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July 31, 1997: Origins Awards Winners

This from the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Sciences:

At a gala ceremony at the 1997 Origins International Game Expo and Fair, the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design today announced the winners of the 1996 Origins Awards, the premier awards for design and production excellence in adventure games. In addition, the Academy inducted one influential game professional and three classic games into the Adventure Gaming Hall of Fame.

The Origins Awards are a 23-year tradition on the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Each year, nominees are selected by the Academy membership, then voted on by the gaming public (using ballots published in many gaming magazines and on the web) and the Academy. Winners are traditionally announced at the Origins game show. This year's Awards ceremony was held the night of Saturday, July 19th, at Origins in Columbus, Ohio.

For more information on the Origins Awards and the Academy, visit GAMA's web site at

The winners of the 1996 Origins Awards are:

Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Figure Miniatures Series of 1996

Warhammer 40,000: Chaos
Games Workshop
Developer: Robin Deus
Designer: Jeff Goodwin

Best Vehicular Miniatures Series of 1996

Battletech: Mechs & Vehicles
Ral Partha
Developer: Chuck Crain
Designers: Chris Atkin, Jim Johnson, Robert Kyde, David Summers, Jeff Wilhelm

Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Miniatures Rules of 1996

Warhammer Fantasy Battles
Games Workshop
Designers: Andy Chambers, Bill King, Rick Priestley

Best Pre-20th Century Board Game of 1996

Age of Renaissance
Avalon Hill
Designer: Jared Scarborough

Best Modern-Day Board Game of 1996

Clash of Arms
Designers: Larry Bond, Chris Carlson

Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Board Game of 1996

Settlers of Catan
Mayfair Games
Designer: Klaus Teuber

Best Card Game of 1996

(three-way tie)
Legend of Five Rings: Battle of Beiden Pass
Five Rings Publishing
Designer: Dave Williams

Lunch Money
Atlas Games
Designer: Charlie Wiedman

Designer: Charlie Krank

Best Roleplaying Rules of 1996

Pinnacle Entertainment Group, Inc.
Designer and Writer: Shane Hensley

Best Roleplaying Adventure of 1996

The Complete Masks of Nyarlathotep
Designers and Writers: Larry DiTillio, Lynn Willis

Best Roleplaying Supplement of 1996

Six Guns and Sorcery
R. Talsorian
Writers: Edward Bolme, James Cambias, Eric Floch, Angela Hyatt, Jim Parks, Derek Quintanar, Barrie Rosen, Mark Schumann, Chris Williams

Best Graphic Presentation of a Roleplaying Game, Adventure, or Supplement of 1996

Pinnacle Entertainment Group, Inc.
Graphic Designers: Tim Link, Jay Lloyd Neal, Charles Ryan

Best Game Accessory of 1996

Cthulhu for President
Designers and Writers: Shannon Appel, Les Brooks, Charlie Krank, Paul Lidberg

Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Computer Game of 1996

Master of Orion II
Designers: Steve Barcia, Ken Burd

Best Game-Related Fiction of 1996

The Cthulhu Cycle
Editor: Robert M. Price
Authors: Donald R. Burleson, Leonard Carpenter, Pierre Comtois, August W. Derleth, Lord Dunsany, Alan Dean Foster, C. J. Henderson, M. R. James, H. P. Lovecraft, Will Murray, Steven Paulsen, David C. Smith.

Best Professional Game Magazine of 1996

Shadis Magazine
Publisher: John Zinser
Editor: Rob Vaux

Best Amateur Game Magazine of 1996

Mechforce Quarterly
Publisher: Mech Force
Editor: Jean Rabe

Best Historical Figure Miniatures Series of 1996

Daimyo 25mm
Reaper Miniatures
Designer: Bob Charrette

Best Historical Miniatures Rules of 1996

Hostile Aircraft 2nd Ed.
Goblintooth Enterprises
Designer: Brian Reddington-Wilde

Best Miniatures Accessory Series of 1996

Wild West Hollow 25mm House
Tactical Conflict Systems
Designer: Leo Walsh

Best Graphic Presentation of a Board Game of 1996

Battletech 4th ed.
FASA Corp.
Art Director: Jim Nelson

Best Play-By-Mail Game of 1996

Middle Earth Play-By-Mail
Game Systems, Inc.
Designers: William B. Feild, Jr., Peter G. Stassun

