Bill Owen Q&A
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Post Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:27 am 
 

I have a 15% off coupon for Lulu if someone wants to buy something at http://www.lulu.com/gamedesign ...it's a good through July 20.

On a different matter, while it may not be on their website yet but sent off certificates by the Belize Express Mail to Bob Jr* and he took them to Decatur Blueprint to pick up full-size copies of the original city state maps (no name city) and forward all on to Noble Knight to sell http://www.nobleknight.com.

*He put a notice with a portion of the certificate pictured on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/judgesguild

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The 2 fake signatures in the middle were from Bob's Umpyr Ignoblus certificate that he gave to Marc and I for helping with judging the original campaign.


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Post Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:43 pm 
 

That's really RAD


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Post Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:33 pm 
 

Is that the same re-printed map I bought from you about two years ago?
That one did not include a certificate.
Is that new just for the NKGs printings?


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Post Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:02 pm 
 

Gnat the Beggar wrote:Is that the same re-printed map I bought from you about two years ago?
That one did not include a certificate.
Is that new just for the NKGs printings?


Yes, we signed the maps on that edition. It is the same map but because I couldn't in a practical manner find a blueprint shop here (maybe 90 miles away and overpriced) to sign the maps, I had the idea of making a certificate to ship up to Bob Jr. All of which happened in 7 days from mailing here to mailing by Bob Jr (after his signing the certs) at Decatur, because of the Mayan runners of the Belizean Express Mail service!

I don't know if you can read the bogus signatures in the middle that Bob 'signed' back in 1975: JRR Tolkien and Sauron!


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Post Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:20 pm 
 

Yes, saw those.
Nice touch...  8)


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Post Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:51 pm 
 

1. I talked to Marc Summerlott a few weeks ago about an unusual project that I heard about. Having never seen it (so it must have been made after I left in 1978) and never been published, I shouldn't comment on it. However, I knew that he was puzzling about how to help it see the light of day and had had a brainstorm about how to make it a practical print project. So... I stand by to see if he needs me to help with it. He's very busy with a non-game project and so it could be awhile. Or soon if he's a Decatur Delegatur.

2. Meanwhile, I was wondering about inflation and had a wild hair to look up shadowstats.com which is the gold standard for calculating real inflation rather than the bizarrely cooked statistics that the government foists off (so that they can lower social security payments etc.). Taking the City State package of $9, the government says that it should go for $41 36 years later, implying that the dollar has lost about 78% of its value. But shadowstats says $161! Or 94% of its value (sounds about right).

3. This also made me realize how unrealistic publishing expectations have gotten. We offered a 1 color (with only covers in 2 colors) product of impressive dimensions (by the virgin standards of the hobby) for both map size/detail and pages of text/charts. And being first to market meant that Bob and I only needed to invest 6,800 2012 dollars ($400 in 1976) to get there.

Yet, the closest (that I'm aware of) JG successor, James Mishler's products had much higher production values, probably more words per page and I presume more consistent, plausible shtick. And though I have not studied his pricing, it probably was more in line with what the government's false statistics proposed than what it deserved. The core problem I see is that while the market was much larger, it was much more fragmented. The lines of communication (The Dragon/GenCon) did not exist or at least at moderate costs and many of those few that did hear about his offerings had impossibly-high expectations for 'value' (being product 'perfection' divided by dollars).

It would seem that he would be a good person to partner with my 1980-birthed Barony & Boodle project but I admit that the likelihood of its producing a living wage, is unknown. And so the hobby returns to commerce fueled mainly by a labor of love. And we know that you can't live on love.

4. Put another way, how many Acaeum forumites would invest even $161 (let alone $1610) in a project like this B&B to get input/recognition and gain potential for an unknown return? I'd guess optimistically a low of 19 and high of 46. And even the latter is just minimum wage for less than a half year (assuming all were published POD and needed no other capital expenditure).  8O


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Post Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:22 am 
 

Bill Owen wrote:2. Meanwhile, I was wondering about inflation and had a wild hair to look up shadowstats.com which is the gold standard for calculating real inflation rather than the bizarrely cooked statistics that the government foists off (so that they can lower social security payments etc.). Taking the City State package of $9, the government says that it should go for $41 36 years later, implying that the dollar has lost about 78% of its value. But shadowstats says $161! Or 94% of its value (sounds about right).


