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Category Archives: Classic Reviews

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

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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

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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

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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.

Car Wars – A Trip Down The Memory Fast Lane, Part 5

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Rolling through our Car Wars retrospective ~

Michael Eckenfels, 4 November 2016

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CONVOY: A PROGRAMMED CAR WARS ADVENTURE FOR 1-6 PLAYERS

 

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Now we come across one of my favorites. This little gem is basically a Choose Your Own Adventure for the Car Wars universe, and I played the holy heck out of it. Released in 1984 in the first issue of Autoduel Quarterly and then later re-published here as a stand-alone book, this game sets you up in an adventure where you could indeed play it solo (albeit playing six characters), or up to six players. As long as six players were in the game, you could play it. It could even be played tournament style, with a referee guiding the players and rolling for the bad guys.

Car Wars – A Trip Down The Memory Fast Lane, Part 4

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Car Wars in the rear view mirror, again ~

Michael Eckenfels, 21 October 2016

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CAR WARS EXPANSION SET #3: EAST MIDVILLE

Yes, it’s marked #3. Expansion #1 (uniquely and cleverly named “Expansion Set #1) had a ton of road sections and extra counters, along with suggested track and arena layouts. Expansion #2 (named…yes, you guessed it!) had more of the same…more counters in the form of duplicate counter sheets from the original game, as well as from both Sunday Drivers (err, Crash City) and Truck Stop, and even a ‘Turning Key’ that was apparently a maneuver template of some kind to move your cars around more easily.

 

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Car Wars – A Trip Down The Memory Fast Lane, Part 3

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Our Car Wars retrospective rolls on ~

Michael Eckenfels, 7 October 2016

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CRASH CITY: A CAR WARS ROLEPLAYING SUPPLEMENT

Starting with the words “If you don’t like the way we drive, get off the streets, and the sidewalk…and the lawns…” this particular expansion was originally published in Space Gamer magazine as an article called “Sunday Drivers.” It later became a full Car Wars supplement, eventually becoming known as Crash City. Ultimately, this name is more suitable for this expansion. Both Sunday Drivers and Crash City were published in 1982, so there must not have been a lot of lead time between them, but they made do, I think, by re-using existing material, as you’ll see in a moment.

The game box.

The game box.