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Short Cut to Remote Gaming Forum (29 Aug 2020)

Since remote gaming has now become a significant part of how we play board games, we have added a short cut to this forum in the menu on the left.

Red Box Dawn - The Ballad of Bargle - Memories of Dungeons & Dragons Red Box

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22 Jul 2020 00:00 #312330 by Andi Lennon
Despite being confined to quarters via hermetic seal, barred from...

Some memories still cut to the quick. A brief meditation on formative gateways and childhood trauma.

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22 Jul 2020 14:25 - 22 Jul 2020 14:27 #312331 by Sagrilarus
She's going to pull it to left field every time with that stance, likely foul.

She needs to square up more, and get some weight on her back foot.
Last edit: 22 Jul 2020 14:27 by Sagrilarus.
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22 Jul 2020 15:38 #312336 by Shellhead
I started playing AD&D some time between the publication of the Monster Manual and the Dungeon Master's Guide, so I had to wrestle with an unwieldy set of rules and plenty of guidance from Dragon Magazine while I was teaching myself the game. A few years later, I was babysitting a kid who had just gotten the Red Box edition for his birthday. I was amazed at the organization and utility of the Red Box rules, and a little jealous that this kid was going to have such an easy time getting into the game.
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22 Jul 2020 17:37 - 22 Jul 2020 17:38 #312340 by jason10mm
I love Elmore. It's is pleasure to see him at every dragoncon. So many adolescent dreams were made in his images. How shocking to see as an adult that he has quite a few adult sketches.

Was the red box the one that had that intro solo module with the yellow invisible ink highlighter stuff? Am I totally confabulating that product?

Any one else remember the days of red filtered hidden text books, scratch off gray squares, invisible ink puzzles, and what not? Kids these days have no idea the lame cheese they are missing out on with their new fangled full color touch screen "pay to play" apps :P
Last edit: 22 Jul 2020 17:38 by jason10mm.
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22 Jul 2020 18:10 #312344 by Andi Lennon

Sagrilarus wrote: She's going to pull it to left field every time with that stance, likely foul.

She needs to square up more, and get some weight on her back foot.


Hahahahahahahahaha
Poor Alena, it seems she has trouble with projectiles of all stripes.

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22 Jul 2020 18:23 - 22 Jul 2020 18:26 #312345 by Andi Lennon

jason10mm wrote: I love Elmore. It's is pleasure to see him at every dragoncon. So many adolescent dreams were made in his images. How shocking to see as an adult that he has quite a few adult sketches.

Was the red box the one that had that intro solo module with the yellow invisible ink highlighter stuff? Am I totally confabulating that product?

Any one else remember the days of red filtered hidden text books, scratch off gray squares, invisible ink puzzles, and what not? Kids these days have no idea the lame cheese they are missing out on with their new fangled full color touch screen "pay to play" apps :P


I believe you're thinking of Dave Cook's 'Blizzard Pass' module. My copy has unfortunately lost it's battle with age and the pen is long gone with both factors conspiring to make the hidden passages illegible. Some lemon juice on a paint brush might do the trick though. I remember the mid 80's proliferation of this 'technology' well though. My favourite was a series of detective stories where you solved puzzles and hunted for clues. We didn't need no Xbox get off my lawn etc etc
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Last edit: 22 Jul 2020 18:26 by Andi Lennon.
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22 Jul 2020 18:32 #312346 by Andi Lennon

Shellhead wrote: I started playing AD&D some time between the publication of the Monster Manual and the Dungeon Master's Guide, so I had to wrestle with an unwieldy set of rules and plenty of guidance from Dragon Magazine while I was teaching myself the game. A few years later, I was babysitting a kid who had just gotten the Red Box edition for his birthday. I was amazed at the organization and utility of the Red Box rules, and a little jealous that this kid was going to have such an easy time getting into the game.


Yeah it was a godsend to have it spelled out with such benign patience, however the hurdles to entry didn't stop there. Now you had to find people to actually play it with. It wasn't quite as immediate as the Transformers toys my friends were enamoured with at the time so it fell upon my younger brothers to be the guinea pigs in my nascent labyrinths. I believe they're still scarred by it if drunken Christmas recollections are to be believed. Pit trap. Pit trap. Pit trap. Darts! Kobolds! Failed Save! I was such a shit.

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22 Jul 2020 20:56 #312352 by Jackwraith
I started a little earlier, when the box was just the Basic D&D rulebook and The Keep on the Borderlands module. Shortly thereafter, I arrived at a school where people were already playing AD&D and so I left the "basic" game behind. This was circa 1981. Then I discovered the A series (Slavers), the G, D, Q series (giants, drow), and the S series (Tomb of Horrors, White Plume Mountain, Expedition to the Barrier Beaks, and later The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth.) Pretty soon, I had a map of Greyhawk on my wall. Then, I discovered Gamma World...
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22 Jul 2020 22:21 #312359 by jason10mm
Ah man, Gamma World was the best. I remember they had that "black death ray" pistol that killed anything in one shot. The dog people with a fetish for eating human hands, so cool.

I liked Star Frontiers quite a bit as well, and Top Secret S.I.

Wow, TSR got so much of my money back in the day...
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22 Jul 2020 22:36 #312363 by Andi Lennon

Jackwraith wrote: I started a little earlier, when the box was just the Basic D&D rulebook and The Keep on the Borderlands module. Shortly thereafter, I arrived at a school where people were already playing AD&D and so I left the "basic" game behind. This was circa 1981. Then I discovered the A series (Slavers), the G, D, Q series (giants, drow), and the S series (Tomb of Horrors, White Plume Mountain, Expedition to the Barrier Beaks, and later The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth.) Pretty soon, I had a map of Greyhawk on my wall. Then, I discovered Gamma World...


