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February 28, 1997

Shadis Wants You!

If you're a writer, that is.

John Wick at Shadis magazine told me that they're on the lookout for articles about our hot new roleplaying game, In Nomine. Their e-mail address is

We'd love to see some support for In Nomine (or any of our other games, for that matter) in other magazines -- so much so that we'll pay for it! See our Matching Payment Plan page for all the info.
-- Scott Haring

February 27, 1997

Auction Poll Results

Thanks to everybody who participated in the Auction Poll. We got over 100 responses, which is enough to be meaningful.

The big winners were "old out-of-print items," "GURPS items," and "SJ Games memorabilia." The chance to interfere with our upcoming products in your own perverse way scored almost as high, and if you check out the auction now, you'll see it's started . . .

Some of your suggestions were interesting . . . and will happen. Again, thanks!
-- Steve Jackson

February 26, 1997

IN Nomine GM Screen Arrives!

Winging its way to us via overnight courier and arriving this morning was a package with the first copies of the In Nomine GM Screen. It is, of course, gorgeous. And the Feast of Blades adventure inside is a real chiller. No matter which side of the War you take in S.John Ross' scenario, you will definitely be freaked out by just how far certain mortals can go . . .

-- Scott Haring

February 25, 1997

Submit Your Card Ideas!

A very frequently asked question since we first released INWO has been "How can I submit card ideas?" The Pyramid contest is over, but you haven't run out of inspiration.

So we've created a Card Suggestion Web Page. On this page, you can input your ideas not just for INWO, but also for Dino Hunt and Knightmare Chess.

Submissions become the property of SJ Games. We don't offer to pay for individual card ideas - not that many people expect it, but every so often we hear from an optimist :-). If you have a whole game idea you want to sell, please see our writers' guidelines.

Steve Jackson

February 24, 1997

More Dino Hunt Praise

The April 1997 issue of Games magazine reviews Dino Hunt in their "Games & Books" section. Reviewer John Chaneski called it an "exciting, clever game" and especially liked all the scientific info on the cards.

And David Millians, in Games & Education, says "If you are teaching or enjoying dinosaurs, this is the game you have been seeking!" If you haven't seen Dino Hunt yet, you owe it to yourself to give this game a look.

-- Scott Haring

February 23, 1997

INWO in Polish!

That's right. We have received our copies of the long-awaited Polish edition of INWO. The publisher is Copernicus. The plot for world domination continues . . .

Three complete sets will go to auction Real Soon Now.

About 150 Starter Sets will be available through Direct Mail. They should be in the catalog by now. $12 apiece while they last fnord. Yes, the card back is in English -- you could put them in a deck if you knew what they said. No, we don't yet have a guide to the Polish edition; we need to find a Polish-speaking Secret Master on the net.

-- Steve Jackson

February 21, 1997

Breaking 1000!

Hits, that is. Yes, for each of the last two days we've had more than a thousand secret operatives like yourself visit the SJ Games homepage. And for the first time, we've had more than 4000 visitors to the Illuminator in a single week. (of course we're watching you; what did you expect?)

So either we're doing something right... or the Mind Reading Markup Language tags we added are working.

So thanks, and stay tuned. More evil plots are in the works.

-- Kira

February 20, 1997

High Praise for Celtic Myth

Got a lovely piece of e-mail from the Continent (as they used to call Europe, oh so many years ago) about GURPS Celtic Myth:

Dear Ladies and Sir,

some days ago I acquired the GURPS Celtic Myth supplement. By now I have read most of it, and I wanted to tell you (and Mr.&Mrs.Walton, which at least Mrs.Walton is noted as a internet addict in the foreword of the book, even though I failed to find any email adress for her) that I was deeply impressed by the quality of the supplement.

There are some minor errors in it, which I assume, however, are most often due to usability in roleplaying games rather than to lack of knowledge.

Yours sincerely,

Raimund Karl Mphil.
Chairman of Brennos - Austrian Society for Celtic Studies
University of Vienna, Austria
Department of Prehistory

-- Scott Haring

February 19, 1997

Steve's Back

Whoa, what a trip. And what a stack of e-mail to read last night.

Things seem to have gone very smoothly while I was away. I'm grateful to Scott, Kelly and the whole crew for making that happen.

OrcCon was great. Those of you who live in the Bay area should really check out this con and its sister events. It wasn't just a card game show -- as a matter of fact, the boardgame auction was far bigger and hotter than the card game auction.

Yes, I visited Interplay while I was on the West Coast. Marathon six-hour negotiating session with the programmer who is now in charge of the FALLOUT project. Clearly all the original problems could be resolved; I made a lot of concessions because I want to save the project. The GURPS implementation they've created is *worth* saving. But their decision won't be made by the programmers. All I can say is "wait and see."

