Wednesday, 21 March 2007

"We could always do DRAGONLORDS"

The gamers’ lust for gaming is not yet slaked.

As they stand around, engaging in debate over what will be next on the table, eyeing piles of games freshly mined from closets deep and arrayed like treasures laid forth for presentation as indecision begins to set in.

But hark! A clarion call, a rallying cry is sent forth to these gamesters-

“We could always do DRAGONLORDS.”

Robert Martin stands by his proclamation as the gamers furrow their brows and shift nervously, desperately trying to shift the conversation toward other, more mutually agreeable games. He shrugs, nervously fingering the black linen box embossed with a diabolical red foil emblem, looking for all the world like a box set of some obscure Finnish metal band.

“I’ve got the Advanced Game Expansion and CRYSTAL OF POWER too.”

The gamers agree, with great trepidation, and sit around the garish board as Robert produces beautifully painted metal miniatures- some painted completely one shade of red, other painted head-to-toe in spray paint green. The blobby plastic bits of the first edition, defiant in their failure to take the shape of orcs and elves, are still there to supplement these elite warriors.

“I’m really proud of these- I keep them on the mantle at home in a glass case.”

Robert reveals his piece de resistance- metal dragonlord miniatures painted with at least 3 different colors of paint. One green, black, and red. One white, black, and red. Blood seems to seep from one Dragonlord’s face, making his entire face appear stained with vermillion. We’re stunned, but silent. Only laughter can break the aura of fear and madness these lords of dragons have inspired within us.

“OK, it’s basically RISK mixed with TALISMAN…on your turn…”

3 hours pass by. Many, many dice are rolled. Blobby pieces scurry about the board, spraypainted gold rocks are exchanged for more blobby pieces and occasionally a boat. I go into the wastelands, get a Dragonlord, and then enact a holocaust of little blobby guys.

“Well, you pretty much won so we can quit unless you just want to finish.”

Robert Martin begins to pack up the board, lovingly wrapping his beautiful miniatures in toilet paper to preserve their custom finishes. In his heart, a deep sadness begins to swell as he realizes that his prized Dragonlords Krodark Bloodhammer and Crallagh the Unsavory will likely not see action again, at least for another year. It is an autumnal sadness, as he packs away the game. He must know that his satisfaction in finally bringing his favorite game to the table must carry him through an unknowable number of seasons. But still, he’ll bring the game every session…just in case some unknowing gamer can be lured into play. And hoping against hope, when game selection time dawns again, Robert will say:

“We could always do DRAGONLORDS.”

31 comments:

Ken Bradford said...

Dude, I will totally play this game with you guys when I come to Atlanta.

Robert...I, too, have the DEATHMETAL-worthy first edition with the foil-embossed cover, though I have not played it yet.

Them little blobby guys is just cryin' out to be loved, yo

robartin said...

Greatest board game ever designed. Chess, Go, Xiang-Qi, Operation - forget all of those. It's all about the Dragonlords.

But that's bullshit about me keeping the game in a glass case. No, I built an addition on to my house that I call the "Dragonlords Wing".

Ken Bradford said...

When Ronnie James Dio passes the torch, it will be to his copy of "Quest for the Dragonlords".

robartin said...

Barnes, are you sure you didn't ever write D&D modules? That was a good yarn. I might print it out and put it in my copy of Dragonlords along with my hand-signed certificate of authenticity from Robert Johannessen.

Oldstench said...

Maybe next time I will enjoy the...

Um...nope. Let's play Kremlin instead.

B Motion

Michael Barnes said...

What difference does it make Billy? You'll play sub-games of Kremlin at your leisure anyway...

I never did write D&D modules...but when I was 9 I came up with this amazing Top Secret/SI campaign where the players had to steal this experimental helicopter from a shopping mall where it was on display.

bob_the_goon said...

I'm totally down with Dragonlords. Especially with the expansions. Maybe not the best game ever made, but a far cry from the worst.

hughthehand said...

Never played the game, and probably never will...but that was a good read. Thanks.

Michael Barnes said...

It's not a bad game...just...a little rough in spots. And it feels like that FUCKIN' RAD GAME you had in your mind when you were 13. I just had to retaliate after Robert issues not one but two personal attacks in less than a week.

"Fortress Ameritrash...where personal attacks are not only welcomed, they're a way of life"

David said...

OMG...that is so funny. I actually playtested this game and some of the expansions. From the inside, this post is even FUNNIER.

