Top 11 Best Tabletop Games of All Time

Dragons are always the best boss fights.

There is something special about Role-Playing Games that often lead to the most memorable of experiences and stories that can only be told in a social setting. But those experiences normally need a set of rules to help guide them and ensure that there is fairness and balance. With a wealth of options out there it can be difficult to choose which system is right for which game. So here to help is the systems that are the most fun to play and why.

11. Eclipse Phase

Eclipse Phase is a system designed for use in a unique sci-fi setting. After a catastrophic event on Earth that killed ninety percent of the population, humanity fled to the stars to seek salvation. The system encourages plot lines about high concept science fiction such as aliens or government conspiracies. Setting up characters can be tricky, but the actual play is easy. The game uses a percentile system where you roll a d100 (or two ten-sided dice) and if you roll under the target it is a success, making play quick and clean.

10. Shadowrun

This game comes with a very cool Cyberpunk setting

with a shot of fantasy on top. The basic premise is in the future there are corporations more powerful than countries and need freelance mercenaries called Shadowrunners to complete clandestine jobs for them.

When making your character you have the option to be different races such as elves and orcs. There are also a lot of class options ranging from wizards, to hackers and everything you can think of in-between. The system itself can get a little complicated so only sign up for the experience if you like crunchier systems with lots of math.

9. Odam: Of Dreams and Magic

In this game, you have a human character and a dream character called an Anima. The dream character can be whatever you want it to be and it is what you will use to do battle in the dreamworld. You can have a pulpy sci-fi adventure game then wake up in the normal world and have a gritty crime drama only to fall asleep again, but this time wake up in a wild west town. The possibilities are endless. The system for this game uses two ten-sided dice where one is a positive

number and other is a negative number. You roll both of them and add together meaning the results can hit anywhere between a -9 and +9 representing the degrees of success or failure of your actions.

8. Savage Worlds

Savage Worlds is an RPG game that is designed without a specific setting in mind, meaning it offers complete freedom for GMs to tell whatever kind of story they want. It has mechanics for weapons and abilities across multiple time periods and genres. But there are several supported settings that the game designers have made, such as Deadlands a horror/western setting where the civil war kept going never ended. The system allots you points where you buy dice in each skill and attributes from a four-sided dice to a twelve-sided dice. When asked to roll that ability you simply roll the dice you have bought up to plus a ‘wild’ six sided dice and take the higher result.

This all leads to an easy to learn system that gets right to the action.

7. Fate

Fate Core is another generic RPG system without a specific setting attached to it. The book gives GMs all the tools they need to create a setting about whatever they want. What works about Fate is that it is designed for narrative focused games. Role-playing is the most important aspect of the game, with the front side of the character sheet being a series of blank boxes for you write in your backstory and then draw bonuses from it. During play you roll FUDGE dice which are four six sided dice that have two pluses, two minuses and two blanks on them. The goal is to get as many pluses as you can to succeed in your actions and interact with the story.

6. G.U.R.P.S.

G.U.R.P.S. stands for Generic Universal Role-Playing System, meaning it, like Fate and Savage Worlds, is a system without a dedicated setting or story. Instead you can create whatever kind of setting you want while the books provide rules and tools to help create an engaging game. The system uses three six-sided dice where the objective is to roll underneath the chosen skill. This all makes for a crunchier system that is very welcoming for newer players that can participate in whatever kind of game your GM can dream of.

5. Numenera

This epic game has a truly unique setting attached to it. Set one billion years in the future, you can explore ‘The Ninth World,’ called that because eight other civilizations have risen to their peaks and then collapsed in that time. Technology is done in such a way that it can function however you want it to meaning anything is possible. The character creation is simple too, being defined by a sentence, where you pick a class, an adjective, and a verb that fills out the primary actions and focus of your character.

4. Starfinder

Pazio’s newest RPG that launched last year has been very successful. Set in the far-flung future of their Pathfinder game setting, Starfinder mixes the best parts of fantasy and sci-fi to make a fun-filled space opera. With aliens and elves intermingling out in space there sure is something for everyone on this crunchier d20 based system. Plus the more fluid character creation helps set it apart from its sister game, Pathfinder.

3. Call of Cthulhu

This is a very simple game to play and in the right hands can create a lasting experience. Based on the horror stories by H.P. Lovecraft, it sees the players as investigators into the strange world of cosmic horrors. With a simple d100 system like Eclipse Phase, you determine a character’s success or failure by trying to roll under their skill score. What makes this game intriguing is not only the interesting lore but how well it conveys the frailty of facing these powers. The mechanics reinforce this point by making it easy for players to die very fast or go insane leading to moments of real tension.

2. Dungeons and Dragons

The most recent Fifth Edition of the game is a great place to start if you want to get into table top RPGs. It is a fantasy role-playing game with a lot of planes to set an exciting adventure on from the high fantasy of Forgotten Realms to the horror-inspired mists of Ravenloft. With so much planar hoping and high-flying adventure to offer you won’t ever get bored of this game. This version has cut out a lot of the fluff and numbers of older versions to stream line the game down to quick action and easily distinctive classes that all serve a unique role in the party.

1. Pathfinder

This game combines the crunchy systems of older Dungeons and Dragons editions and years of support that has to lead to a system with a lot of content. It is a fantasy role-playing game like Dungeons and Dragons but has so many more options and abilities to choose from creating the strongest amount of player choices. The variety of this D20 based system is unmatched which means it easily comes in as the first choice for role-playing games.

Didn’t see your favorite system on this list? Sound off in the comments below and share your favorite stories and systems!

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After tiring form the life of adventure in Chicago, Andrew seeks to return home to Ohio where he intends to tell all the tales in his head. Unless more video games and comic books distract him.
Gamer Since: 1996
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Top 3 Favorite Games:Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
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