|Courtesy of Demian’s Gamebook Web Page|
|Courtesy of Gary Chalk’s pen|
I’ve talked with Gary during the preparation of the Kickstarter. This is a man worth catching in conversation. When I simply asked how to say his name, cautiously hoping that his last name wasn’t pronounced some funny way, he replied “I answer to anything, up to ‘Stop, thief.'”
Beyond that, he answered my questions about The Magnamund Companion. I would have thought that the pieces were authentic “Lone Wolf tabletop game pieces,” but no, there never was any such thing. Gary either created or repurposed (and certainly repainted; a hobby which he loves) everything in those old photos. The game we are trying to fund now is the first and only “tabletop board game” this classic fantasy world has ever seen.
|Courtesy of a massive design effort|
It’s more of a wargame, really, but being played on a board helps it run a lot more quickly and smoothly. Speed, in fact, is one of the main selling points, and the project page discusses how quickly it runs for such a detailed simulation of Lone Wolf. And goodness, does it work at that latter: the premise of the game’s premade scenarios is to re-enact the battles of the early gamebooks on the tabletop. I intend to do a project update (this here is the person maintaining the page) where I bring the readers with me in preparing one such scenario.
And it almost goes without saying that Gary’s art has only gotten better over the decades of practice since he illustrated the first books. All the playing pieces are 2-D art from his pen (and brushes). Modern sensibilities might say 3-D miniatures are necessary in such a game; perhaps the modern version of what was shown in The Magnamund Companion. I say 3-D has its place, and there’s nothing like letting an expert 2-D artist loose on a project he loves. As it looks now, a good chunk of early project backers seem to agree.
I’m enjoying sharing this project with the world. In part, though, the best aspect simply is getting to talk with an amazing childhood hero on a regular basis and realizing that “hero” and “amazing” do apply.
(Post by Richard S. Hetley. When not running Kickstarter projects, which hopefully is the better part, he can be seen trying to figure out what to do with his blog.)