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SPI Games - Pre-TSR

See Also: Ares Magazine ~ Commando ~ Dragonquest ~ War of the Ring ~ Universe RPG ~ SPI - Post-TSR Buyout


StarForce Alpha Centauri: Interstellar Conflict in the 25th Century [BOX SET]
• 22" x 34", mounted star map
• 200 die-cut cardboard playing pieces
• One rules folder
• One Simultaneous Movement Plotting Pad
• One plastic storage tray

"This game is a simulation of events within a conjectural future history. It is played on a map which displays 74 star systems in a three-dimensional "sphere" of space measuring roughly 40 light years in diameter, with our home solar system at the center. A grid of hexagons printed over the map is used to regulate movement and position of pieces.
The pieces in the game represent groups of four interstellar spaceships (StarForces) and space stations (StarGates). Each Player maneuvers his pieces (via Stellar Shifting) to engage those of the enemy. Battles take place when units are in the same three-dimensional position. The total variable strengths of the involved units are compared. The attacking Player consults a simple probability table to determine the outcome of each battle. Movement is plotted and executed simultaneously. The game proceeds this way (for a specified number of turns) as the Players try to achieve the objectives set forth in the rules. No prior knowledge is required to play the game — just a little ingenuity and common sense."

1974 ... Redmond A. Simonsen & John M. Young ... SPI HSF-771

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Sorcerer: The Game of Magical Conflict

• 16-page Rules of Play booklet
• play mat
• 400 counters

"Sorcerer is SPI's first game of magic and fantasy. The 22" x 34" map depicts a multicolored land of sorcery. Each one-inch hex is coded with the color of the magic most powerful in that location. There are seven hues of magic, in all, each of which is more powerful than the next! Sorcerers can perform many feats of magic: conjure magical units (by expending Movement Points); throw magic bolts; teleport themselves and their armies; change the color of hexes; clone themselves into three Sorcerers; create the devastating Vortexes; and make themselves disappear.
Combat takes place using a unique system; the strength of units is highly variable, depending upon the color of the unit, the color of the hex, and the color of the defender. Attacking and defending units occupy the same hex when engaged in combat. There are nine Scenarios, including solitaire, multi-player, and two-player Scenarios. The sequence of play is: First Player moves/both Players attack/Second Player moves/both Players attack. In multi-player Scenarios, the First Player is variable {just to keep you guessing as to who has the initiative).

• Demons, Trolls, Air Dragons and Sorcerers • Teleportation, Conjuration, Magic Bolts and Vortexes • Full, four-color map and counters"

1975 ... Redmond Simonsen ... SPI ??

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Outreach: The Conquest of the Galaxy, 3000AD

Simulates civilization development, intra-galactic exploration and combat, covering about one-third of the galaxy on a Grand Strategic scale.

1976 ... SPI 1480

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War of the Ring: S.R. 1418 to 1419 (Middle Earth: Lord of the Rings Fantasy Game, Designer's Edition) [BOX SET]

The white box edition has art from the Ralph Bakshi animated Lord of the Rings movie.

See also: Sauron Exclusive Rules set at our Games Gallery. I added some photos of the giant Middle Earth play map in the WoR set.

Middle Earth Role Playing reference pages.


"Each Game contains:
• Three mounted 11"x 34" map sections
• 400 die-cut cardboard playing pieces
• One rules folder, including:
- Two identical sheets of game charts and tables
- Four identical endurance level charts
• One deck of 112 player cards
• One plastic storage tray

This game is a simulation of fictional events. It is played on a map showing the entire area of Middle Earth over which the War of the Ring raged in the Third Age. A grid of hexagons is superimposed over the terrain to regulate movement in much the same manner as the squares do on a chess board.
The pieces in the game represent the various military units and characters who played a role in Tolkien's fantasy war. The large numbers on the pieces indicate the relative strengths and abilities of these units. Each player maneuvers his pieces on the map in turn; then the units of both sides may engage in battle when they occupy the same hex. The total relative strengths of the involved units are compared, along with various modifications for terrain and special character abilities, and the players consult the appropriate tables to determine the outcome in terms of casualties to either side. The game proceeds in this manner for a specified number of game turns as the Players try to achieve the objectives set forth in the rules. No prior knowledge of Middle Earth or military tactics is required to play the game - just a little ingenuity and common sense."

