West End Games
 

West End Games began operations in 1974 in New York City as a small and independent publisher, creating an eclectic mix of military and science-fiction themed wargames. The company was founded by Daniel Scott Palter, who acted as President until the purchase of the company by Humanoids Inc. (a subsidiary of a European graphic album publisher) in 2001. Purgatory Publishing Inc., under Eric Gibson in Philadelphia, further purchased most of WEG's assets in 2003.

Cutting its teeth firmly on conventional boardgames in both fantasy and historical themes, in 1986, West End branched out into the growing role playing market with Paranoia, and in 1987 teamed with John Hill of Squad Leader fame to publish several tactical-themed titles, including the trilogy of Eastern Front Tank Leader, Western Front Tank Leader and Desert Steel.

Founded: 1974
Produced: ►Tactical Wargames
►Role Playing Games
Demise: n/a


A successful licensing arrangement with Lucasfilm and profitable sales of a Star Wars role-playing game helped establish WEG as a leading RPG company, and new corporate offices were occupied in Honesdale, Pennsylvania in 1988. The offices would later move to Downington in 2004 under Eric Gibson, by which time more than 350 separate role playing games and related products were in print, including many licensed products of Hollywood films such as Ghostbusters or the Indiana Jones films.

Nonetheless, as with many gaming companies faced with the growing popularity of electronic media (as well as the popularity of Collectible Card Games (CCG) which also posed a threat to conventional role playing games), WEG declared bankruptcy in July 1998, though the exact reasons have never been publicly divulged. Speculation revolved around the sheer number of licensed products in print, declining quality, and shrinking audiences. A final suggestion offered by critics has been the failure of WEG to create an online presence or web-based entry into the marketplace.

Under Eric J. Gibson, changes were implemented to keep the company in existence; no further tactical offerings in either RPG or conventional boardgames have been forthcoming. In July 2008, Gibson announced on the company's web forums that he is prepared to sell the company and does not know if the brand name will survive the process of dismantling the company's assets.

Tactical Games Published by WEG
 

Year Title Type
1986 Eastern Front Tank Leader Board
1986 The Price of Freedom RPG
1987 Western Front Tank Leader Board
1987 Soldiers Board
1987 Fire Team Board
1989 Desert Steel Board

 

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