Sunday, December 11, 2016

Long Live White Box

So, with the release of +Charlie Mason's White Box and the upcoming release of the inaugural issue of his associated 'zine The Wizard's Scroll, I got to thinking about Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox again. I think over the past two years or so the OSR community has really seen an explosion in material for WB and WB-based games - and that's awesome.

I say that not just as a publisher, but also as a fan of this rules light game. From its stripped down astetic, to its ultra-simple rules set, to its seemingly infinite hackability, I can safely say its my favorite game in the OSR. But I think my love of WB doesn't really come from any of the things I mentioned above. I think it comes from the seemingly boundless creativity it creates in those who design products using it as a base.

In addition to my little sci-fi game, White Star, there are also a shit ton of WB-based games that are bent to different genres. +Bill Logan's White Lies is modern espionage. Sleeping Griffon has published Skyscrapers and Sorcery, which brings modern fantasy into play. +Pete Spahn just released WWII: Operation White Box, a historic incarnation based around World War II. I think it's only a matter of time before we see Cosmic Horror, Cyberpunk, and other genres bolted onto the White Box design elements.

But at its core, Swords & Wizardry: White Box is a fantasy RPG and many releases don't go far from that. Whether it's a heavily modified and expanded version (like The Hero's Journey) or a cleaned up version of the original with excellent layout and a few expanded rules like Charlie's White Box, both games hold close to the fantasy origins of the game. +Vincent Florio and +Brian Fitzpatrick published a more Conan-esque collection of adventures in their Lost Age Adventures line of products - something which I hope they return to some day. I've also had some success with more traditional supplements for fantasy, with my own line of White Box products.

In short, I think we've seen Swords & Wizardry: White Box go from an oft-mentioned but rarely utilized game to an active force in the OSR over the past two years or so. Mason's White Box brings a professional design element to that game and I think he's leading the charge for this game. It's my belief that Swords & Wizardry: White Box has finally stepped out of the shadows and is a game that will be played and enjoyed for years to come thanks to so many creative people grabbing hold of a simple set of rules and saying "You know what would be fun to do with this?" and then doing it.

Oh, and I love the fact that the vast majority of White Box-based games put in print are done so in digest format. Easy to store, transport, and reference at a table - and they don't cost $22,100 on eBay.


  1. Thanks for the mention of Lost Age Adventures! We're definitely going back to it and expanding on it over the next year!

  2. They are selling it for $22,100 and still charging $14.10 for shipping! You'd think they could spring for free shipping at least.


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