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Recollect Board Game Review

Board Game Reviews
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× A place for boardgame traitors.

Tunnels and Trolls 7.5

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08 Nov 2008 18:56 #13823 by Mr. White
I know rpgs don't get a lot of respect around here, and I don't even play them but still find I enjoy flipping through and reading 'em.

Anyway, today at the store I saw this little box for T&T ver7.5. It looks like it contains three books, two adventures, a map, and a bunch of counters all for about $35. After getting a Buck Rogers set from Mr. Daly a few weeks back, I've been kind of nostalgic for old-school box set rpgs. I understand they don't make 'em anymore and it's all multiple hardbound books at a steep price.

I never played T&T back in the day, but remember seeing it on the shelf. There doesn't look to be a lot of net presence either, but I did find one good site with a lot of free adventures. They look to all be dungeon crawling fun.

I'm really thinking about picking this up. Anyone have any experience with the game or know anything about it?

(I'm also a sucker for the crude 70's /80's style art on the cover)

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08 Nov 2008 22:39 #13825 by NeonPeon
Replied by NeonPeon on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
Man, did I ever play the hell out of T&T. I actually attribute this game with developing my mental arithmetic skills - there was so much of it. Let's see, other distinguishing characteristics:

- Shitloads of solitaire adventures - this was actually how I played about 90% of the time. These adventures varied greatly in seriousness (generally there's a tongue-in-cheek feel), deadliness, type of storytelling (plot vs. monster-bashing)...Some of the more popular and famous solos were written by Ken St. Andre and Michael Stackpole, who were notorious for writing insanely deadly but potentially uber-super-duper-munchkinizing adventures. I recall quite a few paragraphs commanding the reader to "close the book" if a roll was failed, i.e. death.

- Shitloads of D6s. Battles are settled by rolling Dice + Adds and subtracting the lesser total from the greater. The difference is the damage dealt to the guy with the lower total. Monsters generally had a "MR" (Monster rating) which determined Dice+Adds and hit points. A monster with MR 34 rolled 4 dice (34/10+1) + 17 (34/2) and had 20 HP. But that's a fairly wimpy monster. The tougher baddies have MR of 100 or 200 or more (MR 200=21 dice + 100). It's also not unheard of for a player to roll quite a few dice, too. I think the greatest weapon I've seen was a 66-dice "bronze bodkin" that you could win as a prize in one of the solos.

- Simple and flexible rules. The rules are pretty basic, and it's not uncommon for the GM or author to invent ad-hoc rules for handling all kinds of situations. For example a GM might say an archer is firing at you, so make a level 3 saving roll on the average of your luck and dex, and take the difference in damage if you fail - there was no hard rule for being shot at, so you just kind of made up what you felt made sense. There was no monster manual or bestiary of any sort, so you'd make up monsters on the fly and slap them with Monster Ratings, and maybe special rules for spice. The game was great for improvisational play. I would sometimes GM games using Catalyst books ( www.flyingbuffalo.com/catalyst.htm ). Citybooks were great for wandering around in cities and checking out interesting stores and cityfolk. Grimtooth's Traps lets you kill off dungeon delvers in ridiculously hilarious ways. Flying Buffalo put out a lot of material for bunch of helpful dice for generating random dungeon corridors, treasures, and such.

- Characters advance to ridiculous levels. At first glance, character creation seems like typical D&D stuff: str, dex, con, chr, int, luck, roll 3d6 for each...But then you know something is up when you read that dwarves start with double strength, or elves start with double intelligence. It's not unheard of to beef your stats up into the hundreds. Adventures are often designed for characters within a certain range of adds. (Your adds are something like Luck-10 + Str-10 + Dex-10)...Adds could vary quite a bit from character to character - a newbie might have 5, and a veteran might have 150.

- Goofy spell names. The Magic Missile type of spell is called Take That You Fiend, to hypnotize someone you cast Yassa Massa, and Poor Baby is for healing.

Well I've got to wrap this up...I'd definitely recommend T&T if you can gather the right group. It's a game that's what you make of it. While solo adventures were a big part of the game for me and my buddies, they are quite time-consuming and probably difficult to find these days.

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09 Nov 2008 05:54 #13828 by southernman
I played this in the late 70's - living in a very rural area where no one played games of any sort playing the T&T solo dungeons was the only way I could get a glimpse of this new fantasy gaming fad (apart from playing The Dungeon boardgame with my siblings). I left school soon after for the big wide world of a job, real life adventures, alcohol, women, and sport and never returned to it. I see them now again on eBay and think about buying a set for nostalgia, but I think if I actually had free time from my boardgaming then the computer game has probably taken over from solo dungeons. But I would be interested in checking out any sites on it if the links are posted.

