Dungeons & Dragons is considered to be THE tabletop role playing game. But in reality the waters of the TTRPG ocean are deep and wide. If you think Lord of the Rings sucks, then maybe you’ve been turned off of D&D entirely, because c’mon, the game is a direct rip off of Tolkien’s masterwork. Maybe you’re out there, sighing wistfully as you listen to your friends talk about the wild hijinx of their most recent campaign but still thinking, “Dang these nerds are really talking about seducing an elf right now, hard pass.” Well, don’t worry folks, here’s a list of games that are way better than Dungeons & Dragons and how to find which is the right one for your gaming needs.

Mongoose

RPG in the Galaxy!

If you: are into sci-fi and/or social dynamics on an interstellar scale. You should play: Traveller. This game is beloved by both game designers and ttrpg aficionados. It’s a classic game first released in 1977, and what really sets it apart is how you make your characters. Before the game even officially starts, you’ll guide your character through their early life using a system of dice rolls to see if they get their desired career, what their social standing is, and what lasting effects their early life has on them physically or mentally. Emergent narrative shaping game play before you even start?! Sign me up Scotty. 

The Gauntlet

Nana's gonna slay the tentacle monster.

If you: want to play as a mystery solving granny and/or love the cozy 70’s and 80’s vibes of Murder She Wrote. You should play: Brindlewood Bay. What’s very very very extremely cool about this game is that the solution to the murders emerges from the mechanics of the game and the shared narrative of the players. The GM doesn’t even know the answer! Players are presented with clues and then piece together what they think the answer to the mystery is, whether they are right or not is determined by a dice roll. Very cool and it means that even more than a D&D campaign, no two games will ever be the same. Also the game only costs $10. 

Free League

This is actually the coolest game ever made.

If you: think D&D is a baby game for babies and you’re metal as hell. You should play: Mörk Borg. Here’s a game that would actually have deserved the 80’s Satanic Panic hysteria surrounding D&D had it been around back then. Mörk Borg is a brutally beautiful game developed by the most hard-core people in the world: The Swedes. You and your adventuring party will fight your way through a world nearing it’s end. Character design is simple, combat is elegant, and campaigns can be tailored to be as long or short as you’d like. Best of all, the play manual is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a work of art in and of itself. 

Cephalofair Games

It's expensive but worth it!

If you: need 100’s of hours of gameplay from a board game and/or want to play a TTRPG by yourself. You should play: Gloomhaven. First published in 2017, this game has become a darling of the avid tabletop community. She’s a hefty, pricey lass, the box is enormous and heavy and costs over $100. It might not have the amount of nasty creatures that Magic: The Gathering does, but you’ll get your money’s worth; using devilish strategy and tactical card play, a full Gloomhaven campaign can last well over a year. There’s also a PC version of the game available on Steam for around $35.

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