The Big List of GM-less Games – Now as a Table

10 Sep

The Big List of GM-less games has now gone on Google Docs. I am trying an embed here. If it doesn’t visualize and you are reading via a feed reader, then click to the original post.

We have now got an incredible 230 games and I need advice on how to divide them up in taxonomies. The $$ column is ticked when a game has a commercial version.

Rotating GM between different sessions.

How do I define a session? It is a period of game-play that offers closure on a number of events. Therefore the GM has full control on the unfolding of those events and doesn’t have to negotiate them with other players.

  1. In a Wicked Age (GMs rotating between different chapters/story-arcs, commercial)
  2. Beowulf (In a Wicked Age hack, published, commercial)
  3. Labyrinth and Lycanthropes (commercial) [GMs rotating between different dungeon adventures] {Dungeon Crawling, Fantasy}
  4. Bliss Stage (commercial) [The group of player characters forms a resistance cell. The GM plays a central character in the cell: the authority figure, who issues orders and plans missions. If another character takes over that role, in any number of ways, then their player becomes the GM]

Suggested GM-less play

  1. Panty Explosion Perfect (commercial)
Board-Gamish GM-less play
  1. Traveller (commercial, suggested both Solo and GM-less style, but little advice given)
  2. Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition (commercial, See page 195: Playing without a DM —  This might seem to be strange advice for a Dungeon Master’s Guide, but it’s entirely possible to play D&D without a Dungeon Master. If all you’re looking for is fun and exciting combat, with no more than the barest hint of plot or purpose, a random dungeon with a random encounter deck is all you need. Someone needs to prepare the deck, and someone needs to run the monsters during the game. They doesn’t need to be the same person. All the players can decide together what the monsters do, and let the player who’s the target of an attack make that attack roll – or have the person to the left roll for the monsters. A random dungeon with no DM makes for a good way to spend a game session when your regular DM can’t play. It’s also a fun activity over a lunch hour, as long as your school or office is forgiving of a group of people rolling dice and shouting battle cries! — Pages 190-195 detail how to create random Dungeons and Encounters on the fly.)

8 Responses to “The Big List of GM-less Games – Now as a Table”

  1. nefffffffffff September 26, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    Don’t forget GDW Traveller. I don’t know about the Mongoose version, but GDW specifically mentions playing alone or refereeless in the first booklet.

    • doubleninja September 28, 2011 at 9:43 am #

      I will add Traveller, but in a separate category. I am trying to include only games that give specific advice and mechanics on how to solve issues related to playing without a GM. Rotating GMs between sessions also do not count.. cutting out also In a Wicked Age and Ars Magica (two of my favorite games ever).

  2. doubleninja October 2, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    Added traveller

  3. Micah Bauer December 1, 2011 at 12:42 am #

    Does my game, In Repose, qualify? There’s no GM. It’s basically a story-telling game with 1 rule to decide whose turn it is.

    • doubleninja December 31, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

      Hi Micah, sorry for taking so long. I’ll put it on the list as soon as I have some time. Beautiful little game!

  4. mapachitly June 20, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    Thanks for posting this! Having roleplayed for over two decades, now, I fully applaud putting Traveller in a separate category. I wouldn’t have listed it at all (just shows what an open-minded ninja you are!) Just mentioning “you can play without a referee” is a long, long way from actually providing solid rules that allow everyone to do it. I appreciate the detail and work you’ve put into this list.

    • doubleninja June 20, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

      Thanks for the kind words. It’s nice to see that people can make some use out of the list. I need to update it with the last 6 months backlog. Just working on the gamechef 2012 entries will take days!

  5. bester302bester January 16, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    thanks for the list, and incredible and amazing work.

    I have one game i didn´t see in the list


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