I have both the original Keep on The Borderlands and the ridiculously opulent reprint and conversion of that and Into the Unknown put out recently by Goodman Games. Ditto for Barrier Peaks- they're a lot to unpack but fabulous collector pieces.

The first module I ever bought back in the day however was B6- The Veiled Society. An odd choice perhaps but my child-like mind was possibly swayed by the chintzy card standees included. Turned out to be a great choice as it was an unusual approach for the era and eschewed the standard dungeoncrawl for a more urban mystery theme that i came to appreciate even more in subsequent years.

One of my friends actually just picked up one the 80's Gamma World starter boxes too, so no time like the present to revisit that particular irradiated gem.
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22 Jul 2020 22:41 - 23 Jul 2020 03:02 #312364 by Andi Lennon

jason10mm wrote: Ah man, Gamma World was the best. I remember they had that "black death ray" pistol that killed anything in one shot. The dog people with a fetish for eating human hands, so cool.

I liked Star Frontiers quite a bit as well, and Top Secret S.I.

Wow, TSR got so much of my money back in the day...


Star Frontiers was actually the first RPG i ever played. I had older neighbours who had emigrated from Canada and used to play. I pestered them til they relented and let me sit in on a game when i was about eight years old. I was duly smitten and thus began my quest for that first red box. Top Secret never crossed my path and i was probably a little young to grok the cold war paranoia that fuelled it.
Last edit: 23 Jul 2020 03:02 by Andi Lennon.

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23 Jul 2020 09:41 #312372 by jpat
I went the Basic-Expert-AD&D route. In retrospect, there wouldn't have been anything wrong--in fact, probably a lot right--in playing more Basic-Expert, because we were far from expert, but at the time there wasn't all *that* much for anything below AD&D, and the lure of the hardbacks and the sophistication they portended was too strong.

I still have my autographed copy of the guns and gadgets book from Top Secret/SI. I was able to play with the author, who was the author of the earlier Top Secret version, back in 1988.
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23 Jul 2020 18:49 #312403 by Andi Lennon

jpat wrote: I went the Basic-Expert-AD&D route. In retrospect, there wouldn't have been anything wrong--in fact, probably a lot right--in playing more Basic-Expert, because we were far from expert, but at the time there wasn't all *that* much for anything below AD&D, and the lure of the hardbacks and the sophistication they portended was too strong.

I still have my autographed copy of the guns and gadgets book from Top Secret/SI. I was able to play with the author, who was the author of the earlier Top Secret version, back in 1988.


Yeah we never finished the BECMI spiral either. At some point the hardbacks took precedence and we never really levelled past the companion set so sadly we never got to oil up our chests and punch deities as Immortals. I think the glut of products at the time had the unintended side effect of splintering campaigns as various members of groups were keen to try out different stuff. I'm experiencing the same thing now with the abundance of indie and OSR systems vying for my attention. Those BECMI boxes sure looked nice lined up on a shelf together though. I was lucky enough to inherit a friends full set after he returned from a church festival retreat type thing with a strange new glassy-eyed zeal and renounced roleplaying games as a pernicious influence. That lasted all of three weeks I think but I was a firm adherent to the 'no backsies' rule in this instance. Wish I still had them all.
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24 Jul 2020 00:18 #312415 by san il defanso
I'm not one who is nostalgic for old-school D&D in any meaningful way, but I do feel like the idea of a simplified D&D product like this, to be sold in big-box stores, has never really been attempted on the same level. There was the Essentials line from 4e, and the Starter Kit and Essentials Kit from 5e, but those are basically just the regular game. I can only speak for the 5e Starter Set, but it does struggle to explain things like the process of dungeon-crawling. (That's a general issue with how 5e is written.)

Anyway, a simplified version of what 5e does, with a more structured ruleset, would be pretty cool. Certainly 5e cares more about getting new players than WotC has since they've owned the game, but I feel like they could do a lot better at it.
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24 Jul 2020 01:37 #312419 by Andi Lennon

san il defanso wrote: I'm not one who is nostalgic for old-school D&D in any meaningful way, but I do feel like the idea of a simplified D&D product like this, to be sold in big-box stores, has never really been attempted on the same level. There was the Essentials line from 4e, and the Starter Kit and Essentials Kit from 5e, but those are basically just the regular game. I can only speak for the 5e Starter Set, but it does struggle to explain things like the process of dungeon-crawling. (That's a general issue with how 5e is written.)

Anyway, a simplified version of what 5e does, with a more structured ruleset, would be pretty cool. Certainly 5e cares more about getting new players than WotC has since they've owned the game, but I feel like they could do a lot better at it.


Yeah, I picked up the 5e Starter Set as part of a bundle some time ago and it struck me as being a pretty bare bones collection with little to no hand-holding or effort to ease players into not only the mechanics but the concept of Role Playing Games in general. It's basically a truncated rule-set and a pretty vanilla adventure in a nice box.

(Also no AIeena. Sorry Gundren, but no-one cares)

I think WotC are banking on the aforementioned access to videos, forums and the free online resources to do most of the heavy lifting in that regard. I've not really checked out much of that stuff so I can't say for sure what the efficacy is but I will say that when learning a new board game i appreciate the hell out of a good instructional video so perhaps it's just indicative of the times and the changing media landscape. Still- not everyone is privy to such access so a more fleshed out breadcrumb trail would be great, more egalitarian, and to have it all in the one package would probably birth a million memories not unlike this one.

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