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Wargame magazines help please

 
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Mars
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 6:28 pm    Post subject: Wargame magazines help please Reply with quote

I picked up a few Wargame / early RPG magazines and I really don't know how all these fit together so I was hoping someone could give me some help - this really isn't my strong point.

I recently picked up the following:

Spartan International (Feb 71)
Spartan International Vol 3 No 9 (Sep 71)
The Spartan Simulation Gaming Journal #10 (April 1976)
Spartan Simulation Gaming Journal #14 (Sept/Oct 1978)
Spartan Simulation Gaming Journal #15 (Nov/ Dec 1978)

Part of my confusion comes from these having the same name and similar logos. Also, the section here that has the first issues of Spartan also list them under IFW:

http://tomeoftreasures.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=845
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The wargaming clubs had a really terrible time figuring out what to call their monthlies.

The club originally known as SPARTA emerged at around the same time as the USCAC (precursor to the IFW). The USCAC chose to name their monthly magazine "The Spartan" for reasons completely unrelated to the existence of the wargaming club SPARTA. Eventually, Gary Gygax made the radical proposal that the IFW should call its monthly the "IFW Monthly" instead. No one could make up their mind to call it anything else, so that name stood until they merged it with their quarterly (the International Wargamer) and wisely decided that the monthly should inherit the latter name.

Like the USCAC, SPARTA eventually became "respectable" and renamed itself the Spartan National Competition League (SNCL) and subsequently the Spartan International Competition League (SICL). For the time that the organization was called the SICL, their monthly was called, appropriately enough, the Spartan International Monthly (SIM). The Feb 71 and Sep 71 instances you have identify themselves as such. In early 1972, when the IFW was in its death throes and the twilight of the wargaming clubs had fallen, SICL decided to move to quarterly publication to conserve their resources, and named the resulting quarterly the Spartan Simulation Gaming Journal (#1 was "Winter", i.e. January, 1972).

The leadership of the Spartans and IFW were bitter rivals throughout 1970/1971 (their membership, of course, significantly overlapped), and by mid 1972 the Spartans basically declared victory, since they still existed in a limited capacity while the IFW had become essentially defunct. Many commentators at the time noted that this was a triumph of autocracy (Sparta) over democracy (the unmanageable IFW).
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Jon,

Was Sparta associated with Balboa Games at all?
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Mars
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Certainly, Spartan Simulation Gaming Journal is related to Balboa - they have the same ordering address.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They're definitely connected, but I don't know exactly what the connection was. The earliest Balboa ad I could find at a casual glance was in Spartan Simulation Journal #5, and in that one Balboa has a separate PO Box in San Diego. The ad recommends that you "tell em that Sparta sent you", which might suggest they were separate, albeit mutual admirers.

Sparta sold games at discounts to members, as pretty much all the larger clubs did. It's possible that Balboa outsourced this capability for them, and thus received orders through Sparta's mailing address. You do see Balboa ads in which they purport to resell Sparta's in-house productions.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent information guys! I had always was curious about the connection between Balboa and Sparta. Mainly because I had caught blurbs here in there in the IFW regarding a particularly competitive spirit between Sparta and IFW. Also because I had thought it curious that The Spartan had carried the rules rewrite for OD&D in a particularly bold display of disregard for intellectual property. At least that was the appearance that the article carried. Additionally, Balboa Games rules books are largely for use with OD&D as well with what would seem to be questionable authority to be producing such items.

If the books could talk, they could certainly tell a more accurate story. All my thoughts are simply that, history might be slightly different. Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got the distinct sense from SSGJ#9 that the Spartans thought some good ol' California elbow-grease would show up those Midwesterners, certainly. Sparta was always a SoCal club, and even before SSGJ#9 came out, some of the local collegiate interpretations of D&D attracted controversy (see the early A&E's).

The intellectual property situation surrounding D&D at the time was far from certain. The Spartans were not the first or the last to promulgate an alternate ruleset or addendum without the consent of the Lake Genevans. The earliest proponents of variants were totally unaware of any potential infringement.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The address that I was referring to is from issue #14 of Spartan which has:

Spartan Magazine
630 West Willow Street
Long Beach, CA 90806

The back of the magazine is an add for Balboa Game Company with the same address but labeled as The War House.

Issue #10 of The Spartan states "Copyright (April, 1976) by Balboa Game Co."". Interestingly enough the back page of this one has a full page ad for 3 volume D&D set with lizard logos.
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