DragonStrike (board game)
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The DragonStrike Entertainment product, which included a 30-minute video explaining the concept of role-playing, was intended as an approach to gain new players, serving as an introduction to the D&D role-playing game, and used greatly simplified versions of the Basic D&D rules. The game came with several fold-out maps for use as the board, a number of plastic miniatures to represent the player characters and monsters, and various other game pieces. Also included were several pre-written quests available for play, including several single-player adventures.
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DragonStrike's most distinctive feature was the inclusion of a VHS tape that showed viewers a non-interactive means of people playing the game, with the "host" playing the Dragon Master. The method by which the players in the video play the game bears only a moderate resemblance to the actual game as described in the official rulebook. This was due to the fact that the board game had not been finished yet, and monsters such as Minotaurs and Owlbears, plus the Cleric class, make an appearance in the video but not the finished game. The video primarily used live actors, but was bolstered by then-cutting edge 3D graphics which were used to illustrate various magical effects and monsters, such as the game's titular dragon. The VHS tape boasted that it was filmed in "HyperReality," which looked good at the time, if not a little rough around the edges. At the end of the tape was a section for the Dragon Master, which serves as the Dragon Strike equivalent to D&D's Dungeon Master. The host of the video gives a video tutorial for the people who would like to be a Dragon Master. This included tips and tricks that helped the players have fun, as well as making the game challenging at the same time.
The Dragon Strike game presents the basics of role-playing games in an innovative board-game format. The rules cast players in the roles of dwarves, thieves, and other fantasy archetypes. Each player receives a card representing his character, which shows ratings for Armor Class, Speed, Attack Strength, and special abilities. A clip attached to the side of the card keeps track of the character's Hit Points. The Dragon Master—the Dragon Strike equivalent of a Dungeon Master—prepares a session by selecting a mission from the Adventure Book, locates the indicated markers and cards, then responds with monsters, traps, and treasures as the characters wander around the colorful map board. A mission must be completed within a fixed number of turns.
The Dragon Master controls the actions of the monsters and non-player characters. To resolve combat, the DM compares the Attack Strength to the target's Armor Class; if the Attack Roll is higher, the target loses one Hit Point. Equally simple rules cover spellcasting, feats of strength, and flying.
In August 1993, issue #196 of Dragon Magazine included an additional scenario/adventure titled "The Dragon Orb."
In other media
Four books were written about each of the major classes featured in the video. Warrior, Elf, Wizard and Thief were the titles, and expanded on the lore and adventures leading up to the video and game.
WildSpace: Announced was a proposed TV series or expansion to DragonStrike called WildSpace and featuring a return of several of the original cast. This time traveling into Spelljammers WildSpace setting. Aside from a flyer announcement and a trailer, WildSpace was never produced.
Rick Swan reviewed Dragon Strike for TSR's own Dragon magazine #200 (December 1993). Swan claims that "If this doesn't lure your kid brother into the hobby, it probably can't be done", calling it "Perhaps the most lavishly packaged, user-friendliest introduction to role-playing ever published". He compliments the game overall by stating: "The much-touted (and unfairly criticized) videotape accomplishes exactly what it's supposed to: Define role-playing for those who wouldn't know a saving throw from a savings bond. What distinguishes the Dragon Strike game from other fantasy board games is, of course, the emphasis on verbal interaction. This may be nothing new to veteran gamers, but for novices, the effect is startling. It's as if pawns on a chessboard started talking back. After a few rounds of Dragon Strike's "Role-playing Lite," I suspect most players will be salivating for the real thing."
A later board game, also titled DragonStrike, had nothing to do with the original board game or the D&D game. This later DragonStrike game was released by Hasbro (which had by this point bought Wizards of the Coast, the company that owned TSR, Inc.), and had the players race each other to escape from a motorized dragon.
- Dungeon Masters Adventure Log
- Forged of Darkness
- Non-Player Character Records
- Permanent Character Folder & Adventure Records
- The Silver Key (module)
- Treasure Tales