White Dwarf Revisited — Issue #4 Dec/Jan 1977/1978

Amid the fungi and dense foliage of a forest, a timid a warrior fends off the brazen attacks of raven with murderous intent. Alice in Dungeonland, Monsters of Mild Malign and Hyboria all receive top billing. Quarter page ads for Warriors of the Lost Continent (miniatures), Games Centre, The Specialist Game Shop, and SD & VM Steel (the low cost mail order specialists for all your board gaming/D&D needs!) grace the inside of the cover.

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[h=3]Within the pages of the old tome[/h] White Dwarf editor Ian Livingstone starts this issue being amazed the majority of board-based wargames are of American descent. He spends the entire editor’s note discussing the lack of games, RPGs and miniatures available from British companies and notes “it’s a sad state of affairs, one which we hope can be rectified before it’s too late.”

Don Turnbull gets the proceedings off to a rousing start with Alice in Dungeonland. The incredibly detailed adventure is a great example how D&D captured the imagination in its early days (and provides insight into why it’s so popular and important today). In the text, Turnball surmises that author Lewis Carroll probably wouldn’t play D&D, but perhaps would enjoy crafting puzzles based on the game in the world of Alice in Wonderland. An intriguing prospect. Turnball goes on to demonstrate his own ideas including a narrow passage puzzles, a puzzle based in a glade, and a fantastic puzzle set within a clock room that utilizes the clocks as an integral part of the solution. It’s interesting to note the evolution of box text over the years. In this piece, the box text is a bit complicated: “A small glade across which runs a slow wall on which are five egg-shaped objects…” and so on. Modern text would probably streamline that a bit. The adventure adds significantly onto the Alice in Wonderland story and shouldn’t be missed for fans of that story and its D&D associations. There’s also a cool ad for a White Dwarf t-shirt featuring the titular dwarf opposite the last page of the feature.

Directly following Alice’s adventure is a full page ad for Star Rovers from Archive Miniatures. Here we find highly detailed science fiction minis…perhaps a portent of things to come? After the ad, Lewis Pulsipher takes readers through the mechanics of contstructing a D&D campaign. He suggest using board game pieces in place of miniatures and outlines construction of dungeons, wilderness, city and wandering monster encounters.

Tony Bath’s piece article, Hyboria, discusses playing a wargame in Conan’s the Hyborian Age. His assertion that Robert Howard’s Conan would “become the basis for one of the longest-running and most widely known wargame campaigns” leads to a detailed look at how Bath used Howard’s work to create a fun and interesting gaming experience in that world.

In the news this month, Games Workshop is now distributing Archive Miniatures, Greenwood & Ball have a new line of minis called Startroopers and a Scotland based company just released a line of minis entitled Warriors of the Lost Continent. For RPGs, there’s something new from D&D and a few other games: Cosmic Encounter, Swordplay, and Conquest of Space. This month’s “Open Box” reviews Nomad Gods (from the Chaosium) and two items from TSR—Star Empires and Dungeon! Both receive relatively positive reviews, with the latter being referred to as “a board game version of Dungeons & Dragons. Finally, Melee (Metagaming Concepts) is gets a lukewarm reception, with reviewer Martin Easterbrook noting it “doesn’t contain any original ideas but combines a number of good ideas.” The bottom half of the page has an order guide for those Startroopers minis we mentioned earlier. Where else can you get “arachnid warrior,” “humanoid robot” and “space pirate with pulse rifle” miniatures? Does anyone remember this line? I’d be interested to learn more about it from those who used them.

Don Turnbull returns with Monsters Mild & Malign. In this feature, he pays tribute to Dungeoneer magazine and authors Lee Gold and Paul Jaquays. There are a few new creatures here: the glitch (a ball of fur), the smoke monster (a malformed monstrosity made of living smoke), the smoke demon, the Typo (an invisible creature), the Ibem (from Dungeoneer #3), the black leech, the death snake and the mind drain (a shadow creature).Finally, there’s the black monk, who leaves his smoky footprints everywhere. The Barbarian class is covered in obsessive detail by Brian Asbury in the “Treasure Chest” and “The Loremaster of Avallon” returns for part four. This time, the focus is on the effects of unparried blows during combat. Lots of tables and calculations here.

“Competative D&D” returns for its fourth and final installment, this time at the Tomb of Akhnaten (not to be confused with the Phillip Glass opera of the same name). The article additionally provides coverage for The Brain Drain Room, Pandora’s Box and the Hall of Secrets.

“Letters” this month is all about complex mathematics in the monstermark system and a rather lengthy letter about why manufacturers should not only make dungeon equipment in addition to their normal minis, but why everyone should use modern model equipment for their games as well.

This month’s Games Workshop catalogue is packed full of D&D, dice, figures and science fiction games, with an expanded miniatures line (foreshadowing, perhaps?). On the back cover, a wizard, large demon and a devil gaze into the image of a large citadel, our fourth installment of a look back at White Dwarf. See you next issue!

Read the other parts of this series:
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David J. Buck

David J. Buck

Ed Laprade

First Post
Some of this sounds vaguely familiar, although the cover does not. And I'm 99.9% sure I wasn't introduced to the mag until later. Was any of this reprinted?


Is it worth adding that SD & VM Steel (the low cost mail order specialists for all your board gaming/D&D needs!) became Esdevium Games (SD-VM) and is now Asmodee UK. AFAIK Dan Steel is still heavily involved with the company.


Gygax himself went on to write two modules adapting Alice in Wonderland for AD&D in 1983: EX1 - Dungeonland and EX2 - The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror. I wonder if he read this article.

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