Just a Box of Games, Box 6

Games not technically in a box in this short round-up. These are the hot games of the day, as things go around here, anyway.  These three games are sitting loose in the office for various reasons.

HellRail, third perdition
Mayfair Games,  2001
One of my later acquisition by far, I picked this up around the time my brother met his wife and we were playing Empire Builder occasionally. I thought a different take on the railway-building game might be fun, but we didn’t ever get a chance to play. The structure of Hell is defined in the rule book, but you build different routes depending on which types of sinners the deck gives you for hauling. I did finally drag it out for a couple of sessions with GameNephew, who found it fun, but you imagine explaining what adulterers or the lustful are to a ten-year-old under the watchful eye of his parents before you make the same decision.

Cosmic Encounter & Expansion Sets 1–9
Eon Products, Inc., 1978–1983
It’s a testament to how much I loved this game that it’s one of the few I don’t have the box for any longer, in any state. It broke down so long ago (and also couldn’t accommodate the expansions) that the box it’s in was a shipping box for Commodore 64 computer software. I feel lucky to still have this, because many yeas ago, I lent it to the guy who was the best man at our wedding, then he got divorced, I moved away from Eugene, and we mostly fell out of touch, but one of the last times we talked—after a period of years—I remembered to ask about it and retrieved the game. The game and expansions span my time working in a  game shop, so it captures that period for me perfectly. I haven’t counted everything to see if it’s there, but there should be 75 alien race cards, there are 6 hexes (planetary systems, partially under the manuals), LUCRE (the yellow squares mostly covered by manuals, sorry), Flare cards (next to the Space Warp and Hyper Space Cone), Destiny discs, tokens, Moons, alternate planetary systems and the Praw (on the backs of the systems), and the manuals, including the combined rulebook released with Expansion Set 9. Only played this one time since then, but GameNephew loved reading all of the histories of the various alien races, as well as the fact that he won the game we played, as the Parasite.

Frank Herbert’s Dune
The Avalon Hill Game Company, 1979
To say that I was unaware of this game’s status would be an understatement. It was actually one of the games that seemed like Avalon Hill trying to cash in on the late-70s upswing in science-fiction and fantasy games, it sat on the shelves for years, and—if you click on the photo and look at the player screens—you’ll notice there isn’t a crease on them, because it’s never been played. Some of the number chits are still stuck together.  But Richard—who first contacted me a few months back on Facebook because he remembered me from Gandalf’s Den—asked about it a couple months back, because there was a Kickstarter campaign to revive it this year. I was pretty sure I’d seen it not long before, and when I went looking, there it was. Copies of the old game are available on eBay for as much as $200 for a mint copy, but my plan is to play it sometime this month when Richard comes up to Portland on a visit (send him good thoughts because he’s living in the fire zones in Northern Cal!) along with a couple of other interested folk. The 40-year-old virgin game! What I wasn’t aware of until I watched this extremely well-done video linked from BoardGameGeek was that the team behind Cosmic Encounter were the developers.

Just a Box of Games, Box 5

I opened Box 1 with GDW’s Boots & Saddles way back in 2013, and by the time I got to copies of TSR’s The Strategic Review and The Dragon in Box 4 (mid-2014), I thought I was pretty delinquent. Boy was I ever wrong! It’s taken me more than five years to get around to the fifth box.

Part of that’s what’s left in the boxes. There’s a lot of near-ephemera here, stuff that doesn’t really rise to the level of a game. It’s modules and maps for (mostly) Dungeons & Dragons, stuff that I picked up in my most acquisitive phase without even the real intention of using it in the campaigns my friends and I played. Part of it’s because I had been out of work for a long time with no job and no freelance projects and I was trying to make some inroads into organizing things before I inevitably die. I opened the first three boxes before I was hired as a security guard (the first job off I had in seven years) and the fourth between that job and a brief stint working as a grocery cashier. Since then I’ve been mostly employed (and still am) but I still want to get this project done.

Some of the inspiration to get back to this is because a couple of years after I posted Box 2, I got an email from someone who was interested in buying the Traveller lead miniatures at the top of the box. It was never my intention to sell anything, but the miniatures were mostly still in blister packs, which gives you an idea of just how much I’d used them in more than three decades. So, off they went so John P.  and his kids can play the K’khree against the Imperial Marines.

