Philip Reed(PhilReed)United States
As our Pocket Box games campaign on Kickstarter continues, our team pulls more and more marketing materials from those older games and expansions so that we can prepare to reproduce the catalogs and ad inserts. Part of the project, you see, will include reprinting various catalogs and flyers and then packing them inside the games. While we cannot fulfill any of the listed products at the stated prices (inflation, and many are just no longer available), we can include the catalogs for those of you who enjoy flipping through old marketing materials.
Earlier this month, we shared a few pages from the summer 1983 catalog. Today, to give you an idea of what Steve Jackson Games was publishing over three decades ago, we've selected a few pages from a 1987 catalog for you to enjoy.
First up, we have Car Wars games, expansions, and accessories that were an important part of every fan's collection back in the eighties. This isn't all of the Car Wars games and expansions listed in the catalog, but these particular pages are relevant to the Pocket Box games campaign on Kickstarter because many of the items are being reproduced thanks to the success of the campaign.
Looking at this collection of pages makes me want to find the artwork for that GURPS Autoduel cover; it would make a fantastic folder for the project.
Next, we see the catalog's Ogre offerings. Out of every Ogre product shown here, only The Ogre Book is not included in the ongoing campaign on Kickstarter. And better still, the Pocket Box games will include die-cut counters and we've revealed the stretch goal to include die-cut counters in the two expansions.
For those of you who enjoyed the 2014 release of "Pocket" Ogre, these small pack games and accessories grant you access to the games as they appeared in the eighties. Compact and ready-to-go everywhere!
And now, toward the end of the 1987 catalog, we find even more Steve Jackson Games small titles that are a part of the Pocket Box games campaign on Kickstarter. Undead, Necromancer, One-Page Bulge, and Raid on Iran are all Pocket Box games included in the campaign, which brings back these four titles for the first time in decades. Many have never played these, only heard of them, and this is the perfect opportunity to get factory-fresh reproductions and get a look at these classics.
The Pocket Box games campaign on Kickstarter still has over two weeks before it closes and has already opened up over twenty different games and expansions. If you're a fan of these retro games, now is the time to join in and help unlock even more games and expansions, and to pack die-cut counters inside some of the expansion packs.
Seeing these games return is a treat for all of us at the office, and we wouldn't be here without the support of 1,000+ backers. We hope that you'll join us in this fantastic campaign.
Secrets from inside Steve Jackson Games.
Archive for Pocket Box
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As part of preparing for the Pocket Box games campaign on Kickstarter, we pulled old catalogs from the archives and reviewed the contents. Diving into those Steve Jackson Games catalogs from the eighties was a real treat, and today I'd like to share several of the pages from the summer 1983 catalog. 1983? That feels like decades ago!
First up, of course, has to be the Car Wars series! Of the items listed in the above image, only Autoduel Quarterly failed to make the cut for admission into the project. Car Wars, Truck Stop, and Crash City (the name change from Sunday Drivers was a trademark thing back in the eighties) are all a part of the Pocket Box games campaign. Personally, my old Pocket Box games are pretty battered and beaten, so I'm looking forward to getting factory-fresh copies of these titles!
Next up, it should come as no surprise that we've made the original Illuminati Pocket Box a part of the project. The two expansions aren't included . . . yet! Keep an eye on the campaign stretch goals and maybe we'll surprise you.
Ogre has been getting ongoing support over the last few years, and after the release of the Pocket Ogre game in 2014, many fans have asked again and again if more of the line will be released in a classic format. While we can't keep the price as low as they were when they were new, we are happy to report that Ogre, G.E.V., and Battlesuit are all a part of the campaign. And if all goes well, we'll unlock stretch goals to add more Ogre material to the campaign.
Lastly, we have the catalog pages that show off possible additions to the ongoing Pocket Box games campaign on Kickstarter. We've already revealed Undead,
Necromancer, and Raid on Iran as stretch goals, and we'll keep revealing new stretch goals as older ones are unlocked, so . . . you know. More to come!
The Pocket Box games campaign on Kickstarter closes in less than four weeks, so please take a little time to review the campaign and consider joining us in bringing back these classic games. Your support will help us to unlock more stretch goals and bring these classics back to collections everywhere!
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Great news, everyone! We've now set a date for the upcoming Pocket Box games Kickstarter project: January 30! On that day, we'll launch the new campaign and, with your support, proceed on our journey to re-create classic Pocket Box games of the eighties.
At launch, the Kickstarter campaign will offer seven different Pocket Box games as rewards. The initial games are:
* Car Wars
* Truck Stop
* Crash City
Additionally, three Car Wars expansions will be offered as add-on items at the start of the project.
