ENWorld’s Hot Roleplaying Games – January 2015

It’s a new year, so let’s see how the Christmas period has affected ENWorld’s chart of hot RPGs. Usual reminder applies: RPGs are scored on the chart based on what’s being actively discussed on as wide a pool of internet fora and blogs as they can find RSS feeds for. It isn’t 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). Note that I’m presenting here the scores assigned to each game, not the percentages (which can tend to obscure whether there’s been a recent explosion of RPG discussion – as there has been for 5E – or whether things are comparatively quiet on the RPG talkosphere).

RANK	GAME					SCORE
1	D&D 5th Edition				1860
2	Pathfinder RPG				 540
3	Old School Revival (OSR)		 501
4	FATE					 444
5	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			 350
6	Savage Worlds				 185
7	Call of Cthulhu				 171
8	Traveller				 161
9	World of Darkness			 160
10	D&D 4th Edition				 122
11	Shadowrun				 106
12	OD&D					 101
13	Dread					  96
14	Dungeon World				  91
15	Numenera				  90
16	AD&D 2nd Edition			  88
16	GURPS					  88
18	AD&D 1st Edition			  75
18	The Strange				  75
20	Star Wars (FFG)				  73
21	Dungeon Crawl Classics			  71
22	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	  68
23	ICONS					  60
24	Gumshoe					  57
25	Warhammer 40K				  55
26	RIFTS					  54
27	13th Age				  44
28	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	  43
28	Stars Without Number			  43
30	Dragon Age				  41
31	Castles & Crusades			  40
32	Apocalypse World			  31
32	Warhammer FRP				  31
34	Star Trek				  28
35	Deadlands				  24
36	Exalted					  23
37	DC Heroes				  21
38	The One Ring				  19
38	Firefly					  19
40	d20 Modern				  18
41	Gamma World				  17
42	Colonial Gothic				  15
42	Earthdawn				  15
42	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		  15
42	Eclipse Phase				  15
46	BESM					  14
47	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			  11
48	CORTEX System				  10
49	Iron Kingdoms				   9
49	Star Wars (d6)				   9
51	Fading Suns				   8
51	All Flesh Must Be Eaten			   8
51	Aberrant				   8
51	A Song of Ice & Fire			   8
55	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	   7
55	Paranoia				   7
57	Hackmaster				   6
57	HERO System / Champions			   6
59	Feng Shui				   5
60	Mutant Chronicles			   3
61	Ars Magica				   2
61	TMNT					   2
61	Ashen Stars				   2
61	Brave New World				   2
61	True20					   2
61	d20 Future				   2
67	Chainmail				   1
67	Alternity				   1
67	Marvel SAGA				   1
67	Rotted Capes				   1
67	Runequest				   1
72	Smallville				   0
72	Marvel Super Heroes			   0
72	Golden Heroes / Squadron UK		   0
72	Silver Age Sentinels			   0
72	Villians & Vigilantes			   0
72	Other Superhero RPGs			   0
72	Hobomancer				   0
--	Dnd/Pathfinder				 DNC
--	Stage					 DNC
*DNC = Did Not Chart

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. Games which did not chart presumably either failed to even yield a statistically significant sample or have had their categories retired from the chart (as appears to be the case with the redundant Dnd/Pathfinder category).

For the last few months, ENWorld has started tracking the levels of traffic for Paizo and Wizards’ official discussion boards – indeed, as of this post the text on the Hot Games chart suggests they are still doing so, but when I checked nothing of the sort was going on. I guess the mildly ridiculous scores they’d racked up made it obvious that tracking these in parallel to the mentions of RPGs was a ridiculous apples-and-oranges comparison that didn’t really offer any insightful information.

Here’s the chart of what’s changed rank and by how much:

RANK	GAME					CHANGE
1	D&D 5th Edition				  =
2	Pathfinder RPG				 +2
3	Old School Revival (OSR)		 -1
4	FATE					 -1
5	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			  =
6	Savage Worlds				  =
7	Call of Cthulhu				 +2
8	Traveller				  =
9	World of Darkness			 -2
10	D&D 4th Edition				 +1
11	Shadowrun				 +1
12	OD&D					 -2
13	Dread					  =
14	Dungeon World				  =
15	Numenera				 +2
16	AD&D 2nd Edition			 -1
16	GURPS					  =
18	AD&D 1st Edition			 -3
18	The Strange				  =
20	Star Wars (FFG)				 -1
21	Dungeon Crawl Classics			 -1
22	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	 -2
23	ICONS					 +2
24	Gumshoe					 +3
25	Warhammer 40K				 +1
26	RIFTS					 -3
27	13th Age				 -3
28	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	  =
28	Stars Without Number			 +6
30	Dragon Age				 -1
31	Castles & Crusades			 -2
32	Apocalypse World			 -1
32	Warhammer FRP				 +5
34	Star Trek				 -2
35	Deadlands				 +4
36	Exalted					 +2
37	DC Heroes				 -4
38	The One Ring				 +9
38	Firefly					 -3
40	d20 Modern				  =
41	Gamma World				 +4
42	Colonial Gothic				 -2
42	Earthdawn				 -2
42	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		 +7
42	Eclipse Phase				 +1
46	BESM					 -2
47	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			  =
48	CORTEX System				 +4
49	Iron Kingdoms				 -3
49	Star Wars (d6)				 +5
51	Fading Suns				+11
51	All Flesh Must Be Eaten			 -2
51	Aberrant				 +1
51	A Song of Ice & Fire			  =
55	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	 +5
55	Paranoia				 -1
57	Hackmaster				 -3
57	HERO System / Champions			 -3
59	Feng Shui				-24
60	Mutant Chronicles			 -2
61	Ars Magica				 -3
61	TMNT					 +1
61	Ashen Stars				+10
61	Brave New World				 +1
61	True20					 +1
61	d20 Future				 -1
67	Chainmail				 -1
67	Alternity				 -1
67	Marvel SAGA				 -1
67	Rotted Capes				 -1
67	Runequest				 -1
72	Smallville				 -1
72	Marvel Super Heroes			 -1
72	Golden Heroes / Squadron UK		 -1
72	Silver Age Sentinels			 -1
72	Villians & Vigilantes			 -1
72	Other Superhero RPGs			 -1
72	Hobomancer				 -1
--	Dnd/Pathfinder				 DNC
--	Stage					 DNC
*DNC = Did Not Chart

Here’s the chart of absolute score changes.

