ENWorld’s Hot Roleplaying Games – June 2015

Right, it’s been two months, so let’s see what’s changed with the ENWorld list 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 ENWorld 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). What I present here are the scores assigned to each game, not the percentages (which can tend to obscure whether there’s been a recent explosion of RPG discussion – for example, as associated with the D&D 5E release – or whether things are comparatively quiet on the RPG talkosphere).

First up, let’s get the rankings and absolute scores:

RANK	GAME					SCORE
1	D&D 5th Edition				1432
2	Pathfinder RPG				 501
3	Old School Revival (OSR)		 489
4	FATE					 321
5	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			 263
6	D&D 4th Edition				 199
7	World of Darkness			 187
8	Savage Worlds				 170
9	Call of Cthulhu				 120
10	Shadowrun				 111
11	Traveller				  95
12	Dread					  87
13	Dungeon World				  85
14	ICONS					  81
15	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	  80
16	Dungeon Crawl Classics			  78
17	GURPS					  70
18	Stars Without Number			  57
19	The Strange				  56
20	Warhammer FRP				  51
20	OD&D					  51
22	Warhammer 40K				  44
23	Numenera				  39
24	Gumshoe					  34
25	Dragon Age				  30
26	13th Age				  29
27	Apocalypse World			  26
28	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	  24
29	Iron Kingdoms				  23
30	RIFTS					  20
31	Deadlands				  19
32	Eclipse Phase				  18
33	d20 Modern				  17
34	A Song of Ice & Fire			  16
34	Exalted					  16
36	Gamma World				  14
36	The One Ring				  14
36	AD&D 1st Edition			  14
39	Firefly					  13
39	BESM					  13
39	Earthdawn				  13
42	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		  11
42	All Flesh Must Be Eaten			  11
42	Ars Magica				  11
45	Castles & Crusades			  10
46	HERO System / Champions			   9
46	Hackmaster				   9
48	Feng Shui				   8
49	AD&D 2nd Edition			   7
50	CORTEX System				   5
50	Fading Suns				   5
52	Star Wars (FFG)				   4
52	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	   4
52	TMNT					   4
55	Other Superhero RPGs			   3
55	Chainmail				   3
55	Rotted Capes				   3
55	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			   3
55	Star Trek				   3
55	DC Heroes				   3
61	Hobomancer				   2
61	Ashen Stars				   2
61	Alternity				   2
61	Aberrant				   2
61	True20					   2
61	Smallville				   2
67	Mutant Chronicles			   1
67	Star Wars (d6)				   1
67	Marvel SAGA				   1
70	d20 Future				   0
70	Colonial Gothic				   0
70	Golden Heroes / Squadron UK		   0
70	Silver Age Sentinels			   0
70	Paranoia				   0
70	Villians & Vigilantes			   0
70	Marvel Super Heroes			   0
70	Runequest				   0
70	Brave New World				   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’m sceptical about that. Note also that the “OSR” entry should be taken with a pinch of salt – it’s the accumulated score of a whole bunch of OSR games, but this includes Stars Without Number which also has its own, separate entry.

Here’s the chart of the shifts in rank (probably more significant for higher-scoring games):

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	D&D 4th Edition				  =
7	World of Darkness			 +1
8	Savage Worlds				 -1
9	Call of Cthulhu				  =
10	Shadowrun				 +2
11	Traveller				  =
12	Dread					 +6
13	Dungeon World				 -3
14	ICONS					 +5
15	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	 -1
16	Dungeon Crawl Classics			 +1
17	GURPS					 -2
18	Stars Without Number			 +6
19	The Strange				 +1
20	Warhammer FRP				 +1
20	OD&D					 -5
22	Warhammer 40K				  =
23	Numenera				 -1
24	Gumshoe					 +3
25	Dragon Age				 +1
26	13th Age				 -1
27	Apocalypse World			 +2
28	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	 +5
29	Iron Kingdoms				 +8
30	RIFTS					  =
31	Deadlands				  =
32	Eclipse Phase				 +7
33	d20 Modern				+14
34	A Song of Ice & Fire			+10
34	Exalted					 +5
36	Gamma World				 +3
36	The One Ring				 -1
36	AD&D 1st Edition			 -5
39	Firefly					 -4
39	BESM					 +4
39	Earthdawn				 -1
42	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		 +4
42	All Flesh Must Be Eaten			+17
42	Ars Magica				+11
45	Castles & Crusades			-11
46	HERO System / Champions			 +9
46	Hackmaster				 +4
48	Feng Shui				+16
49	AD&D 2nd Edition			 +2
50	CORTEX System				 +6
50	Fading Suns				 -6
52	Star Wars (FFG)				-39
52	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	 -5
52	TMNT					 +7
55	Other Superhero RPGs			 +4
55	Chainmail				-13
55	Rotted Capes				+17
55	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			 -6
55	Star Trek				-28
55	DC Heroes				 +9
61	Hobomancer				 +3
61	Ashen Stars				+11
61	Alternity				 +3
61	Aberrant				-10
61	True20					 +1
61	Smallville				 +7
67	Mutant Chronicles			-11
67	Star Wars (d6)				-14
67	Marvel SAGA				 +5
70	d20 Future				 +2
70	Colonial Gothic				-14
70	Golden Heroes / Squadron UK		 -2
70	Silver Age Sentinels			 -8
70	Paranoia				 +2
70	Villians & Vigilantes			 +2
70	Marvel Super Heroes			 +2
70	Runequest				 -2
70	Brave New World				 -2
--	Dnd/Pathfinder				 DNC
--	Stage					 DNC
*DNC = Did Not Chart

