Sunday, 31 May 2020

A to Z of UK RPG in the 80s: N is for Northern Militaire

N is for Northern Militaire

Wargaming was a part of my childhood in the 70s/80s.  I would willingly be dragged to conventions like Sheffield Triples, FIASCO in Leeds or my favourite Northern Militaire in Manchester.  

I have particularly fond memories of one participation game I must have played for hours called "Kamikaze" where you piloted 1/72nd scale WWII Japanese torpedo bombers attacking a US Navy Carrier.  It was a lot of fun and very simple.  

Each turn you chose the height your plane was flying at and the carrier would fire its guns at you.  If you survived long enough you got to launch your torpedos and if you got close enough you could attempt a "Kamikaze" attack and fly directly into the carrier. 

The planes had verticle holes cut through the fuselage so they could be threaded onto a metal rod (a scientific stand if I recall) and you adjusted the height of the plane using a small bulldog clip fixed to the rod.  Damage markers were white red and yellow coloured rings and of course if you caught fire you would get the obligatory cotton wool smoke trail attached to your plane.  

My memory of the carrier was that it was huge and fairly basic in design.  To an impressionable 7 year old, detail didn't matter, it was the mutts nuts.  I'm fairly sure that the PC brigade would have none of it today but it was accepteable in the 80s.

If anyone reading this has any photos of the Kamikaze game from back in the day please leave a comment in the box below.  I would love to talk to you.

Northern Militaire 1979
My Family (circled) at Northern Militaire circa 1979
(courtesy of The Wargaming Megalomaniac)

Special thanks to the following blogs for sharing their photos and memories.

Friday, 29 May 2020

Mega City Mini Plots

Here are three Judge Dredd RPG mini plots to go along with those Sci-Fi Street Funtiture scenery miniatures.

Vending Machine Rampage

When "Call Me Kenneth" led the robot revolution (progs 10 - 17) the vending machines stood dutifully by serving their customers with hot beverages and even hotter Man Chow.  When a system update breaks their programming these metal boxes go on the rampage with hilarious results.

We have to make them mobile and I like the idea that the vending machines of the future are autonomous.  When empty they sprout legs, wheels, tracks or whatever locomotive device and trundle back to the factory to be restocked and repaired.

Eyeball Icecube
Eyeball Icubes
you can Buy them on eBay

How do they kill?  Well that would be dependant on the vending machine.  Drinks machines will of course fire cans or streams of super hot synthi-caf from their dispensers.  Snack venders will scoop you in through their front door and spear you with those spiral dispenser coils.  An ice cube machine will chop you and then freeze you into bite size ice cube chunks.

Why are they doing this? What are their demands? Who made the bad code? - These are all questions your Judge team will need to find out.

Carnivorous Mutant Wigs

Mega City One has a long tradition entrepreneuers releasing new products with unintended consequences.  It could be anything.  Legendary hairpiece designer Baldnomeor is selling their latest toupees which are actually a cultivated creature from the Cursed Earth.  The hair conditioner they sell along with the wigs has a sedative effect on the creature. 

However, should you run out of conditioner or forget to apply it daily, these things will wake up.  They have a taste for human brains and they are very, very hungry.

It's possible that a bad batch of the conditioner has worked its way into the vending machine system meaning that thousands of follicly challenged Mega City One residents are at risk.

This plot hook is in no way shape or form inspired by Donald Trump rather than by a Hairy Jungle Flannel Moth Caterpillar photo which resembles his Toupee which I found on the interweb.

Megalopygid Trump Photo by Phil Torres
Megalopygid Trump by @Phil_Torres

Vending Machines are Witnesses Too

Not so much a plot and more of a statement of fact.  I conceive that in the future vending machines will have CCTV just like today where all ATMs (or as us brits call them "hole in the wall" cash machines) have CCTV cameras embedded in them.  They will use face recognition to identify their repeat customers and be programmed with Artificial Intelligence for small talk.

You might want to give them access to citizen's medical records in order to monitor their intake of synthi caffiene, sugar or other substances which might have a potential impact on their health.  Of couse they have access to all your credit details, unless you are one of those off the grid citizens who still pays with old fashioned plasti-creds, so can advise you on other tempting offers which could be delivered straight to your place of residence.

With all this technology and if we assume that they are mobile (as in the first plot hook) the Judges will not be surprised when they are doing a spot of desk duty and a vending machine trundles into the sector house to report a crime.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

A to Z of UK RPG in the 80s - P is for Pondsmith, (Mike! where's my flying car?)

