My Coffee With Wally

2013-08-20 10.03.31I just had coffee with Wally Hnatiw (of Dungeon Parties Inc., Games By The Water, The Full Spectrum Game Club, and Pandemonium) and got a great load of stories about the game scene in the early 80s. I’m going to comb out my notes and post about it soon. Thanks for being interviewed, Wally!


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Coffee with Wally

I posted about the Full Spectrum Game Club and got the correct spelling for Wally Hnatiw. Naturally, the thing to do was to look him up in the phone book, give him a call, and invite him for coffee. We’re meeting next week at the Starbucks at the old Mr. Gameways’ Ark building. He’s going to wear an old Pandemonium tshirt and I’m going to ask him about Dungeon Parties Inc., Gamevine, Harborfront and all the rest. I’ll blog my findings. And he remembers the names of all the old club members, such as Ron Green. Cool stuff.

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The Full Spectrum Gaming Club

In our faux timeline for Mr. Gameways’ Ark, it is now hurtling towards oblivion.

I was talking to a fellow at OSRCon who added a wrinkle. The third floor was not part of the store. It was a warehouse and the home of the Full Spectrum Gaming Club, which had D&D, The Morrow Project, massive Squad Leader games, and all kinds of adventures every week.

My source told me you’d take the other set of stairs, the ones off Charles Street, up three flights to the club. This is a building from 1906, a three floor walk-up with two massive stair cases diagonal from each other in opposite corners of the building.

The club was run by Wally Hnatiw and Karen Jenkins. He also told me that they ran a gaming club at Harbourfront. Well, thrill seekers, because I’m completely fucking OCD, I’ve found it.

My man told me it didn’t run that long, as it was aiming a bit too young and there was no continuity between games from week to week, because the attendees were always changing. At any rate, on page 4 of the Fanfare section (Toronto events and articles) of The Globe And Mail dated 13 August, 1983 is an entry under the Special Events section for Harbourfront.

“Toronto Fantasy Games Club: Tuesday at 6pm, $2”

The listing runs in Fanfare for about four weeks and then stops. I do suspect it was a forerunner for Harbourfront’s D&D Summer Camp, which started around that time, still runs (or did until recently), and which Cory Doctorow makes mention attending here. Of course, the Ark, by that time, was dead.

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Deities & Demigods versions

Talking to Frank Mentzer could be a trip because you’d get these direct answers to long standing, debated-around-the-game-store questions in a direct bang-bang, one-two punch format.

Turns out The Chaosium did not send a cease and desist letter to TSR about Elric and Cthulhu mythoi. The Blume brothers pulled them from Deities & Demigods because they made reference to games not owned by TSR.

Frank told me there were five versions using three criteria: are the mythoi in the book?; are the mythoi attributed to The Chaosium?; is the correct number of mythoi in the book represented on the cover? So, the five versions starting with the first are:

1. Squids – no thanks

2. Squids with thanks

3. No squids with thanks

4. No squids; no thanks; wrong number of mythoi on the cover

5. No squids; no thanks; right details on cover

Number three is the funniest, I think. They took out the Elric and Cthulhu mythoi and left thanks to The Chaosium on the legal page at the front.

The next time you scope out Deities & Demigoes on Ebay, remember Frank’s advice. You want the oldest version – Squids; no thanks.

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Pictures from Saturday

2013-08-03 11.27.39 2013-08-03 11.27.51 2013-08-03 11.28.11 2013-08-03 11.28.26 2013-08-03 11.28.33 2013-08-03 11.28.47 2013-08-03 11.29.02 2013-08-03 11.29.32 2013-08-03 11.30.06 2013-08-03 11.30.13 2013-08-03 11.30.19

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Traveller Sunday Morning

Doug has offered to run another Traveller adventure tomorrow morning in the first session before he joins Frank’s game in the second session. If you want to play Traveller, come on out. I had dinner with some people after today’s events and he already has two players who look forward to playing.

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Frank & Ed panel

2013-08-03 13.45.40Frank Mentzer and Ed Greenwood did a panel talking about the early days of TSR. It was good fun. And together they were a great combination.


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