* Uncle Al's Catalog (2035)
* The AADA Vehicle Guide
Stretch goals will unlock more games and expansions, pack dice inside the games, and there's one big stretch goal that should fulfill the biggest request that we've seen to date: die-cut counters!
While at the factory a few weeks ago, I discussed the Pocket Box project and the counter dilemma. You see, those original game counter sheets were designed with hand-cutting in mind; the counters do not work well with the die-cutting process.
Fortunately, discussions with the factory -- and some tests that they've run since our meeting -- have revealed that they can reconstruct each counter sheet and rework the artwork to allow for die-cutting. The process, though, is time-consuming and expensive . . . which makes die-cut sheets a perfect stretch goal for the upcoming Kickstarter campaign!
And if the die-cut counters stretch goal is met, these counters will be in addition to the classic-style counter sheets. Backers would, if the stretch goal is unlocked, receive two sets of counters in each game (as appropriate). This way, everyone would get the complete retro-style package and die-cut counters; a win/win for us all!
The Pocket Box games campaign starts on January 30. For now, please visit the official pocketbox.games website and follow Steve Jackson Games on Kickstarter. With your support, we'll make this project a massive success and unlock several different games and expansions and bring back these classic Pocket Box games of the eightes!
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As part of preparing for next month's Pocket Box games Kickstarter campaign, this week we're reviewing factory files for a few titles that are "must includes" in the project. At the moment, the factory has turned over files for Car Wars, Truck Stop, Ogre, and G.E.V., and now our team has to check each to make certain that these are correct and ready for manufacturing. (We want to be ready to go with a core set of Pocket Box games so that there are minimal delays on delivering if the Kickstarter campaign is successful.)
To create the modern reprints of these classic Pocket Box games of the eighties, we searched our archives for clean and complete packages -- a few were still shrinkwrapped! -- and then provided those to our partners at GPI for high-res scanning and file manipulation. Every component was carefully scanned and touched up so that the factory can create new film when it is time.
For the project, we're taking materials as far as the "ready for film" stage before the Kickstarter project. It's an investment, but an investment of thousands in file prep is preferable to an investment in tens of thousands for the ready-to-make film for seven different titles.
What is being scanned and prepared? Everything for the selected titles, from the covers to the rules to even the marketing materials. (Classic catalogs? Awesome!) We'll be adding "2019 Reproduction" in small type to the materials, but these are effectively exact copies of the games as they first appeared back in the eighties.
In addition to the Pocket Box games, we've also been discussing the possibility of reproducing some of the classic ziplock expansions. At the moment, we've gone as far as discussing costs (both to prepare the files/film and to manufacture the expansions), and we'll continue to explore our options before making any decisions.
One strong possibility? Some of the old ziplock expansions are project stretch goals and then either produced as stand-alone titles (in ziplock bags!) or packed inside the appropriate game. The increased depth of the new Pocket Box (read about the new box here) gives us some space to play with; for example, Car Wars Expansion Set #1 would make an excellent stretch goal addition to the Pocket Box Car Wars game.
We'll finalize how we use these ziplock expansions between now and when the project goes live in January. (And which expansions are considered; still working through those details.)
Coming in January
We're on track to launch the Pocket Box games of the eighties as a project on Kickstarter next month. For notification, please follow Steve Jackson Games on Kickstarter. We hope to see many of you join in to help us create reproductions of these classic games and expansions.
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As we've already mentioned, we at Steve Jackson Games are working on bringing back the classic plastic Pocket Box games of the eighties. We already have one game -- a "what if?" edition of Melee and Wizard -- in the works, thanks to the success of The Fantasy Trip on Kickstarter, and we are proceeding with the design of the new box.
What's different about this new Pocket Box? We've increased the depth to 1.25-inches (so that you can fit more in the box), removed the plastic hang tab, and modified the clasp mechanism. We're not yet finished with the design of the new box -- our partners at GPI are refining the steel tool a second time -- but we're far enough along on the project that we're ready to ask the (very) big question:
Which game(s) do you most want to see included in the series?
The big three classics -- Car Wars, Illuminati, and Ogre -- are musts, yes, but there were other Pocket Box games, and each is being considered for reproduction as part of the upcoming Pocket Box campaign. And with that in mind, we would love to hear about the Steve Jackson Games titles you would like to see return in the Pocket Box format.
