2017 in review
7 March, 2018
2017 was an interesting year. Back in 2002 I sold my games-publishing company Hogshead and veered off to the film business, and if you’d told me that fifteen years later I’d have three major RPGs released in the same year, I would have… not believed you.
The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen was released by Fantasy Flight Games at the very start of the year. This is the third edition of a game that started as a weird half-page idea which became the harbinger of the entire story-games movement in the late 1990s, and is now a sumptuous hardback with painted artwork throughout. Nobody is more surprised than me that this exists, let alone that people are buying it. The Baron, I feel, would be pleased.
Paranoia came out a few weeks after that, the reboot of the classic 1984 game, to strong reviews and great feedback. It’s a beautiful box-set, a really nice production job that’s been shortlisted for a Golden Geek award. Very proud of every part of this. Paranoia was co-written by me, Grant Howitt and Paul Dean, and the whole project was commissioned by Mongoose Publishing in Swindon. A small number of them have been signed in ultraviolet ink.
And finally, just before the end of the year, Alas Vegas, an in-house production where writing, editing, design, layout and production was all executed by Spaaace and a few of its regular collaborators. It’s a 322-page book designed to look and feel like a hardback novel from the 1970s, down to mimicking the layout and paper stock of the first edition of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. We couldn’t get Ralph Steadman for the cover, but otherwise this is about as perfectly realised a project as we could have hoped. Very strong response from the industry, great reviews, and a lot of very satisfied Kickstarter backers. Job done.
Apart from that, 2017 also contained several interesting projects that are detailed elsewhere on the site. In particular, being a guest of honor at Gen Con Fifty in Indianapolis was an enormous privilege and joy, and my thanks to Peter Adkison for inviting me. The Game Design Masterclass has taken on a life of its own, and is now running on two different continents, with the possibility of a third opening up soon. Like Baron Munchausen, it’s something that I began doing because I thought it would be interesting, didn’t assume it would go anywhere, but kept at it and suddenly it becomes a Thing.
The world of games doesn’t just grow, it continues to become more diverse and more extraordinary every single year. I’ve said for a long time that games will be the dominant entertainment medium of the twenty-first century, and 2017 was the year that a lot of people realised I was right. But those games are still to be made. Let’s see what 2018 brings.