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I'm a fan of pen-and-paper RPG's and board games. That's what you are going to find on this site. Sometimes there might be a blurb about the Secret World MMO, my latest DMing project, or a new game that our family has picked up. The focus here is my drifting through Wisconsin's gaming communities. Links will be added as cons are visited, games are played, and authoring is published. Wander around. Grab a tankard. Relax and immerse yourself into polyhedron geekness, Wisconsin style!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Going Back to the Start: RPGs Timeline Part I

Era I: A Time of War!

In 1971, the game Chainmail was published by Gary Gygax and his game shop contact Jeff Perren. These rules were expansions of the Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association (LGTSA). The members of that club were Gary Gygax, Terry Kuntz, Rob Kuntz, Ernie Gygax, Jeff Perren, Mike Reese, Leon Tucker, and Don Kaye.

The Chainmail game system was influenced by the works of Tolken, with Dungeons & Dragons serving as a variant to the core system. Although not the first foray into fantasy battles, as Gygax had earlier worked with Guidon Games in the development of Chainmail and associated supplements. However, Guidon Games did not see potential in D&D, prompting Gygax to found Tactical Studies Rules (TSR).

Also in 1971, game designer Dave Arneson was independently creating a fantasy-styled game system, after becoming frustrated with the rigid rule set in his Napoleonic wargame. Out of this came the ‘campaign setting’ called Blackmoor, which included character development and a dungeon crawl.

In 1972, David Megarry had designed the board game Dungeon!, and had also game mastered Gary Gygax through Arneson’s Blackmoor game. Gygax then created a variant titled Greyhawk and collaborated with Arneson’s game rules. During that time, attempts to publish these games were rejected by both Avalon Hill and Guidon Games. In Arizona, Flying Buffalo Inc. was formed by Rick Loomis and Steve MacGregor. This year, the city of Greyhawk was created by Gygax for characters to sell their stuff. Trivia: not having time to create a whole new world, Greyhawk is situated on a modified US map, roughly where the city of Chicago presides.

Back at Guidon Games, Don and Julie Lowry, Lou Zocci, Tom Wham, and Mike Carr relocated to Belfast, Maine in 1972. Don and Julie focused on the wargame industry, while the others diversified. Lou Zocci embraced the study of dice making and opened Game Science, with its strongest focus upon the manufacturing of balanced gaming dice. Tom Wham focused both in illustration and board game designs. Mike Carr moved from working on various wargames, then moved to TSR in 1976 until 1983. He then trained under Richard Dennis as a futures trader, and is now writing about freelance snowmobiling.

In the summer of 1973, Gary Gygax and Don Kaye had TSR up and running, and were then joined by Brian Blume. This was organized to enable the publishing of Dungeon & Dragons. Brian Blume fronted the money to publish the origional Dungeons & Dragons set in 1974. After selling out that year, further rules and the Blackmoor supplement were published in 1975.

Also in 1974, Metagaming Concepts came into being along with Games Workshop and Chaosium. These new game companies joined the ranks of Games Design Workshop and Simulations Publications Inc.

...more to come soon!

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