Joe Beard's SPI Analysis pages
Launched in January of 1971, the Game Design newsletter was SPI's answer to a growing demand of 'how do I create a wargame' questions that filled their mailbox in 1970. The opening paragraphs stated "a consistent 50% of S&T's readership register an active interest in designing games."
Fearing the info on designing would detract from the history side of Strategy &Tactics magazine, they followed the lead of the original S&T Supplement newsletter, which the Game Design newsletter replaced. It was published on the off-month cycle of S&T. The difference this time is the articles were NOT the product of the 'slush pile' - articles that were submitted or already produced which did not fit into the S&T wheel house. This time the articles were to be about designing - though that seems a bit loose in their interpretation.
When I said S&T Supplement was anything but professional in its look, the first issue layout of Game Design makes S&T Supplement layout look good. Again, the emphasis was on the information. And it does not help that the first two issues were in the gawd-awful bedsheet format - tough to make that look good. - but they did the best they could. (The back side is worse - on it, the 1971 era 'Rub On' lettering for the sections were not straight. [But then again, I have no room to talk, if you look at this website!!] )
But all the info in this newsletter is solid gold. In issue one, Dunnigan gives never before seen insights in the creation of the Test Series Games - with the idea of explaining game designing is not rocket science. But it is an art, as Al Nofi's article explains in his sudden thrust into game design. His ending eight or nine bullet points on game design necessities are likely still as accurate today as they were 50 years ago.
SPI would collect the good stuff from these newsletters and use them for their second (and final?) published book. But that book had all the fun striped out of it. These newsletters are a view from the trenches.
Here is the first issue - I will be adding more. ALL these are thanks to David Barkely, who has graciously offered the scans. I have tried to pull them together as best I can, but anyone who has tried to scan the bedsheet formats knows it is simply a trial by fire experience.
Special thanks to David Barkey for providing these newsletters. It is a gift to the SPI community, as printed copies of these are very rare. Like the original spirit of SPI, providing these scans is a contribution to the history of SPI, and to the community that still follows this spirit. Many thanks, David!
Below are the links to these newsletters.
Pieces that appeared in all or most issues:
This site was last updated 11/26/21