East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Four Against Darkness


I spent a few delightful hours, today, playing Four Against Darkness, a dungeon-delving solitaire game designed by my friend Andrea Sfiligoi.

four against darkness ebook cover

Andrea is one of Italy’s foremost independent game creators, and the game is published by his own Ganesha Games. Not exactly a roleplaying game, and neither a choose-your-own-adventure book, 4AD is a highly successful hybrid, the sort of fast and fun pastime an old player in exile might like.
And indeed, I like it.

The game comes as a single rulebook, 90 pages, nicely illustrated and with crispy clear rules, and a (growing) series of scenario books – adventures with elegant titles such as Caves of the Kobold Slave Masters.
There is certainly a strong nostalgic vibe running through the game and its supplements, and yet the system avoids a lot of the more wooden elements of first generation roleplaying games, and offers a much more varied and dynamic experience than traditional gamebooks.
Indeed, scenarios have a much higher playability, as random elements allow the user to play them again, and get a whole new set of surprises (both good and bad).
The whole, using a single six-sided dice.

With a minimum of tweaking – there are guidelines included – the solitaire game can be turned into a quick old school RPG. Or it can be played master-less by a group of players.

Better than television?
You bet.
Another highly recommended addition to the games shelf.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

5 thoughts on “Four Against Darkness

  1. Sounds pretty cool. I sunk a lot of hours into my favourite pc rpg today; The Witcher 3. Sometimes it’s nice just to hop into someone else’s fantasy world for a while 🤪


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