Black Box Blues

Well, I dug up my copy of “The New Easy to Master Dungeons & Dragons Game”.  Unfortunately beyond the basic idea of starting the players in prison and thus introducing rules as they go, there’s not much else worth stealing.  

The writing is targeted at a very young reader and is painfully dogmatic.  The design of the dungeon itself is entirely linear.  It seems pretty unlikely that one would create a dungeon for storing prisoners and keep piles of armor in the next adjacent room, then piles of weapons, then an archery range…

If anyone learned how to be a DM from this thing, I feel pretty sorry for their players.  The very first scene the DM is told to present involves introducing a new NPC prisoner to the players’ cell.  The text then outlines all the ways the players might try to escape during this encounter, and how to railroad them away from it.  Did it not occur to anyone to simply have the extra NPC prisoner already in the room when the players start?

I’ve read this box was believed to be TSRs attempt to compete with HeroQuest, which came out one year earlier.  I’d say it does just about as good a job as Spellfire did against Magic: the Gathering.

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