in "Jeux et Stratégie" Magazine
The French wargame magazines during the 80s
"Jeux et Stratégie" was a French magazine between 1980 and 1990. It was followed, n April 1980, by a smaller magazine called "Casus Belli". Casus Belli was dedicated to wargames, Diplomacy and Role Playing Games. "Casus Belli" kept its wargame oriented name but slowly, it became an RPG magazine. It still exists in 2005. In Casus Belli, the critiques on International Team game were usually very hard. The Casus Belli team included wargames authors, who prefer historic and realistic games. The worse article ever written was about Jena/Austerlitz and started with "Once upon a time an italian princess, very beautiful, but very stupid, who was called Itéé". On the opposite, the article on Mockba was enthusiastic, with a "Bravissimo, I.T."
International Team in "Jeux et Stratégie"
"Jeux et Stratégie" was created after International Team. In the N°1, there was a a long article on Wargames, signed by François Marcela-Froideval and Jean-Pierre Defieux but without any reference to the International Team games. Idro, Kroll & Prumni et Zargo's Lords are visible on an advertising "club jeux descartes" in N°2.
In the N°6, 3 boardgames: RA, Empire et Medici each with an evaluation of "we like it a little". A "Jeux Descartes" advertising indicates RA's price: 85F (around £ 8, US$ 15).
The first wargame appears in n°7 (feb 81): East and West. He is only evaluated with a 2/10 on "rules understandability" and a global evaluation of "we like it a little."
Rally achieved a "we like it a lot" in N°11. Same evaluation is achieved by "Capital Power" in N°12. Fief's prototype appears in N°13. This game just win the "pion d'or Jeux et Stratégie" in the Festival des jeux de société de Boulogne Billancourt.
A rare game:
In n° 14, appears a collector : FREE GAME. It's a blank wargame (hexagons on one side, octogons/squares on the other side and 570 blank counters). Here you can find the article (in French)
The first Role Playing Game
The puzzle-boardgame GIPSO achieved a rating of "we do not like it at all" in N°15 (June 1982). Legio VII, the first RPG from International Team is described as "superb". 3 add-ons are planned but in reality, only one will be published. Bonaparte is described in N° 16. The only Legio VII add-on, Tablin, os described as "une heureuse suite" (a good idea ?) in the N°20. In the same page is announced the first "Donjons et Dragons" translated in French.
Zargo's Lords 2
Zargo's lords 2 appears in N°21, with a picture where we can see the unpunched counters. We are in June 83 and it's written "3 years after the the first Zargo's Lords".
Is it true ? Zargo's Lords was it published in 1979 or in 1980 ?
In N°24 came a long article: 101 gift-ideas for Christmas, with Little Big Horn, Magikon and Mafia in the same picture as the classical Ravensbuger's game: "The hare and the Turtle", a TI99/4A micro-computer and the Middle Earth Role Playing Game. The comments are positive, even on Magikon: " Medieval-Fantastic Role Playing Game playable immediately with only 5 page rules ? The purists will again pull a face. But even if they only give a label "adventure game", they will have to admit that this game is clever and really funny." Little big horn's comments include "a beautiful wargame, easy to understand, on an unusual subject."
FIEF appears in the N°25 with the possibility to buy it directly in the magazine.
A double in the N°26 for Mockba, Supermarina et Magikon. Mafia achieved also a "we like it a lot". The comments on Magikon are less positive: "Magikon is well build but to much simplified." Supermarina is "a great game".
In Jeux et Stratégie N°30 "Christmas, find the ideal gift": Rommel for "the aesthetes" near the Game of Go and Samurai Blades (from Cry Havoc's serie). Fief and Supermarina for pour "the megalos", near Diplomacy and Civilization (Avalon Hill). Rommel "has a great quality game material - including a 3D map perfect graphics and game mechanisms well describing the movements war strategy.
An article from Marco Donadoni
In the N°34 "full game during summer" (1985), we can find a 4 pages article written by Marco Donadoni with support of Renzo Angelosanto: "What are playing the Italians". The article is very much historic, starting with the "Alea Jacta Est" of Julius Cesar, and explaining that the Italians invented the Lottery in 1448. He describes the 1985 situation as very dark. "Today the situation is almost catastrophic".
Born of a new game
In the N° 35 (oct 1985), a long article "born of a game"" describe the design, the publishing, the manufacturing of the game "Le Gang des tractions avant" published by International Team France after being awarded by a "pion d'or de Jeux et Stratégie" (like Fief). You can see a picture of the Editor: Renzo Angelosanto. Even the author's salary is given: 4,80 F per game sold (24000F maximum id the whole first set of 5000 games is sold). The game is manufactured in International Team's factory in Milano. Several names are given: The authors Serge Laget and Alain Munoz, the graphic designers "Frana (ou Franca ?) et Yana" and the illustrator Fabio Pastori. This article is available on-line on Ludo Le Gars's site: link
Here you can see the famous punching machine for 5 parts puzzled boards.
