Castles and Crusades
I picked this up at my local game store because it intrigued me. It is one of the myriad of "classic D&D" games that are out these days. It most resembles first edition, so it's a bit of gaming nostalgia for those of us that first encountered the game decades ago. It has an advantage over it's ancestor in that the systems match up a lot better. The basic mechanic of the game (a d 20 modified roll based with success determined by either a primary or secondary statistic) is pretty easy to grasp. Character creation works a lot more like old style D&D. Yes, it lacks the nuances that are possible with fifth edition, but the ease of explaining it to newbies makes it a better "gateway drug" to role playing than D&D is.
There are two items that make this nice for both players and DMs (oh, I'm sorry, "Castle Keepers.") The Player's Handbook also contains everything you need to run the game as well. The Player's Handbook and the Monsters and Treasures book, both listed at $30, are all a Keeper needs to run the game.
The fact that the system is "D&D lite" makes for another advantage: the fact that you can easily convert commercially available adventures and supplements for D&D/Pathfinder/Dungeon Crawl Classics or whatever. Actually, you can even use those old modules from thirty years ago. Keep on the Borderlands lives!
Troll Lord Games has a variety of their own supplements for the game. Here is where I find the downside. I realize that Troll Lord is a small publisher, but I'd still like to see a bit better job of editing and quality control. I ordered a copy of the Codex Slavorum (a Slavic world book, they also make Greek/Roman, Celtic, Nordic and Germanic world books) and Gods & Monsters (their equivalent of the old Dieties & Demigods book). Codex Slavorum was fascinating (why Slavic mythology and culture hasn't been plundered more for RPG settings is beyond me), but I found it poorly organized as a game book. There is a nice section full of monsters of Slavic legend (I have thrown a few into a Savage Worlds campaign I run), but the list of deities is kind of a jumble and lacks the details that the entries in the Gods & Monsters books has. I want to know the difference between a cleric of Triglav and one that serves Perun or Svarog. The book doesn't give me much of a clue.
The list of gods also reveals another problem: many of these names begin with kreska consonants, those letters with diacritic marks that we see in Slavic languages. The trouble is, when the book was published, those capital letters came out as rectangles. Probably a technical problem with whatever publish-on-demand hardware they use, but a book with a mistake like that should not be sent to customers.
I also found that the new classes and races were way out of balance.
Gods & Monsters is better organized and has some interesting concepts for the game (granted abilities, for example), but I saw that the Aztec pantheon is missing Quetzalcoatl. Are you kidding?
I'd still recommend the game (the published adventures are nice) and I hope that some of the trouble with the supplements will be solved in future editions.