Mike Colello, 7 September 2023
I’m always a little apprehensive when I acquire a used wargame sight unseen. Even when I buy a game from a site like eBay that has pictures of the item in question, I never know exactly what will be in the box when I open it.
Sometimes I will find an odd die or two that wasn’t part of the original game. Other times I will find articles clipped from magazines that cover the historical battle in question. One of the more common items that I might find in a box, however, is an old catalog from one of the original wargame companies.
Tucked inside of my used copy of 1776 from Avalon Hill was one of these old catalogs. It appeared to be from 1974 (there was a ‘prices subject to change after December 31, 1974’ line that served as a clue).
One of the things that caught my eye while flipping through the pages was the Order Form. It wasn’t the prices (though I must admit I did pay more than $10US for my used copy of 1776) that stood out but the list of items for sale. Not only was the game as a whole listed, but there were entries for the individual parts!
Did you spill your favorite beverage all over your Combat Results Table for Afrika Korps? No problem! Order a new one for only 25 cents! Did your opponent leave her pizza-grease encrusted fingerprints on the mapboard? That’s okay, you can replace it with a new one for only $3US! There are entries for the game box, the rules, counters, cards, score sheets, and more.
This left me wondering, is this something that is best left in the past or would we, as wargamers, love to see something like this come back? It is even possible that it could come back? I doubt it, considering the way games are printed these days. Still, there have been times I would have loved to order an extra counter sheet or new map board. So what do you think, would love to have the option to buy individual game components for your favorite game(s)?
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In gaming halls where grognards debate,
They argue about what’s deemed first-rate.
“True wargame!” they declare,
With a passionate glare,
Their opinions, they’ll never abate.
Some seek hexes and counters galore,
Claiming purism, nothing they’ll ignore.
Yet the heart of the matter,
Is the fun we all gather,
So let’s play and enjoy, let’s explore!