Daedalus released Feng Shui the year I finished High School. Coincidence?
Maybe I was just ready to move on to the next level of RPG. It was the mid-90s. Everything was EXTREME, except for the things that were XTREME. And Feng Shui hit my gaming mentality like an exploding chimp to the face.
It was just the right amount of over-the-top for what I was looking for, in a system that rewarded player innovation and creativity over simulationism.
Feng Shui turned into my late 90s go-to system for any game that I didn’t end up running in Unknown Armies. I think I ran it using the Secret War background exactly twice, but it was perfect for anything cinematic and wild.
Like real life… only better
One of my fondest memories was a round robin campaign where we all played hyped-up versions of ourselves jumping from world to world based on our favorite video games, television shows, books, and movies.
Ronin… TO THE EXTREME
We also played a long-running and extremely fun Legend of the Five Rings game. This was a bit more restrained, perhaps, at least in terms of setting elements, but the highly skilled and cinematic combat suited supernatural samurai drama exquisitely.
It has aged… poorly
As great as Feng Shui was, in retrospect its combat system was a little cumbersome. While the system could emulate the heights of Hong Kong action films, I wouldn’t consider it rules light. A single combat could take an hour, but that wasn’t necessarily bad… it was the focus of the system… but it certainly wasn’t quick.
I backed the kickstarter for the new edition of Feng Shui, and I look forward to checking it out. Their funding went ridiculously well, blowing through most of their stretch goals. Whether or not they can modernize the system’s ruleset and keep what made Feng Shui so special remains to be seen, but I’m hopeful.