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The 5 Best Tabletop RPGs of All Time

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best tabletop RPGs

Are you one of the viewers who fell in love with Dungeons and Dragons after watching Stranger Things? Maybe you’re old school and remember the original incarnation of D&D when it still came in a box. Or maybe it caused you to fall in love with tabletop role-playing games in the first place?

That would make sense. The entirety of Stranger Things has been compared to one giant, epic D&D campaign.

But maybe you’re bored with just wizards and warriors? Or you’re looking to branch out and augment your dungeon crawls? It’s okay, either way, there are many, many more tabletop games out there for you to choose from.

Here are some of the best tabletop RPGs, no matter what kind of gamer you are.

1. Dungeons and Dragons (5th Edition)

We’ll start with the classic. Dungeons and Dragons has been a firm fan favorite since it was released in 1977. While it’s been a favorite for several generations, at this point, it’s come a far way from its humble boxset origins.

Each edition of Dungeons and Dragons improves upon the last. The latest incarnation features some of the most streamlined rules yet, so you can focus on the action and adventure. It’s also nearly infinitely expandable.

Dungeons and Dragons is probably the best known of the best tabletop RPGs, so that means there’s plenty of people to play with. People are likely to already know the rules of engagement, as well, so you won’t have to spend an hour teaching people the rules every time you play.

When it comes time to get your campaign up and running, make sure you have a Dungeons and Dragons dice set. You don’t want to have to run to a hobby store in the middle of the action!

2. Fiasco

Plenty of tabletop games offer you the opportunity to play a master criminal. How many give you a chance to experience what it’s like to be a low-key petty crook?

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Fiasco is a tabletop game for between three to five players. Fiasco strikes the balance between a role-playing game and a board game, as there’s no dungeon master or storyteller required. Only a handful of six-sided dice are needed to play.

Fiasco gives you the opportunity to role-play a small-time criminal in a heist gone wrong. There are a ton of pre-made scenarios online available for free download, as well, so there’s no shortage of material to explore.

3. Dread

Do you ever get tired of horror movies with a happy ending? Doesn’t it seem vaguely unrealistic that post-apocalyptic scenarios of doom and gloom would end well for the heroes? Dread is your chance to set the record straight.

Dread is another tabletop game that blends role-playing and a board game, in a unique and interesting way. The game is played in one of four settings, using only character sheets and a Jenga tower. Each character plays one of four horror archetypes.

Every time your character tries to fulfill an action, you have to remove a block from the Jenga tower. If the tower stands, you live. If it doesn’t, you die.

You can also pass on pulling a block and let the action fail automatically. It takes the stress and tension of watching a horror movie and ratchets it up to 11. For a horror fanatic, that’s a good thing.

4. Blades In The Dark

Looking for a mixture of gritty, Cyberpunk-like criminal drama and High Fantasy? Look no further than Blades in the Dark, where you get to play a rapscallion eking out a hard-scrabble existence in the city of Duskvol.

Blades in the Dark also blends a pen-and-paper role-playing game with gameplay more similar to a board game. This may make the game seem a bit limited to those who’re used to the more open border, anything-goes approach of worldbuilding RPGs. It lets you really focus on the action and the story, however, not wasting any time on unnecessary frills or overly complicated rules.

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Blades in the Dark sticks to the action using “engagement roles.” These let you focus on the larger mission rather than getting bogged down in endless trivial decisions. You see ahead of time how things are going to go, and then fill in the details as you proceed.

5. Shadowrun

We round out this list of the best tabletop RPGs with a game that blends a bit of all of the other games on our list. Shadowrun brings together HIgh Fantasy, Cyberpunk, and noir fiction under one gritty, neon-lit magical sky.

Shadowrun is a world where magic and technology exist side-by-side. You can play a hacker, an elf, a dwarf, or a samurai. With cybernetic eyes and a laser katana.

It might sound a bit much, but it all makes sense in Shadowrun’s mythology. It brings together some of the best tropes of 20th Century Fantasy and Science Fiction in an utterly compelling way. It has something for every kind of role-player.

Shadowrun rounds out our list of the best tabletop RPGs of all time as it truly has something for everybody. It’s an excellent introduction for people who’re new to tabletop gaming. It’s also a long-standing favorite of seasoned role-players.

That could be said for every entry on this list. If you’re new to tabletop games, you’ll quickly become obsessed with the endless possibilities of role-playing games. If you’re a seasoned gamer, you’ll find something that will make you fall in love all over again.

Want To Learn More About The Best Tabletop RPGs Ever?

Gaming is good for you in every conceivable way. It sharpens your mind. It strengthens your imagination.

It’s also a fun, and inexpensive, thing you can do with your friends. Nothing says fun like a tabletop game and a pizza on a Friday night.

Now that you know more about some of the best tabletop RPGs of all time, browse the rest of our gaming articles today for even more ideas!

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