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John Carter: Warlord of Mars» Forums » General

Subject: A capsule overview of the game, with component manifest rss

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THE MAVERICK
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John Carter, Warlord of Mars
SPI [Simulations Publications, Inc.]
(1979, $20.00)
Designed by Mark Herman and Eric Goldberg


Players: 2 to 6
Playing Time: 1-6 hours
Period: Sci-Fi
Scale: Tactical and Strategic

Box: SPI bookcase box

Components: 22x34" unmounted mapsheet, 28 page rulebook, 400 die-cut counters, 169 die-cut cards, 16 page background booklet, two identical 8 page Charts and Tables booklets, errata sheet, six-sided die, twenty-sided die, plastic counter tray with lid.



Counter Manifest: 142 red, 62 khaki, 43 gray, 43 blue, 23 orange, 22 dark green, 15 light green, 15 pink, 14 yellow, 13 dark khaki, 8 white.

Card Manifest: 168 numbered cards (detailed on page 5 of the rulebook), 1 card with the game title.



SPI says: "John Carter, Warlord of Mars relentlessly searches for his mate, the incomparable Dejah Thoris, across the hostile Martian surface, pursuing the dastardly villain who has abducted her and fled to a distant city. John Carter must fight his way through monsters and men to rescue Dejah Thoris from the evil designs of her captor. The city contains numerous hiding places and secret passages from which our hero must ferret out the prize. Playing cards for Random Events, Movement, Acquisition, and Maneuver both hinder and help him as he continues his valiant quest. Simple probability charts determine the outcome of each exciting twist of events in the game."

The reviewers say: "While SPI has been guilty, in some cases, of turning out 'cookie-cutter' game systems, this is not the case with John Carter. It would have been relatively easy to follow the path of their previous fantasy games and do JC along the lines of War of the Ring or Swords and Sorcery. But, they didn't. They chose a new, and I might add successful, path . . . It is a fun, exciting, and unique game." Dale Okada in Campaign #94.


The mapsheet ranges from a depiction of the entire planet of Barsoom, to a city layout, to various tactical level displays going all the way down to a pair of grappled Fliers


"The game is divided into three games . . . The Dueling Game is a section of rules dealing exclusively with hand-to-hand combat . . . The Strategic Game builds upon the Dueling Game, providing the framework for encounters and combats . . . During a game, a player plays both a hero character and a villain corresponding to his opponent's hero . . . The emphasis of a player's involvement is on his hero, his villain being merely a way to foil the opponent's hero . . . The Military Game utilizes the strategic map . . . The units used represent fleet strength points, done in different colors for each of the city-states . . . Overall, JOHN CARTER, WARLORD OF MARS is an interesting game, and remarkably true to its sources . . . This is not to say that the game is flawless. The game is so true to the books that it accurately duplicates some of their faults as well. This is mainly found in the Dueling Game, where the frequent combats tend to get a bit repetitious . . . Players who are interested in the game as a way of participating in the adventures on Barsoom will be able to overlook these points and fully enjoy the game." Tony Watson in The Dragon #42.

"A villain has captured the fair love of the protagonist and must be given his just deserts by the hero. The distressed damsel must be rescued before she is subjected to 'unspeakable acts' (think about it) at the hands of the villain and/or his henchmen . . . For the first time in the history of the hobby, a game has been built around themes such as love, romance, treachery, remorse, hatred and friendship." Rated "Excellent" by David Ritchie in Ares #1.



Comments: An interesting hyrbid game system - the odd chart-heavy mechanics seem to have more in common with role-playing games, while the physical execution of the game is clearly wargame based. John Carter, Warlord of Mars was inspired by the Barsoomian novels written by Edgar Rice Burroughs (who also created Tarzan). These science fiction/fantasy novels were set on the planet Mars (known as Barsoom to its fantastic inhabitants). The fun factor for Burroughs fans was indeed high, as demonstrated by the spirit of random event cards such as: Villain Attempts to Besmirch Fair Princess' Honor, Secret Curtain Opens and Princess Disappears, Slug Turnkey and Escape, Mad Scientist Saves Hero Then Uses Him For Experiment, etc.



