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Take a journey with us back to 1975, when a small wargame club in Amarillo, Texas (led by Steve Cole) produced an award-winning magazine filled with articles, variants, and reviews. This issue marked a watershed in many ways, and might be considered the Bronze Age of JagdPanther. The cover was actually a photograph taken during World War II, but the cover was still black and white (as were all of the inside pages in every issue). The magazine was now 11 inches tall, and printed on 11x17 paper so it could be bound as a book. (The first seven issues had been on 14-inch paper and stapled into books.) Counters were still paper printed and "ready-to-mount" by wargamers seeking innovative new games and willing to glue their counters to whatever sheet of cardboard came to hand and cut them out with a stout pair of scissors.
The game in this issue was PQ17, based on naval battles in the Arctic Ocean during 1942 and 1943. This came with a map, rules sheet, and those paper counters. Also included was Siege of Barad-dur, a game of dubious legality published back when nobody in the industry understood intellectual property. (The publisher and editor had never read Tolkien and did not even know that SoBD was based on a book.)
This issue's editorial was longer on news and shorter on snark than previous issues, perhaps representing a growth in the staff's maturity. In fact, the editorial noted that the company was trying to grow, and that the magazine had a circulation of 190. A survey had picked the game for the next issue as opposed the previous practice of printing whatever game the staff did or that showed up from some amateur designer. It was noted that the series of PBM games the company had been running would be shut down because they took too much time and produced little revenue. It was also noted that JagdPanther publications had bought the magazine Abwehr and was giving its 90 subscribers issues of JagdPanther in place of their Abwehr issues.
Steve Cole wrote a four-page history article on the arctic convoy battles. Cliff Sayre and David Porter each wrote an article on how to add command and control rules to wargames; bigger companies had done a series of such games that nobody liked because they did not want some random die roll telling them that they could not move half of their units.
Articles included more rules for the Hills of Korea (which was in a newsletter done by Jagdpanther), suppressive fire rules for PanzerBlitz, a review of an early WWI airplane game nobody had noticed, rules to add Chaplains to Sniper and other man-to-man combat games, French ships for the game CA (a WW2 naval combat game), scenarios for several games (Dark Ages, Lensman, Diplomacy, Jutland), a major rewrite to the rules for Midway, alternate rules for Operation Olympic (having the Russians join the invasion of Japan), reviews of a lot of games, rules to create random die roll bonuses or penalties in any game reflecting a stirring speech by a unit commander, a philosophy piece on why Germany was so popular with wargamers, a set of naval wargame rules called Seekrieg, and a few odds and ends.
The issue marked a welcome change to our readers, although it continued the continual confusion over volume and issue numbers. While this was JagdPanther #8, it was marked Volume 2 Issue 8. There was no Volume 2 Issues #1-#4, since Volume 2 consisted of issues #5-#8. There really was no reason to have "volume" involved at all, but the publisher had seen it on other magazines and thought every magazine had to have it. Unfortunately, he never understood how it worked, and did it all wrong.
Written by Stephen Cole