Take a journey with us back to October 1976, when a small wargame club in Amarillo Texas (led by Steve Cole) turned into a real company that produced an award-winning magazine filled with articles, variants, and reviews. The "Iron Age" of JagdPanther continued with color cardstock covers, one-piece multi-color maps, and die-cut counters.
The issue presaged a new age with a new title (Battlefield) to get away from the WW2-based title of JagdPanther. To keep up the high count of many articles, a new "rapid fire" feature included several short articles so that others could be longer and some new regular features (Design & Analysis, Update) were added.
What no one knew when the issue was mailed was that there would never be another issue.
The game in this issue was Jacksonville: The Beaches of Doom. This was a game about a Soviet invasion of Florida and well suited the national malaise of the time. This was an operational-level wargame in which units had a "protection" factor that approaching enemy units had to overcome before they could get into direct combat and fight.
The editorial discussed the changes in the magazine. Reading it now (2015) brought back wistful memories of the direction the magazine might have taken.
Rules variants included alternate victory conditions for Russian Campaign, variants for War in Europe, line of communication rules for Arnhem, javelins in Legion, Panama rules for Invasion America, Fast Carriers, and more realistic rules for First Indochina War.
Alternate history scenarios included new alliances for Dragon Pass, and Operation Olympic.
New units included the French fleet for War at Sea, 1950s units for Mech War, and Firefight.
New scenarios were provided for Korea and Sorcerer.
Reviews included Guderian, Rocroi, Russian Civil War, and Jerusalem 70AD.
The new Rapid Fire feature included 18 articles (each two or three paragraphs, a total of two pages) with variants and other data for Battle of the Bulge, Poland 1939, Panzer Gruppe Guderian, the Prestags series, Global War, Sinai, Their Finest Hour, Malaya, Russian Campaign, Panzergrenadier, Austerlitz, Anzio, Anvil-Dragoon, Oil War, Sixth Fleet, and Legion.
A few weeks later, on election night in November 1976, the two partners (Steve Cole and Allen Eldridge) and their part-time marketing director (David Crump) went to dinner. Somehow the conversation came around the point that JagdPanther had paid its bills, but had never made a profit, had never paid the owners a dime, and was never going to. It was a labor of love. While the love of gaming continued, the partners realized that spending 100 hours per month (each) on JagdPanther for no paycheck could not go on forever. The question became just when to shut it down, and the eventual answer was to close immediately. No work had been done on the next issue and there were no new games ready for print, and with the decision made that there would be an end, there was no will left to carry on. Days later, an official letter was sent to every subscriber, offering them $5 games from the inventory in exchange for $2 unfulfilled issues of their subscriptions, or a refund. Only one person wanted the cash refund; everyone else took games. One of the wholesalers bought the remaining inventory for the bookkeeping cost, and the partners were stunned to receive their first (and last) paycheck. Within a month of locking the office door for the last time, Steve Cole was engaged to Leanna, his wife of (now) 37 years.