Tabletop RPGs 3/22/17


It seemed inevitable that after getting way into board games, I’d eventually end up interested in tabletop RPGs. I’ve always been sort of curious about them, especially after years of playing video game RPGs.


My first introduction to RPGs was with the Pathfinder Beginner Box. After comparing it to the similar D&D offering, it was clear that Pathfinder was the winner. It came with some great standees and a grid map for creating your own dungeons. Everything you would need to hit the ground running.

Problem was, when we tried it out we kinda hit the ground confused. Lots of mechanics to keep in mind, too much structural ambiguity for new players (and me as an inexperienced DM) – so that first time through wasn’t a whole lot of fun.

The bigger issue is that I basically have no idea where to start. Tabletop RPGs are a huge thing, and you can do practically anything you want. Unfortunately I kind of freeze up with that kind of freedom – especially when I’m not really sure what I’m doing.

Mouse Guard

After reading a glowing review of Mouse Guard, I decided to pick it up and see how it worked. The premise sounded awesome and the art was great – maybe this would be the ticket. On a weekend trip I sat and read through the rulebook, and about 75% of the way though I got really bummed out.

Despite the interesting theme and world, Mouse Guard really didn’t seem like it would be much fun to play. It seemed like many of the RPG systems had been abstracted out to be clunky and unintuitive.

Ultimately I was just disappointed. I thought if this wasn’t going to work, maybe I’m just not cut out for these sorts of games. Maybe the tedium is just not with it? I couldn’t really tell. I decided I’ll just have to revisit Mouse Guard after learning a different, more traditional RPG.

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

After chatting with someone in my office about Pathfinder/D&D it struck me that I might have just made the wrong choice out of the gate. It’s my understanding that Pathfinder was created when D&D (now in its 5th edition) took a turn toward simplicity. While I can totally understand wanting to maintain a certain level of complexity – maybe D&D might be the right level of RPG to start with.

Last week I picked up the D&D Starter Set. While the set is significantly less flashy than the Pathfinder Beginner Box, it seems to be exactly what I’ve been looking for. Hopefully I can wrangle a few people together and get this show on the road.