I got to spend my Saturday night nerding it up with some good friends. My husband and I host monthly tabletop gaming nights. We’re definitely into the pen-and-paper RPG’s, and board games. The problem with board games, though, is they don’t allow for a whole lot of role-play, and let’s face it, that’s where this group of friends shines.
We had tried Trail of Cthulhu after a long stint of Arkham Horror. The trouble with keeping game nights interesting is to not let the game go stale. Arkham Horror is still one of my top 5 favorite board games, but we had played it to death. We tried introducing new character sheets, but everyone sticks with what they know (or which character is the cheapest).
Trail of Cthulhu went over very well, but it’s a lot of prep work. And by a lot, I mean a shit ton. ToC was heavily focused on the narrative aspect, and free will for players. Which sounds nice for the players; actually, it was more than nice – it was a blast. But for the Keeper, trying to come up with a meaty story with twists and turns is a heavy undertaking. Our friends called out for more role-playing and less fighting, but we couldn’t keep up. So we abandoned ToC.
Enter Gamma World (7th Edition). It’s based on the 4th Edition D&D rules, and was supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek-make-the-most-ridiculous-character-you-could type of game. I, at one point, had a feline scientist who used a Stretch Armstrong filled with rocks for a weapon. It sounds good, like ToC, but playing with 6 or more players is tedious. Each “round” is actually 3 rounds. And that coupled with our very assorted personalities did not keep us interested as much as my husband had hoped.
So when our friend told us he bought the rulebook to Savage Worlds, I wasn’t terribly impressed. I was downright cynical of it, and didn’t think it would take off as a group.
Turns out, it went over pretty well.
We spent a good 3 hours making our characters. Let me tell you, this group takes their characters seriously! It’s almost like an actor preparing for a role. Once we were done filling in our character sheets, we launched right into the story.
With Savage Worlds, you can tailor the story to what you want to do. It doesn’t have to be a medieval setting, or a post-apocalyptic wasteland set in a dystopian future. You can have it set to modern day. An alien world. 25 million years in the future. A team of scientists working on a time machine that goes on the fritz and launches them back and forth through time, in one game!
It offers much needed variety. You can make your game as serious or as silly as you like.
The combat takes a bit to get used to, but it’s nothing extremely long. I felt the rounds were quite balanced and there weren’t too many rules to remember. It was more streamlined than Gamma World, with more action than ToC, and definitely the fun of both.
I would highly recommend it to those looking to get started on the plethora of tabletop RPG’s out there. I think it would please most crowds, without the tedium.
“the lunatic is on the grass”