As some of you are aware I am based in the UK and I've blogged before about how the roleplaying scene differs in Blighty to that across the pond (and probably that over in the Eurozone to boot).  Here's an attempt to pick out some of the highlights of what it was like to be a roleplayer back in the dark days of Thatcher's Britain of the 1980s (cue the V for Vendetta trailer)...

Cyberpunk
In 1988 R Talsorian released Cyberpunk, set in the dystopian near future imagined by the likes of authors William Gibson (Neuromancer), Bruce Sterling (Mirror Shades) and Walter J Williams (Hardwired).

Designer Mike Pondsmith did a great job of amalgamating the disparate source material into one and with the release of CP2020 in 1990 the game really took off.  I was one of the early adopters of the original boxed set.  It could usually be found languishing at the back of the dark and dingy gamestore (trust me some were) among the RIFTS and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles books.  The black box set had minimal artwork just a cool looking negative line drawing of a punk with a big gun... I had to have it.

The three skinny books were:
  • View From The Edge: The Cyberpunk Handbook (48 pages) - The "Players Handbook" if you will, detailing character generation, the net and netrunning and cyberwear.

  • Friday Night Firefight: INTERLOCK Man to Man & Weapons Combat System (22 pages) - The combat manual containing all you needed to know about melee and missile combat, wounds damage and recovery and a whole heap of guns and armour.

  • Welcome to Night City: A Sourcebook for 2013 (44 pages) - The dark future sourcebook containing all you needed to know about Night City (the primary urban setting) and the rest of the world including, corporations, fashion, weapons and transportation.
Now don't get me wrong I absolutely love Cyberpunk, but if it were released today no-one in their right mind would buy it, but not because there's no market or appetite for a dystopian near future subculture game.  Compared to todays slickly produced, source material heavy books, its just a skeleton of a game system really, there just wasn't enough source material in there for you to run a convincing game.  This is probably why only two years later it was completely revamped and flung another 7 years into the future with Cyberpunk 2020, and to be honest this is the game I play, even now.

No Source Material, I'll give you Source Material

It wasn't until you teamed up the boxset rules with one of the sourcebooks published the year after the original release, that the game came together.
  • Hardwired - An alternate reality sourcebook set in the world of Walter Jon Williams 1986 novel of the same name.

  • Near Orbit - Focusing on the corporate expansion into space and it's exploitation in the wake of nation state collapse and the failure of US and Russian space programmes.

  • Rockerboy - Expanding upon the Rockerboy character role from the basic game.

  • Solo of Fortune - Expanding upon the Solo character role from the basic game.

http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/710-53481-19255-0/1?ff3=4&pub=5575591494&toolid=10001&campid=5338691580&customid=Hardwired+CP2020&mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fsch%2Fi.html%3F_from%3DR40%26_trksid%3Dm570.l1313%26_nkw%3DHardwired%2BCyberpunk%26_sacat%3D0%26LH_TitleDesc%3D0%26_osacat%3D0%26_odkw%3DHardwired%2BCyberpunk

http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/710-53481-19255-0/1?ff3=4&pub=5575591494&toolid=10001&campid=5338691580&customid=Near+Orbit+CP2020&mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fsch%2Fi.html%3F_from%3DR40%26_trksid%3Dm570.l1313%26_nkw%3DNear%2BOrbit%2BCyberpunk%26_sacat%3D0%26LH_TitleDesc%3D0%26_osacat%3D0%26_odkw%3DNear%2BOrbit%2BCyberpunk
HardwiredNear Orbit

http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/710-53481-19255-0/1?ff3=4&pub=5575591494&toolid=10001&campid=5338691580&customid=Rockerboy+CP2020&mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fsch%2Fi.html%3F_from%3DR40%26_trksid%3Dm570.l1313%26_nkw%3DRockerboy%2BCyberpunk%26_sacat%3D0%26LH_TitleDesc%3D0%26_osacat%3D0%26_odkw%3DRockerboy%2BCyberpunk

http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/710-53481-19255-0/1?ff3=4&pub=5575591494&toolid=10001&campid=5338691580&customid=Colo+fo+Fortune+CP2020&mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fsch%2Fi.html%3F_from%3DR40%26_trksid%3Dm570.l1313%26_nkw%3DSolo%2Bof%2BFortune%2BCyberpunk%26_sacat%3D0%26LH_TitleDesc%3D0%26_osacat%3D0%26_odkw%3DSolo%2Bof%2BFortune%2BCyberpunk
RockerboySolo of Fortune

Time for Predictions

Cyberpunk has taken quite a lot of flack in the post internet years for its lack of foresight, but I think that this is unfair criticism, infact William Gibson said "As soon as a work is complete, it will begin to acquire a patina of anachronism." in his recent interview with BoingBoing.  There are plenty of games and a whole genre of science fiction which has done the same whilst trying to imagine a vision of a dystopian near future.  You only have to look at Bladerunner's vision of 2006 or Mad Max's vision of an  Australia after a Third World War to see that others also got the future spectacularly wrong. 

