December 26th, 2002

Sterling

Stretching your Game Dollar

What is the most cost-effective gaming product (or series of related products) that you've ever purchased? We're looking for the most value, in reusability and adaptability, for the least cost. Other factors to incorporate include durability of the product (if you're going to reuse it a lot, it should stay in one piece), universal applicability ("generic" systems get a little more weight than setting-specific games), and that unquantifiable sense of all-around "fun."

My picks? Though this one has yet to withstand the test of time, I nominate the Hero System 5th Edition Toolkit (just over $40; don't have the price tag handy). The Hero System adapts well to many power levels, though it favors more powerful settings. Every power or ability is translated into a point value, making powers easy to compare against each other (a 1d6 Major Transform is the same as a 1d6 Cumulative Minor Transform, or a 1d6 Killing Attack). I've only played one game with the 5th edition rules, but I've used the frameworks provided therein for developing systems of my own.

All this in one sturdy book. Highly cost-efficient.