In the midst of my work on the Dwimmermount book I'm trying to finish up for publication early next year, I often find myself idly flipping through the books and games I have close at hand. Recently, I've found myself spending a lot of time re-reading the Brave Halfling edition of Swords & Wizardry: White Box. Over the last few weeks, I've come to think that it's probably the most under-appreciated product of the old school renaissance, which is why it's a pity that it wasn't released more widely.
Marv Breig's redaction of Matt Finch's original rules was well done to begin with, but Jesse Rothacher's layout for the BHP edition makes it shine in a way that the initial Lulu.com version did not. Likewise, the artwork, from Mark Allen's covers to the interior pieces by Matt Finch, Edward M. Kann, Jeff Preston, and Chad Thorson, add to what's already a terrific (and reasonably priced) introduction to old school gaming -- probably the best one there is.
I'm often critical of the ways that Swords & Wizardry deviates from OD&D and I won't deny that they still bug me a lot, particularly given the way the game is advertised as "0e," but the fact remains that White Box is an amazing piece of work nonetheless. It's a wonderful, unpretentious, and accessible little game and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to someone who's never roleplayed before. So, my hat's off to everyone involved in its creation. Here's hoping Brave Halfling is successful enough to get it back into print again soon. It'd make a great Christmas gift for friends and family interested in finding out more about this crazy hobby we all love.