Wednesday, September 11, 2013

White Dwarf Wednesday #79

July 1986 gives us White Dwarf #79 with one of the most ridiculous covers ever.  I had always thought that this was a Chris Achilleos cover, but no, it is listed as Amazonia Gothique by John Blanche.  Let's be honest there is nothing practical about this armor even by White Dwarf's standards or even by John Blanche's standards. This of course has to be the ultimate evolution of the 80s big hair.  No surprise then that this cover would later be voted as one of the best.

Paul Cockburn takes over the helm of the editorial page. There is a notice that a warning label will now be attached to ads for lead miniatures.  Is there anything less old school than a warning label?  Don't know, but I am sure there isn't.  Cockburn promises more changes but already there seems some Imagine has leaked into my White Dwarf. If I had actually had a plan when I started this I should have alternated with issues of Imagine so I could better comment on this, but I didn't so we just have to go with it.

This is most evident in the Open Box reviews which look like the reviews in Imagine; reviews running across a span of pages.  Among the reviews, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (a game I have never played), Secret Wars II for MSH, Blacksword for Stormbringer, Terror from the Stars for Call of Cthulhu, Ghostbusters and Acute Paranoia for you guessed it Paranoia.  First I have to admire how gaming is diversifying at this point.  Outside of Stormbringer there are no FRPGs in the lot and only one TSR offering.

Where and Back Again? covers starting up a Middle-Earth game.  Graham Staplehurst spends four pages covering this well trod land. The focus here is on the ICE game of course, but a lot of it can be used with other incarnations of the game.  It is still a desire of mine to play a game here, maybe using the D&D Basic rules (or ACKs), the only thing I am lacking is time.

Critical Mass and 2020 Vision cover reviews of books and movies respectively.  There is a certain pathos in providing reviews to something review nearly 30 years ago.  Though the highlights are their review of Highlander.

The special feature of the issue is next, a alternate view on Psionics in AD&D.  Steven Palmer creates different "classes" of psioncs to help group the powers.  A potential psion has access to 1 to 3 of these classes.  He also gives characters an additional 3% if they have psions in their family line.  It is a clean up and clarification of the rules in the AD&D1 Player's Handbook, but not yet at the Psionics as a strange magic seen in later editions of D&D.

Graeme Davis has an adventure for the Call of Cthulhu game, Ghost Jackal Kill, which among other things features some new monsters.  I am afraid though the overall feel is one of a D&D adventure.

Phil Masters has an article on using the intelligence monsters have. Novel for the time, old information in todays games.

'eavy Metal is the new(ish) Miniatures feature.

Letters page gets a facelift.

The last part of the "brains" featured articles are Psi Judges for Judge Dredd.  Reading these I might actually give the game a go sometime.  But only if I can play them as very Big Brother or as Babylon 5 Psi Corps.

Fracas is the revamped Rumors section.  Notable the introduction of the Zochi 100 sided dice.

We end with ads.

Now to be honest this was a good issue. I felt the featured content on powers of the mind fit together rather well and even went across a few game lines. There were some good advice in the articles and it did the one thing I really want a game magazine to do; get me to play the games they are talking about.

We could be closing out the 70s here (issues, not decade) on a positive note then.  I know my opinion will change over the next 20 issues, but that is for another Wednesday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not commented for a few issues, so I thought I ought to chime in with a couple of points.

That cover figure will later be released as a miniature - you'll see it in ads in a later issue.

Also, TMNT was actually quite a good game, mostly an adapatation of the Palladium system. It's something of a mess of different mechanics - percentile for skills, d20 for combat - but that's nothing unusual for the time. We had a few short games of it, good filler between longer D&D campaigns.