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Forward... to Adventure! $6.00
Publisher: Better Mousetrap Games
by Zack H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/07/2007 21:08:22

FtA! will doubtless be deemed a "Fantasy Heartbreaker" by many, but this is a book that doesn't apologize for, but rather embraces, its old-school roots. It manages to bring together a lot of elements that seem to be solid design concepts from the history of gaming and cobbles them together to make a cohesive, fairly smooth whole.

The game shares enough in common with D&D that it should be an easy pick-up for players of that game; however, character creation is simplified, as are the overall rules, to provide a rules-light RPG for dungeon crawling, adventuring, etc., without worrying about extensive or timely character generation or having to wait on the research of rules lawyers. The game also bears some resemblance to games like NetHack and ADOM.

Instead of Feats, FtA! uses stunting, which is the use of character skills in combat and other situations to pull off impressive moves, improbable shots, and generally encourage combat to be more creative and descriptive. This simple idea turns out to add a lot of fun and enjoyment to the game, and is one of the biggest selling points, and succeeds where I've seen a lot of more complex ideas fail.

The melee combat rules, where upon the total attack for both sides in combat is added up, and then damage is parceled out by the GM according to common sense, if players have positioned themselves in the thick of combat, or even what works best for cinematics, is another big selling point, and flowed very well in actual play. Groups really need to work together, as "lone wolf" tactics and stupidity can quickly be the death knell of the unwise character.

The magic system is basic, easy to use, and uses an increasing difficulty per conditions, fatigue,and spell failure to limit magic-users.

Monsters are fun, easy to keep track of, and delightfully old-school. Charts in the back you can roll on for magic items and to create dungeons step-by-step add to the fun feel of the game. Charts through the book for things like spell failure, background, etc., often seem a bit random, and add to that delightful, old school feel without making the game clunky. In fact, this game would likely be further enhanced with a book of charts just like these.

For a game the author hopes to one day target novice gamers in South America, FtA! needs some help in terms of presentation before that happens. I'd have liked to seen a bit better flow and layout for the character generation parts, for sure. I was a happy to see a full index, which helped matters, though. The art is typical of Flying Mice products, which you either like or don't.

For a pick-up, rules-light fantasy game, you could do far worse than FtA! There are enough good ideas in here to make this game worth the price of admission.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Forward... to Adventure!
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