Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Justin Leites offers up a game variant, "Pandora's Link," which shows how to connect the two games, Voyage of the Pandora with Wreck of the Pandora. Given the similarity of the two games in terms of rules and subject matter, this makes good sense. David Ritchie provides another installment of "DragonNotes" for DragonQuest. Speaking for myself, I find these articles do little to enthuse me about trying to grasp the rules of DQ, as they seem even more persnickety than those of Chivalry & Sorcery, which is saying something. John Butterfield previews SPI's SF RPG, Universe, through another short "Designer's Notes" article. This one includes reference to the game's planetary generation system, which is one of my favorite parts of the game and something I seriously considered swiping for Thousand Suns.
Ragnarok: The Twilight of the Gods is a wargame by Darryl Esakof and Redmond Simonsen (of course!) dealing with the ultimate battle between the Aesir gods and the giants led by the traitorous Loki. Its map represents the Plain of Vigrid, the Norse Megiddo, where the two forces will engage in warfare. Two things stand out about Ragnarok. First, there's the unique powers of the various "heroes" on each side. For example, Thor can throw thunderbolts and his hammer, Mjolnir, has special traits as well. Second, the Aesir are more personally powerful than the giants, but fewer in number. The trick for the giant player is to try to get as many giants into play as quickly as possible. However, giants can enter Asgard only by means of Bifrost, the rainbow bridge, and the more giants brought across it at a time, the greater the chance the bridge will collapse and thus cut off the giants from their fellows.
As is so often the case, just before SPI releases a product of its own, there's a review of its competitors. Since issue #9 will feature Universe's starship combat rules, Steve List gives reviews for eight different starship combat games already on the market. These are: Starfall, Dark Stars, Time Lag, Warp War, Starfire, Starfire II, Starfleet Battles, and Starfleet Battles Expansion #1. Though a lot of the reviews are negative, they seem evenhanded to me rather than snarky hatchet jobs I've come to expect in Ares. Eric Goldberg also reviews Dark Stars as well as Quirks and these reviews are also uncharacteristically positive and sedate. The same can be said of Christopher John's movie reviews of Scanners, Hangar 18, and Starblazers and Greg Costikyan's many book reviews. I can't help but wonder if this seeming shift will last and if it was the result of an editorial mandate based on reader feedback.