William the Conqueror 1066 was an early board game by TSR, with a unique game mechanic that resolves combats without dice or cards. The box set is fairly obscure and not in high demand compared with other TSR releases at the time.
The box lid art uses sections of the Bayeaux Tapestry, an embroidered cloth dating to the time period. The Tapestry depicts scenes from the Norman Conquest of England.
But it’s not actually the Bayeaux Tapestry on the box.
The Bayeaux Tapestry Homage
I’ll get straight into the cover art now, and the set photos will be further down the post.
I’m no expert on the Norman Conquest or the Bayeaux Tapestry, so I always figured TSR used actual photos from the Tapestry. Not so.
William the Conqueror’s box art is an homage inked by somebody. I have to use B&W art from the rulebook cover because the color box cover has a lot of obscuring lettering.
The game’s Credits note “Graphics By Dave Sutherland“. This would be David C. Sutherland III, who was both artist and artistic director for TSR at the time. “Graphics” is a little vague, but could mean both “art” and “artistic direction” for a small company that TSR was at the time.
While some anonymous uncredited artist could have created the art, I believe it’s more likely that DCS himself inked the Bayeaux Tapestry for the 1066 set. I don’t see any info or discussion online about this question. If anybody has better info, do let me know. I did look carefully at the art, hoping to find a little “DCS” somewhere, but no joy.
The full credits from the rules booklet:
- John Clemente & James McMillan (design)
- Dave Sutherland (graphics)
- Terry Kuntz & Tim Kask (testing & development)
William the Conqueror – 1066: Game of the Battles of Stamford Bridge and Hastings [BOX SET]
• 22-page rule booklet
• Combat Adjustment Slide Rule
• errata sheet
• large color play mat
• 3 sheets of round counters (106 + 38 blanks = 144 total)
• 1 sheet small square counters (175 + 105 blanks = 280)
• 1 small sheet small rectangular counters (50)
The “Movement Resolution System” uses combat strengths and relative positions to determine combat outcomes, not dice or cards.
Combat Adjustment Slide Rule
The poster map has the battles of Stamford Bridge on one side and Hasings on the other.
Dragon Magazine, Issue 26 (1979) had an expansion article: “Solo Berserker for William the Conqueror 1066”.
Empire of the Petal Throne: The First RPG with a Campaign World… TEKUMEL (1975) – Released by TSR the year before William the Conqueror.
The Lankhmar boardgame also released in 1976, and both games have similar physical presentation.
A full review of William the Conqueror at BoardGameGeek.
D&D’s Iconic Early Red Dragon (1978-81): The lasting influence of David C. Sutherland