Bill Owen Q&A
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Post Posted: Sat May 24, 2008 12:57 am 
 

Bill Owen wrote:*Here's a rather obscure JG factoid:  did anyone know that we took the original CSIO Guide art from an old drawing of Rothenburg-ob-Tauber in Germany? It's a real place, old, with a wall around it and on the Romantic Road between Frankfurt & Munich roughly. The streetscene is a famous view of the buildings that is featured on lots of travel posters and brochures.

Here's a sample photo; the spot is called Ploenlein:
http://travel.webshots.com/photo/108409 ... 2854mJngOg

Judges Guild Comes Home To The City State Tour!



Strange thing is, we spend so much time exhanging Judges Guild trivia that we did know this.


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Post Posted: Sat May 24, 2008 2:11 am 
 

robertsconley wrote:That is actually a tough question. I can do that easily with layers but it doesn't look as pleasing with this forest broken up by these blobs of text. I suppose for the Map 19 I will do it because it has large unbroken expenses of forest.


You pointed out the limitations of 5/8" hexes and this indeed is a bane of wargamers from time immemorial (at least the 1950's!)

Each hex is either 1 thing or multiple things. But if multiple, it begs the question of how to handle the fractions of different terrain items. Yuck. Keeping it simple is more appropriate.

Following are some wild ideas that may be as old as the hills and my old 53-year-old brain is tricking me into thinking they are mostly brand new!

I thought of idea that springs from how SPI used to have blocked hex sides with heavy black bars when (for example) no roads crossed a given hex side and thus took more Movement Points to cross. It occurs to me that you could assign a point value for EACH hex side beyond the default  condition of "normal" so that crossing a hex side might indeed be one value and entering a given terrain type, another value.

Of course, this may not be practical in "blind" verbal relaying fashion of how FRP games are played and/or undercut the lyrical quality of how they are best described. Meaning do we really want explorers marking their maps' hexsides with numeric data instead of something more poetic like "here be dragons".

But I present this because someone else may be inspired with a practical variation!

Another point that I assume can't be original to me is that each turn the party always moves just 1 hex and one marks off varying amounts of TIME instead. This strikes me as more acceptable if wanting to relay lyrical information.

And of course. one may not even move one hex because one is lost, sidetracked or, well, not sure why!

I assume that a big part of the fun of exploring the Wilderlands or ones barony is the discovery--a sheer sense of surprise, shock and serendipity. Plus detours, distraction and disgust... sort of Odyssey writ small.

Weird effects like in this hex everything is of a blue tint. Why? And the lingering wonder when you don't find out tonight, next week or later on; then rediscovery when you return and it's (fill in the blank). And the Judge secretly wonders too--why?!

Something I got from Bob (and I think he was called out on this by Gary Gygax at a convention) was that he'd roll for all sorts of things that other Dungeonmasters would just DO. Meaning, the game was often a surprise to US as Judges too! I think it made it more FUN for us but meant relinquishing control.

As the players would be talking to NPC's I'd be rolling dice and I assume it may have seemed like a nervous tic or white noise. But the secret is out: I was rolling the old Postive/Neutral/Negative dice! For those few that don't know this (with 2D6): 2-5 degrees of Negative, 6-8 Neutral* and 9-12 degrees of Postitive.

And if you all know about this, forgive me for (as my kinsmen in the Isles say) teaching ones grandma to suck eggs!

*and I suppose a 6 got'em a wince face from me but no verbal response, an 8 eyebrowse rising and a 7, poker face. Some of this was just so ingrained that I only remember it now consciously as if watching a movie of me then.

PS now a days one could probably get an accomplished geek to make a digital dice roller with parts from Radio Shack that you just tap with your pinky. But most of just LIKE to roll dice!


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Post Posted: Sat May 24, 2008 7:23 am 
 

serleran wrote:What would you consider to be the "must-have" Judges Guild products, from a historical or "roleplaying value?" That is, essentially, your favorite stuff.


Good questions.


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Post Posted: Sat May 24, 2008 8:00 am 
 

If so, then there are ways to rig the shot so that the resulting picture will be an almost exact copy (To scale) of the original subject.

Probably not a practical idea if doing limited copy work, but back when I was seriously playing around with a copy stand that I had, I went to a local shop that would cut glass to size and purcased a piece of non glare glass.  Worked quite well to hold the piece of artwork in place and a good macro lens made short work of taking the photos.  I'm not sure what the largest size of copy stand available today would be, and perhaps would be an exepnse best left up to those whose projects justify the expense.

One thing that could be explored is to see if any local professional photograpy shops offer "workrooms" for rent or would allow the rental of copy stands big enough to handle the work.  Just remember ... a macro lens is your friend when doing copy work.

