I got USR shortly after original release and became truly interested in seeing what products would come next for the game. I admit that I was a little bit skeptical of the upcoming fantasy game and how well it would handle the genre; I come from a background of D&D & Pathfinder mainly. After spending a brief time to read it and mess around with some of the bits of Halberd, I am happy to say that it succeeds at staying true to the USR simplicity and the genre of fantasy.
Halberd accomplishes both of these tasks in only 37 pages. I concede that you do not get as much information as a 200 or 300 page gaming tome but do you really need all of that? Halberd gives you a setting in a little over 3 pages. No, you do not get every street and NPC detailed to the last bit of information BUT you do get plenty of small bits of background, rumor, society, etc. in the descriptions of the city, establishments, organizations, and locations. Simply put, Halberd does not hold your hand through every detail of the built in setting but does provide more than enough inspiration to fuel the imagination of the GM for many adventures.
Character creation follows the dice assignment method first detailed in USR but also adds fantasy archetypes (such as Warrior, Druid, and Storyteller), suggestions on specialisms, and races (the typical Human, Elf, Dwarf, and Halfling) to the mix. Task resolution is rolled against a difficulty assigned by the GM or through a contested attribute test against another PC or NPC. It is a simple resolution process and is easy to use because all it takes is rolling the die assigned to the attribute in question and then adding in any appropriate modifiers such as specialisms, magical equipment, etc. and the highest total wins the contest. This clearly shows there is more to Halberd than the reviewer claiming that the "highest roll of the dice wins" is the only substance to the game.
Halberd also covers topics such as magic items, weapons, coins, adventuring, a magic system, and a wealth of other areas. Do not let the low page count fool you. Halberd is a slick, fast-playing game with minimal prep time to get started. The focus here is on the playing of the game and not on rules-lawyering or memorizing 4 dozen exceptions to this rule or that rule to "get an edge". Give it a shot and I am sure you will enjoy it. Besides, the price can not be beat!
[5 of 5 Stars!]