Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Ads of Dragon: James Bond 007

Aside from just being a generally awesome issue, #75 (July 1983) also included this terrific ad for Victory Games's then-upcoming James Bond 007 roleplaying game.
As RPG ads go, this one is definitely up there in my memory. When I saw it, I immediately knew I wanted to get this game and play it, which, of course, I did to great success several months later. Nearly 30 years later, James Bond 007 remains one of my favorite RPGs of all time, in large part because its designers and writers really got the world of James Bond and tailored their game to provide it to players and referees alike.

What an amazing game.

21 comments:

  1. There's a huge 007 RPG collection at my local bric-a-brac store. I wonder if it's still there...

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  2. Still holding on to this RPG after all these years, although the only campaign I got the chance to play was Octopussy. Obtaining/Exchanging Faberge Eggs at the beginning of the module remains one of the Top 10 highlights in my gaming memory.

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  3. I remember the ad. What I didn't remember is how much taller the female agent appears to be than the male. :D

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  4. I wish I knew what happened to my copy of this game. Never got to play it but it was a fun read.

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  5. It was a tradition amongst my gaming group at the time, when initiating a seduction in this game (and in many other campaigns ever afterward), for the player to give The Look that would have made Balor of the One Eye proud to have performed on the field of battle in the face of his foes.

    Usually followed by "Opening Line," and "Aren't We Having a Witty Conversation?"

    [Needless to say there were not enough Ease Factors to represent the downward shift required to ajudicate success for this maneuver if actually performed in Real Life™.]

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  6. I found the James Bond rpg to be an elegant game at the time, in terms of production quality and in it's game mechanics.

    Gone, but not forgotten.

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  7. We actually just played (and reviewed) this game recently. Absolutely loved it.

    http://www.pornokitsch.com/2011/03/rattle-boom-james-bond-007-role-playing-in-her-majestys-secret-service.html

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  8. Awesome post!! Amazing game!

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  9. I know one of the writers/developers on the James Bond 007 project. He was a university prof of mine in the 80s. He's still a university prof, and now he helps develop games for GMT in his spare time, and he's involved in the startup of a research institute associated with his university to focus on games research.

    There are aspects of the way the JB007 game is put together that I still think is really useful, and I'm surprised that more RPGs haven't done similar things. For example, I love the way the main rulebook includes a host of NPCs that appear in the setting, and provides a thumbnail sketch or all of them. This is something that Chaosium used to do in some of their published adventures as well, and I always thought it was a really great idea.

    I suppose the key there is finding an illustrator who can do good thumbnail portrait sketches, and who can do them at a reasonable rate, so including them is financially viable. (Loubet did them for JB007, as far as I know, and the ones I'm thinking about for CoC's stuff were mostly done by Janet Aulisio, I think).

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  10. I'd heard great things about this game from friends at the time, but never owned it or played it, myself. Given how much I love the Bond movies, it sounds like I missed out.

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  11. Wow, I remember that ad. Is it just me, or does it look like the artist was Phil Foglio? Something about the woman's face reminds me of his stuff.

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  12. A game I owned, but (sadly) never got a chance to play. While it appeared to have a solid design, one aspect that I wasn't entirely keen on, back in the day, was it's focus on over-the-top, cinematic play. I guess I sort of liked to see PCs "earning their stripes" and working their way up through the organization with increasingly difficult jobs. I do remember that the game had something like a three-tiered experience system, so an effort was made to offer that, but in reality I never knew any of my friends to want to play any PC less capable than James Bond. (And who can blame them?)

    These days I don't think that I would have much of a problem with that... although I still do have a preference for the smaller-scale, gritty, 50's noir-style adventures of Ian Fleming's actual novels.

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  13. I think I tried this one when I was too young. Played it a bit and then, shockingly, traded it away.
    A dark time in my history :(

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  14. @Butch I'm pretty sure that most, if not all, the art in the core game set (at least) was by Denis Loubet.

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  15. the ones I'm thinking about for CoC's stuff were mostly done by Janet Aulisio, I think

    Although he's remembered for illustrating thee mythos monster section of the core rules, Earl Geier was responsible for more than a few NPC thumbnails too.

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  16. @kelvingreen Yes! You're correct -- I remember Geier's illos, too.

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  17. I have a copy of this I scored from a box someone left behind a thrift store one night. Ironically I was "gifted" with James Bond as a legal name, so maybe that's part of my reluctance to even skim it.

    I'll have to look through it if the mechanics are as interesting as you say.

    -(James) Hunter Bond

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  18. JB was the hook in my life that put me in love with roleplaying. Remember that a friend of mine brought it along when coming to Germany. At that time I was 12 and had known nothing about roleplaying games. Now I am 39, and I am still playing roleplaying games whenever me and friends have time to sit together for a night. Although I couldnt convince my current roleplaying fellows to submerge into this world of espionage and glamour, i still think that the (simple) game mechanics and the atmosphere is unbeaten by any other game.

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  19. The JB rpg is a great game. The game mechanics are very simple but effective and espionage is a really nice change from dungeon crawl.

    My current JB campaign takes place in 1980 and the 4th reich is on the rise!

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  20. Come follow @jamesbondrpg to help keep this classic RPG alive!

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