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Re: (TFT) a survey of Melee and Wizard editions

I completely agree.  The loss of SJ and the stupid feud HT conducted a
gainst SJ (which, to his credit, he never reacted to) cost Metagaming a hug
e chunk of their creativity and performance.  HT did a good job on man
y of the games in the days before SJ, but when Steve left, it seemed like M
etagaming just spiraled out of control.  Sloppy editing, poor rules wr
iting, rushing things to completion without due thought, and waging a perso
nal vendetta against SJ all meant that I personally slowed or stopped buyin
g Microgames since I just wasn't seeing the quality; and HT's attacks on SJ
 (and his frivolous law suits) just seemed to be wasting Metagaming's time 
and resources.  About the only ones I picked up were the Microquests (
anything TFT still got my attention, even though many of the later ones -- 
Master of the Amulets, anyone? -- were pretty weak products, or even unplay
able due to bad editing and rules omissions.
Anything Steve did, however, I bought without question (at least until I we
nt into the Air Force -- which is about the time First Edition GURPS came o
ut -- and then I had other things to worry about).  And I never regret
ted it.  

I don't play GURPS, mostly because it rapidly bloated, and by the time I go
t back to RPG-ing, I didn't have the time or personal energy necessary to m
aster all of the rules nuances.  And then too, TFT remained so simple 
that I can teach it to a complete neophyte in about five minutes; always a 
huge plus when dealing with formerly non-gamers and children!  DCG's r
evision had some excellent ideas (particularly in streamlining skills) and 
really I'm somewhere between 2nd/3rd edition Melee/1st edition Wizard, and 
DCG's system in how we play (about 4/5ths TFT, 1/5th DCG, probably). 

And now for a message from our sponsors (well, not really, but just to pass
 on some news for any among you that might have missed some of it):

DCG has recently released yet another "microquest" solitaire adventure, cal
led Upon the Wind, which involves "skyships" (which is exactly what it soun
ds like), so they are still putting out new adventures from time to time, a
nd they are pretty high quality in my opinion.  The good news is that 
you can download a couple of free examples from their web page to play befo
re you buy anything -- always a nice touch.  And the free examples are
 pretty good, but the printed ones are even better.  Rumor has it that
 they may put out a new one again this year (supposedly they have a couple 
in playtest right now), so they seem to be getting back on the one-a-year p
ace again.  And who knows?  Maybe we'll even see two this year!
  ;-)  Historically, the two brothers running the company had app
arently sent one of their solo adventures to Metagaming back in the day.�� Supposedly, it got accepted, and then they either got slow-rolled by HT
, or Metagaming's shut-down happened before they got paid for their work.
  So they sat on it for a couple of decades, polishing it up and what 
not, and then eventually published it as one of their first games.  Th
ey also, for those who are interested in trivia, bought the trademark for T
he Fantasy Trip, and thus use that logo on their materials...  (Also o
f note, they have an "old west" version of the rules, AND a "space opera" v
ersion as well.  I picked up the old west version, and it was fun and 
impressive, and based fairly effectively on TFT.  I haven't yet bought
 any of the four space adventures, but I plan to when I have some money to 
send their way...)

Also, if anyone is interested in seeing how all the D&D monsters can be eva
luated in more-or-less TFT terms, check out C.R. Brandon's Heroes and Other
 Worlds, most especially his The Tome of Terrors and Treasures, where he pr
etty much converts all of them to TFT-ish terms.  You may not agree wi
th all of his conversions (I personally feel that he tends to over-power ma
ny of them), but that's an easy fix, and the heavy lifting is done for you.
  He's got an interesting set of rules, and uses a DCG-ish version of 
Talents as well.  His advice to GMs and players is well written, and t
he whole thing isn't terribly expensive to pick up if anyone's interested i
n seeing what he's done.  He's a one-man band (his wife does a lot of 
the illustration work for the games, and she does a pretty good job of it),
 so his publication schedule is a bit "flexible" if you know what I mean, b
ut he's managed to produce a LOT of material over the past couple of years;
 most of it highly useful.  Lately he's been working on a slight varia
nt of the TFT/HOW system to create something called Blades and Black Magic,
 which will recreate a Conan style game world with some interesting twists 
on magic to keep it more in the spirit of R.E. Howard and his imitators.�� Frankly, I think I might like the magic rules for this version even bet
ter than the original Wizard, but we'll see how it looks when it comes out 
(supposedly in the next few months).  He also has, for those who are i
nterested, something based more or less on the ancient Saxon kingdoms in Br
itain.  I haven't purchased that one yet (the period doesn't fascinate
 me), but eventually plan to, if for no other reason than "completeness."

And then, there's all the stuff that Rick has been sending our way on here 
the past six or so months.  

In short, it seems the community is burgeoning, with many new ideas, approa
ches, and concepts which we can all loot and pillage for ideas and twists f
or our games.  It's a good time to be in TFT -- after so many long yea
rs in limbo...  ;-)  Maybe our "golden age" is just getting start

      From: Peter von Kleinsmid <pvk@oz.net>
 To: tft@brainiac.com 
 Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2016 7:46 PM
 Subject: Re: (TFT) a survey of Melee and Wizard editions
Thanks for doing this!

I started with the 3rd edition of Melee (apparently identical to the
2nd edition), and this survey confirms for me that the 4th & 5th are
full of random errors, mainly the 1st edition reversions which seem
even more likely from this study to just be sloppy mistakes.

That matches my feeling about most/all of the post-Steve-Jackson work,
which seemed notably lacking the perfectionism he mentioned in the
2nd edition designer's note.


>      From: David O. Miller <davidomiller@verizon.net>
>  To: tft@brainiac.com
>  Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2016 7:42 AM
>  Subject: Re: (TFT) a survey of Melee and Wizard editions
>Wonderful stuff!
>It really confirms and validates why our group uses 2nd edition rules.��
>I think it's the best, basic, core version of TFT that there is.
>When Advanced came out we simply cherry picked the few rules that we
>liked and brought them into our game. Been playing that now for many,
>many years.
>David O. Miller

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