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Early Fantasy Games?

 
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:07 pm    Post subject: Early Fantasy Games? Reply with quote

Can you guys name a few games that pre-date D&D that deal with fantasy specifically? I assume there would be quite a few but I was curious to hear what materials you think early rpg developers might have had access to.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You mean 1974?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pre-D&D ('74) fantasy games. Perhaps there is a list of them at a fan site?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, to start:

1970 Conquest of the Ring
1971 Chainmail (fantasy component)
1973 Quest of the Magic Ring
War Games Rules 1000BC to 1000AD (fantasy component)
1974 Battle at Helms Deep (Richard Jordison)

I imagine there are some very old fantasy boardgames geared towards children.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just found this "Victorian Board Games" book while in CA recently, by Olivia Bristol: http://www.amazon.com/Victorian-Board-Games-Olivia-Bristol/dp/0312136374/ref=sr_1_1/102-3231852-9926562?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1193104412&sr=1-1

It includes 6 board games on facing pages, including one fantasy/fairy-tale-style game called "The Prince's Quest - A Fairy Race Game" that look marvellous!

I'm sure Frank Mentzer can contribute some additional titles to this thread, and will poke him for his 2 cents.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:21 pm    Post subject: Old Stuff Reply with quote

Aagh, I've been poked.

Um... My boardgame database has over 8,000 entries and it isn't sorted by topic.

Rich Jordison's various boardgames are well known (one cited above), but they were pretty much in the crossover period, when a lot of us added RPGs to our existing wargame habits.

Most early fantasy boardgames dealt with fairy tales, such as Milton Bradley's "Fairyland Game" from 1910. There are hundreds more...

And there are a flock of Tolkien-specific games, some of them pre-1970, at http://www.freewebs.com/tolkienboardgamecollecting/


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi frank! nice to have you here. Rock out
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

as a specialist for wargames - perhaps you can help in the h.g. wells-thread?
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:29 am    Post subject: Re: Old Stuff Reply with quote

ExTSR wrote:
Aagh, I've been poked.

Um... My boardgame database has over 8,000 entries and it isn't sorted by topic.

Rich Jordison's various boardgames are well known (one cited above), but they were pretty much in the crossover period, when a lot of us added RPGs to our existing wargame habits.

Most early fantasy boardgames dealt with fairy tales, such as Milton Bradley's "Fairyland Game" from 1910. There are hundreds more...

And there are a flock of Tolkien-specific games, some of them pre-1970, at http://www.freewebs.com/tolkienboardgamecollecting/


Frank Mentzer
ExTSR@aol.com


Aha! Therein lies the pitfall I feared with this question! d'oh! And I thank Frank for visiting us to give our fora a go! I can think of no other with the depth of knowledge and experience that Frank has.

Perhaps I should try to rephrase the question to something more specific. Perhaps not that I will succeed in finding the question now. But merhaps in hopes that some guys will start thinking about this in their collectible journeys.

I wonder if there were any fantasy games that predate OD&D that have a certain complexity to them that approaches what wargames were doing at that time. To me it is clear rpgs evolved from wargames on a number of different levels. I could possibly generate a list of wargames and reasoning for their contributions to the creation of role playing games as we know it. But I am at a loss for other fantasy games that might have contributed directly to the genesis of Dungeons and Dragons.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't attribute the following as an influence to what we came to know as RPGs, but the following makes for an interesting read. It involves the Bronte sisters and their brother Branwell. Togethe they made up the imaginary kingdoms of Angria and Gondal and used their brothers Toy Soldiers as models for the characters. These characters were extensively written about and elaborate peronalities applied to them.

Go ahead and give this article a once over if you have time . . .

By the way, I have searched this out based on a post by Darkseraphim on the acaeum many moons ago (see, I've told you I don't forget anything! )

He seemed to believe that they may have even had a possible method for "event resolution".

Here is an article:

http://www.fathom.com/feature/122071/



Here is Darkseraphim's post:



http://www.acaeum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1321&highlight=history
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Typically one would note here Tony Bath's article "Campaigning with the aid of Fantasy Fiction" in Slingshot #9 (Jan 1967), in which he mentions that a Colin Rowbotham had drawn up a rules for a Tolkien-based wargame "to include all these odd creatures". If Tony Bath was aware of Mr. Rowbotham's efforts at this time, then the rules themselves must have been conceived no later than 1966. I'm not aware that they were published anywhere. Over the next several years, fantasy games were revisited now and again. Probably the most interesting instance of a fantasy battle report in Slingshot is in #44 (Nov 72), well after the publication of Chainmail.

