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Launched in January of 1970, the S&T Supplement was a product of the times. The S & T Supplement's masthead proudly proclaimed that the "primary purpose is to give the readers of S&T the opportunity to say pretty much whatever they like." They went on to support the idea that every reader is an editor with a red pencil in their pocket, implying the response of the readers would be the arbiters of what should appear in the newsletter. Which is to say, 'Down with authorities!' As I said, a product of the times.

The S&T Supplement was published on the off-month cycle of Strategy &Tactics magazine, which at the time these began, did not yet have games inside. But Strategy &Tactics did try to look like a professional magazine, and it did try to pick the best writers, and shape what the articles would be about. 

The S&T Supplement was anything but professional in its look. The emphasis was on the information. A stapled 24 page newsletter, it had articles that were clearly typed onto boilerplate layout pages, with a minimum of graphics. At the start, the graphics were page numbers and article headers, created with the 'rub on' lettering of the day.

If the newsletter design work was rudimentary, it tossed open the door of access to articles provided by readers, and encouraged what we would today see as crowd sourced materials. These articles were generally created by amateur historians who researched the information and wrote the articles. Most often, they dealt with Orders of Battle for military units that could then be used in miniature or board wargaming simulations.

Published by Poultron Press, the forerunners of SPI, who were already producing the 'Test Series Games' with the same physical quality of these newsletters, their chosen business name spoke volumes. Poultron was an implied rebuke of established peers and experts. They embraced the ideals of the 1960s believing the truths in the published work, not the name of the producers, were the important points.  They championed youthful enthusiasm to triumph over tired old sages; Quality of the facts over the quality of the presentation; and the all important idea that getting the information NOW was much more important than getting it sometime in the future. And they intrinsically grasped that desire for profits and personal aggrandizement was the cause of the delay, so a group effort could overcome the drag effect the desire for profit caused.

The idea was groundbreaking, and it pulled together young people entering their adult years, and kept them plugged into a hobby that was maturing at the same time they were. It was a hobby that in America previously catered only to kids, and this newsletter was the beginnings of breaking down that wall of separation.

The S&T Supplement  could be seen as the step that tied the article authors (and likely already gamers) into a group of implied 'members' of the company. The newsletter created a channel for two-way conversation between the readers and the company, and it honed the skills of more writers for the actual S&T magazine. This in turn would expand its reach, and provide the games to the public that was demanding them. It was a revolving wheel of synergy, and it all occurred as Poultron was making the step that would create SPI.

Yes, SPI, which grew out of Poultron Press, were the business disrupters of their time.
And their impact on the hobby, and on their readers, would outlast the company by more than four decades.

Of course, you know that, or you wouldn't be reading this. Enjoy.

           ---Russ Gifford

Special thanks to Kerry Anderson, Mark Guttag, Allen Tiffany, and David Barkey for providing these rare newsletters. It is a gift to the SPI community, as printed copies of these have commanded high prices. Like the original spirit of SPI, these gentlemen are giving back to their hobby by providing these scans. Brian Train is also supporting the community by providing the notes for the Index!  Many thanks!

Below are the links to these articles. As they are 2 to 17 meg each, I suggest you right-click the link and download them.


Pieces that appeared in all or most issues:

bullet“Outgoing Mail”, a short piece on what was doing at Poultron Press/SPI HQ;
bullet“Feedback Questionnaire”, and results from previous questionnaires;
bullet“Pass in Review”, thumbnail reviews of history and military books thought to be of interest.

V = variant for a specific game
A = analysis of a specific game
D = general interest, game design theory or mechanics
H = historical article

