Monday, January 23, 2006


I can't believe this. Ryan, the Guild of Blades dude, is still hanging out on the Forge, giving people advice about publishing games.

I don't know Ryan from Adam. I did some art for him long, long ago. As best I remember he paid well and was a very responsible businessman. To the best of my knowledge he's a great guy.

But man, he made shit games. I mean, embarrasing, terrible shit. Dark Realms and W.H.A.T? (at the time, an unexplained acronym) were simply the worst things I had ever seen published as roleplaying games.

They weren't even "good bad," like Ed Wood bad, they were beyond "so bad it's good" and into "so bad it's bad."

Ron talks about "Fantasy Heartbreakers," which are terrible D&D imitations with flashes of brilliance and which are obviously labors of love.

As I remember Deark Realms and W.H.A.T.?, they were more like "Fantasy Backstabbers," terrible D&D imitations without flashes of brilliance, which one imagines have never been played even by their creator, and seem to have been written and marketed in the belief that roleplaying gamers have no standards or taste whatsoever, and will buy any random dreck that a cynical writer and marketeer can crap out.

So let me throw this open to the peanut gallery.

Has anybody seen more recent guild of blades stuff? Is the horrifying shit a thing of the past? Has he either learned to write RPGs that exceed the level of Spawn of Fashan, or else perhaps hired someone who can actually write games and turned it over to him or her?

I dunno, it just boggles the mind. I remember seeing GoB stuff the time I went to Games Plus with Andy; a lot of it seemed to have improved considerably in presentation from the stapled-photocopy specials of the days I knew. But has it improved in content?

In the event Ryan himself sees this post -- dude, I apologize, I'm calling it like I see it. Nothing against you personally; you're a prince of a fellow to the best of my knowledge. I just don't get the deal with the games you used to sell.


Joshua BishopRoby said...

As I understand it, Guild of Blades' business is almost entirely in boardgames and strategy games, these days.

Ryan S. Johnson said...

>>fellow to the best of my knowledge. I just don't get the deal with the games you used to sell.<<

Hey, no problem. In truth, our company began very, very small. We produced games we could afford back then. No one here is a world class writer. Never claimed to have written in masterpieces either. However, I'd like to believe we do design good games. Thats why we're still in business 10 years later and have grown a whole lot. We charge a fair price for the game format we present, generally striving for the lower price points per packaging content, but regardless of physically packaging content, we try our best to pack the most game in as possible. And yep, Joshua, board games are about 90% of our business these days. But we do still have one miniatures game and one RPG line still in print. The old WHAT RPG that Ed mentioned WILL see print again, but with more traditional production standards the second time around. First edition was published more as a lark, but people turned out to really like the game system itself. So we kept it and will eventually relaunch the RPG line.