The other thing was seeing Eye of the Beholder: The Art of Dungeons & Dragons.That gave me some serious RAMO (Regret at Missing Out) because I really should have packed my bags and headed for Lake Geneva, Wisconsin right after high school, not because I was an artist, but I might have been able to con my way into a job at TSR (hey, I was a published TSR author by 1979!) No money, no confidence.

Plus, of course, the box had been sitting in the middle of my home office for five years.

Finally, one of my nephews—who was just 5 at my last installment—is now almost 11 and is a bit of a board game nut, so my goal in life these days is to get invited to his family’s game nights.

Empire Builder
Mayfair Games, 1982
I think this is one of the first edition versions of this rail-building game, but it’s far from pristine condition. I played this with my girlfriend at the time, with the guy who was best man for my wedding (to someone else) and his (former) wife. I even played it with my brother and his wife when they first met. And earlier this year, we dusted it off for a game with my nephew and his folks. Just a great planning/resources game with rub-off crayons to draw on the map and tiny metal engines.

The Judges Guild Journal
Issue 8
Issue 9
Issue 10
Issue 11
Holiday Issue 12
Judges Guild, 1978
I can’t say that I actually remember ever reading any of these, but you can see the era they represent from the publicity still Imperial Stormtrooper on Issue 8. There was no actual STAR WARS-related content in the issue, nor was there anything in Issue 10, which features a Chewbacca shot on the front (hidden beneath the Holiday Issue). 

Judges Shield
Judges Guild, 1976 (?)
This was my first shield, and as it doesn’t have a copyright notice on it, I’m not sure of the exact date. You might be able to see the tape on the edges. and the portion of the Monsters list on the central portion of the shield has my numbering of the monsters (Zombie as #128 back in those simpler times) for random generation.

STAR TREK Blueprints
Ballantine Books, 1973
Not technically a game item, but this set of “12 Authentic Blueprints of the Fabulous Starship Enterprise” was one of those things a kid into making maps for dungeons and spaceships was going to get. Want to know which deck the six regulation bowling alleys are on? Deck 21, along with the pool.

Frontier Forts of Kelnore
Judges Guild, 1978
Well-done maps, amusingly bad illustrations, charts and scenarios for exploration, “Approved for use with Dungeons & Dragons.”

Village Book I
Judges Guild, 1978
Fifty pages of village layouts on hexagonal grids, with charts for naming villages (4xD20: 4, 20, 20, 13 = Cold + zine = Coldzine), determining the use and structure of building, etc. Keep in mind that back in the days before copy shops on every corner or desktop computers (much less quality printers) just reproducing blank hex maps was no mean feat.

Citadel of Fire
Judges Guild, 1978
“Ages ago a lone wizard named Nrathax the Black came to a hill that the natives called Flotggardt…” Well, of course they did. The cover illo really doesn’t do justice to the Isengard-inspired tower of “smooth black stone.” This is a proper module, with cruder maps than some of the other Guild products, but more-fleshed-out content.

The Thieves of Fortress Badabaskor
Judges Guild, 1978
Badabaskor is another scenario, covering both the surrounding area, five levels of dungeons, and the fortress itself. Watch out for the Dragon-People! 

City of Terrors
Flying Buffalo, Inc., 1978
I’m not really sure why I have City of Terrors. It’s a Tunnels & Trolls scenario and I never really played T&T which was considered by some (including me) to be a pale shadow of D&D, but which distinguished itself by creating solo adventures (there were a lot of lonely nerds out there). So CoT is essentially a choose-your-own-adventure book, printed on heavy, glossy paper, which provided 23 different possible adventures.

The Siege of Constantinople
Simulations Publications, Inc., 1978
As you can see from the unbroken unit card, this game was never played. I believe it came out as an inclusion in SPI’s magazine, which featured a game every issue. The rules for this are probably in the magazine, which may be in another box!

Just a Box of Games, Box 4

Time to open up another box, I guess.


Avalon Hill, 1980
Diplomacy meets Risk meets lots of cool-sounding names at the height of the ’70s craze for things Japanese. Never got a chance to play it more than once or twice.

Traveller, Deluxe Edition,
High Guard, Traveller Book 5
The Imperium,
The Spinward Marches

Game Designers’ Workshop, 1979 and 1981
Scouts & Assassins
Merchants & Merchandise
Paranoia Press, 1980 and 1981
Just a portion of the extensive Traveller material in my possession. The Deluxe Edition box was a replacement for well-worn copies of my original books. High Guard covered space navy character generation. The two “Approved for use with Traveller” supplements covered a couple of different classes of citizens, the maps were official supplements, and the computer printout in the lower right was one of apparently dozens of space “sectors” that I wrote a computer program to generate (far beyond the needs of my little game-playing circle) with names created using a Japanese syllabalary (would that I had spent as much time actually studying for my Japanese language class).

