Saturday, August 8, 2015

Braunstein Inspired RPG Gets Name Change.

Back in May, I reported an RPG called "Braunstein!" that initially got gamers excited, but then disappointed when they learned that the game had little to do with David Wesely or the original Braunstein Games, which in many was were the predecessors of Blackmoor and D&D. David Wesely was generous enough not to want to shut this game down right away, but instead made a deal with the designers.

After meeting in person with Wesely, the designers have now come to an agreement that their RPG will operate under a lisence from Wesely and be renamed Barons of Braunstein. I think this is a great name and it also removes some of the misleading notions that this game is the same game that Wesely created, which is one of the things that got some fans upset in the first place. Apparently the revised version, whenever it comes out will also feature material by Wesely himself!

It is nice when stories like this get a satisfactory conclusion. I am sure that the Olde House Rules folks were unaware of the problems surrounding their original game. With self-publishing becoming so easy these days, many would be game designers with little knowledge of IP laws can easily step into dangerous or unethical territory. I think that fans play an important role in reporting these issues so that other similar, or even more serious cases can be remedied in the future as well! 


Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy Birthday Gary Gygax :)

What are you guys doing in gaming today? :)

Photo lifted from Jon Peterson's Blog.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Clerics of Blackmoor

My good friend and fellow Blackmoor aficionado DH Boggs just wrote an excellent article on the Clerics of Blackmoor over at his blog. Well worth a read. Clerics were the one class that originated in the Blackmoor Campaign. You can also read some more comments by myself and others on this topic over here.

Back in 2011 I wrote a piece on Mike Carr's character in Dave Arneson's Blackmoor campaign, Bishop Carr, who might well have been the first Cleric in the history of D&D.

Would you be interested in playing a Cleric in a Blackmoor Campaign?

Image source:


Monday, June 8, 2015

Flying Buffalo's Rick Loomis Retires from Origins Game Fair

Photo by Tim Riley
Rick Loomis, founder of Flying Buffalo Games (Tunnels & Trolls, Grimtooth Traps etc) just annouced that he is retiring from his positition as President of GAMA, the organization that runs the Origins Game Fair.

Earlier today he posted the following on Facebook:

"Well, Origins is over and I'm on my way home. FYI after many years as President of GAMA (the organization that runs Origins and does other fine things for the industry), I have retired and let someone else start leading/doing the work. Justin Ziran from Wiz Kids is the new President. I will remain on the board as Board Member Emeritus, offering advice whenever I can."

Loomis was friends with Dave Arneson who also for a time owned shares in Flying Buffalo. Dave ended up letting Loomis take over the remaining stock of Arneson's company, Adventure Games  (Adventures in Fantasy, when that company was terminated.

Dave mentioned this episode in his interview with Ciro Alessandro Sacco at the Kyngdoms:

I am a part owner in Flying Buffalo, and I have been so for several years before I founded Adventure Games. When I decided to terminate Adventure Games, Rick Loomis (president and founder of Flying Buffalo) agreed to take over my remaining stock. It is a reputable company with a wonderfull President and he is also a good friend: the choice was natural. 

It was also through Rick Loomis and Flying Buffalo that Dave met Michael Stackpole.

This blog author thanks Rick for his work for GAMA and wishes him luck on future endeavours!


PS: I normally do not pull quotes from people's facebook walls. However, since this post had already been shared by several people I am making an exception. Hope you won't mind Mr Loomis!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Blackmoor Dungeoneer Society (Download Available)

Few are the heroes who have braved venturing into the Dungeons of Castle Blackmoor, and fewer still are the ones who have lived to tell the tale. Fortunately for you, if you are one of those individuals, you have also qualified for membership in the Blackmoor Dungeoneering Society!

My friend David, started asking question about this Blackmoor organization in this discussion over at The Piazza. That made me realize that the documents describing the Dungeoneer Society had never been made available to the public.

I have now obtained the documents and they are available here. (Login required) Check it out and learn all about the most exclusive of Adventurer Societies!  How would you use this type of group in your campaigns?


Friday, May 22, 2015

Braunstein! Issue Resolved out of Court

Yesterday, I wrote about the debacle concerning a minor RPG publisher's decicision to make use of the name Braunstein! for their game without consulting with Braunstein creator David Wesely first. Today I have good news regarding this question. David Wesely writes the following:

"I have received a very nice apology from the publishers of the "Braunstein" offered by Drive Thru. They have offered to change the title and delete some of the text; we are in discussions about settling this amicably."

 I think it is great that such an issue can be resolved amicably and without involving lawyers and courts. Misunderstandings can happen and admitting it when you have made a mistake is a great sign of character. I wish the publisher all the best in future endeavours.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Braunstein! Or Do Ethics Matter in OSR Publishing?

In the 1960s, David Wesely created a game he called Braunstein, which relied heavily on roleplaying and individual character motivations as opposed to the more commonly popular strategy miniatures games of the day. Wesely was of course part of the same group of Minnesota Gamers as Dave Arneson, and Wesely's ideas greatly influenced the Blackmoor Campaign.

So you can imagine that when I heard of a new game called Braunstein appearing at an online RPG retailer my curiousity was peaked. Furthermore the description blurb read the following:

"A Drive-Thru exclusive in digital format only! 
Role-playing began with the Braunstein games of the late 1960s. These converted war-games emphasized personal interactions and setting over complex rules and excessive mechanics... Braunstein! is written in this style, being designed for historical adventure games in the 4th through 15th centuries, but expandable through the early 16th if so desired. The judge need only choose a historical book(s) on the period they wish to chronicle and use these rules to create characters and resolve unpredictable situations using extremely simple (just 18 pages) mechanics. The rest is pure interaction! History is the best, most richly-detailed setting around, but Braunstein! also has simple rules for introducing real magic and witchcraft - perhaps the easiest ever! History or historical fantasy - it's your game now!"

The reference to the Braunstein games of the 1960s further suggested that this was the same game that Wesely used to run. The description on the cover of 1:1 Scale was slightly more confusing. Wasn't Braunstein combat typically handled through small a unit skrimish system? Was this really Wesely's game? One poster on Facebook suggested the game had little resemblence to the descriptions of the Braunsteins of the 1960s.

David Wesely created the Braunstein Games of the 1960s

Yesterday, Mr Wesely posted several places on Facebook that he had nothing to do with this ruleset. He had not been consulted for the contents and the publisher, "Olde House Rules", had never asked Wesely permission to use the name.

Critical voices were raised on various Facebook groups. Was this copyright infringement? Was it ethically right to market the game as something liked to the Braunstein's of the 1960s when the contents appear to have little to do with them? One defender suggested that it was okay because the game was dedicated to Wesely and because they only charge $1.49. 

The product has now been pulled from the online retailer. According to one source, Wesely is in talks with "Olde House Rules" to see if they can come to some sollution instead of getting into legal action. Hopefully the issue can be resolved.

I am no lawyer, but what do you think? Should this small time publisher have been left alone? Do ethics matter in OSR publishing?

More discussion of this topic.