MetaArcade Announces Self-Publishing Platform for Adventure Games

While most of you reading this probably already know of the long-lived Dungeons and Dragons franchise of role-playing games, it’s perhaps far less likely that anyone reading this has previously heard about Tunnels and Trolls. If you think that modern RPG pencil-and-paper role-playing systems tend to have complicated rules, then just be glad you’ve never played the original D&D — released back in 1974 — which still used Chainmail rules. The first D&D was still — however — a radically novel-idea despite the colossal-complexity of every last rule, which quickly led to one man — named Ken St. Andre — to envision how he could easily do the same idea with a vastly-improved streamline rule-set.

As a result the first edition of Tunnels and Trolls was released in 1975, thus making Ken St. Andre’s creation the second-ever role-playing game to be birthed into existence (right behind Dungeons and Dragons, obviously). The end result not only featured far simpler rules, which only used six-sided dice most people likely already had, but furthermore featured a light-hearted tone (a welcome contrast to D&D’s inherent grim-dark nature). Finally — whilst still having Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings (much the same as D&D) — Tunnels and Trolls is perhaps the only medieval-fantasy RPG where Fairies and Leprechauns are additionally included as core race-options.


Beyond merely being easier to learn, one interesting perk of Tunnels and Trolls’ streamlined rules — when compared to D&D — was that it allowed for Ken St. Andre’s team to begin offering “Solo Adventures.” These were essentially a mixture of “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, with the added caveat that players would sometimes roll dice when instructed (and afterwards choose their next path based on their rolled value). The end result was similar to a Game Master running an entire campaign for a single player, except that the book itself became the GM in this scenario (obviously players had to roll for the book’s monsters — alongside their own hero — whenever battles occurred).

For those of you who haven’t ever previously tried them, the over-all concept of these Solo Adventures are somewhat similar to the — admittedly more famous — Fighting Fantasy series of books designed by Games Workshop’s two co-founders.

DT&TAnyways, a large part of the reason most of you have likely never before heard of Tunnels and Trolls is that — up until very recently — the system’s final update was the debut of 5th Edition back in 1979. This changed — however — rather recently with the successful debut of the Kickstarted Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls (a nearly 400 page super-tome, containing all the information any aspiring GM could ever possibly hope to have). Chief amongst this new-material was Tunnels and Trolls’ very own streamlined-take on the concept of “Feats” (an idea first began back in D&D 3rd Edition), such that two heroes — with the same class — could be differentiated by more than just their stats.

Anyways, it’s at this point — if you hadn’t already done so much sooner — where you’re likely beginning to wonder just what exactly this impromptu history lesson has to do with mobile-gaming. For that revelation we’d need to look at an extremely-recent joint-announcement put forth by both Ken St. Andre and MetaArcade, wherein they’ve unveiled their plans for the MetaArcade Adventures Platform. With it players will be able to both design — and then release — their very own “Solo Adventures” using the newly-revised Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls rules, which can then be downloaded by anyone else.

Although still currently in development, David Reid — the head of MetaArcade — has promised those whom sign up for the MetaArcade Newsletter will be first in line to help beta-test the upcoming T&T edition of the MetaArcade Adventures Platform. Furthermore — although nothing yet has been announced directly — it also seems that David Reid’s team plans to license other famous RPG systems, meaning that creators using the MetaArcade Adventures Platform won’t just be limited to Ken’s “Troll World.” Naturally the provided list of launch targets, upon which David Reid plans to distribute the upcoming MetaArcade Adventures Platform, includes the wide-ranging plethora of iOS-based mobile devices (thus explaining the point behind this entire history lesson).

You can expect to hear more about the intruiging MetaArcade Adventures Platform, including what other RPG rule-sets it hopes to eventually support, from iFanzine as the news becomes available.