Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Long Weekend with a Game Designer

 This last weekend my family hosted a dear friend, Lew Pulsipher. If you aren't familiar with Dr. Lew shame on you! He only created,
 [deep breath]
  The first published variant rules for Diplomacy; the board games Swords and Wizardry, Valley of the Four Winds, Britannia, Dragon Rage, and an upcoming slew of new ones; the Elemental Princes of Evil, Poltergeist, and Denzelian from the Fiend Folio; and Supernova, the very first science fiction and fantasy games magazine.

  [Note: as creator of Supernova he once received a letter from a guy named Dave Arneson describing a game he and this other guy from Wisconsin were working on. Yeah, that game; from before it really started and before it had a name. He still has that letter.]

  He was a prolific author of works for 1st edition with more than 150 paid gaming articles during the height of the game. He was a contributing editor or columnist for Dragon, White Dwarf, Imagine, Diplomacy World, Avalon Hill General, and Space Gamer.
  He has also written several excellent books on game design, like Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish. he teaches college-level game design both at university and online.

  The man is a legend. He is also a top-notch Dungeon Master whose campaign world is over 30 years old. I am lucky, very lucky, to have him as a friend.

  I met him shortly after I was assigned to Ft. Bragg in 1987. I was 19 and hoping to find a decent AD&D group. He and his wife let me join their ongoing group and within a year he and I were trading off with he and I DMing about 40% of the games each (he in his campaign, me in mine) with 'guest DMs' adding to the fun. The group was infamous for its marathon sessions of 10-14 hours of gaming a day on Saturdays and Sundays most weekends, its in-depth world building, and the great food!

  We hadn't seen Lew in person in far too long and were eager to see him. He was kind enough to run my entire family through an adventure (the very first time we all played together as players all). But the very best was  - he brought a ton of games for us to playtest!

  Since a lot of these are not yet at a publisher OR soon to be released all I can say is - keep your eyes open for some excellent games about to hit the shelves!