• magisterrex Retro Games


    I've been gaming since the days of Pong and still own a working Atari 2600. I tend to ramble on about retro games, whether they be board games, video games or PC games. Sometimes I digress. Decades after earning it, I'm finally putting the skills I learned while completing my history degree from the University of Victoria to good use. Or so I think. If you're into classic old school gaming, this blog is for you!

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Advertising From Yesteryear…Dragon Strike

Sometimes an ad is more of a teaser, showing just enough to get the reader to investigate further.  This 1993 ad, found on the back of a Marvel Comic, is in this category.  Dragon Strike was a board game from TSR, the makers of Dungeons & Dragons, released to compete with Milton Bradley’s popular HeroQuest.  It used miniature player tokens, 3-D tokens representing monsters, had multiple game boards for varying game play, and involved completing many adventures, killing monsters, casting spells, and gathering loot.  The ad, however, points out another interesting feature of Dragon Strike: it used a 30-minute VHS video to “set the mood” for playing the game.  To call the Dragon Strike video cheesy is to insult all Ed Wood movies.  It must be seen to be believed…but a warning: what has been seen cannot be unseen!

1993 ad for Dragonstrike

What’s In That Game Box? – The New Easy To Master Dungeons and Dragons Game (1991)

Ever scoured the Internet looking for what exactly you were missing from the old board game you pulled from your closet, only to find no one who could give you the answer?  Well, stop that fruitless searching through endless google results, as this featured this week on What’s In That Game Box? is TSR, Inc.’s classic roleplaying game brought to board game life, The New Easy To Master Dungeons & Dragons Game.

The NEW Easy to Master Dungeons & Dragons Game

The contents of The New Easy To Master Dungeons & Dragons Game are as follows:

The game box (featuring the iconic image of  Jeff Easley’s Red Dragon painting- a red dragon doing battle with a man armed with a battle axe)

The game board (a fold-up 21″ x 31 1/2″ map with 34 “room” entries)

The D&D Game Instruction Sheet: Read This Sheet First!

The DM screen (with several tables and charts on a red background)

The Dragon Card Learning Pack (stored within the DM Screen, which contains 48 double-sided pages of information on play Dungeons & Dragons, as well as four 4-page pullout adventure module chapters to help new DMs run the Escape from Zanzer’s Dungeon adventure)

6 colored game dice (white 4-sided, blue 6-sided, white 8-sided, yellow 10-sided, white 12-sided, and red 20-sided)

2 sheets of fold-up counters, which comprise of the following:

  • Adelle
  • Axel
  • Blind Man
  • Bug Bear [x4]
  • Dwarf / Goblin [x4]
  • Dwarf / Guard
  • Dwarf / Kobold
  • Green Slime
  • Gnomes
  • Goblin / Guard
  • Jerj
  • Kamro
  • Minotaur
  • Ogre [x2]
  • Orc [x4]
  • Prisoner
  • Rock Python
  • Slave / Gnoll [x3]
  • Slave / Hobgoblin [x4]
  • Sprites
  • Wolf
  • Zanzer Tem
  • Zombie [x4]
  • Plus 7 un-named counters, each with a different portrait on both sides

A TSR, Inc. Spring/Summer 1991 product catalog.

A TRS, Inc. product brochure on the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia

A full-sized fold-out poster of Jeff Easley’s Red Dragon painting

A special offer card for a subscription to Amazing Stories

The Customer Response Card

The 64-page Rule Book

Aside from a very well-laid out inner cardboard separator piece  which keeps the box intact, that’s it!  Hopefully this helps you find your way into enjoying “hours of high adventure in the world of cunning wizards, mighty warriors, and ferocious dragons!”

Game board for the New Dungeons & Dragons Game

Counter sheets for the New Dungeons & Dragons Game

DM Screen and Dragon Card Learning Pack for the New Dungeons & Dragons Game

Rule book and sheet for the New Dungeons & Dragons Game

Dice and miscellaneous papers for the New Dungeons & Dragons Game

Giant fold-out poster for the New Dungeons & Dragons Game

Catalog Cavalcade: Gateway to Adventure – 1981 TSR Hobbies

Once upon a time the RPG universe was filled with names like Top Secret, Boot Hill, Gamma World, and Dungeons & Dragons – both Basic and Advanced.  TSR Hobbies were The Game Wizards, and their creations were craved by masses of roleplayers worldwide.  Now they’re just another part of the Hasbro empire.  So, take a moment to peel back the pages of time, and peer into a different era of roleplaying with TSR Hobbies, Inc.’s 1981 product catalog, apply named: Gateway to Adventure!

Click to open the catalog!

What’s In That Game Box? – DUNGEON! Fantasy Boardgame

Ever scoured the Internet looking for what exactly you were missing from the old board game you pulled from your closet, only to find no one who could give you the answer?  Well, stop that fruitless searching through endless google results, as this week we look at  DUNGEON! Fantasy Boardgame, the 1981 TSR Hobbies, Inc classic.  As any owner of this game can tell you, this game lacks a detailed contents listing, with no indication on the box nor the rules pamphlet of what exactly is supposed to be in the box.  What’s In That Game Box? to the rescue!

