Yeah I know folks are still waiting on a review for No Thank You Evil. I hope to make that my next post.
Right at the moment however there is something that has been on my mind about companies that make RPG’s for a while now. I call it the One Engine Problem.
So at least in my area there are very few published RPG books (yeah that means printed with bindings and all that, not the digital copies) where you can find an company with more than one game engine. I mean if you go looking for Fantasy Flight Games you may find their Star Wars RPG and their Warhammer 40K game Dark Heresy. And they are one of the few who has more than one game engine. WOTC has D&D 5th, with occasional books being published from the older versions (so that sorta counts as more than one game engine). Piazo only has Pathfinder. Palladium, Chaosium, Post Human (or is that supposed to be one word) and so many others have only one engine. When a publisher has more than one engine it seems like most of the places that carry games will only carry their biggest name game.
So here is the thing… I can hear a lot of people saying “So what?!” out there. “I can find a lot of stuff on PDF, or order it from the publisher directly if I want some in print.”
Here is my so what. I… I guess really I miss the 80’s for RPGs.
Back when TSR was in its hey day they had all sorts of regular games, each with their own game engine. D&D, Star Frontiers, Gamma World, Boot Hill, Top Secret, Top Secret SI, Marvel Super Heroes, Amazing Engine, and a small string in the early 80’s of mini RPG games sold as one offs. West End Games hit the ground running with Paranoia and before the 80’s ended they had added Ghostbusters, Star Wars, and Torg, but they kept on coming with new systems and new ideas even after they merged with Humaniods and eventually passed. And even Steve Jackson Games was in there with more than just GURPS.
I can understand from a business perspective, the 80’s were full of money, expansion was crazy, no one wanted to specialize. More was better. Everyone went crazy and then the top blew off. So then game companies started to specialize, or get bought out. And so the number of games dwindled. Now online companies are bringing many of them back. Digital versions of so many older games. And a few of them are coming up with new material… but only a few.
I would really love to see a new publisher that comes out with four or five game engines and works to support them all. Digital or print. Actually the heck with that if I were to have my druthers I want it all in print…
Sigh ok so it was a bit of a rant… and it rambled.
Gimme the dice, I need to chase a game engine.