Best New Play-By-Mail Game of 1996

Starship Command
Elite Simulations
Designer: Brian Hansen

Best Military or Strategy Computer Game of 1996

Wooden Ships & Iron Men
Avalon Hill
Executive Producer: Mike Daninnella

Best Graphic Presentation of a Card Game or Expansion of 1996

Middle Earth: The Dragons
Iron Crown Enterprises
Graphic Designers: Pete Fenlon, Jason Hawkins, Nick Morawitz, Jessica Ney-Grimm

1997 Adventure Gaming Hall of Fame inductees:

Darwin Bromley

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
TSR, Inc.
Designer: E. Gary Gygax

Cosmic Encounter
Eon Products, Inc.
Designers: Bill Eberle, Jack Kittridge, Bill Norton, Peter Olotka

Game Designers Workshop
Designer: Marc Miller

-- Scott Haring

July 30, 1997: New MIB In Town

After a 1900 mile drive through more desert environments than I thought could possibly exist (Walla Walla WA to Austin TX), I arrived last week to begin working as the "new guy" at SJG.

I'm Laz Zanger, Convention Coordinator and Assistant to the President. Right now that means that I'm wrapping up the details for our GenCon trip (hope to see you there!) In the more general case, it means that if you want to talk about convention or MIB details, I'm your person. Email to
-- Laz Zanger

July 29, 1997: Good vs. Evil! (choose one)

Have you ever noticed that the world seems caught up in a continuous battle of Good vs. Evil? If not, you haven't been playing In Nomine much recently, have you? Have you chosen your side? The Athens Institute would like to hear from you. They have teamed up with Positive Press and Daily Outrage, two e-mail based news services to bring you Good vs. Evil. Each day you receive Positive Press's top story and the Daily Outrage. Then hit Good vs. Evil's web page and vote for whichever one most affected you. It's the ultimate example of balanced reporting.
-- Micah Jackson

July 28, 1997: Back from Origins (and elsewhere...)

Origins was July 17-20, and a good time was had by all. No, really.

I'll try to go into more detail in future installments, but the boiled-down version goes like this: Lots of people, fewer organizational screw-ups, cool guests (Bruce Campbell particularly), Wizards of the Coast / TSR was everywhere, our new releases (Night Music and Pyramid #26) were snapped up, our tournaments and demos were cool, the convention center was ideal, and we got shut out of the Origins awards.

And then I went on vacation. More on that later, too, if anybody cares . . .
-- Scott Haring

July 27, 1997: Tinysaurs

I picked up a few of Tamiya's 1/35 dinosaur dioramas at the hobby shop. Awesome. Good detail, proper anatomy (tails off the ground) and lots of those little goodies that diorama builders like. I'm going to have fun building these . . . if they come out well, you may see a BIG diorama in a Dino Hunt display at a convention sometime.
-- SJ, the dinosaur nut

PS . . . Hey, if anybody out there is sitting around with any of these in unassembled, or even salvageable/kitbashable state, and wants to swap for some Dino Hunt cards or something, drop me a line . . .

July 26, 1997: Fnord Wares

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away... well, ok, maybe not so far away, and not that long ago, we had the Fnord program available as downloadable shareware. Well, due to popular request, we're making it available again. The current version is written in perl and intended to run on Unix, but should run on any machine with a perl interpreter. You can download the program as a Unix gzip file or a PC ZIP file.
-- Kira

July 25, 1997: Stupid Jesus Tricks

Illuminated Site of the Week A collection of links to some Godawful things done in the name of religion. Be sure not to miss "Hello or Heaven-o."

(Submitted by Karin Kross)

July 24, 1997: Marketing Director Position Open

Does this seem a bit like Spinal Tap advertising for a new drummer?

Rick "Gunner" Schroeder has decided to leave SJ Games - after a very productive but too-short tenure - to devote more time to his own business and a fiendish plot for a new venture.


Check out our Job Openings page for details.
-- Steve Jackson

July 23, 1997: GURPS Character Templates

Thanks to special agent Bob Portnell, we now have a number of GURPS Character Templates online. Use these along with your character sheets when designing new GURPS characters.

And, since we've received so many requests for it, we are working on converting these and the character sheets to a higher-resolution PDF format. Watch for those in the near future.
-- Kira

July 22, 1997: Web Poll Results . . . Take 002

A big THANKS to all who took the time to fill out Gunner's Web Poll. We will continue to run the poll for some time, so be sure to check it out if you have not already done so. Though the results of the poll will not be the only determinants of our product release plans, they will nonetheless weigh quite heavily.

