Sunday, April 22, 2012

Obscure Games Special: Games I Wish I Had

Over the years, there have been a lot of games that have come and gone. Some of them are still around in various forms, but a lot of games have fallen by the wayside. The best of them (or at least, the most popular) become collectors' items and difficult to find. Here are some games that I missed out on getting, and would like to have.

Buck Rogers XXVc - When this was around, I was in an anti-TSR frame of mind. It was easier to laugh at a TSR attempt at SF than to actually look into it, especially when my only real experience of the property was the campy late-'70s-early-'80s TV show. I have since learned that this was a pretty interesting setting, and the system was apparently not bad. Ah, well.

Bunnies & Burrows - I was much too much of a "serious" gamer when I was a kid, and this was pretty much, conceptually, the antithesis of what I wanted. Yeah, I was dumb. The GURPS version was excellent (and I still have it), but I wish I'd had the presence of mind to get the original.

Lords of the Middle Sea - A wargame from Chaosium, set in a future where the seas have risen about a thousand feet, and a significant portion of the midwest has collapsed (due to all the helium being removed, if I recall correctly). Based on a short story, the title of which eludes me at the moment. Super-cool setting, now hard to find for less than a hundred bucks.

Skyrealms of Jorune - Although intrigued by the art and story bits in the advertising, I never got around to picking this up. Recently, a friend of mine showed me his copy, and I realized what I had been missing. Should have gotten it when I had the chance, years ago.

Worlds of Wonder - Chaosium's boxed set was, in some ways, the first "universal" RPG. I kinda have this, actually, as I photocopied a friend's books, but I wish that I'd gotten a copy of this game when it was around. I hear that Magic World is being redone in the new BRP system, and I do have Superworld. Future World was pretty spiffy, sort of a prototype of Stargate. The universal city was an interesting idea.

FTL:2448, Stalking the Night Fantastic, and Fringeworthy - The three games from Tri-Tac for sci-fi, horror, and another Stargate prototype, respectively. The system was unwieldy (and I think it was derived from Morrow Project, though the relationship was distant, as I recall) and the setting details were sketchy, but we had so much fun playing these in the '80s. I never got copies, though, and relied on the copies owned by the GM. What a mistake that was. At least I was smart enough to get the BTRC games that were (vaguely) similar, even if I don't think that I'd ever play them due to their complexity: TimeLords, SpaceTime, and Warp World.

Dune: Chronicles of the Imperium - Actually, I did own this. Then I stupidly put it up for auction at GenCon (the last one in Milwaukee, and the only GenCon I've been able to make it to). Someone got a great deal on it, and I got shafted. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Ah, well, at least I have Burning Sands: Jihad.

What games did you miss out on?


  1. XXVc had some good ideas, but I felt it tried too hard to meld "proper" sci-fi with campy rocketship pulp. And the system was essentially 2e AD&D with classes like Rocketjock and Medic, and races like Martian, Venusian, or genetically engineered species. I felt like it would have been a better overall game if they had gone one way or the other in terms of setting.

    Stalking the Night Fantastic, interestingly enough, was the game that inspired the wonderful Bureau 13 novels by Nick Pollotta.

    1. Good to know more about the XXVc system. Still wish I had a copy.

      STNF was also released under the title Bureau 13: Stalking the Night Fantastic in its later editions. I haven't read the novels (there are, I see on Teh Wikipedias, five of them) yet. I also notice that TriTac is still selling the games, but only as PDFs.

  2. Crimson Cutlass, a cape-and-sword game from the late Seventies and one of the inspirations for Flashing Blades.

    1. I've never heard of that one. I was only aware of En Garde as a precursor to Flashing Blades. Neat!