2012/12/08

Bringing you a rare review of Dungeons & Dragons

 From "Space gamer" #2 (1975) (link):

REVIEWS OF DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS

D&D is the ultimate fantasy game.Players start as a Fighter, Magic-User,
Cleric, or Thief. They may choose to be a human, elf, dwarf, half-elf, or
even a hobbit. They must decide to be lawful, neutral, or chaotic. There is
never any winner. In a good campaign players start in a town. First, they
must get a room at one of the several inns. Then, they usually go to a
general store to pick up some equip- ment such as rope, sacks, etc. If
they have any money left, they'll go to a tavern, have a drink, and try
to hire some men. How well they fare at this is determined by charisma,
one of the abilities. The other abilities are intelligence, strength,
wisdom, dexterity and constitution.

They'll then begin to ask towns people about the surroundings, about any
legends, etc. The next day bright and early they'll pack up and set out
down the road. If they have bad luck, sometimes they even have to get a
job to keep from starving! All this takes a lot of work and time for the
referee, but it's more than worth it! The most stimulating part of the game
is the fact that anything can happen. Nothing' is impossible. Even when you
are standing between a cliff and a troll, there is still hope, perhaps
Levitation boots! Over a hundred monsters are provided for, from
trolls, orcs, zombies, werewolves, vampires, dragons, gargoyles, rocs,
and giant purple worms, to hell hounds, rust monsters, giant slugs,
and even tyranosaurus rexes and giant tics. Whether you're exploring the
depths of the dungeons, roaming in some forsaken wilderness, or being
pursued by an evil wizard in an intricate castle, I'm sure you'll be having
one heck of a good time!

Tim Waddell


If you took everything possible or impossible that you ever dreamed
about, read about, or imagined; put it in a medieval setting, and heaped
it all into one set of rules for a game, you would have created DUNGEONS
& DRAGONS. As a game, D&D is a fantastical outlet for the imagination.
It has the quality of being infinitely flexible, and with it comes the
reality of impossibility.

What you get when you buy D&D are
three booklets, filled with basic guidelines for a fantasy campaign.

The first book is Men and Magic. This basically tells about getting a
character, equipping him, and getting off to a start. Magic and clerical
spells are listed and described forreference whenever needed. With these spells, magic-users and clerics can make people, monsters, things, and objects, do anything from sleepingto serving them or dying. With rules for developing your own new spells, the sky's the limit.

 I feel that book II, Monsters and Treasure is the
most interesting book of all. This book describes all the mean, nasty,
and horrifying creatures that the players get to fight. Then, when
they are finished fighting, this book describes many rich treasures and
countless magic items, to aid the players in finding more and better
loot. Volume III, The Underworld and Wilderness Adventures is probably the
most important book, because it tells how to go about playing the game, in
either of two settings. Dungeons must be mapped out by the referee in
advance, and care taken to detail. The wilderness is rather a do-it-
as-you-go- situation. This book also includes ways to spend your
treasure, and other interesting things such as; Castle construction,
Naval combat and adventures, Baronies, and much more.

There are drawbacks to the game
however; as there are in any game.D&D cannot even begin to get
interesting in less than 20 hours playing time. Hundreds of hours of
work must be done ahead of time by the referee, and it takes a fairly
long time to prepare on the part of the players.

In this game there is no victor as such, but the object is to gain exper-
ience (by finding treasures and beating up on monsters) and become more
powerful and gain more possessions. Staying alive is a big part of the
game, as there are always monsters that hate you, lurking in the gloom.
But, if you should happen to die, don't worry; you can always start again.
If more complexity is desired, the supplement GREYHAWK adds outstanding
improvements, and many more ideas. Also, the Strategic Review, a TSR
newlestter has some good things.

Andy Pudewa



3 comments:

David Macauley said...

You just posted a positive review of D&D! Are you feeling OK CL? Perhaps you are not feeling yourself? It's not April Fool's Day, so that can't be the reason. :-P

I had to laugh at the reviewers comment that "D&D cannot even begin to get interesting in less than 20 hours playing time." I don't like to say someone is not playing it right, but in his case he obviously wasn't, not if he couldn't make the game interesting for players in the first five minutes.

Thanks for posting the review CL. It's always interesting to read people's reactions to D&D and any other RPG during those early, formative years of the hobby.

Catacomb librarian said...

yes, it's a positive review!

You won't believe that, but though actually we are playing under Powers & Perils rules,we'll probably have to switch (in part) to ad&d rules soon, due to adventure circumstances..i'm ready for that.

Even if AD&D books still remain the only manuals that i don't own. I have to buy them on ebay :( pdf are not easy to be brought at the game table.

David Macauley said...

Sounds like your gaming group is playing a cruel trick on you. :-)

I hope you can find cheap copies. It's not easy to do on ebay here in Australia.

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