Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mini Review - HackMaster Basic "Plus"

Do you remember when the new HackMaster Basic came out? They stripped out the over the top funny from the old HackMaster and were working on a new game. The original HackMaster Basic  (I bought a bunch of copies of the paperback at $5 a pop) covered levels 1-5. The New HackMaster Basic Plus covers from levels 1-10. Thinking back on the vast majority of D&D campaigns of run over the years, this would have covered all but two of them.

I would gladly play in a HackMaster campaign, but there is now way I could ever run one. It feels to rules heavy for me to be comfortable running with minimal referring to the rules, and that for me is a deal breaker. Maybe if I had 6 months of steady gaming of the system weekly as a player - but the odds of that happening for me are minuscule to nil. I just don't have the time.

For those willing to put the time into the system, the customization of the PCs is damn near amazing. I'd probably need a spread sheet to follow along, but that's why we have computers. The crunch I'm willing to deal with in a system is much greater when I'm not running the system ;)

Interesting - Giant Rats don't get the HP kicker that most monsters do in HMBP. They get abuse in every system.

I may just have to steal borrow the disease section for my own AD&D campaign. You know there have to be some kicking diseases in Rappan Athuk ;)

The HackMaster Basic Plus PDF is $9.99. The HackMaster Player's Handbook is $39.99 for the PDF. I suspect you can get a lot of mileage out of that $9.99 PDF, as it includes both the Player's and GM sections for levels 1-10.

From the blurb:

HackMaster Basic was released with the presumption that players wanted to learn the game – not the character generation system. As such, this version includes a selection of ready-to-play characters to facilitate rapid play.

Let’s face it. Learning how to build a character in any system takes some trial and error. You really have to play the game to know how to build a Player Character.

If you’ve played HackMaster and enjoy the game, HackMaster Basic Plus is the perfect step up. Here’s some of the added features:

• Character Generation
• Full details for advancing up to 10th level
• Extra Equipment choices
• More Spells
• More Skills
• Expanded Combat Options
• 12 Special Combat Moves
• Crunchier Initiative System
• PCs can survive past zero hit points
• Rules for Shooting into Melee

For the GameMaster
• Expanded Treasure Tables
• Disease Rules

227 page PDF

Characters in HackMaster Basic and HackMaster Basic Plus are fully interchageable and can be readily integrated into the grestly expanded rules system featured in the HackMaster Players Handbook.


  1. I love that a game that started as a bit of a tongue in cheek joke at the expense of the OSR has gone on to be a fantastic game in its own right. Like your good self I find it a bit too much to GM the game, and ended up getting rid of everything from the last edition on ebay not too long ago, but I would love to play in a game, just for the fun of it.

  2. I looked into this one also, but it didn't strike me as "Basic" at all.

  3. It's the basic version of HackMaster, it is not a "basic" game as in "simple". It's designed to get people into HackMaster at a good value and have them graduate from the basic game to the full game.