Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Owl & Weasel Wednesday #20 November 1976

Headed back to November 1976 for today's Owl & Weasel.  Again we are seeing another step up in terms of improvements to layout.  This is looking more and more like a magazine rather than a zine rolled out on mimeograph by a couple of guys.  It still is exactly that; a zine by a couple of guys, but it is getting better looking.  Also there is a jump in price from 15p to 20p.  Inflation is blamed, but honestly it doesn't seem like that much of a jump.

The editorial talks about the price change and teases that TSR is working on a new SciFi game called Metamorphosis Alpha.

The Letters page deals with more D&D Society postings. An interesting letter from a reader who "just bought a calculator" converts 3-18 Int scores to IQ.  I can remember sitting in stats class one day doing something similar; converting 3d6 probabilities to z-scores. Course these days anyone can do that with even the cheapest of spreadsheets or even for free in Google Sheets. His numbers look solid if you forget that that Int is discrete varible and IQ is on a ratio scale.  Another letter on the next page is also a sign of the change.  The late asks O&W to get back to Orthodox Wargames and drop this "fantasy nonsense", blaming the editor's recent trip to America.  Ian replies stating that fantasy games are where all the new action is.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I present for your approval the first Edition War.  Or maybe the first case of Grogardism.

Later we get our cover story and a two page review of "White Bear & Red Moon" complete with nude female angel. Maybe she is supposed to be one of sylphs. Either way something that was common then that you no longer see. The game blends war games and fantasy to an interesting degree.  It takes place on the world of Glorantha, which in time would give us RuneQuest. This is the game that was used to launch Chaosium.  The longer review is notable given the amount of future ink White Dwarf would devote to RuneQuest.

Another section people write in and talk about their D&D games.
Next page has a section of Zine reviews.  Of note is The Dungeoneer, one of my old favorites.  Still looking to complete my collection of those.   Next page over has an index of all the old Strategic Review articles.  Very interesting that a zine (O&W) would devote so much ink to their competitors, SW/The Dragon and The Dungeoneer.  But then again this was a very different time and sharing knowledge was more important.  You see this fall apart later in the 80s when White Dwarf will mention Dragon, but hardly acknowledge Imagine save for when it premiers and ends.  It mirrors the software industry at the time really.  Back then sharing code was important, but became more problematic when people (aka Bill Gates) started making money off of it.  This is not the first parallel between the RPG hobby and the Computer hobby and it is no where near the last.

finally we end with the Games Workshop items for sale section.

In retrospect this is a full RPG issue.  Even the board game White Bear & Red Moon will morph into one of the biggest RPG since D&D.  We have five more issues left before the change is made over to fully RPG content and new magazine format.

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