Below is a condensed version of the web poll results to-date. Due to space limitations, open-ended comments are omitted, but the award for the longest and most cogent rave goes to Phil Mattingly.

(Drum roll) The GURPS books you would most like to see us re-release are: Uplift (as a second edition), Special Ops, Swashbucklers, Middle Ages, Japan and Fantasy Bestiary. Slightly behind them are High-Tech, The Prisoner and Magic Items.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of you prefer your Zgwortz as far away as possible from anything green. However, a fair number of you, like me, prefer to have it loose in your ook soot.

As for re-releases of other games, it looks like we have to get busy because nearly all of the games were requested many times over. Those leading the pack are Illuminati Deluxe Edition, Cardboard Heroes, Murphy’s Rules, Killer and Ogre Miniatures. That last one, by the way, represents a "Gotcha" . . . Ogre Miniatures is still in print. Of course, you may have meant that you wanted the miniatures, themselves, reissued . . . hmmm?

As for INWO, it looks like you will enjoy INWO SubGenius because the vast majority of you preferred a complete set for under $20 to the traditional booster pack format.

The race for Car Wars is closer -- the current leader is Car Wars 3-D with miniatures. Quite a few of you still prefer the current 2-D version, so the jury is still out on this one.

The Awful Green Things From Outer Space . . . er, GURPS is the favorite game system of the majority of people taking the poll. We expect some conversions to In Nomine, however, once The Revelations Cycle is released.

Pyramid is taking top honors as the most-read game magazine, followed by Shadis and Dragon.

The proposed GURPS CD-ROM looks like it would be big hit, with well over half of the respondents indicating that they would definitely purchase such a CD. Less than 10% of respondents are uninterested in a GURPS CD-ROM.

Potential new GURPS books generating the most interest are Steampunk, Fantasy III and more historical worldbooks. Dragons, How To, Locations, Faerie Folk, Nanoworld, Vehicles Collection, GURPS Ogre and GURPS In Nomine are not very far behind.

Not too many of you are interested in live action roleplaying books for any of the RPG systems, but we may check back with you on this in the future.

Finally, we have received mixed responses on Toon, and there are quite a few people interested in seeing GURPS Toon. Very interesting . . .

Well, if you have not yet filled out our poll, you can do so here. And if we see substantial changes in the poll results, we will be sure that you are the first . . . er, second . . . well we will be sure to let you know. Until then, happy gaming and NEVER look an Awful Green Thing in the mouth.
-- Gunner

July 21, 1997: Web Poll Results

Well, the results of Gunner's Web Poll are in! The feedback has been tremendous. We are proud to say that your overwhelming choice, and the product line that we intend to devote all of our efforts to from hence forward is none other than . . . The Awful Green Things From Outer Space. The results were so decisive that we have made some drastic changes to our 1997 product release plan, which now looks like the following:

August -- GURPS Awful Green Things

September -- INWO Zgwortz

October -- Pyramid changes its name to The Green Cone-Shaped Thing

November -- In Nomine Revelations V: Awful Green Things From Hell

December -- The Awful Green Things Live Action Roleplaying Game

Thanks again to all who participated in our poll! And for those of you who have not yet filled out our web poll, there is still time . . .
-- Gunner

July 20, 1997: Web Poll Addendum

Due to popular demand (and because my email in-box is overflowing), we have created an addendum to our latest web poll to collect your open-ended suggestions.

So if you have a moment and an idea or two, head on over to the mini web poll and let us know what you REALLY want to see us come out with next.
-- Gunner

July 19, 1997: GM Screen Art

Now up in the Dan Smith Art Auction is the three-piece set that was used for the In Nomine GM Screen. Plus many other pieces of Dan Smith's art. Check out the art auction to bid!
-- Kira

July 18, 1997: The TRUTH About Role-Playing Games

Illuminated Site of the Week "Is Your Child a Role-Player?" demands Niilo Paasivirta, author of The Game of Satan. An in-depth study of how RPGs can lead to Satan-worship, drug use, and "vile, sodomic sex acts," this page describes how young players ("especially virgins!") are duped by evil Dungeon Masters into becoming obedient slaves of the forces of evil. (I already feel like I've missed out on something...) Mr. Paasivirta's many readers expend a great deal of energy in debating whether or not he's kidding.

