Brant Guillory, 18 February 2021 ~ #UnboxingDay
These were 2 of the 4 games in the venerable SPI Modern Battles II quadrigame. It’s never been completely clear which of the games from ModQuads I & II were actually offered as separate folios. Theoretically, all of them were. That said, Jerusalem (MQ-II) and Golan (MQ-I) have never been reported as being spotted in the wild as stand-alone games.
So while these are over 40 years old, the fact that we have a couple of pristine copies of the games gives us a chance to show off some SPI classics.
So we have the full-size folio of DMZ, and the half-size copy of Bundeswehr. The latter was picked up at Lou Zocchi’s booth-o’-random-gameness at Origins some number of years ago. Amazingly, he still had a few the last time we saw him at there.
First up, DMZ. This game of the initial fighting in a hypothetical second Korean War has been re-implemented by Decision Games under the same name, with a significant update and re-work in rules, timeline, graphics, scale, and, well, pretty much everything to the point that it’s damn near a completely different game.
click images to enlarge
The contents are not voluminous. There’s an 11×17 folded in half, with the standard rules for all MQ-II games. There’s another 11×17 folded in half, with the specific rules for this game. The latter also includes all of the scenario info for the included stock scenarios. Note too, that the original complaint card is still with the game.
The back cover of the folio is damned verbose. I mean, seriously wordy. How often do you see this much text on the back of anything these days?
The rules are not long or onerous. This is back when we were capable of writing concise rules.
Counter detail. ROK’s at the top. US in the middle. Norks in bright goldenrod at the bottom. Most of the games in each of the MQ sets used the same colors for the same nationalities across all of the games in the quad, so the US shows up in that same shade of green in Yugoslavia, too, whereas the teal for the ROK’s is not reused.
While the MQ-I and MQ-II sets were very similar, the immediate indicator of the differences between them is symbology: MQ-II used NATO counter symbols; MQ-I used silhouettes.
A typical late-70s gawd-awful ugly SPI map. Seriously. It’s functional, but it’s hardly a work of art, and these maps are just dying for Gary Krockover or Mark Mahaffey to redo them.
Seoul is in the corner of the map. It’s not very far to the DMZ.
Bundeswehr is often confused with the Assault-series module of the same name. This one came first, by about 6-7 years. It was a rare wargame from the ’70s that was designed by a woman (Virginia Mulholland, who was an SPI librarian at the time). It was also an oddball for the ’70s in that it’s a rare NATO/WarPac game with no Americans in it.
This is similar, but not identical, to the graphic on the ‘quad’ cover for the full game set.
The ‘cover’ was a very thin piece of glossy paper with nothing on the inside, that wraps around the contents inside the bag. The rules, and the CRT/TEC reference sheet are the same format at the DMZ game, but they are folded one more time to fit into the half-size bag that this game occupies.
The ‘typical’ rust-colored Soviets of those mid- to late-70s SPI Cold War games, along with the bright blue Brits. The Germans are actually much more gray than this photo shows.
Another ugly SPI map, but not as bad as the one from DMZ. I laid the counters on the map so you can se the color contrasts. The West Germans do tend to fade into the colors a bit here and there, but I suspect some of my Germans friends would say that’s a feature, not a bug.
Will there be other ‘classic’ games that we unbox in the future, as we find unpunched copies of them? You damn betcha!
Thanks for joining this month’s #UnboxingDay with the Armchair Dragoons and we hope you enjoyed our recon of our recent acquisitions.
You can always leave us your feedback in our #UnboxingDay thread, or in the comment area on this article, below.
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