Apparently this is going around, so I thought I’d put in my two cents (thanks Mike Mearls!)
Here are my 10 most-played analog games with a little bit about how and when I played them.
Through middle school and a big chunk of high school, I ran GURPS games for a couple of my friends. I also ran one in the high school cafeteria during my senior year. Yeah, big freaking dork. So sue me. Most recently, I helped work out and then played in an adaptation of GURPS to the Midnight setting.
2. Dungeons and Dragons
This is what I started out with, in middle school, playing in the Dragonlance setting. Then I stopped for years, because Advanced Dungeons & Dragons sucks as a game. But then 3rd edition came out from WotC and my interest in D&D was rehabilitated in one fell swoop. A terrible game had become a workable game, and my gaming group picked it up and ran with it. I also ran a year-long game set in Eberron that was a lot of fun a lot more recently.
Chess is the one game where, for some reason, I get really competitive. My aggression just comes out. Even when a coworker taught me Chinese Chess recently, I ended up taking the game more seriously than she had in mind.
4. Vampire the Masquerade
This is me in college. At least once a week. I don’t give a crap if you’re an indie game designer and you hate this game. I love it. This is one of the two games I’ve been willing to play over AIM for crap’s sake. Maybe I just got lucky and had a fantastic group of friends for the past ten years, I dunno, but I’ve had a lot of my best gaming moments playing Vampire.
5. Mage the Ascension
Given the choice, I’d actually play this game before Vampire. Mage is awesome. I have a huge load of house rules for running it that my friends have basically adopted. Its probably become its own game at this point, but still, the book we use has Mage: the Ascension on the cover. This is the other game that I’ve been willing to play over AIM.
6. Changeling the Dreaming
I’ve been in a couple of Changeling games and I’ve run one as well. Changeling is a fun system, once you break it and remake it so that it makes sense. But once you do that, it can be pretty fun.
7. Heroes of Karia Vitalus
This started out as a hack of Big Eyes Small Mouth and grew into its own system that we’re now working on getting a playtest version together for. This game is awesome. It is better than your game. I guarantee it.
Poke is awesome. It is a great combination of aggression and deception – a fantastic release for all those things that are immoral when used outside the context of the game. You attack, defend, deceive, threaten and then move in for the kill when the time is right. No matter how good you get, there is someone else better than you. I guess this is the other game where my competitiveness comes out.
9. Settlers of Catan
This is the main game I play with my friends who live near me at seminary. We play it a lot. Most of the time, I lose, but occasionally I don’t. I really like Settlers because it is simple but effective. Its an elegant game (which reminds me to work on that post about elegance in game design…) and it brings together hardcore players like myself and much more casual players like my friend’s wife.
This makes the list because of a summer I spent living with my mom in the apartment complex where I live now. I was a lot younger (about 12) and she was a student at the seminary where I am now a student. We played canasta and she kicked my ass. I got it into my head to play until I could beat her, and it took all summer, playing many times a day every day. But when I finally did, by a wide margin no less, God almighty was that sweet…
Feel free to post in the comments section your own top ten games – no need to limit them to analog if you don’t want to (I just did because it makes things simpler – maybe a digital one can come up next)