Bill Owen Q&A
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Post Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 2:08 pm 
 

My daughter said I posted the mobile URL so see if this works better on your computer:  

Judges Guild's Bob & Bill: A Cautionary Tale - Kindle edition by Bill Owen. Humor & Entertainment Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.


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Post Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 5:24 pm 
 

Works fine from the UK equivalent link;  

Judges Guild's Bob & Bill: A Cautionary Tale eBook: Bill Owen: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

£3.19... bargain. :)

Thank you for all the additional work, Bill; and for the note, too. I hadn't seen the 2nd edition.

From a quick browse-through 02c that you're still holding back a bit on some of the nice stuff about the nature of the D&D campaign from 1974-6 (too shy to reprint those earliest notes? ;p) which I think is quite important for the overall direction of the hobby given that TSR was still somewhat stuck down in the dungeons when JG came around, even aside from their DIY approach. The dungeon "option constriction" paradigm *is* a very useful one and fundamental to D&D's development/success but almost became a choke-point, IMO; the "bigger picture" in Lake Geneva also not really having had the opportunity to flourish since Rob Kuntz's early "top-down" world-creation efforts, which never made it into print.

More reading to do later in the week and looking forward to that!

(I still haven't picked up a copy of the original Tegel Manor map, though :/ => http://www.cafepress.com/judgesguild.280126748 )

Best wishes & Trust things are doing well in general "down south" (I've the same sand dune view with nothing beyond all the way to the North Pole here, btw!)
David.


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Post Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:12 pm 
 

Thanks David! It's good to know that it works way over there where you are staring down the polar bears.

While it seems as if I have held back on the D&D campaign, I really don't have any more specific memories to pass on. It seemed like a rollicking group and perhaps the "adrenalin" just erased a lot of those memories. On the other hand, maybe they are deeply stored and might take more TNT to blast them loose. To accomplish that breakthrough, I have had the idea of getting 5 of the original party together for a Skype conference call and see what the kibbitzing might turn up.

My money is on Marc Summerlott. Being a machinist he's always been a precise sort of guy AND he has judged or played D&D for nearly the entire time since 1974! The problem is that he just doesn't seem to get into forums, email and so while I have asked him to help with explanations of "how we did it then", he hasn't put anything in, so far.

This is not to denigrate Craig, Carl & Mark's input as they probably will have much good stuff to add also. Perhaps the chemistry will harken back to that time.

Some of you may have come into D&D 'cold' without any wargaming background but I came from being a judge of dozens of miniature games and hosting a variety of boardgame extravaganzas also. To me it was very natural to try lots of different magic and combat systems. It's what we did already routinely. Frequently the changes were evolutionary rather than revolutionary. And we did not document much.

Bob may have and perhaps Bob Jr. will find something in the papers. I have been surprised at what he had literally from our first days in business. Things I had never seen because we operated in such a compartmentalized way: Bob with product creation, assembly and accounting and I will layout and orders. So I inserted some of this in the edition.

Indeed very few people saw the extra material from the second edition because the hard-bound coffee table edition was so expensive via Print On Demand. So the Kindle allows me to get the material out there this way.

I am very pleased that the photographs look a LOT better than some of the Kindle books I have read. But I researched best practices on how to present them to maximize the quality while keeping the file size small enough to make the book inexpensive. I figured that I already made the ideal edition from the standpoint of gorgeous, large photographs and scans on the premium quality paper of the 2nd edition and that the Kindle was never designed for ideal picture reproduction. So my focus was on making it very inexpensive this time. Yet the photos really are better than I expected.

Now I have 2 more books that I could Kindlize ...a war memoir of a guy from WWII and a history from the early days of WWII. So I'm having fun with this! And of course there are other TOP SECRET projects that I can hardly contain myself and not mention. Never hire a marketing guy to be a spy.


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Post Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:14 pm 
 

Oh, BTW I just noticed again how it says that my book is in the Humor And Entertainment section of Kindle. I am puzzled about that as a I chose FRP and Miniatures... I thought.


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Post Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:13 pm 
 

Bill Owen wrote in Bill Owen Q&A:My daughter said I posted the mobile URL so see if this works better on your computer:

Judges Guild's Bob & Bill: A Cautionary Tale - Kindle edition by Bill Owen. Humor & Entertainment Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.


Purchased. Thanks for making this version available, Bill.


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Post Posted: Tue Oct 14, 2014 6:17 am 
 

Thanks Mstro Z!


