Calling All Free GM-less Story Games!

edited November 2009 in The Best of Story Games
I'm looking for games to be included in an extended tournament to determine the "best" free GM-less story game. The list I've come up with so far is below, and I'd love to find out if I'm missing any games.

1. Capes Lite
2. Contenders - 24hr version
3. Shooting the Moon
4. Bacchanal
5. Nicotine Girls
6. Sea Dracula
7. The Valedictorian's Death - supposedly requires GM, but role seems extremely minimal
8. Crime & Punishment
9. Schizonauts
10. House of Masks
11. Mexican Standoff
12. Cutthroat
13. Radiance
14. Gnostigmata

Once I've collected all the nominees, I'll seed them based on their ratings and awards and then we'll start playing them, possibly holding a match-up between two game each session. Obviously, this "tournament" will take a while, and I'd love to invite other gamers out there to participate, but I'll set that up in a separate post.

Edits: Changed from "competitive" to "GM-less" and altered list accordingly.

Comments

  • Donjon is free, but I can't seem to locate it at the moment.

    Also, Dungeon Squad can be played competitively.
  • There is an old version of my Ronny Awards game Cutthroat here. If you really like it, whisper me an email and I'll send you a free and very basic pdf of a more updated version.
  • edited November 2009

    Donjon is availible on the creative commons section of Clinton's website.

  • Awesome! I keep forgetting CRN's stuff is free.

    Too focused on unearthing hidden gems, I obviously but unintentionally left good old dungeon crawls off my list. Unfortunately, there are so many of these, we'd have to hold a whole separate tournament for them. I'm not sure how I'll handle this, as leaving them out seems incomplete.

    Keep the ideas coming!
  • I changed this from "competitive" to "GM-less" story games. That only eliminates one or two of the original games, adds three more, and removes the possibility of tripling the size of the list with dungeon crawls.
  • edited November 2009
    Drowning and Falling and Dulse and Ghosts are three I wrote.

    There are a ton of GMless Game Chef games that are freely available, like Doug Ruff's excellent The Dinner Party.

    Also, if you include roleplaying poems like Chris Bennett's The Believers the possibilities open further.
  • Most of the Nørwegian Style games are GM-less.
    - Until We Sink
    - Archipelago
    - Zombie Porn
    - Several of the role-playing poems
    - Fuck Youth
    - Storyboard
    - It Wasn't Me

    ...um, more, I forget. You can check out the site and find them there, if you want!
  • edited November 2009
    Lost Days of Memories and Madness, my GameChef entry from a few years back, is both free and GMless. I'm working towards a published version of it, so if you do play it please let me know how it goes!
  • I was able to find the Game Chef version of The Shab-al-Hiri Roach still available for download. It doesn't have all the wrinkles ironed out, but my group played it and loved it... then I bought the finished version.
  • Posted By: JaroslavI was able to find the Game Chef version ofThe Shab-al-Hiri Roachstill available for download. It doesn't have all the wrinkles ironed out, but my group played it and loved it... then I bought the finished version.
    ...and all the fun stopped.

    Stop me if I read that wrong.

    Graham
  • Breaking the Ice?
  • Nicotine Girls might be good and free, but it is neither competitive, nor GM-less.
  • edited November 2009
    Posted By: MULRAHI changed this from "competitive" to "GM-less" story games. That only eliminates one or two of the original games, adds three more, and removes the possibility of tripling the size of the list with dungeon crawls.
    Alas, you also allowed me to add this list of my games (at least potentially):

    In the Box - The game where you play a poem.

    Pure Shoujo - A card based shoujo anime based RPG, actually nothing at all like Misery Bubblegum.

    Coming of Age - the most recent public playtest version of the Young Adult game.

    Slashfest - GM-less game where you play a slasher movie

    Savagery - The game of emotional combat - using the no-GM rules.

    Faust and Friends - My Game Chef 2007 game - where you deal with the consequences of romance and selling your soul.

    and my five 2006 game chef games too...

    Escape from Prince Charming - Fairy Tale Card Game

    Someone to Love - Round Robin Dating Game

    The Marraige of Persephone - Heroism and Theater, with required socializing with strangers.

    One More Hour - A Last Chance to Make it Right

    That Oh So Little Death - Sex, Dessert, and Transcendence

    And these were meant to be played in order.

    - Mendel S.
  • Posted By: GrahamPosted By: JaroslavI was able to find the Game Chef version ofThe Shab-al-Hiri Roachstill available for download. It doesn't have all the wrinkles ironed out, but my group played it and loved it... then I bought the finished version.
    ...and all the fun stopped.

    Stop me if I read that wrong.

    Graham

    Oh yes, you definitely read that wrong. It was certainly worth the money to buy it. I should have been more clear, I just wanted Jason to see that it was a net benefit (though he may already known this) to have a version of his game floating around for free.
  • The best GM-less free RPG ever is City of Brass (ZIP file full of PDFs). It takes a while to make a set, and the game has its flaws, but it is GM-less human hope and brutality unleashed.

  • edited November 2009
    Posted By: JohnstoneNicotine Girls might be good and free, but it is neither competitive, nor GM-less.
    Nor is the Valedictorian's Death, but I've read that the GM's role is so minimal that it's easily removed.

    However, especially with all these other games out there, we might just remove these!
  • Posted By: ClintonThe best GM-less free RPG ever isCity of Brass(ZIP file full of PDFs). It takes a while to make a set, and the game has its flaws, but it is GM-less human hope and brutality unleashed.
    Fuck yeah! Let's hear it for City of Brass!
  • edited November 2009
    Posted By: MULRAHPosted By: JohnstoneNicotine Girls might be good and free, but it is neither competitive, nor GM-less.
    Nor is the Valedictorian's Death, but I've read that the GM's role is so minimal that it's easily removed.

