A site dedicated to retro-clone, pen & paper, role-playing games.

Not quite retro-clones (which is quite subjective)


What are “retro-clone” games

First, keep in mind that—like any category—a single definition won’t fit every game in the category perfectly.

A retro-clone game reproduces the mechanics (which are not covered by copyright) of an old role-playing game. The primary purpose of such games is to give authors and publishers who wish to publish material compatible with the older game a common, open base and brand. This makes things easier on the authors and less confusing for the players.

Note that, by this writer’s way of thinking, it isn’t enough for a game to strive to capture the spirit of an older game to be “retro-clone”. To qualify for the “clone” part, the mechanics must attempt to be as close to the original game as legally possible. (Approximately.)

Hackmaster is similar to a retro-clone game, but was produced under license. It could legally reproduce elements of AD&D and AD&D2e that OSRIC could not. It also isn’t open, which (IMHO) is a vital element of the concept, even if it isn’t captured in the name.

The term “retro-clone” was coined (to my knowledge) by Goblinoid Games. The first(?) retro-clone game was OSRIC.

changed November 7, 2008