Wait a minute…why are you doing a retrospective over a game that’s still in print?
Because I haven’t played it in five years, that’s why!
Swords & Wizardry filled a niche where I was looking for an old school game but didn’t want the hassle of using the actual old school rules from pre-3rd editions of D&D. I’m comfortable with most of those set of rules (save for the little brown books, perhaps) but trying to explain those rules to prospective players. Well…
Swords & Wizardry wasn’t all that intimidating. The complete rules were contained in a slim volume. It provided a basic template for an old school D&D-esque game. You could explain it and run it however you liked. And there was a lot freedom there.
With Swords & Wizardry, all that stuff from before 3rd Edition became compatible again. AD&D, AD&D 2e, The D&D Rules Cyclopedia. And so on. You could use it as needed.
I had some grand designs.
Alas, it never quite caught on among my gamer friends.
Maybe I’ll try again someday…