Strategic Studies Group Pty Ltd (SSG)

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Strategic Studies Group (SSG) was founded in New South Wales in 1982 by wargame specialists Roger Keating and Ian Trout.  Keating had previously published seven computer games with American publisher Strategic Simulations Inc (SSI) before teaming up with Trout, the proprietor of a military history bookshop and accomplished board gamer.

SSG was both a developer and a publisher.  Their first game, “Reach for the Stars” (1983), is identified with launching the 4X genre of space games (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate).  Renowned for the integrity of their historical wargames, SSG provided players with the tools to develop their own scenarios.  Roger Keating was renowned for his AI programming and SSG’s games were hugely respected by the wargaming community for the quality of their artificial intelligence routines.  Keating worked with Steve Fawkner refining the AI for Fawkner’s hugely successful fantasy strategy game “Warlords”, published by SSG in 1990.

Gregor Whiley joined SSG in 1986 and remained a key member of the team from that time on.  On joining SSG, Whiley bought into the company with an equal share to Ian Trout and Roger Keating, creating a three point management team and decision-making process.

SSG duplicated and boxed their games in Australia, sending them to their one man office in the US to get their games out to the American market.  The Australian scene was so small that most Australian retail outlets would receive their games from the US distributors, the games having travelled there and back again.

Part of SSG’s innovative marketing approach was their magazine Run5 (1986 – 1996) that featured articles on their games’ historical backgrounds, scenarios and information on forthcoming games.  In the pre-internet era, Run5 enabled them to build and communicate with a loyal gaming community and the new scenarios on offer maintained interest in their product.

Following their pioneering days of the 1980s, SSG continued to carve their independent path in games design producing highly accomplished and historically accurate strategy games for serious wargamers.

They worked with Steve Fawkner on seven more Warlords releases for the Warlords series.

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Other games developed:

1983 "Reach for the Stars: The Conquest of the Galaxy", 1984 "Carriers at War 1941-1945: Fleet Carrier Operations in the Pacific", 1985 "Europe Ablaze: The Air War Over England and Germany 1939-1945", 1986 "Battlefront: Battlefront: Corps Level Command in World War II", 1987 "Halls of Montezuma: A Battle of History of the United States Marine Corps", 1987 "Russia: The Great War in the East 1941-1945", 1987 "Battles in Normandy; June -July 1944", 1987 "Decisive Battles of the American Civil War, Vol. 1", 1988 "Decisive Battles of the American Civil War, Vol. 2", 1988 "Decisive Battles of the American Civil War, Vol. 3, 1988 "Rommel: Battles for North Africa", 1989 "Panzer Battles", 1989 "Warlords", 1990 "Gold of the Americas: The Conquest of the New World".

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