Gaming flashbacks. What causes them? The advance of old age? Weird February weather? A side-effect of pushing too much cardboard around over the years?
I don’t know, but whatever the reason it looks like February is a good month for flashbacks. First there was the trip to the old FLGS in
SPI’s old “Mechwar 77” is a game that, somehow, I managed to miss on the first orbit around Game Planet. In the SPI production cycle, it sits between “Red Star, White Star” (1973) and the imaginatively named “Red Star, White Star 2” (1979).
Mechwar 77 was published in 1975 and used the same game system as their “Panzer 44” game. The system was extended and improved in the Strategy & Tactics issue game “October War” (1977). I consider October War pretty much the pinnacle of tactical moderns development under SPI because, unfortunately, “Red Star, White Star 2” bodgered the whole thing with some very over-the-top and needless design complexity.
But back to my recent acquisition, Mechwar 77. I owned and played all of the above-listed games – except MW 77. It (and Panzer 44) are exactly the kinds of games I was devouring in the 70s, so I have no idea how I overlooked them. Probably because I never saw them in a store anywhere. Remember, this was the 70s and there was no Internet. Maybe I missed the ads for them in Strategy & Tactics. Maybe I was just too busy playing the games I did own to scout around very much for new ones.
The copy of the game I bought (for cheap) was bare bones – the flatpack and box-cover were long gone. The counters were punched, although some were still ‘strip punched’ in threes and fours. The map is in good shape, the rules are a bit ‘used’ but not bad.
While they were punched, the counters were not
So my ‘new’ Mechwar 77 counters had to be trimmed. That’s when the real flashbacks started. SPI had an identifiable graphic ‘style’ in the production of their maps and counters, so it brought back quite a few memories to sit there and fiddle around with counters that were printed in the wayback before I graduated from high school. I still have a few SPI flatpack games (and old issues of S&T) sitting around the game closet – including the first two wargames I ever bought – but the close encounter of trimming was a process entirely different from, say, playing a game of my old “Barbarossa” (see an earlier post on this).
Flashbacks included some of the games of October War and the“Modern Battles” quads that I played in college. Game-mastering double-blind games of SPI’s “Fulda Gap” that were played by officers attending the old
Funny. Those silly cardboard counters can sometimes be very cheap substitutes for a time machine.