RANK	GAME					CHANGE
1	D&D 5th Edition				+263
2	Pathfinder RPG				+195
3	Old School Revival (OSR)		 +80
4	FATE					 +26
5	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			 +24
6	Savage Worlds				  -7
7	Call of Cthulhu				 +13
8	Traveller				   0
9	World of Darkness			 -18
10	D&D 4th Edition				  +2
11	Shadowrun				  -1
12	OD&D					 -25
13	Dread					 -10
14	Dungeon World				  -7
15	Numenera				  +7
16	AD&D 2nd Edition			  -1
16	GURPS					   0
18	AD&D 1st Edition			 +10
18	The Strange				  +1
20	Star Wars (FFG)				   0
21	Dungeon Crawl Classics			  +4
22	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	  +1
23	ICONS					  +8
24	Gumshoe					 +12
25	Warhammer 40K				  +6
26	RIFTS					  -6
27	13th Age				 -11
28	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	  -1
28	Stars Without Number			 +13
30	Dragon Age				  +3
31	Castles & Crusades			  +2
32	Apocalypse World			  -4
32	Warhammer FRP				  +8
34	Star Trek				  -6
35	Deadlands				  +5
36	Exalted					  +1
37	DC Heroes				 -10
38	The One Ring				  +8
38	Firefly					  -8
40	d20 Modern				  +1
41	Gamma World				  +3
42	Colonial Gothic				  -2
42	Earthdawn				  -2
42	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		  +5
42	Eclipse Phase				  -1
46	BESM					  -1
47	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			   0
48	CORTEX System				  +2
49	Iron Kingdoms				  -3
49	Star Wars (d6)				  +2
51	Fading Suns				  +6
51	All Flesh Must Be Eaten			  -2
51	Aberrant				   0
51	A Song of Ice & Fire			  -1
55	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	  +3
55	Paranoia				   0
57	Hackmaster				  -1
57	HERO System / Champions			  -1
59	Feng Shui				 -22
60	Mutant Chronicles			  -3
61	Ars Magica				  -3
61	TMNT					   0
61	Ashen Stars				  +2
61	Brave New World				   0
61	True20					   0
61	d20 Future				  -2
67	Chainmail				   0
67	Alternity				   0
67	Marvel SAGA				   0
67	Rotted Capes				   0
67	Runequest				   0
72	Smallville				   0
72	Marvel Super Heroes			   0
72	Golden Heroes / Squadron UK		   0
72	Silver Age Sentinels			   0
72	Villians & Vigilantes			   0
72	Other Superhero RPGs			   0
72	Hobomancer				   0
--	Dnd/Pathfinder				 DNC
--	Dnd/Pathfinder				 DNC
--	Stage					 DNC
*DNC = Did Not Chart

The reason I’ve included both the above charts is that I think they’re both useful for comparative purposes, but in different ways. Because of the way the scoring system works, fluctuation in score at the top of the chart seems fairly common, but because of the high scores involved such shifts aren’t necessarily meaningful in comparison to rank shift. By comparison, because of the way the ranks are calculated mild changes in rank at the lower reaches of the chart are possible with no change in score – and because the scores involved are so low, any substantial change in score represents a significant spike or drop in the discussion of the RPGs concerned. Therefore the chart of shift in rank is more relevant for high-scoring RPGs, whereas the chart of shift in score is more significant for low-scoring RPGs.

To my eye it looks like there’s been some mild shifting about here and there but not much of overwhelming consequence. Call of Cthulhu might have gotten a little bit of a boost from the ebook versions of 7th Edition continuing to circulate and be discussed. D&D 5th Edition is increasing its lead over all challengers, presumably thanks to the Dungeon Master’s Guide being released during December. Pathfinder seems to have had a welcome boost too, though I’m not aware of any major releases or announcements concerning it recently. (Possibly ENWorld are tracking some more Pathfinder-friendly fora or something, or maybe a flamewar has kicked off in the fandom somewhere I’m not aware of.)

As far as games lower down the totem pole go, the biggest change to my eye is Feng Shui‘s score dropping to under 20% of its previous value. Whilst it would be unsurprising for Feng Shui to get a temporary boost in its score thanks to the recent 2nd Edition Kickstarter (remember, Kickstarter is one of the sites tracked by the poll), I’m a little surprised to see that buzz evaporate so sharply – I would have thought the nostalgia and enthusiasm generated by the Kickstarter campaign would have prompted somewhat more sustained discussion than that, particularly considering how big Feng Shui was back in the day. (Remember when RPG.net used to recommend the Feng Shui system for any game proposal, no matter how inappropriate to the system it was? You know, like they did with Wushu after that and FATE after that.)

That reminds me, incidentally – isn’t it bizarre how Wushu seems to have dropped off the face of the Earth as far as RPG discussion goes? There was a time when it was hyped so frequently that it’d have had to make a blip on this tracking system, but nope, no sign of it since I’ve started monitoring. Weird.

Meanwhile, the data file used to compile the OSR score still includes Stars Without Number, which is still simultaneously tracked simultaneously. So that OSR score probably isn’t especially legit.

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