Guidon Games

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Guidon Games
Type Private (defunct)
Industry wargaming publisher
Founded Evansville, Indiana (1971)
Headquarters Evansville, Indiana, and later in Belfast, Maine
Key people Don Lowry, Gary Gygax
Products Chainmail, Fight in the Skies, Tractics

Guidon Games produced board games and rulebooks for wargaming with miniatures, and in doing so influenced Tactical Studies Rules (later TSR, Inc.), the publisher of Dungeons & Dragons. The Guidon Games publishing imprint was the property of Lowrys Hobbies (later Lowry Enterprises), a mail-order business owned by Don and Julie Lowry. About a dozen titles were released under the imprint from 1971 to 1973.

History[edit]

By the late 1960s the miniature wargaming hobby had grown large enough that there was a demand for rulebooks dedicated to a single historical period. Don Featherstone of the UK produced booklets for eight different periods in 1966.[1] A few years later the Wargames Research Group began producing rulesets with an emphasis on historical accuracy.[2]

With this trend in mind Lowry conceived the Wargaming with Miniatures series for which he recruited rulebook authors from the ranks of the International Federation of Wargamers. Through the IFW Lowry met Gary Gygax, who served as series editor. Gygax began working for Guidon in 1970.[3] Gygax also co-authored the first title in the series, Chainmail, which became Guidon's best seller.[4] Other notable titles in the series are Tractics, one of the first published games to make use of the 20-sided die, and Don't Give Up The Ship!, the first collaboration between Gygax and Dave Arneson, the co-creators of Dungeons & Dragons.

Guidon also produced Avalon Hill style board wargames, as well as supplements designed to be used with existing Avalon Hill board games. Avalon Hill later republished Alexander the Great, one of Guidon's stand-alone games, while TSR republished Fight in the Skies.

Guidon was a small publisher, and print runs were never more than a few thousand. Lowry apparently failed to recognize the potential of Dungeons & Dragons,[5] prompting Gygax to found TSR. Gygax made the following recollection about the company in 2004:

Guidon Games had a game shop, sold gaming via the mail, published a magazine and likewise printed and sold military miniatures rulebooks and boxed board wargames. They were small but certainly a legitimate company.... I was paid for the work I did for them, yes. Unfortunately, sales volume did not make the income received thus sufficient to do more than supplement income from other work. I was asked to go to work for them full time. That would have required me to move to the state of Maine. Tom Wham did so, but I thought their new location was a poor choice. Furthermore, the company was not run in an aggressive and responsive manner. In my opinion there was no chance for growth and success as things stood and I said so to Guidon. Sadly, I was correct in my judgement.[6]

Despite its brief existence, Guidon had a large influence on TSR and the nascent RPG industry. In addition to Gygax and Arneson, Lowry worked with Lou Zocchi, Tom Wham, and Mike Carr. TSR initially patterned itself on Guidon, publishing sets of wargaming rules such as Cavaliers and Roundheads in the same pamphlet format used by Guidon. TSR took over some of Guidon's titles in 1975.

In 1972 Lowry acquired Panzerfaust Magazine, and by 1973 he discontinued the Guidon Games label, publishing instead under the name "Panzerfaust Publications".

Products[edit]

Wargaming with Miniatures Series

Title Date Authors Product Code
Chainmail 1971 Gary Gygax & Jeff Perren WM101
Tractics 1971 Mike Reese & Leon Tucker with Gary Gygax WM102
Hardtack 1971 Lou Zocchi WM103
Fast Rules 1972 Mike Reese & Leon Tucker WM104
Don't Give Up The Ship! 1972 Dave Arneson & Gary Gygax with Mike Carr WM105
Grosstaktik[7] 1972 Leon Tucker WM106
Ironclad 1973 Tom Wham & Don Lowry WM107
Tricolor[8] -- Rick Crane unpublished

Board Games

Title Date Authors Product Code
Alexander the Great 1971 Gary Gygax GG001
Dunkirk: The Battle of France 1971 Gary Gygax GG002
Fight in the Skies 1972 Mike Carr GG103[9]
Atlanta 1973 Don Lowry GG201
Lankhmar[10] -- Gary Gygax unpublished

Board Game Supplements

Title Date Authors Game Supplemented Product Code
Alexander's Other Battles 1972 Gary Gygax Alexander the Great PG2
Wargamer's Guide to Afrika Korps 1972 Don Greenwood Afrika Korps WG101
Wargamer's Guide to Battle of the Bulge 1972 Don Greenwood Battle of the Bulge WG102
Wargamer's Guide to Stalingrad 1972 Don Greenwood Stalingrad

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ *http://www-personal.umich.edu/~beattie/timeline2.html Courier Magazine History of Wargaming
  2. ^ http://www.phil-barker.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/WRG/wrg.html History of the Wargames Research Group
  3. ^ Gygax, Gary. "Gary Gygax (Interview)". TheOneRing.net. Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  4. ^ http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/columns/lynch01may01.html RPGnet: Interview with Gary Gygax
  5. ^ http://wiki.acaeum.com/wiki/Dragon_11 Acaeum: Dragon 11
  6. ^ http://www.enworld.org/article.php?a=39 EnWorld: The Ultimate Gary Gygax Interview (Free Registration Required)
  7. ^ This pamphlet does not have a Guidon Games imprint. However, the back page has a product list entitled Other Booklets from Guidon Games.
  8. ^ Listed as part of the Wargaming in Miniatures series in the back of the 2nd ed. Chainmail. Unpublished by Guidon Games and finally released by TSR in 1975.
  9. ^ The product code for Fight in the Skies is given in the 1972 Lowrys Hobbies catalog as GG003, but in the 1974 catalog as GG103.
  10. ^ http://www.boardgamegeek.com/images/thing/4025 Collaboration between Gary Gygax and Fritz Leiber, presented for release by Guidon Games but unpublished until finally released by TSR in 1976.

External links[edit]