Wednesday, August 7, 2013

White Dwarf Wednesday #75

White Dwarf #75 takes us back to March 1986 with new(ish) Editor-in-chief Ian Livingstone.
The cover is a very Call of Cthulhuesque one with Buckaroo Banzai and Elvira battling a creature on a chees board floor.  Just out of curiosity I wonder if One Night in Bangkok had be released in the UK at this point? (yes...almost a year before.)
Ian Livingstone gets right in and talks about the changes that have been happening and more are on the way.  But we knew that really.  The changes we are seeing here are not really abrupt; they have been happening for a while now, but they do become apparent in later issues.

Open box is getting into a wider variety of games, but a lot of them seem to come from Games Workshop:  There is the Supervisor's Kit for Golden Heroes (8/10), Terror of the Lichemaster for Warhammer (9/10), Judgement Day for Judge Dredd (9/10) and Cosmic Encounter Boardgame (8/10).  The only non-GW game this issue is Fragments of Fear by Chaosium for Call of Cthulhu (7/10).  Detecting a trend here.

Critical Mass is back.  I only want to touch on a couple of things here.  Dave Langford talks about how long C. J. Cherryh's Forty Thousand in Gehenna is.  I agree. But that didn't stop me from using it and going back to it time and time again for ideas for my AD&D games (despite it being Scifi).  There is also a title I have never seen before, "Sex Secrets of Ancient Atlantis".  Looks fun.

2020 covers some mid 80s horror  movies. The Return of the Living Dead and Fright Night are featured.  I enjoyed the heck out of Fright Night despite (or because of) the gruesomeness that reviewer Colin Greenland seems to disdain.  Word of advice, if you don't like gore, don't review horror movies.  He also mentions Teen Wolf which is horror only in the way that connecting puberty to lycanthropy in the hands of Micheal J. Fox can be.  Which is to say, not at all.  Granted it isn't a horror movie.  To see a much better take on this idea see Ginger Snaps.

Oliver Dickinson has some thoughts on the upcoming RuneQuest 3.
Pete Tamlyn has ideas on Superhero games. There are ideas here to make Superhero games, and by proxy comics, more adult oriented (not themed) and they are not bad.  This article though fails today because it was too close, but on the other side, of the great breakout of the Graphic Novel.  Yes, the Dark Knight Returns was just out and Watchmen was on the way, it was still just a little too late (or early depending on your view) for the masses.

Gamemanship covers some idea on how to put the mystery back into AD&D.  Some of the ideas would later see similar treatments in AD&D titles like Ravenloft and eventually story-based gaming.  Most of it is still good advice today.

Mass Media by Andrew Swift covers how the news is delivered in various Tech Levels in Traveller.  My personal favorite is his predictions of the smart phone-like device in which to read the news on (TL 10) AND Google Glass (TL 11).  I mock Traveller often, and really unfairly so, for it's ideas on computers.  But this one was really fun to read.  There are ideas for characters too.  I now have a desire to play or run a bunch of intrepid reporters and muckrakers for the Galactic News Service.

Graeme Davis gives us "Nightmare in Green" an AD&D adventure for 4-8 4th-6th level characters.   There is the adventure and a few new monsters which is nice.  I like adventures that introduce a new, maybe one-off monster. Also it helps make up for the loss of Fiend Factory.

The Heart of the Dark is a Call of Cthulhu scenario.  It deals with a murder and you know it only gets worse from there.  I have always liked WD Call of Cthulhu adventures.  Actually most of their adventures for any game are rather good.

Treasure Chest has something really nice, a system for Character Backgrounds for AD&D.  Today we add a +2 to some skill that you had before you took up the adventuring life, but since AD&D is not like that this works out rather nice.

Tabletop Heroes covers oil painting.

Not a bad start to the stewardship of Ian Livingstone.  The articles and adventures are good.  Open Box seems a bit doggy to me, even given the gushing reviews gamers typically give their favorite games.


faoladh said...

I don't think that Cosmic Encounter was a GW product, but I could be misremembering. In any case, it's back in print, and not from GW.

Ginger Snaps is an amazing movie (and I do love werewolf films). Another in that vein (the puberty metaphor) that is better than the Michael J. Fox thing is The Company of Wolves, which is my candidate for best werewolf film of all time.

Also, I haven't said it recently, but thank you for these overviews. Sometimes, I wish that I had access to the articles you are describing (like the AD&D one in this issue, for instance), but knowing that they are out there is helpful in itself.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

I'll have to recheck the reviews.

My access is purely happenstance, I found a box of them at a yard sale years ago and I worked on filling the gaps. Though my wife wants them off my game room floor.

Dr. Theda said...

How about a "scan" post of the mini-adventure "Nightmare in Green" ...???
That would be of use in our current game... They are in the Forest after killing off the few Ogres and removing the threat of Trolls from the area where the founded (after Taking and Capture of) their new Keep...
I always enjoy your gaming posts good Sir... Your good "fiend" and follower the Doctor

Cpt Blag said...

From memory I think Cosmic Encounter was originally made by Task Force Games, but was definately repackaged & re-released in the UK by GW. A cracking gsme anyway, still have it in my attic somewhere!

Cpt Blag said...

From memory I think Cosmic Encounter was originally made by Task Force Games, but was definately repackaged & re-released in the UK by GW. A cracking gsme anyway, still have it in my attic somewhere!

Cpt Blag said...

From memory I think Cosmic Encounter was originally made by Task Force Games, but was definately repackaged & re-released in the UK by GW. A cracking gsme anyway, still have it in my attic somewhere!

faoladh said...

Looking it up on BGG, I see that it was originally published by Eon, but has been published by several other companies over the years (including West End Games and, currently, Fantasy Flight, but not Task Force Games). There was, indeed, an edition put out by Games Workshop, so there you go.

Unknown said...

At this point in time, Games Workshop were distributing a lot of titles - not sure if they have Call of Cthulhu yet, but they will have the UK distribution rights, so even though WD is tending towards a GW bias that still covers a lot of games for the moment.

I loved Company of Wolves, which is a very different animal from the usual werewolf film - Angela Carter's take on the Red Riding Hood fairy tale, so plenty of psycho-sexual overtones, as well as stories within stories.

Fright Night is good too but I bet it looks really Eighties now (never bothered with the remake). Then again I like anything with Roddy McDowell in - Cornelius in the original Planet of the Apes, Bon Chance Louie in Tales from the Golden Monkey!

thekelvingreen said...

I believe that GW were publishing Call of Cthulhu at this time; the GW third edition is dated 1986 and they were definitely publishing adventures for it.

The cover of White Dwarf #75 -- by Lee Gibbons -- appears as one of the colour plates in said third edition, entitled "Heart of the Dark" although that may not be significant.