Fantasy role playing games have come a long way since the very first edition of Dungeons and Dragons came out in 1974. Since then, thousands of role playing games have come and gone, some in the same vein, and some that have redefined the genre altogether – but much like in video games, there’s plenty of good ones, and there’s been stinkers in its over 40 year existence.
We pay homage to the games that are just as skillfully made, but never got the limelight its other, more famous peers did in pop culture and in the fantasy RPG gaming community in general – these table top games will definitely be a must-play for the newer generation of fantasy gamers, in the same vein that retro video games should be part of a gamer’s diet, or at least fundamentals.
If you’re a dabbler into this wormhole and want to increase the fun, you can make your own gaming table to complete the whole gaming experience. It’s not rocket science. You just need basic level shop skills. Drills and Drivers will be a great resource for you to do so if you decide that you want to do it – check their feature out on http://www.drillsanddrivers.com/combo-kits/. Now that’s a bad-ass gaming table for ya!
So now that you’re set up correctly, we’ve compiled a short list, in no particular order, of five fantasy tabletop RPG titles that were great in their own right, and have gone on to enjoy a dedicated, albeit smaller cult fanbase to this very day. Let’s get to the meat of the matter, shall we?
1. Ars Magica (1987)
Ars Magica came out in 1987 to great plaudit due to its highly innovative and well-designed gameplay structure, ahead of its time then, and still innovative today. It was one of the first RPGs that featured pros and cons of major and minor characters, without simply focusing on character attributes. Plus, the storyline is so awesome – who would’ve thought medieval Europe in the Dark Ages would’ve made a great setting for one of the seminal, if not more popular RPGs in history? Fulfill your wildest fantasies of being a medieval wizard or crusader with this title – you won’t regret it.
2. Earthdawn (1993)
This 90s title was famed for its excellent narrative – which bled through and was very well reflected in its gameplay. It’s worth playing just to follow the very interesting narrative that the game is set in. Truly a cult classic whose storyline was just really well-designed. Regardless of whether you are a fan of the game’s step-based mechanics or its relative lack of equipment and gear, you’ll find a lot of interesting things that will keep you into it.
3. Legend of the Five Rings (1997)
Legend of the Five Rings was not just a great CCG, but it was also a very underrated fantasy RPG especially for those who are big fans of the Samurai narrative. The gameplay in physical combats or the scheming and plotting elements of this game are also what makes its replay value so high. Imagine getting a rival to commit seppuku after browbeating him in court….how’s that for detail?
4. Feng Shui (1996)
If beating people up in the great tradition of Shaolin movies from Shaw Brothers interests you, then this is the game that you have overlooked. Fast-paced action and system will keep you on your toes, with just the right amount of camp thrown in for good measure. It’s your own personal Shaw Brothers movie, I’ll tell you that much!
5. Anima: Beyond Fantasy (2005)
When you go 10 years in the fantasy RPG world, it seems like you’re vintage already. This game takes many of the elements we all loved about the games of the past and repackages them into with its own interesting brand of gameplay – which will allow you to do some pretty neat stuff with it.