Avalon Hill, 1975
My grandfather served in North Africa duringWW2, so this had some interest for me early on in my gaming days, it’s one of the earlier real wargames I picked up. The map is completely featureless. It’s a throwback to the days before easy access to photocopiers, when AH made some money selling pads of tally sheets for crew rosters and damage charts.

Alpha Omega
Battleline, 1977
Tobruk…in space! Space tactical simulations had it easy as far as maps went, because there’s literally nothing there. I think this title might have been put out to capitalize on the burgeoning sci-fi gaming market that followed Star Wars in the same year, but it sat on the shelves at our shop for many years before I felt sorry for it. The artwork wasn’t particularly catch. Even I never played it.

Dark Nebula

Game Designers’ Workshop, 1978 and 1980
Maybe Alpha Omega was just too early. Maybe the box was too big. Because Mayday came out just a year later (although from an established company with a developer distribution channel) and won awards for what is essentially the same type of tactical space battle game, also with completely-featureless maps. Dark Nebula, on the other hand, is a strategic game with a map that changes from game to game, and it loosely tied into GDW’s official Traveller universe.

Game Designers’ Workshop, 1980
Designed to be used with GHQ 1:285 models to simulate tactical operations in a Soviet/US battle in Europe (weren’t those the days?) this was the serious stuff from GDW. No unit markers or maps included, just indicators for smoke, hits, and other tally elements. Big thick deck of cards with combat statistics for armor and aircraft.

Up Front
Desert War

Avalon Hill, 1983, 1984, 1989
Relative Range, Issue Number Two
Michael P. Nagel, 1994
Up Front was perhaps one of my favorite games ever. Straddling the line between wargame and role-playing game, it had an enormous amount of complexity and flexibility, but was fast-paced and fun (once you got things set up). If you didn’t want to get sued, you might say a number of elements were ripped off by Magic: The Gathering a decade later. Players set up according to a scenario, placing cards representing individual soldiers, crewed weapons, and vehicles in groups facing each other, then draw from a thick deck for cards representing terrain, obstacles, attacks, and fortifications. They take turns moving and playing cards on their groups (and their opponent’s groups), so you never know exactly what you’re moving into. No dice, the cards are used for random number generation, as well. You could get two sets of cards and set up a multiplayer wide front game, which was a gas. The original set covered the European front’s primary combatants: Germans, English, Russians, and Americans, with Banzai expanding to the Pacific theater, and Desert War adding in French and Italian army units. Ron Shigeta, one of my Reed College gaming buddies sent me a copy of Relative Range, an Up Front newsletter from Princeton long after the last game I played. Atoll was a package of scenarios I wrote for use with Banzai. I see that at least one time we played this, my friends and I were having so much fun (and probably drinking so much beer) that we had to label which side of the cardholder was for discards.

Lord of Hosts, 31 Jan 1990
Robert E. Sack, 1990
Perelandra #76
Pete Gaughan, 1990
World DipCon II / DipCon XXIII / DixieCon IV Newsletter #3
DipCon, 1990
Diplomacy Today, Blue Edition Winter 1903
Darrel Plant, 1989
I was mostly unaware of the wider world of Diplomacy zines when I started up Diplomacy Today. I knew the game was frequently played by mail (and I had my own experience developing a PBM game) but the fact that there were collations of multiple zines was something unfamiliar. When I started it up, desktop color printing was not at all available, and the colophon to this issue mentioned I printed from the Apple Macintosh II (2MB RAM!) to an Apple LaserWriter IINT ($10,000!) that I had access to. When the service bureau I used for work got a QMS thermal-transfer color printer I sent a copy of the first color issue off to Avalon Hill’s magazine, The General. Managing Editor Rex Martin sent me back a proposal that we might run selections from one of the games (to be the Red Edition) in his magazine and he would be one of the players. Regrettably, the whole thing fell apart, as so many diplomacy-related things do. The other material was sent to me by Pete Gaughan, after Rex sent him copies of my newsletter. Neither the Red or Blue games got very far.


