With all the - well-deserved - Internet love being poured into retro-clones of early Dungeons & Dragons isn't it about time some other cherished systems got a share as well? And my vote goes towards the Cinematic Unisystem.
Come on, what's not to celebrate? It's central mechanic involves a single d10 roll to determine both success and damage in combat and, as monsters/non-player characters hit and defend on a fixed score, only player-characters need to roll to defend themselves or strike a blow in a combat.
Things couldn't be more streamlined, could they?
The Cinematic Unisystem - which drives such licensed roleplaying games as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Army Of Darkness and Ghosts of Albion - is a reduced crunch iteration of the full Unisystem, which, in turn, is the engine behind systems like All Flesh Must Be Eaten and CJ Carella's Witchcraft.
Sadly, Eden Studio's seems to have taken a massive hit when Fox withdrew the license for both the Buffy and Angel franchises, yet the core books and supplements that were released remain some of the best looking and written game products on the market.
However, as a breed, gamers always need the "next new thing" and are drawn to the shiny; a system that isn't pumping out new material is often deemed "dead" and cast aside.
However, before we discard the worlds of Buffy and Angel as potential roleplaying nirvana, I draw your attention to the latest issue of Eden Studios Presents (ESP), the sporadic support magazine for Eden Studios' various Unisystem products.
Almost 80 per cent of the material in issue three is geared towards the Cinematic version of the rules - or Buffy and Angel games specifically. So there is clearly a core of writers out there willing to keep the system alive.
Okay, so Eden Studios no longer has the license to publish official tie-in material to those well-loved franchises, but there is still plenty of scope for oeuvre-free material, surely? You can't do a piece about The Initiative, well, how about an article about another military unit that targets "creatures of the night"? Or the police force? Or a pair of brothers who hunt demons?
Cinematic Unisystem has already proved itself perfect for Joss Whedonesque action drama and issue one of ESP even ran a serial-numbers-filed-off article on a "Firefly"-style science-fiction setting, that, in a few pages, presented a less crunchy and more freeflowing game than the Margaret Weis Cortex-fueled official roleplaying game.
While Cinematic Unisystem was "still alive" in the eyes of the vast majority of the gaming community, its fans created some of the best websites I've seen to promote their campaigns - many with their own YouTubed title sequences.
Drawn to the system, by the franchises, Buffy and Angel roleplaying game fans showed themselves to be incredibly creative and I can't believe that spark has faded now and simply moved on to something else.
Cinematic Unisystem isn't dead (or even undead), the publication of ESP issue 3 and the recent pdf release of Ghosts of Albion proves this (although I'm holding out for a print copy).
I'm sure there are many deserving gaming systems that merit the treatment that the talented and knowledgeable minds behind the revival of "old school" Dungeons & Dragons have gifted that lean, mean system with, but my vote remains squarely behind Cinematic Unisystem.
Of course, I already have enough material - both in the published rulebooks, supplements and incredible, fan-written netbooks - to run a roleplaying game in the Buffyverse, but like any gamer I'm always hungry for more...