The Castle & Crusade Society                                         Home Up
 

From Paul Stormberg, on the history of the Castle & Crusade Society:

Most of us know the history of the D&D game from about 1974 onward but there is a fascinating back story to that point in time.  In 1967 there was a little known postal Diplomacy club named the United States Continental Army Command (USCAC).  The club was run by Scott Duncan, President, Bill Speer, Vice President, and Gary Gygax, treasurer.

Well, around 1968 these guys decided to change the focus of this group.  The new course was to be one which would encourage and foster the growth of an international club of wargamers.

Rechristened as the IFW (the International Federation of Wargamers), it was this group that, at the urging of Gary Gygax, ran the first GenCon in Lake Geneva in 1968.  Nearly one hundred people attended from all over the country.  One attendee by the name of Jerry White, brought with him a fabulous collection of Elastolin 40 mm Medieval figures and accompanying castle to run The Siege of Bodenburg, a game written by Henry Bodenstadt.

Gary Gygax played in that game and was quite taken with the figures and castle brought by Jerry.  It was this event and Gary's fascination with the Medieval period that inspired him to found the Castle & Crusade Society.

That winter Gary met a young Robbie Kuntz for the first time, as Gary and Bill Hoyer played a game of Afrika Korps.

Not too long after that, the Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association was formed, by Gary, Rob, Mike Reese and a few others.  This group regularly played miniatures games on the sand table in Gary's basement at 330 Center St.  They often invited other folks to join in, especially one fellow who had a wonderful collection of Elastolin 40 mm figures.  That fellow was Jeff Perren.

One time when Jeff came up from Rockford, he brought along a set of rules for 1:20 scale Medieval battles that he had written up.  It was these 4 handwritten pages that became the foundation of the Chainmail game.  Over the next several years these rules were expanded by Gygax.

By 1971, the Castle & Crusade Society was in full swing with King Robert (Kuntz) and The Earl of Walworth (Gary Gygax) at its head.  The club's fanzine, The Domesday Book, served as the proving grounds for the Chainmail rules and the members as the soldiers who proved them.  As time wore on the various players of the game were looking for some variety on the sand table. Gygax answered by throwing in The Fantasy Supplement, a section of rules for conducting fantastic battles such as those found in fantasy literature.

Formally published in 1971 by Guidon Games, Chainmail became immensely popular.  This led to many fantastic tabletop battles and eventually inspired Dave Arneson to conceive of a game that became the foundation of fantasy roleplaying games.  Gary soon after expanded on Dave's concept, creating the first fully realized roleplaying game in print.  Now, some 35 years later, we take a moment to credit the role of the original C&C Society, its members, and its founder, Gary Gygax, for being the touchstone of a hobby we all dearly love.
 

And from Gary Gygax, responding to this article:

A few minor corrections:

The USCAC was always a PBM board wargame club focused in AH game line.

I talked the IFW into promoting the first GenCon after the gamer gathering at my house at 330 Center Street the year before.  I paid for the hall out of my own pocket, but the paid attendance exactly matched that cost   I ran GenCon 1 all by my lonesome.

The LGTSA was actually promoted by Professor Leon Tucker, and when I agreed Mike Reese was there with his huge collection of WWII miniatures.  Rob was not much welcomed by the stuffy professor... the chap that never spoke to me after I did the Chainmail Fantasy Supplement.
 

From Rob Kuntz:

Ah Gary, your memory is not serving you correctly this time, as the LGTSA as you conceived it consisted of those who were purchasing the Elastolin figures from Switzerland at the time, which was you, Don Kaye and myself.  Such were its first three members entitled:

I was President.
Don Kaye was the Treasurer.
Gary was the Secretary.

The LGTSA's address is listed at 334 Madison Street (2 houses down from where you live now Gary!), and that is in the Strategic Review, and of course that is my old address.

Ah, but it's all history now.


Gygax Rebuttal:

Dead wrong.

The only person purchasing any Elastolins was me, and after I acquired those that Jeff Perren had they were bought from Henry Bodenstadt on the east coast who imported them from Germany.  Much later Skip Williams was buying them too, but that was in the 1970s.

There was no president of the LGTSA, no treasurer as we didn't charge any dues and had no money, and there was no secretary.  If anyone was informal honcho of the group it was me when the sand table was in my basement, then Don Kaye when it moved to his garage.

(as to the address)

That might have been well after the LGTSA was going to pot,  Tucker and Reese had left the organization, and you simply put that address in the Domesday Book, but as the group met in Don's garage, I assert that was the proper address for the LGTSA when my basement was no longer the place we gamed.

All of the above is absolutely correct.  :)


Kuntz Rebuttal:

The dues were $1.00 per year, and the membership slip dotted and detachable so it could be mailed in.

Ah, but memories do fade fast.
 

Gygax Rebuttal:

More bullshit.

Who ever paid dues when the LGTSA was formed?  BTW only Tucker and Reese were there when it was formed.  As I mentioned, Tucker told Rob he didn't want "little boys with big tanks" around.  He eventually relented.

Anything you have relating to dues for the LGTSA is, as previously noted, when the association was virtually non-functioning.  I know bloody well Don never collected any dues, and neither did I.