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Un Grog, ça coule comme de l'eau de source

Grog d'Or 2023

This year again, a roleplaying game was awarded the most covetted prize from outer space : the Grog d'Or. Every month, the Grog offered a game of the month, elected amongst other topical roleplaying games. To celebrate its 23st birthday, the whole crew voted to award one of these games the Grog d'Or for the best rpg in 2023.

Nominees were:

and here are the results:


received the Grog d'Or 2023

Donjon & Cie got 2nd place and received the Grog d'Argent.

(Art by David Lihard)

A word from the Komrade President on this list

This year, the sailors have listened to the voice of a certain modernity tinged with nostalgia. Yet, between the long awaited adaptation of the classic SF novel, and the satire of dungeon crawlers, there is a big gap, a split that even Jean-Claude would not have dared.

Donjon & Cie is in itself a fine tribute to the whole OSR movement. For years now, it has been bringing back the pleasure of the First Role-Playing Games by porting all the progress years of game design have brought to our hobby, and by expunging them from the clumsiness of yesteryear. And in terms of advances, Benoît Felt ended up feeding his baby with first-rate French-Irish Macchiato. A choice that we can only welcome, the usage die being one of the most beautiful mechanics born in recent years. The baby has thus grown up, and armed with such a beautiful heritage, it has been able to accomplish what it was conceived for: to laugh lovingly at the shortcomings of the past, and to have bitter laughings at the shortcomings of the Corporate World. For Donjon & Cie is a satire of the Door/Monster/Treasure that reigned in the past, to allows us to see the absurd workings behind these modules, and to transpose them into the equally absurd workings of a capitalism that devours its clients as much as its agents by pitting them against each other. And like a grown-up child, it was able to go beyond its humorous base to become a real adventure game that is best enjoyed in a campaign.

Dune was a nice surprise for me, as the 2d20 of Modiphius had already seduced me the first time I could taste the magic of Momentum dice in John Carter of Mars. But it took this adaptation of Frank and Brian Herbert's novels for the last refractory people to finally admit its undeniable qualities. Latest of these being to find how to adapt its base mechanics to the flavors of a universe too rich to limit itself to the raw characteristics of its actors, opting instead for values that are more in line with the ambitions of the novels. Just like that, you go from a mechanic that tells you how you approach confrontation, to one that asks you why you fight. And that's the essence of the game. Also, try to reduce the potential for Momentum dice accumulation in a single roll to a minimum, and you'll keep the epic feel of this universe for the most important moments of the game, and you'll get your entire House around your table to make it all happen.

Tackling this classic and making it a success in a medium such as ours was a challenge. And we have to admit that Modiphius managed to do it with flying colors. And for those who are not convinced, take a look at the Masters of Dune, an ambitious campaign that knows how to mix all the ingredients giving this universe its flavour. Such a success had to be honored by the GRoG, as much with the Modiphius brigade and with the House of Arkhane Asylum which had the good taste to add it to the French gastronomy.

It's a big split between these two games, which reveals once again with the ten other games of the month of the past year the abundant richness of role-playing games. And that's why they're the finest leisure activity.