My first ever game

3 09 2009

As posts go, this ought to be a short one.  Mostly because my memory of the game is so vague.  In fact, I’d forgotten all about it until I came across a copy in a game shop the other daTandTy.

My first ever role-playing game was…Tunnels and Trolls.  If you’ve never played it and see it really cheap, pick up a copy for novelty value. 

It dates back to the mid 1970s and is often abbreviated to T&T.  Apparently it was the second ‘modern’ RPG and was meant to be a simplified alternative to D&D. 

It’s premise is simple.   It’s a single-player game (or could be used to play by (e)mail) and is set in a Tolkienesque world.

You get some familiar starting attributes (Strength,  Intelligence, Luck,  Constitution, Dexterity  and Charisma).  I understand that recent editions have added Wizardry (or Power) and Speed.  Each is calculated with a random 3d6 roll.

Humans are the recommended race with elves, dwarves and hobbits as options.  You can also play as a leprechaun or fairy.  All races have modifiers.

The base classes are Wizards and Warriors.   You can also be a Rogue or a Wizard-Warrior.

Next you randomly roll for money and then buy equipment.

Combat is relatively common (rolling d6s, adding modifiers and then comparing scores) except that mass combat is done by one set of rolls. 

Believe it or not, T&T was a groundbreaking game: 

– It was the first to offer a wide range of non-human characters. 

– Armour absorbed damage (rather than making you harder to hit)

– It introduced the concept of spell points

– It introduced the publishing of game-books

The game-books were adventures that the single player could play without a ‘referee.’  Nowadays there are scores of free adventures on the web.

It was translated into at least seven languages and penetrated many foreign markets before D&D.

Enough of the facts.  I consider T&T fondly (now I remember it).  As an only child, the ability to play a game without the need of friends or siblings was awesome.  I now remember spending hours creating characters and going through the adventures.

As I reflect, I think my love of creating characters stems from this game.

Also consider it was a game out at a time where there were no computers.  There were no DVDs or even videos and no daytime TV either (unless you counted schools programmes, a short burst of shows around lunchtime or if there was cricket or horse-racing on).

T&T was voted one of the millennium’s most underrated games.  I’ll stop short of suggesting everyone rushes out and buys a copy, but if you have a young relative (especially an only child) you could do worse than consider it as a present.   I’ve seen it advertised in various formats between £15 and £25 (and $20 to $30) online.  It’s up to its 7th edition now.

As I say, fond memories – albeit vague ones.  Without it I would still have found role-playing, but it filled a time when there was precious little else that could fire my imagination in this way.




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