Monday, March 17, 2014

Review and Commentary On Exiles Of The Wicked Maze From Fishwife Games A Complete Old School Sword and Sorcery Game

So this past week I've spend my off hours playing around with Exiles of the Wicked Maze From Fish Wife Games and the twisted imagination of Dave Woodrum. This is a fifty nine page old school style solo play adventure game. All  you need is a D20, a couple of pieces of paper, a pencil, and a couple of hours to kill. Then you plunged into the world of the Wicked
The latest watch word in old school and OSR retroclone style games and play are solo adventures. Solo adventures and games have been around since the dawn of the hobby. The whole table top adventure vs solo play book style games came about as a result of the Fighting Fantasy and early efforts of Steve Jackson. There were a ton of titles of these highly collectible books back in the 80's. Exiles of The Wicked Maze echoes some of that design ethos but really this is it's own very exciting game. For solo play the game makes its points early, the writing is pretty solid, and the play runs very smoothly. 

Grab It Right Over

The Drivethru Rpg Blurb :
Exiles Of The Wicked Maze
Created By: Dave Woodrum
Art By: Dan (SMIF) Smith

Welcome prisoner, welcome to your fate below! In just a moment you will be banished for your crimes to the wretched maze that is below. There you shall most likely find yourself a quick and painful death, most likely at the hands of another scoundrel such as yourself or within the jaws of one of the assorted monstrosities that is below. Do not try to escape through this gate, as our guards will slay you on sight.

If you wish to ever leave this exile and see another day as a free citizen of these majestic lands above, there is a test. First, you must find your way to another set of steps that lead up at the end of this great maze. Second, once you find these steps, you must have an amount of treasure upon you that is worth no less than 5,000 of the standard coin of the realm. This will pay your fine, prove your worth to our great, compassionate rulers, and allow you to return to a state of dignity as being one of our citizens.

If you are ready for this challenge, then good luck to you, if you are truly deserving of such luck. If not, then may you suffer a horrible death in the passages of the maze below!

Exiles Of The Wicked Maze is a complete, maze and random chart driven adventure game that features elements of role playing and hack and slash rogue-like games. Best described as being a "hack and slash that you can play by yourself, even when the power is out", this game uses a twenty sided die, a maze map, a character sheet, and series of random roll charts to fuel the adventure and determine outcomes. Its fun, fresh, and has a great deal of replay value. All for roughly the price of a fast food combo meal!

The cover art by Smif whose work seemed to grace every single late 80's and early 90's table top rpg evokes the desperation and hellish conditions of this sword sorcery game. 
Everything about the game screams late night cheesy sword and sorcery films with thundering soundtracks all happening in your imagination. I loved the old  solo modules, Fighting Fantasy books and now this game which plugs right into that vibe. 
Play and replay value is right there in this game. The fact is that game really has the player guessing using their minds in a tight but imaginative fashion. Much of the action is part S&S imagery and the game itself which hearkens back to other solo adventure games of the past. This is a new twist on a very old theme with replay value a must. There is enough here to make me want to have my PC escape the Wicked Maze.
One of my beefs was the fact that the solo fantasy game books back in the Eighties  could never be expanded back into a full fantasy table top rpg campaign themselves. A DM could take and make the elements work but for groups other old school writing and design were needed.
A word to Fish Wife games though, expand upon the themes set in Wicked Maze in other upcoming products. The ideas and value are solid, interesting as well as engaging for further play. Grab this one, and have a great night of adventure solo gaming in the depths of the Wicked Maze. Don't miss this one folks. 

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