July 31, 2014 by dracs
Hey guys! Some of you might remember that last summer I wrote an article about various ideas and franchises that I thought deserved a tabletop game. Well it’s raining now, which means it’s summer time here in Ireland, so let’s see what other ideas we can come up with.
As with last time there is no real limit on what these might be, nor are they in any particular order. These are just a selection of things that I think could be a lot of fun as maybe a miniature game, board game, or even a RPG. Now, let’s get stuck in.
The SCP Foundation
If you haven’t come across the SCP Foundation by now, I would highly recommend you click the link and check it out. Don’t worry, this article will still be here when you get back. Unless, of course, it’s like SCP-173, in which case if you take your eyes off it for even a second it will sneak up to you and break your neck!
SCP started off as a community based wiki page, where writers would come together and post stories of various supernatural entities or artifacts. Each of these posts would be written in the manner of a classified document for the agents of the SCP (Secure Contain Protect) Foundation, a nefarious organisation tasked with keeping these things under lock and key.
However, SCP has since grown into a cultural phenomena, with at least two video games based around the stories. The world of the SCP Foundation has been fleshed out, with accounts of rival organisations weaving a rich background of a world that secretly exists around us everyday. Perfect setting for an RPG, right?
There have been plenty of games involving alternate histories, but there are surprisingly few detailing alternate presents. I think one of the best would be the World of Darkness series, but this is a very different and familiar sort of supernatural world, with vampires and werewolves. The beings of SCP are terrifying because there is no connecting rhyme or reason to them, and often lack an explanation. They just are.
The world of the SCP Foundation has plenty of options for creative story telling. Placing the players as either SCP agents, or even D-class test subjects (essentially canon fodder), a game could see them experimenting with a new SCP, tracking down a mysterious object, or dealing with opposing factions seeking to use SCPs for their own means.
The best bit is you can make almost anything an SCP if you want to come up with something for yourself, or there is a whole database of already existing ones to choose from. Perfect for an atmospheric horror game where there is no such thing as right or wrong.
Mike Mignola’s Hellboy is, arguably, my favourite comic series. The books follow Hellboy, a daemon summoned by the Nazis and found by occult researcher Professor Broom. Now he serves as part of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, fighting those creatures which seek to harm humanity from the shadows.
The world of Hellboy is dark, creepy and draws upon folklore and mythology from across the world. The titular hero has faced off against everything, from vampires and Baba Yaga, to the Asian Penanggalan, and even Lovecraftian horrors from beyond the darkest depths of reality! There are ghosts, fairies, daemons, sorcerers, Nazies and weird fish people. In other words, the perfect setting for RPGs, or even board games.
Members of the BPRD are all incredibly characterful, with plenty of possibility for character creation based around them. Perhaps you might be a pyrokinetic like Liz Sherman, or even a ghost, like Johann Kraus. There is even the possibility of being a masked vigilante, such as Lobster Johnson.
I think there could also be real possibility here for some sort of co-operative dungeon crawler. Quite often, Hellboy and co. will find themselves exploring long abandoned ruins or haunted mansions. Players could take on the role of Hellboy, Liz, Abe Sapien, and Kraus and make their way through the dark environments, facing off against monsters and using their own specific skills to help the team progress.
Divinity: Dragon Commander
I picked up this game during the Steam Summer Sale and have not regretted it. Divinity: Dragon Commander is a fantasy real time strategy game that mixes various elements from other game genres, including Role Playing and even Risk-style board games. Oh, and did I mention that you play as a dragon? With a jet pack.
The game takes place in a fantasy world, recently thrown into chaos by the appearance of new steampunk technologies. You are the son of the last Emperor and his dragon mistress, a human born with the ability to turn into a dragon. You must conquer these warring lands to restore peace, all while juggling the various political issues that any world leader must face, appeasing your subjects and advisers in turn.
Depending on your decisions, you will receive various resource cards that you can then use to help in your bid for conquest, whether you need to draw in mercenaries for a single fight, or up gold production for a turn.
Given that it already uses so many board game elements, it would be relatively easy to make a board game based around Dragon Commander. Players could each compete for control of a board, racing to research new technologies to gain the upper hand. A random card mechanic could be used to represent new issues they must deal with each turn, helping or hindering them as the game world constantly evolves according to their actions. Plus, you’d get to play as a dragon with a jet pack!
Fate / Stay Night
Fate/Stay Night is by no means the best anime I have ever seen (a title that will forever belong to Fullmetal Alchemist), but you cannot deny that its premise is awesome, and the perfectly suited for a table top game.
In this show, sorcerers from all over the world gather together and summon epic heroes, famous figures from across myth and legend such as Gilgamesh. Hercules, King Arthur and even Cuchulainn. Then they and their summoned servants engage in a battle to the death for the greatest treasure of all; the Holy Grail.
The idea of an epic free for all of history’s greatest heroes could be an interesting setting for larger scale skirmish games, such as Inquisitor or Smog 1888. However, since you would only have two characters each, it might be better suited as a board game, where players choose their hero and then must ally with one another to get ahead, all the while knowing that only one can win.
What historical warrior would you choose as your servant?
This one was suggested in the previous article by community member huscarle, and I whole-heartedly agree. In my opinion, Frank Herbert’s Dune is one of the best scifi books ever written, and I have read it four times and counting.
Dune tells the story of the young Paul Atreides. His family gets caught in the political manipulations of the Emperor and the rival House Harkonnen and find themselves in control of the valuable Spice planet Arrakis, a barren desert populated by giant worms, yet immensely valuable as it is the only know place where the Spice Melange is harvested. However, the family are soon attacked by the Harkonnens and the Emperor’s elite Sardaukars, leaving only Paul and his mother alive. Presumed dead and lost in the desert, Paul assume the role of the messianic Lisan al-Gaib and lead the planet’s native Fremen tribes to reclaim Arrakis and ultimately the Empire itself.
The Dune series has previously been turned into a number of video games, primarily a series of strategy games based around the conflicts between the main houses of the series trying to gain control of Arrakis. The games were very similar in style to the Command and Conquer: Red Alert series and are still remembered fondly by many. There was also a RPG / Action game for the PS2 titled Frank Herbert’s Dune, but if you’ll take my advice, if you ever spot it set fire to it and put it out of my misery.
Still, with its rich extended universe to draw upon, the Dune series could make the perfect setting for a large scale tabletop game. It would have to be large scale, otherwise you’d never be able to use the Worms, and let’s be honest, we all want to see a miniature of Fremen worm riders.
Two of the main themes of the Dune series are political machinations and personality cults (imagine Game of Thrones in space, but with slightly less sex) and a good way to show this would be to have each faction having their own, distinct heroes. These could be more combat oriented, or they could provide your army with new resources and tactical options. You could call upon the calculating logic of a Mentat, or have Baron Vladimir Harkonen pull some strings to gain a unit of Sardaukar. This should prove an interesting mechanic for the game, and help capture the broader political implications of each battle.
So there we have it , five more ideas for things I would love to see come to our gaming tables, ranging from sinister shadow organisations to a galaxy spanning battle to control the Spice. Now some of these would be more suited to gaming than others, I doubt we’ll ever see a Fate / Stay Night game for a start, but as I said last time I wrote this more as a bit of fun speculation. However, I think that each of the ones listed here have plenty of potential, and I can only hope that one day I’ll be able to play games where I ride worms across the desert while commanding armies as a jet pack wearing dragon.
Can you think of anything else you would like to see turned into a game? What do you think of my suggestions? Be sure to drop us a comment below and share your thoughts.