Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Owl & Weasel Wednesday #23 February 1977

February 1977 gives us Issue number 23 of Owl & Weasel and at 20 pages it is the largest O&W to date (and ever in fact!).  Though a lot of those new pages are dedicated to the 1977 Games Day, as the cover so proudly tells us.

The editorial has an introduction to Games Day and gives new comers an idea of what to expect.
Moving on Page 4 (and some of 6) cover an introduction to Table Top games, which at this point still refers mostly to war games.  So far the content leads me to believe that they expect most people at Games Day and/or reading this zine not to be familiar with the types of games that will be there.  This strikes me as a bit odd to be honest.

Page 5 (and 6) Ian covers the British 1977 Toy Fair with an eye towards the game manufacturers represented there.  There seems to me to be more American game companies listed here than they discussed last year. To be fair they were pretty down on the Toy Fair last year so it could just be that they didn't mention it.

Page 6 contains the overflow of the previous articles, but of interest to me is the 1977 Scrabble championship.  My brother is a big Scrabble fan (we all have our things) so I found this kind of interesting.  Wonder how he would have fared? Well, terrible really, it was another year till he was born.

Page 7, 8 and 9 have ads. Lots of them in fact.  These are all companies at the Games Day, stand numbers are included, but it is still interesting to see as this represents a shift closer to White Dwarf in terms of content.  Games Workshop is hosting the D&D booth and a "Totally NEW concept in game design".  Again the joy here is not simply nostalgia at looking at something I have already seen, but that feel of when everything was still new and untested. I guess this is also one of the reasons I have always worked at start-up companies and moved on when they get older and established.

Pages 10 and 11 have the map of the hall and the time table of events.  Still not Gen Con, either then or now, but it looks like a lot of fun was had. Matchday, Diplomacy, Monopoly, and of course Dungeons & Dragons games are featured many times.  The whole thing runs 10:00am to 6:00pm that day.

We get another 3 pages of ads, and then a page on "What Do I Do After Games Day?" It is actually a nice little bit of advice and something that Gen Con could even add to their programs. Though many of us know this stuff instinctively.  They do explicitly state that many people that come to Games Day are new to all these games, so the split them up into "Family Games", "Board Games", "Table Top Games" (we call these Wargames now or miniatures games) and "Fantasy Games" or RPGs in the current nadsat.  The continue on with "Postal Games" (play by mail), and "Abstract Games".  They list some of the big name game shops in the area, along with publications and clubs.

Pages 18 and 19 are dedicated to the D&D society, including interestingly enough, an org chart of how the society is run on the national and local levels.  Nice, but I wonder if it happened this way in practice. I will be honest, I don't recall reading much about the D&D society in White Dwarf.

Finally we get to the last page with the items Games Workshop is selling.

So a much larger issue, but only this one time. The overall impression is the hobby is growing steadily but as we know the big boom is yet to come.  O&W makes more of it's evolution towards White Dwarf, but the next issues will be more telling.

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