Boot Hill: A game that still finds a way fill an hour on tabletop

Boot Hill Dave Trampier David Sutherland III TSR

Back in 1975, Gary Gygax’s partner at Tactical Studies Rules was the notorious Brian ‘Buckshot’ Blume, a twenty-five year old gamer who had helped Gygax fund TSR with his father’s money.  Many are the twisted tales of the ‘Brother’s Blume’, Lorraiene Williams, and the fall of TSR, but well before any of that took place, Brian Blume designed a great little boxed set known as Boot Hill.

This western inspired game wasn’t exactly an RPG, not in the sense of Dungeons & Dragons, but it did carry over some man-to-man scale warfare in the old west and could be adapted to RPG status with the correct DM [and rules for Boot Hill character conversion to AD&D can be found in the 1E DM’s Guide!]

I’ve certainly had my fair share of fun playing Boot Hill, and more recently using the Boot Hill maps, adventures, and miniatures in games of Savage World’s Deadlands.  It is honestly a very cool little game, especially considering its venerable age of nearly forty years in the marketplace.

I have to say I was also a bit taken by the art, which was rendered by early TSR alums David Sutherland III and Dave Trampier.

Both of these artists make some very standard illustrations in the book, nothing that inspires, but also nothing that turns the reader away, much like you’d find in the old TSR White Box of the same age.

The cover was done by artist Elladan Elrohir, and name which means absolutely nothing to me but is still one of the coolest I’ve ever heard in the industry.  I mean really, this should be the name of one of Tolkien’s elf kings or something.

Whatever the case, Boot Hill is still a classic, and a very fun read as well.  After taking a look at it again, I’m inspired to find some western miniatures, although since I’m not a painter, that is easier said than done.

Artistic Rating: 2  [out of 5]

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  • uyaqsono on – Iurugda Agnuwecu

  • owasraja on – Isidao Izavorax

  • Mike on

    It’s adorable that you think D&D is somehow more of an RPG than Boot Hill. If anything, Boot Hill requires much more role-playing than D&D ever did. But both are essentially fight simulators written by guys who expect the role-playing to happen between the players and the referee, with the rules needed only for things that can’t be roleplayed to resolution, i.e., combat.

  • Allen Hammack on

    “Elladan Elrohir” was the ‘nom de brush’ of Ken Rahman; he is a talented artist and he and his brother designed the “Divine Right” boardgame.

  • Scott on

    Random Scot: Yeah, I was playing a bit there with the Tolkien reference, but I really would love to know who did that image. And, Elrond’s twin sons are always a point of sadness to me that they weren’t more of a point of coolness in the Jackson movies.

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