Saturday 4 March 2023


Today (March 4th, 2023) marks the sad 15th anniversary since Gary went to DM somewhere in the beyond... pretty sure he's still outfoxing everyone he meets. 

As he appeared in Futurama...

One of my favourite image of him...

Onto the article... taken from Wargamer's Newsletter 127, October 1972.  



Gary Gygax

I offer the following details of our fantasy battles:

   The rules used are those designed by Jeff  Perren and I - CHAINMAIL, Guidon Games, P.O. Box

1123, Evansville, IN 47713, U.S.A., at $2 plus postage. The revised and expanded version should be

available by the time this is read. The booklet contains brief information about the scales used for the

different figure-types, and the expanded edition has things like how fast goblins, ores and dwarves can

tunnel under the walls of a besieged stronghold. 

   Tolkien purists will not find these rules entirely satisfactory, I believe, for many of the fantastic  

creatures do not follow his "specifications", mainly because I believe that other writers were as 

"authoritative" as he.

   Because I have a large force of 40mm Elastolin figures, we use a base 40mm as man-size, but 30mm

will do as well.. Regular troops have only a few added touches of paint, but hero-types have such things

as gilded or enamelled armour, jewels, and carefully painted devices on their shields.

   Orcs and elves are 30mm - that is what it says in the book. However, because we have not got around

to preparing them, Orcs are 40mm Turks and Elves are bowmen of the same scale. 

   Trolls and ogres are 54mm. I located some inexpensive plastic Indians in this scale, and a bit of

conversion produced sufficient numbers of block, grey, green and purple creatures of this ilk.

   Metal mediaeval figures in 25mm scale can easily be painted up to make goblins and dwarves, while

converted Airfix "Robin Hood" men serve as Hobbits.

   Giants are made from the 70mm Elastolin figures. At the moment we have only a pale blue fellow

with a head of bushy hair (snipped from one of my daughter's dolls when they weren't looking), who is

brandishing a huge club. He was originally a Viking with sword and shield, but this shield was stripped

off, the sword removed and a puttied matchstick became the bludgeon.

   The Balrog has caused considerable problems, and right now we are using a giant sloth from an 

assortment of plastic prehistoric animals, which (converted) makes a fearsome looking beast, albeit not

quite as Tolkien described it.

   Nazgul, like the Balrog, are also difficult. Presently we are employing unconverted 40mm Huns on

black horses, but we would like to put wings on these steeds and cloak the figures riding them.

   There are two dragons in our force of fantasy figures. One I made stegosaurus: First, the head was

enlarged with auto body putty, a wire was inserted into the tail and puttied to make it longer - and

barbed, the spines on its back cut to small points, the spikes on the tail were clipped off and added as

horns at the head end, cardboard bat wings were puttied in place, and finally the entire affair was given

many coats of paint, gilding, and glitter (as sparkling gems on its belly). The other was made by Don

Kaye using a brontosaurus, with two smaller heads added to the long neck, spikes along the back,

wings, and so on.

   A large stock of plastic wolves, bears, vultures, and the like are used for lycanthropes or whatever

other fairly normal looking creatures are called for. Soft plastic "horrors" and insects from the dime

store serve as elementals and giant insects.

   Perhaps the best part of fantasy wargaming is being able to allow your imagination full rein.

Whatever the players desire can be used or done in games. For example, for one match I built a chest of

jewels as the object to be obtained to win. However, I did not mention to either team that I had added a

pair of "basilisk eyes" (large pin heads dotted appropriately) which immediately turned- the first ogre

who opened it to stone. The possibilities are boundless.

   The way the rules are selling here, it seems a good bat for some model figure firm to start producing a

line of properly scaled fantasy figures!

   Mr. Bortham's observations about the possibilities of the Airfix "Astronauts" as Heinlein's "Starship

Troopers" (or other future warriors) has also crossed my mind as a fair possibility. In fact, if Mr.

Bortham eventually puts his ideas into a set of rules I can state, as Rules Editor for Guidon Games, that

I would like to see them with eventual publication in mind.

Some of the Futurama episode...

Gary on the BBC back in 1982... also shows footage of UK Games Day!

RIP Gary.