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John Carter: Warlord of Mars» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Distant memories rss

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Jim Dutton
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North Carolina
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Back in those halcyon days of Avalon Hill and SPI, it seemed that new and exciting games were flying out of their design and production monthly, if not weekly.

Both companies, but especially SPI, were trying to broaden their base into fantasy, sci fi, and adventure style games. SPI had been doing this for some years, starting with Starforce: Alpha Centauri, with major efforts on the fantasy side being War of the Ring and Swords and Sorcery. Another sci fi effort (to catch Star Wars coattails) was Freedom in the Galaxy. Avalon Hill had brought out Starship Troopers and was suffering through the long and disastrous development of Magic Realm.

This was the atmosphere that led SPI to license John Carter. Game companies were grabbing up every property they could that had the chance of broad appeal ... but Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars series has always been over-estimated as to "broad appeal" -- as Disney also found out with the recent film.

Still, for those of us familiar with Burrough's entertaining but pulpy, formula plots, this game captured all the spirit we could hope to expect on maps and cardboard counters. It had heroes, villains, monsters, rescues. It gave you strategic play on a world map along with tactical play in a small city, a palace, and an arena.

I'm going to admit that some of the details are fuzzy, because I last played this game probably in the summer of 1979, but I remember my main gaming buddy and I having a great time with it, and feeling like we were getting our fill of the flavor of Mars -- at least as ERB presented Mars.

Map and components are a bit on the plain side, yes. The plan of the game and the details of play were very rich. If not genius, I thought it a very smart implementation of the John Carter property.

Sadly, copies of it are currently selling on eBay for $40-$90. As much as I enjoyed it then, you'd better have money to gladly waste to pay $50 and up. Maaaaaaaaybe for the low $40s, if it's complete and in good shape. But this game, while great for the time and a nice ERB sim, isn't going to make you forget some of the great games available, brand new and current, for the same or less money out of pocket.
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Steve Zaccardi
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Coral Springs
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There are plans forming to play this at 2017 Dice Tower Con. Halcyon Days Return!
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Chris Hansen
United States
Alta Loma
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Yes, John Carter was indeed a fun little game just dripping with theme. It was a fun system of playing both the hero and villain, and my gaming group at the time enjoyed it, even sparking a couple to read the various novels.

As for the current pricing, yeah, it's long out of print and won't likely be seeing a reprint, so that makes it expensive, but not too far out of line. When this game came out in 1979, I paid $15 for it. In today's dollars that's around $50. When you factor in that it is long, long out of print, then $70 to $100 wouldn't be surprising for a complete copy in decent condition.
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