ENWorld’s Hot Roleplaying Games – October 2015

I’m a little late this month but it’s still worth taking a look at ENWorld’s list of hot RPGs because some interesting things are going on in the chart at the moment.

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).

Incidentally, the ENWorld site claims that they’re tracking posts on the Wizards and Paizo forums and giving separate scores for them, but this is utter bullshit – they did that briefly as an experiment and then stopped. All the figures on the chart do not include official publisher forums – and I think some of the changes this time around may have something to do with that, as you’ll see.

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

RANK	GAME					SCORE
1	D&D 5th Edition				1182
2	Pathfinder RPG				 109
3	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			 104
4	D&D 4th Edition				  97
4	World of Darkness			  97
6	Old School Revival (OSR)		  58
7	Exalted					  40
8	Dragon Age/Fantasy AGE/AGE		  39
8	Savage Worlds				  39
10	Warhammer 40K				  38
11	Traveller				  36
12	GURPS					  30
13	Shadowrun				  28
14	Call of Cthulhu				  26
15	Numenera				  23
16	Feng Shui				  19
17	AD&D 2nd Edition			  18
18	Stars Without Number			  17
18	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	  17
18	ICONS					  17
21	What's OLD is NEW			  16
22	Dungeon World				  15
23	Eclipse Phase				  14
24	Gumshoe					  11
24	13th Age				  11
26	Apocalypse World			  10
26	OD&D					  10
28	Mutant Chronicles			   9
28	The Strange				   9
28	AD&D 1st Edition			   9
28	Warhammer FRP				   9
32	The One Ring				   8
32	Firefly					   8
34	Deadlands				   7
34	Gamma World				   7
36	RIFTS					   6
37	Star Wars (FFG)				   5
37	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	   5
37	Castles & Crusades			   5
40	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			   4
40	Ars Magica				   4
40	CORTEX System				   4
40	Dread					   4
40	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		   4
45	Smallville				   3
45	True20					   3
45	Fading Suns				   3
45	BESM					   3
45	Colonial Gothic				   3
50	Earthdawn				   2
50	Dungeon Crawl Classics			   2
50	d20 Modern				   2
50	Star Wars (d6)				   2
50	Iron Kingdoms				   2
50	HERO System / Champions			   2
50	Aberrant				   2
57	FATE					   1
57	Hackmaster				   1
57	Star Trek				   1
57	Other Superhero RPGs			   1
57	All Flesh Must Be Eaten			   1
57	Runequest				   1
57	TMNT					   1
57	Villians & Vigilantes			   1
65	Rotted Capes				   0
65	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	   0
65	A Song of Ice & Fire			   0
65	DC Heroes				   0
65	Alternity				   0
65	Ashen Stars				   0
65	Golden Heroes / Squadron UK		   0
65	Silver Age Sentinels			   0
65	Hobomancer				   0
65	Brave New World				   0
65	Marvel SAGA				   0
65	Marvel Super Heroes			   0
65	Paranoia				   0
65	Chainmail				   0
65	d20 Future				   0
--	Dnd/Pathfinder				 DNC
--	Stage					 DNC
*DNC = Did Not Chart

Note that yet again the OSR score includes a contribution from Stars Without Number, which is also tracked separately.

