Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Desert Island Dice

Greywulf posted this question:
You find yourself somewhat inconveniently stranded on a desert island. Drifting up onto the beach with you are two crates. One contains the bare necessary equipment to make a shelter and find food. The other contains just four books.

One is the Complete Works of Shakespeare. Because there’s always a Complete Works of Shakespeare, that’s why.

Two are role-playing books of some kind along with dice, paper, etc. But no internet access, laptop or iPad. Sorry.

The last one isn’t.

What are they?

Here’s mine: The two RPGs are the Classic D&D Rules Cyclopedia and Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition. Between those two I don’t need any other. If you’re reading this blog, I’m guessing I won’t need to explain why :)

The last book would be De Bellis Antiquitatis, probably the best (not to mention most fun) wargames rules around. The rules themselves take up just 16 pages and the rest of the book provides historically accurate (or at least, historically accurate enough) army lists and campaign setups from 3,000BC to 1500AD. It’s easy to play solo too, so I won’t need to teach a passing dolphin how to wargame.

Give me the DBA rules and enough palm trees to carve myself a few armies and I’ll never want to leave that desert island. When I’m not pushing armies around I can create domains, dungeons and adventures in Classic D&D, or invent superheroes and villains (or explore any other genre, for that matter) in M&M.

That’s mine.

What’s yours?

My answer is this:
I’m totally with you on the Rules Cyclopedia for my first choice. The second book would be West End Games’ Star Wars 2nd Edition Revised core book. The third would be The Hordes of the Things miniature game rules, which are based on the De Bellis Antiquitatis system. Being stuck on a desert island, I’m less inclined to care about historical accuracy.

 Go give your answer!


  1. Interesting. I'd also likely pick the RC for one of the roleplaying books. The other would have to be the Star Frontiers Expanded Game rulebook.

    For my final pick, I doubt I'd go with another gaming book. Something I could read over and over again would be best (I like Shakespeare in small doses, rather than full-on all the time reading).

    "Three Kingdoms" would likely be my choice. It's long, interesting, and full of great characters and story lines. Don't think I'll ever get tired of reading about Liu Bei, Zhang Fei, and Guan Yu.

  2. Hmm.. D20 Modern and Unearthed Arcana for dnd 3.5. Between those two I should have inspiration a million homebrew d20 game systems.

    For other entertainment and inspiration I'd try to cheat and get the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Not the fictional work, but THE Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Surely it counts as neither a laptop nor an iPad.

  3. 1st edition Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide...and the SAS survival guide. Something tells me I'm gonna need that one

  4. I love how so many people agree that the Rules Cyclopedia is a good choice. Maybe we should push Wizards to publish it as a limited edition release, just in case we end up on a desert island. Hmmmmm.......