This game has the most dynamic movement I’ve ever played with. The idea that you can move from arena to arena sidesteps the question of how many feet a round, or who is faster, or how you position your wargame miniatures.
At the same time, the structure of the round accomplishes two things; it is a throwback to games like Warhammer where there are phases in the round resolved one step at a time, but it also gives a lot of flexibility to players who can tactically decide when they go and change up the initiative order as understood in other games constantly but sensibly.
The order of the phases of the round is very well thought out to maximize the tactical advantage of clever play within a firm structure that is familiar to everyone after a few rounds of combat.
I hated the idea of minions in D&D. The hit point system is too granular for that; to have but 1 hit point? Terrible. But here, with a broader scope view of wounds and a different concept of what a hit point is, the minion system works brilliantly.
While I want to get my hands into the talents and make some for monsters, stat up some monster groupings, etc. that’s just normal for me, and it’s an inspiration to do it in a system with an eye to balance, sure, but cool and flavor trumping fiddly detail.
So here we have a system that rewards tactics, uses the surroundings, frees up movement, quickly goes through big splashy battles but also has tactics in set piece “boss fights” and rewards the players for impressing each other with their creativity and panache and humor.
When I talk about “hack and slash” I mean situations where the player characters seem to get toe to toe with the bad guys and trade hit points until someone’s ablative layer wears off. To me OSH is antithetical to that unfortunate play style.
I know the name is derivative, but this game seems more like “Awesome Swashbucklers” than “Old School Hack.”
Whatever you call it, I love it, and I think it has great possibilities. We have GOT to get the next tier of play worked up.