I've finally read LotFP and I am ready to run it. Also planning to write a review of it. But here are pre-review initial thoughts about the game:
It looks great. Small box is awesome as I don't own any boxes sets currently (except ANKH but it's box is now destroyed long time ago). Three books with clear focus on what they do and mini-dice and character sheets included so you can play it out of box if you only get few pencils and other minor tools. There is enough space in the box for few additional booklets also. My Dead Frost Doom fits in well.
I am really enthusiast about the game. Unfortunately I did read Dragonslayers 3.x before finishing LotFP and really liked the system where damage is included in to hit roll. That I liked a lot and I wasn't sure would I like to hit and after it separate damage roll any more. But it works for LotFP so my fear did not come true to start to combine these two games! I want to use LotFP as it is and not start to make my own system right away.
Rules are easy to learn and don't took much space of the books. Most of the rules book are magic and clerical spells listed and the core rules are easy and fast to learn. In Referee's book there are mostly handy tips and other material to run the game. It's more like a guide for Referee to run a game than a rules book. I like this. Tutorial is nice book what you don't need to play. It basically helps roleplaying games virgins to understand what LotFP and other roleplaying games are and how you play them. There are two different level of rules used tutorial solo adventures and also a long example of play. This is great tutorial and you can easily lend it for your first time player without loosing anything you yourself need as a Referee.
I like how Raggi writes. This doesn't feel like a fluff book (how for example World Of Darkness books are written) but is more like how Raggi explains LotFP for you. He kind of explains everything and tells it rather than tries to write it more complicated way trying it to feel like book in the gaming world. Texts and explanations are short and directly on the topic without blabber. The books also include valuable information on Refereeing roleplaying games and include small but great details for game like sea combat and investing money.
Basically this is my only boxed set (I got ANKH somewhere but its box is destroyed, dice lost etc.) and I haven't played roleplaying games like this that much (meaning oldschool or OSR). This game is cool! I love horror and the "weird" part of LotFP is like made for me. But there is a small problem. As LotFP books are like rule and gaming manuals there isn't that much fluff for the "weird fantasy" part. It's up to you to make LotFP adventures and campaigns weird. There are suggestions how to do this but actually nothing ready to use. This is not a sourcebook. LotFP could be just an oldschool clone with stranger illustration and the idea of Raggi of game about weird.
There are no monsters listed. It is Referee's job to create them himself. That does add the "weird" feel to the game as monsters are strange and basically more unique than common. Monsters' game mechanics stats are simple and easy to use so creating those isn't hard at all.
I still have few questions open about Lamentations of the Flame Princess!
1. How does this game support playing with only one player? Character classes are kind of specific. For example only fighter advances in hitting enemies. But magic-users and clerics do have their spells to fill this gap. But what about specialists? They can do different skill related things better but can they cope alone well?
2. Retainers are 2 levels lower than character. So does it mean player can get his first retainers at level 3 (character level 3 - retainers 2 levels lower = level 1 retainers)?
3. I have always had a small problem with this kind of magic system. Had my problems understanding D&D 3.0 magic. So, when magic-user or cleric casts a spell does he roll any dice? I understood he doesn't and spell automatically hits and effect is determined or rolled. But what about touch based magic? Does caster need to roll to hit to touch his opponent or is this also automatic?