Awesome turn-based RPGs. Go!
October 14, 2011 7:07 AM   Subscribe

Recommend me awesome turn-based RPGs I can play on my Mac!

I've recently started playing D&D: Neverwinter Nights on Facebook, and I love the combat style. Games where time is a factor stress me out, and I have terrible mouse-eye coordination. This is perfect! However, it's a Facebook game, and has its limitations.

I'd love to find some great turn-based RPGs I can either play online in a browser (preferably), download and play on my Mac, or (last resort) play on my iPhone.

I like games with nice graphics, customisable characters (preferably with some good-looking races - call me superficial but I'd rather play an elf or halfling than an angry-dragon-grah-mcscalyface) and great storylines. I loved the humour of Kingdom of Loathing (but the not-being-able-to-actually-see-the-combat thing got me in the end).

I also play D&D in real life, so I'm comfortable with customising stats, choosing powers, building a balanced team etc (if that's relevant)!

Recommend away!
posted by lovedbymarylane to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Allow me to introduce you to Spiderweb Software and in particular Avadon and Avernum.
posted by zippy at 7:17 AM on October 14, 2011 [6 favorites]

Well the godfather of CRPGs is probably the Baldur's Gate series, based on 2d ed. AD&D rules. It's "real time," but you can pause whenever you damn well feel like it, so it winds up playing a lot more like a turn-based game. This is also the first of the now-legendary BioWare RPG games, the latest of which is Mass Effect.

For straight-up turn-based RPG action, check out the oldie-but-goodie Exile series, more recently instantiated in the Avernum series.
posted by valkyryn at 7:20 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thirding Spiderweb's games, which sound exactly like what you're asking for.
posted by dismas at 7:47 AM on October 14, 2011

All of my votes to back-up Baldur's Gate as suggested by valkyryn.
The first one got out in what, 1998? People are still comparing everything that Bioware produces to that series.

And don't worry about the age of it, it was at the very apex of 2D graphics (actually maybe more Baldur's Gate II but the 1st has nothing to be ashamed of) and the engine running it top-notch.
Game decors are simply friggin' beautiful. World is vast. Quests are aplenty. Characters are awesome. Fight can be as tactical as you want it (man do I miss the joy of controlling a 6-man party, all lovingly customized to my tastes...)
One of the instances where the sequel actually built on the strong points and got even better. And the expansion- even better again.

I know I sound like a big fangirl, because I am, but I swear, that series is very darn good.
There were similar things like the Neverwinter Nights series, or Icewind Dale, but they never got as good. Actually, if you don't care about going from 3D to 2D, I suggest you play the non Facebook NeverWinter Nights and expensions, then move on to Baldur's Gate. It'll be a downgrade in technology but an upgrade in story and scope. :)
posted by CelebrenIthil at 8:11 AM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Fallout 2. It's totally awesome.

And go for Baldur's Gate II, and get the expansion. It is the greatest.

In my opinion these two games are rare instances where the sequel is better than the original. And the originals were already innovative, fun and iconic. Oh yeah and they have turn based combat.
posted by 3FLryan at 8:14 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yes, BGII is like 1,000,000,000 better than any Neverwinter Nights game. YMMV.
posted by 3FLryan at 8:16 AM on October 14, 2011

Fallout and Fallout 2 are great old games but the Mac versions do NOT work at all on recent Mac OSes, because support for 256-color display mode was dropped. I think you can get the PC versions to run under Wine or something or other but I haven't tried it.
posted by furiousthought at 8:28 AM on October 14, 2011

I just read your question more closely. You will love Baldur's Gate II. Seriously. It has an epic, engrossing story, nice graphics, turn based D&D combat and lots of character/equipment customization. Downside: It is very time intensive. It is a black hole - you will not have any more free time once you get into it.

Other favorite turn-based RPGs (I whole-heartedly recommend all of these, but you'll have to do some digging to get them running on a new mac):

XCOM: UFO Defense
Final Fantasy Tactics
Suikoden II
Shining Force and Shining Force 2
Heroes of Might and Magic 3

If you can run windows on your mac check out Good Old Games, your options expand greatly.
posted by 3FLryan at 8:35 AM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the recommendations, guys! I'll definitely check those out, particularly the Baldur's Gate series and the Spiderweb games.

