Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Favorite Sci-Fi RPG Poll Results are in!

First, let me say a big "thanks" to everyone who stopped by the blog and voted and especially to those who commented and gave feedback. I feel like I've got a good idea of what types of systems are out there and a much better idea about what those systems do.

So there were five options in the poll, here are the tallies for each and the percentage they garnered:
  • Star Frontiers - 35 votes / 43%
  • Star Wars (West End Games ed.) - 14 votes / 17%
  • Traveller ("little black books" ed.) - 13 votes / 16%
  • X-plorers - 3 votes / 3%
  • Something else - 15 votes / 18%
Vote total: 80!
And now the hokey, Excel graph....
Assuming these are all unique votes, then it would appear many of you who didn't vote for Star Frontiers (the clear winner) were torn in a near, three-way tie between Star Wars, Traveller, and "Something else". Something else won by a nose. X-plorers tracked much lower, but I think this might be due to the game being so new and much less known. Most of these games have been around for decades, so in a sense it may not have been fair to lump X-plorers in there, but I was glad to see it get some votes anyhow. The "big three" of Frontiers, Wars, and Traveller each garnered a large portion of champions in the comments, with Frontiers edging out the others as far as "pulpiness" is concerned.

Something Else
I should reiterate that I'd posted in a couple of forums to get reach beyond the loyal readers here at Exonauts! and obtain even more input via comments. So the comments on this blog make up only a portion of the total responses (and those threads are still eliciting comments). Of the comments that didn't cover the main four named RPGs, I heard the following suggestions:
  • Starblazer Adventures - LOTS of positive comments about this one, emphasizing ease in tailoring setting (a big plus for me). Also, lots of comments about it's "pulpy" gameplay. I have the PDF, which is filled with setting material and lots of comic book art.
  • Savage Worlds - Perhaps the biggest and most welcome surprise. The existing setting material places this more in the "retro space" era of Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers (which I adore, actually) but several commenters suggested it's versatility as a key benefit--so dropping something like Star Wars or a a generic sci-fi genre in wouldn't be a problem. Hmmmmm..... It's by far the "pulpiest" RPG mentioned.
  • D6 Space - When the West End Games version of Star Wars wasn't extolled, D6 Space took it's place. If nothing else, the PDF is free and the system nearly identical.
  • StarSIEGE - Also received several positive comments, though I'd not heard of it before. I downloaded the free version to review.
  • Star Ace - Pacesetter's answer to Star Frontiers was brought up as a good alternative by several. commenters. I'd never heard of this one before either, so it was a welcome option. Again, comments about "pulp" here too.
  • GURPS was also mentioned  :P
  • And then there's this guy's free Star Wars-based RPG, which was suggested by the author. I haven't had a chance to look at it yet, but I'm an avid supporter of homebrew efforts! 
Update: A few others I'd forgotten were mentioned:
  • Alternity - Had a fair amount of supporters. I'm not up on this one, so I'll have to take a look.
  • Thousand Suns - Not sure how I forgot this one, esp. since I asked one of it's creators to weigh in on how Traveller was influential in its development. Several commentors brought up how TS did a great job of distilling the original LBBs.
  • Mongoose Traveller - Also mentioned, as an alternative to the LBB version as it's a tidier version in a nice format, and yet pre-Imperium which makes it essentially a clean slate for setting material.
I think that covers the "Something else" category, if I'm missing something, let me know. Many commentors expressed feeling torn between voting for their favorite versus voting for the game they either play the most or find the most versatile--making nostalgia a huge factor in this poll. I'm okay with that, since part of finding the right game is finding one that you can have fun in--perhaps even in spite of the rules it employs.

"Pulpy" RPGs Win Big!
I think the biggest notion gleaned from the poll is how much people love a heap of pulp in their sci-fi. Which really got me thinking about what "pulp" means in gaming. I understand the term, sure, but I wonder which of these games holds closest to the idea of pulp adventure--and does that necessarily translate into a great gaming experience. I'd assumed pulp is what I wanted when I set out to gather info, and I'm not backpedaling now. But it did get me thinking on a deeper level about the nature of the games I'd asked about.

Final Thoughts
Well it definitely appears like I've got my work cut out for me in researching all these great games. I'm still knee-deep in several manuals at the moment and I expect it will be that way for a while. Whatever system I end up gravitating to, I'll be sure to post. For now, I'll be making my material setting-neutral so it's as easy to transpose as possible. I'll leave the poll online for a little while until I start updating the right nav again (a week or so).

I can't thank you guys enough for the feedback. I'm both shocked and humbled by the fact that 80 people stopped by my little corner of the galaxy and voted. Feel free to come back anytime--and sign up to be a follower if you're so inclined.

And as always, I'm "all ears" for suggestions and comments. I wish everyone great gaming in 2010 and...Expiscor Eternus!

1 comment:

  1. I'd love to play a game that's a cross between Indy Jones and Star Wars.

    Hunting for Sith Artifacts, sneaking by or blasting through weird Sith Cults, on planets with dinosaurs, robots, or dinosaur robots. Derelict space cruisers with Cunning Traps to guard their Antique Loot.