The options include:
* Raid on Iran
* One-Page Bulge
* Kung Fu 2100
* Car Wars (a must)
* Crash City
* Illuminati (a must)
* Ogre (a must)
* Truck Stop
* Illuminati Expansion Set 1
* Illuminati Expansion Set 2
* The Awful Green Things from Outer Space
* Boat Wars
Please leave a comment and let us know which of the above titles you would like to see produced as a part of this series. This is not a guarantee of any one game being brought back as a Pocket Box, but we are listening and want to use your feedback to help guide our own discussions and planning sessions.
NOTE: These will be near-identical reproductions of the originals* -- get ready to cut counters! -- and are intended as replacements for those of you who lived through "my mom threw my games out after high school" and have never quite forgiven her for tossing your copy of Necromancer.
* Except for Melee and Wizard, which were never produced as Pocket Box games. This box, since we had to create all new artwork, includes die cut counters and will be priced slightly higher than the other Pocket Box games that we plan to release in 2019.
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" . . . the 'new look' for all our minigames will be a black plastic box, 4 1/4" x 7 1/4" x 5/8" thick. There will be color labels front and back; inside — well protected — will be the game itself."
- Steve Jackson, "Where We're Going," Space Gamer #48, February 1982
Over the last few years at the Steve Jackson Games office, we have worked to bring some of the classic games from the company's past to today's gamers and collectors. The success of the Ogre Designer's Editon and the Classic Car Wars game, bringing the first new edition of Triplanetary in over three decades to the market, as well as the response to launching The Fantasy Trip on Kickstarter, made it clear that many out there would like to get their hands on those older titles.
"The Pocket Box mold seems to have passed its tests; pre-production samples have been acceptable. The mold is now being shipped to Austin so we can supervise production runs. Box Day still looks like sometime in late February."
- Steve Jackson, "Where We're Going," Space Gamer #49, March 1982
In exploring our back catalog, one game format kept popping up again and again, demanding that we pay it the attention that it deserves. And considering that the packaging format hasn't been in stores since the eighties, there's a chance that many of today's gamers are unfamiliar with the original plastic Pocket Box.
"At long last, we are in full production on the Pocket Boxes. The factory is turning them out, the labels are in, the shrinkwrapper is debugged . . . it all works. Unbelievable."
- Steve Jackson, "Where We're Going," Space Gamer #51, May 1982
The Pocket Box was, for about seven years, the iconic product format of the Steve Jackson Games line. These hard plastic cases, sized to fit the same racks that held paperback books back in the eighties, were everywhere that I went! Visiting game stores, going to a friend's to play games, and even the halls of our school, there was that plastic Pocket Box.
Car Wars was my Pocket Box game of choice, and there was no way I was going to let the Sunday Drivers and Truck Stop plastic Pocket Box games not ride alongside the Car Wars box whenever I set out to play. How many hours did we play Car Wars with just that original Pocket Box edition? Hundreds of hours at least, and many more when we add in the other two boxes.
Illuminati. Ogre. Necromancer. Battlesuit. The list of Pocket Box games went on and on when I was a kid, and I would spend far, far too much time looking at the old catalogs and deciding which game I would buy next. I never did get them all -- you know how allowances and neighborhood errands were, right? -- but I lusted after every single one.
In the end, toward the final years of the eighties, my last Pocket Box purchase was Boat Wars, the Car Wars expansion for boats and hovercraft. I would have bought others -- and have, in the years since, picked up a few -- but life got in the way and, in 1989, Steve Jackson Games put an end to the Pocket Box.
Reconstructing the Pocket Box
Recently, while on a trip with our GPI rep to the factories in China, we handed over a copy of the Truck Stop Pocket Box and asked "How tough would it be to reproduce this, as close to the original as possible?" After a lot of discussion and exploration, the decision was made to run a test; leave the Truck Stop box with the factory and let them take a stab at high-res scans of the paper contents.
A month after I returned home from the factory, the Truck Stop test prints arrived . . . and look amazing! Every little piece, from the cover labels to the promotional materials in the box, were faithfully re-created and the test proves that we can bring back the Pocket Box.
Next, we finalize the list of titles and ship copies of all of the Pocket Box games we plan to reproduce to the factory. We'll make minor tweaks to the games -- adding current copyright dates, adjusting the actual box slightly -- but our ultimate plan, if we move forward, is to produce editions of the games that "look just like the ones your mom tossed in the trash when you went to college."
We're at the earliest stages of the Pocket Box project. As the details emerge and our decisions solidify, we'll update the world and, when it is time, announce how to get your hands on reprints of the classic Pocket Box games.
(And finally, if this proceeds as we hope, I can add Battlesuit to my game collection.)
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