It seems as Gen Con and the release of Hackmaster Basic draws nearer, there’s been a lot of talk (especially from the grognard contingent and some vocal folks on the Kenzer board) about the direction of Hackmaster. I get that this edition of HM may not be the classical homage many people were expecting after the previous HM edition (and the previews of the Otus cover), but I have to mark myself down as excited for this game.
I’m excited if for no other reason than I trust Kenzer as much as I trust any gaming company out there. They make a good, entertaining gaming product. Their Hackmaster GM’s Guide gets more use than my AD&D 1e DMG, and is still referenced for use with such RPGs as Palladium Fantasy, Castles & Crusades, Rules Cyclopedia D&D, and others.
Then there’s Aces & Eights. I thought this thing looked like a ridiculous gerrymandered mess of sub-systems. Oh, there’s a lot of sub-systems, alright. But it is also one of the most enjoyable, engrossing RPGs I’ve seen in the past few years. The final product was polished and very functional. I suspect we just might be saying the same thing about Basic come this fall.
The boys at Kenzer know what note they want to strike, and in my experience, they’ll hit it just fine.
I understand they went a different way with Hackmaster Basic, and perhaps this is a bit farther from the delightful 1e send-up/tribute that the old Hackmaster than they felt the license revocation warranted. And perhaps it won’t satisfy the current trending we’re seeing among a lot of online tabletoppers towards rules-light/loose play. But I think the final product, although a completely different creature from what came before, will be a great game. I have faith. The next time Kenzer disappoints me will be the first time.