Castle Plans (1977)

Fantasy Games Unlimited is one of those fascinating early TTRPG companies. They were founded in 1975 and initially produced wargames, but after D&D hit the market, they started publishing RPGs. Unlike most publishers at the time, they had no in-house development and relied on submissions for material. This means their output feels all over the place, which was probably a boon and a curse – Bunnies & Burrows, Chivalry & Sorcery, Space Opera, Aftermath, Villains & Vigilantes and Bushido are just some of the many games they produced.

Despite having one of the best company logos of the period, most of the FGU games I’ve seen are firmly in the charmingly DIY level of production values. Like these Castle Plans (1977).

Ostensibly for Chivalry & Sorcery (a game created because D&D was too “unrealistic”), they are actually pretty generic playmats of various castle layouts. They’re huge, 24×36. The illustrations are clean and consistent, really just shy of pro. They’re printed on sort of a soft manila paper stock that is sturdy, but also machine folded, so they are super brittle at the edges (or, at least, my copy is). It just feels like a late-70s game product in some undefinable way. I love it, even though it isn’t something I’d use for my own games.  

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