Flying Buffalo Inc., 1976 and 1981
Lords of Valetia
Gamemasters Publishers Association, 1976
Starweb is pretty much Patient Zero in computer-moderated play-by-mail gaming. It was there before the dawn of the personal computer and, apparently, it’s still there. It’s a game of 15 stellar empires competing for 255 worlds (a handy number for old computer systems). You picked one of 6 different players types, who got points for different activities, then you race to see who makes the goal. Send your turns in by mail and get a computer printout. Starlord was a similar game in some ways, but the printouts were in color! Lords of Valetia, I never actually played, and I have no idea what the turns looked like or even how you were supposed to encode what you wanted to do. The rulebook is thick but vague. It does, however have a pronunciation guide, if that was to be of any help.

Oil War
Simulations Publications, Inc., 1975
Good ideas never die. Almost forty years ago, this game caught my adolescent eye, and I brought it home to play with my brother. Another of the earliest “real” wargames in the collection, it was one of SPI’s Folio series that brought the price into the reach of kids like myself, essentially repackaging the type of games published in Strategy & Tactics magazine into a folder and shrink-wrapping it; a paperback to the hardcover maps and boxes of Avalon Hill’s products. Lots of familiar names here.

The General
Volume 24 Number 4
Volume 24 Number 6
Volume 26 Number 1

Avalon Hill, 1988-1990
Featuring Raid on St. Nazaire, Thunder at Cassino, and Merchant of Venus, respectively (none of which I have).

Security Station

Metagaming, 1978-1981
Raid on Iran
Steve Jackson Games, 1980
A slice of game evolution, these four games are all from Austin. The trend toward inexpensive, fast-to-play titles continued with Metagaming’s early releases, packaged in paperboard boxes with small maps and counters. Wizard built on the huge fantasy market created by Dungeons & Dragons, with the magic component of a combat system initiated by the earlier Melee. They dispensed with the storyline aspect of D&D and got right down to the fighting. Recognizing the fact that a lot of fantasy game players were isolated nerds, releases like Security Station provided scenarios that could be played solitaire (or as part of a group). Helltank appealed to a different aesthetic, particularly those drawn in by Metagaming’s first release: Ogre. The designer of Ogre, Steve Jackson, started his own game company, stayed in Austin, and released Raid on Iran, a speculative piece on what might have happened if the raid to free the hostages at the American Embassy in Tehran hadn’t been aborted) which came out within months of the attempt.

Lost Worlds: Skeleton with Scimitar and Shield
Lost Worlds: Dwarf in Chainmail with Two-handed Ax
Lost Worlds: Giant Goblin with Mace and Shield
Lost Worlds: Woman in Scale with Sword and Shield
Lost Worlds: Hill Troll with Club
Lost Worlds: Barbarian with Two-handed Sword
Lost Worlds: Fighter Mage with Magic Sword
Lost Worlds: Wraith with Sickle
Lost Worlds: Cold Drake
Lost Worlds: Halfling with Sword and Shield
Lost Worlds: Lizard Man with Scimitar and Buckler

Nova Game Designs, 1983-1984
The success of Nova’s Ace of Aces WWI air combat game led to this expansion into fantasy one-on-one combat, using a similar system of pictorial booklets paired with charts of actions. The series won a Charles Roberts award in 1983, but like many of the other games in my boxes, it was soon to meet the deadly interface of the computer. In some nice cross-marketing, each of the characters was modeled after a figure from Ral Partha’s fantasy miniature collection, and a coupon for 10% off the miniature’s purchase was included in the box.

Victory Games, 1983
An attempt to make a Squad Leader-style game playable by a single person, Ambush! used a bunch of 8.5″x11″scenario cards slipped into a “Mission Cartridge Viewer Sleeve”, charts, dozens of pieces, maps, and another deck of cards to make playing a game by yourself feel like storming a beach in Normandy.

Ace of Aces Powerhouse Series
Nova Games, 1981
Autoduel Quarterly, Vol. 3 No. 4
Steve Jackson Games, 1985
Journal of the Travellers’ Aid Society, No. 10
Game Designers’ Workshop, 1981
Top Secret
TSR Games, 1980
A couple of stragglers, I covered Ace of Aces in Box 2, along with ADQ and the Journal. Top Secret was one of TSR’s first non-fantasy excursions, none of which were ever near as popular as the D&D franchise. It was an espionage-based RPG that just seemed kind of lame compared to the fantasy and sci-fi RPGs.

