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SPI is remembered by many for their innovations in game design, marketing, and packaging. First they created the 'Game in a Magazine' format, destroying the idea that the hobby could only support two new games a year. (Yes, really, in the 1960's that was the belief!)

 

In 1975, they pioneered another great innovation - the creation of the Quad format. A Quad was a set of four games on a similar subject, sharing the same scale, and most importantly, the same rules.

This was a huge bonus for the purchasers and players. if you could play one of the games in the set, you could play all of them.

 

What makes a "Quad?"

The Quad games launched in 1975 and became extremely popular. Each set offered:

bulletFour Games on a related subject.
bullet2 copies of the Series Rules booklet, which applied to all four games, and usually fit on four pages.
bullet4 Copies of the Exclusive rules - generally only a few pages. 1 per game.
bullet4 Maps, in color - originally 'folio sized' meaning 17" x 21" - 1 per game.
bulletA different Order of Battle for each game - originally, 100 counters each game.
bullet1 die.

Within 1 year, they would release 7 of these sets - that's 28 games! While slightly above the 'beer and pretzel' level of gaming, each of these games were clearly the equivalent of any early AH classic - i.e., the level of wargaming before 1970 when SPI challenged and then changed  the standard. Much of that was from the original 'Tactical Studies Games' (TSG) that were highly tactical, with ranged fire, etc. (Tactical Game 3 would sold to Avalon Hill and become Panzerblitz, which expanded the wargaming hobby greatly.)

Advertisement / Promotion

Though SPI always budgeted in magazine ads for their new games, in another innovation for at least the first year, each new Quad got a full page, text-heavy advertisement on page 3 of S&T. This started with issue 49 and ended over a year later, with issue 57. (They still got a full page after this, but later in the magazine.) I have attached these pages to the title link below, so you can read in detail about each game. (Links are with the game lists below).

"5th Game"

A later innovation in the Quad was the use of that month's S&T game to be a feature game for a soon to be released quad, which also proved popular with the audience. These have become known as the "5th" game to most gamers. Dr. Al Nofi points out "The 'fifth' game was actually usually the first," delivered in the magazine "as a teaser to intro the quad & the game system."   I have listed these 5th games with each set.

Folios

And though the Quads were sold as a set, you could also purchase them separately by mail, but with an added bonus to the Zpack format. The game was still in a plastic bag, but with a folder to hold the game. The folder featured the title and photo on the cover, and promo materials on the back, with a pocket to hold rules on one side, and map on the other. These continued to be offered until mid 1979, but it appears The Crimean War (publish 4/78) was the last quad given folio cards - at least, that's what the catalogs show. Not certain I've seen Crimean War folio games, though I have seen Modern Battles II games as folios. Also, later folios were single cards, printed front and back - not a folder.  Link to Folio lists

Capsules

Late in their lives, some quads made the transition to Capsule Games, listed as the Moments in Conflict capsule series. Army Group South and Great Medieval Battles would be offered this way, along with three others, including two of the all-time best individual quads (Arnhem and Chickamauga).  Link to Capsule list

With the advent of the Monster games - nearly the opposite of a quad game - the pace would slow. And Art of Siege would not follow the Quad rules at all, since the games did not share a basic set of rules. By the end of SPI's initial run, they had produced 16 sets of these fast setup / fast play games. 

The List

Below are notes for each set. I will develop individual pages for each set as time allows. (The link will appear on the name.)

Of some interest at this point might be a question of how the market responded. Here's a link to the SPI Bestseller lists for 1975 and 1976. This link will also open in a new window.
(SPI Bestsellers 1975 link  | SPI Bestsellers 1976 link )

Enjoy!

  Link to Full Page Ad Game Scale

ARMY GROUP SOUTH

(advertisement)

Release Date: 6/1/1979

Games included:

bulletKiev
bulletRostov
bulletOperation Star
bulletKorsun

Units are Divisions / Regiments
Maps vary from 7.5 to 17 km/hex.
Turn scales vary from 2 days to 2 weeks.

S&T Game: Kharkov (5/1/78) -(questionable)

     

ART OF SIEGE WARFARE
Part 1 Part 2

Release Date: 7/1/1979

Games included:

bulletTyre
bulletAcre
bulletLille
bulletSevastopol

Mixed systems, all different scales.

S&T Game: Constantinople (1/1/78) (Questionable)

     
BATTLES FOR THE ARDENNES Release Date: 11/1/1978

Games included:

bulletCelles
bulletClervaux
bulletSedan
bulletSt. Vith

Each Combat Unit represents 1000 to 7000 men; Armored Units are 40 to 180 tanks; Artillery units are 60 to 100 guns.