Let's dig a little deeper into that source material and see whether or not any of the ideas and concepts from the game and genre actually came true.

Global Data Network - ARPANET had been around since 1972 and a lucky few may have been on BBS or USENET on a computer via a modem and the game acknowledges that history. But in 1988, when cyberpunk was released, Tim Bernes-Lee hadn't yet invented The Internet and no-one knew what a browser was, so instead we had this bizarre virtual reality construct which you interfaced with.  This came straight off the pages of the novels which inspired the game (and I noted with interest that Walter Jon Williams is credited with playtesting the game).  The global data network which we now call the internet did arrive and thank god it was not entirely dominated by the corporations although we did have the likes of AOL and GeoCities.  8/10 - "Not Far off" 

Virtual Reality - The interface of the dark future was direct injection, without the 2D visual interface of a monitor to hold them back, the aspiring netrunner went all 3D virtual reality on us.  This vision of the future is still some years away, and it is now the movie and games industries which are driving the development of 3D technology and it is only a matter of time until the web and 3D merge.  The advances in mobile computing and telecoms have spawned another potentially far more interesting technology which Cyberpunk did predict in the shape of Times Square Marquee, a form of Augmented Reality (AR) where a virtual layer is superimposed on the realworld.    5/10 - "Still waiting for my neural plugs"

Aerodyne Vehicles - The transport of choice in Night City was always an AV of some sort or another and thanks to the relentless self publicity of Dr Moller and his Sky Car this has always seemed so tantalisingly close.  Cyberpunk is in good company when it comes to flying cars alongside many futurists, tech journalists and sci-fi authors but sadly this is still just a dream - 3/10 - "Dude Where's my flying car??"

Cybernetic Enhancements - Putting the cyber into cyberpunk were the mechanical and neural enhancements you added to your characters just to let them get through a tough day in Night City.  Everyone had them, from rockerboys to cops, and street vendors to corporate execs, so where are they?  A little ways off it seems, the plastic surgery and body sculpting fetishes are most definitely with us but those spearheading the field of limb and organ replacement are still the same war veterans and disabled of 50 years ago.  Although advances in material science have given us the likes of athlete Oscar "Bladerunner" Pistorius and in cybernetics, Prof. Kevin " Captain Cyborg" Warwick the world has yet to turn to the elective surgery seen in the game.   2/10 - "Still just plain punks"

Rise of the Mega-Corporation - Another dark them in the game was that of the collapse of nation states and their replacement by Mega-Corporations.  There are undoubtedly dark times ahead still for the world as it blunders its way through this latest global recession and todays corporations seem to be lacking in their resolve to take over everything just yet.  5/10 - "There's still time for this one"

Mobile Computers - No self respecting Netrunner would have been seen dead without his portable deck and trodes ready to jack in from a public data term, a household line or a dead suit's deskphone in Arasaka Towers.  However, the rise of the internet and the desire for mobile data all the time has led to the invention of the smartphone instead.  The mini wifi terminal most of us now carry in a shirt pocket or handbag, capable of handling data, voice and video was not on cyberpunk's or any other tech radar.  Need proof? just check out Harrison Ford in 1980s "Bladerunner" making a video call to Sean Young from a public phone booth.  2/10 - "The future's now, the future's iPhone"

Addendum

Most of this post was written many years ago and was languishing as a draft utnil very recently.  We are all on tenderhooks waiting for the full edition of Cyberpunk Red to be released and I for one am glad that Cyberpunk is gettting the love now that it deserves.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Jessie's Prints Episode 8 - Sci-Fi Street Furniture

This week, I are mostly been printing...

Sci-Fi Dumpsters - https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3760350 

3D Printed Sci-Fi Dumpsters
Sci-Fi Dumpsters
Every city needs street furniture and dumpsters are an obligatory consideration.  When you are having a block war the first thing you need to consider is where are your bins full of flammable trash?  They also come in very handy as a makeshift blockade and you never really know who or what is inside them until you look.

Vending Machines - https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3662400

3D Printed Vending Machines
Vending Machines from the future

Printing Tips

Both these models are intended for use at 28 to 35mm so I scaled them down to 50% to fit in with my 15mm Judge Dredd minis.  At this size they have lost a bit of detail on my FDM printer, but they are supposed to be representative and I think they look good enough.

