10 January 2013

My Most Played Role-Playing Games

Over at the RPGsite, there recently was a thread devoted to lists of folks’ ‘most played’ role-playing games.  Here is my own list (slightly modified from the version I posted at the RPGsite, as I previously had underestimated just how much AD&D/D&D I had played during grades 5-8, and had forgotten about my rather zany Thieves’ Guild campaign).

The list of my all time most played RPGs from 1980 through 2012 (in order from ‘most played’):

01. AD&D (1e) and Basic (+ Expert) D&D [mixed them together]
02. MERP (Middle-earth Roleplaying)/Rolemaster (2e) [mixed them together]
03. D&D (3e)
04. Call of Cthulhu
05. RuneQuest
06. Hawkmoon (BRP)
07. Thieves’ Guild
08. Swords & Wizardry
09. Star Frontiers
10. GURPS (3e)
11. DragonQuest

All of these games I have played at least twice (and some, like MERP and AD&D, probably over a hundred times, albeit decades ago).

RuneQuest (which includes RQ2, MRQII, and RQ6) is ranked number 5 largely thanks to my participation in a campaign that Lawrence Whitaker ran during the winter, spring, and summer of 2011 (part of which is summarized here).

(Still dreaming of that RuneQuest 'Elric' campaign...)

Swords and Wizardry, despite being so recent, makes the top ten list as I ran a (sporadic) campaign during 2008-2009, in which most of my house rules were forged.  Many of those of house rules later were incorporated into Crypts and Things.

Although I played some Call of Cthulhu decades ago, I quite recently ran it again (namely, my sporadic ‘Cthulhu Canada’ campaign, as well as a game at OSRCon II), which gave it a bump in the rankings.

Since I haven’t played any MERP, AD&D, and most of the other games listed in years, if not decades, here is my ranking of my most played RPGs over the past 3 years:

01. RuneQuest (MRQII/RQ6)
02. Call of Cthulhu
03. Crypts and Things
04. OpenQuest

Obviously, I have drifted markedly toward BRP/d100 games of late (though I certainly retain a fondness for the D&D-inspired framework, as shown by the ranking of Crypts and Things).


  1. Interesting list. AD&D would be the winner on my list as well and MERP and RuneQuest would be high ranking, as would 3E/D20. What is Thieves' Guild? :)

    1. Hi Havard! Thieves' Guild was a D&D-inspired RPG that (as its name implies) focused on adventures for thieves (cat burglary, tomb robbing, brigandry, pickpocketing, piracy, assassinations, and the like). The system was very similar to D&D, although with some interesting twists, and with an expanded focus on thief-related activities.

      A nice summary of the game is provided here:

      And apparently some Thieves' Guild books can still be purchased:

  2. Some more info on Thieves' Guild here:

  3. Wow...I never knew anyone to actually PLAY Hawkmoon. We ran a lot of 1st edition Stormbringer back in the day and wanted to incorporate it, but never got around to it. Was the mortality rate as high as Stormbringer?

    1. It was pretty brutal, but I suspect it wasn't quite as harsh as Stormbringer. The combat system was the same, but Hawkmoon lacked SB's demons and sorcery.


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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who divides his time between Milwaukee and Toronto.