Speaking of art, issue #7 marked the debut of a "Gallery" feature in which a science fiction or fantasy artist shows off a single piece of text-free color artwork. The idea behind the new feature was that it simultaneously provided an illustration to inspire gamers and served as an advertisement for up and coming artists. In this issue, the artist in question is Tom Kidd, whose name is unknown to me in any other context.
Issue #7 also saw an increase in coverage of DragonQuest. In addition to David Ritchie's "DragonNotes" column (which answered rules questions and provided errata), he, along with Redmond Simonsen, provide a complete adventure, entitled "The Housse of Kurin." The adventure is described as a "capsule adventure," meaning its fairly short and limited in scope. Its focus is on an attempt to rescue some prisoners from the stronghold of a bandit named Kurin, making it very combat-heavy. Still, its maps are terrific (like all DQ maps in my experience) and there was clearly a lot of thought put into the tactics of the bandits and their allies, which would probably make it exciting to play (assuming, unlike me, you could actually your head around DragonQuest combat).
There's more "Facts for Fantasy" and "Science for Science Fiction." I appreciate the intention behind these regular features, but, for the most part, I don't find them especially inspiring. As mentioned earlier, this issue's wargame is Rescue from the Hive by Nick Karp and Redmond Simonsen (seriously, did this man do everything related to Ares?). The game focuses on an attempt to free two Terran hostages being held by a radical faction of the insectoid Znon race. The most intriguing aspect of the game is that Znon queens are telepathic and control their minions remotely, which gives them certain options and advantages in play. In addition, the queens can attempt to mind control Terran rescue units, throwing the Terran player's plans into chaos. Also, Znon units are placed on the map face down to simulate the fact that, initially, the Terrans have no idea what they'll be facing or where. Henrik Nordlie provides some fiction to accompany the game.
John Butterfield has a short article providing some designer's notes to the upcoming RPG, Universe. Meanwhile, Eric Goldberg offers two positive reviews(!) of Japanese themed RPGs, Bushido and Land of the Rising Sun. Naturally, there's a negative review, too, this time of a game I've never heard of before -- The Complete Fantasist. Goldberg writes:
Every once in a while a reviewer will come across a product so truly awful that he has no qualms about savaging it in print. It is an even rarer occasion when he will reconsider a stinging attack, because he is afraid people will think less of him for admitting that he read and/or played the product in full. I resolved for the New Year to be courageous and tell of my suffering through The Complete Fantasist, in hopes that unsuspecting gamers would not accidentally subject themselves to such inhumane treatment of their sensibilities.Never having read The Complete Fantasist, I can't say whether Goldberg's introduction above is warranted, but it's amusing to read nonetheless.