The 10 Best (and 6 Worst) TSR Games that Weren't D&D

By Rob Bricken in Daily Lists
Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 7:57 am

6) The Adventures of Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones.jpg
How does this game wind up on the "worst" list? Here's one way: no rules for character generation. But that's okay, right? I mean, who'd want to play anyone but Indy? This leads us to the second failing of the game: expecting players to play Willie Scott, Jock the pilot, or Short Round and not resent the hell out of the player who got to run Indiana Jones. The only thing that saves the game somewhat is the game-translations of the movies -- just reading the stats for the traps in the opening scene from Raiders is pretty cool. But when it came down to either designing a great game or rushing this to market? TSR chose...poorly.

5) Bullwinkle & Rocky Role Playing Party Game
This was such a bad idea that it almost sounds like a joke--and it sort of was, just not the sort of joke TSR thought it was telling. Back in 1988, TSR thought they might expand into more general (read: non-geek) audiences--and they thought it might be a good idea to do it with a game that came with plastic cartoon puppets. What they ended up doing was alienating most audiences, except maybe those fans who collect the hopeless failures of gaming.

4) Dragonstrike
Dragonstrike was a crappy board game with a single gimmick: the high-tech addition of a 30-minute videotape intro. Not an integrated video like other games of its type had tried (such as the VCR Clue game), mind you. Just a cheesy half-hour of basic role-playing tutorial, very little of which you could actually use in the half-assed game that you were about to half-enjoy.

3) Spellfire
Hot on the heels of Wizards of the Coast's Magic: the Gathering phenomenon came TSR's entrant into the CCG market: Spellfire. But it was more a misfire than anything. Old art, flawed rules, and the overriding sense that TSR was throwing anything it could at the upstart WotC (who would eventually buy out TSR and its properties) made the game a dud.

2) The Honeymooners Game
TSR put out this "hilarious game" in 1986, trading on the huge popularity of Jackie Gleason and his old TV show that completely and patently did not exist at the time. The goal of the game was to become the "complete Ralph," which not only makes very little sense, but sounds vaguely disgusting. Baby, this game was not the greatest.

1) All My Children
All My Children.jpg
Fifties sitcoms and sixties cartoons weren't the only TV properties TSR tried to make a gaming-go of--they also tried the soaps. Specifically, ABC's All My Children, a game in which players could be Erica Kane, Palmer Cortlandt, and/or completely ashamed of themselves. Of course, the D&D crossover rules included with this game confirmed what die-hard All My Children fans long believed: that Erika Kane was a 13th level assassin.
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