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09 Nov 2008 13:28 #13831 by NeonPeon
Replied by NeonPeon on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
So I read some reviews, and couldn't resist ordering myself a copy. Haha. This set looks really nice, and I actually have to correct myself in the last post - there is now a monster book, which is included in box this set, along with lots of other goodies!

eposic.org/reviews/tnt75-davour.php
wargamedork.blogspot.com/2008/09/tunnels...oxing-and-first.html

I haven't played this game in at least 15 years, but now I'm all of a sudden giddy at checking it out again, and maybe even getting it up on the table.

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12 Nov 2008 00:23 #13883 by Mr. White
Replied by Mr. White on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
Cool!

Be sure to let us know what you think.

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12 Nov 2008 15:09 #13912 by dan daly
Replied by dan daly on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
Hey Jack,

I hope you're enjoying Buck Rogers. I found another sweet box set to replace it, it's called "The Price of Freedom" and was put out by West End Games. I haven't gotten to play any yet, but reading through it I like it a lot- simple rules that are really well done. The game is set during a soviet occupation of the United States and while it is an rpg it has a healthy dose of wargame thrown in there too. Here's the review I found that got me to track down a copy:

boredgamegeeks.blogspot.com/2006/08/game...al-theres-never.html

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12 Nov 2008 18:28 #13918 by Mr. White
Replied by Mr. White on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
wow! I've never even heard of that game!
It would have been way cooler to play back when I was in high school. At the time I was living in the then West Germany during the height of the Cold War. We ended up playing Twilight 2000, but this would've been a lot more fitting.

The retro games I'm currently looking at are all in one deals like the buck rogers set. They include maps, tokens/chits/standees, rules, etc. T&T7.5 looks to be a match as does the original Star Frontiers box set. All three systems look really light, so they might be fun a few years from now when my son is older. He seems to cling to soccer and basketballs right now, so he may not even be a gamer. Who knows...they're still fun to read.

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13 Nov 2008 09:20 #13926 by mikelawson
I personally never played Tunnels and Trolls, but I remember seeing it in the stores next to D&D. Michael Stackpole wrote adventures for T&T? No way...

--Mike L.

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13 Nov 2008 13:04 #13940 by NeonPeon
Replied by NeonPeon on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
Jack Hooligan wrote:

Cool!

Be sure to let us know what you think.


Will do! My set should be arriving today, and I'll have gamers over on Black Friday or the day after (I call it Evil Saturday). I might have time to try out a solo or two before then.

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13 Nov 2008 13:18 #13942 by NeonPeon
Replied by NeonPeon on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
mikelawson wrote:

I personally never played Tunnels and Trolls, but I remember seeing it in the stores next to D&D. Michael Stackpole wrote adventures for T&T? No way...

--Mike L.

Sure, T&T is where Stackpole got his start.

His solo adventure - and first book published - City of Terrors is pretty awesome.

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13 Nov 2008 14:42 #13949 by southernman
Ahhhhhhh - those Solo dungeons. As mentioned I got into it for a year or two around late 70s and I had about 6-10 og the first solos that came out. Can't remember much about them at all these days .... but one day ..... if I see some going cheap on eBay .... :unsure:

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13 Nov 2008 16:03 #13954 by NeonPeon
Replied by NeonPeon on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
Southernman, you can play a few of them for free, straight from your web browser. :cheer: www.freedungeons.com/

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13 Nov 2008 16:32 #13957 by southernman
Awwwwww ...... why did you go and do that :angry: ..... must .. not .. get ...pen/paper/dice ... out


I really feel old now :(

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13 Nov 2008 23:32 #13962 by Mr. White
Replied by Mr. White on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
Here's a site with lots of free adventures and other goodies.
web.ukonline.co.uk/angora/index.html

I've been seeing various magazines pop up for T&T. It looks like there's been 3-4 different ones, some on the above site, some at Amazon, etc.

Anyone know anything about the history of the mags, and which one is still being published?

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14 Nov 2008 09:03 #13967 by NeonPeon
Replied by NeonPeon on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
Sorcerer's Apprentice (I think that's the name) was the magazine I had way back in the day. It was kind of like Dragon Magazine but for T&T.

The Hobbit Hole is the current mag. It's bimonthly, looks well produced, though I haven't actually seen one in person. It's published by Outlaw Press, who are still putting out quite a bit of T&T stuff. They're practically the official publisher these days...It's awesome to see T&T still alive and kicking, but on the other hand, It's a shame they're running on geocities :D

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