(Submitted by Scott Slemmons)

-- Shig the Unmentionable

July 17, 1997: Dino Goodies

Our auction moves into Dino Hunt territory, with three full sets of the 1996 limited edition of Dino Hunt, including the ten gold foil Ultra-Rare dinosaurs. Check out the auction page to bid!

And we also have more goodies for Dino Hunt fans: a set of dinosaur icons for the Macintosh, created by Kjeld Mahoney. Enjoy!

July 16, 1997: GMCVB Screws Up!

As any regular attendee at GenCon is aware, the GMCVB is the Greater Milwaukee Convention and Visitor's Bureau. They handle all of the hotel reservations for GenCon and it is nigh impossible to get a room during that week without dealing with our "friends" at the GMCVB. Most regular GenCon attendees also know that the headline "GMCVB Screws Up!" is akin to printing the headline "Sun Rises in East!" or "Doritos Good!" But what exactly did they do this time that warrants an Illuminator? I don't know. But, GenCon attendees are advised to reconfirm their hotel reservations with the actual hotel, in case whatever they did affected the AIQ's (Attendee In Question) reservation. This has been a public service announcement from Steve Jackson Games. We now return you to your regular stream of marketing hype, and high weirdness.
-- Micah Jackson

July 15, 1997: Flood, Then Drought

Remember that Texas was washing away just a couple of weeks ago? Rain, more rain, rivers flooding, lakes swallowing neighborhoods? We got several calls from around the country, just making sure we were still here.

Well, the worst any of us suffered was muddy feet in the parking lot. Now we've got the opposite problem. When it quit raining, it REALLY quit raining. Our Mister Sun has been beating down quite steadily, and it's really hot. Happy Texas summer.

In other news, Scott and Woody are heading to Origins, where it is no doubt cooler. We eagerly await their report.
-- Steve Jackson

July 14, 1997: We Are Everywhere

. . . or so it seems.

A fan sent us this picture of a crop circle, pulled off the Free Zone of the Sci-Fi Channel web page. Draw your own conclusions . . .

-- Scott Haring

July 13, 1997: Return of the Son of Bride of Warehouse 23

The agents of Warehouse 23 have not been idle . . . well, maybe they have, but you can't PROVE anything fnord. At any rate, there are now well over 1,300 items in the Warehouse, forcing us to open a second level for the overflow of Things You're Not Supposed To Know About.

We have also added a brand new and blatantly commercial feature which you will learn to love. We hope.
-- Steve Jackson

July 12, 1997: Let's get ready to RUMBLE!!!!!

Origins '97 (Columbus OH, July 17 - 20) will feature the World's Scariest Cage Match between Scott "Bonk Bonk" Haring and Woody "the Weasel" Eblom. They will also be there to promote SJGames ;-)

Also on the schedule are demos and tournaments, including:

Let the revelry begin!
Woody Eblom

July 11, 1997: Men In Black

Illuminated Site of the Week Close partners of the Illuminati are the Men In Black, members of a secret organization that covers up conspiracies, silences those who know too much, and protects the world from things it isn't ready for. Now Hollywood has gone and made a movie about them, and of course, anyone truly Illuminated has already seen the movie at least twice. And if you haven't... go now. Before the MIB's come after you.

-- Kira

July 10, 1997: Shrink-Wrap Festival

This Saturday, the 12th of July, in pursuance of inventory maintenance, the Shipping Department will hold its semi-annual Car Wars shrink-wrap festival. Yea verily, it will be a day of great heat, of great toil, and, yes, it will be a day of olfactory assault (it'll stink to high heaven). Those with sensitive noses are advised to steer clear of the Shipping Department, if not of the entire building. Maybe even Austin as a whole. In fact, now might be a good time to visit your crazy Aunt Eunice in Phoenix.

And whatever you do, don't feed Eric.

Jason Carter
Resident Literalist
Steve Jackson Games

July 9, 1997: GURPS Planet Krishna to the Printer

GURPS Planet Krishna is a worldbook based on the L. Sprague deCamp series of swashbuckling space opera novels. Mr. deCamp has written an introduction for the book, and another SF legend, Kelly Freas, painted the cover.

