42 The Quest for the Rings

a.k.a. Videopac 42 / The Quest for the Rings! / 42 Speurtocht naar de Ringen / Em Busca dos Aneis Perdidos / La Quête des Anneaux / Quest for the Rings

published by Philips / Magnavox / NAP in 1981, developed by Philips, running on Magnavox Odyssey2
type: maze, board game, adventure
genre: Fantasy, Traditional game, Augmented Reality Game
series: The Master Strategy
setting: Past
perspective: other fixed camera
player options: single player
languages: eng ger


AC9429, The Quest for the Rings, Magnovox, North America.
9429AB/AB9429, North American Phillips, Europe, English.
PDSF 271 42039, Phillips, Europe, German.
42, Quest for the Rings, Phillips, Europe
42, La Quête Des Anneux, Philips, Europe
42, Speurtocht Naar De Ringen, Phillips, Europe
06 AV 9429, Em Busca dos Aneis Perdidos, South America, Spanish
42, Jagten på Ringene, Philips, Europe
42, Die Suche Nach Den Ringen, Philips, Europe
42, Sormusten Etsintä, ?, Finland

Magnovox is a division of Phillips.

The Quest for the Rings is an action-adventure game that uses a game board as well has on-screen action. All the statistical elements and logistics, collectible items, time limit, overworld map, locations and such are tracked by the board game element while the 2-player simultaneous action battles take place on the computer screen. It was a cleaver workaround to increase the depth of gameplay when no existing hardware wasn't suitable.
A complete set includes:

  • A large game box with cover art and inside cover art
  • A gold labeled game cartridge
  • Large gold colored manual
  • A fold out game board that's 4 times the box size when unfolded
  • A keyboard overlay
  • 7 Castles containing The Dungeons
  • 6 Castles containing Crystal Caverns
  • 6 Castles containing Shifting Halls
  • 4 Castles containing The Infernoes
  • 3 Dragon Monster Tokens
  • 3 Nightmare Monsters Tokens
  • 10 Ring Tokens
  • 1 Quest Token
  • 1 Hourglass chip
  • 8 "Possessions" chips
  • A Quest for the Rings themed game catalog advertising the Master Strategy Series.(this last item is not always considered essential to a complete set by collectors)

For a 3 or more player game, once the keyboard overlay is in place, the Ringmaster (Dungeon Master) decides which tokens will be inside the castles and where to locate them on the game board (without the players watching). Up to 2 tokens can be hidden under the the castles. Some castles will have a lesser ring, some have nighmares and lesser ring, some have a dragon and a lesser ring, some are empty. Each castle has a interior environment (The Dungeons, Crystal Caverns, Shifting Halls, or The Infernoes ). The remaining players, the Heroes, will be competing against the Ringmaster (the Villain). The heroes decide how many turns they will need to gather all the rings (50, 75, or 100 are suggested by the manual). The Ringmaster gets 2 "Possessions" chips for every 25 turns, (so 50=4, 100=8). The hourglass is placed on the turn ruler on the edge of the game board according to the number of turns chosen. The game starts when the Heroes place their quest token at a sea port, the hourglass is moved one turn closer to 0. Each time the heroes move their quest token, a turn is subtracted. If they move onto a castle, the ringmaster lifts the castle to show the environment, a lesser ring (if present), a dragon (if present), and/or nightmares (if present). The ringmaster then manually enters this information into the game using the Odyssey²'s keyboard. The overlay conveniently provides START, RESET, NO RING, The Dragon, The Nightmares, The Dungeons, Crystal Caverns, The Infernoes, Shifting Halls, and RINGMASTER CONTROL buttons. It also groups them to indicate which sets only allow one selection to be made. The game finally moves on-screen at this point. The first time this sequence is activated, each players of the Heroes must choose to be a Warrior, Wizard, Phantom, or Changeling. This step is skipped for subsequent battles. They then take control of the Heroes as they navigate the interior of the castle towards the exit and hopefully get the ring if one is present. The lesser Orcs and Firewraths are always present in every castle while a Dragon or The Nightmares only appear in some. The Warrior's Sword can repel Spydroth Tyrantulus, stun Doomwinged Bloodthirsts, repel a Dragon, and confuse the dragon in certain circumstances (held in the up position toward the Dragon when bellow the dragons eye level.) The Wizard's Spell will momentarily repell Spydroth Tyrantulus, stun Doomwinged Bloodthirsts, stun the Dragon, and halt a ball of fire. The Phantom is unarmed but may pass freely into and out of walls thereby frustrating the enemies. The Changeling also is unarmed but may become invisible at will. A team of differing abilities is best for ring questing. If the Heroes die or fail to get a ring, a turn is lost and that ring is given to the Ringmaster to place in another castle (without the Heroes seeing). The Heroes must still exit the castle no matter how many turns it takes. If they flee a Dragon, the Dragon can take the ring to another adjacent castle (at the direction of the Ringmaster) in full view of all the players, and even chase the players. If the Dragon stops chasing the players, it remains in that place. If the players flee to the sea, the Dragon must stop pursuit. At anytime, the Ringmaster can use a possession chip and take control of one of the Heroes. During a possession, should the Ringmaster fail to stop the other player from obtaining a Ring, the Heroes will gain a turn and the Ringmaster will lose his possession chip. Should he manage to kill a player (as opposed to causing his death), the Heroes will lose 5 turns and he will keep his possession chip. The story explains that Ringmaster cannot touch a lesser ring directly or he will be stricken. If the Ringmaster accidentally touches a ring, he will lose his possession token and the Heroes will gain 5 turns, and get the ring (left by the stricken Ringmaster). For each ring the Heroes have, they can make that many additional moves per turn. Any turn modifying penalty or bonus resets the count and the additional moves are not carried over. The Heroes win if they get all 10 rings before running out of turns, the Ringmaster wins if they don't.

The story is inspired by Wagner's Ring (Germanic/Norse), Luned's Ring & Ring of Ogier (Arthurian Legend), Otnit's ring (German Mythology), Solomon's Ring (Abrahamic Legend), and of course Tolkien's rings of power. The manual is unusually written in present-tense-implied-second-person-by-proxy (I think) and includes retelling of past events without changing narrative. It is implied in the manual that there is a master ring in the possession of the Ringmaster and that the 10 lesser rings can neutralize it. Also unusual for a videogame, one of the players is the villain, not just an opponent. The player in the villainous roll can be as nasty or as campy as they choose.

The traditional style game board makes it an augmented reality game, the Ringmaster player is the antagonist. The protagonist Phantom character is never fully explained but all indications are it is of the undead kind (ring wraith). Their are huge fire breathing dragons that will pursue the multiple protagonists all the way to the sea in an attempt to cook and/or eat them.

As far as I know this was the first game to offer characters with non-identical abilities for more than one simultaneous player. Additionally, completing the game as a single player with one character is incredibly difficult; the various characters have complimentary abilities. It is designed for two players and to discourage both players choosing the same character. This precedes Dandy and its clone, Gantlet for these innovations.
(Zerothis) - # 2008-08-07 05:59:21

Technical specs

display: raster

Authors / Staff

Ed Averett

External review - average: 100%

review sourcei#datescore
Tilt 1-38fr61983-076/6100%

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42 The Quest for the Rings in-game screen.
42 The Quest for the Rings (Magnavox Odyssey2)
42 The Quest for the Rings (Magnavox Odyssey2)
42 The Quest for the Rings (Magnavox Odyssey2)
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