ENWorld’s Hot Roleplaying Games – February 2015

Another month, another chance to check in on 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				2160
2	Pathfinder RPG				 725
3	Old School Revival (OSR)		 570
4	FATE					 454
5	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			 367
6	Savage Worlds				 199
7	Call of Cthulhu				 170
8	D&D 4th Edition				 164
9	World of Darkness			 156
10	Traveller				 151
11	GURPS					 106
12	Shadowrun				 105
13	Dungeon World				  96
14	Star Wars (FFG)				  93
15	Numenera				  87
16	OD&D					  86
17	Dread					  83
18	The Strange				  79
19	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	  77
19	Dungeon Crawl Classics			  77
21	AD&D 1st Edition			  72
22	ICONS					  68
23	AD&D 2nd Edition			  66
24	Dragon Age				  56
25	Warhammer 40K				  55
26	Stars Without Number			  53
27	Gumshoe					  50
27	13th Age				  50
29	RIFTS					  43
29	Warhammer FRP				  43
31	Apocalypse World			  38
32	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	  37
33	Castles & Crusades			  36
34	Deadlands				  32
35	The One Ring				  25
35	Star Trek				  25
37	Exalted					  21
38	Gamma World				  20
39	Firefly					  18
40	d20 Modern				  17
41	BESM					  15
42	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		  14
43	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			  13
43	Fading Suns				  13
43	Eclipse Phase				  13
43	Iron Kingdoms				  13
47	Earthdawn				  12
48	Chainmail				  10
49	Star Wars (d6)				   9
49	A Song of Ice & Fire			   9
49	Colonial Gothic				   9
49	CORTEX System				   9
53	Aberrant				   8
54	HERO System / Champions			   7
54	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	   7
56	Paranoia				   5
56	Hackmaster				   5
58	All Flesh Must Be Eaten			   3
58	Ars Magica				   3
60	TMNT					   2
60	Alternity				   2
60	Feng Shui				   2
60	DC Heroes				   2
60	Ashen Stars				   2
60	True20					   2
66	d20 Future				   1
66	Rotted Capes				   1
66	Other Superhero RPGs			   1
66	Silver Age Sentinels			   1
66	Mutant Chronicles			   1
66	Runequest				   1
72	Brave New World				   0
72	Golden Heroes / Squadron UK		   0
72	Marvel SAGA				   0
72	Villians & Vigilantes			   0
72	Smallville				   0
72	Marvel Super Heroes			   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). At least, that’s according to the ENWorld writeup – though since I’ve not seen a game drop off the chart since the Dnd/Pathfinder and Stage categories dropped off, I begin to wonder.

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

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

And here’s the chart of absolute score changes.

RANK	GAME					CHANGE
1	D&D 5th Edition				+300
2	Pathfinder RPG				+185
3	Old School Revival (OSR)		 +69
4	FATE					 +10
5	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			 +17
6	Savage Worlds				 +14
7	Call of Cthulhu				  +1
8	D&D 4th Edition				 +44
9	World of Darkness			  -4
10	Traveller				 -10
11	GURPS					 +18
12	Shadowrun				  -1
13	Dungeon World				  +5
14	Star Wars (FFG)				 +20
15	Numenera				  -3
16	OD&D					 -15
17	Dread					 -13
18	The Strange				  +4
19	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	  +9
19	Dungeon Crawl Classics			  +6
21	AD&D 1st Edition			  -3
22	ICONS					  +8
23	AD&D 2nd Edition			 -22
24	Dragon Age				 +15
25	Warhammer 40K				   0
26	Stars Without Number			 +10
27	Gumshoe					  -7
27	13th Age				  +6
29	RIFTS					 -11
29	Warhammer FRP				 +12
31	Apocalypse World			  +7
32	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	  -6
33	Castles & Crusades			  -4
34	Deadlands				  +8
35	The One Ring				  +6
35	Star Trek				  +3
37	Exalted					  -2
38	Gamma World				  +3
39	Firefly					  -1
40	d20 Modern				  -1
41	BESM					  +1
42	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		  -1
43	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			  +2
43	Fading Suns				  +5
43	Eclipse Phase				  -2
43	Iron Kingdoms				  +4
47	Earthdawn				  -2
48	Chainmail				  +9
49	Star Wars (d6)				   0
49	A Song of Ice & Fire			  +1
49	Colonial Gothic				  -6
49	CORTEX System				  -1
53	Aberrant				   0
54	HERO System / Champions			  +1
54	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	   0
56	Paranoia				  -2
56	Hackmaster				  -1
58	All Flesh Must Be Eaten			  -5
58	Ars Magica				  +1
60	TMNT					   0
60	Alternity				  +1
60	Feng Shui				  -3
60	DC Heroes				 -19
60	Ashen Stars				   0
60	True20					   0
66	d20 Future				  -1
66	Rotted Capes				   0
66	Other Superhero RPGs			  +1
66	Silver Age Sentinels			  +1
66	Mutant Chronicles			  -2
66	Runequest				   0
72	Brave New World				  -2
72	Golden Heroes / Squadron UK		   0
72	Marvel SAGA				  -1
72	Villians & Vigilantes			   0
72	Smallville				   0
72	Marvel Super Heroes			   0
72	Hobomancer				   0
--	Dnd/Pathfinder				 DNC
--	Stage					 DNC
*DNC = Did Not Chart

It seems to me that the total number of points available seems to have increased substantially – I suspect either because more points have been injected to avoid low-scoring games being utterly eclipsed by the incredible amount of discussion D&D 5th Edition has inspired, or because additional sources are being tracked. I tend to think the latter, because GURPS (for instance) has never been higher in the chart as long as I’ve been tracking it as it is this time around, which in the absence of any particular major GURPS-related announcements or news stories suggests that new GURPS-friendly sources are being tracked.

The big boost in the score for Chainmail, however, can unfortunately be traced to a news story – specifically, Jeff Perren, who co-authored Chainmail and thus lay the foundations that Gary Gygax would later develop with its fantasy supplement (which in turn would help provide the basis for Dave Arneson’s invention of the traditional RPG format as Gygax codified in Dungeons & Dragons… ah, go read Playing At the World if you want the lowdown on that chain of events), has apparently had some medical troubles of late, and his daughter has launched a GoFundMe to install a stairlift so that he can be looked after at home. (The silver lining on the story is that the stairlift has been fully funded in the space of a week, so hopefully any extra donations that come in can be productively used to help finish the other home conversions needed to help Jeff.)

For the most part, though, there isn’t much to shake up the new status quo, with 5E still dominating conversation. The usual caveat that applies here is that the chart here doesn’t track the nature of the conversation surrounding a game, only the fact that it is happening. That said, I haven’t personally noticed much controversy surrounding 5E beyond the storm-in-a-teacup that was ConsultantGate, and that blew over months ago, and the general temperature of the conversation that I’ve seen so far has been reasonably positive. The fact that the conversation around 5E is generally positive in tone and only getting busier and louder suggests that whether or not it’s the new market leader commercially, 5E certainly appears to be the market leader on a critical or intellectual level – once again, the latest version of D&D is something that everyone at least has an opinion on and most people inclined to discuss RPGs at all are eager to talk about. We’ll have to see how that buzz evolves as the editiona pproaches its first birthday.

The drop in the scores for several other D&D editions may also suggest that 5E is succeeding at being the Big Tent edition I’ve been saying all along it needed to be – the significant score drops for 1E and 2E Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, in particular, may be symptomatic of the fact that out of all of the editions of D&D that Wizards have put out, 5E is by far the friendliest to the style of play that would become typical of the mid-to-late TSR era.

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