Gameplay Magazine 1983-1984
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There have been several attempts to publish general interest gaming magazines over the years, although none have enjoyed long-term success.

One such effort was in the early 1980s when Gameplay: The Magazine of Games and Gaming made its run.

Gameplay was published monthly by Crystal Publications, of Crystal Lake, Ill., The publisher and editor was Jake Jaquet. A yearly subscription was $24 and the cover price was $3.
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1. Board Game: Tonobeb [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Tonobeb
Vol.One, No. 1 appeared in February, 1983. The magazine featured 68 pages on glossy stock, a full-color cover and several color pages inside.

Editor and publisher Kake Jaquet explained his editorial philosophy in his My Turn column titled "Welcome to Gameplay."

"It has long been my personal opinion that there has been a need for a general interest magazine devoted to the subject of games and gaming -- not one that cover the line of only one manufacturer, or even one that covers all of one area of gaming;rather one that observes the entire scope of gaming, from adventure games to card games to the machines found in arcades. They all fall within the broad reach of the leisure time activity known as gaming."

Among the regular features introduced in this premiere issue were a New Products section with brief announcement of new stuff such as a computer edition of TSR's Dawn Patrol; Now Playing, which listed the top sellers based on data from selected game stores;, an Event Calendar (Pente '83 World Cahmpionship among the events); and columns on electronic games, video (VCS) games, backgammon, "Defining Adventure Gaming" (some things never change), Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, game theory, game ethics and a couple on fantasy role-playing.

There a review of the 1982 game year by John Prados and game reviews of computer games Akalabeth and Wizardry, the RPG AD&D pack Thieves' World, RPG Call of Cthulhu and board game Attack Force.

The featured articles are:

Tonobeb -- A board game that uses dice as pieces instead of randomizers. The article presents the rules and how to make your own set.

Variations of a Theme -- A variant for Monopoly that includes new color Additional Title Deed cards you can cut out of the magazine and paste to stiff cardboard and the rules to use them. Also some "Wahoo" random event cards.

Heralds, All Bright and Shining -- An article with ideas for incorporating heralds into fantasy RPGs.
 
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2. Board Game Publisher: Mayfair Games
Board Game Publisher: Mayfair Games
Vol. 1, No. 2 was in March 1983.

Besides the regular features, this issue introduced a Reader Contest where reader's were invited to identify all the games shown on the cover, which depicted Darwin Bromley of Mayfair Games surrounded by 149 games from his collection. A new column was Simulation Corner by John Prados, dealing with wargames. Game reviews included GDW's Soldier King, Cosmic Encounter and some Atari computer titles.

The featured articles were:

The Name of the Game -- An in-depth interview and profile of Darwin Bromley of Mayfair Games.

Strong Showing for Games at HIA Show -- A report from the 42d Annual Hobby Industry of America Trade Show in Anaheim, Calif. (Jan. 30-Feb. 2, 1983).

Serpent Keep --,An adventure for Advanced Duneons & Dragons.
 
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3. Board Game: Illuminati [Average Rating:6.20 Overall Rank:3014]
Board Game: Illuminati
Vol. 1, No. 3, April 1983 is missing from my collection. With the passage of time I can't be sure why I didn't get it, but I was in the Army at the time, so I may have missed it due to movement.

In any case, back issue ads in later issues indicate that this issue featured Privateer, a Sci Fi RPG scenario; Trouble in Video City, a report on arcades; and an interview with game designer Al Leonardi. Among the games reviewed was Steve Jackson's Illuminati, although the RPG Traveler was on the magazine cover.
 
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4. Board Game: A Gamut of Games [Average Rating:7.73 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.73 Unranked]
Board Game: A Gamut of Games
Vol. 1, No. 4, May 1983 was unusual because it included a complete abstract space-themed game called Quadrant complete with cardstock board and cardstock counters to cut out.

There were the regular features, plus a new columns on chess and sports games.

The cover article was an extensive rundown of the extant books on gaming, including such classic titles as Sid Sackson's A Gamut of Games . The "Editor's Choice" award, however, went to RC Bells' handsome work, The Boardgame Book.

Games reviewed included Hell's Highway: Operation Market Garden, Elric, Empire Builder and Borderlands.

 
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5. Board Game: Trivial Pursuit: Genus Edition [Average Rating:5.23 Overall Rank:20112] [Average Rating:5.23 Unranked]
Board Game: Trivial Pursuit: Genus Edition
Vol. 1, No. 5 is another one I missed.

Back issue ads in later issues indicated that this issue covered the Consumer Electronic Trade Show and had a review of Trivial Pursuit.
 
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6. Board Game: Tactics (25th Anniversary Edition) [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:15413]
Board Game: Tactics (25th Anniversary Edition)
Vol. 1, No. 6 celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Avalon Hill Game Company on the cover.

Besides the regular and semi-regular columns, which now included Pente, solitaire gaming and Bridge, there was an illustrated feature article on Grenadier Miniatures and the process of creating a miniature from "Concept to Completion." A second feature explained how to establish a gaming club.

