The Strategic Review #4

TSR published The Strategic Review #4 in the Winter of 1975. It had a cover price of 75 cents and was twelve pages long.

In the editorial, Gary Gygax notes that he and co-owner Brian Blue are struggling to meet project deadlines and keep up with correspondence. To address this, they are expanding the team with Tim Kask as periodicals Editor, Terry Kuntz as Service Manager, and Dave Arneson as a part of the design staff. Kask was a Vietnam veteran who started playing D&D at Southern Illinois University, Kuntz was a member of the Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association, while Arneson was the co-creator of D&D.

Gygax also mentions several forthcoming products, including miniatures for Empire of the Petal Throne and accompanying rules by M.A.R. Barker and Arneson. Finally, he wryly notes that no one has yet submitted a review for Arnold Hendrick's games.

"Mapping the Dungeons" contains various bits of D&D-related news. MiniFigs has released a Sword & Sorcery range, D&D has been featured at multiple conventions, and several D&D-focused periodicals have recently appeared, including the famous Alarums & Excursions and proposed zines from Greg Costikyan and Scott Rosenberg. Gygax notes that TSR has been flooded with D&D contributions and is considering a new supplement to publish them all. They would compensate contributors with credit and free copies. I imagine much of that material eventually found its way into The Dragon.

In "Castle & Crusade," Gygax follows his article in issue 2 with a few more words about medieval polearms. He was seemingly obsessed with polearms!
The "Strategists Club," which was TSR's loyalty program, held an awards evening. The winners were:
  • Best New Game Of 1974: Dungeons & Dragons
  • Outstanding Designer: Gygax & Arneson
  • Outstanding Writer: John Lundstrom
  • Outstanding Wargame Magazine: Wargamer's Digest
  • Best Miniature Figure Release: Custom-cast "Fantastiques"
These annual awards continued for several years.

In "Panzer Warfare," Brian Blume lists several additional unit organizations for the titular game, while "The Armory" by Mike Reese describes some weapon changes for Tractics, a game that he co-authored with Gygax and published through TSR.

"Wargamming World," a general news column, mentions the success of several recent wargame conventions, including Gen Con and Origins I. There are capsule reviews of numerous zines, including West Coast Wargamer, The American Wargamer, El Conquistador, The Space Gamer, The Gamesletter, The Mixumaxu Gazette, And Ginnungagap. A one-paragraph review of GenCon VIII concludes it was "a highly satisfactory affair."

Peter Aronson presents a new D&D class, the illusionist! This specialized magic user has dozens of unique spells, including soon-to-be classics such as phantasmal force, hypnotic pattern, and confusion. It is an impressive piece of work. Aronson, a D&D fan from Boston, added several new spells in The Dragon #1 but appears to have published nothing else in the hobby.

In "Tsolyáni without the Tears," M.A.R. Barker introduces the titular language, which features in TSR's forthcoming Empire of the Petal Throne RPG. The article is accompanied by a diagram of the rather beautiful Tsolyáni script, also devised by Barker.

This month's "Creature Feature" describes the clay golem, noting that "Lawful clerics of the 15th level or above are able to fashion these creatures." Meanwhile, "Mighty Magic Miscellany" introduces Ioun Stones, taken straight from the fiction of Jack Vance.

Finally, Brian Blume continues his "Gallery of Gunfighters" series, this time giving a potted history and Boot Hill statistics for Doc Holliday.

And that's a wrap! My favorite article was Aronson's Illusionist. Next issue, we have trolls versus tranks, prayer beads, and the battle of the Nile!

This article was originally published on my blog, which has reviews of prior issues and other goodies.
 

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