Rolling for Initiative--Oldest Game Company You've Never Heard Of
Column by Scott Thorne
Published: 06/08/2012 02:02am
The new Epic Dawn Battle Packs for Yu-Gi-Oh! hit the shelves with a bang on Tuesday (unfortunately, OP support for sealed pack tournaments has not hit with the same satisfying smack yet) as we had 20 players in for a sealed pack tournament, our largest Tuesday night turnout in several months. We went through over half the case of boosters we ordered from Konami as a number of players bought dozens of packs outside the tournament, looking, it appeared, for a Tour Guide from the Underworld card. At $1.99 a pack, our customers could quite easily plunk down a couple of bills and walk off with a handful of packs. The set was sold out, temporarily I hope, sold out at Konami by Tuesday, as well as at a couple of distributors.
As I walked around the store this evening, I happened to notice the number of games we carry from the largest game company you've probably never heard of, Inner City Games Design. At last count, we carry Fuzzy Heroes, Lejendary Journeys (now out of print from ICGD) and a number of their bagged minigames including Gigantic, When Good Villagers Go Bad, My First LARP and Crouching Hamster Hidden Translation, as well as their promotional game, Penny Wars. We have more of ICG's games in stock than a lot of better known game companies.
Inner City Games is one of the oldest game companies still operating and certainly one of the few still operating under its original owner, Chris Clark. The company launched with the Inner City RPG, in which the player characters were gang members or other city stereotypes, then followed up with Puppy Pounders, combat rules with stuffed animals. This proved successful enough (by selling out the print run very quickly) that a year later, a more commercial version, Fuzzy Heroes, came out, followed by several supplements.
About in 1997, ICG released War PIGs (Plastic Infantry Guys), combat rules for the plastic army figures found in your toybox. It set off a demand from its customers for more plastic bagged microgames from the company, 28 in total over the years. During this time the company started working with Gary Gygax (yes, THAT Gary Gygax) and released two of his RPG adventures. The collaboration proved so successful that Clark and Gygax formed a new company, Hekaforge Publications, to take Gygax's Lejendary Adventures RPG to market (Hekaforge went defunct about 2006).
More recently, ICGD released 2nd editions of War PIGs and Fuzzy Heroes (almost a decade after the announcement of a second edition of FH). A new hard science RPG, Lance is also under development as well as two new micro games: a gladiatorial combat game called Lutus and another title Underground Empires dealing with underground empires, I guess. Clark would like to develop more but he is currently a principal in Eldritch Enterprises, a new gaming company comprised of himself and RPG industry icons Jim Ward, Frank Mentzer and Tim Kask, so, as Clark says "Most of my time, happily, spent on ICGD is in sending out orders and mailing out quarterly tax forms." Not bad for a thirty year old company which no one has ever heard of.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
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