Thursday, May 16, 2013

Gary Gygax Gets The Last Laugh!

Based on an obscure miniatures game!

As regular readers will know, I don't often comment on the passing scene outside the walls of the game room; I usually don't have the energy or the stamina. I have, for example, not regaled all of you with the mind-boggling, eyeball-bulging, jaw-dropping misadventures of the now-famous - or infamous - law firm, Prenda Law. If you want to see some of the most incredible moments in American copyright and intellectual law, have a look at the Prenda saga as given by lawyer Ken White on his blog:

I am not making this up; this is an actual legal filing. The whole madcap saga is worth a look, espacially if you need scenarios or ideas for a game of "Paranoia".

Anyway, today's delight from the larger world is the news that an obscure set of miniatures rules from the dawn of gaming history - as written about in Jon Peterson's "Playing at the World" - is now big news in Hollywood. That's right - "Chainmail - The Movie!" 

"What?!?" I hear you say; well, don't take my word for it:

And Gary and Jeff [Edited; I mistook 'Steve" for 'Jeff' Perrin, sorry!] did write the original "Chainmail" rules; they were published by Guidon Games, which begat Tactical Studies Rules, which begat TSR Hobbies, which begat Wizards of the Coast, which begat WotC / Hasbro; and "Chainmail" did begat "Dungeons and Dragons", which begat I don't know how many editions. One obscure and largely forgotten result of all this begatting was that Gary retained the rights to the "Chainmail" miniatures rules, and eventually sold the movie and television rights to the game to a Hollywood production company.

As Gary said, "Why not?". And, I will bet, Gary laughed all the way to the bank; after all, who's ever going to make a movie about little lead people on a game table?

Fast forward many, many years. Said production company wants to make lots of money off their option, so they sell the deal to one movie studio, based on their rights to the "Chainmail" franchise; meanwhile Hasbro signs up a different studio to make a movie based on their ownership of the "Dungeons and Dragons" franchise.

What could possibly go wrong?

I think I can hear Gary laughing...

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