What is Heroes & Other Worlds?

Heroes & Other Worlds is a game of adventure inspired by Metagaming's classic Melee/Wizard/TFT system combined with inspiration from the Moldvay edited basic game. The rules are easy to learn and use standard six sided dice. The system is simple, sensible and flexible in the spirit of classic role playing games from the early 80's. Become a Hero, Other Worlds await!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Master of the Amulets

I never got a change to play this micro back in the day and in doing some research I came upon a great review of this game.  What strikes me as most interesting is it appears to be the exact type of game I would have loved, sandbox with a purpose!

The gist of the adventure is there are 24 amulet scattered about randomly in the Valley of Death. In order to escape you have to find the right amulets.  Of course while searching there are lots of random encounters.

So while there are no specific "story lines" to read as is the case with most solos, there is a great deal of adventure to be had.  As a result, the story will be  what ever trials and tribulations you suffer as you seek to exit the valley.

There is a nice review to read on this adventure and what was most notable to me is the adventure was apparently written with only Melee/Wizard rules and prior to the publishing of AM/AW/ITL...yet this adventure was not published until AFTER the full TFT line was released which causes some issues. 

So I will point you first to a nifty little review of this classic.

And second to Scribd which has a PDF copy you can look at.

Did you ever get a chance to play it? If so what was your experience with it?

Below is the revised map of MotA made by Angantyr.

Also on Angantyr's blog is an outstanding treasure trove I found...a list of EVERY potential and unpublished TFT product!  Good lord what might have been! I wonder if Howard Thompson had focused his (or someone's) energy on making these real what might have been...well read it and see for yourself!


  1. Very much the type of game I want to play as well. I never played it but was very impressed and inspired by it when I found it a year or so ago. I've been working on something very much like this for a year but I'm trying to include a tad bit more story. It's a very daunting task for me because I've never written anything before and never been much of a 'details person'. I have a tendency to get overly critical or overly creative and burn out. It also doesn't help that I'm trying simultaneously develop my own TFT-ish rules that I like and that I think others will not scoff at. If I ever accomplish this great task, you and others will be free to adapt it and re-publish as long as the ol' ewookie gets some credit. I already have sequel ideas! :/

    1. Thanks for the info and Adam and good luck with your rules. Don't let frustration stop you my friend, slow and steady gets it done!

  2. I played it many, many years ago, so my memories are a little vague now given that a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then.

    As I recall, there were a few problems with the game -- some of the instructions didn't lead anywhere or were missing, which forced some strange decisions on me as a gamer. That was annoying enough at the time that I wound up putting it away and never playing it again. Also, the original map was a problem; something to do with a lack of sufficient amulet locations if I recall correctly. The revised one you show above is much better, to the point where I have recently considered trying to play it again.

    Overall, the experience was very "sandboxy" with the player moving his character around the map in an attempt to discover the amulets necessary to complete the adventure, and confronting the various creatures that he wandered into along the way. Very similar to a couple of the more recent Dark City Games releases in that regard. The combats seemed to be pretty well balanced, and the magic use was pretty normal, as I recall, without any showstoppers along the way. The chit system worked well on providing multiple possibilities that were randomly distributed across the map and is something that could be profitably used in other solitaire hex crawl games. The biggest problem in play terms with this adventure (and most of the others) was a lack of any kind of healing -- other than time -- along the way, which, combined with the usual relatively deadly (standard in TFT, where combat was intense and often very damaging) encounters forced a slow pace on play and made the player spend a lot more time on resource management. That can be fun if well done, but in this case it tended to increase the "boredom" level of the game somewhat. Had better mechanisms existed to expedite healing and minimize some of the management aspects of the game, this might have been a better experience at the time.

    Because of the problems with the original map and instruction booklet, play was choppy, and as I recall, this particular microquest got bad reviews because of it. One of the web sites I was exploring a few years back had errata for this game which covered the difficulties with the numbered paragraphs. (That same web site also had errata for Golden Unicorn as I recall.)

    Frankly, the state of the art has advanced enough in the past 40 years that there is nothing insuperable about the difficulties noted above, but at the time I was in High School, and I could find better play experiences at the local hobby shop without having to tinker with this one to make it work the way it should have in the first place. Mostly I chalked it up to the increasingly poor playtesting and product quality control that Metagaming was suffering from that last year or so before they folded. But now that I'm back into games again (since I have a lot more time on my hands again), this one is definitely worth a re-visit.