A long quiet period
No new game presented before Jeux et Stratégie N° 43 (February 87). But there was some summary "Christmas - All the games guide" in N° 36, 42 and later 48. We can find in this guide Austerlitz, Attila, Bonaparte, Capital Power, East and West, Empire, Fief, Le gang des tractions avant, Gipso, Grand Prix, Iena, Illiad, Kroll and Prumny, Little Big Horn, Mafia, Magikon, Medici, Norge, Odyssey, Okinawa, Play Off, Ra, Rally, Rommel, Samarcanda, Supermarina, Thalassa, Waterloo, Yorktown, Yom Kippur and Zargo's Lords. Each game is summarized in some brief sentences with an evaluation and the price.
For Jeux et Stratégie, The evaluation vary between 0 and 4 hearts. 3 and 4 hearts are rare. The only International team games having 3 hearts are both game awarded by a "pion d'or": Fief and le Gang des tractions avant. The only games with 4 hearts are: The Backgammon, the playing cards, Les dames (French checkers on a 10x10 board), Diplomacy, Dungeons and Dragons, Chess, GO, The hare and the turtle (Ravensburger), Monopoly, Othello, Pente (general Mills) - a gomoku game, four in a row, Scrabble, Scotland Yard (Ravensburger), le tarot (French playing card game), Xiang Qi (Chinese chess).
Blue Stones was described in N°43 (february 1987). "A game to remember, because Blue Stones is a real success. And we really like to cut a dragon into parts..."
The Number 45 will be the last with 3 new and very different games from International Team: Landsknecht (wargame), Eureka (card game) and Generalowski (boardgame).
In the N° 54 "Christmas special - All the games guide" of 1988, There was no International Team games anymore. between the N° 54 (dec 88) and 55 (feb 89), Jeux et Stratégie reduced its number of page from 130 to 102 and the price from 30 to 22F. The number 55 includes a long article "everything new in 1989" and page 21, a paragraph called REXTON start with "one of the house designer, Duccio Vitale, start a new division and reuse some products of International team who bankrupted".
this is the end of a wonderful adventure
In November 1989, Jeux et Stratégie becomes monthly and start with a N°1 "new generation". Rexton said he will stop the games and give the business to Eurogames (Duccio Vitale). Eurogames start with Little Big Horn, Yom Kippur, Okinawa, Colonisator (Kroll and Prumni), Zargos and Fief 2. In the N°2, we can see Le gang des tractions avant published by Schmidt France.
In July 1990 was published Jeux et Stratégie N°8 "new Generation" de Jeux et Stratégie. It will be the last one.
Inside, we can read an article on the crisis inside micro-computer world. (Amstrad CPC, Atari ST et Commodore Amiga) and we can see a Sega Genesis. The PC-AT (Intel 286, carte VGA) is starting to reach the psychological price of 10000 F. Atari France is well describing the new market of video games (but only the PC will survive in reality): "A video game console, even powerful, has some limits. The consoles will help the computers to enter in homes and stimulate the Atari ST and the game industry ! The CD-ROM ? not today because it is to expensive... When it will be under 1000F for each player, we will speak again about it.". And Atari will never make up for lost time on Nintendo and Sega.
The 80s are over.
Later, in 1995, a new magazine called "Vae Victis" will start. It is still today a reference for wargame in France.
For myself, in 1987, I finished my studies. I then sold most of my games: Legio VII, Zargo's Lords, Wohrom, Squad Leader... In 1990, I sold my full set of Casus Belli magazines. In 1991, I bought a PC 386 and played madly to Sim-City and later Civilization 1 and 2. Then came the web (remember Mosaic) then bids with Ibazar (in France) and Ebay. And I bought some International Team games.
I always kept the full set of Jeux et Stratégie magazines...
links: top of the top
Jeux et Stratégie 1 to 49 overview (french)
Overview of Jeux et Stratégie on le site perso de Ludo le gars (french)
Overview of Jeux et Stratégie on wellouej site (french)
Historical Article on "le monde du jeu" site (french)
Interview 1 on Casus Belli history (french)
Interview 2 (Didier Guiserix) on Casus Belli history (french)
The logical exercise of Jeux et Stratégie (french)
Priceminister to find old Jeux et Stratégie (french)
Some old casus Belli magazines are available on FFJDR site (french)