Scale: Each Hex 3.2 km
Each Turn represents 12 hours

     
BLUE & GRAY Release Date: 5/1/1975

Games included:

bulletShiloh
bulletAntietam
bulletCemetery Hill
bulletChickamauga

Scale: 400 meters / hex

Each Strength Point = 350 to 400 men.

Extremely popular.

     
BLUE & GRAY II Release Date: 12/1/1975

Games included:

bulletChattanooga
bulletWilderness
bulletFredericksburg
bulletHooker vs. Lee

Scale: 400 meters / hex

Each Strength Point = 350 to 400 men.

S&T Game: Road to Richmond (1/1/77)
 

     
CRIMEAN WAR Release Date: 4/1/1978

Games included:

bulletAlma
bulletBalaclava
bulletInkerman
bulletTchernaya

Tactical warfare on the Crimean peninsula in the mid 1800's.

Hex size and strength points vary by game.

S&T Game: None?

     
GREAT MEDIEVAL BATTLES Release Date: 11/1/1979

Games included:

bulletKing Arthur
bulletThe Black Prince
bulletRobert at Bannockburn
bulletTamburlaine the Great

Scale: Highly tactical.
Hexes: 50 yards / Hex
Counters: From 100 to 300 men in some games to 500 to 1500 in others. Turns represent 20 minutes real time.

S&T Game: None?

     
GREAT WAR IN THE EAST Release Date: 9/1/1979

Games included:

bulletCaporetto
bulletBrusilov Offensive
bulletSerbia/Galacia
bulletVon Hindenburg in Poland

Scale: Varies by game, from 6 to 12 miles.

S&T Game: Tannenberg  (7/1/78)

     
ISLAND WAR Release Date: 11/1/1975

Games included:

bulletSaipan
bulletOkinawa
bulletLeyte
bulletBloody Ridge

The ground combat battles from WWII in the Pacific.

Scale: Varies by game, but roughly 500 to 2000 yards. Turns are 1 to 2 days.

     
MODERN BATTLES Release Date: 7/1/1975

Games included:

bulletChinese Farm
bulletGolan
bulletWurzburg
bulletMukden

Scale: Highly tactical

Fast battles in a system that highlights fast action and quick turns of fortune.

     
MODERN BATTLES II Release Date: 6/1/1977

Games included: Link

bulletDMZ
bulletBundeswehr
bulletJerusalem
bulletYugoslavia

Scale: Highly Tactical

Battles in this set are not as fast moving as in the first set, but still good.  

     
NAPOLEON AT WAR Release Date: 8/1/1975

Games included:

bulletBattle of Nations (Leipzig, 1813)
bulletJena-Auerstadt (1806)
bulletMarengo (1800)
bulletWagram (1809)

Perhaps the original 'gold standard for SPI. They moved well beyond this, but Napoleon at Waterloo is the standard for all the early quads.

S&T Game: Well, technically, could Eylau and Dresden qualify? (7/1/79) Or Borodino? (5/1/72)

     
NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES Release Date: 9/1/1976

Games included:

bulletQuatre Bras
bulletLigne
bulletWavre
bulletLa Belle Alliance (Waterloo)

Scale: 1 hex = 480 m.

Each SP = 350 to 750 men, or a battery of artillery.

Four small games, but maps interlock to create the battle of Waterloo Campaign game!

     
NORTH AFRICA Release Date: 7/1/1976

Games included:

bulletCauldron
bulletCrusader
bulletSupercharge
bulletKasserine

The World War II North Africa battles from 1941 to 1943.

 Each hex is from 1.7 to 3.0 miles depending on the game.
     

THIRTY YEARS' WAR

Release Date: 5/1/1976

Games included:

bulletFreiburg
bulletLutzen
bulletNordlingen
bulletRocroi

Operational warfare from first half of 17th century.

Scale: Each hex is 175 m.
Each Strength Point  75 to 100 men.
Each Turn is 45 minutes.

S&T Game: (3/1/76) Breitenfeld

     

WESTWALL

Release Date: 2/1/1976

Games included:

bulletArnhem
bulletBastogne (II)
bulletHurtgen Forest
bulletRemagen

The Operational west front ground battles from WWII 1944-45.

Scale: 500 to 2000 yards. Each game turn is 12 to 24 hours.

     
     

 

 

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This site was last updated 06/21/17