• Early Superhero RPG Villains & Vigilantes Flies Again

    Maybe some allusion to “dead” superheroes always coming back to life is in order here, but I’ll just jump to the point: Slashdot reports: Jeff Dee and Jack Herman, the creators of the old-school super-hero roleplaying game Villains & Vigilantes, have won a copyright and trademark lawsuit over the game’s publisher Scott Bizar of Fantasy Games Unlimited. Magistrate Judge Mark E. Aspey of the U.S. District Court of Arizona ruled that Jeff Dee and Jack Herman own the rights to the game based on the 1979 contract they reached with Bizar. The court also found that Bizar never had the right to sell derivative products or ebook PDF editions, which…

  • Slashdot takes note of new Steve Jackson Games releases

    I was mildly surprised to see a Slashdot entry on the new Steve Jackson Games releases shown at SXSW. Can’t say I recall that site focusing on SJG in the past – but then again, even this “old fashioned” tabletop gaming company is going to have a lot of cred with the tech-focused Slashdot readership. As the blurb notes, the company’s infamous run-in with The Law over its GURPS Cyberpunk book helped lead to the creation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. And, as the comments clearly show, there’s a lot of recognition of and love for SJG among the techies. There’s a ton of wistful praise for Car Wars (and…

  • Gaming dice as art

    I earlier called attention to a premium “wish I had one” product, the ultimate gamer’s table. It should surprise no one that I haven’t yet plunked down my $8K for this handcrafted piece of furniture. But I’m rather tempted by a premium gaming product that’s a bit more affordable: custom hand-made dice.  I’d say these are more than handmade dice, really. This is art, with gaming dice as its medium. The creator/artist, Abraham Neddermann, was kind enough to answer some questions about his work. Please read on! (I have no connection to the site or product; I simply thought the dice and process were fascinating.) Apparently, one does not set…

  • Game rules aren’t protected by law

    Jeff Dee, RPG author and awesome gaming artist (T Bone makes Will roll, squelches further fan gushing), is also a host of The Non Prophets podcast (together with none other than fellow gaming art god Denis Loubet!) and a past semi-regular host of The Atheist Experience broadcast and podcast. Episode #616 of the latter (embedded below), titled nothing less than “The Argument from Game Design”, let Jeff put his game-design cred to work in discussing certain arcane religious arguments that compare existence to “a game”. Straying a bit from that purely religious discussion, he also made some comments of broader relevance to gaming itself, including thoughts on what makes for a…

  • Thanks for the games, Gary

    There’s been a big outpouring of thoughts and sadness over the passing of D&D creator Gary Gygax. The words put down by other writers are far better than I can summon, so I’ll add a very short note: As RPGs moved beyond the foundations Gary built, it’s been easy to cast stones at the “clunky” rules and strictures of his original creations and their direct descendants. “THAC0? Alignments? Classes? Ha, that stuff’s crazy…” I, too, like today’s more modern, streamlined games. But I’ve always kept respect for the D&D world, whether I play the game any more or not. Like so many, many others, I point to D&D as my…