Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Rare Dave Trampier Art Part 5

Gas at Guadalcanal; Chemical Wargaming

UPDATE 1 - I got in contact with Tim Kask and he was kind enough to take a look at the illustration. He believes this unsigned piece may NOT  be one of Dave Trampier's.  I will research this one more and see if we can  determine if this is a Trampier piece and if not, who drew it? Stay tuned! 

UPDATE 2 - Signature found! An eagle-eyed reader helped me see the forest for the trees (again). Thanks to John Hardin for spotting David A. Trampier's signature DAT initials hidden in the foliage in the lower right hand corner of the picture.

When most gamers think about TSR's magazine publications, Dragon and Dungeon (Dungeon & Dragon?) pop into their heads first. The Strategic Review paved the way for Dragon. Some also remember the RPGA's Polyhedron or TSR's purchase of Ares from SPI before incorporating it into Dragon. TSR UK put out Imagine and sci-fi fans recall that TSR started publshing Amazing Stories in the early 80s.

A few grognards remember TSR's short-lived Little Wars, named after H. G. Wells' creation of the first popular wargame.

As I briefly mentioned before, when Tim Kask started TSR Periodicals, he founded two new magazines to replace The Strategic Review: The Dragon focused on fantasy and sci-fi gaming and Little Wars focused on historical wargaming (especially miniature wargaming). The TSR Periodicals art department soon consisted of Dave Sutherland, Dave Trampier and Tom Wham.

When LW and TD launched in 1975, role-players were still a very small, niche audience. Miniature wargaming, in comparison, was an established industry and board wargames were booming. It made sense to launch publications for both hobbies. Little Wars even devoured Dick Bryant's long-established gaming magazine The Courier (early issue covers read "Little Wars including The Courier").

Soon, the success of D&D and the many RPGs that followed brought a sea change to the industry. LW lasted as an independent publication for twelve issues. Issue 13's contents were incorporated into TD #22 (that cover reads "The Dragon/Little Wars"). The dual publication only lasted one issue before LW vanished. Even today, there is little information about the magazine. The Courier returned to Dick Bryant, who relaunched the magazine in 1979.

Trampier contributed little to Little Wars (though I still haven't checked the entire run) but one article of alternate rules for Avalon Hill's Guadalcanal in issue #11 (August 1978) features his image:
Gas at Guadalcanal; Chemical Wargaming. Art by David A. Trampier.
The piece is unsigned but the striking use of blacks and the line styles are clearly Trampier's. We see two WWII-era American troops (Marines, probably) loading a 105mm M3 howitzer in a jungle somewhere in the Pacific. A sergeant on the right operates a radio. It looks like the scene is taken from a photograph, but what was the source?

Oct. 29, 1942: U.S. Marines man a .75 MM gun on Guadalcanal Island in the Solomon Islands during World War II. (AP Photo)

Here we see US Marines on Guadalcanal Island, so the location is right. The howitzer looks about right, but it is actually way off. That is a 75mm M116 howitzer using a similar carriage to that of the 105mm M3.
The 9th Infantry Cannon Company in Northern France, 1944

Right howitzer, wrong location. This photo was taken in the ETO (hence, "Hitler's Doom" on the barrel instead of, say, something vulgar about Emperor Hirohito).
1/35 scale Tamiya 75mm M1 howitzer model
Instead of a war photo, it may be from a photograph of a model diorama, such as the one above (source). Tramp and Tim Kask played numerous miniature wargames together and probably had quite a few military modeling magazines.

At this point, I'm stumped. Does anyone recognize the image Tramp used as reference for this illustration?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rare Dave Trampier Art Part 4

Tom Wham's Gangsters Title Page Art

"Famous game designer" Tom Wham developed Tom Wham's Gangsters: The Game of Disorganized Crime for over 23 years before it was ever published.

Gangsters is a humorous spoof of Monopoly where players roll and move around the board pressing businesses for protection money, bootlegging, robbing banks, selling narcotics, etc. Wham originally developed the game in 1960 for his high school friends and named it "Gunzos."

