I’ve always liked party-style RPGs. With, of course, turn-based combat. There hasn’t been one now since Wizardry 8.

Most games these days are solo outings with multiplayer options. Venturing alone is okay now and then. Playing online with other people can be fun (one of these days I may experience that ;). But I’ve always like best having my own little group, created from scratch.

Created, preferably, with dice rolls. Point-buy systems are typically loathesome. You never get anything quite satisfactory with them.

I’ve never had a problem doing rolls to get what I want. Not necessarily all 18’s (or 20’s, or whatever the max is), but good numbers where it really counts. I like my characters to start with reasonable competency. After all, first-level wimps need all the hep they can get.

Beyond that is planning out the group. What combinations of classes and races to have. Trying out something different, like the Gadgeteer in Wizardry 8.

And when the game is finished, if it’s a good one, you get itchy to play again in a different way. A different mix of classes. Maybe something offbeat, like six Faerie Ninjas. Or an all-Dracon fighter group. Maybe fewer characters in the party. Can it be done with four? Two? One? I know some players do a “solo party”, though that’s not my style. I like warm bodies in there.

This mix-and-match approach gives an RPG a lot of replayability. Fun replayability, as you can create any number of challenges for yourself, suited to your tastes.

Of course, in solo games, you can go back and play again with some other class. But you can’t have several there at once. What these games lack is variety. Multiple characters in various combinations create playing experiences you just can’t get going it alone.

RPGs where you pick up NPCs along the way to fill up the group aren’t satisfying, either. You’re stuck with whatever the designers put in. I want my own characters, chosen and designed by me. Better a solo game than one with a bunch of nobodies tagging along.

Given that these days online play is all the rage, it’s unlikely we’ll see many more (or even, any more) party-style products. Which is a real shame. Not everyone wants to play online. And running around alone can be, well, lonely, after awhile. I’d love to see someone put out a game like the old Wizardries and Might & Magics. But I’m not very hopeful about that.

It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to….miniscorp