Daily Illuminator

August 23, 2010: Tale Of Two Magazines

Pyramid 3/22 Space Gamer #35 Pyramid normally focuses on one particular theme. Issue #22, however, takes that focus to a new level. It zeros in on a theme that is also a game world intimately tied to a system: GURPS Banestorm.

If you love the land of Yrth as I do, this is the issue you've been waiting for. Two gateway cities -- both with information in the format introduced in William Stoddard's excellent GURPS City Stats -- grace the pages. Ansonne is situated in Araterre but is closer to Megalos than any other community its size, and Arvey is the Megalan door to the dwarven empire of Zarak. A interesting and dangerous location -- The Crystal Wilds -- is the perfect destination for jaded "been there, done that" wilderness explorers. Banestorm co-author Phil Masters presents us with a couple of small towns for your character to be from . . . because everyone needs to be from somewhere. All this, plus interesting people from the Banestorm and the usual bits that make Pyramid a magazine instead of a mere collection of articles.

Where Pyramid is focused -- in theme and in this issue, game world -- Space Gamer was a generalist, and the table of contents for issue #35 proves it. A solo variant for Ogre sits next to an article on psionics in Traveller. Thoughts on designing combat results tables butt up against a review of War of The Worlds (the boardgame by Task Force Games based on the novel, not the novel itself). And then there's the survey of the gaming habits of the readers . . . a survey that includes 16 play-by-mail games and only three card games, which was quite normal in 1980.

You knew that Space Gamer #35 was originally published in 1980, right? And the PDF version keeps all the advertisements intact, making it not only an interesting read, but a window into the early days of our hobby.

-- Paul Chapman

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