I was listening with interest to the That’s How We Roll podcast. In it the guys express some frustration with the lack of ambition shown by WotC in taking the design of their flagship game into other avenues. We do have some board games, which are apparently well received. We have a Facebook game, but that’s just base D&D on a different platform. The last real innovation was Gamma World.
Let’s remind ourselves about what that game really did. It’s got a stripped down 4e engine in it. I thought it was a fantastic basic game system, one that actually shows how simple 4e is at its very core. Crucially it also hints at the flexibility it has, and this is what I’d like to see used more. There’s also the release format which was a big box with sheets cards and maps included. Then there were two supplements that really did supplement the game and stretch it out to encompass a bigger, optional game. The three books also had a complete campaign spread across them. Caveat: there were collectible cards too, which I’m discounting as they appeared to be more a revenue decision than a good game decision.
I think GW went over pretty well with gamers. I don’t have any real evidence to back that up, but certainly the community speaks kindly of it. So I’d like to see more games in this vein. In the podcast they suggest Birthright redone in this manner. A good call. I’d like it to step away even further from fantasy D&D though. In no particular order I’d like to see the following done in the GW format.
Science fiction (Star Frontiers anyone?)
World War 2 (Captain America: the First Avenger style)
The Dawn War
The Dusk War
In fact, I reckon Dark Sun would have been a contender too. The thing is, the standard D&D set up is great for standard D&D, in fact it’s awesome. But when I want to play something a bit different I want the best bits of 4e in it, but not the whole thing. And I don’t want a never ending treadmill of supplements, nor do I want a single book. Three is the magic number.