Tell me about it! In the old days, we could count on finding several kilograms of gold coins in just about every basement or tunnel we looked, with only a few hours of dungeoneering effort required. Compare that with today's minimum wage of $7 an hour in relation to gold prices, yielding an inflation rate of 100-bazillion%. Once again, the government bean-counters have been deceiving us.

  

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Post Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:13 am 
 

But we were pikers then, if only we had currency, then we would talking about real money in stacks up to Jack's beanstalk castle.  :D

Speaking of ways to spend your real money, this week only, both 1st & 2nd editions' hard cover JG history versions are 25% off at http://www.lulu.com/gamedesign ...and at http://www.lulu.com they have an coupon worth another 15% off through Friday 9/21/12... first go to the lulu home page for the coupon code which is case sensitive and may be unique to viewer.


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Last edited by Bill Owen on Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:10 pm 
 

As we are about to celebrate independence day here, I wanted to pass on what happened to one of the royalty checks I sent to a certain Guildmaster:

Yes I received the previous 25.23 check mentioned but, (true story -- can't make this up) had a wounded tomcat hop up onto my desk and bleed all over it, while I was away. I did not wish to deliver a check to the bank looking as if it came from Sharon Tate's house, so I discarded it. You can stop the payment on it, if you wish. No biggie (:


But of course I replaced it and it's in the hands of Belize's most reliable pegaus.


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Post Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:18 pm 
 

Bill, if you could be so kind, please take a look at my post about The Judges Guild Journal issues M (June/July 77) and N (Aug/Sep 77), which each mention the new D&D Basic Set (now generally referred to as Holmes Basic) in the Jocular Judgements column on the front page:

http://zenopusarchives.blogspot.com/201 ... -book.html

I have a few questions for you about this:
(1) You were the editor of JGJ in mid-1977. Did you write these Jocular Judgements columns? The section below it, Shrewd Slants from a Sagacious Sage, is signed in each issue (to Bill in M, and to Maed Makiskatakor in N), but JJ is not signed and it's sort of an editorial so I thought you might have written them.

(2) Even if you didn't do you have any memories of JJ receiving the pre-publication copy of the rules?

(3) Did the new Basic Set inspire JG in any way? I'm not sure if any the JG modules from 77-80 are specifically for low level, but they did eventually release some introductory level modules for AD&D in 1981-82 (Trial by Fire, Corsairs of Tallibar, each by Mike Wilson and reviewed here on the Acaeum by Gnat the Beggar).


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Post Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:30 pm 
 

Zenopus wrote:snip
(1) You were the editor of JGJ in mid-1977. Did you write these Jocular Judgements columns? The section below it, Shrewd Slants from a Sagacious Sage, is signed in each issue (to Bill in M, and to Maed Makiskatakor in N), but JJ is not signed and it's sort of an editorial so I thought you might have written them.

(2) Even if you didn't do you have any memories of JJ receiving the pre-publication copy of the rules?

(3) Did the new Basic Set inspire JG in any way? I'm not sure if any the JG modules from 77-80 are specifically for low level, but they did eventually release some introductory level modules for AD&D in 1981-82 (Trial by Fire, Corsairs of Tallibar, each by Mike Wilson and reviewed here on the Acaeum by Gnat the Beggar).


A1 Bob wrote most of the articles in JGJ and you can tell by the awesome alliterations and the breathless style of tantalizing tao telemetry :) ...oddly enough, I had little concern for having credit or thinking about the consequences of having items attributed to me. You can tell it was Bob too by how he said JUNIOR Guildmaster which was to tweak my immaturity at age 22.

A2 Sadly I don't remember Basic rules at all. If I had them I would have long since found and sold them in the break-up of the vast collection. Even if I had no recollection of the rules themselves, I would have appreciated the fact that it was a pre-publication copy. I had received handmade samples at the toy show in NYC (e.g. with wooden grips where the production cap gun had plastic or a GI Joe cap in fabric that was produced in plastic) and so prized these one-of-a-kind items. I expect that I got it out of the PO Box and gave it to Bob to look at and he had that copy from then on.

