Lowell Francis is creating Histories of Roleplaying Genres
32

patrons

$54
per month
FROM BOX SETS TO PDFS
For the last couple of years I’ve traced the history of various tabletop rpg genres. The project sprang from an offhand comment on Ken & Robin Talk About Stuff. They mentioned Call of Cthulhu’s place of honor as the first horror game and first licensed product. I remember my sister bringing home the CoC box set in 1981…and the many supernatural games which followed. I wanted to organize my memories to examine how and when those games evolved and changed. I had Jon Freeman’s Complete Book of Wargames as inspiration. As a kid I’d loved that encyclopedic approach to games.

In my posts I assemble a series of lists for each genre, broken into arbitrary spans of years. I always include games with major core books released by a formal publisher. But I also cover significant or game changing sourcebooks, depending on the game line. I don’t have a formal rule on inclusion, except for avoiding mostly self-published and/or online-only products. Some products clearly fit within a genre while others are corner cases. I provide a link for each entry where possible. As time has gone on, I’ve made lists covering smaller slices of time to keep them from getting out of hand…because they do get really long.

THE LIST OF HIST
Here's what I've covered since I started this project:
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part One: 1976-1984)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Two: 1985-1987)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Three: 1988-1990)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Four: 1991-1993)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Five: 1994-1996)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Six: 1997-1999)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Seven: 2000-2002)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Eight: 2003)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Nine: 2004-2005)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Ten: 2006)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Eleven: 2007)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Twelve: 2008)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part 13: 2009)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part 14: 2010)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part 15: 2011)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part 16: 2012)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part 17: 2013)
The Year in Post-Apocalyptic RPGs 2014

History of Horror RPGs (Part One: 1981-1990)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Two: 1991-1995)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Three: 1996-2000)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Four: 2001-2003)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Five: 2004-2005)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Six: 2006-2007)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Seven: 2008-2009)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Eight: 2010-2011)

List of the Missing: Bits Left off My History of Horror RPGs
Behold the Beast: Last Thoughts on Horror RPGs for October
The Best in Horror RPGs: Unfair Verdicts
The Year in Horror RPGs 2012: Part One 43ADt o ImagiNation
The Year in Horror RPGs 2012: Part Two Kuro to Zed Zero
The Year in Horror RPGs 2013: Part One Abandoned to InfiniteShadows
The Year in Horror RPGs 2013: Part Two: It Came from the Stars to World War Cthulhu

Samurai RPGs: Kami & Katanas (Part One)
Samurai RPGs: Kami & Katanas (Part Two)

History of Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs (Part One 1983-1996)
History of Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs (Part Two 1997-2003)
History of Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs (Part Three 2004-2006)
History of Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs (Part Four 2007-2008)
History of Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs (Part Five 2009)

History of Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs (Part Six 2010)
History of Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs (Part Seven 2011)
History of Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs (Part Eight 2012)
The Year in Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs 2013 (Part One)
The Year in Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs 2013 (Part Two)

The Year in Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs 2014

History of Superhero RPGs (Part One: 1978-1982)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Two: 1983-1985)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Three: 1986-1992)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Four: 1993-1996)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Five: 1997-1998)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Six: 1999-2001)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Seven: 2002-2003)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Eight: 2004-2005)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Nine: 2006-2007)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Ten: 2008)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Eleven: 2009)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Twelve: 2010)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Thirteen 2011-2012)
The Year in Superhero RPGs 2013: Part One: Action Galaxy to Man-Made Mythology
The Year in Superhero RPGs 2013: Part Two The Mighty Six to Triumphant!
The Year in Superhero RPGs 2014

WHAT I’VE PRODUCED SO FAR
Each game entry provides quick info about the rpg. Where I can, I offer my impressions, sense of the system, and a mini-review. At the very least I translate the game’s premise. Sometimes I fall back to online reviews or blog posts on the product. Sometimes I rant about particularly bad choices in layout, narrative, or advertising. I drives me mad when you can’t tell what a game’s about from the cover or even the publishers' website. In the end, though, I want to point out interesting and novel material.

If you check out my lists above, you'll see my blurbs tend to be more impressions than formal analysis. I link to and reference other sources- blogs, reviews and so on to complete that. My sketches follow the hooks I find interesting. Often that involves changes in sub-genres- such as darker games in superheroes, non-Earth Victoriana, or the rise of zombie games. I also try to include some context and/or commentary in the introduction to each list. I want that to be value-added material moving this from being just a collection of products. In the case of the Horror series I experimented with some meta-commentary posts about the lists.

WHAT DO I WANT TO DO?
I plan to keep doing these histories and it would be great if readers wanted to help me out.
 
