Some miscellanea: kung-fu fighters and not-so-scary government conspiracies

I was in Chicago last week for a conference–and while the conference was reasonably fun, my annual trip to Games Plus was even more so. Each year, as a reward for surviving several days’ worth of networking and schmoozing at the conference, I travel to Games Plus to browse the aisles of that gaming Mecca.

My acquisition this year was Weapons of the Gods, a wuxia martial-arts game set in mythic China (think Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). This is one of those games I purchased at least partly so that I can boast that my gaming library includes it–my game bookshelf (OK, make that bookshelves) contains RPGs covering most every genre known to man–fantasy, sci-fi, horror, western, pulp, samurai, and various combinations thereof), but nothing that would be of much help should a group of angry gamers burst into my living room and demand that I run a mythic China RPG right now. (Hey, it could happen!)

Of course, I had brought along some RPG reading material to the conference to help me survive through the several days until my Games Plus trip. My evening reading this year consisted of Conspiracy X and the new d20 version of Dark*Matter, both of them set in the government/alien/conspiracy genre and quite clearly based heavily on The X-Files.

Both are great games, but is it just me or is the whole government-conspiracy angle decidedly less compelling than it was a decade ago? Back in the early 1990s, it was perhaps shocking to learn, when confronted with a mysterious event or sinister cover-up, that The Government was responsible. Imagine, our own government doing something shady behind the scenes! These days, I’m so jaded that I’d be shocked to hear that the government isn’t responsible for a given sinister conspiracy. Whether or not the government-conspiracy angle is still scary, I may soon find out–both CX and D*M are on the list as potential candidates for my annual Halloween Game Day.

In the meantime, I’ll try and hark back to the day when “trust no one” wasn’t a perfectly reasonable way to approach politics, government, and everyday life…

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