Wednesday, February 20, 2013

White Dwarf Wednesday #53

White Dwarf #52 comes to us from May 1984.  Our cover this time is an army of orcs ready for battle; a tie-in to the Warhammer scenario coming up and a D&D article about orcs.

Ian Livingstone discusses the growing pains of the hobby.  Sure it is nice that so many people are now interested in it, and it is too bad that so many people are now interested in it!  So the exclusivity is gone.
This is the time of "Red Box D&D" (see last page).  Was this something you noticed in your games?  Many reading came to the hobby before this time, what were your thoughts then?  I grew in a small town where I knew everyone my age that gamed.  Or mostly everyone.  There was a feel of "get off my lawn" to some of the newer gamers.  Which of course is funny because there was the generation of War Gamers that looked at us the same way.  This is reflected in Livingstone's editorial.  We are now seeing the first glances of a generational effect in the Edition Wars.  Livingstone though gives some sage advice then and it is still good now, it is up to us (the older player) to help the newer player along and teach them "the old ways".

Marcus Rowland is back with Part 2 of his introduction to RPGs.  Continuing where he left off on D&D he moves to other Fantasy games for beginners starting with RuneQuest. Rowland is obviously a fan, and RQ gets the lion's share of the article (but still less than D&D).  He follows up with other games such as Tunnels & Trolls, Chivalry & Sorcery, Warhammer and Men, Myth and Magic.  Though these only get a paragraph or two each.

In our new full color section we get Minas Tirith, the Battle of Pelennor Fields for Warhammer. It's a long one, described as a Mega-Scenario. If you are a Tolkien fan then this is cool. Honestly few battles are as iconic to the Tolkien/Rings saga as this one, save for the Battle of Five Armies.

Our color pages continue into Open Box.  Up first Richard Meadows reviews Game Workshop's Caverns of the Dead.  The first in a new line of dungeon aids.  It gets a 7/10 noting that it compares less favorable to D&D modules.   We also get the 6th and 7th Fighting Fantasy books from Ian Livingstone, Deathtrap Dungeon and Island of the Lizard King. Both get an 8/10 from Marcus Rowland. Andy Slack gives us more Traveller material in the form of Book 6: Scouts. It gets an 7/10 overall, but the component ratings are all 8s and 10s with only one 7.  Not sure why it was rounded down like that.

Thurd the Barbarian is in more trouble. It looks like his biggest problem was that he was drawn by Rob Liefeld. Ok, in this context it is supposed to be funny.

We get a short (one page) Gothic tale from Chris Eliot and Richard Edwards.

Lew Pulsipher brings back Lew's Views. This time it is about demons, devils and pacts.  Something that would work well with the new lot of demon summoning and binding spells that seemed to be popular at this time (Module S4, Unearthed Arcana).  Still useful today in any game to be honest.  Don't like demons? Or you game has robots instead?  No big, the rules are really more "programmed" of any sort of guardian creature. So it could be a robot, a sphinx, a ghost, a curse or a golem.  Whatever you need.

Next up is The Naked Orc.  A new look at Orcs in D&D.  I think I have read this one before cause my own write-up of orcs is similar.  It's a good read and have some very interesting ideas.

Crash Course is our Car Wars column written by the American Steve Jackson.
Part 2 of the Castle of Lost Souls is next.  Not as long as last months.

More fawning over the changes in letters.
Starbase has some Traveller NPCs.
RuneRites has some spells based on celtic Druid myth.  These are pretty interesting to be honest.  Of course I look to them for conversion for D&D.

Tabletop Heroes has some more minis, but they don't take advantage of the color pages this time.  More is the pity to be honest.

Fiend Factory has some creatures and mini-scenario. The creatures are good for the scenario and maybe some eerie woodland area.
Treasure Chest has an odd collection of random treasures.

The News section under goes another makeover.  This time looking like a Bulletin board; a real one with tacks, not a virtual one.  Of interest is the upcoming "Dragonlance" which is listed as an RPG in the same breath that Marvel is listed as an RPG.  Was there a plan back then to have Dragonlance be a self contained game?

Color pages are next again and they are saved for the ads.  We have a few pages of those and then end with a full color ad for the new Red Box D&D Basic game.

For lack of a better word this issue feels like a "reboot" of the magazine.  No surprise that now it is available in a wider market they want to make sure it is accessible to all sorts of people.  There are still some interesting things going on, but not the same sort of things that were being printed prior to 83.  Still though, quite a fun read just nothing (other than the orcs) that jumped out at me.

1 comment:

wardy-la said...

Thanks for the excellent review. This was the first copy of White Dwarf I ever bought (still have it) and I remember a couple of years later getting together with friends and scraping together all the figures we had at the time to run the Minas Tirith scenario. Good stuff! I seem to remember the forces of Sauron came very close to winning on the day...