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Top 5 Upcoming Tabletop RPGs in 2019

The world of tabletop role-playing games continues to evolve. Most games these days come via Kickstarter-backed projects and appear to be the most successful of those which use the crowd-funding platform in terms of actually delivering a quality product at the end.

So, while there may be even more exciting tabletop RPGs pitched on Kickstarter or announced at events such as Gen Con, these are the ones that, as of March, look to be among the best of the bunch by the time 2019 is over.

Lex Arcana

lex arcana tabletop rpg

There’s a lot of hype around the upcoming release of Lex Arcana because of the exceptional original of the same name, which was released in 1993. Unfortunately, many English-speaking players didn’t get to play the original as it was released in Italy, so a team of the same authors of the original have been assembled to create a new Lex Arcana. The game itself takes place in a unique setting where Romans battle barbarians in the field while mystical powers, ancient monsters, and cults threaten the Caesar from within Rome’s walls. Lex Arcana is set for release around June 2019.


Pathfinder RPG: 2nd Edition

Pathfinder RPG, lovingly called D&D version 3.75, started as a modified version of Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 as a means to offer players a way of continuing to play in a similar way to the much-loved D&D 3.5 rather than the controversial 4th Edition, leading to Pathfinder even outselling Dungeons & Dragons through many quarters. In late 2014, D&D returned to the top with 5th Edition, but there’s a good chance that Pathfinder will once again give the legendary game a run for its money in 2019 when Pathfinder RPG: 2nd Edition is released. There are many stages to get through yet, but the hope is that 2nd Edition will release at or shortly after Gen Con 2019, which takes place from 1-4 August 2019.


The Expanse

Inspired by the novels of James S. A. Corey, just as the excellent series which was saved by Amazon in 2018 was, The Expanse will be a tabletop role-playing game which takes players to the universe where humans have colonised much of our Solar System. In the game, the people of the Earth, Mars, and those known as Belters continue to struggle for power while an older alien force begins to stir across the universe. Originally slated for a late 2018 release, the Expanse RPG was approved on 4 March – coincidentally, the day of writing this article – and is now available for purchase.


Savage Worlds: Adventure Edition

In 2003, the creators of miniature wargame Deadlands: the Great Rail Wars revised the rules for the game and expanded it into a new role-playing system that they would then call Savage Worlds. After many revisions and expansions to the original, a new edition was announced 15 years later, Savage Worlds: Adventure Edition, which was fully funded to the tune of $15,000 in less than five minutes and has since been given in excess of $520,000 in funding. The creators, Pinnacle, say that they’ve taken on all of the feedback of their fans to create a faster, more furious, and more fun edition which is expected to be given a print release later this year.


Things from the Flood

Hot on the heels of the fast-selling Tales from the Loop, Things from the Flood will be taking players back to the Loop in the 1990s, where you’ll try to balance your regular life with solving the mysteries of the dark times. The big difference here, according to creators Free League, is that the stakes are much higher – meaning that you can die. Final PDFs of the core rulebook were released in February, with printed copies on the way later in 2019.

While Pathfinder RPG: 2nd Edition and Savage Worlds: Adventure Edition are set to be huge hits with the tabletop RPG audience, Lex Arcana could challenge for the top spot with its very intriguing story and undoubtedly popular theme which blends history and mythology.

Getting Started with Tabletop Role-Playing Games

Some call them tabletop role-playing games, others pen and paper role-playing games, either way, this classic form of gaming is making a huge comeback thanks to pop-culture references and a new age of writers and designers from the original generations of players creating new worlds and adventures to explore.

The new age of tabletop RPGs is here, driven by classic titles like Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder RPG, and bolstered by brand new creations in themes which expand far beyond the realms of fantasy, to offer a diverse range of games that can suit all audiences.
If you’re the one who’s looking to start an evening of gaming with tabletop RPGs, you will most likely be the one who plays as the Game Master for this first run. So, the advice here will be angled more towards that side of the table.

Let’s begin:

Find the games that will intrigue your group

You’re going to want to do a bit of research to find the games that will appeal to your particular group of friends the most as it’ll help to ease you all into the style of gaming. Luckily, unlike when tabletop RPGs initially became a craze, we have the internet that’s filled with conversations and blog posts to help you quickly find a bunch of games that may be right for your group.

Now, tabletop RPGs span many genres. There is, of course, in-depth high fantasy games like Pathfinder or Dungeons & Dragons – which isn’t still the same publication from 1974, the 5th Edition was released in 2014 – quick mystery games like One Night: Ultimate Werewolf, horrors like Call of Cthulhu, and themed games like the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings/Middle-Earth creations.

There is plenty of information online to help you find games that suit the amount of time that you have, how detailed you’d like to get, and the number of players that can play the game at any one time. But the best place to go is still your local game store. The people who work in the stores will, more often than not, know the form of gaming well and be able to advise you on the best games for you.

If you’re not too sure if you’ll be in this for the long run, there are some free offerings around the web, including the Dungeons & Dragons free basic rules handbook.

 


Over to you, Game Master

Once you’ve found the right game for you and assembled a group to play, it’s time to put a bit of work in, to prepare for your role as the Game Master. You’ll most likely want to start with the standardised, formulated version of the game rather than develop your own – which is something that Game Masters of some experience like to do to deliver a unique story and customised challenge to their group – and use pre-set characters and attributes if possible.

Before everything gets underway, you’ll want to familiarise yourself with the game’s story and most importantly the format of its play. You can do this by learning from someone else who has played tabletop RPGs or by watching one of the many videos for beginners online, but the best way to start is by reading the first few parts of the material, getting to grips with the rules and the formats, and then padding your knowledge through videos. You don’t need to read the whole manual front to back and know the results of every dice roll in every encounter, but getting a feel for the game and understanding the playthrough is important.

Once you have an idea for how long the game will take and how the game is played, drop your group a message, arrange a time, and delve into the exciting worlds of tabletop RPGs!