Mage: the Ascension remains relevant even in this day and age. While the Revised era rules and books might be a little dated to modern readings, I’m confident that the upcoming release of the Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition will remedy that.
The much-feared (or loved) Metaplot is still prevalent, but doesn’t really stop you from running something your way. Mage has always been a game of possibilities and stories, and even back in the cWoD days, they were quick to state that GMs have priority when it comes to the “Truth” of a given game.
In this age of new games, it’s hard to find one that hits the same niche that Mage: the Ascension occupies. It is the one game that really made a player wonder at their beliefs, and examine as many sides as they can to a situation. It brought the conflict of ideology to the forefront, bringing out the kind of conflicts that we see played out in real life, but in the relatively safe context of a game.
Maybe I’m going overboard on this, but Mage is a game that has made me a much better person in a way. It taught me the value of understanding multiple points of view on a given conflict, and the virtue of being open to multiple truths to a certain thing.
Overall, Mage is perhaps a difficult game to judge properly, so I’ll see if I can compress it all into a list of bullets:
- Dense metaphysics offset by fantastic potential
- Dated writing may make it difficult for younger players to grasp the tone
- Mechanics are very loose, leaving lots of room for GMs and Players to end up arguing
- Ambitious setting which stands unique even among games that talk about modern fantasy
I’d certainly recommend Mage: the Ascension, but at this point, it would be best to wait for M20 and go for that.