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(TFT) Re: TFT Digest V2 #19

Fellow TFTers:

Please excuse any protocol mistakes in replying to this list, since this is my
first time.  I have been monitoring the discussion regarding "republishing" TFT
and thought I would add my comments, whatever they are worth.

Some background:  I encountered Melee in 1977 in my Senior year in high school
when myself, my brother, and two friends spied the final copy at the checkout in
San Antonio, Texas.  We flipped for it and I one and shelled out my
hard-to-come-by $2.95 plus tax.  The game looked really good and had a good
clean feel to it, with wonderful drawings by Liz Danforth (I think).  My first
character ((I was only 17) was ST-15  DX-9  with plate armor and a battleaxe.
With an adj DX of 4, he didn't win the first encounter (my introduction to the
bell curve).

Anyway, the game was great and we picked up Wizard and Death Test as soon as
they came out, and eventually every module and the advanced rules as well and
played in college.

While attending The University of Texas I met in one of my Aerospace classes a
guy whose name seemed familiar to me.  Turns out he was one of the original
playtesters for Melee (Ken Shultz).  After graduating from The University of
Texas at Austin and my first year teaching Mathematics to children in 6th and
8th grade I decided to see what working at Steve Jackson Games might be like,
since he was headquarted in Austin in an ex-dog kennel.  I found out that Steve,
when he was attending UT Law School and should have been hitting the books,
ended up working on TFT instead and eventually dropped out of Law School to
pursue TFT.

At the time I started working at SJG he was working on the Great Unknown Role
Playing System (to be named later which as it turns out no one could really come
up with an acceptable name so they just tweaked the beta name) as a counter to
losing the ability to produce additional TFT material.  I stayed for about half
a year then moved on to a career designing software.  As a side note, my game
group eventually tried GURPS since no new material was being released for TFT,
and we eventually disbanded because no one really enjoyed playing.  Moving to
GURPS turned out to be a HUGE mistake.

I think TFT is Steve's one work of genius.  The other things he has done are
good, but nothing will ever compare to the clean design and speedy play of TFT,
unencumbered by numerous charts and monster manual and other such ilk.  I was
really saddened when I found out that Metagaming was dead and there wouldn't be
any more great modules such as Death Test or Orb Quest.

During a time of unemployment I took my favorite story (The Lord of the Rings)
and built a programmed prototype using TFT.  I wrote to Iron Crown Enterprises
about collaborating on releasing it (it works really well in allowing players
the same choices the adventurers had but allowing them to take different paths
to destroying the Ring) but received only a letter from their lawyers saying not
to publish.

I think the key point to acquiring the rights to TFT will allow for two things:
1) new programmed adventure modules (if they are designed well) which make play
quick and easy and 2) new players.  I have friends who have sons/daughters who
love playing once we introduce them to it, but they can't go out and buy it, and
neither can their friends, so some video game or other ill-designed RPG becomes
the default.  This is sad.  And I would like to play new players and both use
and perhaps design new modules.

I truly hope that something can be done to overcome HT's selfish approach to a
great game system and resurrect it.


TFT Digest wrote:

> TFT Digest            Sunday, June 11 2000            Volume 02 : Number 019
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2000 08:14:16 -0700 (PDT)
> From: "Brennan O'Brien" <veilheim@yahoo.com>
> Subject: Re: (TFT) TFT Release
> What we need is:
> A rough figure of what we believe, as a fan group, we
> can raise to purchase these rights.
> We would need 1 copy each of all of the material
> released for TFT.  We would be able to copy this
> material to everyone in the group.
> We would need a clear plan of action -- that is, we
> will release the game in copy-left format as an online
> game only -- remove the cost of publishing.  Make the
> game cost $10.00 online.  A lot of people will be
> willing to shell out $10.00 -- almost a shareware
> format. Whatever.  This is in the to-be-determined
> catagory.
> In order to go further, what we really need is HT to
> state what he considers to be a fair offer for a game
> designed to compete with SJ and gurps.
> Anyhow, just my thoughts.
> Brennan
> - --- Pasha and or Rick Smith <pnrsmith@istar.ca> wrote:
> > I doubt it would take $100,000 to get the rights to
> > TFT.  More likely we could get it for $10,000.
> > If Howard Thompson wants more, it is easier to
> > just make up your own game system.
> >
> >       Rick
> >
> > >Okay, so here's a thought... a proposal, actually.
> > >
> > >Maybe I am optimistic, but I believe we could find
> > 100
> > >people with $1000 each to form a company.  This
> > >company's SOLE purpose would be to acquire the
> > rights
> > >to TFT.  Each member of this company would have the
> > >right to publish or republish any material in any
> > of
> > >the forms of TFT which we acquired the rights to.
> > >They could choose to do this for profit, or to the
> > >public domain, or in any other way they themselves
> > >decided.
> > >
> > >Any takers?
> >
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> End of TFT Digest V2 #19
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