Frank Chadwick

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Frank Chadwick
Frank Chadwick.jpg
Frank Chadwick in 2005
United States
OccupationGame designer
Part of a series on:
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Frank Chadwick is an American multiple-award-winning game designer[1] and New York Times Best Selling author.[2] He has designed hundreds of games, his most notable being the RPGs Traveller, Space: 1889 and Twilight 2000, and the wargame series Europa and The Third World War.


Frank Chadwick formed the ISU Game Club at Illinois State University with Rich Banner. The club focused on wargaming, but the students also started designing games for fun and convinced the university to fund a new program called SIMRAD ("SIMulation Research And Design"), which was intended to help instructors produce specifications for simulation games.[3]:53 They used their club funding to design war games. They also formed a small educational games organization in response to a project by the university to bring new ideas into the system. After failing to win this project, Chadwick and Banner, along with newcomers Marc Miller and Loren Wiseman, continued to work together, forming Game Designers' Workshop.[3]:53 When ISU stopped funding SIMRAD after 18 months, they founded Game Designers' Workshop on June 22, 1973 as a commercial outlet for their creativity, initially headquartering the company out of Chadwick's and Miller's apartment.[3]:53

Game Designers' Workshop[edit]

There is little doubt that, even in the rather busy pantheon of (wargame) industry heroes, Frank Chadwick is a Zeus amongst the Ajaxes. He is one of—if not THE—finest game designer working today. Since GDW's emergence in the mid-1970s, Chadwick has been GDW's main designer, producing a body of work remarkable for its breadth and width. ... ever resourceful, Frank C covered his simulated butt with the out-of-sight success of his Desert Shield Fact Book. Its reported, six-figure sales will probably bank-roll the company for the next decade. And, as if that weren't enough, he has steered GDW (admittedly with the astute help of others) from a small-town, Third World company to its status as one of the major simulation and RPG publishers in the market today. Frank is also president of the industry professional association, the Game Manufacturers Association, so GDW's tentacles reach out to almost every cave in which hobbyists can hide in. If dice produced olive oil, there is no doubt that Frank Chadwick would be wargaming's Godfather.

Richard Berg, 13 time Charles S. Roberts Award winner, in Berg's Review of Games, issue #3, Spring 1992

Game Designers' Workshop existed from 1973 until 1996.[2] There, he designed several well-known and award-winning games, including En Garde! (first swashbuckling role-playing games) in 1975,[3]:53[4] Space: 1889 in 1989[3]:59[5] (which was set in a steampunk milieu before the term was coined),[6] and Twilight 2000 in 1984.[1][3]:57 Chadwick and Miller designed Traveller.[3]:54 Game Designers' Workshop also published the Gulf War Fact Book, a book he wrote on the military capabilities of the United States and Iraq at the time of the Gulf War. The book was on the New York Times bestselling list, and led to appearances on various news programs by Chadwick.[7] After Game Designers' Workshop shut down, the rights to Space: 1889 went to Chadwick.[3]:63

After Game Designers' Workshop[edit]

Chadwick currently blogs on history and military issues at[8]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Chadwick was inducted into the Charles Roberts Awards Hall of Fame and Origins Hall of Fame in 1984.[9] He won a Charles S. Roberts Award in 1980, 1981 and 1989, was nominated for an Origins Award in 2009.[10]


Below are some of Chadwick's most notable works.

Design credits[edit]


  • 2012: A Prince of Mars, Untreed Reads Publishing, ASIN B007CQDAPM, novella and book five of the Space: 1889 & Beyond series.
  • 2012: Dark Side of Luna, Untreed Reads Publishing, ASIN B007WUK8MQ, novel and book six of the Space: 1889 & Beyond series, co-written with JT Wilson.
  • 2012: Conspiracy of Silence, Untreed Reads Publishing, ASIN B008XQT0TU, novel and book seven of the Space: 1889 & Beyond series, co-written with Andy Frankham-Allen.
  • 2013: How Dark the World Becomes, Baen Books, ISBN 978-1-4516-3870-7, Science fiction crime novel
  • 2014: The Forever Engine, Baen Books, ISBN 978-1-62579-221-1, Time travel novel set in a divergent Space: 1889 universe (serves as something of a prequel to Space: 1889 & Beyond, and shares some of the same characters as Conspiracy of Silence).
  • 2015: Come the Revolution, Baen Books, ISBN 978-1476780955, Science fiction sequel to How Dark the World Becomes
  • 2017: Chain of Command. Baen Books. (Science fiction, same universe of How Dark the World Becomes and Come the Revolution, but with new characters).


  1. ^ a b "" (PDF).
  2. ^ a b Sweich, Paul. (Jan 13, 1996). "Game over: Role-playing game design firm closes". Pantagraph. p. C1.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  4. ^ Schick, Lawrence (1991). Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games. New York: Prometheus Books. p. 266 and 422. ISBN 978-0-87975-653-6.
  5. ^ "Space: 1889 "Red Devils"". Archived from the original on 17 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  6. ^ "Heliograph's Space 1889 Resource Site". Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  7. ^ Sweich, Paul. (Jan 24, 1991). "Fact Book Author gets spot on TV". Pantagraph. p. A2.
  8. ^ "Great History – The Best Blogging in History". Archived from the original on 8 November 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  9. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2012-08-01.
  10. ^ "35th Annual Origins Awards Winners!". Retrieved 6 October 2014.

External links[edit]