steve jackson

Image from BGG

Steve Jackson, owner and publisher of Steve Jackson Games, will be attending Origins Game Fair 2018 in June. This is your chance to learn to play a game or snag an autograph from the designer who has won multiple Origins awards and created games such as OGRE and Illuminati. He’ll also be part of special events in which you’ll be able to participate.

Mr Jackson will be demoing the following games:

  • Illuminati – 1pm on Wednesday, June 13th
  • The Fantasy Trip – 1pm on Thursday, June 14th
  • OGRE – 1pm on Friday, June 15th (where he will take on 12 players at once)
  • Triplanetary – 1pm on Saturday, June 16th

Steve Jackson Games will have a special room setup in room C150 where he’ll also be available on Sunday, June 17th at 1pm, for a session called “Office Hours with Steve”. He’ll also be available for autographs in this room at 5pm on Friday and Saturday.

Keep an eye on the Steve Jackson Games Facebook page for more information.

First on the list of news in the board game app world is that Zombie Dice on iOS, after being dormant for nearly 7 years, has reanimated and been updated for modern devices.  Now if you are running the latest version of the iOS on your phone or tablet, you will be able to have some fun rolling virtual dice as a zombie now.  You can head over to the App Store now and download the new version for free.

Next a new expansion was announced to the popular Terra Mystica app, and this expansion brings in all the goodies from the Fire and Ice expansion of the board game into the app realm.  This means you will be able to play with all six of the factions in the expansion, from the powerful Yetis to the rule breaking Shapeshifters.  Also being included in this expansion will be a new level of AI, hard level, giving experienced players new challenges in the game.  Expected release for the expansion is the first quarter of 2018, so expect to see it available in the app soon.  You can download Terra Mystica and preview the new factions on the DigiDiced website.

Last, and by no means least, an old series of gamebooks is being converted into an app called Fighting Fantasy Legends.  The book series was called Fighting Fantasy, and was a creation of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone that was published in the 80s.  The books themselves were a mix of choose your own adventure and role playing where you would be choosing the path you would go, but would also be rolling dice for things like combat.  The books were very popular and although they have gone through several publishing companies, they are still available today.  Now, however, Nomad Games has decided to adapt some of these books, City of Thieves, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and Citadel of Chaos, into an app.  In the game you will exploring the different areas and using cards and dice to perform actions and do battle while deciding who you will help.  As you level up you will improve your dice making you stronger, and with tons of choices to be made in a single game, each play to be different than the last.  So if you were a fan of the original books, check out the Youtube trailer and then head on over to the Days of Wonder blog for links to purchase the game in your preferred app store.

Although Steve Jackson Games does not have any shareholders (other than Steve Jackson himself), it does have a lot of people that take part in its success.  The company refers to these folks as stakeholders and their annual report is directed towards them (employees, distributors, retailers, designers, artists, volunteers, and people who play their games).  The annual Stakeholders Report gives a transparent look at some of the inner workings of Steve Jackson Games.

Munchkin and Zombie Dice, the evergreen games of the Steve Jackson Games (SJG) lineup, dropped to $5.5 million (down $500,000) from last year. Even with the drop in sales of these titles, SJG anticipates a break even or slightly profitable year. Due to the decline in sales, SJG plans to try and keep the top ten Munchkin games and expansions available at all times, but everything else will see out-of-stock times with the possibility of going away for the immediate future.

SJG is making slow progress with their employee manual and acknowledges the need to finish this to have more established processes in-house.  Additionally, the company is having a hard time meeting deadlines without involvement from upper management.

Those were the low points of 2017, but there were some high points, too.  The Fantasy Trip, a roleplaying game, is being worked on for Kickstarter.  This is Jackson’s first RPG from 1977, published by Metagaming.  When Metagaming went out of business, the rights to the game were in limbo, but SJG has since secured the rights.

Munchkin still receives a lot of attention from SJG and Munchkin Shakesphere, Munchkin Spell Skool, and the Munchkin Gift Pack all did well in 2017.  The Munchkin Collectible Card Game is set to go on sale on February 21, 2018, as well and is receiving a lot of attention due to the collaboration from Eric Lang and Kevin Wilson.

Steve Jackson Games also partnered with CMON and Asmodee Digital.  Their partnership with CMON allows CMON to create Munchkin-themed board games.  Their partnership with Asmodee Digital is aimed at bringing a Munchkin video game to fans.

In addition to all of these exciting things, the Ogre Video Game launched in October, Munchkin Valentines sold well, the forums remain active, and GURPS added on-demand printing to Amazon.

SJG saw mixed success/failure with the Ogre Miniatures Set 1 (behind on delivery), Ogre Reinforcements (slow sales), and Ghosts Love Candy (reprint was stopped).  SJG changed their staffing structure to try to focus the creative team on making games, but it didn’t work out as planned and the company is exploring new ideas.

Steve Jackson Games saw failure with the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game (took a lot of time from upper management and is costly, but selling well), Port Royal (cheaper European copies are outselling SJG copies), and sjgames.com (it’s an old site that requires a lot of attention).

SJG’s priorities for 2018 are to support the Munchkin CCG, complete all outstanding Kickstarter commitments, maintain support of the original Munchkin games with a new tuck box expansion set and two or three new base games, and launch a successful new edition of Car Wars on Kickstarter with a 2019 or 2020 delivery date.

There’s more covered in the Stakeholder’s report, but this gives a glimpse at 2017 for Steve Jackson Games.

In 1977 RPG’s were still in their infancy when Steve Jackson and Metagaming got together and published one of the first point-based systems out there, The Fantasy Trip. I recall playing it in 1978 or 1979 and being blown away at the flexibility of the system compared to the other RPGs I was familiar with way back then.

