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Old 12-23-2017, 04:04 PM   #11
Join Date: Jun 2006
Default Re: Which 3 RPGs for Library Collection?

Originally Posted by ak_aramis View Post

The Anchorage Municipal Library had issues with that - they were lost frequently.
I might opt for stuff that you can get free versions of for just that reason - put a sticker in the front pointing to where they are available and you might get your book back more often.
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Old 12-23-2017, 04:41 PM   #12
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Default Re: Which 3 RPGs for Library Collection?

Book theft rates will likely differ from library to library, but, from my limited experience, I am not aware that loss is a huge issue. Many libraries now offer far more expensive items, such as telescopes, microscopes, and robots. But, for the purposes of this thread, if you want to recommend different RPGs for lending and for reference collections, please feel free! I could see academic libraries supporting ludological research being interested in old editions of RPGs for their reference collections, but I suspect most lending collections will want current editions. In fact, that is the recommendation of the authors of Dragons in the Stacks.
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Old 12-23-2017, 05:12 PM   #13
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Default Re: Which 3 RPGs for Library Collection?

In that case, I would definitely have the most current editions of D&D and Pathfinder in hte circulating collection, because they're the most popular. Then I might include Champions because it's very different from the other two.

In research stacks I would put in as much GURPS as possible :) and then Paranoia and Traveller to cover both different genres and different game systems. Then I would realize that I was overlooking Shadowrun . . .
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Old 12-23-2017, 11:14 PM   #14
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Default Re: Which 3 RPGs for Library Collection?

Call of Cthulhu - it's a classic, extremely important, and the system can still stand up today. It's perfect for what one wants it to do. It also upends the idea of 'winning' at an RPG. Your character succeedes in CoC by staying as ignorant as possible while trying to survive.

D&D 5th Edition - D&D because it IS tabletop roleplaying. 5th edition because the rules are designed to be splatbook proof, even at high levels. You can have good games at any character or player level.

Paranoia - it turned the 'Monty Haul' style of murder-hoboing on its head AND the Gygaxian-style play of 'tell the caller what you want to do and they'll tell the GM' into a flurry of giggly note scribbling between GM and players.

Honorable mention: Torg for making the idea of a shared-world metaplot real for a lot of players. That made a community out of people rather than the endless number of personal settings. Compare to Traveller, which has a metaplot but people talk about 'in MY Traveller universe', where EVERYONE's Torg games happened in the same universe - to the point that local campaigns were made official canonical happenings.

Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
Your local librarian asks you to choose three RPGs for the collection. Which three do you recommend, and why?
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Old 12-26-2017, 07:19 AM   #15
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Re: Which 3 RPGs for Library Collection?

I'm pondering these factors:

Name Recognition
Easy of Play, particularly to start
Size/Cost /Availability of Books and on-line support
Introduction to different styles and genres

It might also make sense to recruit some local GMs for a couple of demo days, running short adventures in the chosen systems for anyone who signs up or wanders in.

First: D5e -- you have to cover D&D in some form. D5 is reasonably newbie friendly. Pair it with a least one of the adventure books for folks who don't want to start with bespoke adventures.

Second: Fate Core or Fate Accelerated -- introduction to the indie game player-centered, collaborative style. Can use d6s instead of specialized fate-dice. Pair it with any of the Fate world books or world collections to help get a game off the ground. If Dresden Files is popular at your library, Dresden Files Accelerated is a good choice.

Third: I'm leaning towards an incarnation of CoC -- Pulp Cthulu or Trail might be good places to start. Again, pair it with a decent adventure. As other have said, it's venerable for good reasons and offers a very different game style and experience.

If West End Star Wars were still in print I might go there for the third, just for the ability to tie game to pop culture easily. Don't know the current Star Wars RPG well enough to comment on it.


I like Hero. I've played incarnations of it since the original Champions. But, the most recent edition I have is a doorstop of a tome with long, complex rules section to tune a character to what you want. It's a great system, but I'd call it an intermediate one, not an intro one.

I like GURPS, obviously. Again, played incarnations going back quite a ways. But again, a pair of hefty books just to get started. Again, lots of options and the ability to tune characters at a fine level, but an intermediate system, not an intro one. If Discworld is popular in that library, maybe GURPS Discworld with the GURPS Lite system.