Concretely, here’s what I want to work on for 2016:
  1. Correct and Update the Samurai Lists
  2. Later in the year, produce Year in Game Lists for 2015 for the major genres I’ve covered so far. 
  3. Look at some of the "Big" and "Niche" genres. Instead of doing full histories, examine the first 12-15 games released for that genre (like Hard Sci-Fi or Westerns). 
  4. Begin a new series of lists. At risk of being boring, I’ll probably focus on one genre at a time rather than bouncing around. Possible genres include: Cyberpunk, Mecha, Universal Systems, Wushu/Martial Arts, Espionage, and beyond. If I do anything with Fantasy or Sci-Fi, I will definitely take on a narrow sub-genre within that; they’re too big to cover at a chunk
Eventually I have some more ambitious projects:
1. More posts looking closely at a sub-genre like "Monsters-as-Heroes" or "Dystopian Supers." As an example check out this post on superheroes and World War 2
2. Going back and polishing/reworking some of the earlier lists in light of omissions and new information. Ideally I’d like to eventually take those lists, clean them up and assemble in a nice pdf/mobi format. If and when I do, I would send that on to enthusiasts  first for feedback. 
SCHEDULE
I plan to release one-two lists per month. These posts usually range from 3K-5K words. I may also release additional meta-posts related to the lists. These might be shorter at 2K words+. I also blog regularly, and I may cross post on that. .

Thanks for taking the time to read this- I hope you’ll consider supporting the project.
Rewards
Pledge $0.50 or more per month
4 patrons
Subscriber
  • All of the History List posts will be free and available on the Age of Ravens blog
  • You help out with a fun and interesting project. Maybe you'll find some games you hadn't heard of or played. I've found a bunch in putting these articles together.  
  • I'll also send you an email to get a sense of your gaming history and what you might be interested in. I'm always looking for feedback. 
Pledge $1 or more per month
16 patrons
Supporter
  • All Subscriber benefits above.
  • If you want I can give you a shout out on the blog and/or add a sidebar link to your blog, G+ profile, or website as you wish. That's dependent on me figuring out how that widget works and moving some things around.
Pledge $2 or more per month
10 patrons
Enthusiast
  • All Supporter benefits above.
  • If I assemble an earlier post series into a functional pdf, I'll send it out to you first for feedback and suggestions.
Pledge $5 or more per month
0 patrons
Yikes!
  • All the Supporter benefits above.
  • I'll figure out how to add a sidebar banner/box with link to your blog, product, G+ profile, or website (subject to approval). I'll then actually add that to the blog with my weak computer skills.
Pledge $10 or more per month
2 of 5 patrons
What the What?
  • All the Yikes! benefits above.
  • I'll contact you about what you want to see for the lists and get your input.
  • I'll write about a topic of your choice (game related and subject to approval).
  • Alternately, if you'd like to rap some time about your game, talk about best practices, and bounce ideas off of someone, I'd be glad to do a G+ Hangout with you.
FROM BOX SETS TO PDFS
For the last couple of years I’ve traced the history of various tabletop rpg genres. The project sprang from an offhand comment on Ken & Robin Talk About Stuff. They mentioned Call of Cthulhu’s place of honor as the first horror game and first licensed product. I remember my sister bringing home the CoC box set in 1981…and the many supernatural games which followed. I wanted to organize my memories to examine how and when those games evolved and changed. I had Jon Freeman’s Complete Book of Wargames as inspiration. As a kid I’d loved that encyclopedic approach to games.

In my posts I assemble a series of lists for each genre, broken into arbitrary spans of years. I always include games with major core books released by a formal publisher. But I also cover significant or game changing sourcebooks, depending on the game line. I don’t have a formal rule on inclusion, except for avoiding mostly self-published and/or online-only products. Some products clearly fit within a genre while others are corner cases. I provide a link for each entry where possible. As time has gone on, I’ve made lists covering smaller slices of time to keep them from getting out of hand…because they do get really long.

THE LIST OF HIST
Here's what I've covered since I started this project:
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part One: 1976-1984)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Two: 1985-1987)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Three: 1988-1990)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Four: 1991-1993)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Five: 1994-1996)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Six: 1997-1999)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Seven: 2000-2002)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Eight: 2003)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Nine: 2004-2005)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Ten: 2006)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Eleven: 2007)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part Twelve: 2008)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part 13: 2009)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part 14: 2010)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part 15: 2011)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part 16: 2012)
History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs (Part 17: 2013)
The Year in Post-Apocalyptic RPGs 2014

History of Horror RPGs (Part One: 1981-1990)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Two: 1991-1995)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Three: 1996-2000)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Four: 2001-2003)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Five: 2004-2005)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Six: 2006-2007)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Seven: 2008-2009)
History of Horror RPGs (Part Eight: 2010-2011)

List of the Missing: Bits Left off My History of Horror RPGs
Behold the Beast: Last Thoughts on Horror RPGs for October
The Best in Horror RPGs: Unfair Verdicts
The Year in Horror RPGs 2012: Part One 43ADt o ImagiNation
The Year in Horror RPGs 2012: Part Two Kuro to Zed Zero
The Year in Horror RPGs 2013: Part One Abandoned to InfiniteShadows
The Year in Horror RPGs 2013: Part Two: It Came from the Stars to World War Cthulhu

Samurai RPGs: Kami & Katanas (Part One)
Samurai RPGs: Kami & Katanas (Part Two)

