Gaming, in all its forms, is alive and well going into 2016. The increasing popularity and sales of games of all sorts, but particularly boardgames, is a continuing phenomenon defying traditional models. The last three times boards did really well were during recessions. Hasbro is running ads that entice families to play a game together. This is wonderful; we have known the social value of gaming for decades.
Goodman Games continues to kick butt with their “…Crawl Classic” titles; they have a new Kickstarter kicking off any day now for a post-apocalyptic beauty called Mutant Crawl Classic; I have seen early manuscripts and it is a gem.
Asmodee and Fantasy Flight have combined, which I view to be a good thing as it will strengthen them both. Maybe we will see reprints on what would appear to be orphan titles. ‘15 saw several smaller companies fold their tents and steal away into the night, while other merged, combined or worked out co-op deals to streamline costs.
In 2015 the gaming hobby called out a serial offender on Kickstarter who has now changed his name and is again soliciting money to fulfill things he already got the money for. What a bozo; we’re not that gullible, Ken.
Iron Wind Metals, the spiritual successor of Ral Partha, had a successful KS and revived an entire line once RP’s called Chaos Wars; minis, rules for using them and an RPG adventure I wrote as a stretch goal for them that has bad-guy PC’s.
As 2015 winds down, there are three movies dealing with RPG’s in work, although two are locked in legal wrangling that has been going on seemingly forever. The whole situation stinks; movies do not belong in court suing each other. What bullshit…
Speaking of bullshit, the end of the year saw some very pointed questions being voiced concerning the long-awaited and long overdue Gygax Memorial to which so very many of us contributed. The answers I have seen have been most unsatisfactory; vague, dismissive and illusionary. Questions concerning why the website has been virtually dead since Spring, why there has been no effort to keep the public informed as to any progress or plans—none were fully or openly answered. Other questions have been raised about the legality of actions not taken by the 501-c-3; it would appear that is has been illegally run, not according to the laws and regulations of Wisconsin concerning the transparency of not-for-profits charted in that state.
One reason for the lack of action might be that Gary’s 2nd wife spent months and 10’s of thousands of dollars to steal Luke’s, Ernie’s and Alex’s surname from them, or at least the free use of their name in anything whatsoever remotely connected to games and gaming; there are dozens of areas; I saw the legal filings. This led to a fracas with Gygax Magazine, where apparently she “graciously allowed” the magazine published by two sons named Gygax. As part of a settlement with the mag and TSR Games, the parent company, she demanded that all parties to the mag and all shareholders in the company sign a thing saying we would never talk nasty about her. As I was the Contributing Editor for the mag, and a tiny stockholder in the company, I was told I had to sign. I essentially told them “that’ll be a cold day in Hell.” My name was removed; Luke and Ernie left the company.
I am baffled at the lack of perspicacity by her, thinking that I would sign away any future journalistic endeavors or rights to speak out whenever I choose about what I choose. But when I think about it a moment, it becomes less of a surprise when I consider that this is the person that pulled every one of Gary’s products off the market upon his death, as well as tried to go around and commandeer anything he had collaborated on with anyone. Speaking impersonally and objectively, anyone with the slightest hint of familiarity with history knows that upon the death of an artist or author the demand for their creations is immediately spiked. For someone seemingly out to milk every nickel out of her dead husband’s name, you’d think she would have milked that cow dry, too. Now she owns the trademark on a brand that has decreasing recognition value with each year. Right now I would speculate that a full 30% of gamers have no recognition of the name; that number increases every year. She killed his final system, the system he was proudest of. There is a lasting tribute…