The “Encyclopedia Eldoria” was launched in October 2005. It received good reviews and made moderate sales over its first year (after all it was being promoted by a small company). It’s never made anything that would allow me to quit work at the University but it’s out there and has its own small fan-base. The problem I have had since then is finding time to work on supportive material.
I have nearly finished “The Reliquary”, a book that fully details the religions and religious artifacts of Eldoria. In addition, I was able to track down the company that now owns Auran’s IP and secured the rights to the d20 modules that I wrote when working at Auran. This year a group of friends got together with me to form ‘FOE’ (friends of Eldoria). The plan is for them to work with me to re-work my existing material for re-release as ‘Pathfinder” and also work on new projects based in Eldoria. If you are interested in being a FOE, contact me – we’re always eager to share the work around.
You will see from the previous paragraph that I have gone over to the “Pathfinder” rules system. I have always written and played campaigns using the DnD rule system and believe DnD reached its optimum set of rules with 3.5; just the right balance of realism vs playability.
In 2007 WOTC released the 4th edition of the DnD rules system which varied greatly from 3.5. In my opinion, it dumbed down the game and included new things like ‘healing surges’ that were just totally unrealistic. There was a reaction against 4th Ed from the existing fan-base that resulted in the creation of “Pathfinder”, a system that came out of the Paizo stable. “Pathfinder” was published under the d20 licence and was basically DnD 3.5 with add-ons. It included some modifications to 3.5 rules that had always been clunky (e.g. hand-to-hand combat) and added new character classes and traits that allowed you to make you character different to other characters of the same class.
I bought into DnD 4th Ed and subsequently never used the books, continuing to run campaign games in DnD 3.5. “Pathfinder” was released in 2009 and I managed to resist it until 2011, until Ian Houlihan convinced me to give it a go.
Speaking of Ian, I must turn again to the convention scene in Brisbane. Auran had stopped sponsoring the BIG Weekend around 2003 and, although the Queensland Gamer’s Guild kept it running, it had faded into obscurity by 2006. Ian Houlihan came to the rescue with a bold vision and managed to acquire the rights to host Gencon in Australia.
Gencon Oz was a huge affair, bigger than any games convention I had attended in Australia. It ran in the grand halls of the Brisbane Convention Centre over 4 days and hosted trade stalls, international guests and tournaments. LXG supported the convention with its newly acquired games library; making it available for people to play social games and using multiple copies to run tournaments.
Gencon Oz took the gaming convention to a new level in Australia and had great reviews. It ran in 2008 and 2009 but had to fold due to a lack of international sponsorship for 2010. That was not to say that traders did not value the convention; the global financial crisis was hitting hard and few companies had the budgets to travel to Australia. Ian Houlihan had put a lot of his time and personal money into Gencon Oz and would have finally broken even by 2010 but circumstances caused the event to come to an abrupt end. I will always remember Gencon Oz and thank Ian for making it a reality.
Auscon became the default replacement for Gencon. It was nowhere near the grand scale of the Gencon Oz endeavour but catered more for core miniatures and board game tournaments. The brainchild of Allan Carey and Mark Edwards, Auscon was first held in 2010 at the Royal National Association showgrounds and is still continuing, with the next event planned for May 2013. LXG supported the 2010 and 2011 events in a similar way that the club had assisted with Gencon.
So it’s now 2012 and LXG is growing every month. The club has recently featured as part of an ABC radio national broadcast about a world renaissance in tabletop games. Members enjoy social gaming at our meetings and playing in our new creation “A Game of Games,” as well as organised events. These events have included “Puerto Rico”, “Thunderstone”, “Viewpoint” and (of course) David Kay’s “Magic: the Gathering” grand melee league.
The grand melee has been a permanent fixture of the club since 2007 and continues to be the highlight of the afternoon at every club meeting. If you are a “Magic” player and haven’t tried this format, rock along to LXG and give it a go – it’s really worth it!
After playing games for so long and having a real passion for all things game-like, you attract attention (good or bad) and I have had the privilege of meeting up with a few new people (external to LXG) over the past year who share a similar passion to promote games.
John Farrell and Kevin O’Brien come to mind. Both are involved with Critical Mass, a series of groups who meet regularly at Brisbane libraries to play board games. Several Critical Mass members are also members of LXG. Instead of being ‘rivals’, LXG and Critical Mass have enjoyed a good relationship for many years, often combining people-power and game knowledge to help out at conventions and to assist newbies to get into the hobby of gaming.
This year, I have also been active promoting games at interstate expos. Sean Carroll, the designer of the Australian card game “Viewpoint” flew me down to the Melbourne Toy Expo in May to demo their game on a trade stand. In June I was a volunteer at the Sydney Toy and Game Expo and ran introductory games of “Memoir 44” and “Viewpoint”. I will definitely be back there in 2013.
On reflection, for nearly forty years I have played all kinds of tabletop games and have never lost the devotion that I have for them. I love to open the boxes, pour through the rules, lay out the board and punch out the pieces. If you are a true-gamer you know what I’m talking about! But gaming would not have any attraction without the countless wonderful (and sometimes weird) people that I have played games with.
I can only say that the hobby attracts an audience that I have been proud to associate with; many have become my very good friends, one has become my wife and my children can also be awarded the honourific of ‘gaming-nerd’.
So this brings to a conclusion my little rant about how gaming has affected my life. I hope to spend the rest of this decade writing RPG’s, constructing “Magic” decks and pushing little blocks of wood around boards. High on my agenda is attending an overseas games convention – probably in the USA. Also up there, is releasing some new modules for “Eldoria”. In particular I want to bring out a 30th anniversary version of my first published game, “Mindbane” (yes, folks, it’s been 30 years).
Ultimately, I would like to have a go having a board game published and, if am still here in 2020, I’ll draft a new chapter to the diary and let you know how I got on.
See you at a tabletop someday. I hope you draw the cards you want, roll the dice you need and make all your saving throws!