History of Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs (Part One 1983-1996)
History of Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs (Part Two 1997-2003)
History of Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs (Part Three 2004-2006)
History of Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs (Part Four 2007-2008)
History of Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs (Part Five 2009)

History of Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs (Part Six 2010)
History of Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs (Part Seven 2011)
History of Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs (Part Eight 2012)
The Year in Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs 2013 (Part One)
The Year in Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs 2013 (Part Two)

The Year in Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs 2014

History of Superhero RPGs (Part One: 1978-1982)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Two: 1983-1985)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Three: 1986-1992)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Four: 1993-1996)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Five: 1997-1998)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Six: 1999-2001)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Seven: 2002-2003)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Eight: 2004-2005)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Nine: 2006-2007)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Ten: 2008)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Eleven: 2009)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Twelve: 2010)
History of Superhero RPGs (Part Thirteen 2011-2012)
The Year in Superhero RPGs 2013: Part One: Action Galaxy to Man-Made Mythology
The Year in Superhero RPGs 2013: Part Two The Mighty Six to Triumphant!
The Year in Superhero RPGs 2014

WHAT I’VE PRODUCED SO FAR
Each game entry provides quick info about the rpg. Where I can, I offer my impressions, sense of the system, and a mini-review. At the very least I translate the game’s premise. Sometimes I fall back to online reviews or blog posts on the product. Sometimes I rant about particularly bad choices in layout, narrative, or advertising. I drives me mad when you can’t tell what a game’s about from the cover or even the publishers' website. In the end, though, I want to point out interesting and novel material.

If you check out my lists above, you'll see my blurbs tend to be more impressions than formal analysis. I link to and reference other sources- blogs, reviews and so on to complete that. My sketches follow the hooks I find interesting. Often that involves changes in sub-genres- such as darker games in superheroes, non-Earth Victoriana, or the rise of zombie games. I also try to include some context and/or commentary in the introduction to each list. I want that to be value-added material moving this from being just a collection of products. In the case of the Horror series I experimented with some meta-commentary posts about the lists.

WHAT DO I WANT TO DO?
I plan to keep doing these histories and it would be great if readers wanted to help me out.
 
Concretely, here’s what I want to work on for 2016:
  1. Correct and Update the Samurai Lists
  2. Later in the year, produce Year in Game Lists for 2015 for the major genres I’ve covered so far. 
  3. Look at some of the "Big" and "Niche" genres. Instead of doing full histories, examine the first 12-15 games released for that genre (like Hard Sci-Fi or Westerns). 
  4. Begin a new series of lists. At risk of being boring, I’ll probably focus on one genre at a time rather than bouncing around. Possible genres include: Cyberpunk, Mecha, Universal Systems, Wushu/Martial Arts, Espionage, and beyond. If I do anything with Fantasy or Sci-Fi, I will definitely take on a narrow sub-genre within that; they’re too big to cover at a chunk
Eventually I have some more ambitious projects:
1. More posts looking closely at a sub-genre like "Monsters-as-Heroes" or "Dystopian Supers." As an example check out this post on superheroes and World War 2
2. Going back and polishing/reworking some of the earlier lists in light of omissions and new information. Ideally I’d like to eventually take those lists, clean them up and assemble in a nice pdf/mobi format. If and when I do, I would send that on to enthusiasts  first for feedback. 
SCHEDULE
I plan to release one-two lists per month. These posts usually range from 3K-5K words. I may also release additional meta-posts related to the lists. These might be shorter at 2K words+. I also blog regularly, and I may cross post on that. .

Thanks for taking the time to read this- I hope you’ll consider supporting the project.

Recent posts by Lowell Francis

Rewards
Pledge $0.50 or more per month
4 patrons
Subscriber
  • All of the History List posts will be free and available on the Age of Ravens blog
  • You help out with a fun and interesting project. Maybe you'll find some games you hadn't heard of or played. I've found a bunch in putting these articles together.  
  • I'll also send you an email to get a sense of your gaming history and what you might be interested in. I'm always looking for feedback. 
Pledge $1 or more per month
16 patrons
Supporter
  • All Subscriber benefits above.
  • If you want I can give you a shout out on the blog and/or add a sidebar link to your blog, G+ profile, or website as you wish. That's dependent on me figuring out how that widget works and moving some things around.
Pledge $2 or more per month
10 patrons
Enthusiast
  • All Supporter benefits above.
  • If I assemble an earlier post series into a functional pdf, I'll send it out to you first for feedback and suggestions.
Pledge $5 or more per month
0 patrons
Yikes!
  • All the Supporter benefits above.
  • I'll figure out how to add a sidebar banner/box with link to your blog, product, G+ profile, or website (subject to approval). I'll then actually add that to the blog with my weak computer skills.
Pledge $10 or more per month
2 of 5 patrons
What the What?
  • All the Yikes! benefits above.
  • I'll contact you about what you want to see for the lists and get your input.
  • I'll write about a topic of your choice (game related and subject to approval).
  • Alternately, if you'd like to rap some time about your game, talk about best practices, and bounce ideas off of someone, I'd be glad to do a G+ Hangout with you.