Published on May 25th, 2015 | by Luke Turpeinen0
Dwarves Are From New Jersey
(Editor’s Note: We recently re-vamped our Top 5 D&D Board Games article, and we replaced Dragon Strike with Super Dungeon Explore. SDE is currently in print and has a lot of similarities to Dragon Strike so it seemed a better fit within our Top 5. That said, we would like our thoughts on Dragon Strike to stick around, so we moved that part of the old article here.)
Remembering Dragon Strike
For me, Dragon Strike is the game that started it all. After getting this game for Christmas in the early 90s, what before had been not much more than an interest in Lord of the Rings turned into full blown grognardism. Dragon Strike was essentially a simplified version of D&D conceived of as a board game, but with very loose rules. The game was published by TSR and had a “Dragon Master” who ran the players through a scenario, usually one of about 12 that came with the game. After seeing the response that HeroQuest was getting, TSR made their own D&D branded version, which is where Dragon Strike comes from. The scenarios involved fighting monsters, solving puzzles and some light role play.
Dragon Strike had no leveling mechanism, though some of the scenarios would let you keep treasure from one scenario to the next, if they fit together in a series. The scenarios were all very different. There were escort quests, witch hunts, escape from the caves, invade the castle, find the lost artifact in the forest and more. Each of the scenarios came with an intro section to be read aloud to the players, which established the goals or conditions in that session. All of the missions took place on one of four maps (printed on two double-sided board game boards) and they used minis that for the time were very well sculpted.
Another memorable feature of Dragon Strike was the VHS that came with every copy of the game. The video was a mixture of costumed live action with early 3D effects. Even at that time it was pretty corny and not very convincing, even to my eight year old self, but it did give us all a sense of what to expect from the game. And because the video was that memorable, it has made its way to the internet:
Dragon Strike Component List
VHS Video Cassette · 2 Double-Sided Game Boards · Instruction Book · Adventure Book · Map Book · 6 Hero Cards · 110 playing cards · 24 Plastic Miniatures · DRAGON MASTER™ Screen · 43 Cardboard Markers · 3 Dice