No vending machine would be complete without an enticing marque, so I have made some up which you can download.
Download the file

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Perhaps I do have a problem

...and it's called Dead Games

After joining the Fans of Dead Games Society on facebook I have realised that there are gaping holes in my collections of Games Workshop bookcase format board games.

Some of the best games from my childhood are contained in these small boxes of fun which fit neatly onto your standard bookcase (unlike todays monstrosities).  It was a popular form factor for many games publishers back in the 80s and popularized by the likes of Avalon Hill and the mark of a serious game.

These were heavily advertised in the pages of White Dwarf, The Space Gamer and Imagine magazine

It was natural for Games Workshop to follow suit and begin publishing their own bookcase format games.

Games Workshop Bookcase Games

Apocalypse the Game of Nuclear Devastation
Apocalypse
Buy it on eBay
Apocalypse: The Game of Nuclear Devastation (1980)

This is a cut down 4 player version of Mike Hayes Classic Warlord which focuses on the Western Europe part of the map.  It has a strong 6.8 score on BoardGameGeek and a bit of a cult following.

I've never played or owned this game but always lusted after it, purely on the basis that the cover illustrations is from 70s Space Artist Jim Burns.

If you like this artwork I strongly recommend that you buy his art book Lightship, you will not be disappointed.

Availability is limited but you will still find copies at reasonable prices if you search for Apocalypse on eBay.  


Battlecars (1983)

Games Workshop Battlecars
Battlecars
Buy it on eBay
Following in the footsteps of the very popular Steve Jackson Games Car Wars, Battlecars is a very simplistic vehicular combat boardgame with an innovative diamond grid board rather than the more typical square grid.  The games scale (10mm?) is compatible with Car Wars being and Citadel Miniatures even produced a range of metal vehicle minis as accessories and more pictures of the C42 Battlecars minis range can be found at The Stuff of Legends.

I played a lot of Battlecars and really enjoyed the fast gameplay.  I even scaled the game up to 1/64th hotwheels scale for participation play at a SELWG Open Day one year.  We had a lot of fun with this game and if you're like me and a fan of post apocalyptic auto duelling it's one that you should consider including in your games collection.

Citadel C42 Battlecars miniatures
Citadel C42 Battlecars - Buy them on eBay

Battlebikes (1984)

Games Workshop Battlebikes
Battlebikes
Buy it on eBay
A year after the success of Battlecars, GW released an expansion to include rules for motorcycles and lots more pedestrians and scenery counters.  This is not a standalone game and you will need a copy of Battlecars to play it.

Citadel expanded their battlecars C42 range to include motorcycles to accompany the game but it was not long after this release that the game was ultimately shelved.  The highlight of this range has to be the Sinclair C5 battletrike. 

Games Workshop returned to the post apocalyptic auto duelling genre 4 years later with the much more accessible 1/64th scale Dark Future game which I covered in my A-Z of UK RPGs in the 80s: L is for Large Box Games post.


Block Mania (1987)

Games Workshop Block Mania
Block Mania
Buy it on eBay
A product of the licensing deal with 2000AD publisher IPC Magazines.  Games Workshop released a slew of 2000AD related products also featured in this list.

A 2 player game in which the residents of Sammy Fox and Buddy Holly blocks have gone to war with each other and are determined to destroy as much of each others blocks as possible using whatever items they can lay their hands on.  A very vibrant looking game and one which features the work of seminal Judge Dredd illustrator Brett Ewins.

Block Mania and it's expansion, Mega Mania, are games which slipped under the wire for me despite them being Judge Dredd related.  Needess to say they are on the wanted list and still pretty affordable if you search for Block Mania Boardgame on eBay.

Blood Bowl (1986)

Games Workshop Blood Bowl
Blood Bowl
Buy it on eBay
This game of Fantasy Football by Jervis Johnson has been a mainstay of the GW IP for many years and has spawned numerous editions, computer games and spin-offs like my favourite Blood Bowl Team Manager.

The first edition was released in the bookcase format and there are some significant rule differences which make it a less fatal version of the game.  Consequently, the board is a 4 piece jigsaw puzzle affair (something GW experimented with on a number of games at the time) and the miniatures are cardstock standees with plastic bases which kept the production costs low.

I own the 2nd Edition Large Box version with the Expanded Poly-Styrene foam field.  I consider this to be the definitive edition which came fully supported with a huge range of extra star player and add-on team boxed sets from Citadel Miniatures.  However, it all started here with this Bookcase version.

If I ever get this version it will be a curiosity filled spur of the moment purchase.  There are plenty of copies available if you search for Vintage Blood Bowl on eBay, but be prepared to wade through hundreds of listings for later versions.