It was a busy trip. Other computer deals, with other companies on other games, are in the works. More as it develops.

It's good to be back . . .
-- Steve Jackson

February 18, 1997

New Auction Lots

We've added several new items to the auction, including a set of Deluxe Illuminati cards, and the chance to design an In Nomine angel or demon for an upcoming supplement. Check it out!

February 17, 1997

Bio-Tech now online

The first draft of GURPS Bio-Tech is now online and available for downloading, playtesting, abuse and comment.

Written by mainstay David Pulver, GURPS Bio-Tech gives complete rules for gene engineering, nanotechnology, and other science-fiction ideas for making people stronger, faster, smarter -- why implant chrome and steel when you can re-engineer the meat? Mother Nature was always more efficient, anyway.

There's also a discussion group for GURPS Bio-Tech comments at -- post your comments and questions there. Have fun!

-- Scott Haring

February 16, 1997

More Industry Info

OK, so it wasn't exactly the next day . . . a few other news bits got in the way. But to continue our discussion of what's hot in the industry . . .

The March issue of Comics Retailer (#60) is their annual Games Extravaganza issue. They cover the game industry year-round, but this issue puts special emphasis on it for the store owners who are the magazine's primary readers.

As I mentioned previously, they survey a bunch of game stores every month to report what's selling out there. Here's the skinny, for the month of December, 1996:

In "Trading Card and Card Games," the #1 game is -- surprise! -- Magic: The Gathering, selling nearly three times as much as #2, Star Wars. Wizards of the Coast accounts for 55% of the industry card game sales all by their lonesome. Our INWO is a regular on the list, #18 this month -- not bad considering nothing new for INWO has come out in over a year.

In "Roleplaying Games," the discrepancy is even bigger. AD&D is the top dog, selling almost six times as much as #2, Vampire. GURPS is a top-ten regular (#5 in December).

If you want to get a real inside look at the game industry, check out Comics Retailer. It's fascinating stuff.

-- Scott Haring

February 14, 1997

Goodbye, Susan. Hello, Gene.

We're sorry to be losing Susan Pinsonneault, a game editor who's been working around here for the past four years or so. Susan has edited tons of stuff in that time -- just open up any recent GURPS book at random and you'll see her name -- but is moving on to the much more lucrative field of technical editing in the computer industry. Susan's been a dear friend for years, and I'll miss having her around.

Coming in to try to fill the void is Gene Seabolt, a recent Austin transplant from Tulsa, OK. Gene's a gamer from way back, and has years of newspaper experience -- plus he's pretty handy on the production side, too. You'll be seeing his name in plenty of books in the future . . . welcome aboard.

-- Scott Haring

February 13, 1997

Report from Conpulsion

Conpulsion is over. This was fun. We had a couple of hundred people from Edinburgh and across the UK. I got to play some new unpublished card games; to look at a really spiffy new fantasy boardgame called City of Chaos from a company called Monocle; and to run a couple of sessions of In Nomine. They went really well; further writeup later. (Nothing like watching someone play a Seraph to remind you how much of our day-to-day conversation is made up of little social lies...)

Now I'm off for an 11-hour (agh) flight to LA, for OrcCon.

-- Steve Jackson

February 12, 1997

Rumor Control about Interplay

Executive Summary: We wish we knew.

I had problems with a couple of features of the otherwise very impressive alpha version of GURPS Fallout. As I corresponded with Interplay staff about this, I got handed up the ladder but their responses remained puzzling -- and that is the most detail I'm going to give for now.

Just before leaving for Europe last week, I got a call from a reporter asking me to comment on the Interplay decision to drop GURPS. I told him this was the first I'd heard of it. Calling Interplay, and talking with the last man I'd corresponded with, I got first "We haven't decided that, where'd you hear it?," then "Well, we have been talking about it and somebody must have gotten the idea it was decided," and finally "Yes, we have decided to drop it, so sorry."

The statement on the Interplay web site, to the effect that this was a mutual decision of SJ Games and Interplay, is not true. Scott Haring tells me that no written correspondence from Interplay has YET been received at our office. We are not clear what their proposal to finish and release the game without the license entails, for us or for the game, and have absolutely not agreed to it.

I can't imagine how Interplay could take three years working on a GURPS. computer game, and then be able to create and install a completely dissimilar game engine in a few months. Nor have I read (or heard) any explanation of how they might plan to do that. So "no comment" on that for now, too.

I've been invited to meet with Brian Fargo, who I understand owns Interplay, when I'm in LA in a few days. I'll be very interested to see what he has to say. I hope we will be able to announce that this was a tempest in a teacup.

-- Steve Jackson

February 11, 1997

Knightmare Chess is #1!

