It starts up like one of your usual OSR games, usual stats, 3-18, familiar classes... and then it takes me for a side trip when I realize everything is resolved using D6s. It's almost like melding Tunnels & Trolls with Original Dungeons & Dragons. Well, not quite, but you get the idea.
The main change (there are others, but to me this is the biggest switch) is that, for the most part, an increase in combat ability comes from an increase in the number of attacks, not in an increase in chance to hit. The number you need to hit is dependent upon the weapon wielded and the armor worn, level has little to do with it. A strength bonus to hit is a mighty bonus in this game.
All in all it's a well written, well presented game. I found some small editing gaffs (at one point in the rules, it refers to 2 "elite paths", but the third path, Ranger, is in the book) but nothing major.
Looking for a D&D / OSR like game that can be played with the dice in your Risk or Monopoly box and little else? Spellcraft & Swordplay is what you are looking for.
From the blurb:
Join the new class of old school!
Hordes of slavering orcs close in. You're tired, battered and bruised, but far from beaten. You grip your heavy sword tightly, and blink at the sweat in yoru eyes. You're all that stands between the goodly folk of the village, and a curtain of eternal night. And going quietly isn't your style.
Between these covers lies everything you need to begin grand adventures of dark and gritty fantasy, high epic fantasy, or even fairy tale fantasy. All you need is some imagination and a few friends, and you're off! Inspired by the very earliest days of the hobby, Spellcraft & Swordplay uses a rules-light system that allows play in a fast, loose and cinematic style. It evokes the spirit of the old school, while providing some character customization not always present in other old school games.
Explore ancient ruins, rescue captive princesses, slay dragons, and build your own legacy of adventure and excitement with SPELLCRAFT & SWORDPLAY!