I never really played Tunnels and Trolls. All I knew about the game was it was similar to Dungeons and Dragons, and it was easier to get into. So, when I fired up MetaArcade’s Adventure Platform I wasn’t sure what was about to happen. I was presented with a game with limitless possibilities for growth.
User created content is the name of the game with MetaArcade’s platform, and to say these guys love Tunnels and Trolls would be an understatement. While the initial adventures you’ll play on the APP are from T&T, once the platform is out in the wilds, it’s anyone’s guess what kind of worlds you’ll eventually visit.
What is Tunnels and Trolls?
For those who don’t know, Tunnels and Trolls is a pen and paper game similar to D&D. The differences are what make it stand out. Firstly, Tunnels and Trolls utilize the traditional 6-sided die as opposed to the 32-sided or more used by more traditional pen and paper games. Tunnels and Trolls also emphasizes solo play, simple character creation and user created content. The rule set and nature of the game allow for players to create their own adventures and play them out, either alone or with friends. That’s not to say the T&T is “simple game.” While the ease of access allows any level of player to pick up and play, the depth of the adventures are as limitless as one’s imagination.
I was taken aback by how large the fandom was for T&T. It started over 40 years ago, and now it spans the globe. From here in the US to Japan, Europe, and beyond, each new culture brings a new wrinkle into the game and lore. It is constantly evolving. With the APP a whole new group of people are set to be exposed to this massive series.
MetaArcade at PAX South
At PAX, I had the opportunity to play through a sample mission titled “Naked Doom.” The adventure plays out like the choose-your-own-adventure books that were once very popular. I started out with my character, a level 3 dwarf warrior, escaping capture into a series of caves. Surprises waited around every corner, and eventually I found myself face-to-face with my first life or death choice.
Two swords, embedded in a wall, were beckoning me. An old weathered sword, or a glimmering blade that belonged to a hero. Naturally, the hero I am, I picked the shiny sword. It was in this sequence that I first saw how the mechanics worked. I had to do saving rolls – I had to roll dice and beat a threshold – for all my stats. The dice tumbled across the screen in a believable way as I put my fate in the hands of chance. Unfortunately I failed two of the rolls, I could not obtain my prize.
I was offered the choice of turning back and trying another way or making a second attempt at the sword. It had to be mine, but a booming voice would not allow it. “You only have one chance!” it shouted as the ground opened up and swallowed me. I fell into a pool of beer and drowned. I was one of many who met the same fate, as the developers were keeping track of who died and how throughout the weekend. A surprising amount of people got killed by bats.
Creating Your Own Story
The best feature of T&T, I mean other than drowning in beer, is the ability to create your own stories and share them with the world. The interface is very simple and user friendly, and the stable of art assets and sound effects mean that even if you can’t draw or play instruments, you can still create a compelling adventure. At PAX South we were given the opportunity to create our own personal chapter in the ever growing PAX South Mega Adventure. Working with David Reid and the other developers, Don’t Hate the Geek was able to make a permanent mark on MetaArcade’s project.
Taking place in Chapter 19, your hero will be whisked away, via teleport, to an arena in a desert world. In the arena you will face three ever stronger challengers until you are awarded your freedom. It’s a simple quest, but the story it was a part of is epic, and soon, the entire world will be able to play it.
When MetaArcade releases its Adventure Platform, there will be over 40 years of history of Tunnels and Trolls to explore. With the ability to add your own, art, music, and fully fleshed out adventures, the platform will potentially have infinite replayability. What’s even better, if your content is something that you think people should pay for, you’ll be able to make money off of it. When creating remember, that while Tunnels and Trolls is the template, it is a versatile one, so you aren’t constricted to making high-fantasy fare.
Details about exactly how you’ll be able to monetize your creations are still a work in progress, as is the platform. MetaArcade hopes to be rolling out early access soon, but in the mean time you can follow them on twitter. David Reid can be found here, and the MetaArcade site is here. If you’re looking to get into Tunnels and Trolls you can find them at Flying Buffalo, or at the Tunnels and Trolls site.
Are any of you geeks fans of T&T? Is the Adventure Platform from MetaArcade something that interest you? Let us know in the comments below.