Collector's Notes: For current buyers, the attraction would likely stem from either the Burroughs connection or the SPI name. Today's gamers are likely to be turned off by the maze of charts which make John Carter look like something which should be run on a computer. Boone's Internet Wargames Catalog (3rd edition) lists low/high/average auction prices of $10/$103/$34 and low/high/average sale listings of $10/$60/$29.


Box cover side panel


Other games from these designers: Herman - GBoH series (GMT). For the People, We the People (Avalon Hill). Across Suez, Battle for Jerusalem, Mech War 2, Raid!, RDF, The Siege of Tyre, Stonewall (all SPI). Aegean Strike, Flashpoint Golan, France '44, Gulf Strike, Pacific War, The Peloponnesian War (all Victory Games). Goldberg - Commando, Descent on Crete, DragonQuest, Kursk (all SPI), Tales of the Arabian Nights (West End).

This article was originally published in issue issue 14 of Simulacrum, January 2002.

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Scott Everts
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Nice overview of the game. I've had it in my collection for years but never played it. I'm a huge fan of the books and this comes with an excellent reference book which is worth it just for that.

Would be interesting to rework the game with a more streamlined character combat system since that's the part that seems the most tedious to play.
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navajas
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This was the first nerd game I ever played. I was about seven and my uncle would bring it to play when he stayed at our house during business trips. It shows it age for sure, but it's fun, cool looking, (especially for SPI) and has some decent replay due to the card play and (enormous) counter mix.

It, and the box art (which I must have stared at for hours as a child, knowing Dejah made me desperately want to do something, even if I wasn't sure exactly what, haha), will always hold a special place in my heart as both the introduction to a life long hobby, and a bridge to memories of my dead uncle.
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Chris Stimpson
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Sure hope it's better than the movie......
 
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Dr Caligari
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cstimpson wrote:
Sure hope it's better than the movie......

Not go too far off topic, but the most recent movie, John Carter, was not all that bad. It was a lavish big budget production and it took many liberties with the books, but is none-the-less a spectacle to watch. They don't make them like that anymore - for good reason.

The slightly older movie, Princess of Mars, was a very low budget production. It was closer to the books (but still nowhere near 100%) and is OK on late night TV, but otherwise holds value only for the truest of fans.

We had a small discussion about the recent movie in this BGG thread.
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Scott Everts
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andre_sand wrote:
cstimpson wrote:
Sure hope it's better than the movie......

Not go too far off topic, but the most recent movie, John Carter, was not all that bad. It was a lavish big budget production and it took many liberties with the books, but is none-the-less a spectacle to watch. They don't make them like that anymore - for good reason.

The slightly older movie, Princess of Mars, was a very low budget production. It was closer to the books (but still nowhere near 100%) and is OK on late night TV, but otherwise holds value only for the truest of fans.

We had a small discussion about the recent movie in this BGG thread.
I actually liked the recent big budget movie. They've been trying to make that movie for decades. It's a hard series of books to do especially considering how non-PC it is by today's standards. It would probably work better as an adult animated movie, something like "Fire & Ice". But that's unlikely now after the major failure of the movie. Of course if someone like HBO decided to do a hard core adult series in the vein of "Game of Thrones" it would probably be pretty awesome.
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cstimpson wrote:
Sure hope it's better than the movie...... :(

I'm convinced that I am one of the 5 people that liked the movie. Disney failed it by not marketing it right.
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Daniel Schulz
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Fierce_FishSJS wrote:
cstimpson wrote:
Sure hope it's better than the movie......

I'm convinced that I am one of the 5 people that liked the movie. Disney failed it by not marketing it right.

I thought it was okay. I absolutely loved the books as a kid. I devoured everything Burroughs.
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