1977 ... Howard Barasch & Richard Berg ... SPI HLR

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Swords & Sorcery: Quest and Conquest in the Age of Magic (Fantasy Adventure Game)
* 56-page rules booklet
* 400 counters
* 22"x34" play map
* 56 playing cards
* play aids

1978 ... Greg Costikyan & Eric Goldberg ... SPI 1990

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Agincourt: The Triumph of Archery over Armor, 25 October 1415 (Military History Simulation Game)
* 32-page rules booklet
* 270 counters
* 22"x34" play map
* play aids (in rulebook)

1978 ... James F. Dunnigan ... SPI 2010

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Freedom in the Galaxy: The Star Rebellions, 5764 AD

"The Empire, oppressor of billions throughout the galaxy, has felt the first sting of Rebel anger. In the cities and vast wilds of planets circling the farthest stars, the sparks of insurrection are being fanned by the courageous few who cry for freedom in the galaxy."

CONTENTS: Rules of Play booklet (32 pages), Galactic Guide booklet (12 pages), Play map/mat, 400 counters, 140 cards (30 Action, 29 Galactic Event, 14 Strategic Assignment, 15 Mission, 20 Possession, 32 Character).

1979 … Howard Barasch & John H. Butterfield … SPI 2210

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John Carter: Warlord of Mars [BOX SET]

• Rules of Play (28 pages)
• World of Barsoom (16 pages)
• Charts & Tables (x2: 8 pages)
• 22"x34" map
• 400 counters
• 168 playing cards (20 Acquisition; 50 Movement; 65 Random Event; 20 Maneuver/Option; 12 Diplomacy; 1 title card)

Many photos of an open John Carter set over at my blog


"John Carter, Warlord of Mars relentlessly searches for his mate, the incomparable Dejah Thoris, across the hostile Martian surface, pursuing the dastardly villain who has abducted her and fled to a distant city... The city contains numerous hiding places and secret passages... Playing cards for Random Events, Movement, Acquisition, and Maneuver both hinder and help him... Simple probability charts determine the outcome..."

1979 ... Eric Goldberg & Mark Herman & Scott B. Bizar (World of Barsoom) ... SPI 2380

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The China War: Furture History Game of Sino-Soviet Conflict in the 1980s [BOX SET]
• rule booklet (12 pages)
• fold-out game map
• 200 counters (1 sheet)

"The China War is an operational-level simulation of a full-scale Sino-Soviet conflict occuring sometime in the present decade. Vividly designed scenarios postulate the Soviet blitzkrieg into China, an all-out Chinese offensive against Vietnam and a major amphibious assault on Taiwan. Players bring the most modern warfare technologies to bear as the Chinese protect their country against the onslaught of Soviet mechanized forces. Terrain and supply considerations become critically important to victory, and the colorful game map is densely packed with information. All the while, both players must keep a sharp eye on political events — as the balance of power around the world shifts dramatically, changing alliances will have a severe effect upon the battle at hand. China's February '79 Vietnam offensive brought a Sino-Soviet conflagration dangerously near. The China War is a game for today."

1979 ... SPI 2650

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Empires of the Middle Ages: A Dynamic Simulation of Medieval Europe, 771 - 1467 [BOX SET]
CONTENTS: Rules booklet with historical article; 22" x 34" map sheet, 600 die-cut cardboard playing pieces; and various play aids.

"Between the glories of Rome and the rise of national states stood an age in which each land was defined by the virtues and failings of its monarch. Empires of the Middle Ages is a multi-player game of diplomacy in which up to six players may act as dynasts and attempt to build their historical kingdoms into vast empires. Empires of the Middle Ages is played on a map of Medieval Europe on which the players record the power of their kingdoms. Playing cards resolve the basic actions of the game, while Random Event cards add the flavor — plagues, Crusades, heresy — of the period. Six scenarios are included, from a solitaire game to a grand scenario covering the entire Middle Ages."

