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By Walter O'Hara

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Newer Policy about downloading the Melee/Wizard gamebox is in effect


Before there was the Fantasy Trip, before there was GURPS, there were two nifty man to man combat and magic games published by Metagaming way back in the late 70s.  These games, Melee and Wizard, designed by newcomer Steve Jackson,   stripped the fantasy roleplaying experience down to the essentials: Fighting and Magic.  Melee and Wizard are the predecessors to a lot more complicated systems that came later (and only questionably added anything to the experience).  Partly from sentimental reasons, partly because the turn sequence fits nicely with a PBeM game, I've decided to create this gamebox.  I'm pretty certain the Fantasy Trip can utilize this set as well as the two microgames, I don't own it and can't be sure.

This Gamebox is created using Dale Larson's excellent Play By Email utility, Cyberboard (the poor man's Aide De Camp!)

Note: You can still find copies of Melee and Wizard floating around the Web, or on r.g.b.m., or even in hobby shops.  I purchased the last published version of Melee, new, from a game store in Northern Va, only recently.

Visit the Cyberboard website by following this link

MELEE and WIZARD are copyright, Metagaming, 1980.

Designer: Steve Jackson (original version)
Editing/Development: various

As far as I can determine, you can follow the game sequence in the rulebook as written with this gameset, no special turn tracks are required.

The Action

A little scrap using the basic MELEE counter set.

The graphic above illustrates a very a cut and dried little dust up in Melee between two swordsmen & a ratman vs. an ogre, a werebear, and some chick with two weapons.   I repeated the Melee tileset (only-- not Wizard) in a contrasting color to increase the possibilities for the player.  Rather than waste several hours outlining each megahex in a solid blue line, I took the lazy way out and filled each megahex with a contrasting color.   You will note that the pieces are a tad larger than in the real game; this is because I scanned the countermix and wanted to increase the scale to capture the original look and feel of the game. 

Character Sheets and the Character Record Board

Melee/Wizard character sheet

This is the character sheet, which is placed on the Melee/Wizard Character Record, a 10x10 mapgrid where each cell is the same size as one of the yellowish character sheets above.  If you want to, you can increase the grid (I dunno why, 100 characters should be enough for you in any engagement...).  The character sheet, numerical markers, weapons and armor tiles are saved out as MARKERS, not counters, because they will be used again and again.  I include a mix of large scale weapons markers for the character sheet (you can see them above) and a smaller set to represent dropped weapons on the actual map.  They are not a complete list of weaponry, rather a representational batch.  Feel free to make more.

How to get the files

Download Gamebox:

Now offline. See the Policy.

Download Scenarios:

Not really applicable for this game system.

But WAIT!  There's MORE!

Related Links/Resources:

De La Luna's Armory (pictorial collection of medieval & older edged weapons)

Weapons and Armor References (bibliography on medieval arms and armor)

Medieval Resources Page (nice links to an assortment of topics)

Medieval weapons: swords & daggers (another nice pictorial page)

The Fantasy Trip (One page description of the Fantasy Trip, the successor to Melee/Wizard)

Transcript of recent discussion on the Microgames list about the "perfect" Melee starter character.

Joe Hartley has recently started a Fantasy Trip Discusion List. To subscribe, email with the message body "subscribe tft" in the body of the message. He administers and archives the list here.

One of the fruits of the TFT list is an extensive discussion of new talents, skills, and clarifications. This information has been collected on a New Rules webpage. It's worth a look.


This page content copyright, Walter O'Hara 1998