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Category Archives: Classic Reviews

Classic Reviews – Empires of the Shining Sea

Bringing back another review, but if you’ve not read it, it’s new to you! ~

Brant Guillory, 10 May 2017

First Impressions: This is a meaty book… for some that’s good, others not so good. Thumbing through the book you find everything but a currency converter. Just out of curiosity, I went to the index to see if there was one I just missed, and, well, darn if the damn book didn’t have an index either. The maps are standard Forgotten Realms maps. Some people like the style, some people loathe the style. On the plus side, anyone who’s ever looked over a Forgotten Realms map before knows what they’re looking at on the map.

A Look Back at System 7 Napoleonics & Dragon Magazine

A stroll down memory lane to the days when wargaming and RPGs more comfortably co-existed ~

Jim Owczarski, 13 May 2017

I would have thought that after all these years the editors around this joint would have taken a liking to me.  I mean, come on, I’ve written reviews, previews, interviews, and even a travel journal or two, and have yet to get them sued for libel.  This is no small matter in our litigious day and age.

So why, then, does one of them torment me with this:

Classic Reviews – Revisiting “Secret of the Silver Blades”

Back to a classic Forgotten Realms setting ~

Avery Abernethy, 17 April 2017

Secret of the Silver Blades is the SSI Gold Box follow up to Pool of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds. I recently replayed this on a modern computer and my thoughts are on playing this game in 2017, not 1990 when it was released.

I recently replayed this on a modern computer and my thoughts are on playing this game in 2017, not 1990 when it was released.

I enjoyed replaying Pool of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds. Both had an interesting overall plot line that engaged me and kept me going through the long series of battles and leveling up my characters. Regretfully, Secret of the Silver Blades has such a poor plot that I could never really engage with it.

In Silver Blades your party (either imported from Azure Bonds or newly rolled-up) teleports naked to village. The village made a sacrifice to a teleporter and your group is hopefully the answer to the prayers of the village. The small town gives your group some pretty nifty equipment. They also heal, identify your magic goodies, and provide basic equipment for free every time you come back to town.

Classic Reviews – Revisiting of Pool of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds in 2017

Checking in on the original digital D&D classics ~

Avery Abernethy, 08 February 2017

The first computer adaptation of the Dungeons and Dragons game was Pool of Radiance released in 1988. The success of Pool of Radiance led SSI to release a series of D&D games often referred to as the “Gold Box” games. Almost thirty years has passed since their release, but they are still sold by www.gog.com in a package containing an additional six titles for $9.99. But are these games worth playing today on a modern computer?

Both Pool of Radiance (Pool) and Curse of the Azure Bonds (Curse) use the first edition D&D rules. These have some confusing conventions for gamers unfamiliar with the system. Armor class starts at 10 for someone with average dexterity wearing normal clothing. Plate Mail and Shield will get most characters to Armor Class 2. But add in magic items and your characters can have negative armor classes, up to -10. When you toss a fireball in this game you need to be able to assess the radius of effect, there is no convenient shadowed outline of the blast radius. Make a mistake and your front line fighters get singed. This will take a bit of refresher reading for someone who played D&D back in the 1980s. Players who never played tabletop D&D or the computer games based off that system will have to study the manual.

Car Wars – A Trip Down The Memory Fast Lane, Part 8

The Car Wars retrospective is back! ~

Michael Eckenfels, 3 February 2016

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UNCLE ALBERT’S AUTO STOP & GUNNERY SHOP
2035 CATALOG

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Ah, good ol’ Uncle Albert and his catalogs ‘o death. If the ‘basic’ Car Wars rules just didn’t have enough creative ways to destroy, maim, and otherwise disassemble, the Uncle Albert catalogs certainly helped pad those needs, and then some.

Classic Reviews – Warrior Knights 2nd Ed.

Another throwback to the classic review days of years gone by under another moniker ~

Brant Guillory, 03 January 2017

INTRODUCTION

Warrior Knights is a board game of diplomacy, commerce, and, of course, warfare, in the Middle Ages. It is published by Fantasy Flight Games and available now. The game covers a hypothetical kingdom in Europe, with real-world territories along the edge of the map, such as Ceylon, Alexandria, and Syracuse.

The knights and barons involved are also hypothetical, but have names evocative of the kingdoms of the Middle Ages: Baron Raoul d’Emerande is Spanish, Baron Mieczyslaw Niebieski is Polish (or perhaps Czech). In all, there are 6 Barons, each with 4 subordinate nobles. Although the names are aligned by nationality, there is no real attempt to have them reflect any real personalities from history.

The original Warrior Knights was designed by Derek Carver and published in the mid-1980s by GDW. The current version is described by Fantasy Flight Games as being reinvented for a new generation while paying homage to the original. It does not appear that Mr. Carver was involved in the design of the current incarnation.

 

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Car Wars – A Trip Down The Memory Fast Lane, Part 7

The long and winding retrospective on Car Wars continues ~

Michael Eckenfels, 2 December 2016

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CAR WARS EXPANSION SET #9:

MUSKOGEE FAIRGROUND AND FAMILY EMPORIUM

For this ninth expansion, Steve Jackson Games has once again created a mega-map setting for the Car Wars universe. Instead of a town, like I talked about in Crash City, this one is more of a giant and world-famous autoduellist gathering. Think NASCAR meets vehicular violence meets Buc-ee’s, and you’ve got a general idea of what the Muskogee Fairground is all about.

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Car Wars – A Trip Down The Memory Fast Lane, Part 6

The long and winding retrospective on Car Wars continues ~

Michael Eckenfels, 18 November 2016

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THE BEST OF AUTODUEL QUARTERLY, VOLUME 1

 

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Released in 1986, and packed with 48 pages of goodness, this little book republished the best articles as per the demands of Car Wars fans everywhere. The hard part, the editors state on the inside cover, is how to pare down the list and include the actual best stuff. So, they decided to not republish stuff that had already been released on its own, like Uncle Albert and the Convoy module. Instead, you have a book that is loaded with some good stuff that’s not easily found elsewhere, all in one place.