FastCrawl: short, fast, and fun

| January 20, 2007

As some of you know, I was a computer game designer some 20+ years ago, and I maintain an interest in computer games. Lately, I’ve been buying most of my games from Manifesto Games, a computer game distributor with a business model geared towards inexpensive (and downloadable) games from independent game companies.

Well, my latest purchase is a little gem called “FastCrawl“. The game is summed up by its title, which comes from an old D&D term, dungeon crawl. You take a randomly-generated band through a dungeon, battling monsters and scooping up ever more powerful weapons and armor. The “fast” part? You can play a complete game in under 30 minutes.

Rather than follow the chase after ever-more realistic (and complex) graphics and gameplay of most current computer role-playing games (RPGs), FastCrawl looks and plays more like the computerized version of a clever boardgame.

Yep. That's pretty much the whole game.

This, in my opinion, is a good thing. The game is fast, well-balanced, and varies just enough to keep things interesting. FastCrawl runs within its own regular window on your desktop, so you can (ahem) close it quickly if you need to. All games controls are via the mouse. In starting a new game, you can select the length (short, medium, long) and the difficulty (easy, normal, difficult, fiendish, insane). The game also has built-in help and a tutorial. You don’t even have to worry about character generation or game economics; your adventuring band is randomly generated for you, and there’s no gold, silver, treasure or stores in the game. And the game is turn-based, so you can hide the window from your boss pause the game for as long as you like and then come back to it later.

You don’t need a high-end graphics card, gigs of disk space and RAM, or an expensive strategy guide. You just need a computer with Windows XP and the Microsoft .NET 1.1 (or later) framework installed (a free download from Microsoft).

FastCrawl was developed by two guys, Glen Pawley and Alan Cachia, who live, of all places, on the island of Malta. It’s already won at least one “RPG of the Year” award. You can download a free, fully-functional 60-minute demo version from the Manifesto Games or the PawleyScape web sites. The cost is only $19.95 for the game itself.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. ..bruce..

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Category: Games, Main

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

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