RPGaDay 2015: Day 11

August 11th.

Favorite RPG Writer

So, this is tough. There are so many fantastic options out there. I’d call out John Wick for his incredible imagination and evocative worlds (his rule-writing leaves me cold though), Simon Wasbourne for Barbarians of Lemuria… the first time I read BoL I was actually angry because he’d created such a clever and wonderful little game that also worked well and had great heart, and C.J. Carella for Nightbane, Witchcraft, and Buffy – all of these are fantastic, very well written games that inspire me, and Ben Lehman for Polaris… still probably the most beautiful game I’ve ever read.

But at the end of the day, more than anyone, I love the work of Jared Sorensen. I just love reading his games. I’ve barely even played his games, but I love reading them so much I don’t even care. octaNe was one the first games I read when I started exploring outside of the “mainstream” of gaming and I was hooked. I love the way he speaks to his audience like they are fully capable of understanding whatever weirdness he throws at them and he can’t wait to share in the crazy. InSpectres is the Ghostbusters game we all always wanted… it’s serious but funny, simple but deep. It has straightforward mechanics which combine personal play and managing the business as a streamlined unit. It’s brilliant and very well thought out. It’s inviting. I love the asides and the explanations. I like hearing the author’s voice in the game and he provides without ever intruding. Lacuna Part I is straight weird. But I keep reading it and rereading it. I’m interested in it. It’s a very smart design and it makes me want to play it.

And then there’s The Farm. A very simple game with very simple motivational mechanics and almost no “point.” It took me a while to realize that though because I was so caught up in how much I was smiling as I poked at it with my brain. The Farm is unique in my experience because I usually find games that attempt to mechanically compel me to play a certain way to annoy the **** out of me. All games have their mechanical pushes but many “story games” have very explicit pushes which attempt to reward or legislate table play. This inevitably leads to rebellion in my mind (and experience) but The Farm explicitly compels the plays while making them complicit in their own horror story. And it does it so well.

So yeah, there are many writers I like and many writers I think create fantastic games, but if I had to name a favorite – it would be Jared Sorensen.

Thanks for reading.

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One response

  1. It occurs to me, upon reflection, that I didn’t name a single game written by a woman or any female writers. Digging through my massive collection of games, both physical and digital, it quickly became apparent that I only own a few games created by women and that of those, none really qualify as favorites. Someone should help me change that by suggesting some great games written primarily by women. I’d appreciate it.

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