Mr Skeletor said...

Barnes makes me want to buy this game.
He's a fucking shill.

Anonymous said...

well written piece - enjoyed it!

AdrianBolt said...

Superb! Reads like a bedtime story or maybe Grimms fairy tales. You have a good myth-making style, Michael.

StephenAvery said...

Haha! That was dead on! You captured the sorrowful persistance of a scorned puppy perfectly. awesome read.

"Fortress Ameritrash...where personal attacks are not only welcomed, they're a way of life"

Can you make this a header?

robartin said...

Scorned puppy? You've crossed the line Steve Avery. We won't talk about your soulful pleadings to play "The Suitcase Game".

Michael Barnes said...

Stephen "Baby Wettinpants" Avery...yeah, let's not talk about that time he tried to harangue us all into playing HART DER GRENZE...with no rules and no inkling of how to play the game. The punchline was the next week he brought it again with the rules and we hated it.

I wouldn't call "Unsavory Avery's" pleadings "soulful" by a longshot...a soulful pleading is an Al Green record...not "c'mon guys, I really want to play NODWICK!"

robartin said...

When I said soulful, I meant it in an "old hound dog howling at a passing firetruck" kind of way.

Octavian said...

I soured on Dragonlords when I wiped a player out utterly and completely before he had a chance to take his first turn.

Ken Bradford said...

Dio would be proud.

robartin said...

Aw, come on Octavian. They fixed all that stuff in the Second Edition. Even the melted/chewed miniatures. Didn't you read my review? I challenge anyone to find an in-print game that is more "Ameritrash" than Quest for the Dragonlords.

Michael Barnes said...

"I soured on Dragonlords when I wiped a player out utterly and completely before he had a chance to take his first turn"

Damn Matt...didn't hesitate to "ban" that guy, didya! ;-P

robartin said...

Robert...I, too, have the DEATHMETAL-worthy first edition with the foil-embossed cover, though I have not played it yet.

I've created what I like to call the "Ultimate Edition". I took all the best components from First and Second Editions and combined them into one set. Add in all the expansions and this thing kicks some serious ass. I can't help it that these game charlatans can't recognize greatness when it's right before their eyes.

Michael Barnes said...

"I took all the best components from First and Second Editions and combined them into one set."

What Robert is saying is that he dumped the contents of the 1st edition box and 2nd edition in its entirety into a trashcan.

robartin said...

Let me explain something to you Michael. You can't become an internet tastemaker by going around making unqualified statements all the time.

On second thought, yes you can. Carry on.

Ken Bradford said...

Heh--when I traded for my copy, I specifically asked..."Is it the black cover?" "Does it have the gold nuggets?"

Such things were important to me, you see.

I've grown to appreciate the dog-chewed, slightly slick look of the figures. They all scream "LOVE ME!" in a screeching, hideous voice and I do feel compelled to comply.

Michael Barnes said...

"Let me explain something to you Michael. You can't become an internet tastemaker by going around making unqualified statements all the time.'

Damn it, you're right...maybe if I were to simply highlight my main points in red text, that would make them "qualified"?

Octavian said...

I admit I haven't played 2nd edition. Strangely, I picked up QotDL hoping to find a replacement for the disappointing Runebound First Edition. I had every reason to like QotDL - hell, I'm from the same Buffalo suburbs as the designers. But that first play was disasterous enough that there was no way I'd be able to bring it back to the table.

And now that Second Edition Runebound has fixed most of the problems of First, I haven't felt the call to give DL a second chance. If you say they've fixed the problems then I'm willing to try it if I should see a game setting up with a spot open.

Michael Barnes said...

The 2nd edition of DRAGONLORDS is actually a marked improvement...they fixed some of the worst stuff and added some pretty cool new things to enhance the adventure part of it...but really, it's the same kinda shitty, kinda cool game. Of course, they switched colors around and made it sort of incompatible with the expansions...whoops!

I know Robert has got a huge shit-eating grin right now...because we're actually talking about DRAGONLORDS...

robartin said...

I know Robert has got a huge shit-eating grin right now...because we're actually talking about DRAGONLORDS...

Hey, a few personal attacks tossed your way and now Dragonlords is on the front page. All those years of playing Diplomacy have paid off.

bohemian said...

Hi, I'm here to read about *The War*.

Octavian said...

bohemian,

May I refer you to: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120885/

Now...I am a bit curious as to the nature of the sex scandal they're covering up...

-MMM