The Strategic Review
Vol. 1 No. 1
Vol. 1 No. 2
Vol. 1 No. 3
Vol. 1 No. 4
Vol. 1 No. 5

The Dragon, Vol 2 No. 8
Dragon, Vol 6. No. 10
Tactical Studies Rules/TSR Hobbies, Inc., 1975, 1978, 1982
The first five (possibly the only five?) issues of The Strategic Review came out in 1975, I picked them up as back issues a year or so after publication, completist that I was at the time. There was no useful information in them for a budding D&D player, things were moving much too fast at that point. The first issue listed for sale (besides the original D&D boxed set): Cavaliers and Roundheads (miniatures rules for the English Civil War), Tricolor (Napoleonic War miniatures rules), Warriors of Mars (Barsoomian miniatures), Star Probe (map-based space exploration), Chainmail (medieval miniatures rules that spawned D&D), Tractics (WW2 miniatures), Panzer Warfare (large-scale armor miniatures), miniatures themselves, and polyhedral dice. By issue 5, multiple D&D expansion books were on the list, along with Empire of the Petal Throne, Boot Hill, and games based on football, auto racing, Civil War naval battles, and Lord of the Rings.

That was a big box.

Just a Box of Games, Box 3

The third box is mostly boxed games and includes some titles from the earliest days of my collection.

Richthofen’s War

Avalon Hill, 1972

One of the games from this collection that belongs to the era when I was playing mostly against my brother at home, and one of the first games we had that was more complex (much more so) than the standard kids’ board games. A true “wargame.”

B-17: Queen of the Skies

Avalon Hill, 1983

A fantastic solitare game that could keep you busy for hours. B-17 was originally published by On Target a couple years earlier, but the AH release gave it much wider exposure. It got great reviews at the time and was the perfect way to while away those pre-computer game afternoons, picking through charts and rolling dice. You’re trying to get your bomber crew through their 20 required missions. I remember a computer version coming out at one point, long after I’d played around with writing one for myself.


West End Games, 1986

Continuing on with the aviation theme, this was another attempt at a solitare game system, but I found it more of a hassle to set up than B-17: the map required a lot more room, there were more counters, etc. The larger scope of RAF lessened the appeal, as well.

Civilization, Civilization: Trade Card Expansion, and Civilization: Western Extension Map

Avalon Hill, 1981, 1982, 1988

Synonymous now with the name of Sid Maier, he had nothing to do with the board game version of Civilization. AH picked the game up from the British company Hartland Trefoil and its original designer, Francis Tresham, after it hit the European market in 1980. A great game with four or five players, but it last seven or eight hours. The Trade Card Expansion added some of the, well, trade cards used to move your civilization up the ladder. The Extension map added Iberia and Northwest Africa. Never got a chance to play it.


Avalon Hill, 1976 & 1982

Two different editions, with the earlier wooden fleet and army markers and the later plastic markers. Time and color-blindness have made the Italian and English wooden markers virtually indistinguishable to me.

Star Fleet Battles: Task Force Game #4,

Star Fleet Battles: Designer’s Edition,

Star Fleet Battles Expansion #1,

Star Fleet Battles Expansion #2

Task Force Games, 1979-1982

SFB first appeared as a shrink-wrapped game in digest size and quickly proved popular enough that it came out in a full-sized boxed edition. Not that the artwork got particularly better. SFB walked the line between a boardgame and miniatures simulation (see the previous box for examples of some of the ships). The expansions had new ships and new scenarios.


Avalon Hill, 1971

Another early acquisition that I played with my brother. I have to admit, I played a lot of games of Luftwaffe against myself, as well. Very well-constructed markers that can be re-inserted into the original card. This wraps up the third box, with a final aerial combat boardgame (and the third from Avalon Hill alone).

Just a Box of Games, Box 2

This second box of games took a little longer than the first. Lots of little things, stuff mixed together, well, you’ll see.

Traveller 15mm lead miniatures
Martian Metals, 1980-82
Obviously, I never did much of anything with these. Too small, for one, and our Traveller games never really seemed to need them.
(left to right, bottom to top)

2002 Adventurers #2, 12 assorted fig.
2005 Imperial Marines (Tech Level 13-15)
2007 Troopers (Tech Level 8-10)
2003 Thugs & Ruffians, 12 assorted fig.

