2000AD On The Tabletop: Part One – The Games Workshop Era

November 26, 2018 by crew

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The threat of nuclear war, miners strikes, riots, three channels on television and widespread unemployment. The 1970s and ‘80s were turbulent times in the UK. It wasn’t all doom and gloom though as the late seventies also saw the invention of some things that shaped my life to come - punk music, Dungeons & Dragons, 2000AD, and fantasy wargaming.

Games Workshop Boxes

Boxes of Games Workshop awesomeness!

2000AD eschewed the traditional sensibilities of comic books and courted controversy right from the beginning. This, as well as its world-class artists and writers, made 2000AD quickly become the U.K.’s most popular comic.

Around the same time, Games Workshop was sparking the imaginations of kids and adults all over the country. It was only natural that GW would pick up the license for the 2000AD multiverse while it was still fortifying its own Warhammer property.

Judge Dredd Gameplay

I’d like to kick-off this article series by looking at a few of the games put out by GW and my experience with them. You can find a more complete list of publications at the bottom, for those who are interested.

2000AD: The Games Workshop Era

My first brush with 2000AD on the tabletop was with Games Workshop’s Judge Dredd: The Role-Playing Game.

I’d been playing D&D and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay at the role-playing club at school and one of my friends brought in his older brother’s copy of the Judge Dredd RPG. In those days games always came in boxes with dice and books and, in this case, cardboard standees for both judges and perps (criminals).

Role-Playing Game

The polyhedral dice, standees, player handouts and floorplans - boxed RPGs were the best!

I was instantly drawn in by the highly detailed description of judges’ equipment, motorbike, and the organization of the Justice Department that runs Mega-City One - information that I’d wondered about while reading the comics. I was allowed to borrow the books with the excuse of preparing to run a game for my friends. The game ran for about a year until the club was shut down by meddling adults and possibly due to a fight breaking out at the Middle-earth Roleplay table.

Judge Dredd Gameplay #2

The game is set at the beginning of the 22nd century in a post-apocalyptic world with most of humanity gathered in mega-cities around the globe. Many of those cities have adopted the ‘judges’ system of law enforcement where street judges act as judge, jury and executioner. Mega-City One, on the eastern seaboard of the U.S., is where the characters usually start.

In the basic game player characters are limited to the various types of judges in the Justice Department (Med, Tek, Psi and Street Judge) but this has been expanded to include criminal characters in a later publication.

Opening The Box

Opening the box has inspired me to get a game on...

A seemingly huge number of other 2000AD related products were released by GW in the ‘80s including board games and miniatures. These games were supported by the White Dwarf magazine which often had board game expansions or scenarios for the role-playing game. Needless to say, I either owned or played all of these games.

In recent years I had a fit of nostalgia and, thanks to eBay, have acquired most of these games once more. A game isn’t dead if it’s still being played. With this in mind, I decided to play them all to see if the magic was still there. They hold up surprisingly well especially with the help of quick reference sheets either found online or made by myself.

Rogue Trooper

Rogue Trooper particularly stands out among these games, in my opinion, due to the fact it’s semi-cooperative and has similarities with the Talisman board game. Being able to help or hinder the other players makes for an exciting, dynamic game and tabletop banter can get quite raucous especially if beers are consumed - something I discovered as an adult.

Rogue Trooper

I couldn't help but paint the playing pieces...

Each player in Rogue Trooper takes the role of a G.I., or Genetic Infantryman, and must travel to various locations throughout Nu-Earth to find clues to uncover the identity of the main antagonist, the Traitor General. Travelling around Nu-Earth is not without its risks though as each location may contain valuable equipment, hostile forces or dangerous environments.

As soon as any single player reveals the identity of the Traitor General every player stops searching for clues and tries to hunt him down and win the game. It’s at this stage of the game that things get hectic with players, who had been staunch allies, suddenly stabbing each other in the back.

Rogue Trooper Gameplay #1

Being a lot older and aesthetically oriented I couldn’t help but paint and base the brightly coloured plastic miniatures that came with the game. I also printed and laminated quick reference sheets I found on The Order of Esoteric Gamers website.

