Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Who is this guy?

Trollsmyth pointed me to a cool article at the Escapist, which I should read more often. Anyway, dig this quote:
When wargamers assault each other with massive armies of miniatures, they use dice to represent the element of chance in warfare. In the late '60s, a number of wargame designers - Mike Korn in Iowa, Dave Wesley and Dave Arneson in Minnesota, Gary Gygax in Wisconsin - pushed wargaming toward roleplaying.
Who the heck is Mike Korn and where can I find out more about him? I know those other dudes, but I don't think I've heard of this Korn fella.

Also in the comments to the article is a link to a blog where an "Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Connecticut, explains how games and gamer culture are much older and better things than most people think." I am so there.


  1. Never heard of Mike Korn, which doesn't mean anything except that his contributions, if any, to the development of RPGs aren't well-recognized.

  2. They got the name wrong.

    It's Mike Korns (note the "s"), and he wrote the game "Modern War in Miniature". It came out in 1966.

    You can find it in this timeline of historical miniatures gaming:


    ...with the comment "Is this the first rules for roleplaying?"

    Also, you can see the cover and table of contents here:


    And now I have exhausted my newly acquired Mike Korns knowledge. But that's a start for you.

  3. Hm. Those links are both being cut short in my display here. Can I include them as actual links?

    The timeline

    The sample pages

  4. Thanks for the link, Jeff; that was a nifty read.

  5. Wilf Backhaus, the author of Chivalry & Sorcery, talks about Mike Korns in this article at Places to Go, People to Be. If I were a betting man, I'd bet that's where Ray Huling (of Dungeons & Dragons Owns the Future) first saw the name.

  6. Wow... I still have some of those old Featherstone books. That really takes me back. Thanks!

  7. Thanks for the info, alex and rich.

  8. Hi Jeff,

    I just today came across your blog. Thanks for linking to my article.

    If Rich were a betting man, he would have lost: I fist heard of Mike KornS (my bad) in Lawrence Schick's book Heroic Worlds, which is an odd tome--a survey of all role-playing games ever made, up to the early nineties. Schick also provides a very detailed historical account of the development of D&D from wargames.

    Actually, it was Michelle Nephew of Atlas Games who recommended Schick's book to me.

    Thanks again for the link.