1980 ... Redmond A. Simonsen & Jim Dunnigan & Anthony F. Buccini ... SPI 2700

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Demons: The Game of Evil Spirits [BOX SET]
"Demons is a game of magical conjuration in which wizards travel across the wilds of Armenia in search of treasure. Angry mortals and rival mages are ever-present threats, and only the puissant spells of the conjured demons can protect the wizards. Game comes complete with 100 cardboard playing pieces, an 11"x17" soft map, and easy-to-comprehend rules.
Some of the unique rules in Demons are:
Conjuring Demons and Curses • Friendly and Unfriendly Demons • The Magic Ring of Solomon • Discovery and Seizure of Treasure • Raising the Power of a Magician's Shield • Control of Demons • Capture and Torture of Magicians."

1979 ... SPI 2790

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DeathMaze: Heroic Adventure in the Corridors of Doom [BOX SET]
More photos of this set and the capsule version over at my game blog:
DeathMaze (SPI, 1979): Dungeon Adventure Game Played Entirely With Counters

"In DeathMaze, there is no map of the deadly labyrinth; instead, players build up the maze room by room and corridor by corridor. In each section of the deathmaze may lurk terrible monsters ready to pounce upon unsuspecting adventurers. But there are also treasures of untold wealth, magical potions, spices, and medallions to aid the humans. The game includes two identical sets of 100 cardboard playing pieces, a 16-page rules booklet.
Included in Deathmaze are such rules as:
Monsters and Negotiations • Treasure • Traps • Wizards and Magic • Rings, Evil Wizards, and Special abilities."

1979 ... Greg Costikyan ... SPI 2800

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Pea Ridge: The Gettysburg of the West, March 7-8 1862 (Great Battles of the Civil War, Vol. 1)
"Pea Ridge is an authentic military history simulation of the crucial Civil War battle for control of Missouri and the West. One of the first major battles of the Civil War, Pea Ridge was an attempt by numerically superior Confederate forces to surprise and eliminate the main force of the Union Army of the West, The vicious fighting see-sawed for almost two full days. Pea Ridge uses the award-winning Terrible Swift Sword system with unique modifications which faithfully re-create the close-fought tension of the historical battle. Includes a 22" x 34" game map, one standard rules booklet, one exclusive rules booklet, 200 die-cut cardboard playing pieces, and various playing aids."

1980 ... Eric Lee Smith ... SPI 2950

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The Wreck of the B.S.M. Pandora [BOX SET]
"The Wreck of the B.S.M. Pandora simulates the race against time by the members of a biological survey team to repair their damaged space ship before the ship's systems reach an irreversible (and fatal) cold shutdown. As the crew scrambles after tools and weapons, they confront the potentially dangerous alien specimens that have broken loose and roam the corridors. From one to five players work separately or together to save their ship. The Wreck of the B.S.M. Pandora includes an 11" x 16" game map, 100 cardboard playing pieces, rules booklet, and various playing aids."

1980 ... SPI 2960

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Time Tripper: A Super Science Fiction Game [BOX SET]
"TimeTripper simulates the adventures of a U.S. infantryman, who accidentally creates a time warp that transports him to famous battles of the past and to fantastic battles of the future. Though armed with modern weaponry, the TimeTripper must husband his resources as he encounters the fearsome Tyrannosaurus Rex, Greek hoplites, Nazi infantry, and the futuristic Timepolice. Rules cover travel through time, missile and melee combat, endurance, and experience; the game also includes rules for TeamTripper play and for a Timemaster. TimeTripper includes an ll" x 17" sheet with Battlefield and Time Displays, 100 cardboard playing pieces, rules, and playing aids."

1980 ... James F. Dunnigan ... SPI 2970

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WorldKiller: The Game of Planetary Assault [BOX SET]

"WorldKiller realistically simulates the defense of a planet against the onslaught of a marauding armada of alien space ships. A unique map captures the effects of fighting a three-dimensional combat in outer space on a two-dimensional sheet. The scenarios have been arranged in an open-ended manner, allowing the players to create individual engagements or an entire campaign. WorldKiller includes an 11" x 16" map, 100 cardboard playing pieces, rules booklet, and various playing aids."

