The “Cover to cover” series of blog posts about OD&D over at Sham’s Grog & Blog* inspired James at Grognardia to start a Holmes cover to cover series, and so far it has been very interesting, as I haven’t seen the Holmes book in about 30 years, and never read it at all.
But what I have read cover to cover is Bruce Galloway’s Fantasy Wargaming. It was the first set of rules I ever DMed, and for a long time it was a game my brother & I wanted to play. The problem was always finding players, and also the terrible organization and complexity of the rules. But we pored over it, and made up character sheets (on a Commodore 64!), and rolled up many, many PCs. I even made a series of sketches and statted up monsters I’d read about in myth & folklore, but I imagine that sketchbook is lost forever.
Anyway since I found a nice book club edition of the rules, I thought I should take the opportunity to provide a similar cover-to-cover service! I intend to beginning reading FW on my breaks at work, and taking notes, which will be the basis for a series of posts here, giving an overview of the book and some analysis of the rules. Who knows, maybe I’ll even inflict it on my gaming group some time, or run it at a con!
You might ask, “Why?” Well, there are a number of reasons, some of which will come up as I read, but mainly I think this game deserves to be rehabilitated. Everyone snarks about how it is disorganized and unplayable and I think only the first part there is true. Others have claimed it is inherently bigoted or filled with anti-D&D rants and anti-Christian and more (no, really, see the Dragonsfoot threads!). I don’t think so but let’s read this through and see what we find.
*Save or die! has a related project of building a world based exclusively on published TSR D&D material (he calls it “The ultimate sandbox”), and introducing it to the milieu in the order published, which I still think is an awesome idea too, and his blog has attempted to do a sort of cover-to-cover reading of OD&D, the supplements, and the Strategic Review and The Dragon. I think he moved on to the Holmes “blue book” right before Grognardia did.