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Friday, November 23, 2012

Inside the New TSR, A First Look or My Conversation With Tim Kask

On Wednesday, in one of my further attempts to supply accurate information about the "new TSR" and "Gygax Magazine," in the wake of all of the hype, presumptions and conspiracy theories.  Our conversation was, I believe, nearly two hours long and consisted of many things not related (directly) to TSR or Gygax Magazine.    I did not, at the time have the means to record the conversation, and therefore made notes throughout, as such I will not be writing the entire conversation as an interview proper, but rather will offer all pieces that are directly related to the new company and magazine.  Enjoy.

First and foremost (an one of the last things that was discussed) was the question of "what TSR Games" actually is and what the intent for the company at this time is.  First and foremost, I was told that the main objective at present is to give the gaming community a high quality magazine in print and electronic formats.  In the future the intention is to support the gaming community by publishing high quality magazines and books.  The nature of the books was not disclosed.  The only thing that I was told in regard to what they will be looking at in books is that at this time there is no intent to publish there own set of rules.  That to my eyes would mean that the company will not be a direct competitor of any of the leading game or RPG companies at present.  

Regarding Gygax Magazine more specifically, Tim was emphatic that the claims going around the internet at present (primarily by persons not in the "know") that the magazine is an attempt to capitalize on Gary Gygax name are baseless.  Rather the title of the magazine is more a reference to the Gygax family than one member.  I was told that the magazine was a reflection of the play style that Ernest Gary Gygax Jr. and Luke Gygax group up with.  This makes more sense knowing what the content of the magazine will be.  Contrary to what had occurred in the later years of "Dragon Magazine" , "Gygax" will not only give support to one gaming system, but to multiple styles of game.  The magazine will cover everything board games to miniature games to rpgs and everything in between.  They are willing to give space to and "good game" and will not waste space in the magazine discussing or maligning games that they (or their authors) find no good.  This means that there will be 0 articles and reviews that are strictly bashing a system, game, module or accessory. This means that we will likely see articles pertaining to everything from Swords & Wizardry to Deadlands, Pathfinder to Gammaworld, Warhammer to Legacy of Glory, Merchant of Venus to Risk and Arkham Horror to Munchkin.  As well, articles will cover a wide range of everything from pieces on virtual table tops to articles on to to GM for children to introduce them into the hobby.  The whole gambit of gaming society will have the potential to be covered in the pages of Gygax.  This is quite exciting as a gamer with varied tastes.  I will have a "go to" for information on mini's, old school rpgs and new board games!  Tim has assured me that the talent and art in the first issue and second will "blow us away."  

Tim could not disclose the exact information within it, but we are assured that we are to see the broad base the magazines like "The Strategic Review" and the original run or "The Dragon."  TSR will also hold to very high standards and Gygax is to have the same quality as an issue of "Wargames Quarterly" with a broader spectrum in it's table of contents.  Tim said that the content of the first issue was all hand picked by the owners and editors of the magazine.  There will also be pieces on the "cosmology of roleplaying," whatever that happens to be.  I was given the hint on this topic of "think Time Bandits."  I was told (and can't quite recall if I am allowed to say so but here it is) that the comics included in the back will feature "What's New With Phil & Dixie," "Marvin the Mage" and "Order of the Stick."  That line up in and of itself is worth whatever the price of the first issue will be.  As you can see TSR will have something for everyone from different gaming genres to the various gaming generations.  Tim himself told me, "We intend to salute the roots while taking special notice of the best new shoots."

As far as Tim's involvement, he was approached by Jason Elliot at last year's Gary Con and was asked to come on to the project strictly as a consultant due to his experience have edited two similar gaming magazines in the past.  As time progressed, however, it came to be that Tim would become a consulting editor.  He will also have a regular column in each quarterly issue.  I have been assured that TSR is willing to do what is needed to ship the hard copies of the magazine anywhere in the world that they are requested.  So, we have a vague idea of what we will be looking forward too here, and I think the first issue will give us a much better idea, as I am told that every single thing going into it is handpicked to be a "prototype" to show potential advertisers what they will be looking at.  Therefore, I believe that Issue 1 will be a pretty good indication of what the future will hold.

For more insider information Luke Gygax gave an interview to "Loremaster" which can be read here.  I will do my best to keep updating the gaming community as I receive new information.