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Post Posted: Tue Oct 14, 2014 7:55 am 
 

Just a little note about the kindle book: if you look at the web preview or cloud reader, some of the acronyms like ifw or icd appear in lower case letters (as I just rendered them). But in the actual Kindle book they appear as "small caps" IFW or ICD instead. I thought I goofed up something but apparently the preview version does not take into account character formatting.

If those acronyms were really all lower case letters, it would give the book a 1960s ee cummings sort of vibe. Which is no longer cute in my mind. I was going to fix that this morning but first downloaded a preview onto my "Kindle" (it's actually an iPhone version since only my wife has a real Kindle), and the small caps are correctly displayed.

To those who have bought the Kindle edition, there are bound to be other grotesque errors (besides inelegant writing) that if you find'em, would you let me know? Thanks!

PS I think that if an author makes a corrected edition, those who have bought it already can download it free of charge and I think there's a way I can contact all indirectly to let them know. I am just learning this e-publishing thing! To-date the limit of my e-publishing knowledge has been pdf's.


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Post Posted: Sat Nov 01, 2014 2:16 am 
 

Although I still aim to pick up a print edition, I was mighty pleased to be able to add this one to my Kindle collection (and for only $4.99). Enjoying it so far. Thanks Bill!


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Post Posted: Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:00 am 
 

Thanks THG! I appreciate hearing from gamer/readers.


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Post Posted: Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:02 am 
 

As much as I have to come to like Kindle for its convenience of carry in my phone and especially the instant delivery (living in the southern extremis of the globe), I know that some people really like physical books. So here I want to announce here that I am planning to release a nearly identical print edition to the 3rd edition for Kindle. The book size will be 6x9", 148 pages* with full-color cover.

I was planning to do the photos in Grayscale only, on cream-colored inside pages to keep the price moderate.

But being that it is Print On Demand through Create Space (Amazon's POD unit I guess), I can't see any reason not to offer a color photos version also (on white paper of course). The colored photos version is also questionable since most of the pages will not have color on them because the photos being grouped onto a page(s) of "plates". If there were a vendor that would only charge for the pages that ARE color then I could consider using that. But I don't know of a POD like that If no one one bought the color page version, I will have just lost a few hours of my life and if 2 people to do I will have converted those hours to a valuation of about $3/hour!

*I couldn't keep to the original plan of making the book identical to Kindle because of the total difference beween how pages are displayed. So I have added a few pages of photos/scans. Namely a Diplomacy variant Bob made on posterboard, sales list by month which seems to say that we did not start wholesale sales until February which is later than I remember. I tracked per-item sales by month for some time after leaving because of my royalty so the period is beyond my departure in spring of 1978. The text is the same.


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Post Posted: Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:25 am 
 

As a full disclosure, the 3rd edition does not add anything extra about how Bob's campaign was run. That was the only caveat that reviewers of the first edition made. I know a lot of you guys that is of prime interest and I just have not dredged up any more written materials or memories to pass on. So I don't want anyone to buy this and be disappointed.

I wrote the book with two other goals (than describing the campaign) and that was dealing with the wonder of Bob's friendship and the business aspect of DIY gamer publishing. I know that the latter is very tempting for people to get into as they have a fun time with their unique approaches and the light bulb turns on "why don't we sell this?" That can work out fine and that's great but I think that the wise counsel is to consider what sort of changes your hobby may go though. Like extinction. And how if failure doesn't get you success an too. But there are some unique aspects to small scale publishing that I try to go into in the book and "exit strategies". You get into the "dungeon" and have a bag of loot; how do you get out? I deal with that at length in the new edition. If only I had that to read at age 23!

While my role in the RPG hobby was modest, I wanted to produce a mini-autobiography from the gaming standpoint because I think that there is a tendency to put some of the big guys on pedestals and I am not aware of their ever writing a homely version of their game playing times like I have done. I wanted to show it as accessibly ordinary. The key difference between Bob and I was the incredible breadth of his reading versus my preference for miniatures games and the graphic design.

Everyone has unique interests and you can't really force them. I remember Bob pushing me to do original writing of dungeon/wilderlands settings. He saw my bookshelf and said that I should just use that but at that age I had not read all of those having bought some of them with good intention to read eventually, cherry-picking bits out of some, or, as "what the book would say about me"--superficial, yes, but all so common a reason to buy a number of products. I was a game fan and Bob was a Swords & Sorcery fan.

