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Rolling for Initiative--Everything Old is New Again

Column by Scott Thorne

Published: 01/07/2013 12:06am
Rolling for Initiative is a weekly column by Scott Thorne, PhD, owner of Castle Perilous Games & Books in Carbondale, Illinois and instructor in marketing at Southeast Missouri State University.  This week, Thorne looks at some upcoming revivals of popular things from the past.

The title is an old lyric but after the announcements and releases of the past six months, that was the line that sprung to mind when writing this column.

First, we had the release last summer by Wizards of the Coast of reprints of the original AD&D 1st edition Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manual, with part of the proceeds going to the Gygax Memorial fund, a worthy cause.

However, in the last month or so, I have seen announcements of several other product re-launches or revisions that date back to the same era.  Coincidence?

First, the recently revived TSR Games revealed the company would start up Gygax Magazine (see "TSR Games Returns"), with a number of luminaries from the previous TSR era associated with the project.  Just recently I read that Phil Foglio will revive his What's New with Phil and Dixie strip.  Most people today know Foglio for his Girl Genius series of graphic novels but he did a lot of work for TSR and later WotC, including Dragon Magazine and several early Magic cards.  However, he was best known during the period for his What’s New strips, which poked fun at RPG and board games during their Dragon Magazine run, and CCGs during the later Duelist Magazine run.  The strips were collected in three volumes, all of which have been out of print for years.

Then, this week, Kenzer & Company announced that Larry Elmore's SnarfQuest will appear as a back-up strip in Knights of the Dinner Table, starting with issue #195.  Once again, SnarfQuest is a strip that ran in early issues of Dragon Magazine. Unlike “What’s New”, which poked fun at games themselves, SnarfQuest took on the conventions of epic fantasy, with its less-than-heroic hero Snarf on a never-ending quest for gold and glory.  The amount of detail put into the strip by Elmore, a prolific artist for TSR at the time, amazed me at the time and it will certainly be interested to see what Elmore has planned for Snarf and company.

Finally, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am a big fan of Tunnels and Trolls, both because of its longevity and its usefulness as an introductory role playing game.  However, I am not a big fan of Kickstarter projects, which require investment up front with no guarantee the product will ever launch.  That is why I am of two minds regarding the recently announced Kickstarter projects by Flying Buffalo of Tunnels and Trolls 5th edition and Citybook 8.  With the current edition unavailable through distribution in recent months, if using Kickstarter is the only way for Flying Buffalo to get Tunnels and Trolls back into print, I guess I can live with it but will wait to see how funding goes before deciding whether to back the project or not, as I really hate tying up scarce capital for several months before I have any product to show for it.  I am glad to see the launch of another Citybook, which was one of the earliest generic RPG resources, and hope FBI has some form of promotional campaign planned to announce the first new Citybook in over a decade.

With all this, and reports of another edition of Villains & Vigilantes on the horizon and FASA coming back to life, announcing its first new products in over a decade, when can we expect the revivals of Fineous Fingers and Bunnies and Burrows?

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflct the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
 
 
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