The new year gives us a chance to shake off those old 2011 cobwebs and have a fresh start. While many of you, like myself, will still be in the middle of a campaign or perhaps rounding one off, why not use the 2012 as a springboard to play some fresh new games?
Everyone and their mothers have played Dungeons & Dragons, and while it tickles the sweet roleplaying spot, so many games fall by the wayside. This year, crawl out of your comfort zone a bit and be adventurous instead of falling back on the most popular games on the shelves. You never know: you might find the RPG of your dreams hidden away in your local hobby store or deep in the pages of RPGNow.
So how do you go about choosing a new game? First off you need to figure out whether you want to have a massive three-year-long campaign or a series of one-shots that wrap up in 6 months. In my own group we're going to start playing GURPS on the last Thursday of every month in between our 4e campaign, which will be coming to an end mid-year. After that we will either turn GURPS into a full-time thing or keep the format and get something new.
Follow your curiosity
It's good to select games by taste, but sometimes it pays to get something that you wouldn't at first glance want to buy or a game that piques your curiosity. For example, I bought Tales from the Wood, a game about anthropomorphasised woodland creatures, because I was interested in the setting and how the author might make it work. Although I was apprehensive at the game being complete garbage, I actually really enjoyed it. Sure, it could be that you play something that's catastrophically bad, but at least you've tried it and you can now move on to something else.
Alter your setting
If you've spent the last two years roaming around a fantasy realm then there's little point in going back to another fantasy game unless your group is desperate to play a certain game. Try and steer as far away as possible from your last setting. If you played space opera, go historical. If you indulged in horror, go for a more light-hearted, comical game. Shifting from one setting to a completely different one will also serve to shake up the players, who will have carved out their own roles in your previous game so now they're dunked into unusual territory they'll have to think about their new role.
Play publisher roulette
Rather than sticking to the big publishers, pull up a list of every publisher you can find and randomly select one. You can do this by simply going to your favourite RPG download site like DrivethruRPG and using the publisher drop down menu. Once you've got your publisher, check out what they're selling and get whatever system gets you curious. I just tried this method and pulled up Psypher 2430, a sci-fi RPG I have never heard of, plus it's super cheap.
Of course, these are just some suggestions of what you could do to find a new game. However, if you want to hop from D&D to Pathfinder then by all means do it. If you're happy with what you know and love then that's awesome, but a little RPG experimentation could go a long way to broadening your horizons and finding a game you love even more.