Blood Royale (1987)

Games Workshop Blood Royale
Blood Royale
Buy it on eBay
I've always thought of this as a cut down version of Warrior Knights but it is infact a completely different 3 to 5 player game of European political conquest in the Middle Ages.

A gorgeous looking board stretches from England in the North to Spain and Portugal in the South and as far East as Germany and Italy.  Unlike Warrior Knights, where forming banner armies, laying siege and raising cities to the ground, is the core of the game, Blood Royale focuses on the political machinations of the individual family members and the quest for wealth.  

BoardGameGeek recommends that this is best played with 5 players so I imagine it takes some time to complete a game.

Prices remain a bit on the high side when you search for Blood Royale on eBay.  But with the right wind and a lack of interest from other snipers I just might be able to get a bargain.  Fingers crossed. 

Calamity: The International High-Risk Insurance Game (1983)

Games Workshop Calamity
Calamity
Buy it on eBay if you must
This was early days for Games Workshop and they would still release these odd "traditional" boardgames.  GW originally started out making chess boards and one of their first boardgame releases was the wine trading game Grapevine (1980) in partnership with Colman's of Norwich, a well established winetrader.

Calamity is another such game and proudly advertises the name of its designer musical empresario Andrew Lloyd Webber.  Yes Games Workshop made a game designed by the man behind some of the most popular musicals of the 80s like Phantom of the Opera, Starlight Express, Chess and Cats.  Who woulda thunk it.

This is a fairly dry affair compared to their other games and modern satirical games like Crunch or the glorious The War on Terror boardgame by Terrorbull Games (if you haven't played them you should).  I own a copy but purely out of curiosity.  It has hit the table once in only 10 years and to be honest is only here for those who want to complete their bookcase games collection.

Chainsaw Warrior (1987)

Games Workshop Chainsaw Warrior
Chainsaw Warrior
Buy it on eBay

A weird one this.  Chainsaw Warrior is a rare, exclusively solo game with a 1 hour fixed time limit.

It sounds a bit like a boardgame version of The Raid before that movie was even a glint in the milkman's eye.  You take on the role of a Special Forces veteran who has to come out of retirement to face the ultimate evil known as The Darkness (not the noughties rock band)  who has taken over Manhattan.  GW published a set of extra cards in White Dwarf #88 and the Chainsaw Warrior proved popular enough to be integrated into the Talisman game with a range of miniatures from Citadel.

Artwork by the sorely missed master illustrator of big combat boots, Brett Ewins, this game just screams 80s action movie horror and reminds me so much of the comic strip Bad Company which he drew in the 80s.  This could be the perfect game for me, especially if Coronavirus Lockdown continues for another month.

Fortunately prices are reasonable when you search for Chainsaw Warrior on eBay so there is every chance that this could be gracing my bookcase in the coming weeks.

Chaos Marauders (1997)


Games Workshop Chaos Marauders
Chaos Marauders
Buy it on eBay
I must confess that this is a bookcase game which has never really taken my fancy which is strange because I field an orc army in Warhammer.  I have always loved the unpredictability of Orcs and my favourite unit are the ball and chain chucking goblin fanatics who are frankly more of a danger to their friends than their foes.

Designed by Stephen Hand of Fury of Dracula fame, Chaos Marauders got a small form factor reprint from Fantasy Flight Games as part of their budget silverline range.

It is a reasonably available and affordable game if you search for Chaos Marauders on eBay.  I suppose I will bite the bullet and get a copy some day...

Cosmic Encounter (1986)

Games Workshop Cosmic Encounter
Cosmic Encounters
Buy it on eBay
Another licensed version of a West End Games classic although Cosmic Encounters has passed through many hands over the years and is the basis for Avalon Hill's Dune boardgame.

This is a fairly abstract and esoteric Player v Player game of stellar conflict in which each player tries to eliminate the others using their combat cards and their special power.  The beauty of this game lies in the variety of powers available and something which has been expanded upon over the years with each edition.  Games Workshop used the pages of White Dwarf #78 to publish their own expansions whilst they owned the license. Ibelieve cover art is early John Blanche.

I own this and whilst I enjoy it, there is never any love for it among my group so it never makes it to the table.  It's still a solid game and this bookcase version is considered to be one of the classics.  They are readily available if you search for Games Workshop Cosmic Encounter on eBay.  

Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1988)


Games Workshop Curse of the Mummy's Tomb
Curse of the Mummy's Tomb
Buy it on eBay
This is the game that started my own personal journey down the rabbit hole of bookcase game collecting.

