Thursday, May 5, 2011

Review: Strategic Review #1 Spring #1975

Strategic Review #1 Spring #1975
(6 page zine)

I am proud to be a 1st edition AD&D fan. I am not a believer that all games are equal. Some are bad, some are good, and some are ground breaking. Recently I acquired the Dragon CD-ROM archive and since I'd started on a series of reviews of the Dungeon Crawl Classics line of adventure modules I planned on reviewing Dragon magazine. I was very surprised to see that someone started a series of reviews already. After beginning to read through them I quickly realized these reviews were from such a different point of view that my own would serve as a counterpoint rather than some kind of redundancy.

This first issue is a small taste of the early days of D&D. It provides a new monster, the Mind Flayer. Very streamlined compared to what the Mind Flayer will become, but also providing a table for the effects of a mind blast attack. Very handy for a DM not using the later psionics rules and a good example of a creature format for an OD&D campaign.

The largest section of the zine is devoted to dungeon generation tables for solo play, or they can be used by a DM to randomly create a dungeon map. A very simple and neat system. It was fun to use back before more detailed systems were developed, and before the wide range of prepublished modules.

The most useful item for the AD&D player would be the mind blast effect table, though the idea of substituting a table of effects instead of referring back to the optional psionics rules is perhaps the best utility here. The table isn't bad in itself but an AD&D player may want to create their own or alter it to suit their style of play.

All in all a wonderful piece of history but nothing that wasn't expanded upon in later editions of D&D and AD&D.

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