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Re: (TFT) psychology of HT

"Cas Liber" <casliber@ozemail.com.au> wrote:
> It sems like HT has a bit of a chip on his shoulder and some antipathy to
> SJ and possibly the world at large........ Question is, how best to talk to
> him??

Michael Taylor wrote:
> If anyone actually knows for sure that Howard Thompson will take $10,000
> for the rights to TFT, I'll personally pay him that. 
> But then, wouldn't Steve Jackson as well? 

The animosity between HT and SJ is well-documented.  HT apparently took
SJ's departure badly, and the $250K pricetag for SJ may not have been
anybody else's, but I don't think anyone wanted to find out.  HT razzed
SJ with the "Fistful of Turkeys" game, which bears more than a passing
resemblance to a Steve Jackson Games product.

I feel he also tried to move away from TFT with the UnderEarth series.
It resembles TFT, but plays a little differently.  I think a lot of the
grief between the two came from the rather late delivery of ITL/AM/AW,
which is referred to in an article in Space Gamer #29 by SJ.  I also think
it wasn't quite what HT had in mind.  I don't know this for sure, but it's
my belief that TFT was a bit too complex for Howard's taste.  This seems
to be silly in the light of what's transpired in the last 20 years.  The
trend has been towards more complex RPGs rather than simpler ones.  While
we're fans of TFT for its simplicity compared to, say, AD&D, HT seemed to
think that it was in need of a revamp - hence the UnderEarth series.

(Side point: the UE series is not complete.  Lords of UE plays OK, but
Dragons is incomplete as it stands.  It lists talents, for example, but
never describes them.  That was left for Conquerers of UE.  In fact,
Dragons refers rather often to Conquerers, which was never released.  I'd
dearly love to find Conquerers in any form whatsoever!)

So where does this leave us all?  Pining for the fjords? (sorry!)
In the past months since I found myself in the position of sole conduit
to the Thompsons, I've passed two or three requests up to the next level.
As far as I know, there have been no offers that were deemed solid enough
to actually make it as far as Howard.

Will a collective work?  I believe it is possible to raise enough money
to buy TFT in this manner, since I think that an offer between $20K
and $50K would be enough.  My experience with collectives, though, is
poor.  My old ISP was owned equally among 4 partners.  Far too often we
found ourselves in a position where there was no consensus, and with no
boss, the ability to make a decision flew out the window.  Eventually I
forced a sale of the company - it was either that or kill one of the

While I would love to see TFT republished and new works based on it
released, it won't be seeing any funding from me, though I will support
it after the fact by purchasing product.  As to what that product should be,
I'd suggest releasing all the existing products as is, and have all
changes come in the form of additional rulebooks, skill sets, spell books
and the like.  While rule variations are the meat of this group, whenever
I've played a game, I've always gone back to "strict rules of TFT."
("Hullo, you play a Number One Dunlop, don't you?  ... Afraid that means
you lose the hole.  And, of course, the match.")

       Joe Hartley - UNIX/network Consultant - jh@brainiac.com
     12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI  02882 - vox 401.782.9042
Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa

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