I had bought TB a while ago and had recently gifted the book to my young relative. He’s just finishing 8th grade and is 13 or 14 years old. I’m visiting him and his family for the extended weekend and I thought this would be a good opportunity to break open the game for both of us. We had previously played a fair bit of B/X D&D together, just 1 on 1 dungeon crawling. I’ve read that TB doesn’t do solo games so well, but I figured it would be a fun experience anyway.
Character creation: as expected, lots of fun. Having him answer home town and nature questions was a great way to flesh out the psychology of his character (thief). I gave him a brief overview of how the dice mechanics of the game worked and we were off.
Adventure: I opted for “descent into Sendics tomb” for our trial run. Short dungeon, provided obstacles in the adventure so I didn’t have to do much thinking. Opening the dungeon itself required an Ob. 2 health test which was a great demo, having the fresh condition was very helpful overall.
Ephemera: having the GM screen and player deck cards wasn’t as helpful in play as I expected them to be for some reason. I love both though regardless, ironically my favorites are the divider cards between packs. (Later the player cards in a conflict would be lots of fun and helpful to use)
Everything is going great until…
Combat. Between one of the rooms there was a yellow mold that needed to be dealt with in order to traverse the area. I gave him options of skirting around it with a skill test, but also encouraged him to do a full conflict in order to test the rules out. I gave the yellow mold the stats of the ooze from the book. 40 minutes of “drive off”. He won with a compromise, I gave his character the angry condition as that’s what he was actually feeling after the long battle. We stopped the game there and he said (much to my sadness.) that he preferred basic D&D as he thought it was unacceptable for a simple battle with an mold to take 40 minutes. To be honest, I had a blast and the player cards here were very fun to use).
He wanted the combat to be quick and in retrospect, I perhaps shouldn’t have done a full conflict or if I did, I should have given the creature a disposition no larger than 5. He was only able to muster 3 dice I think. 2 fighter and 1 from fresh which made his attacks against the mold (who I just gave 4D to) rather paltry. I probably should have tried to shoehorn a wise or allowed him to “ForK” in criminal into his fighter skill to give him more dice in the conflict.