Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Witchcraft Ritual Kit (1974)

I was out getting some driving practice with my sons over the weekend.  They didn't want too so I made them a deal, if they drove we could go to our favorite local game store Games Plus.  So we did and I found something of a little treasure.

This is Avalon Hill's Witchcraft Ritual Kit from 1974!

So imagine this, the year is 1974.  Avalon Hill knows about D&D having passed on previous Gygax penned works.  The biggest movie of the year is The Exorcist and rival Milton Bradley is churning out Ouija boards all day.  What is Avalon Hill to do?  Simple they create a "game" based on Wicca and Witchcraft.

Supposedly authored by "Dr. Brooke Hayward Jennings", who I can find nothing on anywhere, and neither has anyone else, this was one of two of their occult-themed games.  The other was called "Black Magic" and featured a similarily "porny" cover.

Now, all that aside I have been wanting this game forever.  It has been out of print since the mid-70s and finding a good copy is nearly impossible.

I found this sitting in the stacks of out of print wargames. It was labeled as "unpunched" and interior in good condition even if the box had some shelf wear.  I knew, more or less what I was getting here, so despite the high price (I am not going to tell you what I paid for it) I had to get it.

Well.  I am not disappointed.

Let's have a look inside.

That game board is gorgeous! Not so sure about all the pieces, and those game tokens have to go!
I'll likely replace the male and female figures with minis, maybe 72mm ones, and the other items with small 3D printed versions.  Don't know yet, have to read how they are used.

The gamebook is a mix-mash of all sorts of wicca, occult and pagan ideas that lack coherence. It is, however, a fun read.

This is easily the most 70s thing I own.

I could not find any reviews online and none from any pagans or gamers to give me their insight and point of view.

Also, I am not sure what I will do with it yet. Like I said some of the pieces have to go to make it playable in my mind, but that game board.

In line with my "Traveller Envy" I talked about with Wizard's Quest and Witch's Caldron boardgames I really WANT to use this as part of the larger "War of the Witch Queens" campaign. I am just not sure how yet.  I do have other board games to add to it.

Oh, it also been properly pointed out that the TRUE way to express my Board Game Traveller Envy is via Starfleet Battles and my "BlackStar" campaign.  But that is a topic for another day.


Alec Semicognito said...

Your local store has old/used games? Oh, man, I'm envious.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

It does and it has a good selection too.

grodog said...

I've heard about these for years, but never seen one. Definitely curious to hear how you decide to leverage it in-game!


faoladh said...

Holy cats, I hadn't even heard of this one! Now I need to get hold of a copy long enough to review it, at the least. Good find!

faoladh said...

Also, wow. There's a lot of no-longer-relevant explanation in there. Even Wiccans who believe that all gods are manifestations of one unnamed god-force are becoming fewer and further between.

Gwythaint said...

Goddess I would love to see some scans of this!

Dwarfy Mcgee said...

Games Plus holds a special pace in my heart.

Unknown said...

oh a pdf or even pictures of the "rules" be awesome enough for history, especially at board games geek
thanks for posting

Unknown said...

would you Please post pictures of this game to Board Game Geeks, for history
than you for consideration, this would allow a record.
May your dice roll true

Timothy S. Brannan said...

I will!