And here’s the chart of shifts in absolute score (which I believe to be more significant for lower-scoring games):

RANK	GAME					CHANGE
1	D&D 5th Edition				-462
2	Pathfinder RPG				-174
3	Old School Revival (OSR)		-148
4	FATE					 -73
5	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			 -51
6	D&D 4th Edition				 -64
7	World of Darkness			 +12
8	Savage Worlds				 -36
9	Call of Cthulhu				 -54
10	Shadowrun				 -15
11	Traveller				 -41
12	Dread					  +6
13	Dungeon World				 -54
14	ICONS					  +1
15	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	 -18
16	Dungeon Crawl Classics			 -10
17	GURPS					 -27
18	Stars Without Number			  +5
19	The Strange				 -17
20	Warhammer FRP				 -14
20	OD&D					 -46
22	Warhammer 40K				 -16
23	Numenera				 -21
24	Gumshoe					  -7
25	Dragon Age				 -16
26	13th Age				 -18
27	Apocalypse World			  -8
28	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	  -3
29	Iron Kingdoms				   =
30	RIFTS					 -11
31	Deadlands				 -11
32	Eclipse Phase				   =
33	d20 Modern				  +6
34	A Song of Ice & Fire			  +3
34	Exalted					  -2
36	Gamma World				  -4
36	The One Ring				 -10
36	AD&D 1st Edition			 -16
39	Firefly					 -11
39	BESM					  -1
39	Earthdawn				  -6
42	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		  -1
42	All Flesh Must Be Eaten			  +7
42	Ars Magica				  +4
45	Castles & Crusades			 -15
46	HERO System / Champions			  +3
46	Hackmaster				   =
48	Feng Shui				  +6
49	AD&D 2nd Edition			  -1
50	CORTEX System				   =
50	Fading Suns				  -8
52	Star Wars (FFG)				 -98
52	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	  -7
52	TMNT					   =
55	Other Superhero RPGs			  -1
55	Chainmail				 -13
55	Rotted Capes				  +3
55	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			  -7
55	Star Trek				 -38
55	DC Heroes				  +1
61	Hobomancer				   =
61	Ashen Stars				  +2
61	Alternity				   =
61	Aberrant				  -6
61	True20					  -1
61	Smallville				  +1
67	Mutant Chronicles			  -4
67	Star Wars (d6)				  -6
67	Marvel SAGA				  +1
70	d20 Future				   =
70	Colonial Gothic				  -5
70	Golden Heroes / Squadron UK		  -1
70	Silver Age Sentinels			  -3
70	Paranoia				   =
70	Villians & Vigilantes			   =
70	Marvel Super Heroes			   =
70	Runequest				  -1
70	Brave New World				  -1
--	Dnd/Pathfinder				 DNC
--	Stage					 DNC
*DNC = Did Not Chart

So, it looks like that the scores for most games dropped a fair bit this time, with a few exceptions managing to hold their own or even improve their scores. The overall number of points available seems to have dropped, which suggests either an overall decrease in RPG discussion as we come into the summer months or a readjustment to the chart algorithms. Certainly, the score drops do not appear to have affected everyone equally – Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars RPGs and the Star Trek RPGs were blasted to near-total oblivion this time, though I do have to wonder whether this is down to a tweak to the monitoring processes involved (for instance, an edit to try and discount glancing references to Trek or Star Wars in otherwise-unrelated threads).

The general decline in the scores for TSR-era editions of D&D continues, which may be down to a combination of factors – it could be that 5E has managed to win over the TSR generation in the way Wizards had hoped, and it could also be that most people who still care about those editions of the game have got onboard the OSR train and are paying more attention to the newer games coming out through that avenue or their favoured retro-clones. (AD&D 2E actually managed to increase its rank modestly this time, but only because of the overall drop in points many games experienced; 2E‘s absolute score is now so low that it now doesn’t actually have that many points to lose.)

World of Darkness is the most high-profile game (or set of games) to have actually increased its score this time, solidifying its place in the top ten; it’s possible that the unveiling of the Beast: the Primordial Kickstarter may have helped here. There’s still a big gulf of points between it and FATE, so we probably won’t see the World of Darkness regain its old place as the top non-D&D-derived RPG in the short term, but it certainly seems like a long-term possibility if Onyx Path can sustain this level of buzz around it.

Ars Magica also seems to have enjoyed a bit of a bump in rank and score, presumably from the reaction to Atlas Games announcing their plans for the future of Mythic Europe. In short: they’re declaring the Ars Magica 5E line complete after the next couple of supplements come out, but whilst they don’t rule out doing a 6th Edition at some point in the long-term future they’d rather focus on producing other games set in the Mythic Europe setting for the time being. This seems like a smart move to me – the 5th Edition is an extraordinarily complete game line and a much-loved version of the game, and any 6th Edition would either involve so little change as to be seen as a money-grab or such substantial change as to split the fanbase. Atlas seem acutely aware of both possibilities, and especially aware of how tight-knit the fanbase for Ars Magica is – and therefore what a colossal shame it would be if it were fractured through edition warring – so holding off on putting out a 6th Edition for a good long while seems like a good idea to me.

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