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

RANK	GAME					SCORE
1	D&D 5th Edition				  =
2	Pathfinder RPG				  =
3	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			 +2
4	D&D 4th Edition				 +2
4	World of Darkness			 -1
6	Old School Revival (OSR)		 -2
7	Exalted					+12
8	Dragon Age/Fantasy AGE/AGE		 -1
8	Savage Worlds				  =
10	Warhammer 40K				 +2
11	Traveller				 -1
12	GURPS					 -1
13	Shadowrun				 +3
14	Call of Cthulhu				 -5
15	Numenera				 +3
16	Feng Shui				 +9
17	AD&D 2nd Edition			+12
18	Stars Without Number			 -1
18	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	 -4
18	ICONS					 -2
21	What's OLD is NEW			 +1
22	Dungeon World				 -7
23	Eclipse Phase				 +9
24	Gumshoe					 -2
24	13th Age				 -3
26	Apocalypse World			 -2
26	OD&D					 +1
28	Mutant Chronicles			+27
28	The Strange				 -3
28	AD&D 1st Edition			 +6
28	Warhammer FRP				 +4
32	The One Ring				 +2
32	Firefly					 -2
34	Deadlands				 -7
34	Gamma World				 +5
36	RIFTS					 -6
37	Star Wars (FFG)				+12
37	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	 +5
37	Castles & Crusades			 +5
40	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			 +9
40	Ars Magica				 -1
40	CORTEX System				 -3
40	Dread					-21
40	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		 -1
45	Smallville				 +4
45	True20					+22
45	Fading Suns				+10
45	BESM					+10
45	Colonial Gothic				+10
50	Earthdawn				 -1
50	Dungeon Crawl Classics			-13
50	d20 Modern				-14
50	Star Wars (d6)				+17
50	Iron Kingdoms				 -8
50	HERO System / Champions			 -4
50	Aberrant				 +5
57	FATE					 -2
57	Hackmaster				 -8
57	Star Trek				-11
57	Other Superhero RPGs			 +6
57	All Flesh Must Be Eaten			-15
57	Runequest				 -2
57	TMNT					 -8
57	Villians & Vigilantes			+10
65	Rotted Capes				 +2
65	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	-10
65	A Song of Ice & Fire			-19
65	DC Heroes				 +2
65	Alternity				 +2
65	Ashen Stars				 +2
65	Golden Heroes / Squadron UK		 +2
65	Silver Age Sentinels			 -2
65	Hobomancer				 +2
65	Brave New World				 +2
65	Marvel SAGA				 -2
65	Marvel Super Heroes			 +2
65	Paranoia				 -2
65	Chainmail				 +2
65	d20 Future				 +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					SCORE
1	D&D 5th Edition				+193
2	Pathfinder RPG				-117
3	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			 -35
4	D&D 4th Edition				 +19
4	World of Darkness			 -63
6	Old School Revival (OSR)		 -94
7	Exalted					  +8
8	Dragon Age/Fantasy AGE/AGE		 -38
8	Savage Worlds				 -35
10	Warhammer 40K				 -10
11	Traveller				 -13
12	GURPS					 -16
13	Shadowrun				 -21
14	Call of Cthulhu				 -35
15	Numenera				 -10
16	Feng Shui				  +4
17	AD&D 2nd Edition			  +5
18	Stars Without Number			 -17
18	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	 -25
18	ICONS					 -19
21	What's OLD is NEW			  -4
22	Dungeon World				 -24
23	Eclipse Phase				  +3
24	Gumshoe					  -9
24	13th Age				 -10
26	Apocalypse World			  -6
26	OD&D					  -4
28	Mutant Chronicles			  +7
28	The Strange				  -6
28	AD&D 1st Edition			  -1
28	Warhammer FRP				  -2
32	The One Ring				  -2
32	Firefly					  -4
34	Deadlands				  -7
34	Gamma World				   =
36	RIFTS					  -6
37	Star Wars (FFG)				  +2
37	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	   =
37	Castles & Crusades			   =
40	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			  +1
40	Ars Magica				  -3
40	CORTEX System				  -4
40	Dread					 -28
40	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		  -3
45	Smallville				   =
45	True20					  +3
45	Fading Suns				  +1
45	BESM					  +1
45	Colonial Gothic				  +1
50	Earthdawn				  -1
50	Dungeon Crawl Classics			  -6
50	d20 Modern				  -7
50	Star Wars (d6)				  +2
50	Iron Kingdoms				  -3
50	HERO System / Champions			  -2
50	Aberrant				   =
57	FATE					  -1
57	Hackmaster				  -2
57	Star Trek				  -3
57	Other Superhero RPGs			   =
57	All Flesh Must Be Eaten			  -4
57	Runequest				  -1
57	TMNT					  -2
57	Villians & Vigilantes			  +1
65	Rotted Capes				   =
65	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	  -2
65	A Song of Ice & Fire			  -4
65	DC Heroes				   =
65	Alternity				   =
65	Ashen Stars				   =
65	Golden Heroes / Squadron UK		   =
65	Silver Age Sentinels			  -1
65	Hobomancer				   =
65	Brave New World				   =
65	Marvel SAGA				  -1
65	Marvel Super Heroes			   =
65	Paranoia				  -1
65	Chainmail				   =
65	d20 Future				   =
--	Dnd/Pathfinder				 DNC
--	Stage					 DNC
*DNC = Did Not Chart

The big news this time is D&D further solidifying its place as the dominant force in tabletop RPGs; over half of all discussions tracked involved 5E, and all other official editions of D&D got a healthy boost in their scores and ranks too (though of course a lot of 5E discussions will also mention other editions as people compare it to them). There’s several factors that might be driving this; for one thing, the release of the Out of the Abyss adventure and the hype for the upcoming Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide have probably stimulated discussion. On top of that, Wizards of the Coast announced over the past month or so that they were going to shut down their community forums. It seems likely to me that this has prompted an exodus of discussion from the Wizards website to other platforms for discussion – and since the official Wizards discussion fora weren’t included in the game-specific statistics before, that represents a lot of D&D-focused discussions that would previously have not been tracked coming onto the radar all of a sudden.

Additionally, 5E accounts for nearly three quarters of the discussion of D&D-related games, so it seems to have largely succeeded at becoming the One Edition to Rule Them All – although discussion is not the same time as actual play or endorsement, this level of discussion suggests that 5E is the edition which everyone who cares about D&D has an opinion about, and once an edition dominates the discussion to this extent that’s an extremely powerful position for it to be in.

In other news, despite losing a bunch of points this time World of Darkness remains the most discussed non-D&Dalike RPG by a healthy margin, with over 57 points between it and closest competitor Exalted, whose score and rank shot up this time – possibly due to the 3rd Edition Kickstarter finally being on the verge of delivering.

Feng Shui has also seen a substantial boost in its fortunes, with the new edition evidently building up a head of steam. Mutant Chronicles has also had a big boost, presumably due to the announcement of an upcoming new edition, and all the different Star Wars games seem to have had a little boost of late, possibly because of the anticipation of the new movie. That said, we’re still looking at a market which is to a large extent dominated by variations on D&D, the World of Darkness, and Exalted. It’s like the mid-2000s all over again without the masses of shitty OGL-bandwagoning shovelware clogging up the market.

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2 thoughts on “ENWorld’s Hot Roleplaying Games – October 2015

  1. Craverguy

    Hey, Arthur, sorry if it’s inappropriate to post this here, but I couldn’t figure out where else to do it.

    What’s up with FerretBrain? Is it coming back?

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