Games reviewed included Fire on the Volga, The Boss and City States of Arklyrell.
 
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7. Board Game: Axis & Allies [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1425] [Average Rating:6.56 Unranked]
Board Game: Axis & Allies
Vol. 1, No. 7 is another one I am missing, although the last one I didn't get.

Back issue advertisements indicate that this issue included a report on the Origins '83 game convention and a Diplomacy variant. Among the games reviewed was the Nova edition of Axis & Allies.
 
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8. Board Game: Scrabble [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:1804] [Average Rating:6.28 Unranked]
Board Game: Scrabble
Vo. 1. No. 8 came out in October, of 1983. The game featured on the cover was Scrabble and inside was a report on the 1983 North American Scrabble Championship,

The other feature article was a convention report from Gen Con XVI

Games reviewed included Pigmania (now known as Pass the Pigs), the computer game Bomb Alley, Danger Island, Sea Chess, Smuggler and some RPG modules.
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9. Board Game: Blue Max [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:2318]
Board Game: Blue Max
Vol. 1, No. 9 introduced a big push into covering the Play-by-mail game industry. In 1983 there were a number of companies offering computer-moderated games (generally conflict games) where the player filled out orders and mailed them to the company. The company compiled everyone's orders and ran them through a computer, mailing them back out to everyone. In a pre-Internet age this was pretty cool. In any case, from here on the magazine started running "PBM reports" from the various firms, which were generally very brief session reports and updates. As the magazine was still 68 pages this came at the expense of some other content.

The feature article was an in-depth review of GDW's aerial WWI game Blue Max.

A second feature article looked at the market for Star Trek games.

A third article discussed how to add Runic alphabets to your RPG.

Also reviewed were the games Grass and The Last Panzer Victory: The Battle of Debrecen.
 
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10. Board Game: Santa's Special Delivery Game [Average Rating:6.71 Unranked]
Board Game: Santa's Special Delivery Game
A game called Santa's Special Delivery was the featured game in Issue No. 10, December, 1983. I'm not sure this game ever actually shipped in large numbers, but it may be related t the 1990 game of the same name that's shown.

This issue was basically filled with regular columns. There's a two-page profile of the company behind Santa's Special Delivery and the center spread is a poem (?!) based on the classic Christmas poem "Twas the night before Christmas."

John Prados reviewed Russian Front wargames in "Four from the Front" ( Kirovograd, Crisis in the Ukraine, The Last Panzer Victory: The Battle of Debrecen and To the Wolf's Lair!).

Also reviewed was Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases.
 
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11. Board Game Designer: Tom Wham
Board Game Designer: Tom Wham
Issue No. 11 featured Gameplay's second example of a Complete Game, Tom Wham's Mafia. This took of a substantial portion of the magazine, with seven pages of rules, a game paper game board and several pages of cards, money and counters to cut out.

There as also a feature article on solitaire play in science fiction themed games.

Games reviewed were GDW's The Brotherhood and the combination computer/board game of armored combat TAC by Avalon Hill Microcomputer games.

There was also the inaugural appearance of an odd feature called "The Dark Horde Survival Handbook & Training Manual" which was essentially a fiction piece.
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12. Board Game: Ambush! [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:879]
Board Game: Ambush!
Gameplay No. 12, February 1984, featured Victory Games on the cover.

Inside was a company profile with thumbnail bios of staffers Gerry Klug, Eric Lee Smith, Michael Moore, Jerry Glichenhouse, Jim Talbot, Susan Koch, Mark Herman, Robert Kern, Bob Ryer, and Ted Koller.

Besides the usual columns, there were game reviews of Dragonriders of Pern and The Forever War.

John Prados reviewed the 1983 game year and the inscrutable Dark Horde Survival Handbook & Training Manual continued.
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13. Board Game: Clue [Average Rating:5.67 Overall Rank:8608]
Board Game: Clue
Issue 13 featured a look at "Games of Intrigue" which were defined broadly enough to include everything from Clue to the James Bond 007 RPG.

A related feature article looked at the mystery game Who Killed the Robins Family?

There were the usual features and the games Ipswich, James Bond 007, Campaign Trail: The Game of Presidential Elections and NATO: The Next War in Europe were reviewed. Another installment of the Dark Horde Survival Handbook & Training Manual took up a page.
 
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14. Board Game: Combat [Average Rating:7.28 Unranked]
Board Game: Combat
It appears that No. 14 , April, 1984, was the end of the line for Gameplay Magazine. I have no issues after that one and so far as I know no more appeared.

By this time the magazine's content was definitely drifting away from topics of interest to boardgamers,a side from some of the regular columns, which were still pretty good.

The feature article was an in-depth look at Computer Baseball from SSI.

There was also three-page piece of fantasy fiction (?) called "Nearer to the Heart's Desire."

There was also a baseball dice game called Home Run Derby nicely presented over a couple of pages.

There were reviews of the wargame Combat and the pirate-themed abstract Privateer.

And finally a two-page edition of the Dark Horde manual.

And then Gameplay was done.
 
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