Reading Fantasy! – Old School Gaming by Tomas Arfert

A few months ago a Swedish game written in Swedish made a splash even in the international community, Svavelvinter, an indie game that looks like a trad game. Meanwhile on the Swedish scene, people mostly talk about Fantasy!, a trad game that looks like an indie game.

Confused yet?

Let’s take a closer look.

The book
Fantasy! is a 100 page 17x26cm book, print-on-demand via Vulkan. The text is laid out in two columns that are on the narrow side of comfortable in width. But it is still an easy read as long as you can read Swedish, in spite of it’s name the game is not written in English.

There are numerous illustrations by a whole group of artists, and they have worked in differing styles which gives a somewhat scattered impression.

The setting
Beyond the generic Sword & Sorcery land of generic fantasy gaming there is no setting as such in the game. An example city setting called Morcar is given 8 pages as an example of what the game could look like in play, but it’s just an example.

The rules
For char gen four stats; Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence and Presence, are either rolled with 1d6 each, or bought point-buy style. In addition to that each character selects five special abilities that give small bonuses under specific circumstances. For those who would prefer to get started quickly there are templates with pre-selected abilities for the usual bunch of killer and thief PC professions. Not counting the traditional purchases of starting starting equipment char gen can be done in a matter of minutes.

Checks are done by rolling the value of the corresponding stat in d6’s and counting the dice showing 4+ as successes, the more the better. Simple rules for character advancement and a turn based system for physical combat (no grid or minis needed) make up the rest of the rules body.

The form
The form is traditional; a GM who interprets the rules (and invent new ones as necessary) and a group of players who play their own characters.

The setting is either OK or missing, depending on if you count the example or not. This shouldn’t be much of a problem though; the PCs are a group of murder hobos and there are monsters to kill and treasure to loot. Just like it always has been.
The rules are good, very focused on combat, but considering the scope of the game that is only proper.
The form is very good. The game sets out as a beginner’s game, and if you need an introduction in old school style of gaming (rather than specifically OD&D) it has everything you need; PC-generation, a bunch of monsters to kill, a setting example and even a dungeon bash intro adventure.

Will I play it?
Maybe. We have an old school game going with the S&W White box rules already. I’m not in a rush to get rid of that set of rules now that the players have learnt them. But if I were to start anew, I might go with Fantasy!. It’s quick and easy, and adding a few house rules or abilities to the system to reflect a specific setting is easily done. – The official site for the game.


1 Comment

  1. September 22, 2012 at 12:07

    […] my discussion on Fantasy! a while back I expressed fears that the game had failed to attract a following, but it seems I was […]

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