And, as the headline above says, it's gone to the printer. Look for it in early August -- and at the SJ Games table at GenCon!
-- Scott Haring

July 8, 1997: New in our Auction

Here's the latest Illuminated Stuff we've put in the auction: INWO Factory Set Proofs. These are the four-color four-sheet acetate overlay proofs for some of the Illuminati cards from the Factory Set (you can tell because the type on each card name is in a different font). It's four cards across by 3 cards deep, and includes 3 Cthulhu images, 3 Discordian, 2 Bavaria, 2 Network, and one each Gnomes and Hermes. Shiny and pretty. Slightly wrinkled at one corner, probably would flatten out fine. This lot also includes, just for fun, a stack of laser-printer proofs of Factory Set cards.

Also new: copy #1 of GURPS Uplift, signed by SJ, author Stefan Jones, and David Brin himself, creator of the award-winning Uplift series on which the book is based.

Visit the auction page to bid. And don't forget we're also auctioning off some of Dan Smith's In Nomine artwork!

July 7, 1997: Night Music, Pyramid #26 In The House

We got the advance copies from the printer today of Night Music, Book I of the Revelations Cycle for In Nomine. A lot of people worked very hard on this book, and it's extremely gratifying to thumb through actual pages.

It's also still gratifying to see the latest edition of Pyramid Magazine, though now that we're all the way up to Issue #26, the novelty has worn off. But it's a good issue, and I'm glad to see it.

These were just the advance issues -- the main shipment is still on a truck somewhere, heading its way here as fast as diesel power can move it. We'll ship them out to distributors next week, and you'll see the books on your local game store shelves sometime in the second half of the month.

-- Scott Haring

July 6, 1997: SJGames Events at Gateway 17

Gateway 17 is a gaming convention that is held annually in Los Angeles during the Labor Day weekend (Aug 29 through Sept.1). This year's convention will feature tournaments for INWO, Car Wars (AADA Sanctioned, Division 10 Cars, Trikes, Cycles), Dino Hunt, and GURPS. Our MIB Mike Hayden is running the tournaments, so if you're in the LA area during that weekend, make plans to attend!

For more info about Gateway 17, contact Strategicon at (818) 848-1748.

July 5, 1997: What Would You Like to See Next?

It is rumored that lately the Secret Masters have been allocating an unusally high proportion of their collective brain cells to reviewing our product release plan for 1997 and 1998. They were going to just come up with the schedule on their own, but an agent had the bright idea of asking *you* for your opinions (and he was disposed of accordingly). The result is Gunner’s Web Poll, which is packed with information about product release and re-release options available to us. It should take only a few minutes to complete, but you might want to take a can of Zgwortz with you just to be safe.
-- Gunner

July 4, 1997: The Cornerstone of American Independence

Illuminated Site of the Week As every INWO and Classic Illuminati player knows, the single most aggravating card to appear in anyone's deck is the IRS. In every game of Classic I’ve ever seen, adding the IRS to one’s hierarchy meant an immediate death sentence; it was simply too annoying to be allowed to live. What many suspect but few realize is that that's the entire purpose of the IRS; sure, we can use the money, but it's much more important that people have something on which to focus their petty anxieties and leave us free to Get Things Done...

-- Shig the Unmentionable

July 3, 1997: The Journal of the PK Institute

David S. Carter sends us this update:
Six new issues of the GURPS fanzine The Journal of the PK Institute for Information Engineering are now available online in PDF (Adobe Acrobat) format. The new issues contain a number of SupersPunk (Supers/Cyberpunk world) characters and adventures, plus a Men in Black adventure.

The Journal of the PK Institute for Information Engineering is the fanzine that David writes for All of the Above, the GURPS APA.

July 2, 1997: Mine! It's All Mine!

After weeks of spirited bidding, I came away with the "En Nomine" piece in the Dan Smith Auction of In Nomine artwork. A number of other lucky bidders have also made off with other cool pieces, but I think I got the very best one. It's the signature piece of In Nomine art. It's that cool.

And it's mine. All mine. Mine, you hear me?

But that doesn't mean you can't bop on over to the Dan Smith Auction page and bid on something nearly as good for yourself. Drop on by, place a bid!
-- Scott Haring

July 1, 1997: Off to DexCon

I'll be at DexCon this week and weekend. LONG convention. From Wednesday till Sunday. Several official SJ Games world championships. First public playtesting of INWO SubGenius. Another Bob Schroeck mega-multi-genre GURPS thingie. Always a fun con. Evil Stevie says, check it out.
-- Steve Jackson

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