Tech

30 years of Champions of Krynn: return to the kingdom of dragons and draconians

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The development studio Strategic Simulations, Inc. (SSI) was once one of the hardest working game suppliers. The company released around 90 titles in the 1980s alone. But even highlights like Wizard's Crown or Roadwar 2000 were primarily known to fans of demanding role-playing and strategy games.

The breakthrough in the mass market should still succeed for SSI. In 1987, the Californians acquired the coveted computer game license for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D), the then best known pen and paper role-playing system. In the course of this, the company programmed a new engine, which – similar to that of the competitor The Bard's Tale – enabled pseudo 3D areas as well as pretty portrait drawings and monster graphics.

Between 1988 and 1993, SSI published 14 role-playing games that were based on this basic technical framework and almost all of them were sold in chic, gold-rimmed boxes. The game series was therefore also called the Gold Box series.

After missing the first Gold Box pool of Radiance from 1988, the 1990 Champions of Krynn was my first contact with the series. The euphoric test report of my favorite magazine Power Play at the time had sparked my interest in the game, which also appealed to beginners with its adjustable level of difficulty.

Love at second sight

Job market

  1. Deutsche Leasing AG, Bad Homburg
  2. SIZ GmbH, Bonn



So I scratched my pocket money, bought the Amiga version of the game for 90 marks and was … sober. The easy entry let me quickly get into the game, the combat system played wonderfully tactically and the drawn pictures really made something. But the graphics during the many rounds seemed gray, chunky and confusing to me. In addition, heroic music only played on the start screen.

Because I felt I was fighting the same battles and explored rather barren areas, Champions of Krynn ended up on the shelf after a few hours of play. Other Amiga hits like the action game Turrican or the adventure masterpiece The Secret of Monkey Island appealed to me much more at that time.

The game world of Champions of Krynn is small and consists of only a few places to visit. (Photo: SSI / screenshot: media agency plassma)

It wasn't until a year later that I was supposed to rediscover role-playing for myself thanks to a school friend. He was a fanatic AD&D fan and meticulously explained the rules and the most important tricks of the program to me. I can well remember how we played Champions of Krynn together in the darkened youth room. Above all, I was fascinated by the atmospheric dragon lance scenario and the well elaborated story about the draconians – nasty critters that are created from evil magic from dragon eggs.

Now I want to relive the classic. I'm curious to see how he aged, after all, computer games have changed dramatically in terms of graphics, technology and play. I could get out my old Amiga original, but for convenience and speed reasons I decided to download the PC implementation Gog.com in a package with the two successors offers for just under ten euros. At the same time I have the printed manual of my Amiga copy ready, which, in contrast to the PDF files of the Gog version, is completely in German.

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