Why I Take QAGs Seriously and So Should You!

Post date: Feb 9, 2014 4:06:59 PM

My friends and I have been playing roleplaying games for the better part of 30 years. Ok, I have been, some of the youngsters in my group have only been doing so for about 20 years. Our industry has come a long way in that time. Rule systems, gaming styles, and even the worlds we play in have changed and matured.

One definite trend that our group has embraced, as we now have families and jobs, is a more rules-light approach to gaming. Our available prep time for games is often little more than an hour or two, as is the amount of time we can actually play each week. Gone are the days of playing until 1 or 2 a.m. (or later). We old-timers tend to get pretty tired after a few beers and pizza at around 11 p.m.

A few years ago we started playing games with fewer rules, relying on the social contract between us to tell a good collaborative story and roll with whatever the night threw at us. Gone are the days of Champions and GURPS.

Instead we turned to games systems such as Mutants & Masterminds (the first edition) and then to Savage Worlds, and recently to QAGS. QAGS, by the way, stands for Quick Ass Game System. I’m not sure how I found QAGS but I stumbled across it a couple of years ago. I believe I picked it up because I was in the mood for a game that was fast and funny. A one-off beer and pretzels type game. Heck, with titles like Frat Boys Vs., Laser Ponies, Hobomancer, and Funkadelic Frankenstein on the Mean Streets of Monstertown, how could we go wrong?

What I found, was a game system that, despite the irreverent tone in which it is written, lends itself to fast play for nearly any setting.

QAGS has simple character creation rules, 20 minutes or less, and a simple set of mechanics that you can teach anyone during play. It has no set skill list and instead relies upon you coming up with “words” that best describe your job, skills, and even super abilities.

All game companies have a specific tone about their product. Vampire and D&D conjure up specific game tones and genres, Hex Games, publishers of QAGS, writes games that are just plain silly. If you ever get the chance to play a QAGS game with any of the Hex team (I have), I can guarantee you’ll have a blast. A die-laughing, tears-in-your-eyes blast.

However … while I love a good romp through the pony-filled meadows as much as the next QAGS player, I personally love horror and sci-fi games. Serious, dark, gritty games. And QAGS has proven that it can deliver.

First, QAGS can be pretty damn deadly. One or two good dice rolls and that werewolf has just sliced you to ribbons and you’re lying in a pool of your own blood and entrails on the floor of a Romanian tavern.

With a few tweaks here and there, QAGS can prove to be just as serious and deadly as any other game system that I’ve used. The difference is that we can start playing in about twenty minutes, and don’t have to flip through the rules every 10 minutes.

If you are looking for a game that’s quick and adaptable to just about any genre, I recommend having a look at QAGS. And, be sure to check out Spooky: The Definitive Guide to Horror Gaming that has all kinds of ways to tweak QAGS, or any game, to the horror genre.