What are some good tabletop role playing games similar to D&D?
November 22, 2013 11:19 AM   Subscribe

What is a good "offline" role playing game that I can buy as a gift for a 12 year old who has just gotten really into Dungeons & Dragons? (affordable ones?- under 25 dollars? other than d&d obviously)
posted by petsounds to Shopping (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Top Secret
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:24 AM on November 22, 2013

posted by tilde at 11:35 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

A lot of my friends play something called Pathfinder but I know nothing about it.
posted by miyabo at 11:40 AM on November 22, 2013

Pathfinder basically is D&D, it's just an expansion of an older version of it. Most tabletop RPGs aren't just one thing, it's a whole series of books and accessories. If you're looking for a gift, you might try getting a gift certificate for a local gaming shop, because chances are good the kid would prefer dice or figurines or supplement books over a whole new game, that's usually how it works. Munchkin is, however, a sort of simplified jokey RPG that's designed to appeal to D&D fans, so that's not a bad option if you're really intent on a new game.
posted by Sequence at 11:50 AM on November 22, 2013 [5 favorites]

How about just buying them D&D modules since you know they already like that? Modules are like small extensions that fit in the framework of the game.
posted by ignignokt at 11:52 AM on November 22, 2013 [4 favorites]

Seconding D&D modules. Also figurines and dice, and things in which to hold and carry dice.
posted by telophase at 11:54 AM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

ok, I realize we're not supposed to comment on other answers, but Top Secret is like 30 years old and out of print. It's great, but will be frustrating for a new player in a bunch of ways.

Pathfinder is the updated D&D.

I think it depends on what kind of settings they like. GURPS is still in print and you can get whatever settings expansions suit them.

Call of Cthulhu is also fun if you want a horror setting.

The suggestion for money for their local game store isn't a bad idea if one exists in your area.
posted by GuyZero at 11:58 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by blurker at 12:02 PM on November 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

In order to suggest a game other than D&D, it would be helpful to know a little bit more about this 12-year-old's interests.
What genres of fiction does this 12 year old like? Vampires and Werewolves? Star Wars? Tolkeinian Fantasy? etc etc.
There are RPGs from pretty much every genre you can think of.

That being said, I'm going to agree with the suggestion that if the kid is into D&D, buy them more D&D books or general gaming accessories (i.e. dice and battlemats), because getting into a second RPG might not be what they want.
posted by jozxyqk at 12:10 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Paranoia would be my answer, but it looks like it's more than $25 now. This game opened my mind to the fact that there are more to games than stats, monsters and treasure. It's also a bit dystopian, so, a warning there.
posted by chemoboy at 12:16 PM on November 22, 2013

Lords of Waterdeep. sort of kind of.

For under $25 bucks I'd look at cool themed dice or heck buy him a pound of dice, figurines, dice bags (there are lot of great ones on Etsy) or modules like others have suggested.

If you have access to one, take a trip to a gaming shop and someone that works there would be able to suggest a lot of things for your budget.
posted by wwax at 12:24 PM on November 22, 2013

If the youngster is into D & D due to the combat and not the role-playing aspect, there are miniature games out there that might appeal. Star Fleet Battles (or Full Thrust) are space combat games. BONUS - The miniatures are not that expensive and Full Thrust is free for the download.

Other games for other periods exist. The Wild West, Age of Napoleon, American Revolution and 1980's Soviet-NATO armor conflict come to mind.
posted by Colonel Sun at 12:27 PM on November 22, 2013

Dungeon World is kind of a stripped-down version of D&D that's a ton of fun to play, and more importantly, much easier to get set up and playing.
posted by Oktober at 12:28 PM on November 22, 2013

My favorite D&D-like role-playing game is Star Wars: Saga Edition (easily available used).

But I agree with the other posters that unless there's a reason you haven't given, a far better gift would be further Dungeons and Dragons books -- a role-playing game system has substantial start-up costs, and there are tons of books, like modules and other expansions, that make it more and fun. When I was a hardcore D&D player I easily had dozens -- and probably closer to hundreds -- of D&D products and expansions and would always have been thrilled to get another one as a gift.
posted by willbaude at 12:51 PM on November 22, 2013

Nthing the gift money (certificate?) idea. The sheer variety available makes it difficult to give a definitively useful answer. Some games have only a single rulebook, while others could fill multiple bookshelves. Even D&D itself has an absurd number of distinct editions, all completely different. A gift certificate to your local game store (or RPGNow or IPR or similar online retailers) will ensure that he can get supplements that will be useful to him.

That said, it's hard to go wrong with a new set of dice or two.
posted by chaosys at 1:59 PM on November 22, 2013

The Resistance is a really fun table top card game. Its short and sweet and really fun with a group.
posted by Quincy at 2:21 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Pathfinder card game is kind of D&D distilled into perfection for 12 year olds. It does away with the pesky roleplaying part and is all about killing monsters, getting stuff, and leveling up. Which is exactly how I liked to play RPGs at that age.
posted by Candleman at 2:41 PM on November 22, 2013

Mouseguard is a hit with our kiddos (it's a role playing game).
For board-games, my kids love Munchkin and Give me the Brain.
posted by LittleMy at 3:39 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Right, assuming that the original poster was asking about a tabletop fantasy RPG suitable for a 12-year-old and similar friends, I'm going to weed out some unhelpful suggestions from above (others have mentioned some of them):

* Top Secret and Top Secret/SI are secret-agent games, decades out of print.
* Munchkin is a card game, not an RPG.
* Not sure I'd recommend either Call of Cthulhu (horror, often downbeat) or GURPS (generic) for someone quite new to the hobby.
* Paranoia is out of print.
* Lords of Waterdeep is a board-game, not an RPG.
* Dungeon World is not for beginners.
* The Resistance is not an RPG, it is a card game.
* The Pathfinder Card Game is in a nebulous area between card-games and RPGs, but it's also way more than $25.

My opinion: find out what edition of D&D your 12yo is playing, and buy them more stuff for it. There are always more rulebooks, backgrounds, adventures and accessories. If you find yourself completely bewildered by choice, every gamer I have ever met will be overjoyed by receiving a really nice set of polyhedral dice. Gamers can never have enough dice.

Or Pathfinder. Pathfinder will fit the bill nicely, if what the 12yo actually wants is a different game. Best to ask.

(My pedigree: professionally writing and reviewing RPG material since the late 80s, used to run the largest RPG publishing company in the UK, not plugging my own or friends' stuff, no axes to grind.)
posted by Hogshead at 2:13 PM on November 23, 2013

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