Review The Strategic Review #6

sr6.jpg
TSR
published The Strategic Review #6 in February 1976. It is 16 pages long and has a cover price of 75 cents.

"In The Cauldron" by Tim Kask summarises the various goings-on at TSR. The company is moving the shop to a new location called "The Dungeon," and all are invited to the new premises. Classic Warfare, a seven-year project by Gygax, has been added to the catalog along with products from new partners like MiniFigs and Old Guard. Finally, Dave Arneson and Mike Carr have joined the TSR team full-time, reflecting the company's strong growth.

"Wargaming World" contains miscellaneous news about the wargaming scene. Plans for D&D seminars at GenCon face uncertainty due to low interest. WarCon in Texas and Michicon V in Detroit are on the horizon. Don Horton and Brad Stock are publishing new play-by-mail games. MiniFigs is diversifying its miniature collections with a new War of the Roses line. Finally, Avalon Hill will soon be releasing the long-awaited Alesia.

"The Meaning of Law and Chaos in Dungeons & Dragons and Their Relationships to Good and Evil" by Gygax is an influential article that describes the two-axis alignment system for the first time. Gygax plots various D&D creatures on the graph and states:

The lawful/good classification is typified by the paladin, the chaotic/good alignment is typified by elves, lawful/evil is typified by the vampire, and the demon is the epitome of chaotic/evil. Elementals are neutral.

"Triumphs and Tragedies" is a new column dedicated to reviews, with the focus of this issue on 'zines. Jagdpanther is a professionally crafted quarterly, rich in board game information, and includes a game in every issue. Owl & Weasel from England is a compact newsletter by Games Workshop, heavily centered on game promotions and news. Fire the Arquebusiers! is a budding fantasy wargame fanzine by Greg Costikyan, though its print quality could be better. Fantasia Today revolves around postal fantasy gaming. Dankendismal is an affordable D&D zine with intriguing concepts, though its organization leaves room for improvement. Ryth Chronicle offers an engaging account of an extensive D&D campaign. Evermist is a fantasy-themed quarterly that features a mix of poetry, stories, and reviews. The Space Gamer by Metagaming Concepts covers a broad spectrum of topics from Sci-Fi to Fantasy in a polished format. Alarums & Excursions stands out as a collaborative D&D zine, offering a platform for discourse on varied issues.

"The Quest for the Vermillion Volume" by Robert J. Kuntz is a whimsical tale following Drystaff, an eccentric wizard, Highton, an elf scout, and the hero Lamhand, all searching for a mysterious book. It appears to be the first part of a longer work. It is the first fiction published by TSR and possibly the first piece of D&D gaming fiction.

"Fight in the Skies" by Mike Carr introduces the titular World War I air simulation game, recently published by TSR. The game boasts a dedicated community, with a society established in 1969 that publishes a bi-monthly newsletter and organizes annual tournaments. Players immerse themselves in the experience of WWI aerial combat, handling different aircraft types from the 1917-1918 period. With a versatile setup and the ability to accommodate anywhere from 2 to 20 players, Fight in the Skies is a unique, open-ended wargame.

"War of Wizards Update" by John W. Berry and "War of Wizards Solitaire Rules" by Richard L. Mataka provide optional rules for the arena wargame written by M.A.R Barker. Likewise, "Boot Hill Experimental Rule" by Brian Blume adds an optional bravery statistic to TSR's Wild West RPG, while "Dwarves and Clerics in Dungeon!" by Gygax adds two new character types to the popular board game.

The clumsily titled "Statistics Regarding Classes: (Additions) Bards" introduces the Bard class to Dungeons & Dragons. It is described as "a jack-of-all-trades... both an amateur thief and magic user as well as a good fighter." The author was Doug Schwegman, who appears to have published nothing else in the hobby.

"New Game, New Strategy" by Dennis O'Leary is an advertorial for his game Ancient Conquest by Excalibre Games. This new wargame allows players to emulate ancient civilizations like the Hittites, Assyrians, Egyptians, and Babylonians. It boasts rapid board movement, fast-paced combat, and incorporates diplomacy, religion, and culture.

Finally, "Sage Advice" by Theronius offers several corrections to the Greyhawk supplement.

And that's a wrap! It's a stuffed issue, with my favorite article being the Bard. Next time, we have the final issue of Strategic Review!

For more articles like this, please see my blog
 

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