    I always considered this particular microquest to be the inspiration for much of the work Dark City Games has done over the past few years though, and thought it was a good attempt to do something like "Barbarian Prince" managed to do a lot better in terms of the mechanics of cross country movement. Combining the combat system from TFT or LAW with Barbarian Prince would be a worthy effort in my opinion, and a series of Barbarian Prince-like hex crawls would be something I would definitely be interested in buying.

    Now that I've written this, I think I'll dig it back out and see how it goes. ;-)

    1. Brilliant write up Jeff, thanks for the detailed and descriptive review of play. I agree there are definitely some great opportunities and a Barbarian Prince-esque solo/hexcrawl is a unexplored game idea since the early 80's...hmmmm....

  3. I read the article on the "might have beens." How fascinating! I actually own the two LBTM capital city modules from Gamelords (they're still being sold as of today, btw -- a guy down in SF is selling them on line; check out the link here: http://www.diffworlds.com/gamelords.htm).

    It seems to me that it wouldn't be impossible to reverse engineer some of this stuff. I'm thinking specifically of the rules for naval combat based on Ramspeed.... I always thought Ramspeed was one of the best microgames Metagaming ever did, and in fact had used it as the basic combat system for another game way back when (the Marines were easily translated into small units of infantry, etc, and the ship rules could be used as is; sadly I don't remember what larger wargame I used it with now, it may have even been something like Divine Right!)

    Using the info in Lords of Underearth on specific conversions of people into small units (though I think Dragons of Underearth had some more quantifiable information on that subject as well) should, theoretically, allow a clever person to reverse engineer Ramspeed with fantasy figures. From there, and using a couple of SPI designs (like Constantinople and maybe Gondor) a good designer should resolve the siege mechanics given that Ramspeed used catapults and ballistae as part of its combat system. Rules for siege towers and battering rams wouldn't be too hard to devise, I wouldn't think, and then all you'd need would be a good generic castle or fortified city map to experiment with.

    Mounted small unit combat might be a little more problematic, and aerial combat even more so, but again, the rules system was so flexible that I can't but think they could be adapted somehow. Of course before any of that, it would be necessary to come up with small scale "man-to-man" mounted and aerial rules for combat in those environments.... The hardest part would be the aerial combat portion given the 3D nature of it all, but as the original folks said, it would be more important to develop something that is fun to play (and "feels" sort of like aerial combat) even if it isn't slavishly simulationist in all its details; no SPI "Air War-ish" rules need apply! Given the high movement rates and reliance on missile weapons and spells probable in a typical aerial engagement, I'd guess that the normal map hexes would each need to represent a tactical megahex for aerial combat. Though that neglects how gargoyles might handle it. Hmmm. Lots of food for thought there....

    It's late, and I lack the coherency to think up something as a baseline idea right now, but if I can re-acquire a copy of Ramspeed again (my original game collection went the way of all mortal flesh a few years back thanks to my ex), I might take a shot at the naval rules part of the equation....

    1. Well then let me help you with re-acquiring Ramspeed! cut and past this link and get it from decision game for $10 http://shop.decisiongames.com/searchresults.asp?cat=41

  4. Tried to reply to your comment, but it never made it so will initiate a new comment. I went ahead and did it, but my God, the shipping was twice the price of the game!

    It's an odd thing, but a few months back I tried to order something from Excalibur games via the Decision Games website, only to be called by Callie (at DG) and told that Excalibur was out of business and they were no longer to take orders for them. Now, here we are again. I wonder if Callie will call again? If she does, I'm going to ask her why Excalibur is still on their website if they're out of business! ;-)

  5. Now that's interesting -- I just got a shipping refund to the tune of $10 from Decision Games for the copy of Ramspeed! Which means they kept $8 or so, which means they ARE shipping me a copy of Ramspeed. That's really good news.

    Honestly, when I saw the e-mail was from them with a title of "Refund," I expected it to be for the whole amount and them to tell me Excalibur was out of business! ;-)

    1. Good news that they got you the game AND a refund for the crazy shipping! Looking forward to seeing what it inspires you to create Jeff!