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So pal Andres points out this eBay auction to me on the Twitters, and I think “I really shouldn’t try to bid on that, I need to save money,” and “I really shouldn’t try to bid on that, I’ve got enough junk in the house for the creditors to haul out after I’m dead,” and “what’s my eBay password again, I need to go bid on that.”
As it turned out, the auction got too rich for my blood…well, actually, I put in one bid and I was busy working when the auction ended and thus couldn’t enter that last second bidding war which is always so much fun on the eBay. Ah, well, at least I have these images liberated from said eBay auction to remind me of that ship which passed me in the night:
Yes, that’s right, only the Nancy and Sluggo Game dares to bring you an “infinity cover” on its lid. (Not to mention the omnipresent “three rocks.”) This game is produced by Milton Bradley, and has a 1944 copyright notice. The cover appears to be genuine Ernie Bushmiller (there’s his signature, though that doesn’t always mean anything), while the images on the board inside:
…appear to be just slightly off-model, as if traced from original panels, or simply done from scratch by artists at the game company. It’s hard to say without having the actual board right in front of me. As for the game proper, it’s all pretty basic, rolling the die and moving the pieces around the board, gaining advantages or penalties based on what’s in the square you land on, in case you were wondering what a “board game” was like. It’s just that there’s nothing specifically Nancy or Sluggo-ish about the game itself, beyond the imagery. It’s not like you’re moving a Sluggo piece around the board, and lose a turn every time you land on a square containing a hammock or a harmonica…though that‘s within spitting distance of a Nancy and Sluggo role playing game, and I’m not sure the world is quite that ready for such a wonderful thing to exist. (If you’re wondering…yes, the Nancy and Sluggo role playing game would have Gelatinous Cubes in it.)
Speaking of the game pieces, here’s a shot of them from that auction, along with what I’m presuming to be the original die:
Man, they’re just round wood thingies. They don’t even have pictures of the Nancy cast or anything: “HA HA you have to be Pee Wee!” “Dash it all!” Okay, I know it was wartime, and Nancy and Sluggo face decals had to be conserved for the war effort, but still, it’s a bit of a disappointment.
A brief Googling didn’t bring me much more information about this, though to be honest I’m not sure what more there is to know. Board Game Geek didn’t have a listing for it, though it did have a listing for the unofficial Scott McCloud creation 5 Card Nancy. And here’s a site with an archived description of the board game from an older eBay auction.
So sadly, I guess my ownership of this game simply wasn’t meant to be. …At least, not yet.
What it says up there in the subject line: a Gene Day cover for Wyrms Footnotes #4 (1978):
(Here’s the other Gene Day cover
I featured previously.)
I got in way too late Friday night to think of anything clever, so instead here’s another scan of a vintage role-playing item from that collection we acquired: Authentic Thaumaturgy, published in 1980:
This is a general use supplement for use with any role playing game, featuring “a professional occultist on improving the realism of magic systems used in fantasy simulation games.” …I suspect the “professional occultist” part is the kind of thing that gave easily-panicked parents the vapors during that brief period when the evil influence of role playing games was clearly what was wrong with today’s youth, along with their zoot suits and their jazzy music.
Speaking of which, during that whole anti-Dungeons and Dragons hoohar that inspired, among other things, this…I never heard anyone bring up the point that (with the version of D&D that existed at the time) the ideal roll when rolling up character stats with the six-sided dice was three sixes. I mean, c’mon, that’s totally a gimme right there.
Okay, I’m sure somebody had to bring it up, but never within earshot of me. I did hear one really great “evils of fantasy role playing” thing at the time, but I already talked about it here so you can go back and relive the memories of Progressive Ruin Classic at that link, if you’d like.
Another goodie from the Box of Ye Olde Role-Playing Games – the 1980 Iron Crown Enterprises release The Iron Wind:
The back cover:
According to this site
, this book had a print run of 5,000 copies, and after it had been out for a while, the black and white covers were stripped off the as-yet unsold covers and replaced with color covers.
Like several items in this particular collection, the sales receipt from the original purchase of this book was found inside:
As a result of being kept in the book for, oh, 30+ years, a rectangular “tanning” spot was left by the receipt on the pages it was kept between. …Hey, that’s not “damage,” that’s “character,” I tell potential buyers.
This is Bio One, a 12-page digest-sized booklet published by TSR in 1974:
It’s a rules supplement that “provides a complete and accurate system of damage location and effects for any gunpowder period of warfare.” In other words, it tells you where the bullet hit, how badly it hit you, how much bleeding you’re currently experiencing, whether anyone can stop that bleeding, and so on.
It includes this amazing bit of business: the Abdominal Wounds Chart, which divvies up a torso into numbered sections, and each section having a subseries of multiple possibilities of injury (or lack thereof):
For example, if you’re shot in section #7, a randomized die roll could specify your injury as lung damage, or as rib damage, or as both, or perhaps, if you’re lucky, as no damage at all (like it bounced off your “medicinal” flask in your pocket, or your Bible inexplicably bound with solid steel covers).
It’s an interesting, if almost too-exacting approach to role-playing gunfire injury…it wouldn’t surprise me if similar systems weren’t implemented in later games. And if they were, I’m sure someone out there will let me know in the comments.
So here are a few issues of the digest-sized gaming ‘zine The Dungeoneer from the late 1970s that we received in that nearly-bottomless role playing collection we just acquired. I thought these had some interesting covers and thought I’d share them with you…also, these nearly triggered my ‘zine-collecting obsession and almost kept them for myself, but, alas, we’ve already sold them off and I just have these scans for memories:
ISSUE #5 (APRIL/MAY 1977)
ISSUE #7 (MARCH/APRIL 1978)
Now, issue #6, seen here:
…is sort of amusing, in that there apparently was some delay in getting the darned thing out, resulting in this cover blurb:
…and this cover date:
If only certain comics
were this honest with cover dates, when they bother to have them at all.
Here’s something else I’ve never seen before, out of our recently-acquired boxes of old role playing game stuff…the first two issues of The Tékumel Journal (1978), a magazine devoted to the fantasy world that was the basis for The Empire of the Petal Throne and other games:
While tied to gaming, these magazines aren’t
filled with charts and stats and other RPG-style information. It is solely devoted to exploring the history and the characters of this fantasy setting that, apparently, had been an ongoing project of its creator since the 1940s. Wikipedia has more information about this
, thankfully, since I was a bit thrown when I first pulled these things out of the box.
Neat covers, though.
Here are just a couple of items recently acquired in a collection of role playing game materials, the first of which may be of interest to comic fans:
This is issue #2 of the Wyrm’s Footnotes
, a 1977 fantasy role-playing game ‘zine, which features a front cover image by the late Gene Day (shown above) and a Day back cover:
And here’s a thing I’ve never seen before until I pulled it out that box yesterday…TSR’s 1974 wargaming rules based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter
novels, in the same format as those early Dungeons & Dragons digest-sized books:
There really is nothing quite like the illustrations from early TSR books: