Rally Round
History of the Game
Summary | History of the Game | Rules of the Game | Map Boards
In 1977, "Crow" was sent to work in Germany by his employer, Ford Motor Company. The experience was welcomed, but it meant forsaking his weekend road rallying exploits in the U.K. Feeling very frustrated about that, in his idle moments he began to work on a rallying board game. 

When he returned to the U.K. at the end of 1978 clutching a prototype of the game, his frustration continued, this time with his new computer systems position at Ford. A work and rallying colleague, Chris Towers, was equally disillusioned with his employment, and they began talking about splitting from Ford and starting their own company. They had plenty of ideas of what the company could do, from dealing in software and hardware for the emerging desktop computers of the time, to marketing a board game about rallying.

They formed their company, Selven Ltd, in February 1979, and set about getting quotes for manufacture of the components of the game, now known as Rally Round. Coincidentally at the time, one of "Crow's" regular drivers was looking for someone to write some bespoke software for his photographic company. That project, and others which soon come along, led Selven into the path of software development and networking hardware. After moonlighting for 18 months, Chris Towers and "Crow" left Ford Motor Company to pursue their futures via Selven - Rally Round was forgotten.

Rallying in Chris and Crow's lives hardly surfaced in the next five years as all efforts went into making Selven a success in the systems industry. In 1986, when some of the business pressure was reduced, "Crow" set about a nostalgia trail and a separate company was formed just to see through the launch of Rally Round. Suppliers were lined up to manufacture the components of the game. The biggest coup was arranging an audience with Stuart Turner, Ford's Director of Motor Sport, who agreed to fund the small plastic cars which were the playing pieces in the game. Originally designed to be in the shape of a Cosworth Sierra, manufacturing and tooling constraints saw them emerge as something more like a squashed Skoda - but at least they were free.

The first game was manufactured on September 26, 1986. Editorial appeared in every Motor Sport magazine and several National newspapers, including the Sunday Times. Motor Sport editors gave the game rave revues, but non-enthusiasts found the game difficult because of the complicated rules and scoring that are found in rallying. Special promotions were run in conjunction with Rally Sport magazine, the Manx Rally and the RAC Rally in November, and these accounted for the majority of the early sales. "Crow" was even seen on the RAC Rally selling Rally Round from the back of a van in the service areas, and the top ten seeded drivers all received a complimentary copy.

Many of the places on the game board are named after the drivers that "Crow" has co-driven over the years: Charles Golding, John Grant, Geoff Lobb, Steve Lobb, David Barsby, Jim Hair, Rod Cattini, Lyulph Hesling, Tony Thorne, Graham Love, John Harmer, Neville Skeet, Pete Goodwin, Roy Johnson, David Storey, Tony Gibbs, Pete Rymill, Dave Watkinson, Neil Brett, George Hendry, Sarah Cohen, Chris Towers, Linda Towers, Ron Laver, Don Grunbaum, Tony Morris, Robin Hernaman, Paul Hernaman, John Ringwood, Tony Woodhouse, Tony Beesley and Philip Frogg.

In May 1987, a National Table-Top rally competition was run based upon the game, and attracted 129 entries. Entrants to that event included some still familiar names in table-topping with the likes of Bridget Lewis (7th), Geoff White (11th), Maurice Pinner, Dave Bell, Trevor Crowe and Steve Waggett.

The game sold well during 1987, but with renewed demands on "Crow's" and Selven's business activities, the nostalgia trip was over and attention to marketing the game had all but ceased by the end of the year. There was a trickle of sales over the next few years and eventually the surplus stock was sold off in 1993.

The Rally Round name lived on in 1988 by sponsoring another National Table-Top Rally, but this time was based conventionally on an Ordnance Survey map. From 1989 to 1993 the Rally Round TTR was part of the National Championship. 

Winners of the Rally Round Table-Top rallies:

Year 1st 2nd 3rd
1987 Kevin Watkins Ian Oakley Jean Horton
1988 Malcolm Price Rob Searby Trevor Crowe
1989 Pete James Martin Rea Phillip Bird
1990 Martin Rea Doug Heard Phillip Bird
1991 Martin Rea Malcolm Price Dave Bell
1992 Martin Rea Pete James Roger Lintott
1993 Martin Rea Roger Lintott Keith Norman

Further constraints on "Crow's" time saw the event and the Rally Round name disappear from the scene until resurrection in the 1998 Summer Internet TT Championship in Route Card 14.

In 2003 and 2006, the Internet Table-Top Rally Championship used the game board for various route cards.

In 2004, an Internet Championship based upon the game, with updated rules, was run.

In the 2008 Championship the game board will again be used for some route cards.

Occasionally good condition  versions of the game can be purchased on eBay.