A 1 to 4 player game where you take on the role of explorers investigating the interior of the pyramid of  Khonsu, trying to find the ultimate treasure, the mythical Elixir of Life.  The thing that really makes this game stand out is the 3 tiered pyramid which adds a third dimension to the gameplay like some sort of Games Workshop vesion of Vulcan Chess (Kal-Toh).  Sadly the rather flimsy construction and the lack of distance between levels causes more aggravation than I am comfortable with.  Perhaps I will design a 3D printed, upgraded and sturdier pyramid.

The game came with 5 28mm metal pawns (a feature of GW games of this era) representing the four player characters Marlow Hammet, Rev Luther Kirkegard, Professor Nayland Cushing, Lt-Gen The Earl of Carmarthen and the titular Mummy.  Sadly mine have become Player Characters and gone missing somewhere.  I will track them down because I have an urge to play this game especially as the game has a rare solo play option thanks to the drawn movement mechanic.

Secondhand versions are readily available but good, unmolested and complete versions command reasonable prices because a lot of people have fond memories of this game.  You can find rare bargains if you search for Curse of the Mummy's Tomb on eBay.

Doctor Who (1980)

Games Workshop Doctor Who
Doctor Who
Buy it on eBay
I can't believe that I don't own this game, especially as #MyDoctor (Tom Baker) graces the cover.

However, a quick unboxing reveals a particularly uninspiring timey-wimey looking experience.  The game gets a dissapointingly average 5.4 on BoardGameGeek and it's rather unfortunate that for such a great franchise it seems to get terrible boardgames.

What this game could do with is a customisation with 20mm pawns to replace the cardstock counters.  That would look awesome but probably push the cost of owning this game several orders of magnitude into the stratosphere.

Availability is good and prices reasonable when you search for Games Workshop Doctor Who on eBay. The completist in me is interested but the Doctor Who fan less so.

DungeonQuest (1987)

Games Workshop Dungeonquest
Dungeonquest
Buy it on eBay
I played this once a long time ago and the person who owned it didn't know the rules so we played it all wrong.  But I loved it.

Basically a GW licensed version of the game Drakborgen (Dragon's Keep) it has the four players starting at different corners of the board revealling tiles as they go and trying to uncover a route which leads to the center of the board and their goal, the Dragon's hoard.  To win the game you have to get out alive.

I love a good push your luck dungeon crawl.  I am a fan of modern equivalents such as Cave Troll, Drakkon and Dungeon Roll (despite it's irritating box shape) so this is right up my alley.

When you search for Dungeonquest on eBay you can see some quite eyewatering prices.  I guess this is a testament to how good the game is, I don't know but I will bide my time and if I can grab a bargain, I guess I will find out...

Fury of Dracula (1987)

Games Workshop The Fury of Dracula
The Fury of Dracula
Buy it on eBay
An amazing hidden movement game where you play one of 4 period correct heroes trying to track down and vanquish the evil Dracula.   You travel around a wonderful map of Europe visiting towns and searching for clues to Dracula's location and fighting the minions he has left there.  But be careful when you finally track him down and fight him as he is more powerful in the night and will probably kill you.

As with many of the bookcase games of this period it came with a set of 5 metal character miniatures.  Strangely for GW/Citadel, these are not 28mm but 20mm sculpts and not really useable in RPGs.  This is probably the reason I still have mine in the box.  

This game has spawned a number of re-release versionsand is always a mark of quality and a large fanbase.  If you are going to collect Bookcase games, this is a great starting place.  The game was very popular and original editions are easily found when you search for Fury of Dracula on eBay

Judge Dredd the Boardgame (1982)

Games Workshop Judge Dredd Boardgame
Judge Dredd the Boardgame
Buy it on eBay
This is a peculiar first use of the Judge Dredd license.  A simple game where upto 6 players play Judges patrolling Mega City One trying to arrest random perps committing random crimes who pop up in random locations.  Each perp has a Combat Factor which is added to the crimes seriousness to give you a number which you have to beat on a roll of 1d6 plus your Judges Combat Factor.  Any player can use Action Cards to increase or decrease either sides Combat Factor and their chance of making the arrest.  The player with the highest scoring perp count wins.

The triple random draw function leads to some bizarre and impossible combinations such as Judge Death (10) caught Littering (1) having the same basic Combat Factor as Filmore Fargo (7) caught Blackmailing (4).  As an introduction to the often bizarre world of Judge Dredd it is a strange but fun game and the Player v Player element can get a bit heated.  To top it all off it has a cover by the greatest Dredd cover artist ever, Brian Bolland.  This game is serious zarjazz fun, it must be, as Tharg the Mighty himself is credited as a playtester.

