Thursday, April 2, 2009

Nostalgic games from the early Dragons

There was something special about those early Dragon magazines.

I can still remember when I saw my first Dragon magazine, and I thought that it was one of the coolest things ever to see print. One of the things that I really liked in the early days was that Dragon was not just confined to D&D, but rather covered a wide array of games. This is probably the result of the wargaming roots of the game, and the creators were fans of these types of games. I clearly fall into this category, and I enjoyed reading these other articles. D&D in those days was really just a handful of books, so Dragon magazine was the only resource available to go to for experimental/optional rules and the general state of the game. I miss that, and I appreciate what Wolfgang is trying to do with KQ.

One of the really cool things that the early Dragons included were adventures and other fun games. There are a couple that really standout for me, not so much that they were truly great games, but that they were short and fun to play.

The Awful Green Things from Outer Space

First seen in Dragon 28 (1979), The Awful Green things made their start, and have become something of a cult classic. TSR would go on to publish this as a box game, which enjoyed some success before the rights returned to its author Tom Wham, who eventually worked an agreement with Steve Jackson Games for further publish.

My buddy Doug bought the game, and I played several times, mostly as the Awful Green Things. This game is just a lot of fun to play. I remember the first time I watched my friends play, as the crewmen won with the help of the fire extinguisher that turned deadly to the Awful Green Things, and the crew was able to contain the green menace.

The game is not that hard to play, and the basic premise is very straight forward. The Awful Green Things have invaded the spaceship Znutar, and the crew needs to defeat them. The Awful Green Things have the advantage as they can grow and replace themselves, while the crew cannot, so the crewman are fighting against the clock as they have to act quickly or become over whelmed. The weapons have unknown effects on the Awful Green Things, which is part of the appeal of the game. Until you use the weapon, one has no idea what they will do. For the crew, they need to pick up the area of effect weapons, and hope for the best. For the Awful Green Things, they need to multiple quickly and use their numbers before the crew finds a killer weapon to use against them.

All in all, just a fun game to play

Snits revenge

First seen in Dragon 10 (1977), and the Snits have running around ever since. This game has a similar fun feel as The Awful Green Things. Initially it was an insert into Dragon magazine, and then later sold as a box game by TSR. Eventually, the game license returned to Tom Wham and is now produced by Steve Jackson Games.

The plot of the game involves the large Bolotomi that enjoy smashing Snits as they run up on to the beach to reproduce. Well after a bit of that nonsense the snits decide to lead a counter attack against the Bolotomi, by attacking from inside the Bolotomi. The game itself depicts this internal battle inside of the Bolotomi. One player is the invading snits, and the other player is the bodily defenses.

For the Snit player, the game is very straight forward, in that there mission is to kick a number of internal organs or find the spark of life and destroy that. For the Bolotomi player, the goal is to create Runnungitms that can counter attack by chomping the Snits. The game then becomes a battle of kicking Snits vs. the chomping Runnungitms. The challenge for the Snits is to cause as much damage as fast as possible, before they are over whelmed by the Runnungitms. The Snit player starts with a fixed quantity of Snits, while the Bolotomi can create more Runnungitms. As organs are kicked and the Snorgs are destroyed, the Bolotomi player has to decide what to create with his Compositor organs, either Runnungitms or Snorgs to man up the internal organs.

While both games are a bit whimsical, they are fun to play and the games can be completed within an hour.

One can argue that the production values are better now days, but there was a certain fun factor in the early days of Dragon, which I do not think has been captured since.

1 comment:

Space Station Video Games said...