A ringing endorsement from John Eric Holmes

Heritage Company has marketed a series of boxed game sets specifically designed to hook prospective figure-using role game players into the hobby. Each box includes a complete short game with the referee’s map and attendant data, a box of lead figures (there are 8 in the Crypt of the Sorcerer set), and a box of paints and a brush. If one of these sets doesn’t get you completely engrossed in fantasy role-playing, nothing will!
— John Eric Holmes, Fantasy Role Playing Games.

Maybe Holmes garbled the packaging a little (the map and rules don’t require a referee, and everything was in one box) but The Crypt of the Sorcerer and the Cavern of Doom sets from Heritage USA were pure awesome. My brother and I each got one (I got the Crypt, because it included my three favorite monsters — an orc, skeleton, and troll!) and we played the heck out of them, adding rules for other miniatures and dreaming up new adventures. We had already been playing AD&D when these came out but to us they were all part of one hobby and we briefly tried to reconcile the differences (“why is the Black Pudding called a Slime monster in the Caverns game?” etc.)

Anyway I got into blogging and the OSR because I discovered Scottsz’s Sorcerers of Doom project (the current link goes to what I think is the third incarnation of the site*). At the time I was working on some games for my niece and some nephews (the boys will getting theirs a year late, because we did not see them last xmas) but the final product, I hope, will have something like the effect Holmes described.

*I guess it’s ok to move the SoD out of Valhalla now!

I hope everyone reading this has a great holiday. If you feel like leaving a comment, tell us about a gift you got that introduced you, or lead you deeper into, in the hobby, or else just a favorite dorkery-related item from yesteryear. Maybe something you’ll find in the “Wishbook“.

Published in: on December 21, 2010 at 11:35 am  Comments (8)  
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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for the links!

    Absolutely incredible that Dr. Holmes recognized and appreciated the Heritage sets.

    Long Live Heritage Miniatures!

  2. Oh wow, wish you’d been my uncle. Those game boards you made look awesome.

    The only rpg product I ever received as a gift was the Greyhawk boxed set. I got it from the gamer friend that introduced me to D&D. It had the stats for Bigby and Tenser and all those mages the spells were named after!

  3. That map is hella sweet. I like that much better than the overwrought tiles and 3D wall sets so popular nowadays. But then I find imaginative suggestion superior to realistic representation.

  4. When I went home for the holidays last year, my parents gave me a board game they found when they were cleaning out the downstairs closet: a Tolkien LOTR-based board game. It’s in a light greenish-yellow box and shows signs of use, but still good for its age. (1977 I think.) Not sure if I want to play with it myself. I’m afraid I’ll damage it, and it has a lot of sentimental value: it was the first time my parents thought enough of my eccentric gaming hobbies to not only share the game but also their love for playing them once upon a time.

    • @Pirengle: Awesome story… and I would highly recommend you crack it open and play the hell out of that game!

      • I think with the right playgroup, it may stay nice with careful use. Just gotta find that group…

    • Hmm, would that be this:
      http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2228/war-of-the-ring ?

      I have a slightly later version with art from the Bakshi film on the cover and a white background. My brother & I got that for Xmas and spent many hours poring over it, trying to figure it out (we’d never played an SPI wargame before) and I know we played a few times but it has a ton of counters, cards, etc., not to mention a beautiful board. The cards are awesome too.

      • That’s the right shade of green but there was only one picture on the front. (Sorry it took me so long to get back to this!) I think I have the same version that you have–I’ll take a picture of it.

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