Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Fantasy Trip Kickstarter: A Good Deal?

After 35 years, Steve Jackson of Steve Jackson Games has finally re-acquired the rights to The Fantasy Trip, the tactical fantasy combat and light roleplaying game he developed in 1977.

Image result for melee wizard fantasy trip

The Fantasy Trip is comprised of a number of game books:  Melee, a game of tactical man-to-man combat; Wizard, a game of wizard duels;  Advanced Wizard, additional rules for Wizard characters; In the Labyrinth, role-playing and world building rules; Advanced Melee, expanded man-to-man combat rules;and 11 or so setting and pre-programmed adventure books.

Image result for advanced wizard into the labyrinth

The rights to The Fantasy Trip were owned by Howard Thompson, the President of Metagaming, and when Metagaming folded in 1982, Howard demanded an outrageous price from Jackson for the rights to the game, which Jackson refused to pay.  Thus, the game ceased to be published or officially supported after 1982.

The game retained a cult following, however, and people continued to play and support it.  Dark City Games even developed its own similacrum of The Fantasy Trip, called Legends of the Ancient World, and published numerous additional pre-programmed adventures, including The Dark Vale, which I previously reviewed on this blog.

Image result for the dark vale city games

Jackson recently took advantage of a copyright law that permits a creator to re-aquire the rights to their intellectual property after 35 years.

Steve Jackson Games is currently running a Kickstarter to fund the production and distribution of a revised version of the game.

In considering whether the new Kickstarter for The Fantasy Trip is a good value, I looked at the original price of the various game books, and applied the inflation incurred during the intervening period.  The original publication years, price and the inflation based on the US Consumer Price Index are indicated below.

The basic pledge for The Fantasy Trip is $60, and it included, as of the Kickstarter launch, the material from all five of those publications. Using the above amounts, you are paying less, in today's dollars, than the cost to buy the original five game books when they were published back in the day.

Of course, this price is before shipping, but then you also need to factor in the extras that are being provided with this new printing, including dice (not included in the original game), a box to hold the game in, melee character pads, two sheets of mega-hexes, proper indexes in each book, and Tollenkar's Lair, Death Test, and Death Test 2 pre-programmed adventures (which are an additional $10 each of added value).  All of those extras add $40 of overall value, and more stretch goals are yet to come.

If you have never played The Fantasy Trip before and are interested in the game, or if you have the gamebooks and want a cleaned up version of the game to play again, you should check out the Kickstarter.


Martin R. Thomas said...

I remember hearing all about the original game back in the day, but I never played it. The kickstarter seems intriguing.

Mainly I just wanted to say it's great to hear from you again!

Aaron E. Steele said...

Thanks, I appreciate the kind words. My blog has been dark for a while, but I have been OSR-lurking, and busy for the last two years with twice-weekly games of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. It's been my role-playing substitute, since i'm uninterested in 5e and there don't seem to be any F2F old-school games running in my neck of the woods.

The Fantasy Trip Kickstarter has me pretty pumped, i'm hoping to get a TFT game running at my FLGS. Typically my FLGS will only support gaming where the game is in-print from a mainstream publisher. With TFT being published by SJG and with a retailer pledge level, i'm hoping this will be my opportunity to run a TFT game at the gamestore.

Thanks for dropping by. Hope things are well with you!

Chris Rice said...

I wondered where you'd been as your blog has been quiet. Then I saw you on the SJgames forums. It's quite an exciting time with TFT coming back after all this time.

Curious about your comment on D&D 5E. I've not played any edition since 1st, but this once seems well regarded. What don't you like about it?

Good to see you back.

Aaron E. Steele said...

Glad to be back! My problem with 5e is the same as every version after 2nd, too much overhead, too much magic, and combats that still last too long. My son plays 5e at least weekly and the combats (or at least my perception of them) go on far too long. Also, my preferred campaign style is low magic, gritty dark ages type settings, and most 5e players are expecting spell-on-demand, magic shops and other high fantasy, monty-haul approaches. I like settings were there are multiple sessions to obtain one magic item, and the magic item is similar to the actifacts from original/1st edition DnD - wielding the item comes with serious negative consecquences.

I've made a kickstarter pledge for TFT and i'm very much interested in getting a TFT campaign started once the game is released. TFT is my preferred old-school rules system. TFT combats are fast and tactical, and the role-playing rules overhead is very light.

Chris Rice said...

Aaron, I'm a long term TFT fan and am excited to be on board with the KS. Thanks for your comments on D&D 5e. I bought the PHB and I have to say it's a decent read but I agree there's still too much rules overhead. I think I'll stick to TFT if I want a tactical RPG. I'm also looking into Barbarians of Lemuria which is a fairly rules-light Swords and Sorcery RPG. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet but it looks good.

Aaron E. Steele said...

Yes, I have Barbarians of Lemuria, its a great little game.

Looking forward to TFT, though i'm bummed that they jettisoned the 1" hexes. I was looking forward to some dungeon crawls using the 1" dry erase hex sheets, and moving those to 1.5" is going to increase the real estate on the table, which means taking elements off earlier as the dungeon crawl progresses.

ChoiceGenie said...
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Mister Frau Blucher said...

Hey, nice to see a post from you! I used to lurk on a bunch of OSR blogs years ago, and yours was one I always enjoyed.

It's cool seeing a copy of my adventure here (The Dark Vale - I'm Bret, the author). George and I always appreciated the kind words you had (and still have) for our stuff at DCG.

I am a little disappointed on the shift to 1.5 inch hexes. As you say above, the footprint increases by 50% - not quite so compact anymore. Not a huge deal, though.

Take care, man!


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