There's a lot of love for this on the collector market but you can still grab a bargain if you search for Judge Dredd boardgame on eBay.

Kings and Things* (1986)

Games Workshop Kings and Things*
Kings and Things*
Buy it on eBay
A West End Games licensed edition of the Tom Wham classic 2 to 4 player area conquest game.  Each player must explore the shattered Kingdom of Kadab (randomly generated from a stock of 48 hexagonal terrain tiles) and conquer, construct and recruit whatever they find in a bid to become the most powerful (and benevolent) King.

For some strange reason, this was one of the games I lusted after when scouring the pages of White Dwarf but I never had the funds to acuire it at the time.  I own a copy of Tom Wham's The Great Khan Game released by TSR under their Forgotten Realms setting banner.  It's a blast and I hope that Kings and Things lives up to the hype. 

Thanks to a search for Games Workshop Kings and Things eBay, I finally own a copy at a reasonable price.  Just got to get through the Coronavirus Lockdown and get it on the table

Mega Mania (1987) 

Games Workshop Mega Mania
Mega Mania
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Not a standalone game, rather a 3 & 4 player expansion for Block Mania which adds two new blocks; Sly Stalone and Millhouse Nixon and all the necessary extra counters. I find it rather prophetic that a game released in 1987 would use Sylvester Stalone's name who would later play Joseph Dredd in the movie Judge Dredd (1995).

GW also published an expansion in White Dwarf #94 called Happy hour. 

The movie took a lot of flack back in the day for the cheesy portrayal of Dredd but, as I have said on many occasions, what the film gets right is its portrayal of Mega City One.

One of the best scenes is that of the residents of Heavenly Havens and the neighbouring block, Elysian Heights?, engaging in a full scale Block War.  It really sets the scene of a city on the edge of social collapse, the normal state of affairs in Mega City One. 

This is harder to acquire than the base game Block Mania but can still be found at reasonable prices if you search for Games Workshop Mega Mania on eBay.

Quirks the game of un-natural selection (1980)


Games Workshop Quirks
Quirks
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This is another bizarre early boardgame for which Games Workshop was the UK license holder and publisher.

Designed by Peter Olotka (among others) who is most famous for Cosmic Encounter, Dune and the enticingly entitled Isaac Asimov's Robots VCR Mystery Game.

Quirks is an evolution game where you must create 3 creatures by putting 3 cards together, in a sort of Darwinian Identikit, in order to become the dominate species for the current environment.  Each successive turn the environments evolve from Ocean thru Forest, Plains, Desert to Jungle.  If your creatures don't evolve they risk becoming extinct.  Lose 3 creatures and you lose the game.

This is an incredibly rare game and rarely comes up when you search for Quirks on eBay.  However, despite this rareity, it does not command particularly high prices.  I'm very much intrigued by this game and so I am on the hunt myself... 

Rogue Trooper (1987)

Games Workshop Rogue Trooper
Rogue Trooper
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I was fortunate to pick up a pretty mint copy of this 2000AD licensed game at the Dragonmeet 2019 bring-and-buy for the princely sum of £15.  Conventions are a great source of bargain vintage games as the seller is usually on a mission to clear shelf space and desperate to not take the game home unsold.  I'm not really a fan of Rogue Trooper but the double pleasure from adding both a 2000AD related and a boolcase game to my collection was a "Double Whammy" I could not resist.

The board is another jigsaw puzzle hex map affair but this time it's a whopping 6 boards worth and features many of the iconic locations from the comic alongside helpful game reminders.  There are plenty of components including pawns, impressive sculpts of the eponymous Genetic Infantryman, for each of the six players.   

Whilst GW had the license Citadel pumped out a range of Rogue Trooper miniatures but they weren't intended as upgrades to this game even though they were advertised in the rulebook.

Unfortunately I have no experience with this game so can't tell you how it plays or wether or not it is fun.  I have to get it to the table with the right set of 2000AD loving friends.

Availability is high and prices very reasonable when you search for Rogue Trooper on eBay.      

Super Power: The Game of Global Exploitation (1986)

Games Workshop Super Power
Super Power
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This game looks like it should have been released 3  or 4 years earlier than it was and features an esoteric flower shaped layout of the disputed territories of Africa, Asia, Latin America and The Middle East.  These are the "Third World" regions in which Russia and the USA historically played out their detente foreign policies during the cold war.

I'm not much of a historical boardgamer to be honest and this has alway been one of those games that has left me feeling pretty meh.  There are a couple of history buffs in my regular Friday night games group so it could be an interesting experiment to get it out on the table to see how it plays.  I guess if I were to see a real bargain I might just pick it up out of curiosity.