1980 ... SPI 2980

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Dallas: The Television Role Playing Game [BOX SET]
• One Rules booklet, containing all game rules and three original Scripts.
• 56 Character Cards (carried by two perforated sheets).
• One booklet of 9 Character Sheets, containing an outline of game rules and character data on the nine major characters (J.R., Ellie, Jock, Bobby, Sue Ellen, Pam, Lucy, Ray Krebbs, or Cliff Barnes).
• One Script Writer's Guide booklet, containing background information on Dallas, Texas, and the characters that can be used in the game, recommended plot devices, and Director's notes.

"Dallas is a family role-playing game, based on the popular television series of the same name. It is the nature of a role-playing game, such as Dallas, to bring the world it reflects to life in an especially dynamic manner by allowing each player to assume the role of a major character of that world and permitting the players to interact in order to fulfill certain Victory Conditions."

1980 ... SPI 2990

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Barbarian Kings: Fantasy Empires in Conflict [BOX SET]
"Barbarian Kings simulates the Red Age of political and military turmoil on the island continent of Castafon; situated in the Fira Ocean of the planet Hypastia, it is a place where magic works (sometimes), and men and near-men are as treacherous and as territorial as anywhere in the Universe. From two to five players assume the roles of kings and attempt to raise human and magical armies, led by wizards and heroes, in order to conquer and consolidate control of Castafon. Barbarian Kings is also a game of diplomacy as leaders create alliances (which may be broken at any time), collect taxes for maintenance of armies, and use their Spellcasters to attack rival heroes, magicians and armies. Rules cover hero abilities, branches of magic, special combat units (airships, warfrogs, and fleets), and neutral units. Barbarian Kings includes an 11" x 17" map, 100 cardboard counters, rules, and various playing aids."

1980 ... SPI 3030

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Citadel of Blood: Fantastic Adventure in the Fortress of Evil [BOX SET]
"Citadel of Blood follows a band of adventurers into a massive fortress to destroy an evil magician and his powerful instrument, the HellGate. As the party wanders through the labyrinth, the players put together the rooms and corridors of the Citadel from the playing pieces. Terrible monsters may be encountered in each segment, or great treasure and magical potions and amulets. The unique game system assures that no two adventures will ever be the same. Citadel of Blood contains 200 cardboard playing pieces, rules booklet, and various playing aids."

1980 ... Redmond A Simonsen ... SPI 3070

Dawn of the Dead: The Adventure Game of Zombie Terror [BOX SET]
"Four humans are trapped in a world of the walking undead. Ahead is a shopping mall — perhaps the last fortress for humans in an insane world. Dawn of the Dead recreates George A. Romero's classic horror film in an exciting new game. One player moves the four humans through the shopping mall, destroying the zombies and trying to secure the buildings. The other player leads the hungry horde of zombies after the frightened humans. Also included are special instructions for solitaire play. Dawn of the Dead contains a 17" x 22" map, 100 cardboard playing pieces, easy-to-learn rules, and various playing aids."

1978 ... SPI 3140

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Kaiser's Battle: The German Offensive - March 1918 [BOX SET]
"The Kaiser's Battle simulates the dramatic offensive by the German 18th Army which almost overwhelmed the British 5th Army during March 1918. With extensive artillery support and juggernaut stosstruppen, the Germans attempt to punch through the scattered British line and gain as much territory as possible. The weaker British forces must hold back the German advance until sufficient strength can be brought forward to stall the offensive. Special rules cover air operations, weather, and the extensive use of artillery. A unique combat system uses no combat results table; instead, each unit's combat strength is modified by a die roll and compared to the defender's morale value. The Kaiser's Battle contains a 22"x34" map, 200 cardboard playing pieces, rules booklet, and various playing aids."

