ENWorld’s Hot Roleplaying Games – January 2014

So last month I made a post about ENWorld’s chart of the “hottest RPGs” – hotness, in this case, being based on what’s being actively discussed on as wide a pool of internet fora and blogs as they can find RSS feeds for. So it’s not tracking sales, and it isn’t even tracking popularity (because conceivably a game could get onto the chart if there were a sufficiently virulent negative reaction to it).

It’s an interesting chart, but I found it to be a little difficult to interpret it, because the percentages presented and the way D&D and D&D-derived RPGs are segregated from the rest mask the actual absolute scores, so I’ve started an experiment in compiling the absolute scores here month-by-month to see if any trends are revealed. So, here goes for January.

RANK	GAME					SCORE
1	D&D Next (5E)				2906.5
2	Pathfinder RPG				1968.6
3	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			1248.1
4	D&D 4th Edition				 608.3
5	FATE					 219.9
6	Old School Revival (OSR)		 159
7	World of Darkness			 152.2
8	Numenera				 128.1
9	13th Age				 126.7
10	Savage Worlds				  81
11	OD&D					  75.9
12	Shadowrun				  66.6
13	AD&D 1st Edition			  49.8
14	Exalted					  49.4
15	AD&D 2nd Edition			  47.7
16	Warhammer 40K				  44.2
17	Traveller				  39.2
18	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			  38.8
19	Call of Cthulhu				  31.5
20	Dungeon World				  30.9
21	GURPS					  30.4
22	Gumshoe					  30.2
23	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	  28.9
24	Star Wars: Edge of the Empire		  25.6
25	CORTEX System				  19.5
26	Stars Without Number			  18.2
26	Eclipse Phase				  18.2
28	d20 Modern				  17.5
29	Warhammer FRP				  17.1
29	The One Ring				  17.1
31	ICONS					  16.9
32	The Strange				  14.2
33	Castles & Crusades			  13.3
34	Dragon Age				  13.1
35	Deadlands				  13
36	Dread					  12.3
37	Star Trek				  10.3
38	Dungeon Crawl Classics			   9.7
39	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	   9.4
40	d20 Future				   7.9
41	Gamma World				   7.8
42	True20					   7.7
43	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		   6.8
44	RIFTS					   6.5
44	Iron Kingdoms				   6.5
44	Ars Magica				   6.5
44	Alternity				   6.5
48	Hackmaster				   5.7
49	Feng Shui				   5.2
50	Apocalypse World			   3.9
50	Rotted Capes				   3.9
50	HERO System / Champions			   3.9
50	BESM					   3.9
50	Mutant Chronicles			   3.9
50	A Song of Ice & Fire			   3.9
56	Earthdawn				   2.6
56	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	   2.6
56	Brave New World				   2.6
56	Firefly					   2.6
56	Smallville				   2.6
61	Marvel SAGA				   1.3
61	Star Wars (d6)				   1.3
61	Fading Suns				   1.3
61	Aberrant				   1.3
61	DC Heroes				   1.3
66	Runequest				   0
66	Paranoia				   0

Note that according to the chart page a 0 score doesn’t mean nobody’s mentioned a particular game –  a statistically significant sample has shown up but no more than that. For sanity’s sake I’m only tracking zero-scores which previously scored.

Here’s the chart showing how games’ relative positions have changed since last time.

RANK	GAME					CHANGE
1	D&D Next (5E)				  =
2	Pathfinder RPG				  =
3	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			  =
4	D&D 4th Edition				  =
5	FATE					  =
6	Old School Revival (OSR)		 +2
7	World of Darkness			 +2
8	Numenera				 -1
9	13th Age				 -3
10	Savage Worlds				 +1
11	OD&D					 +1
12	Shadowrun				 -2
13	AD&D 1st Edition			 +1
14	Exalted				 	 -1
15	AD&D 2nd Edition			 +5
16	Warhammer 40K				  =
17	Traveller				 -2
18	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			 +4
19	Call of Cthulhu				 -2
20	Dungeon World				 +3
21	GURPS					 -2
22	Gumshoe					 +2
23	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	 -2
24	Star Wars: Edge of the Empire		 -6
25	CORTEX System				+12
26	Stars Without Number			 -1
26	Eclipse Phase				+10
28	d20 Modern				 +2
29	Warhammer FRP				 -1
29	The One Ring				 +6
31	ICONS					 -4
32	The Strange				 +7
33	Castles & Crusades			 -7
34	Dragon Age				+16
35	Deadlands				 -1
36	Dread					 +6
37	Star Trek				 -8
38	Dungeon Crawl Classics			 -5
39	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	 -8
40	d20 Future				 +6
41	Gamma World				 -1
42	True20					 +1
43	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		-11
44	RIFTS					 -6
44	Iron Kingdoms				 +3
44	Ars Magica				NEW
44	Alternity				 +5
48	Hackmaster				  =
49	Feng Shui				 -5
50	Apocalypse World			NEW
50	Rotted Capes				 +4
50	HERO System / Champions			 +1
50	BESM					 +1
50	Mutant Chronicles			NEW
50	A Song of Ice & Fire			 -9
56	Earthdawn				 +3
56	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	 -2
56	Brave New World				 -3
56	Firefly					-12
56	Smallville				 +6
61	Marvel SAGA				 -2
61	Star Wars (d6)				 -7
61	Fading Suns				 -7
61	Aberrant				NEW
61	DC Heroes				 +1
66	Runequest				-15
66	Paranoia				-12

Thoughts:

  • Scores are down in general, possibly due to the sample period including the December dip.
  • That said, the basic pattern at the top of the chart has held true – recent (and forthcoming) versions of D&D (including Pathfinder) have scores way in the stratosphere, a big jump from there to FATE – which appears to be the most talked-about RPG which isn’t some version of D&D these days – and a smaller but still rather substantial jump from there to the next most popular game.
  • As you’d expect, the further you go down the more volatile relative positions are. Still, some interesting shifts. In the top 9 – which in both months comprise the only games to pull down scores of over 100 – both the OSR and World of Darkness have appeared to have a good month – the latter perhaps due to the culmination of the Demon: the Descent Kickstarter, as well as a brace of new releases from Onyx Path.
  • More issues with the groupings I’ve noticed this week: why are Hackmaster 4th and Hackmaster 5th lumped together under the D&D-derived box when so far as I am aware Hackmaster 4th was derived from 1st Edition AD&D whilst 5th is a whole other system of its own? Why are all the Star Trek RPGs lumped together when they have radically different systems, when the Star Wars RPGs remain separate? Why aren’t the SAGA games lumped together – for that matter, why aren’t they under D&D-derived stuff, when SAGA was effectively the testing ground for a lot of ideas that came up in 4th Edition? For that matter, why aren’t D2o Modern and D20 Future lumped in with the D&D-derived games?
  • If you combine the scores for OD&D, the two editions of AD&D, and the Old School Revival score for an overall “TSR-era D&D” category, it would come to 332.4, beating out FATE. This fits my perception of FATE and OSR stuff being the most popular subjects of conversation amongst folk who pay attention to stuff that isn’t a recent version of D&D.
  • Nice to see Ars Magica popping up, though I suspect it’ll be one of those games which bubbles along under the surface and only makes occasional visits to the chart.
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