Let’s suppose that you’re a fan of those old-school fantasy role playing games where blood is spilled every other minute and hordes of enemies constantly threaten everything good and just, or at least dear to your heart. Now, let’s assume that you and your pals have little time and energy to set up a typical hours-long session and play it until you’ll start to see everything x3, or find yourself with no more alcohol to fuel your creativity.
It’s obvious that games like D&D, Pathfinder and similar are out of question because of their massiveness. One could try some lighter alternatives like 13th Age, or Fantasy Craft but let’s be honest here for the moment – while not as complex, in the end they require similar amount of time and attention to set up and run.
You could try Dungeon World or FATE, but bear in mind, that such games feature little strategy and tactics (at least in comparison to traditional fantasy games) and because of that, they are not for everyone.
And here’s where those small games, like Old School Hack come to mind. They are often very short to read, feature one or two witty and original concepts, miss a lot of content, leaving it for the players to figure out on the fly. In exchange they offer fast and funny gameplay in kind of black & white world where good is good and evil is evil, no-need-for-existential-conundrums-thank-you-very-much.
During his exile Bucyrus studied a very interesting addition to this pool, titled Beyond the Wall and other adventures. Like many similar ones it’s an old-school rpg, with rudimentary mechanics, simple but interesting concepts and vague, very typical fantasy world. And yet, when you’re halfway through a book, which happens to be no more than half an hour of your time (depending on your reading speed of course), you can’t help but think “Damn, this is what I want to try next with my brave band of social outcasts“.
There are nice reviews of the game already written, so no need to talk about details, but let’s just say that BtW is rather “local heroes” game than “big adventurers rescuing the world”. You play as a sorcerer’s apprentice, young soon-to-be knight, or still “green” huntsman (heh).
…and you have plenty of fun while doing it, even if the fate of whole world doesn’t rely on you and you alone. Enjoy!