Zachary Grant, 15 June 2023 ~ #UnboxingDay
Follow me into the Armchair Dragoon’s Wayback Machine as we look at a game first published in 1979. Marine: 2002, A game of the first Lunar War (1979), was designed by Kerry Anderson and Michael J. Matheny. It was published by Yaquinto Publications, Inc. This was one of many games marketed as an Album Game™. This game depicts a hypothetical conflict on the moon, at the tactical level, between the USA and the Soviet Union. Mr. Anderson updated this game under the title Solar Marine (2009) thirty years later, expanding combat from the moon to other surfaces in our solar system.
The cover art is an action packed scene that depicts Howard’s Howlers attacking a Soviet dome on the moon.
click images to enlarge
How do I know this? There is a nice description of the image on the inside cover of the rule book:
The back of the box has the standard info of game contents and complexity level. Marine: 2002 is rated at a Level Two complexity, which is described as “fairly easy to master”. There is also a description of what the game is about, the types of weapons used by both sides, (neutron warheads and charged particle beams for example), and rules for ground and air movement. Altitude also plays a role according to the back of the box. You should read it to get all the details.
Inside the box
Lifting the lid and removing the contents, you will find a bright yellow counter tray and two dice. They don’t make counter trays like this anymore!
So, what about the game contents? Here’s a picture of all the items together before we look at them individually.
First, let’s take a gander at the price list for the other games Yaquinto was selling. The date on this list is February 1, 1982.
Marine: 2002 is listed at $21.00. A quick calculation using the CPI Inflation Calculator shows that $21.00 in February of 1982 is equivalent to $67.34 as of April, 2023, the most current data available from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. I think that’s close to what we pay for many of the games that are published today, at least if you miss the P500 or don’t get the game during a holiday sale.
Let’s look at the counters next. Some counters are ⅝”, and some are ½” depending one their use. The counters representing combat units are the larger ⅝” counters. The Soviets are red in color, naturally, and the US Marines are blue. There are modular terrain pieces included with the counters and if you look at the row of numbers in the middle of the counter sheet, they have a purpose. It is a range stick for measuring. Tuck that away for future reference, because I’ll point it out in the rulebook pictures.
Next we have the trusty player aid. There are two and both sides contain the same info, so each player can use them during the game.
Next we have the Transportation Vehicle and Weapon Damage sheets. This is a pad of sheets, so there are plenty to use for many, many games.
Next are the Company Organization sheets for both the Soviets and the US Marines.
The rule book is 24 pages with saddle stitch binding. There are no color images and the paper is thin; however, the rulebook has held up nicely for over 40 years. The font is very tiny, a common feature of the wargames from the late 70s and early 80s. There are black and white images to help illustrate specific points about the game; however, nothing too fancy. There is a table of contents and the rules are organized in a similar fashion to SPI case.
Remember that range stick on the counter sheet? Here’s an example of how you are meant to use it. I’m not sure what the difference between counting hexes and using the range stick is. When I finally get around to playing this game, I’ll be sure to share with everyone if there is a difference.
Here’s the Weapon Effectiveness Table. C.P.G. is an abbreviation for Charged Particle Gun. Note the two items marked with an asterisk are nuclear weapons. I’m not sure I’d want to be a member of the mortar team using nuclear ordinance.
Although not labeled as Designer Notes, there’s a section that discusses how the weapons in this game would theoretically work in space.
Finally we have the maps. There are three maps, each 9” x 21” and you can set them up any way you wish. For purposes of taking pictures I laid them out side by side; however, I’m confident they would work just as well end to end.
That concludes our trip in the Wayback Machine for this month. Please mind your step on the way out and enjoy the rest of the unboxings that are happening today.
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With trembling hands and eager zeal,
I unbox a wargame with great appeal.
Countless components I behold,
Strategies yet to unfold,
In this box, a battlefield surreal!