Monday, 9 June 2014

Series 1 games

I think Bob's first love was for board games, even into the 80's he would argue that Avalon Hill's Stalingrad was the best game ever made,and I'm sure that at some point in the period between '73 and '81, TTG did in fact produce a board game, called Wild West, but on the whole I think that full-sized, boxed games, were beyond the scope of a small company like TTG at that time.

Cover by Rodger Heaton
So what Bob, and Rodger, did for their first game release was strip away all the flabby excess of the American tactical Board game, the board (!!!), the die-cut counters (players cut-out their own printed ones), and the box, and instead, produced a game in a zip-seal bag, that could be played on any flat-ish surface and packed away into a (duffel) coat pocket.

In what order, Galactic War, MTB, U Boat,and Ballistic Missile were designed and released, I don't know, something makes me want to say that they were all done at the same time in '73/4, which would have been quite an organisational achievement for a small company, but regardless, these four Series 1 games were TTG's first pop at the gaming market.

Series 1 game
MTB (Motor Torpedo Boat) and U-Boat show Bob's Naval fascinations coming to the fore, I suppose its not surprising that as a child of the 40's and 50's, World War II, and  the Navy with all it history and traditions played, such a part in his life. MTB is set in the English Channel in the mid-war period and U-boat under it, but both are very (too) similar games in out look, groups of small craft against each other in encounter battles with weapons and damage recorded on record sheets.

Fun with nukes '70's style
The only one of these games that I had played before working with Bob was Galactic war, a sci-fi ship combat to ship combat, which I suppose again owed a lot to Bob's interest in Naval gaming. I can't say it particularly grabbed me, the ships on both sides were too same-y and looked like ELO's space ship from the Out of the Blue LP cover, a bit dated in the 80's, but it was a reasonably good game and played out in 45 minutes to an hour...

Image nicked from Noble Knight Games

Ballistic Missile is only one of the four basic games that was a based on Naval warfare, it being a Cold War gone hot, shoot out, with counters, rules and record sheets all yours for the princely sum of 75p.

The thing that strikes me now and has really struck me before about these games is Rodger's art work. His covers, especially MTB and Ballistic Missile have a good deal of 'dash' about them, which can't have been easy to achieve in the two colours that they were printed in.

I am unsure of the current availability of these TTG products, if anyone has pdf copies of them I'd be delighted to see them.