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Post Posted: Sun May 25, 2008 10:58 am 
 

WereSteve wrote:If so, then there are ways to rig the shot so that the resulting picture will be an almost exact copy (To scale) of the original subject.

Probably not a practical idea if doing limited copy work, but back when I was seriously playing around with a copy stand that I had, I went to a local shop that would cut glass to size and purcased a piece of non glare glass.  Worked quite well to hold the piece of artwork in place and a good macro lens made short work of taking the photos.  I'm not sure what the largest size of copy stand available today would be, and perhaps would be an exepnse best left up to those whose projects justify the expense.

One thing that could be explored is to see if any local professional photograpy shops offer "workrooms" for rent or would allow the rental of copy stands big enough to handle the work.  Just remember ... a macro lens is your friend when doing copy work.


Yes, I agree.

Bill could allow a print shop with the correct sort of scanning/plotting equipment to scan the original into a computer as a TIFF, or JPEg, or some other format.

However, I told Bill before, there is some small chance for an extension tear if a tear already exists (or for truly fragile maps/documents)  otherwise the feed scanner is about as safe as can be and much cheaper than renting a studio or a studios advanced equipment (surely?).

The possibility of damage is (I think) what is making Bill search for affordable alternative ways to accomplish his goals. And rental of a studio (Or just its relevant equipment) might be a good one.


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Post Posted: Sun May 25, 2008 2:45 pm 
 

Aneoth wrote:SNIP
The possibility of damage is (I think) what is making Bill search for affordable alternative ways to accomplish his goals. And rental of a studio (Or just its relevant equipment) might be a good one.


I will be talking to Bob Jr before too long about this project. And we'll see first what he thinks about it before I go to the next step.

THANKS to all for making great suggestions!


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Post Posted: Sun May 25, 2008 5:12 pm 
 

It's not all that affordable, but I've had large scale ink drawings photographically reproduced at large scale with incredible acuracy and preservation of detail (used to to measured drawings of cathedrals and the likes for Historic Scotland in my hayday).

From what I remember of the process, the drawing is laid flat on a vacuum table, lit and photographed from above with a special camera. This produces a large negative on film which can then be printed because it captures a lot more detail than a regular 35mm camera.

Don't know if there's a modern digital equivelant.


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Post Posted: Tue May 27, 2008 12:27 am 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:It's not all that affordable, but I've had large scale ink drawings photographically reproduced at large scale with incredible acuracy and preservation of detail (used to to measured drawings of cathedrals and the likes for Historic Scotland in my hayday).

From what I remember of the process, the drawing is laid flat on a vacuum table, lit and photographed from above with a special camera. This produces a large negative on film which can then be printed because it captures a lot more detail than a regular 35mm camera.

Don't know if there's a modern digital equivelant.


Thanks for the idea. There may be someone with this nearby. Decatur may be too small but U of I and state capital is nearby.

I will keep you-all in the loop as this project either moves forward or gets sidetracked.


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Post Posted: Tue May 27, 2008 10:19 pm 
 

Bill,

Since you are still doing mapwork, I was wondering if you could help me. I been successful in locating nearly all of the old zipatone texture that Judges Guild uses except one; Jungle

Image

Do you have any scan or sources where I can this texture?

thanks
Rob Conley

  

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Post Posted: Tue May 27, 2008 10:51 pm 
 

Hi Bill,

In addition to some of Bob's hand drawn maps and scrolls that you auctioned off recently, the other items I found interesting were those two or three monster or NPC stat cards.  Alongside the descriptions I recall there were what looked like cutouts from some sort of comic book pasted on the cards to  illustrate the subject.

Do you happen to know which comic(s) Bob would have culled these images from?  It would be interesting to know since if he were designing a stat card  and knew where he could cutout a suitable illustration, then does it follow that he was a big reader of fantasy comics?  What titles would these have been?

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Post Posted: Wed May 28, 2008 12:30 am 
 

islestrike wrote:Hi Bill,

In addition to some of Bob's hand drawn maps and scrolls that you auctioned off recently, the other items I found interesting were those two or three monster or NPC stat cards.  Alongside the descriptions I recall there were what looked like cutouts from some sort of comic book pasted on the cards to  illustrate the subject.

Do you happen to know which comic(s) Bob would have culled these images from?  It would be interesting to know since if he were designing a stat card  and knew where he could cutout a suitable illustration, then does it follow that he was a big reader of fantasy comics?  What titles would these have been?

Cheers!


Sorry, I don't know which comics they were. I do know that there seemed to be huge stacks of them in his house.

It's funny, while it seems like a good idea to illustrate fantasy creatures in ones product, I'm not so sure. I think that concise written description may be better than either "too much" writing or actual art.

Just my opinion but I realized that every player in a certain game imagined a very different monster than the next person and yet somehow the game continued without problem. If the monster had been illustrated, might that have limited the experience by homogenizing it?