    I think it's important to have somebody describe the results of the bad shit you pick to raise your Fear in NG, which is probably best for the GM to do, as opposed to one or more of the other players. I'd say it's way easier to cut the GM role out of In A Wicked Age. And really, is this list about the games as written, or how good a game is when you hack it? I can list tons of games that would be awesome, if I just re-wrote them!
  • See, the problem with this whole concept is XXXXtreme Street Luge. Because if you play that, it would win automatically.

    I understand that Ben is working on the sequel, XXXXXtreme Street Luge.

    Graham
  • If you're including Game Chef entries and the like, I've got a couple other GMless free games, one of which has received significantly more playtesting than House of Masks has gotten.
  • Posted By: Marshall BurnsDonjonis free, but I can't seem to locate it at the moment.
    Just for clarity's sake, Donjon is NOT GM-less. It just gives broad directorial power to the players.
  • Awesome replies, everyone! I'll probably keep this open for another week or so before seeding the tournament.

    It would be really helpful to provide links to play reports or reviews for your nominations. We'll probably do the tournament with only 16 or 20 games, and so far there are nearly 50 nominees. I'll be leaning on reviews, awards, and ratings to narrow it down.

    timfire, the original post at first asked for competitive games, not GM-less games, which is why Donjon was suggested. I since edited the original post.

    Johnstone, I agree. I'll probably knock both these games off the list.
  • You should see Grover Cleveland by Jason Morningstar as well. Very amusing, very GM-less.
  • edited November 2009
    I looked up these nominations last night and I think we're set for the first and second seeds in each bracket.

    Third seeds look like they require at least one positive review or play report online. For example, I found a couple pleased play reports for City of Brass on the Forge so it's probably in as a third seed.

    For now, fourth seeds need only a nomination from someone other than the designer, so XXXXtreme Street Lube, for example, is in by that standard.

    If we have a slot left over, I'd love to include a roleplaying poem, but they do seem different enough that they merit a separate competition, which of course Norwegian Style has already done.

    Thus, designers, if you can point me to positive reviews or playtests for your games, there's a good chance you're in. Non-designers, just keep nominating, and if you see a game already nominated that you like, nominate it again or, even better, write a review!
  • You know what is missing from here? Executive Decision, which is free, fun and GMless.



    Lexicon and The Court of the Empress by Neel Krishnaswami are both excellent games worth playing. I only played the Court of the Empress, and had a lot of fun doing so (though I didn't write up an Actual Play report). Plenty of other people have played Lexicon, though, and you should be able to find records thereof online. It sort of requires being played online via a wiki, though, which may or may not fit with your plans.
  • Based on the input so far, I think we've got 20 solid games, but I'll give the rest of the week for any final nominations. The five "top seeds" are basically the free versions of the commercial games listed in my original post plus the Shab-al-hiri Roach. Ten middle tier games include winners of Game Chef and Free Indie RPG of the Year plus any nominations that have positive reviews online (Drowning & Falling, City of Brass, Archipelago, Executive Decision).

    The five "bottom seeds," which get in on the strength of the nominations from those other than the author include Grover Cleveland, XXXXtreme Street Luge, the Chrysalis Revolt, the Dinner Party, and Being a role-playing game on the topic of the High-Flying adventures of Beatrice Henrietta Bristol-Smythe, DBE, daring Aviatrix and accomplished Exploratrix, and her Gentleman Companion, who for a Modest Fee, accompanies Beatrice Henrietta Bristol-Smythe, DBE, when the Occasion warrants her an Escort.

    If you think we're missing a game, nominate it. If you see a game above that you want to make sure we consider, nominate it again or get me a positive review/playtest from someone other than the designer.

    Finally, it will probably take a year for my gaming group to play all these game through several rounds of a tournament, so we are open to others helping out. Let me know if you are interested.
  • I've also got Court of the Empress in the "middle tier."
  • My Enlge Matrix Games are GM-less - I'll send you an copy of an old version if you send me your address. I'll include the latest rules as well.

    Do you like horror, murder mystery or samurai?

    hamsterpress@gmail.com

    Chris Engle
  • Posted By: MatrixGamerMy Enlge Matrix Games are GM-less - I'll send you an copy of an old version if you send me your address. I'll include the latest rules as well.
    I can vouch for the Engle Matrix games being good games and fun (though we played it with a pseudo-GM).
  • Well the GM role is shared by the players in the rules but in PBEMs we always use a single referee. But the referee's ob is limited. The player makes up what happens, the referee just sets what they have to roll to succeed. So it is at most GM-Light.
  • Apocalypse Girl is both GMless and competitive. I know there's two AP threads on The Forge somewhere, and the modifications suggested in them would probably help.
  • Wait a minute...

    Bacchanal and Shooting the Moon are free games? Where, say, does one procure said free games?
  • You can find links here. The tournament has begun in this new thread.
  • Let's not forget Shock. Each player plays a protagonist to one story and an antagonist to another. The rules have cutesy neologisms (like *tagonists to describe player roles, or "zie" for "he or she"), but otherwise, it's a cool system.
  • Posted By: amp108Let's not forgetShock. Each player plays a protagonist to one story and an antagonist to another. The rules have cutesy neologisms (like *tagonists to describe player roles, or "zie" for "he or she"), but otherwise, it's a cool system.
    But not free.


    Lexicon fits, if you count text-based games.

  • But not free.
    Silly me. I totally missed that part of this discussion.
  • Well, what the heck, I'll put "The Vampire," a tiny story-telling RPG that doesn't even talk about how many players should be included or a GM, into the running. It's simplistic but it could be fun to play. Also, I wrote it last night, so I'll probably be editing it. The link is here
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