It’s Obscure RPG Appreciation Day! Space Patrol & Dragon Quest

I think these RPG Appreciation Days are fun. It makes me take a moment and really think about a game. And for this I’m throwing out a special thanks to Mesmerized By Sirens for coming up with the idea!
For this day, I want to rant about two games. First let’s talk about Space Patrol.
This is one of those games from the late 70’s and brought to us by the folks of Gamescience (better known for their dice). I stumbled across my copy while searching for something else and thought that this was a perfect thing to rant about. The whole books is 25 pages and that includes the inside back cover. Now as game it ain’t that grand as compared to say Traveller. It’s a Sci-Fi game about space and there are no space ships at all and the rules are just down right confusing. But what I do like about old games like this is that they are great source of inspiration. As scanned through the book again, I look at the Character and Alien Creature Generation Charts. And hey light bulb! This is like a very simple Random Esoteric Creature Generator. It’s very simple But hell. It could be tweaked into almost a one page weird monster generator. So hmm that’s a project for the future. I know I sound like I’m dissing the game. And I am. But it really shows a lot of the philosophy of games back then. Especially when it comes to house ruling which you’d have to do like crazy.
As a side note, Space Patrol has one of the best lines ever from a rule book, “SEX-This table is not usually used as sex would hardly ever crop up in a game.” I’m not kidding.
For the second part of the post, I’m going to swing in the opposite of direction with DragonQuest by SPI.
Remember when I said, I found Space Patrol while looking for something else. Well, this is it. Now this came out a couple of years after Space Patrol. While Space Patrol was simple rules that you were almost expected to house rule, Dragon Quest had very very detail rules. Remember, back then SPI published war games and it reflected in the writing and the rules of Dragon Quest. It very dry and very very structured. Heck there was even facing in combat.
You’re going to have to forgive me on this one because I still haven’t found my copy. I’m pretty sure it’s in on of THOSE boxes in the garage. And while we tried to play Dragon Quest a couple of times and failed then immediately went back to D&D. There is one thing that it had that has stuck with me. That was the Spell Backfire Charts. Yeah, I know charts again. I remember the first time I read those and thought, “Oh, man. This is cool!” Bad things happening to magic-users when spells went awry. That’s something that we didn’t have in our AD&D game. So that was quickly pulled into our game. Crap, I don’t even remember what the house rule from back then.
If anything I want people to take away from today, is to not completely ignore these old games. Yes, maybe the art, editing and rules may be total crap by today’s standards. But inside each one there’s probably something that you can twist and tweak and use for own games. It’s like looking for treasure.

2 thoughts on “It’s Obscure RPG Appreciation Day! Space Patrol & Dragon Quest”

  1. Like I said, DQ inspired a lot of my thoughts on D&D. Our youthful and pitiful attempts at play failed. Hey, we were young and screwed up the D&D rules too.


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