Friday, April 13, 2012

Games From the Basement - Top Secret

Apparently I have the 2nd edition of Top Secret.  I have never seen a 1st edition, and had assumed all these years that it was a 1st.  No big deal, I don't think i opened the box after 1985.

I remember reading this in my science lab classes in High School.  If you finished the lad in the first period, the second period was a free period of sorts (apparently you couldn't go to a friends house that lived nearby for lunch - found that out the hard way... heh).

I still remember the crappy as shit smaller than usual set of red and green d10's it game with.  I'm sure if I emptied out my dice collection, I'd find the pair, all chipped and pitted.  The dice were still better than those that were included in Gamma World (which literally disintegrated with use).

"Holy Shit!  Look at all of these charts!
I can kill your character and you'd never know what happened!"
Ashly, the Killer Feline GM
I ran a handful of sessions but the charts were killers.  They weren't even fun charts like in RoleMaster, but painful, complicated charts for the sake of having charts.  I had high hopes for it back in High School, but I quickly learned Top Secret wasn't for us.  It also soured me on the James Bond 007 RPG, which I refused to buy after this experience, which is a shame.  I've heard good things about 007 (at least compared to Top Secret).

Some of the guys from the Happy Jacks podcast recently ran Top Secret at a con, more as a goof than anything.  Strangely enough, the players for the game wanted to play it straight up ;)


  1. I recently ran a mini campaign of Top Secret set in the late '60s with a Johnny Quest/Adventure Team feel to it. We ran at serious as we run any game, and had a good time. The unarmed combat was pretty fun. You have to select what your maneuver is going to be with which hand and the defender has to figure out how he is blockin/dodging and with which side/hand. It was gloriously convoluted and entertaining!

  2. I remember running Top Secret back in school... I remember someone dying from falling off of a ladder and very little else about the mechanics.

    But I do remember liking the flavor text.

  3. Back in high school I worked as a bagger in a grocery store, as did another kid who I found out also played rpg games. Eventually we got to the point where he was running a Top Secret game at work, rolling dice surreptitiously as we bagged. It was fun, but I don't remember much of the actual game. Probably because we would do about 10 minutes of actual gaming spread out over 6 hours of work.

  4. I GM'ed a few Top Secret campaigns and my players all seemed to become sadist torturing to get information and murdering indiscriminately so I shelved it. James Bond 007 on the other hand was an awesome game that even today I think has some pretty innovative mechanics, the wound system and the ease factors of tasks being two good examples. I would have loved to see a Q Manual II come out but Victory Games lost the license before it could happen. Great game. I hear you can find the pdf's on the interwebs if you want to take a look.

  5. Is Ashly taking any players for his/her game?

  6. Heh... probably not.

    But every game I play via G+shee lays in front of my computer screen, spreading herself out on my desk. If she keeps it up, she's going to pick up a lot of tricks ;)

  7. She definitely looks like a rules lawyer by how intently she is studying that table.


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