Jeff Berry worked for Dave Arneson in 1979 and could reveal the following about the life at Adventure Games (AGI):
I was working for Dave at the time at Adventure Games, as the chief 'Tekumel Boat Person' (as he described us); the staff at AGI was made up of Dave's friends from the First Minnesota ACW reenactment group, and none of them were fantasy gamers of any type. Ken Fletcher and I were the only people there with any fantasy gaming experience; Richard was a free-lance author, and rarely in the shop.Why didn't the game do better? At this time, D&D was still a young game and it would seem that the market was hungry for fantasy RPGs. If RuneQuest could coexist with D&D, why not AiF? Was it simply not good enough? Jeff Berry has the following explanation:
The problem with AiF wasn't that is was a bad game or anything, it was simply one of no marketing. Dave had bought it back from Excalibur with the money that the first of his settlements with TSR, and like many other of the AGI product line was more or less just there because Dave or one of his friends had done the game. There was no real 'in-house' support for this game like there was for, say, "Compleat Brigadier", and it has to be said that there wasn't much support for fantasy gaming of any kind in house. AGI's Tekumel line existed because of Dave's personal friendship with Phil, and my presence at AGI was a direct consequence of that. It always amazed the AGI staff that we 'boat people', so-called because we lived on pallets in AGI's basement under tarps (it was a very wet basement!) could sell our rather recondite products and the main AGI line never seemed to sell at all; I kept pointing out that one needed to run games at conventions and advertise the heck out of a game, otherwise it'd never sell to anyone.
Recently there has been speculations to whether it would be possible to get ahold of the lisence to the game so it could be published again. Unfortunately, Rafael just shared the following on Dragonsfoot today:
The news back then were, as the admin staff over at the CI discussed in various threads, that with Dave Arneson's death, apparently all of his rpg-related IP reverted to WotC. INCLUDING AiF. - This was apparently part of the agreement that allowed the licensing of the BM d20 line through several companies associated with Arneson. A dead end, it seems.Though IANAL, as to the Comeback Inn crew, things so far look far more like we will go on an produce our own setting some day instead of continuing DA's work.
So, the chances of seeing Adventures in Fantasy back in print seem very low indeed. Thankfully there are other things happening in the Old School community and many out there who are interested in honoring Dave's legacy in any way they can.