Now back to the primary interest for many. In November I will make it a point to get as many of the original campaign on a Skype conference call to go over the old days with special attention paid to how we did it back then and the evolution of that. Maybe the familiar voices (and faces if we can get everyone to have a camera on) will help me remember more. So stay tuned!


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Post Posted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 5:47 pm 
 

I am pleased to report that the printed copy version of the Third Edition of the JG history is "up" at Create Space and can be found at:
Judges Guild's Bob & Bill: A Cautionary Tale

When you click there you can see the description. Please note two things particularly:
1. Photos/scans are black and white
2. The edition is nearly identical to the Kindle version of the Third Edition in respect to text
3. There are some extra photos and scans as I mentioned in an earlier post.

So for those of you who like a physical book, this is a MUCH better value than either of the first 2 editions at Lulu which have less material BUT have larger photos/scans. I suppose you could say that the first 2 editions have a bit more design insofar as the photos are scattered through the book whereas they are mostly gathered into pages of "plates" in the Third Edition similar to how old time books did because they used cheap paper for the text pages and quality paper for the photo pages.

I hope you enjoy it but if you don't feel free to besiege the Tower of the Elephant catapulting any dead animals into my castle courtyard herein. Then I will give you my feeble explanations from the ramparts.  :?


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Post Posted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 5:58 pm 
 

They say that it will be "up" at Amazon in 3-5 days and might be at like one book store in Ulan Bator in 6-600 weeks. So if you are within an ox cart's ride of Ulan, pop in and advise the store's carrier sneetch to fly off with the ISBN/EAN13 are: 1503071332 / 9781503071339

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Post Posted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 7:41 pm 
 

Thoroughly enjoyed the book, Bill! Thanks for sharing this with everyone. It was, in my opinion, too short. Or maybe I just read fast, hard to tell. The "what if" scenario about potential buyers of your share was very intriguing - hard to tell how that scenario could have played out, but fun to think about nonetheless.

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Post Posted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 7:58 pm 
 

Thanks Tom! Perhaps it could have been fluffed up to make it longer but at the 3 stages* I wrote it, I just ran out of memories. And I think I hoped that the hundreds of pictures were each "worth a 1000 words" but perhaps with Kindle particularly seem so small that they don't have the impact that they did in the larger editions. All the same, even if the book was a tiny morsel, I'm glad it was thoroughly enjoyable.

Unrelated progress report (but might address the "too short" issue): I have now made overtures to 4 other guys in Bob's campaign (& waiting on 2 replies) to have a Skype video group chat and see if we can stir up specific memories about how we did things back then with specific words on combat/magic systems and their evolution. I think one of the things that would be worth trying to grapple with is Bob's approach. My never having played in another person's campaign, I don't think about style or approach of the Judge any more than the fish is aware of the water he swims in and "breathes". So stayed tuned to this spot because I will try to provide more details asap.

*Underlying the writing was something of the stages of grief and perhaps that held me back initially but memory not getting sharper.

TollHouseGolem wrote in Bill Owen Q&A:Thoroughly enjoyed the book, Bill! Thanks for sharing this with everyone. It was, in my opinion, too short. Or maybe I just read fast, hard to tell. The "what if" scenario about potential buyers of your share was very intriguing - hard to tell how that scenario could have played out, but fun to think about nonetheless.

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Post Posted: Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:52 pm 
 

paging Bill Owen!

Interesting Auction next week over at Bonhams, Thought you would appreciate a look at this!

Important Maritime Paintings and Decorative Art
Bonhams : Important Maritime Paintings & Decorative Arts


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:59 am 
 

Thanks but my budget for naval art acquisition is limited to non-rare South American postage stamps!

Speaking of naval battles in South American waters, we have had a couple of refights of the River Plate battle of 75 years ago. One being with older guys never played wargames before (a success and shown below) and the other younger ones who had diverse gaming backgrounds including FRP.
Image

Next week I hope to have another such game as there are several who want to try it out. Good to do in the afternoon when the summer sun is strong enough to drive us indoors.


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Post Posted: Mon Jul 04, 2016 7:50 pm 
 

It's 18 months since I last posted and now I am the one who looks south and sees nothing but Antarctica but it's only 55 degrees out and very rainy right now.

Anyway, I just realized today that it was exactly the 40th anniversary of Bob & I and shaking hands to start our partnership, Judges Guild!


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