Start your review of Fantasy Wargaming Write a review Shelves: role-playing-game , fantasy This is an artifact from the early days of role-playing. There is a lot of good information on the medieval era, feudalism, warfare, and such. The monsters are taken from legends, period bestiaries, and heraldry. Players are more likely to fight two-headed lions than orcs. The rules of the game are very complex and lean to close to realism.
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As these are edited together from blog posts, I will try to include some of the comments on the original posts, or incorporate the corrections and additions others have mentioned. The original posts and full comments will remain in the archives of the blog. It gets lots of traffic relatively speaking but I just found out about a citation in a book published by Routledge. The history of the project Nick Lowe, one of the writers of Fantasy Wargaming, was gracious enough to respond to my inquiries regarding the writing of the book.
What follows are some excerpts from his emails. Bruce Galloway obviously made quite an impression on him and he is clearly sorely missed. Bruce died in an accident in , at the altogether too young age of Nick has been exceedingly generous with his time, replying to my questions quickly and in detail. But I can at least try to fill in some of the space around it all. Bruce was a final-year undergraduate in History when I arrived in Cambridge in , and was a key figure in the SF society, which was what my life revolved around pretty much from the start.
Bruce was a class act academically, and stayed on to do a PhD on the union of the crowns, which I think was abandoned as he was drawn more into campaigning and freelance writing. I also was part of the single bathetic test of the ill-fated Leigh Cliffs, a fantastically lovingly-plotted country-house mystery game populated by characters who included various fictional detectives in disguise — I played an undercover Charlie Chan, and found myself teaming up rather uncomfortably with a racially inflexible Bulldog Drummond — and whose neatly-planted secrets were bobbing nicely to the surface before somebody prematurely detonated the stash of dynamite intended for a later development and killed the entire cast.
Bruce and the others were fairly confident, perhaps simply because they understood the system better. I still hang on to it, with a complex mixture of ill-defined emotions. He was a good friend, and I miss him. But on the actual writing, my recollection is that we were each assigned chapters to write mine was the rather minor ch. So I think for example pp. I wish I could remember who did what in the other chapters; I may have this somewhere. She did the first ever graphic story in Interzone, around issue 7 or 8, and by she was making enough from illustration to jack in the day job.
All the best, Nick. The second link is closer to the style of the FW illustrations. Each is assigned a topic in the book and they write an introductory essay and a section of rules covering the material. Galloway edited and revised the whole to some extent. This partly explains the disjointedness of the rules. Additional playtesting is done but not as part of an ongoing campaign.
Quarrie was probably the mediator between the publishers and Galloway. PSL or Quarrie? Heath to do the cover and chapter frontispieces. Heath also does some amazing illustrations for series of ads in White Dwarf. Margaret Welbank does many interior illustrations, mostly in a medieval style. Margaret would later draw a graphic story for Interzone and move on to illustrate more mainstream topics, and do some cartoons, etc.
Both a quarto letter-sized edition for chain book stores and an octavo hardcover novel sized book club edition for Science Fiction book clubs are published. The other FW authors graduate, move on, or otherwise pursue their own interests. The play-testing appears to have been sporadic, occurring mainly during the Leigh Cliffs adventure before the rules reached their final form and then piecemeal as sections were written.
FW is cited in Dragon 65, however, on p. Other smaller magazines reviewed it and generally did not rate it well. The most intriguing thing Kevin has told me though is that Bruce Galloway gave him a box of notes for Leigh Cliffs and expected him to edit it into something publishable, some time after FW was finished and probably about the time Bruce left gaming for political activism.
Bruce was, I think, in the year above me, studying history, and I only knew him in my second undergraduate year When I started [grad school] in October , he was there at the start of year photo, having started his Ph.
After about six months, Bruce decided he did not like the Ph. This meant travelling to London every day, so they got a house on the south side of Cambridge. I was in a really depressing squalid flat and was desperate to move, so [they] kindly offered to take me in as their lodger.
That was in August I was only there for about three or four weeks until I got a much nicer flat. It evolved gradually.
It was around this time that I was used by Bruce as a reference for him so that he could get his positive vetting in the MoD. I remember a chap in a long trenchcoat travelling all the way to my parents house near Southend on Sea and grilling me in our front room about Bruce while my mother ferried in cups of tea and plates of biscuits.