PS I may have written this in another post already so forgive me if I'm repeating myself repetitively.


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Post Posted: Wed May 28, 2008 12:32 am 
 

robertsconley wrote:Bill,

Since you are still doing mapwork, I was wondering if you could help me. I been successful in locating nearly all of the old zipatone texture that Judges Guild uses except one; Jungle

Do you have any scan or sources where I can this texture?

thanks
Rob Conley


I have not seen most of my zipastuff for a long time BUT that doesn't mean I won't reach an archaelogical layer in my basement that will turn them up! I'll let you know if I bump into it.


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Post Posted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 1:04 am 
 

Memorial items featuring my buddy Bob have been uploaded at our website:
www.cafepress.com/judgesguild

Bob Jr and I decided that this might be a nice thing to do, to benefit a local cause like Decatur Area Arts Council, and give family and friends a keepsake of Bob.

I work with the arts council on various projects and think that its programs with kids and adults would be something Bob would have liked. He certainly was a Renaissance man himself re his gifts of drawing and world 'creation'.

If you want to see their site:
http://www.decaturarts.org/

PS 100% of the proceeds go towards this memorial fund... if you would like to do something bigger please contact me or Bob Jr privately.


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Post Posted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 1:30 am 
 

serleran wrote:What would you consider to be the "must-have" Judges Guild products, from a historical or "roleplaying value?" That is, essentially, your favorite stuff.


While the City State map was just mind-blowing in its size (what WERE we thinking by making a map TWICE as big as the average professional wargame... I guess we were part of the fad towards Monster Games with 2+ maps) and detail, my absolute favorite was Tegel Manor. Of all our products, it was the one that we had played in 1975 and we had a great time with it.

Bob may have harbored concerns that we had given the customers enough value up until the end. He mentioned when I visited him at Bob Jr's house. I could only reassure him that we'd blown'em all away with delight.

Really, I think that we may have raised the bar too high and contributed to a sort of need to always do more and bigger.

So Tegel Manor for sure. It was big but not too big. And it had a lot of Bob's oddly successful balance of whimsy and mind-boggling.

I also think that the Judges Shield which may seem a bit homely but it was  a cheap little product that was absolutely essential to playing the game without a photographic memory. I crammed it in (I was good at cramming!) and helped keeping games moving. Otherwise how many times do you have either bog-down as judge/players stop time to look up stuff or the judge just fudges and screws up--leaving a bad taste in the players mouths?

First Fantasy Campaign deserves a mention because we thought having Dave Arneson provide us a product was like having Thor show up to hammer nails. Actually the material arrived in a bit of state of chaos and I was pretty frustrated with pulling it together. Perhaps I should be blamed for anything that doesn't make sense! But getting Bob involved, we fleshed out parts that seemed to need illustration and expansion so that it was certainly a historical item. Of course, I shot myself in the foot big time with the cover but that's what you get for hiring an untrained fool. (Myself.)

My last product Treasury of Archaic Names wasn't particularly fantastic on a certain level but had tremendous staying power in the marketplace so it must have hit a chord with customers. I learned a lot about how names were derived from various things and can now cast a lullaby spell on tour passengers who otherwise can't sleep on moving vehicles by telling them all about it.

Finally the Wilderlands map was a hit on many levels and I won't moan and groan about what I wish I'd done differently herein. You can read earlier emails for these depressing rants.

I had so much fun with making these products, the only sad irony is that I lost MY hobby of games thereby. There is more than one cautionary tale here.

Eventually I would play games again of all types. Now my best memories are more recent of Bob and the wild ideas we'd share while flinging dice at each other (well not quite literally).


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Post Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:11 am 
 

Bill Owen wrote:Memorial items featuring my buddy Bob have been uploaded at our website:
www.cafepress.com/judgesguild


Well, for starters, the Bill Owen Memorial Classic Thong is a must-have!


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Post Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:30 am 
 

FormCritic wrote:
Well, for starters, the Bill Owen Memorial Classic Thong is a must-have!


Did I goof and upload my face on the thong? I thought it was kind of bulk deal and the same art would be on everything.

I'm not gone yet so will have to delete that.


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Post Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:32 am 
 

Bill Owen wrote:
Did I goof and upload my face on the thong? I thought it was kind of bulk deal and the same art would be on everything.

I'm not gone yet so will have to delete that.


Whoops!  I meant the Bob Bledsaw Memorial Classic Thong!  :x

Not really the place I wanna see Bob's face.  8O


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Post Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:21 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:
Whoops!  I meant the Bob Bledsaw Memorial Classic Thong!  :x

Not really the place I wanna see Bob's face.  8O


But he IS smiling!

PS I admit it's in bad taste but Bob had an incredible sense of humor and got a kick out of the original Amazon Thong that I uploaded elsewhere on the site so I took a risk and left it in the product upload.


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