There's no doubt that English wargamers came fairly close to inventing fantasy role-playing games, and really they only reason they didn't do so, as far as I can tell, was the prevailing consensus that fantasy was beneath them. A mention of interest in fantasy gaming in one issue of Slingshot would be met with resistance in the next. Not that this attitude was unique to one side of the pond. Most American wargamers undoubtedly concurred with the opinion Don Greenwood expressed in his review of Chainmail, namely, that it was a great medieval game but fantasy rules were "foolish".
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

increment wrote:
Typically one would note here Tony Bath's article "Campaigning with the aid of Fantasy Fiction" in Slingshot #9 (Jan 1967), in which he mentions that a Colin Rowbotham had drawn up a rules for a Tolkien-based wargame "to include all these odd creatures". If Tony Bath was aware of Mr. Rowbotham's efforts at this time, then the rules themselves must have been conceived no later than 1966. I'm not aware that they were published anywhere. Over the next several years, fantasy games were revisited now and again.

??

This would, of course, be the same Tony Bath who had been fantasy wargaming (including some "modern-day RPG" aspects) for some time prior to that date. Probably helps to have the background context for those unfamiliar with that? Wink
Unlike Colin's efforts, those were later published.

increment wrote:
There's no doubt that English wargamers came fairly close to inventing fantasy role-playing games

Whatever... :)
Define "fantasy role-playing games", please, but you will have to add several conditions to that to keep D&D as being the "first of type".

increment wrote:
Most American wargamers undoubtedly concurred with the opinion Don Greenwood expressed in his review of Chainmail, namely, that it was a great medieval game but fantasy rules were "foolish".

*nods* Science fiction was the in-thing at the time, not fantasy. ^^
(Heh... and crossing topics on that, I'm resisting the temptation to reply to EGG over on Dragonsfoot to ask what he did with those proposals he had on the table for a SF RPG prior to D&D's release).

Regards,
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

harami wrote:

This would, of course, be the same Tony Bath who had been fantasy wargaming (including some "modern-day RPG" aspects) since a decade or so before. Probably helps to have the background context for those unfamiliar with that? Wink


Well... I do think the game that Tony Bath ascribes to Mr. Rowbotham sounds very different from his Hyborian Campaign, which as you rightfully point out had existed since 1957. Hyboria of course famously borrows REH's fantasy world (or historical era, as the case may be), but I'm not sure that alone makes it a fantasy game. He used the fictional nations of Hyboria as costumes for mundane ancient and medieval troops (Greeks, Egyptians, Persians, etc) and the politics of Hyboria to bring those nations into interesting conflicts across the campaign. But it was not a realm of magic or monsters. As I noted in my last post, when people brought magic and monsters into the pages of Slingshot, the readership rebelled.

So if by "fantasy wargaming" you mean just wargaming that takes place in a fictional world, then that would include Hyboria, of course. I gather that Mr. Rowbotham had a game with Orcs and Hobbits and Wizards, which is much more what I would think of as a precursor to D&D.

harami wrote:

Whatever... :)
Define "fantasy role-playing games", please, but you will have to add several conditions to that to keep D&D as being the "first of type".


I'm certainly not going to claim I have a tenable definition of "fantasy role-playing games", but nor do I think we particularly need one to agree on these points. I do concur that Hyboria developed role-playing elements, eventually, but I don't think that was really until the spring of 1968, at which point Hyboria was about as much of a roleplaying game as, say, Dave Wesely's Braunstein reportedly was. But a "fantasy" role-playing game?

I find Tony Bath's article in White Dwarf #4 about Hyboria and its relationship to fantasy gaming pretty compelling. "Although Hyboria is a fantasy in that it is not a real world, it is not a true fantasy in that magic plays very little part in its affairs."
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. Good reply/discussion. :)

increment wrote:
As I noted in my last post, when people brought magic and monsters into the pages of Slingshot, the readership rebelled.

