15 May 10 Games Like Dungeons & Dragons (Guest blog by Gamecows)
Dungeons & Dragons is the most iconic tabletop RPG in the world. It’s been a pop culture icon ever since the 70s when Gary Gygax first cobbled together the rules. Its success has spawned dozens of different games of all genres and media.
We’re taking a look at some of the best games like Dungeons & Dragons. The games on this list are traditional tabletop RPGs like D&D, video games, and traditional board games. For more D&D games and recommendations you can check out GameCows.com.
If you’re looking for a D&D alternative, there’s nothing quite like Pathfinder. Pathfinder is an open-source RPG system that was designed after D&D 4.0 was released. Fans unhappy with the direction of the game created their own fantasy RPG game and people absolutely loved it.
Pathfinder was built on the existing 3.5 ruleset and is sometimes considered a spiritual 3.75 edition of D&D.
Want some cyberpunk mixed in with your magic?
Shadowrun is an RPG world that combines cyberpunk aesthetics with old-world magic. The basic premise is that magic returned to the world and altered human DNA. This recreated fantasy races like elves and dwarves in a modern dystopian world run by corporations.
Shadowrunners are “adventurers” who work in the shadows. They use guns, swords, martial arts, magic, and drones to complete their objectives. It’s a full RPG system with a ton of lore behind it for those looking for something different.
Vampire The Masquerade
For a macabre RPG experience, Vampire the Masquerade is an older but still popular traditional RPG. In this setting, vampires are real and all follow the rules of the Masquerade. These rules keep vampires hidden from normal society. Those who break these rules and expose vampires to the real world are hunted down mercilessly by other vampires.
Instead of character races and classes, players can choose different vampiric bloodlines with differing special abilities and skills.
Call of Cthulhu
If vampires aren’t your thing, maybe give existential dread a try. Call of Cthulhu is another traditional tabletop RPG that pits its players against the unspeakable and indescribable horrors of Lovecraftian mythos.
It’s another solid RPG system that is filled with lore and has a solid player base. Players can find themselves attempting to thwart hidden cults or coming face to face with eldritch monstrosities. Like all the previous entries in this list, Call of Cthulhu requires a game master, so you’re really only limited by your imagination.
If you want a simple story-focused tabletop RPG you may want to try Dread. Dread is a story-heavy RPG where players focus on a scenario that builds thrilling and dramatic tension as if all of the characters were in a horror movie.
What makes Dread unique is that it removes dice as a mechanic entirely. Instead of solving issues with dice, you use a Jenga tower. Whenever a decision needs to be made, players must pull a block from the tower. If they manage to pull a block without destroying the tower, they’re successful. If they knock down the tower when removing a block, then they die. The tower builds up tension the longer you play until it inevitably falls and kills a player.
Tyrant is a bit of an older PC game, but it does capture the feel of earlier D&D video games like the classic Baldur’s Gate. It’s a fantasy top-down RPG that is unique in that from the beginning of the game, the bad guys have already won.
The heroes of the previous age have been defeated and the BBEG has already taken over. You end up as one of their lieutenants and your subsequent decisions alter the world for either good or evil.
Pillars of Eternity 1 & 2
For a more standard fantasy experience, Pillars of Eternity both 1 & 2 offer a unique fantasy video game in the same style as Baldur’s Gate. Both iterations offer memorable characters, tactical combat including magic, and an excellent storyline.
You can easily sink hours of time playing either of these games.
For an analog experience, Gloomhaven is an expansive fantasy RPG board game to try. It plays like a Legacy game, meaning that your character levels up and affects the world around them in subsequent plays. Outcomes and decisions during one game will affect options that appear later on.
There are over 70 missions in the base game giving months’ worth of replay value. And best of all? You don’t need a DM to run the game.
Legacy of Dragonholt
For a story-based analog experience, check out Legacy of Dragonholt. It’s another board game-style RPG, but one that focuses heavily on storytelling. It plays like a D&D campaign on rails. Players can create their own characters and follow along with a pre-made story without the use of a DM. Their character abilities affect how they’ll overcome obstacles and solve problems.
Legacy of Dragonholt has some impressive story elements and gameplay for a board game and if you’re looking for a D&D light experience, it’s definitely worth a look.
Legends of Andor
The last pick on our list is Legends of Andor. This cooperative board game has players working together to repel invaders and defend their land from hordes of enemies. It’s set in a generic fantasy setting that could easily be in any novel or game, but it offers some very fun D&D-esque gameplay.
Included are 5 scenarios that change the landscape of the game world and rules as players complete them. When the players complete the missions, they also have the option to create their own settings. It’s a complete traditional board game experience, but it has some very cool D&D elements, especially when you start to create your own settings.
If you are a reader that enjoys both D&D and Epic Fantasy, then The Tome of Syyx is the book for you!