I’ve been roleplaying for a very long time, since the advent of modern gaming back in 1974 with Chainmail, the precursor of Dungeons & Dragons, so you might say I’ve got some experience on the subject, but as time has gone on, it has been more and more difficult to get new people involved in gaming, it seems nobody has the patience for long rulesets and lots of involved planning and thinking. Of course, that’s really where my love of gaming lies, I like complex thinking and planning and, because of my experience, long, involved rulesets don’t bother me a bit.
However, maybe there is a better way.
Now I hadn’t really paid a lot of experience to role-playing in recent years, just because of the inherent problems finding decent players who are available on a regular basis. But after having a couple of conversations with gamers, I decided that if nothing else, maybe I should listen to some gaming podcasts, especially the “let’s play” variety, where I could game vicariously through other people. Since I hate fantasy, that left out the majority of podcasts which are only concerned with playing D&D or Pathfinder or other fantasy games. I did find a couple of podcasts which dealt with largely non-fantasy games, one of which was the Play Better podcast, which I heartily recommend. Through that podcast, I heard about the Apocalypse engine and in particular, the game called Monster of the Week. These games are intended to make gaming simple. Players play archetypes, they don’t roll characters. They get a sheet that gives them basic stats and they go from there. Anyone can play. It doesn’t take an encyclopedic knowledge of arcane RPG tropes, you look at the sheet, you roll a die, you play the game. Easy peasy. And on top of it, the game is fast, fun and in the right hands, absolutely hilarious. Just what the doctor ordered.
So of course, I immediately ordered the game and while I haven’t personally played it yet, I can’t wait. So much of this comes from the board game revolution that I’ve talked about before. Designers have tried to take classic RPGs and distill them down to their essence to make them fit a board game format, eliminating huge tables with cards and massive rules with quick reference guides. It makes people who have never played or been afraid to try much more comfortable. This is a good thing.