The best thing about it is the full on old school nature of the game. One of the players was asking how he searched for a trap. The answer being that you tell the DM what you are doing. The rules system was very light, leading to some silly conversations ("Where does it let me talk in combat?!") I didn't say anything at the time, because I like the combat system. Frankly, you can run large, dramatic, intense battles using it. The leveling system is nice, and the powers are quite cool.
The theme was a little brighter then normal for the game. Sort of more of a fantasy kingdom, enchanted forest, then gritty survivalist world-ending play. The Dungeon Master said at one point that it was related to gender, but that's less of a factor then the outlook and tastes in fantasy. Plus, when you're behind the wheel of a game after a long time without running one, it can be a very intimidating experience. It was fun having them run the game.
I have several thoughts about the game:
- People who have not played Dungeons and Dragons 0E, Amber Diceless, Fudge, or other dice light, story heavy games should definitely read A Quick Primer For Old School Gaming. Also here. and here. The answer to "Does the door look trapped?" is always no. :-p The game is in the description back and forth, not in the rolls.
- It's a mistake to try and fit every action into a box. The game is less about rules and more about actual role-playing. It's my opinion that the most structured part of the game (the combat turn) is just a guideline at best.
- On the other hand, there really needs to be a mechanic for re-rolling. Stats bottom out at -2 and max out at +5. When I got, not just way below average stats, but stats with no interesting character (-1 four times, and 0 twice) I was a bit upset. I only rolled higher than 9 twice, and never higher than 11. What the players came up with was having to pick a new class if I wanted a re-roll, which was pretty frustrating. I mean, I wanted to play the class I wanted to play. I would prefer there to be options for authentically bad stats (-3/4/5) just like authentically good ones, along with a mulligan option.
- It's a great system.