I discovered Mazes & Minotaurs just days ago, and am extremely impressed. Why is the community so small? For a game allegedly created prior to D&D, with such a simple rule system, why does a Google return next to no results at all?

I must confess that I've been almost pure D&D BECMI, 3ed and 4ed player, with a little GURPS. Are those games just overrepresented?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I just thought I'd note that yes, it is played. I've been running an M&M game for just over a year now. It didn't seem to warrant an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – rjbs Sep 2 '12 at 0:10

M&M has a great concept, what if D&D was more inspired by Greek mythology than a pastiche of middle ages fantasy and wargaming. It is as great little game though and deserves more recognition. I think the lack of pub has to do with it not being promoted very much by the authors, and no "physical" product on display or for sale at various outlets.


Mazes & Minotaurs was not created prior to D&D. It is "a nostalgic pastiche of early fantasy roleplaying games" and "a tongue-in-cheek tribute to old-school gaming." It appears to have been written by Paul Elliot in December 2005.

The book only pretends to have been written in 1972 and jokes about having inspired "a score of M&M clones." Paul Elliot writes great games (like Zenobia) so I imagine that M&M is a pretty cool retro-D&D clone.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Heh, I saw that mentioned in the FAQ, and assumed it was just joking. So was the original game written in 2005, and the revised version in 2007? \$\endgroup\$ – Matt Joiner Dec 12 '10 at 13:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't know the exact timeline, but the first game was definitely from December 2005. \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Dray Dec 12 '10 at 15:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Paul came up with the concept; Ollivier Legrand actually wrote M&M, tho. see storygame.free.fr/how.html \$\endgroup\$ – aramis Dec 14 '10 at 11:58

M&M is a playable game. I've run it before. While not running it currently, it's a fun retroclone.

The bit about predating D&D is all spoof. It started out as a gag article, an alternate history of gaming written by Paul Elliot. Ollivier Legrand took the concept, and the description, and turned into a decent RPG. The actual date of release is, according to RPGGeek, 2006. See http://storygame.free.fr/how.html

The actual games, for there are two, are a fun, thin "1972 Mazes and Minotaurs", with a one book core, and the 3 book core "1987 Revised Mazes and Minotaurs".

Both are available from http://storygame.free.fr/

There is no print version. Ollivier has chosen not to put it into a print edition, and the one print edition offered was offered without his consent and was still available despite his Cease & Desist letter...

Several other such "Spoofs" have been released, such as Wanderer (A conversion of Classic Traveller to fantasy), and Dawg (Canine Roleplaying nod to Bunnies and Burrows) but M&M is the only one to have a significant community without a commercial release. Hackmaster 4th Ed is a commercial version derived from AD&D under license.

Just for reference, tho, Dave Arneson notes that the first RPG wasn't D&D, but the Braunstein games, where he went off-board in a minis-game invasion-of-a-banana-republic... back in 1968. He was just a player, but the referee allowed him to do off-map stuff, and he and Gary Gygax then expanded out from there.


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