How We Played the Game: The SPI "Infomercial"


Courtesy of John Cooper on ConsimWorld, we have this “infomercial” (and, indeed, there’s not really any other way to describe it) created by SPI, one of the powerhouses of wargame design and publishing in the 1970’s:

The footage was apparently taken from a set of video tapes about Strategy and Tactics magazine (video reviews of the individual issues, according to a review of the set) by Big Bear Productions.

As far as explanations of wargaming go, this film succeeds in presenting the basics to laypeople and could serve the same expository function today as it did some thirty-five odd years ago, except maybe for the hairstyles and wide collars and all the smoking.

The segment about two minutes in, with stop-motion animation of counters marching across a map, is particularly effective—especially when a cavalry counter literally gallops across a bridge.

Several gaming faux pas exist in the film, however, most notably the rolling of dice on the map itself and the presence of open beverages on the gaming surface. Given that the footage seems to have been taken in SPI’s headquarters, though, I’d imagine that, in the event of a soaking, replacement counters and maps were but a room away . . .

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