I suppose I should mention at that point, our way of playing D&D had long since gotten memorized with evolutionary sub-clauses mostly undocumented. So my interest in Official D&D was merely the effort to produced an organized, consistent version e.g. collecting all the monsters in alpha order was a big project and compacting them into the JG Shield. I think making D&D more accessible this way was the one thing that I did (besides helping light Bob's fuse) that helped D&D gamers in a broad fashion.

A3 Not me. And I can't uncover Bob's creative process. I think it had something to do with insomnia--seriously. But I don't think I realized it at the time. We were getting so many submissions from Guildmembers (which was more than i expected) that I really provided minor and occasional gaming material. There was so much to running a business, graphics, printers, dealer and author interface that I got further and further away from any playing of any games. That Bob and Marc maintained so much gaming is a feat worth remarking on.

After running a campaign post-JG in 1979 and/or 1980, I maintained the notion to produce a Simple Fantasy Game and also Baronies & Boodle but that might be as close as I got to an inspiration from Basic D&D. At the risk of dredging up imperfect memories, I don't think that either of us were impressed with Basic D&D per se but humility must put that beside our own Olympic Self-Regard that afflicted both of us to an embarrassing degree. Later on Bob and I, sadder and wiser, could look at that phase with more detachment.

Wish I could have summoned up some real game rules memories for you!


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Last edited by Bill Owen on Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Posted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:26 am 
 

Thank you for the thoughtful response, Bill. I always enjoy hearing stories from back then.


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Post Posted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 6:53 pm 
 

Zenopus wrote:Bill, if you could be so kind, please take a look at my post about The Judges Guild Journal issues M (June/July 77)


"The publishers of National Lampoon have begun publication of an adult-fantasy magazine... definitely rated 'X' (we cannot recommend this one)."

How does this apparent reference to Heavy Metal relate to that oh-so-creepy blurb on the Holmes box: "The Original Adult Fantasy Role-Playing Game"? The people demand answers!

  

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Post Posted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 7:09 pm 
 

As H. L. Mencken said about the people: Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

So, no other answer for you people! :)


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:32 am 
 

Has anyone seen James Mishler's announcement of pdf game aids? http://adventuresingaming2.blogspot.com ... games.html

I hope everyone buys something from him because he directly took the mantle from Bob and got burned by the lack of response then. And at $8 his pricing is equivalent to us producing the first City State package for 50 cents in 1976 dollars.


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:26 pm 
 

Hey Bill,

I was going to ask you an off-topic question.

Do you have any idea on what is going with McAfee and the Belize government?

Some of it reads like a spy/action novel from Fleming or Ludlum...

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Post Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:13 am 
 

Not really. I've read a bit too. He's over on the main island that most people visit (Ambergris Caye). I'm on the mainland, 75 miles inland on Guatemalan border and much more sedate and secure here.

Many of have wished for great wealth and he may be an all-too-common tale of how that might work out.


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Post Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:16 pm 
 

Bill Owen wrote:Not really. I've read a bit too. He's over on the main island that most people visit (Ambergris Caye). I'm on the mainland, 75 miles inland on Guatemalan border and much more sedate and secure here.

Many of have wished for great wealth and he may be an all-too-common tale of how that might work out.


Hey Bill,

Thanks for the reply.
I guess we'll see how it plays out.

Best regards,
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Post Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:32 pm 
 

Just as a little aside. Rich people here attract attention. And of course if you're a foreigner they assume you are rich. And the reality is that a middle class person (like me about a median as they come) IS relatively rich compared to most of the people in a 3rd world country.


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:23 pm 
 

2 bits of news here from the Tower of the Elephant:

One of my acquaintances is friends with a McAfee buddy who came down to Belize. He told my pal that McAfee has made it out of Belize alive so that chapter of intrigue is over.

My 2nd edition, big whopping, hardcover, full-color, 80-page, coffee-table JG History is available for 50% off the 25% discount price off $149.95, so instead of $112.46, you get an addition 50% off that price or $56.23 or $56.23 final price. Total Savings: $93.72! You go to http://www.lulu.com/gamedesign and enter coupon code IHEART50.*

*Hurry offer ends Feb 08, 2013 at 11:59 PM PST.


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