scenes - but for me as a player at a convention game, it seemed simple enough.
However, the book seems rather large and poorly organized, so it wasn't one that I was interested in purchasing for myself.
 


delericho

Legend
It has been a long time since a game wowed me. There are, I think, four: Star Wars d6, Shadowrun 1st Ed, Vampire: the Masquerade, and D&D 3e. I don't play any of them any more, and suspect SW is the only one I'd consider revisiting.

These days I'm looking for consistent fun more than I am being wowed.
 

I haven't been to conventions lately (not even online conventions), so no brand new discoveries, but there's a few games that still very much click with me:
  1. Broken Compass for light-weight, fast-paced pulp action (sadly in limbo since CMON bought 2LM).
  2. Forbidden Lands - as others have already mentioned, it feels like OSR with a modern game engine, and I really enjoy the focus on exploration
  3. Dungeon Crawl Classics - definitely not a new game, but every time I play, I'm reminded how great it is when everybody is itching to go into the dungeon, figure out weird puzzles and try to figure out weird ways to beat their opponent's.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
It's been a long time since a game actually "wowed" me.

Three that come to mind-

1. Ghostbusters RPG (1986, maybe?). I'd played a lot of different RPGs before this, but this was the first one to actually start me thinking about the way the game was designed. Between the dice pool, the meta currency (brownie points) and the great and minimal ruleset, it had a lasting impact on the way I thought about games.

2. Amber Diceless. I loved everything Zelazny, so I was so excited to see the Amber RPG. I bought it immediately. And I read through it. And ... I didn't get it. How do you play a TTRPG ...without dice? Eventually, I just had to ... well, do. Running and playing Amber in the '90s made me a better GM and player.
 

Reynard

Legend
The first game that really wowed me outside of my first encounter with D&D was Mayfair's DC Heroes 2E. I had played Heroes Unlimited, and it was cool, but DC was the first time I encountered super hero point buy and oh man was I hooked. When I finally discovered Hero later, it was even bigger of a mind blowing experience.
 

payn

Legend
It's been a long time since a game actually "wowed" me.

Three that come to mind-

1. Ghostbusters RPG (1986, maybe?). I'd played a lot of different RPGs before this, but this was the first one to actually start me thinking about the way the game was designed. Between the dice pool, the meta currency (brownie points) and the great and minimal ruleset, it had a lasting impact on the way I thought about games.

2. Amber Diceless. I loved everything Zelazny, so I was so excited to see the Amber RPG. I bought it immediately. And I read through it. And ... I didn't get it. How do you play a TTRPG ...without dice? Eventually, I just had to ... well, do. Running and playing Amber in the '90s made me a better GM and player.
Thats just two!
 


Teo Twawki

Coffee ruminator
Only three or four games have wowed me--especially after playing them. Shadowrun first edition was wow-inspiring to look at, but groan- & cringe-inducing to play. Noumenon is a really, really WoW! game idea. But it requires complete buy-in by everyone, or it doesn't work; I've wanted to use the game as an ontological experiment in a philosophy class, but ... Alas! Never got tenured while teaching, so I never had the chance. :p

Delta Green's ingenuity of making a band of investigators in Call of Cthulhu work. Chaosium could have done this years before Delta Green with their Theron Marks Society insert booklet, but they never did anything more with the idea than than one-off-and-forget-about-it booklet. Delta Green grew into a great investigative game that compels the characters to make pragmatic decisions amidst the Weird and Unnatural circumstances. Not many rpgs force the consideration of what to do with the body of who or what the characters have just killed. Or, afterwards, to confront their mundane life of family, friends, and day job.
I haven't verifiably encountered Cthulvian beasties, but I'd guess doing so, especially more than once, would change how I dealt with the husband and the job and the folks stocking shelves at the grocery store.

Nephilim really, really wowed me. Both the original French game and the English translation. Still ranks with me as perhaps the most impressive rpg character building I've ever encountered. The breadth of scope this game has is breathtaking. And the game has some of the most grounded perspective of real-world occultism any rpg has offered.
I certainly cannot definitively state I have lived a dozen lives as the same preternatural sapient being, but I imagine I would remember lucid snippets and retain elements of them while inhabiting this proverbial meat covered skeleton composed of stardust as it rides on a rock hurtling through space.

But of all wow-inducing games, first edition Twilight: 2000 is, by far, the most impressive rpg I've heard of, read, or played. Sure, the military orders of battle details are astounding, but more impressive is to have been able to capture the authenticity of human survival of an almost-resourceless setting in dice mechanics; it is a staggering accomplishment. Granted, implementing such is up to the gm and players involved (I've seen more handwavium fantasy in post-apocalyptic games than probably any other genre--thanks, Hollywood), but the mechanics of the reality is written into the game. Equally as impressive is the tapestry of moral crossroads provided to allow (like human freewill itself) for characters to behave indecently, if that's the vile road they wish to take. Both surviving and having to make a conscious choice to behave either deplorably or with ethical morality are the dilemmas humans face in such a situation as the world around you is fuct, so what do you do now?
Unlike the previous two examples, I have survived a post-apocalyptic military siege for four years with almost no resources and being forced to make decisions that should only ever have to be made in a fictional or philosophic setting. :unsure: Perhaps if I hadn't survived, I wouldn't care for a game that mimicked such a situation. But I did, so I very much do. 😎
 

MGibster

Legend
Ghostbusters RPG (1986, maybe?). I'd played a lot of different RPGs before this, but this was the first one to actually start me thinking about the way the game was designed. Between the dice pool, the meta currency (brownie points) and the great and minimal ruleset, it had a lasting impact on the way I thought about games.
Okay, boomer! I played Ghostbusters, and I liked it, but I didn't really appreciate the mechanics until many, many years later.
 

Yora

Legend
Star Wars d6.

To this day, the Gamemaster Handbook for 2nd edition remains the only GM book I've ever seen that actually teaches gamemastering instead of being a bundle of mechanics that didn't fit into the player book.
 

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