Seven Tabletops to Try Next Game Night
Dungeons and Dragons is great and all, but even the most devoted players need a break once in a while. Here are a couple of ideas for different games you can run on your next game night. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even extend it for another night or two.
One could say that if classic Dungeons and Dragons is to medieval fantasy then Shadowrun would be the same but set in the near future. Shadowrun is an excellent blend of guns, magic, and cyberpunk. Let me tell you, it’s pretty to mow down an undead dragon with your grenade launching dwarf, drone-building elf, and dual pistol human wizard. It’s similar quite a bit to traditional Dungeons and Dragons in both rules and worldbuilding, which makes it a common starting point for branching out into other tabletop roleplaying games.
Call of Cthulhu
H.P. Lovecraft is well loved by many horror enthusiasts. Call of Cthulhu is great at both building suspense and making the players doubt any decisions they make. Although the rule system isn’t as intuitive as others, Call of Cthulhu more than makes it up in the intricate lore, immersive setting, spine-tingling tension. The best part is when you spend the night trying help your friends escape your worst nightmare only to find out that you’ve really been setting yourself up as the ritual sacrifice for bringing back an ancient squid god. Just saying.
Combine the fact that Star Wars has perhaps one of the largest fanbases of any fandom and the already established lore, you have the near perfect recipe for a great night. I mean who wouldn’t want to be a giant raging Wookie like Chewbacca, smooth-talking smuggler like Han Solo, or a Force-wielding Jedi. Maybe you even want a taste of the dark side. There’s plenty of options like playing a stormtrooper, bounty hunter, or the legendary Sith. There are hundreds of planets, starships, and trading posts that could be travelled, and so many races, classes, and backgrounds, you’re bound to keep coming back time and again.
Dungeons and Dragons isn’t the only fantasy tabletop RPG on the market. While considered to some to be an improvement to D&D 3.5 (a version already highly regarded to many in the community), one of the greatest highlights is how customizable a character’s options truly are. With so many options, it can get a little easy to be overwhelmed with all the rules. On the bright side, the system itself is so generic that nearly any player, whether old or new, can pick it up with some time and make it a great night.
Mutants & Masterminds
Superheroes are all the rage right now. Marvel Studios has been hitting it out of the park the last few years and DC Comics hasn’t done too bad either. Superheroes have a great way of inspiring greatness. Whether it be playing an up and coming hero still trying to figure out their powers or a near invincible Superman saving the world on a daily basis, in Mutants & Masterminds there’s plenty of potential to be the hero of a hundred different stories.
GURPS is an acronym for General Universal Roleplaying System. GURPS is great because it’s so… universal. Almost acting a common, higher set of rules, GURPS allows for several tabletop RPG systems to work together in unison. This is especially great if you only have a certain number of friends, each of whom use different rule sets. One player may particularly want to play a dragonborn sorcerer while another wants to be a Klingon starship pilot and yet another plans to be the Human Torch. Although complicated at first, GURPS is flexible enough to handle any player’s creative ideas. At the very least, it’ll make for quite a story.
Anything You Can Think of
It’s kind of a cop-out to say something like this but that’s the beauty of tabletop roleplaying games. From Mass Effect to Pokémon, there are rule systems for almost anything you can think of. If you can’t find one that you think would be particularly good, there’s no shame in modifying another system. Just credit where credit is due, be responsible, and if you need some help, there are plenty of videos, subreddits, and books that can help. Just get out there and play!