Characters in TFT were defined by only 3 stats: Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence (ST, DX, IQ). Humans started with a base of 8 in each stat, and 8 more points to allocate as the player wished. Demi-humans had different starting stats and some special abilities. Action resolution was handled by rolling 3d6 against the relevant stat and attempting to get equal to or lower (after modifiers) than your stat to get a success. It was innovative and successful at the time and my middle school friends and I played often.

Then in 1983, Metagaming shuttered its doors and Steve Jackson was unable to secure the rights to his game, and he began focusing his efforts on a new system that would offer more detail and be more universally applicable, eventually publishing himself as GURPS Basic Set (first edition). This game found even more love and more acclaim for many, many years.

Well, according to this post from the man himself, Steve Jackson Games has finally secured the rights to the eight The Fantasy Trip titles that he wrote. He is still deciding what exactly will become of TFT at this point, but having it back is certainly a cause for players and fans of the game to celebrate.

 

Steve Jackson Games and Cool Mini or Not have announced a multi-year partnership to produce board games based on the popular Munchkin license. The two companies worked loosely together recently on the Munchkin Collectible Card Game (2018), co-designed by CMoN director of game design Eric M. Lang. The press release specifically mentions illustrator John Kovalic, whose iconic artwork is most associated with the early Munchkin games. The first game to be released under the new agreement will be based upon CMoN’s popular Arcadia Quest series, also by Eric Lang, and is expected to deliver in Fall 2018.

You can read the full press release from CMoN here.

Steve Jackson Games has provided a rare glimpse into the inner trials and tribulations of a long-standing successful game company by releasing their Report to the Stakeholders for 2016. As noted on the page, Steve Jackson Games actually has only one shareholder – Steve Jackson. The Report is for Stakeholders, those people intimately involved in the success or failure of this great game company – ie. the employees, distributors, retailers, and of course fans and customers. The Report goes into detail about what products succeeded or failed in 2016, what Kickstarters are suffering, which have succeeded and what games are coming in the future. Some of the highlights include the Munchkin line of games, of which several reprints and homage sets were released. The much anticipated Munchkin CCG, and Car Wars 6th Edition unfortunately were pushed back, and didn’t make it to release in 2016. Steve Jackson did manage to release 5 new games in 2016 – Ogre: Objective 218, Simon’s Cat, I Hate Zombies, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Boardgame and Batman: The Animated Series Dice Game.

There are many more details about 2016 at the house Munchkin built in the official report, which can be read here.

Nomad Games, an independent video games developer and publisher best known for their digital version of Talisman, announces their newest licence, Fighting Fantasy, in conjunction with Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, co-founders of Games Workshop and creators of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.

Fighting Fantasy Legends, a card-based role-playing video game from the familiar gamebook universe, will become available this summer on Steam, iOS, and Android. Players will collect cards and power up their dice during the exploration of Allansia, the continent that provides the setting for the three books featured in the game: City of Thieves, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, and The Citadel of Chaos.

“Tricky decisions lurk around every corner as the player advances through decks of cards themed to their location, including cities, dungeons and more.”

Steve Jackson Games have announced the games that will be coming out at the end of the first quarter of 2017.  The first of those new releases is the latest Munchkin Guest Artist Edition and this time around it’s the base set getting another new coat of paint courtesy of Edwin Huang.  He is best known for his comic series Skullkickers and Street Fighter Unlimited, so his unique art style will bring some life into the drawings of your favorite Munchkin items and abilities.

Next up is an expansion for the sixth edition of Ogre, or even the Ogre Designer’s edition, and that is Ogre Reinforcements.  This additional pack will get you five 3-D units, 56 counters, and 25 overlays to further expand your armies and battlefields.  Not only that, but you will also get five new scenarios written by the big man himself, Steve Jackson.

 

Last we have a second print run of the game Munchkin Oz as well as it’s first expansion, Munchkin Oz 2 – Yellow Brick Road.  The Oz 2 pack will net you an additional 56 cards to go with your Munchkin Oz set, bringing even more crazy and surreal abilities and items into the game.  Also of note is the Munchkin Oz game was originally a Target exclusive, but now the exclusive is over and you will be able to find both packs on your local game store’s shelves starting in March.

 

As the release of Ogre Sixth Edition draws near, Steve Jackson Games has announced they will start supporting organized play in 2017.  Fans of Ogre will have the ability to battle it out at their Friendly Local Gaming Store for Ogre Sixth Edition rewards in addition to fame and recognition throughout the Ogre community!

Starting in January, players will be able to sign up and start learning all about the program.  On February 11th, 2017, SteveJacksonGames is inviting stores to host the first ever #PlaySJGames Event to showcase the new Ogre Sixth Edition.  Ogre Launch Kits will be made available to SJG’s retailers, and the first 200 stores that request one.

Contents of the Launch Kit include:

  • Demo copy of Ogre Sixth Edition
  • Ogre Blueprint poster
  • Ogre Dice Sets of varying colors
  • Uncommon Ogre Counter Sheets
  • More items yet to be revealed!

If you are a fan of Ogre, and seek to have organized play in your area, encourage your FLGS to sign up for a kit and get registered for Organized Play!

Further information on timing, awards, and store participation is forthcoming.  You can stay up to date by following Steve Jackson Games here

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Fans of Steve Jackson Games’ Ogre Sixth Edition and Ogre Designer’s Edition, designed by Steve Jackson himself, can bling out their copy of the game with new miniatures!

Already funded on Kickstarter, this project includes miniatures for your command post, howitzers, infantry bases, the Ogre MK III, the Ogre MK V, and more. Backers can also add on extra miniatures, a copy of Ogre Sixth Edition, the Reinforcements expansion, dice, and more.

Readers interested in backing this project can visit this link for additional information. The project ends on Dec. 1, 2016 at 7AM AWST.