Wednesday, May 29, 2013

White Dwarf Wednesday #66

White Dwarf Wednesday #66 takes us to June of 1985.
Up first we have a more classical fantasy cover from Chris Achilleos. Interesting that this dragon has a lot of similarity to the kobolds of 3rd ed era.

Based on the success and popularity of Citadel Miniatures and the new Warhammer, Ian Livingstone is wondering about the return of the War Game.  I don't recall if it ever really happened, but certainly Warhammer in its various guises remain popular.

Open Box is up first and it does something interesting.  It brings in computer games into the reviews. Something that had been handled by a separate column.  Reviewed are:  Battledroids (part of what will become Battletech) by Trevor Mendham, 7/10.  The Talisman Computer Game for the Spectrum 48k.  Also a 7/10 by Trevor Mendham. The Halls of the Dwarven Kings is a generic game aid designed for many games (but AD&D in particular) B Y Rowe gives it 8/10.  Two Fighting Fantasy books are also reviewed, House of Hell and Talisman of Death.  Chris Mitchell gives them both 9/10.   Finally, we get a review of the Warhammer Fantasy Battle Second Edition.  Robert Alcock praises the changes, even if he does call them "predictable" and gives it an 8/10.

Critical Mass has praise for the "newest" Piers Anthony book "On a Pale Horse" the first part of his massive Incarnations of Immortality series.  I will admit a love/hate relationship with Anthony myself.  I loved the Immortality books, even if I thought the last book was actually kind of terrible.  I read his Xanth books and they became part of the backdrop of my gaming past.

There is a full-color ad for a new game called GURPS from the American Steve Jackson.  Wonder if it will catch on?

Graham Staplehurst has a long form review/advertisement of the Middle Earth Role-Playing Game from ICE. He makes a case on how MERP is better at MERP than AD&D would be.  Ok.  Though he is quick to mention that he doesn't like the magic system and gives too many powers to characters.  I can see that.  That is actually the issue I have with most Middle Earth games.

Heroes & Villains details two powers not found in Golden Heroes, Webslinging and Darkness Control.
Crawling Chaos has some clippings of clues for investigators in Call of Cthulhu, but could work with any horror/pulp game.

A larger article on Ambushes in Warhammer is up.  One of the larger ones I can recall.  Warhammer is certainly making a name for itself in the pages of WD.  Wonder why...(not really, I know).

We have a nice long Call of Cthulhu scenario, The Horse of the Invisible.  Again I want to point out that CoC has changed so little in the years I could run this without much in the way of edits under my newest 6th ed rules.

A long AD&D scenario (not "adventure"), The Philosopher's Stone, for 1st and 2nd level characters is next. It also includes some ideas for alchemy in AD&D.  A nice touch really.

Fiend Factory looks like it is back to its old form with some interesting monsters and a short connected adventure.  Most are swamp and marsh related creatures.

Treasure Chest has a good article with an interesting idea. The five rings of Alignment.  There are rings of Law, Good, Evil, Chaos and Neutrality.   Each is an artifact and each is also guarded by a specific spirit.   This, of course, reminds me of Fred Saberhagen's Twelve Swords.  The idea certainly has some merit and could be fun.

We end with some ads.

In general, I felt this was a much better issue of White Dwarf than we had been getting of late.  The extended look into MERP was very interesting, the adventures all had some good utility and regular features like Fiend Factory and Treasure Chest were more enjoyable.

Hopefully, this is a trend that will continue for a while longer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I found that the quality dips in the mid-sixties, picking up again towards the seventies; a lot of it seems to be due to the Dwarf finding its new editorial stance and re-jigging some of the really old "departments" to fit the new style of gaming.

I hadn't thought about it before, but the two scenarios really highlight the different approaches - Horse of the Invisible is an event-based, fairly storyboarded adventure whereas The Philosopher's Stone is pretty much an old school dungeon crawl.

Finally, Halls of the Dwarven Kings was pretty good - you got a load of floorplans, some illustrations, NPCs (in RQ and AD&D stats) and a bit of GM stuff to work with. It made for an excellent Moria-style dwarven ruin, and was later recycled as part of the Warhammer FRP Doomstones series.