Guidon Games

Guidon Games


company_name = Guidon Games
company_type = Private (defunct)
industry = wargaming publisher
foundation = Evansville, Indiana (1971)
location = Evansville, Indiana, and later in Belfast, Maine
key_people = Don Lowry, Gary Gygax
products = "Chainmail, Fight in the Skies, Tractics"

Guidon Games produced board games and rulebooks for wargaming with miniatures, and in doing so influenced Tactical Studies Rules (later TSR, Inc.), the publisher of Dungeons & Dragons. The "Guidon Games" publishing imprint was the property of Lowry's Hobbies (later Lowry Enterprises), a mail-order business owned by Don and Julie Lowry. About 15 titles were released under the imprint from 1971 to 1973.


By the late 1960s the miniature wargaming hobby had grown large enough that there was a demand for rulebooks dedicated to a single historical period. Don Featherstone of the UK produced booklets for eight different periods in 1966.* Courier Magazine History of Wargaming] A few years later the Wargames Research Group began producing rulesets with an emphasis on historical accuracy. History of the Wargames Research Group]

With this trend in mind Lowry conceived the "Wargaming with Miniatures" series for which he recruited rulebook authors from the ranks of the International Federation of Wargamers. Through the IFW Lowry met Gary Gygax, who served as series editor. Gygax also co-authored the first title in the series, "Chainmail", which became Guidon's best seller RPGnet: Interview with Gary Gygax] . Other notable titles in the series are "Tractics", the first published game to make use of the 20-sided die, and "Don't Give Up The Ship!", the first collaboration between Gygax and Dave Arneson, the co-creators of "Dungeons & Dragons".

Guidon also produced Avalon Hill style board wargames, as well as supplements designed to be used with existing Avalon Hill board games. Avalon Hill later republished "Alexander the Great", one of Guidon's stand-alone games, while TSR republished "Fight in the Skies".

Guidon was a small publisher, and print runs were never more than a few thousand. Lowry apparently failed to recognize the potential of "Dungeons & Dragons", prompting Gygax to found TSR. Gygax made the following recollection about the company in 2004:

Guidon Games had a game shop, sold gaming via the mail, published a magazine and likewise printed and sold military miniatures rulebooks and boxed board wargames. They were small but certainly a legitimate company.... I was paid for the work I did for them, yes. Unfortunately, sales volume did not make the income received thus sufficient to do more than supplement income from other work. I was asked to go to work for them full time. That would have required me to move to the state of Maine. Tom Wham did so, but I thought their new location was a poor choice. Furthermore, the company was not run in an aggressive and responsive manner. In my opinion there was no chance for growth and success as things stood and I said so to Guidon. Sadly, I was correct in my judgement. EnWorld: The Ultimate Gary Gygax Interview (Free Registration Required)]

Despite its brief existence, Guidon had a large influence on TSR and the nascent RPG industry. In addition to Gygax and Arneson, Lowry worked with Lou Zocchi, Tom Wham, and Mike Carr. TSR initially patterned itself on Guidon, publishing sets of wargaming rules such as "Cavaliers and Roundheads" in the same pamphlet format used by Guidon. TSR took over some of Guidon's titles in 1975.

In 1972 Lowry acquired "Panzerfaust Magazine", and by 1973 he discontinued the Guidon Games label,publishing instead under the name "Panzerfaust Publications".


Wargaming with Miniatures Series


External links

* [ Acaeum Website Chainmail Page]

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