2005 Imperial Marines (Tech Level 13-15)
2001 Adventurers #1, 12 assorted fig.
2009 Vargyr (Tech Level 8-10)
2013 Zhodani (Military TL 12-13) (circa 1040)

2011 Mercenaries, 12 assorted fig.
2014 Aslan (Military TL 9-12)
2012 Patrons, 12 assorted fig.
2017 K’kree (Military TL 12)

2020 Sword Worlds (Military TL 9-12)
2018 K’kree (Military TL 10-12) Vacc Suit
2019 Zhodani (Military TL 12-14)
2017 K’kree (Military TL 12)

ADDENDUM: Within a year after I posted this in 2013, I was contacted by an airline pilot who was interested in buying all my Traveller miniatures to use for playing with his kids. They’d been sitting in the box for 30 years, we made a deal that was about $5 a pack, and I happily shipped them off to Hawaii. Earlier this year, I was listening to an old episode of The Grognard Files Grogpod where they were discussing old miniatures and their prices, and some of the Traveller packs were going for $50 to $75. I just keep telling myself to think of the kids.

Starline 2000 Miniatures for Starfleet Battles
Task Force Games, 1982
I always thought it would be cool to do spaceship battles with miniatures, but we never really got around to it. RPGs and board games sort of stole our time.
(left to right, bottom to top)

7013 Federation CL (light cruiser, lead)
7043 Klingon D-7 Battle Cruiser (lead,
mislabeled as 7200 Small Freighter)

7081 Gorn CA (heavy cruiser, lead)
7141 Hydran Ranger (lead)
7011 Federation CA (heavy cruiser, plastic)

Avalon Hill, 1982
This game was pretty enjoyable, if a little slow for a gun duel/battle. An innovative card-based action system and quality components (including counters that could snap back into the sheet for storage) make me want to drag it out to a game night somewhere.

James Bond 007 Basic Set
Victory Games, 1983
An attempt to cash in on the RPG fad with a non-fantastic (well, a little fantastic) plotline set in the current day. Victory Games was a division of Avalon Hill. TSR had a spy system, as well: TOP SECRET. Not sure how successful either of them were; I know this one didn’t get much use.

Call of Cthulhu, Cthulhu Companion,
and Shadows of Yog-Sothoth
Chaosium, 1981-1983
You had me at evil creatures
from the Nameless Beyond.
Cthulhu came around as most of my RPG friends were trailing off into other pursuits, or I’d have spent more time with this series.

Elric: Battle at the End of Time
Chaosium, 1981
An Elric board game! It must have seemed like an exciting idea when I bought it.

3M, 1966
I don’t know when this edition was published, but it was an entertaining little board game that included actual rocks in one of the bags. Supposedly based on an old Egyptian game, it has a number of variants, but the basic idea (if I remember it correctly)is that you drop rocks in the pits one-by-one, capturing the stones in the last pit. Or something like that.

Ace of Aces, Handy Rotary Series and
Ace of Aces, Flying Machines

Aldred Leonardi, 1980 and Nova Games, 1982
The things we had to do in the pre-computer gaming era. It’s not that there weren’t computers (and computer games have been around from about minute 1 of the computer age) but as your grandparents will tell you over and over, they were nowhere near as prevalent. Ace of Aces was a revolutionary concept that was the closest thing to a PSP2 flying game as you could get at the time. Each player had a book (books in the Handy Rotary Series were the Sopwith Camel and Fokker DR1; Flying Machines were the Airco DH2 and Fokker E III), they started on a pre-determined page, then made maneuvers on a maneuver chart at the bottom of the page. The books were cross-indexed so that an intermediate step would put each player on the same page number in their respective books, with views of their relative positions. A pretty fast, fun play. Nova Games went on to do some hand-to-hand fantasy combat books with the same sort of structure.

Pig Mania
David Moffat, 1977
They’re like dice, only they’re pigs. Various points awarded for particular configurations of touching pig dice.

Starship Duel II: USS Reliant v Klingon L-9
FASA, 1984
A rather blatant attempt to turn the success of Ace of Aces into a Star Trek-inspired spaceship battle. They couldn’t copy the patented system of AofA, and their attempt to solve the problem with technology (just get a computer, already!) just made it clunkier.

Phoenix Games, 1980
I was fascinated by all things Japanese in the late ’70s. In fact, the whole country seemed to be a little Japan-crazy. I don’t know if it was James Clavell’s book Shogun that started it (the movie starring Richard Chamberlain was released in 1980) or if it just rode a wave of Japan awareness that washed across the country like a fleet of import cars, but I wasn’t alone in my interest and Bushido made some inroads into our game world. You can just about see the box for one edition of the game in the photo accompanying this article.

