I knew which game I’d list even before I finished reading today’s topic. In my mind, there is only one game to be mentioned here: Lady Blackbird: Adventures in the Wild Blue Yonder, by John Harper.
It’s incredibly deceptive: an introduction, a map with some location descriptions, a ship, five characters, and one sheet of “rules” and GM tips. Ten pages, that’s it. The rest is all provided by the players: what those characters look and act like, what is important to them based on the info on each character sheet, how they interact, where they take the story, what comes next. Every time I have played this game we have started at the same point, but we have never ended at the same place as before. Each game is unique, even when playing it with the same players, because each time you play something new may (and does) happen that takes the game in a whole new direction.
This is the game I always have in my back pocket. This is the game that blew my mind as to what you need to design and play an RPG. This is the game that inspires me to be bold in my games.
You can check out the posts I have made in the past regarding Lady Blackbird, including narratives from one game.
During the month of August, I am participating in #RPGaDay, an opportunity to talk daily about different topics related to games and gaming, organized by Dave Chapman, designer of Doctor Who: Adventures In Time and Space. I’ve been out of gaming for a while, so this is gonna be an interesting exercise.