|An early cover of WD!|
Interestingly, if you look back at the White Dwarfs published in the 1980s, particularly when I was a regular reader (from about #65 to #100), there were very few games covered, simply because there weren't that many in print. To begin with, it seems to be AD and D, Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest and Traveller. Games Workshop then acquired the license to a number of other RPGs and republished them. These games also received coverage, including Stormbringer and Paranoia. There was cursory writing for the likes of Bushido, Pendragon and Rolemaster. GW published a Judge Dredd RPG off its own bat to seemingly mixed success in about 1986.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay debuted in, I think, 1987, and subsequently this continued to get regular articles until elbowed out by all the wargaming. This was a GW in-house system, mind you, so not surprising really. And then there was MERP, or Middle Earth Role Playing for those born after the Berlin Wall came down who have no idea what I'm talking about, which seemed to be more popular than Rolemaster.
|Angus McBride helped to define MERP|
But, although we have seen WFRP earn thousands of fans around the world, and it is still played by my gaming group today (albeit in the Black Library edition), there is one game missing here, and that's Golden Heroes.
GH was GW's superhero RPG and it DID get plenty of space in White Dwarf, around the 60s and 70s in terms of issue chronology. It was first published in 1982 on an amateur basis, and then republished by GW in 1984. A number of supplements also came out. Although I never played it myself, I hear veteran gamers liked it because of its UK-centric approach and the random chargen process. It fell off the map in about 1986 as GW began focusing on Judge Dredd and other RPG properties.
Codename: Spandex has emerged with many of the copyright protected elements stripped off, and is being made freely available on the Internet. I'm curious about GH as I never got around to playing it as a schoolboy, but CS aspires to deliver much of the mechanical system of the game without using the art or adventures published by GW. I'll be back with more once I've had a chance to read this in more depth.
Looking back at the period 1985-90, I was playing Dungeons and Dragons fairly solidly. I never really got into RQ or Traveller, never played MERP before it died a death. I've since had the chance to play or GM many of the systems that GW published during my school years, but some games have continued to elude me: I've never played Traveller or Bushido for example. And Golden Heroes has been way off the radar, partly because it never really returned to print. While I realise that superhero gaming is not for everyone, I remain curious about GH, if only for nostalgia's sake. I'm also a fan of random character generation systems, simply because they're so old school and can end up producing more entertaining characters than today's optimised combat monsters.