Autoduel Quarterly
Steve Jackson Games, 1983-87
I owe a huge debt to Steve Jackson, whose games were both entertainment and inspiration to me. We played a lot of Car Wars, which hit right around the time of the Road Warrior film (though it had plenty of other antecedents). I was enough of a fan that the letters page of the very first issue of the Car Wars magazine Autoduel Quarterly was kicked off by yours truly.

Vol. 1, No. 1
Vol. 1, No. 2
Vol. 1, No. 3
Vol. 1, No. 4
Vol. 2, No. 1
Vol. 2, No. 2
Vol. 2, No. 3
Vol. 2, No. 4
Vol. 3, No. 1
Vol. 3, No. 2
Vol. 3, No. 3
Vol. 5, No. 2

Taincraft, 1980 (board and counters),
Wm. F. Drueke & Sons, Inc., 1951 (rulebook)
Despite the interest in Japanese culture, go just never took off in our little circle.

Autoduel Champions and
Autoduel Champions Cardboard Heroes

Steve Jackson Games, 1983
Crossover rules between Car Wars and Hero Games’ Champions RPG, the Cardboard Heroes counters for the game were twice the dimensions of the regular counters for Car Wars.

Illuminati Expansion Set #1and
Illuminati Expansion Set #2
Steve Jackson Games, 1983
More about these later.

The Journal of the Travellers’ Aid Society
Game Designers’ Workshop, 1979, 1983
No. 2, No. 3, No. 15
The official magazine of GDW’s
Traveller RPG.

Uncle Albert’s Auto Stop & Gunnery Shop, 2035 Catalog
Steve Jackson Games, 1985
Issues of Autoduel Quarterly had fake ads for Uncle Albert’s, featuring new weapons and accessories you could add to your vehicles. The Catalog collected a lot of them into one place and added some more.

The AADA Vehicle Guide
Steve Jackson Games, 1984
A catalog of vehicle designs for people who didn’t want to go through the trouble of designing their own, and inspirations for those who did.

Car Wars Expansion Set #4, Armadillo Autoduel Arena
Steve Jackson Games, 1983
Maps only. There’s more coming up.

Car Wars Reference Screen
Steve Jackson Games, 1983
Classic Dungeonmaster screen.

Car Wars Expansion Set #7, Off-Road Duelling
Steve Jackson Games, 1985
Big color maps and rules for the mud.

Sunday Drivers
Steve Jackson Games, 1982
The first of the Car Wars expansions, before they began numbering them, this was a set of maps covering part of the town of Midville.

Car Wars
Steve Jackson Games, 1981-83
This represents several of the first editions of Car Wars, which originally appeared as a thin, stapled rulebook and a slick fold-out sheet, along with some cardboard counters which had to be cut apart, all in a ziplock baggie. One panel of the sheet served as the “cover” image for the game. Road sections and charts were printed on other sheet panels, which led to them being cut apart. There are two early plastic boxed versions: the first with tabs for the closure mechanism and the second with a simpler (less prone to fatigue) snap mechanism, which also bears a sticker for awards from Origins and OMNI (1982) and GAMES (1983).

Car Wars Expansion Set #1
Steve Jackson Games, 1983
Road sections and counter sheets. Shown are one of the road section foldouts and the display card.

Car Wars Expansion Set #2

Steve Jackson Games, 1983
More counters and a turning key. Display card shown.

Car Wars Expansion Set #3, East Midville,
Steve Jackson Games, 1983
Maps, counters, and scenarios to expand the Sunday Drivers expansion. Is your mind expanded yet? Display card shown.

Car Wars Expansion Set #4, Armadillo Autoduel Arena
Steve Jackson Games, 1983
Maps and counters for a stadium. Display card shown.

Sunday Drivers
Steve Jackson Games, 1982
Rulebook for the original expansion.

Truck Stop
Steve Jackson Games, 1983
Counters and map for big-wheelers. Rulebook shown.

Car Wars Expansion Set #6, The AADA Vehicle Guide Counters
Steve Jackson Games, 1984
Cardboard counters to accompany the AADA Vehicle Guide.

Cardboard Heroes, Traveller Set 3: Zhodani
Steve Jackson Games, 1983
15mm cardboard characters.

