Saturday, 30 August 2014

#rpgaday - Day 30 - Rarest RPG I own - Affiliates RPG

When I looked at this particular question, I had another one of those Quandaries, the question to be asked was...

Did it have to be any good...?

Now lacking any sensible way to give myself an objective answer on this, I turned to the font of all knowledge (that’d be Tiny Wife), and asked her the same question.  Her answer?

“If you only look at games that were any good, by extension, they won’t be rare because they’d have done a second edition and sourcebooks...”

Thus it was decided, and so to the library of all things that have been seen once and never played, and right to the end, where those that have been there a long time have been steadily pushed back, and there I find the Affiliates RPG, Player and Games Masters Guide.  There is every probability that you’ll never have heard of Affiliates, and the chance of you finding it anywhere apart from ebay isn’t high at all, so I did a web search to find copies of reviews done at the time, found one here...

The problem inherent with the game is that the creators had a vision, of mafia and Mafioso, and they built a system around it (based on D4 and called the Caltrops system), the copy I have is from a time when I was doing reviews  some years ago.  I know that it made it into circulation, but it didn’t make it anywhere past that.  The problem was that in a lot of ways it looked like a game that had been made as a vanity project, several of the people involved in the game were photographed in the NPC section while the other drawings were of very low quality.  The Caltrops system didn’t work except in the minds of those who invented it who knew all the things you needed to do to make it work but hadn’t put them down on the page. 

And then there was the content itself which, if I’m honest, wasn’t thought through very much.

To put that in perspective, the initial fiction in the players guide had two Mafioso talking about a recent hit while trying to escape in a  car that could only do 47mph, one of them was called Fett and was complaining to the other that they shouldn’t have “Pulled the Sithlords”, in the next section, they talk to some of the other affiliates, codenamed “Urza, Starscream, and Gandalf...” the players guide had 17 pages of NPCs (without stats), and the GM’s guide with 102 pages complete, had 70 pages of the same NPCs (this time with stats) and six more pages of NPC’s that were just random mooks.  Running a campaign was three pages and sample scenarios took up four pages.   

It was a very limited world that could only be played with the specific NPCs that had been listed already and did not recognise that people might want to do their own thing with the world, going to far as to not provide any sort of framework that could be used to make a more compelling universe.  I spoke to the creators at the time and tried (gently) to point these things out, at which point they explained their master plan of producing loads of supplements that would have all the things in them.

Still, it has been the best part of ten years since it was released, and I’d all but forgotten I’d got it till this review, but there you have it, the rarest game I own...

I think I may have the only print copy... 


  1. If its any help I used to know the author, she was part of my gaming group until we fell out many years ago. The book did get a POD run and I think did well at a Dragonmeet but no idea how well it sold generally. So there are a few more copies out there :)

  2. I wrote that review, so I also possess a copy of the game too. Do not recall what I what thought of it at the time or indeed what I wrote in the review. I suspect that review was not one of my best...