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How Streets Of Rogue is a tabletop RPG disguised as a roguelike

Streets of Rolling initiative.

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I love Streets Of Rogue. Loads of us here at Rock Paper Shotgun do, it’s why we Can’t Stop Playing it. I wanted to dig a little into why I enjoy it as much as I do, and I think a really good way of communicating why is comparing it to rules-light tabletop RPGs.

You run into issues with player agency in a lot of RPGs, be they video games or tabletop things like Dungeons & Dragons. In attempting to give players as many options as possible, they come up with rules for how everything should work, and neat little pathways of the least resistance and the most efficiency are inadvertently generated. There might be hundreds of ways to approach every situation, but only three or four of them are considered sensible, reasonable ones.

In tabletop games you can get around this issue by using the rules as guidelines, and bending them when the story calls for it. Rules-light RPGs, like Fate or Monster Of The Week, dodge this entirely by only giving you a few basic rules, leaving the rest up to your imagination and creativity. Streets Of Rogue, I feel, is very much the same sort of thing. In this video, I dig into some RPG theory to explain why I think that.

Video essays are a little different for us, so if you enjoyed this one and want to see more like it, you should totally subscribe to the channel and like the video, and comment with any questions you have. We do a bunch of different things every week, like previews, reviews and let’s plays. One of my favourites is Reviews Roulette, a series where us three RPS vidbuds play a random selection of games we’ve been sent codes for. The best ones get a Daddy Wallace award.

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Astrid Johnson


Deputy Editor of this very site Alice Bell once described Astrid as a "Neo-retro-revolutionary." Now, she embodies that aesthetic via an audiovisual medium for Rock Paper Shotgun's YouTube channel. Got a weird game that's political, or gay, or political and gay? Send it here:

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