Just to be clear, since I'm new to the whole CRPG thing, and I'm not much of a gamer in general, I'm also looking for stuff that's a bit simpler... in-browser games that I can dip in and out of when I have a bit of free time. I know the quality is probably not as great as in the games you've recommended, but if you know of any - I hesitate to use the word 'cute', but maybe 'light' or 'accessible' - in-browser RPGs, that would be amazing.

If it gives you an idea of the kind of 'gamer' I am, I thoroughly enjoyed Plants vs Zombies and the Portal series - humourous, nice-looking, not too dark.
posted by lovedbymarylane at 8:56 AM on October 14, 2011

MeFi's own 100 Rogues might suit you.
posted by Artw at 10:26 AM on October 14, 2011

Since my laptop hates anything vaguely intensive, I've been limited to browser based games for a while. I can toss a few flash games your way that you can pick and choose between, from there just explore the various larger game sites and see if there's anything that takes your fancy. My picks are:

Monsters' Den: Book of Dread - A dungeon crawler where you make your team and go slaughter some old fashioned D&D-esq enemies. Not much in terms of humour, but an excellent time killer; just start on the easier mode, as the difficulty ramps up very quickly on higher modes.

Crystal Story - A recently released game, this has a good dose of humour, relatively flexible character development and nice music.

Epic Battle Fantasy 3 - One of the most popular flash turn-based RPG games. Stylised but excellent graphics, balanced game play and full of humour, albeit mainly pop culture humour.

Mardek RPG: Chapter 1 - The first in a trilogy of games that draws heavy inspiration from SNES era gaming. Again, a very high quality production that parodies and gently mocks many RPG conventions to gain its humourous tone.

Arkandian Crusade - Good quality game that offers two types of game play a little way into it. The combat can get slow at times, which is unfortunately a criticism of all of Undefined's games, but still very much a great way to spend some time.

These are the best that I can offer from the top of my head. Unfortunately, only Monsters' Den and Arkandian Crusade offer character creation, and they're both rather limited, but for all of my browser gaming I've yet to find any RPG that has a remotely decent character creation/customisation system. Some of these are more intensive and complex than others, but all I can say is give them all a try and hopefully you'll find at least one to your liking.
posted by Inner Universe at 10:53 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you like light, simple browser-based games:

You might, might enjoy Kingdom of Loathing. It's extremely bare-bones in appearance and gameplay but it's fun and somewhat addictive in its way.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:13 AM on October 14, 2011

Just saw your bit about graphics. Um, the graphics on KoL are nothing short of laughable. But, as I said, the game is very playable and fun.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:14 AM on October 14, 2011

If you do Kingdom of Loathing, be prepared for a bit of WTF-factor when you sign up. The first thing you should do is read up about things and join a clan. The people there will be amazingly helpful and likely give you items that save you a ton of time.

Guides and walkthroughs are available, and very useful in some cases, but just wandering around reading the descriptions and trying to figure things out can be very fun and hilarious. It's surprisingly well done for what it is. That said, I doubt you'll like it. I even lost interest pretty quick.

For a really cool twist on team-dynamics/turn-based behavior and zombies check out Die2Nite. You start out as a town with zombies coming at the end of every real life day. Each person has X actions for the day. Everyone eventually dies. Usually quickly and with a bang. Good game, free but pay to play option is there. Seemed to me like few use it however.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:21 AM on October 14, 2011

If you're looking for lighter stuff, definitely check out the Exile and Avernum stuff. They're pretty low impact.
posted by valkyryn at 5:26 PM on October 14, 2011

King of dragon pass. Not exactly what you are looking for but very very good.
posted by Sebmojo at 7:00 PM on October 14, 2011

Response by poster: Again, thanks for the recommendations, guys.

Deathalicious and RolandOfEld, as I mentioned, I have played KoL and loved it for the most part, but the graphics and non-customisability were a bit of a dealbreaker, and it got a bit repetitive after a while.

Inner Universe, I tried all the games you suggested, but yeah, the character creation really is a big factor for me - the main reason I love RPGs is creating a character from scratch and gradually making them stronger, getting them better gear, learning new skills and so on.

Looks like character creation and development really isn't a focus in most browser-based RPGs... back to Neverwinter Nights for me!
posted by lovedbymarylane at 7:32 AM on October 15, 2011

I've been enjoying King's Bounty: Legions on Facebook. It's pretty full-featured for a Facebook game.
posted by mattholomew at 9:14 AM on October 15, 2011

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