Title About
S &T Supplement issue 1         
Dec / Jan 1970
bullet Waffen-SS (H, by Stephen Patrick
includes OOB of SS divisions)
bullet Fundamental Probability (D)
bullet True Hidden Search for Naval Games (D)
bullet Axis Troop Arrivals (V - Stalingrad)
bullet Air Power and Chivalry (H)
S &T Supplement issue 2
Feb / Mar 1970
bullet A Three-Sided Battle (H - JF Dunnigan on the Bulge)
bullet Comments on Module Blitzkrieg (A, V – Blitzkrieg Module System)
bullet Terrain for Miniatures (D)
bullet Battle of Britain Controversy (H, and V – Battle of Britain by Zocchi)
bullet Low-Cost Miniatures (back when Airfix miniatures were pennies apiece)
bullet The Greek Campaign 1941 (H)
bullet Tips for Players (D)
bullet Games in Review (Camelot, WFF N PROOF, Milton Bradley wargames (Dogfight, Hit the Beach, Civil War, Broadside, Summit))
S &T Supplement issue 3
June / July 1970
bullet The Eastern Front in 1914 (H including Russian OOB, V – Tannenberg Test Series Game)
bullet Thoughts on Strategy 1 (V – Blitzkrieg Module System)
bullet Stalingrad, Australian Style (extensive V – Stalingrad. By John Edwards, shows his progression towards designing the Russian Campaign)
bullet Roman Military Institutions (H, by JF Dunnigan: concludes “the esteemed editor screwed this article up and had to chop half of it off. He will make amends.”)
bullet Rules for Civil War Miniatures (D, simple rules)
S &T Supplement issue 4
Aug /Sept 1970
bullet 1914 PBM – Multiple Command (V – 1914)
bullet Cruiser Action off Cape Spada (H by Al Nofi)
bullet Leipzig Revised (V – Leipzig)
bullet Guerrilla Warfare in Blitzkrieg (V – Blitzkrieg)
bullet Ancient Rome (D – how to kit-bash period miniatures, and rules to play games with them)
bullet Tactical Exercise (“What would you do?”)
bullet More thoughts on Strategy 1 (V – Blitzkrieg Module System, continued from lastish)
bullet Nuclear Weaponry in Blitzkrieg (V – Blitzkrieg Module System)
bullet Tips for Gamers (D)
S &T Supplement issue 5
Oct / Nov 1970
bullet Partisan Warfare in the Soviet Union (H)
bullet Leipzig Revised (extensive V – Leipzig)
bullet Blitzkrieg Arms Race Variation (V – Blitzkrieg Module System)
bullet Ostkrieg
bullet AH Games – Luck or Skill?
bullet Wargaming Theory

 (scan stops at page 14)

S &T Supplement issue 6
Dec / Jan 1971
bullet Partisan Warfare in the Soviet Union (conclusion from issue 5)
bullet Ostkrieg (continuation from issue 5: A, V-Stalingrad)
bullet Strategy and Tactics Index (by topic and author, from Vol 1 No. 1 to #22)
bullet Mathematics in Wargame Design (D – on Lanchester equations)
S &T Supplement issue 7
Feb/Mar 1971
New “bedsheet” format that was apparently cheaper to mail.
bullet Mention that the Supplement has over 500 subscribers, making it the third largest gaming magazine in the USA.
bullet Casualty Causation in WW I: 1914 (H – by JF Dunnigan, originally a research study done for 1914)
bullet Ostkrieg (conclusion from issues 5 and 6: A, V - Stalingrad)
bullet Blitzkrieg Variant 1 (V – Blitzkrieg, foreshadowing some rule changes of the 1975 edition)
bullet Blitzkrieg Variant 2 (V - Blitzkrieg, using the counters and combat system from Anzio on the Blitzkrieg map!)
bullet Barbarossa Clarified (V – Barbarossa)
bullet Historical Accuracy in Blitzkrieg (more abuse than analysis)
bullet Victory Conditions in Crete (A – Crete)
S &T Supplement issue 8
bullet Airpower in Miniatures (D, V - Jay Richardson)
bullet Operations Orders (D,V - Stephen Patrick)
bullet Zero Sum Game Theory (D, V - Paul Dubois)
bullet Flight of the Goeben Revisited (V - Jay Richardson)
bullet Jutland with a Battleboard (V - Robert Keith)
S &T Supplement issue 9
bullet The Scenarios of Tac 13 - Centurion (H, A)
bullet Playbalized (sic) Bastogne (V)
bullet Tannenberg - A Russian Plan (A)
bullet Battle of Punta Angamos (H - Al Nofi)
S &T Supplement issue 10
Oct / Nov 1971
bullet Korea (H, V – Korea Test Series Game)
bullet A Line of Sight Method for Hexagonal Grids (D)
bullet Panzerblitz Variants (V – Panzerblitz)
bullet Waffen-SS Addendum (Stephen Patrick – addendum to article in S&T #26)
bullet Airpower in Miniatures (V – Fast Rules by Lowrys Hobbies)
bullet Introduction to Advanced Napoleonics (D – addendum to article in S&T #25)
bullet Advertisement for “Game Design” bi-monthly newsletter
S &T Supplement issue 11
Dec 1971
bullet Dark Ages Revisited (H - Stephen Patrick – material cut from article in S&T #28)
bullet Campaign Analysis: British Army in North Africa, 1940-42 (H - Henry Radice)
bullet Parachuting in Miniatures (V - Jay Richardson)

This site was last updated 11/03/21