Man to Man (1985)

There was a brief moment when, like Fantasy Trip before it, GURPS did not exist in a handy dandy box set. This is Man to Man (1985), which is the combat rules for GURPS that came out ahead of GURPS (specifically for that year’s Origins). This isn’t exactly an open playtest or pre-release, but it sure feels like a cousin of those sorts of schemes, the idea that getting the game into the hands of players and getting them playing being far more important than a hyped release date. Whatever the actual thinking behind the release of Man to Man, it was unusual at the time for part of an in-development game to see release and seems to predict publishing practices that would be used to great success in the new millennium.

That aside, this is exactly what it purports to be: the combat rules from GURPS. There are two configurations. Basic is fast and relatively easy. Advanced is much more involved, uses hexes and directionality and is, essentially, an evolutionary step from Fantasy Trip. There is not a lot of art, and what there is shows up again in the GURPS rules. I’m sad my copy doesn’t have the chits. Love the Denis Loubet cover, though!

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