Availability is high and it goes for a song when you search for Super Power on eBay

Talisman: The Magical Quest Game (1983)

Games Workshop Talisman
Talisman
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There is a lot of love for this game but in my experience and opinion it's misplaced thanks to the poor game play.  Essentially a role-and-move game where you land on various spaces on your journey to the centre of the board where you chance your arm at acquiring the crown of power and must complete encounters gaining magical items or defeating monsters along the way.  It's a fantasy version of monopoly meets snakes and ladders as there are plenty of ways you can be kicked back into an outer ring by an unlucky dice roll.

It has had numerous reissues and expansions over the years but I just don't understand why this game is so popular.  

Prices for the more plentiful 2nd Edition are much better than the 1st when you search for Talisman on eBay.  It's not something that really interests even the comlpletist in me so I will only pick this up if I find a real bargain.

Valley of the Four Winds (1980)

Games Workshop Valley of the Four Winds
Valley of the Four Winds
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The cover of this game just screams buy me. I remember it being heavily plugged in adverts on the pages of early White Dwarf.  Created by Lewis Pulsipher, the well respected designer of the highly rated Britannia and the founder of Pulsipher Games, this is an epic old school wargame.

I'm not a square counter pushing Grognard so I'm not sure if this is the kind of game I would enjoy.  The components look excellent (for the period) but it has an average score on BoardGameGeek.

Availability is good when you search for Valley of the Four Winds on eBay,  but with prices between £30 and £50 it's too rich for my blood.  This is probably a mistake on my part and I will have to pay much more in 10 years time.  LOL.   

Warlock: The Game of Duelling Wizards (1980)

Games Workshop Warlock
Warlock
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Another early game from GW this magical take that card game is one I've always been aware of but never pulled the trigger on.

Something about this game suggests that the mechanics will be pretty old school and uninspiring particularly when this sub-genre is full of much better and more exciting modern games like Steve Jacksons Munchkin.  Yes I said it, Munchkin.  Every gamer household should have at least one copy of Munchkin.

There are copies out there when you search for Warlock on eBay which, for a 40 year old game is suprising.  You will need to wade through a lot of listings for the next game on the list. 

Prices are pretty steady in the upper ranges of reasonable.  My problem is how badly do I want it?

Warlock of Firetop Mountain (1986)

Games Workshop Warlock of Firetop Mountain
Warlock of Firetop Mountain
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Hot off the popularity of the first Fighting Fantasy gamebook came the bookcase boardgame of the same name.

This is another big name game that I have never played and it looks like a rip-off of TSR's Dungeon but I have no idea if it continues along with the same gameplay.  There is a lot of nostalgia surrounding this game and I suspect it has some quite dated mechanics.  It is a very heavy player v player game and one of the rules encourages deal making between players.  However, it is a drawn out race to the finish which includes the frowned upon player elimination mechanic so I suspect that its not a game with much fun factor.  

Availiability is good when you search for Warlock of Firetop mountain on eBay.  However, having that secondary Fighting Fantasy collector base means that prices for this game are much higher than I am prepared to pay.

Warrior Knights (1985)

Games Workshop Warrior Knights
Warrior Knights
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Finally we get to the end of this monstrous list and I have saved the best till last.  Frankly this is the best bookcase game I own, period.  It has huge amounts of gameplay, counters galore, variety in strategy and lots for you to think about as you wait to take your next turn.  In fact this game is so good I bought it twice as a spares backup for the many, many components.

You play one of four Barons vying for total dominance over the kingdom and you must build and maintain your banner armies under your allied nobles, moving around the board laying siege to cities and building your strongholds as you go.  The acquisition of wealth through siege and foreign exploration is an important and necessary part of the game as you must always pay the upkeep on your troops or they will leave in a huff.

This tends to be a long but very rewarding light wargame and very accessible to non Grognards like myself.  It has had a series of re-releases but I consider this version to be the definitive one and there are a few mechanics in the newer ones that don't sit well with me.    

Availability and prices are very good but there are a lot of incomplete copies when you search for Warrior Knights on eBay.  This is a gem of a game and should be on everyones shelf.



Thank you for getting to the bottom of this monster post and putting up with the amount of affiliate links I added.  They are there as much for my benefit as yours as I am actively searching for many of the games on this list.

I have tried my best to create search phrases which will put you in touch with the most relevant listings on eBay and weed out all the crap you get when you search for old Games Workshop games.

If you are a fellow collector, please consider following those links as they cost you nothing extra but help to fund this blog.  You will also have my eternal thanks and appreciation.