A few other ideas:

13th Age -- I hear good things of it as a variation on the d20 fantasy game.

Bubblegumshoe -- variation on Gumshoe for teen investigators. Heavy on social combat, light on actual fighting. Won the Ennie for Best Family Game last year.

Cthulhu Confidential -- a 1 GM/1 Player variant of Gumshoe, good for folks who don't have an established body of players.

Dracula Dossier -- spies meet vampires. It won a bucket-load of awards in 2016.

Feng Shui -- written for fast, action heavy play. A good way to draw folks in.

Mouse Guard -- haven't played it, but hear good things of it. I think it ties in nicely to the Redwall books.

Paranoia -- haven't read the latest edition, but older ones were lots of fun to read, tho needed the right GM to play.

Pathfinder -- haven't played it myself, but it's been popular in local circles. I think D5e is a better choice for the name recognition.

Traveller -- again, not familiar with the latest version, but I think of it more as an intermediate system -- works best if you are already familiar with RPGs.

Last edited by L.J.Steele; 12-27-2017 at 06:43 AM.
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Old 12-26-2017, 09:24 PM   #16
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Default Re: Which 3 RPGs for Library Collection?

Feng Shui 2e is fun, but lacks Character Gen.

Let me expand my list, restricting to currently available in legit formats
  1. WEG d6 system (all 4 current corebooks)
  2. D&D 5E
  3. Cortex Plus
  4. Fate Core
  5. Mouse Guard
  6. WFRP 1E
  7. Better Games' Battle Born (were their Barony available, I'd go for it instead)
  8. Champions 5e
  9. GURPS
  10. FFG Genesys
  11. Car Wars
  12. BRP

Each has different strengths. Each appeals to a different crowd. Sure there's much overlap.
FWIW, All of the above I've played, save Genesys, but it's the generic version of FFG's Star Wars.
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Old 12-27-2017, 03:13 PM   #17
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Default Re: Which 3 RPGs for Library Collection?

Wow, TFT is back in SJ's hands!. If it gets published again, I might put that into a library game collection, since it takes so little time to learn and GM record keeping is pretty minimal.
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Old 12-27-2017, 06:15 PM   #18
Mike Wightman
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Default Re: Which 3 RPGs for Library Collection?

Three books you say?

Call of Cthulhu

The traveller Book

D&D Cyclopedia
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Old 12-27-2017, 10:20 PM   #19
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Default Re: Which 3 RPGs for Library Collection?

I'm agreeing with L.J. Steele.

1) D&D 5e
2) Fate Core
3) Call of Cthulhu 7th Ed.

These are currently very popular and represent 3 different styles of play.

If you had extra space?
Then I'd recommend:
4) GURPS 4e
5) Microscope
6) Shadowrun 5e or Shadowrun Anarchy
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Old 12-29-2017, 10:32 AM   #20
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Southern Sweden, possibly on an Alternate Earth
Default Re: Which 3 RPGs for Library Collection?

I cannot limit myself to 3 games. So....

- D&D 5th due to popularity. I do not agree with some of the design choices, but given the premises, the implementation seem solid enough. Pathfinder would of course be almost equally popular but much less accessible.

- Call of Cthulhu 7th edition. A fantastic game, not as detailed or technically correct as GURPS, but the blend of setting and rules is very good. And, from the library point of view: the game has its roots in literature. Despite the length of the core books (~700 pages!) it is quite approachable.

- Star Wars RPG (the original design by Greg Costikyan). Like CoC, another perfect blend of settings and rules. This would be the popular culture game. Also like CoC, it is very approachable. Now in print again for a limited edition. Have no experience with the FFG Star Wars.

- Shadowrun. Notable for having its own well-developed cross-genre setting.

- GURPS 4th edition. But this is less of a game and more of a system, or framework [for creating the game you want]. Maybe that is a good reason for inclusion? That it is my favourite system may be a bad reason to include it, but what the heck. GURPS supplements tend to be extremely well researched and well grounded in literature. The numerous (admittedly mostly 3rd edition) licensed settings show the multi-genre capability. Hmmm.... I'm preaching to the choir here. I think GURPS is hard to pick up as a new player, though.

- I would like to include a version of Traveller but I am honestly quite sceptical of the existing edition (sadly).
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