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I was reading the Overview of OSR Games and as many of the linked-to systems I could fine. Most of them seemed sort of ho-hum, in that they all had about the same kind of complexity as one of the editions of Dungeons and Dragons or another. Searchers of the Unknown, on the other hand, really intrigued me by being a single-page game. It wasn't quite my cup of tea, but it seemed like there could easily exist something quite like it that I did like.

I'm wondering what other RPGs exist with rules expressed more or less on a single page. I realize that you could probably cram some games onto a page if you really tried, but I'm looking for games with rules that are meant to be that simple to begin with.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ As this is a system-recommendation question, please adhere to both the FAQ and the rules for subjective questions as outlined in Good Subjective, Bad Subjective and on our Meta. In particular, all responses should be based on actual experience and contain references and examples whenever possible. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 17, 2012 at 2:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I know quite a few games that have one page of core rules, one page of individiual player powers (playbooks, specific character sheets and similar) and a more or less extensive book to elaborate on the game, give examples, explain procedures and stuff. Since I don't really know what you are looking for, I cannot tell if those would be welcome as answers or not. (Examples: Fate as in “So you want to play a gorilla in a biplane”, Lady Blackbird, Apocalypse World and its hacks) \$\endgroup\$
    – Anaphory
    Oct 13, 2013 at 8:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Agreed with @Anaphory, without any criteria for a "best" answer this is nothing more than a list question. You might start by spelling out what you didn't like about Searchers of the Unknown, then go from there. \$\endgroup\$
    – LitheOhm
    Oct 13, 2013 at 14:34

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GHOST/ECHO fits on one double-sided sheet and contains everything the whole group needs to play, including the GM.

GHOST/ECHO is a quick-play aetherpunk adventure module for 2-6 players. It includes the raw materials you need to construct your own setting and characters as well as a complete rules system.

It's an emergent-setting game where you create/discover the nature of your characters' reality and situation as you play, so it not only fits on a single sheet, but it requires no prep at all. (An adventurous and creative set of minds is indispensable, though.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ ...which reminds me about John Harper's other one-page game, The Mustang: onesevendesign.com/mustang \$\endgroup\$
    – Jmstar
    Jan 16, 2011 at 2:47
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Microlite. Microlite20 is a super condensed version of the d20 rules, and there are variants like Microlite74 for OD&D, Microlite Storyteller, GURPS Microlite... The core rules are often in "PocketMod" versions that are one page foldable. There are 1-2 page supplements with monster lists and other stuff like that.

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Sherpa, by Steffan O'Sullivan. Designed to be played whilst hiking.

The 1-Page series of games by Deep 7 are actually a little more than that; the player's rules, however, are pretty much on the character sheet. There's 1 page of setting trope notes, and an additional page of GM notes, plus the rules/character page, and a cover page.

Minimus (PDF link) is 2 sheets; 4 pages. It fits on 1 sheet of 11x17....

Oh, and before I forget again...

Action Castle it's one oversized page, laminated.

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You might look for roleplaying poems, which often fit on a page or less. Here's a bunch of them. Marc Majcher's 24 Game Poems contains ... 24 game poems, all of which meet your definition. They vary widely in tone and substance but some of them are sure to scratch whatever itch you have. The book Norwegian Style has 17 games in it - all of them are brief, although not all of them fit on a single page. The best ones do!

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XD20 (the system in Tracy Hickman's Xtreme Dungeon Mastery) has an extremely limited rule set:

Roll a D20 the DM will tell you if it's a success or not.

I'm dead serious. That's it.

If you don't believe me, read this rpg.net review.

How the Core Mechanic Works

  1. The player tells the DM what he wants to do.

  2. The DM considers the character’s applicable stats (if it’s combat, for example, it’s TAC), the character’s class and level, and the difficulty of the situation. The DM assigns the player a target number, ranging from 2 (super easy) to 20 (almost impossible).

  3. The player rolls. If they make the target number they succeed. They may roll an additional die for effect (like damage). If they fail to make the target number, they fail.

  4. The DM describes the result in detail.

That’s it. That’s the whole thing.

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Depends on if you're asking about all the rules or just the core ones.

Both FATE and ORE have single page reference sheets that are usable if you're already familiar with the rules, but likely not enough by themselves. Microlite probably falls into this category too actually.

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TWERPS comes immediately to mind. The booklets are certainly longer than 1 page, but the rules themselves...? Pret-tee dang brief.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ the rules are on pretty small paper, too... looks to be about 2 sheets of legal, cut in half, and booklet folded. \$\endgroup\$
    – aramis
    Jan 15, 2011 at 3:41

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