Comics Retailer magazine surveys a number of comic and game stores (and these days, it's getting hard to tell the difference) each month to find out what's selling. They're most recent issue, reporting on December 1996 sales, has Knightmare Chess as the #1 seller in the "Strategy & War Games" list.

I'll admit -- I'm impressed. Knightmare Chess has gotten stronger and stronger every month. Thanks to all the fans who helped make it #1!

More interesting tidbits from Comics Retailer tomorrow.

-- Scott Haring

February 10, 1997

The (not so) Secret Warehouse

We'd like to thank all of our secret operatives, who've been busy recovering dangerous items for the warehouse. Hundreds of new items have been added in the last few weeks. We've boxed everything up and placed it all in a safe location... inside Warehouse 23.

February 9, 1997

In Nomine Chat

If you're reading this on Sunday night, you might swing by Gamer's World for a live chat with Derek Pearcy, author of In Nomine.

February 8, 1997

Roman Adventure

The Gold of Tolosa is a GURPS Imperial Rome adventure, written by Luiz Claudio Duarte ( It's set in 106 B.C, and designed for four to six 100-point characters. This is a very nice example of the way the Web can be used to present an adventure . . . see what you think!
-- Steve Jackson

February 7, 1997

The Cat's Away . . .

So let's play! I wish . . .

Steve left for Scotland yesterday. Before he gets back here to Austin (nearly two weeks hence), he'll also be stopping out in L.A. for OrcCon. And I'm sure he has some relaxing and touristing time built into his schedule somewhere, as well.

So that leaves the rest of us, well, large and in charge. We sent Pyramid #24 to the printer this week, and the Feast of Blades adventure for the In Nomine GM Screen is going off to the printer today.

More news as it happens . . .

-- Scott Haring

February 6, 1997

Evil People (Inc.)

In Nomine is officially out today; bug your local retailer for it! (or, if you just can't stand waiting, or you live on the moon or something, you can order from us).

In the spirit of things, here's a firsthand look at hell on the web: Evil People, Inc. Make money fast, sell your soul on the web! (and read mail from other hopeless folks who did.) Or get a job in hell - they're hiring.

Disclaimer: SJ Games is not affiliated with Evil People, Inc., in any way. Really.

-- The Other Evil People

February 5, 1997

Speeding Up the Auction

We think our first cut at auction deadlines was a little bit long. We don't want it to lag, so . . . From here on out, anything that draws no new bids for three days will go to GOING ONCE! After two more days, it's GOING TWICE! After one more day, it's GONE!

We're also taking a poll to find out what sort of items you'd most like to see in the auction.

Check out the auction page for the latest info!

February 4, 1997

Back from WarCon

I had a very nice time at the WarCon game convention last weekend. The NOVA game club put on a fine con, and showed great hospitality.

There were three other guests -- Erick Wujcik of Teenage Mutant Turtles and Amber Diceless Roleplaying fame, Justin Achilli from White Wolf and John Curtis from Iron Crown. There were all sorts of games (including live-action Vampire and Amber), demos from all of the guests, and a game auction that made over $400 for the local Habitat for Humanity chapter.

One odd thing happened during the INWO event. In a head-to-head game, I and another player fought to a draw. The NWO card "Apathy" made it very difficult to take anything over successfully, and we were so busy beating up on each other that we both found ourselves with not enough groups left in our decks to reach victory. So I guess the world got off scot-free in that one . . .
-- Scott Haring

February 3, 1997

SJ in Edinburgh and L.A.

It's convention trip time again.

February 8 and 9 I'll be at Conpulsion 97 in Edinburgh. This will be my first trip to Scotland -- I'm looking forward to it. I will have some In Nomine with me, and they may just be the first copies to hit Europe.

The next weekend I'll be at OrcCon (horrors! they don't seem to have a web site!) in Los Angeles. I plan to eat sushi.

If you're going to be near either of those sites, look me up! If you're at BOTH, we have to talk . . . .
-- Steve Jackson

February 2, 1997

Scooby-Doo, Roleplaying Guru

Did you know that the Scooby-Doo cartoon show can be a valuable paradigm for campaign planning and party design? Neither did I, but certain people appear to have given it a lot of thought. This is not to be missed.
-- Steve Jackson

February 1, 1997

Aaaah... It's Broccoli!!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's our fine green vegetable friend - Broccoli! The vegetable that you get to hold up and pretend it's a tree and that you're really huge when you eat it! So what about virtual Broccoli?

Here's a collection of Broccoli pages for you to check out. Trust me, they're worth a look:

These are just a few of the Broccoli-oriented sites I've found on my sordid web-wanderings. Enjoy!
-- Matthew D. Grau

Past columns

Steve Jackson Games
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