"I was in high school and I had this regular group of friends I used to play games with. They helped me come up with a lot of the names."* Tom Wham
Wham spent the early 60s submitting designs to different game companies and getting rejection letters in return. "Gunzos" went through numerous revisions as Wham spent four years serving in the US Navy but soon went on the back burner. In 1972, he got a job at Panzerfaust (a.k.a. Campaign) magazine and penned a set of Civil War naval miniature rules with Don Lowry. Wham joined TSR as employee number thirteen in May 1977 where he soon went to work illustrating the AD&D Monster Manual with his future brother-in-law, David A. Trampier.

Wham designed and illustrated numerous fun, innovative board games that TSR published, mostly in Dragon magazine. This was the era of Snit Smashing, Snit's Revenge, The Awful Green Things from Outer Space, Runngus' Game, Search for the Emperor's Treasure, Planet Busters, Icebergs, File 13 and King of the Tabletop.

To stay afloat between game sales, TSR paid Wham "advances against future purchases."** The early 80s brought big changes to the company and they were more interested in needlepoint than paying his salary. Sometime around 1983, TSR cut off his advances. Wham had to diversify, working with several companies to make ends meet.

Meanwhile, Dragon magazine editor Gary Lee "Jake" Jaquet left TSR Periodicals in late 1982 to found his own magazine (much like his former boss Tim Kask did in 1980). Jaquet's Gameplay magazine launched with the February 1983 issue marking its premier. Gameplay served as a resource for all gamers, covering card games, war games, board games and RPGs alike. This high-quality publication would only last for fourteen glorious issues.

Jaquet needed good games to publish in Gameplay and was well familiar with Wham's talents from their days at Dragon. Jaquet's team saw Gangsters (no longer called Gunzos) in prototype form in 1983 with play money from The Game of Life and Risk pieces used to track cronies. They liked it and asked Wham to modify the game for publication in a magazine. A deal was struck and Jaquet sent Features Editor Pamela O'Neill to Wham's home for a feature interview to go with the game.

Tom readied the game for publication and illustrated the game board and components. Dave Trampier illustrated the title page art (below) but Tom hadn't seen him for at least a year. The image is not dated but Tom states, "Dave and I last communicated in 1982." I believe Dave was already married to Tom's sister, Nina P. Wham by this time.

At any rate, the game saw print in issue #11 dated January 1984.

Tom Wham's Gangsters Title Page. Art by David A. Trampier.
The piece depicts a wild car chase through a cartoony city street. A man sells frozen kiwis (???) from a cart as The Red Men gang speed away from the cops, guns blazing. "Nerdly Manor Nightclub" and "Fnebly Music Co." are two business properties on the game board. I don't know the significance behind the "SP4IZ" license plate.

I can't help but notice the similarities to another Trampier illustration:

Emirikol the Chaotic from 1st Edition AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide. Art by David A. Trampier.
Here we have another chase down a sidewalked street drawn in one-point perspective. Rows of buildings wall in the action. The central character shoots his pursuer behind him as a surprised passerby witnesses everything from the image's left side. A sign hangs above a doorway on the right side.

Maybe it is just coincidence. Maybe it is also coincidence that soon after Tom and Dave saw each other for the last time, O'Neill spied a strange note tacked onto Tom's bulletin board. There, among a rejection slip and an assortment of Tom's cartoons was a message from a friend:
Stopped by. Didn't want to wake you. You'll never see me again.***

* Pamela O'Neill, "Crystal Publications Interoffice Memo: Information Gathered on Game Designer Tom Wham for Possible Gameplay Feature," Gameplay no. 11 (1984): 26
** Ibid.: 24
*** Ibid.: 26

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dave Trampier Homage

In Dave's memory, I'd like to share this ink and watercolor piece I painted about ten years ago. It is a copy of the Hyperborean centrigriff from the Wormy comic in Dragon magazine #47. She appears to Irving in a dream and is probably the only female character in the entire comic.

Hyperborean Centrigriff
She looks a little sadder after Dave's passing.