For anyone not familiar with British working class culture, the front room was only ever used for special occasions — Christmas, weddings, funerals or talking to members of the professional classes.
Anyway, a week after I had convinced them that Bruce was a sound chap, he resigned, and went back to the Ph. We now put a lot more time into the game. It was a joint effort by me and Bruce and reflected both of our weird imaginations. Bruce was totally responsible for the rules, which I had no interest in. I do remember the starting point, which was a SF idea by — I think — Larry Niven — that there was only a certain amount of magic in the world and you could use it up.
Or something like that. The scenario for Leigh Cliffs developed gradually. The idea was that there was a medieval village with something very, very nasty going on in it which an intrepid band of explorers had to sort out. The name came about from two parts of Southend half way between where [his wife] came from and where I grew up.
These were Leigh on Sea, and Westcliff. There were hundreds of characters in the game, some devised by Bruce and some by me. A lot of the ones which were my invention were basically eccentric Cockney wide boys in peasants costumes. Lacking any kind of editorial control, the cast of thousands just spiraled completely out of control. Both of us liked developing plot, and characters. I seem to remember that I was very good at doing hundreds of different voices and enjoyed hamming things up — still do, probably.
There were also hundreds of very bad jokes in the thing — most of which the players never found. We introduced a whole street filled with dwarves, simply so that we could have a statue placed at one end which was of Snow White.
No-one ever got it, despite our increasingly detailed descriptions of the statue, every time anyone walked past it. The game was only played once, probably about the start of It was total chaos for a weekend and I remember ending up feeling very exhausted and losing my voice.
Very soon the party fragmented into about five different groups which went and did their own thing. That made working with each group easier, but we had a great deal of trouble in keeping them in synch. This was the very first time that either of us had ever attempted something like this, and it was probably only the third or fourth game I had ever been in. I think the game had barely finished before Bruce had announced that he wanted to write a book on wargaming, and run another game.
So we proceeded on two fronts. It was his vision and his first experience, I think, with publishing. But when it took off it was obvious that I was superfluous to requirements and there is not one single idea in the book which I could ever have contributed.
I have no idea if the rules, as they finally appeared, were ever tested. While the book was being put together, Bruce and I worked on a second game. I had had my fill of swords and fighting, and I was more interested in the problem solving aspects of the game. I think Bruce may have felt the same. As a result, our second and final game was a country house murder.
We created a number of characters based on book or film detectives and stuck them in a village with a dead body. I had completely forgotten this game until I read the comments by Nick. This is the game where he played a Chinese detective like Charlie Chan. Or maybe not. I know Bruce saw some drawings I had of components for a vacuum system which were going into my Ph.
His lack of knowledge of all things technical was astonishing. Bruce and his friends showed me a battlefield campaign once — I think the battle of Hastings — with miniature armies. I was appalled by the length of time it took to work out the results of any actions. I suggested to Bruce that the whole lot could be automated, and showed him our new lab computer. It was the first stand-alone one in the department and two of us had built it ourselves, from a kit.
It had 4K of memory. Bruce was impressed, and we found that one of the computer mags was offering a cash prize for new imaginative uses for computing. We entered a suggestion that computerised wargames were possible and might even be popular.
I think our idea was that the computers replaced the dice and damage charts, but you still kept the painted figures. This was pretty cutting edge for We never even had an acknowledgement for our entry. I wonder how many others entered exactly the same thing? Leigh Cliffs was the game that became FW, and I was misattaching the name to the equally bonkers but much less successful country-house one, which I now remember was called Malham Tarn.
And I was the real Charlie Chan, but traveling incognito under the identity of Xan Chao-Li, a Chinese author of hardboiled American detective novels about a Chandleresque gumshoe with the obviously fictional name of Earl D.
Vukree Here is some more from Kevin, after I followed up with my hopes falloway Leigh Cliffs notes might somehow survive:. I find it surprising to say the falloway to come across details about someone I knew 25 or more years ago wrgaming darkest Norfolk in a blog penned in the USA. Female characters are forbidden from combat and one of the stats that you roll for is the astrological influence on your character. It was heavily criticised for being badly written, overly complicated, preachy, and politically incorrect. There are a bunch of additional rules here that add flavor to the spell casting rules.
Fantasy Wargaming; The Highest Level of All (1981) [Bruce Galloway]