Having cracked open these boxes after quite a long time I’m utterly inspired to get these on the table again. I know a lot of people still play the GW version of the RPG on Roll20 or Discord. I may end up doing the same for convenience sake, but it’ll be a shame not to use the box contents.

Judge Dredd Library

I’ll be continuing this series looking at the Mongoose Publishing era of 2000AD tabletop games. For those of us who are completists, I have included a list of GW products for the 2000AD multiverse and the White Dwarf issues that had 2000AD content. Let me know if I missed any!

Games & Timeline

  • 1982 Judge Dredd, board game - Ian Livingstone
  • 1985 Judge Dredd: The Role-Playing Game - Rick Priestley & Marc Gascoigne
  • 1985 Judge Dredd: The Role-Playing Game, Judgement Day supplement
  • 1986 Shuggy Hall Brawls, Warlock Magazine 11, pull out board game - Ian Livingstone & Steve Jackson
  • 1986 Pass Interference? Eat Judge Boot, Creep!, White Dwarf 88, supplement for Blood Bowl - Louis Foti, Jervis Johnson & Marc Gascoigne
  • 1987 Judges Companion, adventures and advanced rules for Judge Dredd: The Role-Playing Game
  • 1987 Judge Dredd: The Role-Playing Game, Slaughter Margin supplement
  • 1987 Citi-Block, supplement for Judge Dredd: The Role-Playing Game and Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader - Graeme Davis, Richard Halliwell, Alan Merrett, Carl Sargent
  • 1987 Block Mania - Richard Halliwell
  • 1987 Mega Mania - Richard Halliwell
  • 1987 Block Mania: Happy Hour, White Dwarf 94, board game supplement - Richard Halliwell
  • 1987 Rogue Trooper, board game - Richard Halliwell
  • 1987 Rogue Trooper: We Got a Traitor to Find, White Dwarf 90, board game supplement
  • 1995 2000AD license expired and all unsold stock destroyed
  • The Judge Dredd license was then taken on by Wargames Foundry who continues to produce a range of figures and paints for their line of 2000 AD characters

White Dwarf Related Content

  • White Dwarf 76 You're Booked: The Justice Department Accounts Division
  • White Dwarf 77 The Crazy File: New Crazes
  • White Dwarf 78 Sector: 308 'Eavy Metal special on Judge Dredd scenery and miniatures by the Players Guild
  • White Dwarf 78 The Spunng Ones! : Adventure for a small team of Judges
  • White Dwarf 79 Psi Judges: The Psychology of the Psi-Judge
  • White Dwarf 80 Something Special: New Special Abilities
  • White Dwarf 82 Narks! : Informers in Judge Dredd - The Roleplaying Game
  • White Dwarf 83 A Day in the Death of Sector 255: Sequel Adventure in White Dwarf 88
  • White Dwarf 86 The Trouble With Time: Time Travel
  • White Dwarf 88 A Night in the Death of Sector 255: Sequel to Adventure in White Dwarf 83
  • White Dwarf 90 You'll Never Take Me Alive, Cop - Aarrgh! : Perps as PCs
  • White Dwarf 90 Tales From Mega-City 1: Adventure Outlines
  • White Dwarf 90 Rogue Trooper: We Got a Traitor to Find
  • White Dwarf 92 Thrice Upon A Time In MegaCity 1
  • White Dwarf 93 All The Lonely People: Campaign Characters (NPCs)
  • White Dwarf 94 To Live And Die In Mega City One: Epic Adventure - Prog 1: Perchance to Dream
  • White Dwarf 95 To Live And Die In Mega City One: Epic Adventure - Prog 2: The Big Sleep
  • White Dwarf 96 To Live And Die In Mega City One: Epic Adventure - Prog 3: Let's Do The Time Warp (Again)

I hope you enjoyed looking through this article and reliving some of these awesome 2000AD games.

Do you have some of them in your collection?

Article Series Written By Moji

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