Box art for DUNGEON! Fantasy Boardgame

The contents of DUNGEON! are as follows:

The game box (featuring a scene by Jim Roslof, an artist who provided much of the art for the AD&D first edition sourcebooks).

The game board (a multi-colored jumble of squares and paths representing a 6-level dungeon, trimmed with either a red or black border.  The squares are for the Monster and Treasure Cards, and the path takes the players though the Main Staircase, the Guard Room, The Kitchen, the Storeroom, the Armory, the Torture Chamber, the Crypt, the Queen’s Treasure Room, the Queen’s Treasure Room Annex, the Wizard’s Laboratory, the Wizard’s Treasure Room, the King’s Library, and the King’s Treasure Room.)

8 plastic player tokens (2 each of blue, green, red, and white)

2 numerical dice (not using pips, but integers)

1 crayon (to be used on the numerical dice to enhance the numbers)

30 Number Markers (2 of each number from 1 to 15)

110 Grave Markers (all brown with white art showing a grave with a tombstone marked RIP)

24 Spell Cards, consisting of FIRE BALL (x9), LIGHTNING BOLT (x9), and TELEPORT (x6)

61 Monster Cards (1st Level x7, 2nd Level x8, 3rd Level x11, 4th Level x12, 5th Level x14, and 6th Level x9).  Each card has a rating for Lightning, Fire Ball, Wizard, Superhero, Hero, and Elf, which I’ve represented as L, F, W, S, H, and E in the interests of saving my typing fingers.  The cards are:

1st Level: Giant Lizard (L2, F2, W5, S2, H4, E5)
1st Level: Giant Rats [x2] (L7, F2, W6, S3, H4, E5)
1st Level: Goblins [x2] (L6, F2, W5, S2, H4, E3)
1st Level: Hobgoblins (L3, F3, W6, S3, H5, E4)
1st Level: Skeleton (L2, F2, W6, S3, H4, E5)
2nd Level: Evil Hero (L4, F5, W6, S5, H7, E8)
2nd Level: Ghouls [x2] (L3, F3, W6, S4, H6, E5)
2nd Level: Giant Lizard (L2, F2, W5, S2, H4, E5)
2nd Level: Giant Spider [x2] (L4, F3, W5, S4, H6, E6)
2nd Level: Hobgoblins (L3, F3, W6, S3, H5, E4)
2nd Level: TRAP! Cage! Lose 1-6 turns (roll one die).
3rd Level:  Evil Superhero [x2] (L7, F7, W8, S7, H9, E10)
3rd Level: Gargoyle (L4, F-, W6, S5, H6, E7)
3rd Level: Giant Snake (L5, F6, W9, S6, H8, E10)
3rd Level: Giant Spider(L4, F3, W5, S4, H6, E6)
3rd Level: Mummy (L-, F3, W8, S8, H10, E11)
3rd Level: Ogre [x2] (L5, F4, W8, S6, H9, E8)
3rd Level: TRAP! Slide to a Chamber one level deeper.
3rd Level: Werewolf [x2] (L9, F8, W7, S7, H9, E9)
4th Level:  Evil Superhero [x2] (L7, F7, W8, S7, H9, E10)
4th Level: Giant (L9, F6, W10, S9, H11, E10)
4th Level: Giant Snake (L5, F6, W9, S6, H8, E10)
4th Level: Green Slime [x2] (L6, F-, W11, S10, H11, E12)
4th Level: Mummy [x2] (L-, F3, W8, S8, H10, E11)
4th Level: TRAP! Cage! Lose 1-6 turns (roll one die).
4th Level: Troll [x2] (L-, F7, W8, S8, H10, E9)
4th Level: Werewolf (L9, F8, W7, S7, H9, E9)
5th Level:  Black Pudding [x2] (L-, F5, W12, S12, H12, E-)
5th Level: Giant [x2] (L9, F6, W10, S9, H11, E10)
5th Level: Green Slime [x2] (L6, F-, W11, S10, H11, E12)
5th Level: Purple Worm [x2] (L6, F8, W12, S10, H11, E12)
5th Level: TRAP! Slide to a Chamber one level deeper.
5th Level: Troll [x2] (L-, F7, W8, S8, H10, E9)
5th Level: Vampire (L10, F10, W9, S8, H10, E12)
5th Level: Witch [x2] (L10, F10, W5, S9, H11, E11)
6th Level:  Black Pudding (L-, F5, W12, S10, H12, E-)
6th Level: Blue Dragon [x2] (L-, F7, W12, S10, H12, E-)
6th Level: Evil Wizard [x2] (L11, F11, W7, S11, H12, E-)
6th Level: Purple Worm (L6, F8, W12, S10, H11, E12)
6th Level: Red Dragon (L8, F-, W12, S11, H-, E-)
6th Level: Vampire [x2] (L10, F10, W9, S8, H10, E12)

80 Treasure Cards (1st Level x9, 2nd Level x9, 3rd Level x16, 4th Level x18, 5th Level x16, and 6th Level x12). The cards consist of:

1st Level: +1 / +2 Magic Sword (Enables bearer to add to combat rolls. 500 Gold Pieces.)
1st Level:  Sack of Gold (250 Gold Pieces) [x2]
1st Level:  Sack of Gold (500 Gold Pieces) [x2]
1st Level: Sack of Gold (750 Gold Pieces) [x2]
1st Level: Sack of Gold (1,000 Gold Pieces)
1st Level: Secret Door Card (Enables bearer to move through any secret doors on any level.)
2nd Level:  +1 / +2 Magic Sword (Enables bearer to add to combat rolls. 1,000 Gold Pieces)
2nd Level: Sack of Gold (500 Gold Pieces)
2nd Level: Sack of Gold (750 Gold Pieces)
2nd Level: Sack of Gold (1,000 Gold Pieces) [x2]
2nd Level: Secret Door Card (Enables bearer to move through any secret doors on any level.)
2nd Level: Silver Cup (1,000 Gold Pieces) [x2]
2nd Level: Silver Ring (2,000 Gold Pieces)
3rd Level:  ESP Medallion (Enables bearer to check Monster Card before fighting [see rules]. 500 GP)
3rd Level: Gold Cup (2,500 Gold Pieces) [x3]
3rd Level: Gold Ring (3,000 Gold Pieces) [x2]
3rd Level: Sack of Gold (750 Gold Pieces)
3rd Level: Sack of Gold (1,000 Gold Pieces) [x2]
3rd Level: Secret Door Card (Enables bearer to move through any secret doors on any level.)
3rd Level: Silver Cup (1,000 Gold Pieces) [x3]
3rd Level: Silver Ring (2,000 Gold Pieces) [x3]
4th Level:  +1 / +2 Magic Sword (Enables bearer to add to combat rolls. 1,000 Gold Pieces) [x2]
4th Level:  Crystal Ball (If not moving or attacking, bearer may check any monster and treasure [see rules]. 1,000 GP)
4th Level: Gold Cup (2,500 Gold Pieces) [x2]
4th Level: Gold Ring (3,000 Gold Pieces) [x2]
4th Level: Huge Emerald (5,000 Gold Pieces)
4th Level: Huge Sapphire (6,000 Gold Pieces)
4th Level: Jade Idol (5,000 Gold Pieces) [x2]
4th Level: Sack of Gold (1,000 Gold Pieces)
4th Level: Secret Door Card (Enables bearer to move through any secret door on any level.)
4th Level: Silver Coffer (4,000 Gold Pieces) [x2]
4th Level: Silver Cup (1,000 Gold Pieces)
4th Level: Silver Ring (2,000 Gold Pieces) [x2]
5th Level:  ESP Medallion (Enables bearer to check Monster Card before fighting [see rules]. 1,500 GP)
5th Level: Gold Cup (2,500 Gold Pieces) [x2]
5th Level: Gold Ring (3,000 Gold Pieces) [x2]
5th Level: Huge Emerald (5,000 Gold Pieces) [x2}
5th Level: Huge Ruby (8,000 Gold Pieces)
5th Level: Huge Sapphire (6,000 Gold Pieces) [x2]
5th Level: Jade Idol (5,000 Gold Pieces) [x2]
5th Level: Silver Coffer (4,000 Gold Pieces) [x2]
5th Level: Silver Necklace (7,000 Gold Pieces)
5th Level: Silver Ring (2,000 Gold Pieces)
6th Level:  +1 / +2 Magic Sword (Enables bearer to add to combat rolls. 2,000 Gold Pieces)
6th Level: Crystal Ball (If not moving or attacking, bearer may check any monster and treasure [see rules]. 2,000 GP)
6th Level: Gold Necklace (9,000 Gold Pieces)
6th Level: Huge Diamond (10,000 Gold Pieces)
6th Level: Huge Emerald (5,000 Gold Pieces) [x2]
6th Level: Huge Ruby (8,000 Gold Pieces)
6th Level: Huge Sapphire (6,000 Gold Pieces)
6th Level: Jade Idol (5,000 Gold Pieces) [x2]
6th Level: Silver Coffer (4,000 Gold Pieces)
6th Level: Silver Necklace (7,000 Gold Pieces)

The Game Rules

Aside from the inner cardboard filler which helps keep the box from collapsing inward, that’s it.  DUNGEON! was a fun experiment by TSR in trying to translate the D&D experience into a board game format, and I imagine a few older gamers today can look back fondly at playing this game!

Game Board for DUNGEON Fantasy Boardgame

Monster Cards for DUNGEON!, Levels 1 and 2

Monster Cards for DUNGEON!, Levels 3 and 4

Monster Cards for DUNGEON!, Levels 5 and 6

Tokens and Dice for DUNGEON!

Treasure Cards for DUNGEON!, Levels 1 and 2

Treasure Cards for DUNGEON!, Level 3

Treasure Cards for DUNGEON!, Level 4

Treasure Cards for DUNGEON!, Levels 5 and 6

Spell Cards for DUNGEON! Fantasy Boardgame

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