So for #RPGaDay on day 7, we get to talk about the most “intellectual” RPG we own…

blue-planet-coverA good amount of my gaming career has been spent focused less on “intellectual” gaming and more on just having fun. And no, I don’t think the two are necessarily separate. But in my experience, games that require more work than reading a novel and figuring out some of the plot points in your head as things are revealed can become drudge work.

That’s not to say that I haven’t played in some of these games and think that a little of that drudge work should find its way into EVERY game. I just don’t think that I (or my character) should need a doctorate in physics or some other crazy field to have to play a game meant to inspire fun. (The fun is to be had by the players – and by extension, GM, not the game, so every game should “inspire” or “facilitate” fun in my mind.)

But I digress. What is the game in my collection I think of as the most “intellectual” RPG? I’d have to say Blue Planet.

First, I’ve never played it. Second, I don’t even think I got that far in reading it. And third, it just comes across more as a manual for planetary science than anything else. I haven’t cracked the cover in YEARS and frankly I’m not sure why it’s still in my collection other than I’ve grown used to the dust it collects.

Other than that, I have to say I usually buy game books with the intention of playing them. But Blue Planet never got past the threshold to get played. Maybe someday. Or maybe it will just become part of the next purge. 🙂

2 Comments

  1. forged

    I’ve played (or looked at) some rpg settings that have some fairly hefty setting crunch. Limiting this to settings I either own or have played …

    From a system perspective, the intellectual award in my collection would go to the HERO System. If you wanted to build up a world from the ground up, you could definitely do it with this system, but there are a ton of knobs.

    For me the three biggest stumbling blocks to the HERO system are: 1) Hard to play out of the box without some setting framework — even for a genre like fantasy there isn’t a good economy already set up; 2) combat never seemed to go quickly for us; 3) If a player knew the system well enough they could easily min and max the system to be game-breaking capable. (We only played the Fantasy HERO sub-system, but I looked at some of other sub-systems as well within HERO.)

    From a settings perspective, Eclipse Phase is the crunchiest. It very impressive the amount of detail they put into the setting. I have no idea what it plays like due to not having actually played it. Reading the setup is very interesting but not light reading at all.

    • @forged – I remember playing HERO and it’s definitely crunchy. 🙂 I don’t own any of those books however!

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