Car Wars counters
Steve Jackson Games, 1981-1985

Car Wars Expansion Set #2
Steve Jackson Games, 1983
turning keys

Cardboard Heroes, Cops, Crooks & Civilians
Steve Jackson Games, 1982

Cardboard Heroes, Traveller Set 2: Imperial Marines
Steve Jackson Games, 1982

assorted miniatures
including Ral Partha, Steve Jackson Games, and Martian Metals, various dates

6207 Cycles, Steve Jackson Games, 1983
6209 Sidecars & Turrets, Steve Jackson Games, 1983
2200 Air/Raft, Martian Metals, year unknown
Among the items in there are a mounted figure inspired by a Frazetta painting, a Balrog, a bunch of ‘John Carter of Mars’ figures including a couple Tharks, some wizards, hobbits, and ‘Lord of the Rings’ Guard of the Citadel.

assorted miniatures

including Ral Partha, Steve Jackson Games, and Martian Metals, various dates

Dragonslayer dragon, Martian Metals, 1981
tie-in with the movie (missing foil provided for wing membrane)

Just a Box of Games, Box 1

I’ve got a lot of games. More specifically, I’ve got a lot of old games. Mostly not ones you’ve likely heard of, unless you were hanging around game shops that sold something a little beyond Monopoly and backgammon sets back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Most of this stuff has been sitting in boxes or containers of one sort or another for nearly thirty years. I had to root around in them a little for some research on my (disastrous) Ignite presentation back in the early fall, and I realized there was some personal stuff——both game-related and not—mixed up in there that I wanted to sort through. In the process, I figured I might as well catalog some of the material. So here’s the first box.

Boots & Saddles: Air Cavalry in the 80’s
Game Designers’ Wordshop, 1984
Lots of these ‘Russian-tanks-pouring-through-the-Fulda-Gap’ scenarios made it to wargames back in the Reagan years.

Tunnels & Trolls, 5th ed.
Flying Buffalo Inc., 1979
Nearly pristine copy because my friends and I were already D&D players and the last thing we needed was another fantasy RPG. They did helpfully provide a pencil for players without one.

Twilight: 2000 and The Free City of Krakow
Game Designers’ Workshop, 1985
A world where RPG also means ordnance and “twilight” has nothing to do with vampires. More post-apocalyptic scenarios from the ’80s. Krakow is a scenario for TW:2000; the box is full of computer-generatednon-player characters and some competing Morrow Project stuff, the manuals appear to be elsewhere.

Federation Space
Task ForceGames, 1981
How down and out was the Star Trek franchise in the late 1970s? So far down that a minor company like TFG could get the rights to the license for board games, most notablyStar Fleet Battles, which has been revived under a different publisher.

Western Desert: The Campaign in Egypt and Libya, 1940-43
Game Designers’ Workshop, 1983
Number seven in GDW’s Europa series of WWII games, it featured huge foldout maps and never really got played.

Lakeside Games, 1978
More of a mass-market game than most of the others here, Duell is a sort of chess/dice hybrid.

Triplanetary (2nd ed.)
Game Designers’ Workshop, 1981
Apparently based on one of GDW’s first designs from the early ’70s, it was wildly optimistic about when we’d get done kicking Soviet patootie in Germany (Booth & Saddles) and start the space wars (see also, Twilight: 2000). You get to draw to draw on the map!

Game Designers’ Workshop, 1977
Once we’ve moved on from war in Europe and the solar system, on to the galaxy! This came out the same year as Star Wars, not sure whether the cruiser in the box art indicates before or after the movie.

Fifth Frontier War: Battles for the Spinward Marches

Game Designers’ Workshop, 1981
A tie-in with the Traveller RPG universe, I don’t remember specifics about this game, and the only thing in the box was the map.

Bloodtree Rebellion
Game Designers’ Workshop, 1979
One of those games that sat on the shelves of the game shop (along with Triplanetary and Imperium) for years without anyone buying them. I’ve got copies, though.

Azhanti High Lightning
Game Designers’ Workshop, 1980
A major adventure package for Traveller, with a stack of big multi-colored maps for each level of an enormous ship (some levels were identical, natch). Dungeons in Space!

Game Designers’ Workshop, 1979
Close combat rules for Traveller that included a small spaceship map. Missing box; inside Azhanti High Lighting (which used the same basic combat system).

Double Star
Game Designers’ Workshop, 1979
Another space game from GDW that tried to capitalize on the Star Wars buzz of the late ’70s and the early success of their Traveller RPG (without actually being a part of the same universe). Also sat on the shelf.

Avalon Hill, 1977
The three hard-board foldout maps are completely featureless, it’s just ocean, ocean, ocean in a game much more complex (and slower) than Battleship.

That’s it for the first box. Believe me, I do have something other than GDW games in the others. And there are quite a few of them.