1983 was marked by branches forming in the game industry, some dead ends, and a leaning toward espionage. TSR’s acquisition of SPI’s assets (not its debts and liabilities) allowed TSR to ignore the ‘lifetime guarantee’ of SPI subscriptions, alienating many of TSR’s potential customer base. Also during this time, the weakening presence of wargames in the market was further promoted by the elimination of wargame magazines, save for Strategy & Tactics. This was a busy year for TSR, with the company breaking into four separate entities: TSR Inc (primary), TSR International, TSR Ventures, and TSR Entertainment.
Even with the soft market, Warhammer Fantasy was released, bringing a darkly comedic, gothic, yet Tolkenesque wargaming fantasy world alive. This was Games Workshop spiritual successor to the Reaper game that was published in 1981 (as a second edition). Where Reaper was designed for 30 models on the table, Warhammer was designed to manage many more.
World of Greyhawk boxed set expanded the world and its deities introduced in Supplement I: Greyhawk (1975); as well as various Greyhawk-inspired spells, and 10 modules published in the late 70’s, the folio edition released in 1980. The boxed set spawned additional modules and Dragon magazine articles.
Polyhedron magazine shifts from quarterly release to bi-monthly releases.
James Bond 007 was released by Victory Games, moving on to become the most popular of the espionage-based game systems. The custom system used d6 and d10 dice, providing low rolls with better quality outcomes against an Ease Factor. Hero Points further allow a player to perform ‘cinematic’ or ‘unlikely’ stunts, allowing a player to adjust the outcome of an Ease Factor roll by one step.
Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes first edition, published by Flying Buffalo, Inc. The game system was based upon a Tunnels and Trolls derivative, using an attribute plus skill ‘saving throw’ coupling. Further rules are added to include modern weapons and martial art combat. This game is often considered to be “one of those ‘I can’t figure out why it wasn’t more popular’ kind of games” (as per editor Scott Haring).
Superworld, published by Chaosium, using the Basic Role-Playing system. The game was popular with a group in Albuquerque who was game mastered by George R.R. Martin, eventually releasing their concept in the form of the Wild Cards book series.
The Palladium Role-Playing Game was published by Palladium Books, using the Megaversal system. This game system, as a second-edition release, introduces -.C.C. (-varied- Character Class instead of ‘class’). The C.C. unlocks a variety of powers, skills, and attributes that are further improved by the leveling system.
Star Trek 2e was released this year by FASA, along with numerous supplements.
Chivalry & Sorcery 2e was released by Fantasy Games Unlimited. This was a box set, containing three rule booklets. Skills were introduced, and mass combat was removed. Like its previous edition, the political, economic, and military elements of a Tolkenesque Middle Age provides a strong sense of realism.
Pacesetter Games based in
took form as TSR employees began leaving the mother ship, with the planned publication of two roll-playing games for the upcoming year… Delavan WI