Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Whaddaya Mean, Who's Gary Gygax?

How Soon They Forget--anybody ever heard of Dungeons and Dragons? Role-Playing games? How about icosohedron dice--or Platonic Solids?

Yeah, I wrote regular wargame rules for Airfix men and ships, and made peanuts, it's for the birds.

But add in orcs and ents, trolls and wizards, zombies and boobs--now you're talking a billion dollars. I got this shirt on Maui, ya like it, it's camouflage, because the whole time I was really a wargame geek and I couldn't help but think about the Japanese and island-hopping when I was there.

Here, just read the article. It'll only tell ya half the story, but that's better than nothing. That Leon Tucker guy wrote the rules that got mekelnborg doing the 18th Century; he was one of the early customers back then when I was still selling insurance. In fact he had almost all our stuff.


  1. The godfather and president all rolled into one of the era.

  2. 'This whole convention started in my basement--my partners were the guys who showed up the first two years--anybody notice the matching T-shirt I got underneath?'

    'And then Ray says 'who's Gary Gysex?'

  3. So ermm... who's Gary Gygax?


  4. Interesting read, never knew about this guy. Dungeons & Dragons is probably one if not the best role playing game imo.

  5. Erika, back in the Good Old Days, in order to make a splash it used to cost $2500 to print up a booklet, so you'd chatge $2 for the booklet and try to sell over 1250 of them to get back on top.

    So Gary Gygax who only had $1000 had to be partners with his friends, to launch various wargame rules companies. He needed two other guys to put up the printing money to launch Dungeons and Dragons. That's in the article in the link.

    They had one called Chainmail that was about fighting between Knights and other medieval types, Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham, Crusades and so forth, castles, etc, and one chapter of that booklet grew into the billion dollar industry of Fantasy gaming when Dungeons and Dragons took off.

    Then a subchapter of the drama is all about how various ones of those friends were either still in or out of the deal when instead of one or two thousand the money bags were about tens and hundreds of thousands and millions.

    Nowadays of course you can be famous with a blog, so he is not as famous as you, but still a pioneer of gaming publishing.