Sunday 6 September 2020

Mertwig's Maze

Mertwig's Maze box art.

Mertwig's Maze by Tom Wham, TSR, 1988. 

 Mertwig's Maze is an interesting hybrid game. It describes itself as a *Gamefolio* essentially because there is an outer cardboard cover and stapled rules booklet (much like TSR adventure modules of the time, but it also contains hundreds of cards and sturdy cardboard counters as well as several cardboard maps. So it's a mix of boardgame and D&D adventure. All laced through with Tom Wham whimsy and great art (by Wham himself but also other TSR stalwarts such as Dave Sutherland. Although published in 1988, it was apparently first created in 1983 as a card game and sold to TSR as that. But, when Gygax and TSR 'parted ways', the game lost it's way and sat in a cupboard. The game as published was really down to James Ward taking it up and persuading TSR and Wham to nominally place it within the Forgotten Realms world and thereby making it technically (just) an AD&D product. It says so on the front cover!  

How much replay value it has I shall see. But I'm not going to punch those counters and cards until I've found a good box to keep it all in!


  1. Ha! Blast from the past. I think this was the first AD&D branded product I bought with my pocket money. Though more because it was the only thing in the RPG section in my local toy shop, that was affordable and looked fun. I'll need to dig my copy out and remind myself if it holds up to its promise.

  2. Had a lot of fun with this with my AD&D group back in the '90s. We had 2 mainstay houserules to keep it interesting:
    1. No double-dipping in dungeons until you've explored each of them once, then it resets. This is to prevent easy re-entry of the higher reward dungeons and also to encourage traveling to the other dungeons.
    2. Two Invisible Barriers in the Maze: (just reverse the cards, the actual invisible barrier is a free passage and the 2 free passage cards are invisible barriers). Makes the minotaur chase more exciting for everyone since it's no longer an almost insta-win for the player who got the first Royal Birthmark and Royal Treasure. Also keeps that amulet that lets you pass through the Invisible Barrier relevant.

    1. Thanks for this. You're the first person I've heard describe house rules to this.