Tactical Design Group







David Landrey worked for the IRS when he developed an interest in programming computer games.  He always enjoyed changing the rules to games and seeing the results.  This interest led him to design some simple games of his own.  Chuck Kroegel  was a school teacher and later an HR manager who enjoyed playing computer wargames.  He had tried some of Landrey's initial creations on his TRS-80 and contacted him with some feedback.  After exchanging some dialogue, they realized that they would make a good team and decided to form their own development studio.  This was the start of Tactical Design Group (TDG), which would go on to design some of SSI's best early wargames.

TDG was founded in 1980 by Landrey and Kroegel.  Their plan was to make two games: a Civil War recreation, which turned into 1981's, The Battle of Shiloh; and a World War II simulation, which became 1981's Battle of the Bulge: Tigers in the Snow.  Both were published by Strategic Simulations, which would be the case for all TDG games.  Although TDG remained a third-party developer, all of their games were published through SSI.  The team worked on a dozen SSI games from 1981 through 1988, ending with 1988's Battles of NapoleonClick here for a complete discography of SSI games published between 1980 and 1987.

TDG remained a small group through the years.  Kroegel was the business contact and acted as a designer, developer and "artist."  (Graphics were rather primitive in wargames, even by 1980's standards).  Landrey was the main programmer, and additional programmers were added later to do ports, including  David Walker (Atari), Dale Disharon (Atari) and Ed Haar (IBM).

In 1983 Kroegel "left" TDG to become R&D manager at SSI.  He  later accepted the roles of R&D Director at SSI, VP of R&D at SSI, and eventually President of SSI.  (Later in his career he also served as Executive VP and General Manager of Mindscape and as COO of Westwood Studios.)  However, he continued to work with TDG on their later releases while he was at SSI .  He is most proud of 1986's Gettysburg: The Turning point , which he designed even though he wasn't technically a TDG employee at the time.

After Battles of Napoleon , Landrey started Novastar Game Company, which was a mail order wargame distribution business that also created add-ons to some SSI games (including scenario disks for Battles of Napoleon and a mega-campaign system for Steel Panthers). He eventually closed Novastar and continued working and programming in the games industry.

-- This article was based on an e-mail interview with Chuck Kroegel and Joel Billings.  GOTCHA would like to thank both gentelmen once again for helping to preserve the history of an industry and an art form.

GOTCHA Nominees

Tigers in the Snow -- SSI, 1981

Battle For Normandy -- SSI, 1981

Breakthrough in the Ardennes -- SSI, 1984

Operation Market Garden -- SSI, 1985

Battle of Antietam -- SSI, 1985

Battles of Napoleon -- SSI, 1988

GOTCHA Winners

Gettysburg: The Turning Point -- SSI, 1986


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