Entirety of Ultima 1 Ported to Print-And-Play Board Game


The fan-made game includes almost every element from the original.

It’s no secret that the classic Ultima series started from Richard Garriott’s desire to make a Dungeons and Dragons experience on a computer. He cut his teeth making a series of dungeon crawlers entitled DnD #1-28, all programmed on a teletype machine. Now, someone’s brought things full circle and ported the first Ultima game to dead tree form with Ultima 1: The Board Game.

Compiled by Joseph Propati, the board game plays out like a solitaire adventure game. You can play as either the Thief, Mage, Fighter, or Cleric, and adventure across the lands of Sosaria to defeat the evil overlord Mondain. Each continent, castle, and city has its own map, while there’s a system in place to randomly generate the dungeons.

Since the board game was designed to be as faithful as possible to the video game, there’s a lot of number crunching to do. Every 10 steps in the overland map, you’ll have to roll twice, once to see if a random monster appears, and another to see where. Exactly what monster spawns is determined by your level. Once you get into combat, you’ll have to use the screwy THAC0 system, because ADnD still ruled the tabletops back in the early 80’s. You’ll even have to keep track of your food supply, but that rule can easily be done away with in the interest of simplicity. However, it’s just not Ultima without the risk of starving to death.

The board game does an admirable job including all the weird elements from the original game, such as the fact that you grind dungeons for HP as well as XP. You still use a time machine to kill the evil wizard, but the whole segment about becoming a space ace and shooting down tie fighters seems to have been cut for logistical reasons.

While the game is free, it’ll take some elbow grease to get it all printed out. There’s a huge number of cards and sheets that require double-sided printing, and then there’s the actual game board itself, whose 11″x17″ dimensions won’t fit in a normal printer. Still, if you have a free weekend and access to a Kinko’s, Ultima 1: The Board Game is a pretty impressive labor of love.

Source: Board Game Geek

About the author