Saturday, August 5, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 5: Which RPG Cover Best Captures the Spirit of the Game?

Which RPG Cover Best Captures the Spirit of the Game?

Over at Gnomies, Eric said that this is the first question he couldn't immediately answer, whereas for me, it was the first question for which I did have a ready reply.

Why it was so easy, I've got three answers!

1.) Dungeons and Dragons Expert Rules: This image is just iconic. Emblematic of its era. You say Dungeons & Dragons and this is what I imagine. I would go so far as to say that this is the definitive image of D&D for people who started playing in the 80s.

2.) Bureau 13: This one is personal for me. I bought this at the local comic store in my mall. It was the Phil Foglio cover art that attracted my attention and the six dollar price tag that convinced me to take the chance. I love the setting, but the rules are not at all suited to the kind of stories the game seems to want to tell. To quote myself from an earlier review: "Does my free-wheeling adventure game really need rules for hydrostatic shock? Phoenix Command called. It wants its rules back."

Back in the late 90s, when I finally had consistent access to the internet, I decided to look it up and lo and behold! There was a Bureau 13 discussion group on Yahoo. Nick Pollotta and Richard Tucholka were both members and it was my first chance to interact with people who had created the stuff I loved. I eventually formed a play-by-email game with other folks from the group and it lasted for a good fifteen years.

3.) Vampire: The Masquerade: You know the cover.

The one with all the quotes from some pretentious douche Bjørn Blooddancer bellyaching about how a beast he is, lest a beast he become.

The thing is, the cover works really well in capturing that 90s Zeitgeist. White Wolf called it "Gothic Punk", and it sounds dumber the further you get away from the era, but it really worked for a good long time.

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