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"Anyone remember BY THE SWORD fantasy rules?" Topic

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27 Sep 2006 8:13 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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WaltOHara27 Sep 2006 7:02 a.m. PST

My friend Allan occassionally sends me a care package out of the past with some product I've never heard of. I received such a package the other day. Inside the box, all unsorted and jumbled up, were the rules to a very old game called BY THE SWORD or By the Sword! (the explanation point being a sword in the title).

The rules were vintage 1980 or so-- close typeset in small font, somehat crude troop list forms, etc. What was of some interest were the die-cut unit markers. It reminded me of a SYSTEM 7 for elves and dwarves and orcs and such.

I've never seen such a thing before. It's intriguing.. and the rules are fairly complete, too. Has anyone else out there heard of this? I believe the company was called Legionairre or TheLegionairre or something like.

Any help would be welcome. If there's anything else about it online, please post a link.. it's as if this thing was published in a black hole.


rmaker27 Sep 2006 9:21 a.m. PST

Do you have the designer's name?

Finding it online by the title could be tough, since KenzerCo has used it for their fantasy dueling module.

WaltOHara28 Sep 2006 9:33 a.m. PST

Nope. But I'll see if it's in the credits somewhere. Truly an obscure company from the early 80s. I can't find ANYthing on them.

Queen Catherine20 Feb 2017 9:15 a.m. PST

Resurrecting this thread since, well, it's the only one I found.

I have them, played them with friends in the 1980s. They typify the design of the time, in general, with lots of small and subtle distinctions, expressed numerically.

The game is basically an ATTRITION game, more so than a MORALE or MANEUVER game, in that grinding your opponent down through melee preceded by shooting is more likely to bring about a result than clever MANEUVER or causing MORALE checks.

The game has a sort of amusing "conceit" in that it claims it was discovered by an archaeologist friend of the designers from a Norse poem called the Edda Bendigeid. This humorous claim obscures who did what, BUT, it appears:

Chris Bell = draft, research, concept
R. Oka = rules development, flow chart design, and "the original idea"
Emil Quinto = funding and financials

other names, including playtesters: Paul Capadona, Gene Luster,

Other Info:
BY THE SWORD: a new approach to fantasy miniatures battles

A Tactical Level Fantasy Conflict Game by
The Legionnaire
1415 Dillingham Blvd., Honolulu, Hawaii, 96817

I haven't found anything on the web that brings forward any additional information, but I suspect that wargaming in Hawaii can't be a huge crowd of people, and no doubt there's some people there that know at least some of these guys, and perhaps they've gone on to develop other games. Heck, maybe they're FAMOUS in Hawaii, and we just don't know it!

Queen Catherine20 Feb 2017 9:26 a.m. PST

Along the same lines of old school fantasy games, I did find this "blog" that exists at Boardgame Geek.

Also at BGG, is the By the Sword listing:

Chris Bell is listed as designer for two other games;
"The Blue and the Grey: grand tactgical ACW rules",
"The British are Coming! AmRev miniature rules

judging from the descriptions at BGG, the game mechanics and designs are very much of their time fairly math intensive, slow-playing [by today's standards] with lots of small distinctions between weapons, troop types, etc.

Hmmm, I am thinking I may want to pull out my copy of "By the Sword" and give it a whirl!

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