View Full Version : Tired of 'RPG', want strategy

05-07-2012, 09:11 PM
My groups has tired itself of pen and paper role-playing games. We've played through D&D 1 and 3.5 as well as a ton of homebrew games online and we are looking for something different. I was hoping for a more strategic pen and paper system. A system in which the players get to create their own dungeons, or space stations, or cities, or something. Maybe by working together but preferabley by creating their own and competing with eachother. I've tried to find a system that acts in this manner but googling pen and paper strategy games gives me hits for sudoku and dots. Any suggestions?

05-08-2012, 08:31 AM
I'm not sure what your exact desire is, but you've moved beyond "role-playing" in the traditional sense. There are tons of computer games that allow this. I would first ask what you are trying to achieve that computer games wont - why reinvent the wheel? Going from individual action to resource management is a large leap... and most gamers would say "whats the point?" I had to create a simple system of both fantasy field warfare and economic challenge to allow some gamers experience at a "macro" level.. but thats all 100% custom tailored to the experience they want, and system specific - they still want to use individual characters in traditional fashion... but want some sense of a larger scale - more "epic" in a mundane sort of way. Doing a quick public internet search reveals a ton of options for you, but i dont see anything really blending the two worlds - you may have to roll your own. More specifics on expectations would help.

05-08-2012, 01:50 PM
I dont wish to use a computer game for a few reasons, primarily because we all do not own computers, I like the group getting together for a good time, and most importantly computer games do not allow for modifications to rules. What I'm looking for in exact terms I suppose is a pen and paper turn based strategy game, most preferabley not requiring a board and including a certain amount of creative stretching for the players in terms of 'base design' or whatever the system has. I know its a vague concept, but thats because I'm being fairly open about what I want, all I know is pen and paper turn based strategy sounds like a relief. Any ideas at all would point in the right direcition.

05-08-2012, 02:28 PM
why not the D&D minis. All of the cards are online for viewing (or at least used to be) as well as the maps. You can print out everything, build your armies as you see fit, and use monopoly pawns or whatever to represent your creatures (that's not a shoe, that's a hippogriff!)

Lots of strategy, still very pen and papery. Heck, even have a generic map which players can draw terrain onto and make up your own "maps".

05-08-2012, 02:31 PM
I was mulling that idea around for a while, but I'm looking for more of a 'base-oriented' field rather than a miniatures game. We've played our share of Warhammer 40k and its ilk, its nice and all, just not what I'm looking for. But thanks, I know its a very vague question and I'm sorry :)

05-09-2012, 08:23 AM
What immediately comes to mind are board games like Settlers of Cataan (which I haven't played, but it may be in this ballpark). Besides the D&D minis game, Savage Worlds also has entire "Skirmish" settings like Necropolis 2350 and the new Gangsters setting, which in turn is roughly in the ballpark with Warhammer minis stuff (without the big budget for minis).

Another thought -- the new Marvel Heroic Roleplaying is actually a strategic dice rolling game that has a role-playing game stretched over its top. For the dice rolling part, I think it kind of like the house vs. the players at a casino -- players are rolling against villains and also against the GM's "Doom Pool"; players can twiddle their rolls to gain Plot Points, which they can then narrate and spend for various ways to gain bonuses; the GM gets to add dice to, and "spend" dice out of the Doom Pool to assist the villains. The outcomes are supposed to be narrated, but it's first a complex, strategic dice rolling game.

05-09-2012, 09:24 AM
yeah, there are the board games from wizards like Castle of Ravenloft (but no map-designing explicitly). Frag is a board game that is like a first person shooter without the computer.

Settler's is strategy, but not really combative and definitely not map designey.

Actually, now that I think of it, battletech is VERY strategic. You could set up your own maps so there are bases. It is a pretty fun game. We used to play it when we got burned out on D&D.

05-09-2012, 10:17 AM
I would say be the time you've evaluated a bunch of things... you may be able to write your own set of rules for strategic encounters. You've got 2 things going on: 1. you want some sort of set of construction/fabrication guidelines for cities, etc. 2. You want to be able to use them in "encounters". The second seems fairly easy - it took me about 4 hours to come up with a fantasy finance system whereby you have investments and opportunities, a few facets, and skill levels and connections affecting an quality of outcome for return on investment. Part #1 is the tough stuff. But unless you really want turn gaming into a resource management system, i would try and keep things straight forward. Some basic properties, some size rages, attack and defense ratings, and maintenance costs. If this is just a small aspect of gaming, it should work. If you are going for just having a "rpg" character as a persona that runs an set of holdings, i'd adopt some of the system mentioned above.

05-09-2012, 11:04 AM
Another thought -- might be worth checking out Greg Stolze's Reign RPG (and Reign Enchiridion). Players are responsible for groups, organizations, kingdoms, empires.... that sort of thing. It's not headless -- it requires a GM, and the full rules include a (weird fantasy) setting. I got to check out just the setting-free Enchiridion, and I'll admit it was too much for me to digest, so I passed on it.

If you want to build from scratch, you could do something like Universalis for building the setting, then Reign for the players to compete within it and change it over time. But I think both of those games go pretty far outside the traditional D&D'ers comfort zone. Which might be what you're looking for. It's also possible to go to straight storytelling games, but that again is pretty far afield for the traditional RPG player, who expects probabilities -- not straight narration -- to play a much stronger role in the game.

05-10-2012, 08:14 AM
...another option is the Birthright setting for 2e D&D - it is based around 1 or more of the PC's being regents and running their lands...or start a high-level fantasy campaign based around all the characters being lords - we did this a few times in the past, the best success was using the old D&D adventure "Test of the Warlords"...

05-25-2012, 01:04 PM
I'm thinking Risk or Axis & Allies but with fantasy themes...

06-26-2012, 08:00 AM
Risk has a fantasy greek god version, cant think of the name of it right now, but we used to play D&D(Birthright) and my players would building fortresses behind each others back. When one of them finished his keep first it was a backstabbing war, it was a great game, lots of strategy kind of what game of thrones is like now. Have you ever tried Birthright?