Formats - Boxes and Mounted Counters 

Tracing the Evolution of SPI Game Formats

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Chapter 2: The Advent of Mounted Counters, Retrofit and 'Second Edition' Games

From 1970 to 1972, SPI was growing quickly. From a $10,000 startup investment, they had achieved $300, 000 in sales rather quickly, which was a surprise to everyone. (Don't be confused into thinking they were rolling in money - they had $310,000 in expenses.) 

The first change was a big one, but certainly a necessity to be taken seriously:

Announced: Strategy & Tactics 26

Outgoing Mail column, March / April 1971

All games from this issue on will be published with die-cut counters "now that we have a little money." [page 20]

Also quoting: "An additional spin-off is the use of die-cut counters in many of the Test Series Games, as well as much better quality mapboards (new artwork) for these games. As soon as we get new rules for them we will announce them in the magazine as 'second editions,' which is exactly what they WILL be. We expect to expand the TSG [Test Series Games] line considerably this year." [Compare the differences in the gallery below!]

So, a little over a year of the new regime taking control, the physical quality of the games were changing dramatically. From only rudimentary rules and counters and maps printed on pages of the magazine, to the interim step of thin black and white normal paper maps and pressboard counters - [One suggestion was to stick them to a vinyl floor tile and cut them ! Hey, it worked - and they make a funny clinking sound when you place them in the plastic bag!]

Now, 18 months after the creation of SPI, S&T arrives nearly on time, sometimes early. The issue 26 game (Grunt) arrives with die cut counters just like Avalon Hill - although with Redmond Simonsen in charge of art, be promises you will never see those AH pink counters  - and they will never be laminated!

Below: Some examples of the unmounted and mounted counters, and the differences the addition of a single color can make. (Click on the thumbnail picture to see it enlarged.)

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Original Renaissance of Infantry Map

Thin paper, no color at all. The early standard for S&T maps in the pre-issue #26 days.

 

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Next page, we will examine the SGB - the original "Standard Game Box" - Next

FORMATS | COUNTERS | WHITE BOXES  | FLAT PACKS | QUADS | DESIGNER EDITIONS | BOXES | CAPSULES

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This site was last updated 06/14/15