Or, as eventually happened, the then-management rebelled, post-D&D.
To a large degree that was because "fantasy" was declared off-topic to the Society's remit as I suspect was also the case earlier.
(Out of interest, do you have the SoA DVD for those early issues?)

increment wrote:
So if by "fantasy wargaming" you mean just wargaming that takes place in a fictional world, then that would include Hyboria, of course. I gather that Mr. Rowbotham had a game with Orcs and Hobbits and Wizards, which is much more what I would think of as a precursor to D&D.

Doubly so from the perspective of modern-day (pre-Rowling?) expectations on "fantasy" and despite EGG's comments about only adding Tolkien owing to popularity. Wink Had the bandwagon started in earnest several decades earlier I suspect the definition goalposts would be somewhat different, looking back; e.g. The Worm Ouroboros or Lankhmar, say, rather than LotR.
Good quote there from Tony in WD: never did find out what "very little part" actually meant in real-gaming terms. ("True fantasy" is an amusing choice of phrase for Tony to have used in that Donaldson fantasy-revival period).

harami wrote:
I'm certainly not going to claim I have a tenable definition of "fantasy role-playing games", but nor do I think we particularly need one to agree on these points. I do concur that Hyboria developed role-playing elements, eventually, but I don't think that was really until the spring of 1968, at which point Hyboria was about as much of a roleplaying game as, say, Dave Wesely's Braunstein reportedly was. But a "fantasy" role-playing game?

Dave Wesley's /actual/ material is somewhat more elusive. I suspect the role-playing game (fantasy or otherwise) aspects were probably more deeply embedded in Tony's case owing to the depth of personal characterisation/development he'd been continuing for so long, although - of those two - the "sparks" from Wesley's (somewhat more haphazard?) approach had more direct input into eventual developments.

Aside; to apply reverse logic to the development question the simple criterion of using minis to represent characters doesn't turn a RPG into a wargame. I /do/ still think the definition does need to be tightened up more in the context of the first that D&D /was/ (mass-produced, face-to-face, moderated, 1-1 scale, etc., etc., role-playing/role-assumption game) - not just blithely the "first RPG" as is popularly ascribed.

JM-02c, anyhow :)
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beyondthebreach wrote:
Here is Darkseraphim's post:
http://www.acaeum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1321

+1

Teetotums rather than dice, if so? I don't think Edmund Scientific were in operation back then. Wink *jk*
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

harami wrote:

To a large degree that was because "fantasy" was declared off-topic to the Society's remit as I suspect was also the case earlier.
(Out of interest, do you have the SoA DVD for those early issues?)


I do have the SoA DVD, yes - I will say that I found less of interest in there than I suspected I might. Worth reading more to verify what didn't happen in the SoA than to uncover any revelations.

harami wrote:

Good quote there from Tony in WD: never did find out what "very little part" actually meant in real-gaming terms. ("True fantasy" is an amusing choice of phrase for Tony to have used in that Donaldson fantasy-revival period).


The "very little" is almost assuredly talking about instantaneous magical communications systems. Note, for example, in Setting up Wargames Campaigns (pg46) how there were "magical means" of getting reports in to the Shadizar Herald. In that White Dwarf article he goes on to say "In fact, [magic's] use is very often a cover for more mundane operations", by which I think he means out-of-game operations, of which the collation and distribution of the Herald is certainly a striking example.

In terms of the context in which he wrote that article, I'm sure it is intended to reflect on the rapidly growing popularity of D&D - I would understand D&D to be a "true fantasy" game in his consideration.

harami wrote:

Aside; to apply reverse logic to the development question the simple criterion of using minis to represent characters doesn't turn a RPG into a wargame. I /do/ still think the definition does need to be tightened up more in the context of the first that D&D /was/ (mass-produced, face-to-face, moderated, 1-1 scale, etc., etc., role-playing/role-assumption game) - not just blithely the "first RPG" as is popularly ascribed.


I do agree that the presence of miniatures is not a sufficient condition to declare something a wargame and not an RPG. The reason why I hesitate to classify either Braunstein or Hyboria as RPGs is not because they employ miniatures, and it is certainly in spite of the fact that they do contain some role-playing elements. But I really do want to avoid getting into a rathole discussion of defining RPGs: that's too unwieldy a topic for most any forum, and certainly diverges far from scribe's original question.
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