1980 ... SPI 3190

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Rescue From the Hive
"In Rescue from the Hive Space Marines board a mysterious Znon hive-ship in a desperate attempt to save a Terran ambassador and his daughter. Picking their way through the strange corridors, the Marines must continually Veep on guard — the creature they meet in each section may be a deadly Znon soldier, a harmless Worker, one of the commanding Queens or a human. Rules cover breaching and boarding the Znon ship, hidden units, boobytraps, mind control, and hyperdrive. Rescue from the Hive contains an 11" x 17" map of the Znon ship, 100 cardboard counters, rules, and various playing aids."

1981 ... SPI 3220

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Ragnarok: The Twilight of the Gods [BOX SET]
Ares Magazine, No. 8 had Ragnarok as its featured game. It contained all the components you'd find in the later box set. The issue also contained bonus rules for combining both games of Pandora.

• One 17” x 22” game map
• One sheet of 100 die-cut cardboard playing pieces
• One rules booklet

"RAGNAROK is a game depicting the struggle of the Aesir race of Norse gods against an invasion of enemies led by the traitorous god. Loki. The map depicts the Plain of Vigrid, lying between the Rainbow Bridge and the city of the gods. Asgard, where the battle takes place, and the playing pieces represent warriors, Valkyries, Frost Giants, Fire Giants, and such celebrated individuals as Odin, Thor, Loki, and the Midgard Serpent. Each player maneuvers his forces across the map in an effort to fulfil his Victory Conditions. To win, the player commanding the invading Jotun forces must destroy Asgard, thus bringing about Ragnarok, the “twilight of gods” The Aesir player must repel the jotun invasion to win, thus postponing Asgards fall."

1981 ... SPI 3240

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The Sword and The Stars

A science fiction boardgame based off SPI's Empires of the Middle Ages.

CONTENTS: 400 counters, 56 year cards, a 17 x 22" map depicting a total of 42 star systems. Maximum 5 players (3-4 recommended).

1981 … Eric Lee Smith … SPI 3340

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Dragonslayer: A Fantastic Character Action Game Based on the Film [BOX SET]
• One full-color 17"x 22" map of the mythical kingdom of Urland
• One hundred colorful die-cut cardboard playing tiles
• One 11"x17" Dragon Battle Display
• One sheet of easy-to-understand rules
• One sheet of quick reference summaries and a complete example of play

"In Dragonslayer, you are a magician embarked on a quest to destroy Vermithrax Pejorative, the last Dragon. Before you confront the dread beast, you must travel throughout the island kingdom of Urland in search of companions, magical items, spells, and weapons. Your journey will be eased or hindered by events that occur along the road, and your every step will be dogged by the King's men — desperate men who would take you captive to thwart your mission. And should your good fortune and skill see you through all the dangers of the road, the greatest peril yet awaits you. You must face and match the awesome creature you have sworn to destroy before you can win... before you can claim the title, Dragonslayer.
Dragonslayer is an easy-to-learn adventure for two to four players of all ages. In two to three hours, you can play a game through to its exciting conclusion. And if you fail to slay the Dragon once, you will be sure to try again, because no two games will be alike. The unexpected lurks in every town and hamlet of Dragonslayer, and you never know until you face the fearsome creature how great a hero you can be."

1981 ... SPI 3800

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Universe: The Role-Playing Game of the Future

"Become the master of your destiny as you journey amid the stars in search of wealth, glory, and wisdom. Share the trials and triumphs of adventures on unknown worlds, boldly confront the dangers of deep space, and revel in the satisfaction of quests attained in the glittering cosmos of Universe. Designed as the definitive game of a whole new generation of character-action adventure products, Universe contains a 76-page gamemaster's guide, 24-page adventure guide, 16-page tactical space combat rules booklet, 22"x33" four-color interstellar display, 17"x22" tactical display, and 200 tactical playing pieces."

Universe 1st also sold in a "boxless" edition.

See also:
2300AD RPG


1981 ... John H. Butterfield & Redmond A. Simonsen ... SPI 3250

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Universe, 2nd edition consisted of a single paperback and a 20"x30" star map.

1982 ... 112 pages ... SPI ?? ... ISBN 0553014331
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Universe Gamesmaster's Screen
4-panel screen plus booklet of System Logs, Environ Hex Maps, and World Logs.

1981 ... SPI 3591

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