Run 5 Magazine – How SSG joined the Dragon, White Dwarf and the General
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Do you remember “Dragon” magazine and “White Dwarf”? Maybe you were hardcore enough to have read Avalon Hill’s “The General”!
Do you remember SSG’s magazine “Run5”
In the 1980s when gamers wanted to get more out their games, to learn strategies to take their gaming to the next level or play new scenarios they relied on old fashioned print.
“Run5” was launched by SSG in January 1986.
Ian Trout had determined that print was the cheapest and most effective way to share new scenarios with the audiences for their games. In the editorial to the first edition Trout explains that print was much cheaper than creating disks which would “cost around $15 a pop”. As the son of a newspaper publishers and himself a bookshop proprietor Trout had a fondness for print publication and was interested in what SSG could achieve with its own magazine. The first issue of “Run5” featured new scenarios by Trout for “Europe Ablaze” on the London Blitz. And a “Carriers of War” scenario by Trout and Jack Greene Jr. which revisits the Japanese amphibious assault on Wake Island 1941, just after Pearl Harbour and how it could have been different… In this issue Trout also provides several pages documenting the actual technical data of the warship classes for Japanese (1939-45) and US (1939-42)in service. This data was designed to help gamers design their own scenarios for “Carriers of War”.
The feature article was by Roger Keating on programming in machine language for game design where he shared his elite knowledge with SSG’s community.
“Run5” let SSG talk directly to their player community, helping them to get more value out of their games but also extending the life cycle of SSGs games.
“Run5” made the games creators real to the players. Readers of “Run5” got to know the members of SSG who not only penned articles and scenarios for the issues but teased each other in print about their “in-house” victories and losses and their personal quirks as wargamers.
The community were also invited to provide feedback to SSG and issue one offered a design competitions for scenarios for both “Carriers of War” and “Europe Ablaze”. By issue two several pages were devoted to question and answers with wargamers. Q&A was to be an ongoing feature as was the publication of scenarios created by the community. By issue two the community also let Trout know that some of them were actually willing to pay for scenario disks rather than typing in those endless numbers…
“Run5” was the way that SSG could communicate with their audience and their audience could communicate to them. And through subscription to “Run5” SSG got to learn more about who their core audience were.
Roger Keating recalls that the Italian Ambassador to Leningrad was one of the people who bought all their games in the early 1980s.
Do you remember “Run 5”?
Did you type in the endless numbers to play new scenarios?
Please share your “Run5” stories
References: Interview Roger Keating, 10 June 2013, Run5 Magaizine, Issue 1, 1986.