I have strong feelings regarding playing vs collecting. I have no interest in collecting games. Games are toys. They exist to be played. Toy Story 2 is a cautionary tale about what happens when you leave things that are supposed to be played “mint in shrink” – they turn evil.
Thus I try to keep my collection to only games I have played, need to reference, or will play soon. To keep me focused on this and not to have shelves of books I haven’t even read, I have a “12 games” rule and shelf. At heart the rule is that there can only be a maximum of twelve RPGs in my collection that I haven’t played. This keeps me playing new games and keeps me from buying games that I’m not sure I will play – it also encourages my existing habit of giving away games and books I no longer need / want / play to people who will play them and enjoy them. There are times where the number of games on the shelf does exceed a dozen (usually after Christmas), and I just need to play or give away more of them before I can buy myself new ones. In order to keep this system working, I am part of two different RPG groups that play a LOT of different RPGs. In both groups we mix old school RPGs that the few of us who have played them haven’t touched in decades with new games that none of us have played before and the occasional playtest of games that we have written ourselves.
Which brings me to Mörk Borg. I’ve had this on my “must play” list since I got it for Christmas – but 2021 has been a ROUGH year for me, so it was only last night that I finally got the opportunity to play it.
It was a perfect storm situation. A GM who had run the adventure before so he knew his way around it without having to look anything up. Two players he has run games for before and myself, but none of the players had ever played with the others before so each of the three of us just dug in deep to our characters (and we’re all old gamers who put the focus on working together as a group even while roleplaying our characters not really getting along as we played) and hit a SOLID groove nearly instantly.
I would say about 1/2 the game time was spent not adventuring, but in interpersonal bitching, complaining, arguing about who should do what, and general awesome obnoxiousness. My character has a permanent phlegmatic frog in his throat, and I woke up today with a sore throat from playing that all night. 100% worth it.
As is expected the first time you sit down to play a game, we missed one rule and ended up rewinding time once – we realized we had forgotten all about omens and two characters that died in two combat rounds back to back got to re-roll their defenses and survive. The game mechanics are simple, although there was a lot of “whiffing” rolls, most of the time that we whiffed rolls it was on defense and managed to roll high enough for our armour that while we couldn’t avoid a damned hit no matter how hard we tried, our armour generally kept us from dying. The random character creation and the specific six “classes” of the game immediately push the theme and feel of the game in your face – you are immediately pushed into the look and feel of the game and setting from the moment you start making a character.
It was an absolute fucking hoot and I look forward to playing Mörk Borg again, as well as playing with any of those players & GM again.