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March 31, 1997

Back From Reno!

Finally feeling human after spending the weekend recovering from last week's GAMA Trade Show in Reno, NV and the red-eye flight coming back. Let's put it this way -- you haven't really lived until you've spent three hours on a layover in the middle of the night in the Las Vegas airport...

The trade show had almost the exact same number of people as last year's at Atlantic City, NJ, but it was a substantially different group -- lots more West Coast retailers, many fewer East Coasters. All the major manufacturers -- and quite a few smaller ones -- were there. Many of the smaller companies I'd never even heard of, which is either a good sign signaling renewal in the industry or a bad sign signaling that my brain is slipping. Take your pick...

The single biggest bit of news was the sale of Mayfair Games to Iron Crown Enterprises, who will continue to operate Mayfair out of the Chicago area as a wholly-owned subsidiary. The new Mayfair will continue to produce their famous train games and their European imported board games (including the classic Settlers of Catan), but they're dropping their RPGs (Underground and Chill) and trading card games (SimCity and Fantasy Adventures). Those are still available to anyone who wants to buy 'em ... we'll keep you posted if anything happens on that front.

Lots more to talk about, but I'll spread it out over the week. See you later.
-- Scott Haring

March 30, 1997

Rick Schroeder To Join SJ Games

We're delighted to announce that, as of May 19 (after he finishes up his MBA degree at the University of Texas) Rick Schroeder will be joining SJ Games as Marketing Director. Rick is a gamer, and we are looking to him to combine the professional perspective that we need with the fannish enthusiasm that makes it all worth doing . . .

Welcome aboard, Rick!

March 29, 1997

Live Online: Derek Pearcy!

On Sunday, March 30 at 6pm CST, Derek Pearcy, designer of In Nomine, will be in the Gamer's World Chat Room for a Q & A session.

Gamer's World is a monthly online gaming webzine.

March 28, 1997

Bad Taste Is Better Than No Taste At All

One of our local TV stations interviewed me yesterday about the California “cult suicide.” The very earnest reporter seemed concerned that, because these people worked on the Web, this might “prove” that the Internet was dangerous. I didn’t laugh on camera, not once. And I have no idea whether they really used the footage.

But on the way home, I realized that at a time like this, when some of our brightest minds destroy themselves for no reason we can understand, it’s very important to be the first on the net with a Top Ten list about it. So without further ado:

Top Ten Explanations for 39 Crashed Web Designers

10. Some people take a bad review in SUCK way too seriously.
9. They were working on this killer app . . .
8. They uploaded their minds and they’re living on the Web.
7. They saw the future and it was Microsoft.
6. You know how web designers are. One of them did it and the other 38 jumped on the bandwagon.
5. One word: Or is that three words? Whatever.
4. There’s nothing to be afraid of. All browsers are fully tested before release. Just don’t use the Web for ANYTHING until the new patch for Explorer comes out, okay?
3. In a world where a million people call the Psychic Friends Hotline every day, killing yourself so you can hitch a ride on a flying saucer is comparatively sane.
2. Wouldn’t *you* die to be the lead story on CNN?

And the number one explanation for this senseless tragedy:

1. They starved to death waiting for their pages to load on AOL.
-- Steve Jackson

March 27, 1997

Bunny Survival Tests

We're pleased to report that there are some very sick people out there. Those of you who are not content merely to bite the heads off your candy Easter bunnies will appreciate the Bunny Survival Tests pages.
-- Steve Jackson

March 26, 1997

Job Opening: SJ Game Computer Guru

We're looking for someone to provide user support, maintenance, network administration and so on for our office; about 20 systems, mostly Mac but with some critical Windows 95 machines, linked by Ethernet.

Filemaker Pro, Unix and HTML would all be useful. So would knowledge of our games, because this employee will be chiefly responsible for evaluation of freeware/shareware game aids submitted by fans.

Fax resumes, references, availability date and salary goals to 512-447-1144.

We have also considered contracting out the user-support part of the job (not the game evaluation, obviously). If you are working with such a company now and can recommend them highly, please send the recommendation to Thanks!

March 25, 1997

Live in Austin? Want an IN NOM Hardback?

We're going to do a Massive Label-Sticking Session tomorrow (Wednesday) starting at 6pm and running till 9 or 10, putting the UPC labels on the back of the new hardbacks. Anybody who sticks with us - heh, heh - for 3 hours can choose an Angel or Demon In Nomine hardback as their reward. There may also be pizza.

Come by, meet us, sign up for a local playtest list, get exploited. If you're interested, please RSVP to Brenda Hurst at 447-7866.

See you there.
-- Steve Jackson

March 24, 1997

Off to Reno!

Matthew Grau and I leave early tomorrow morning (very early . . .) for Reno, NV and the 1997 GAMA Trade Show.

The trade show is an opportunity for distributors and (especially) retailers to meet with the manufacturers face-to-face over three days, find out about the new products planned for the rest of the year, give their feedback and just generally be better informed. All of the big game companies (and most of the rest) will be there, because it's in our best interest to help retailers become lean, mean selling machines.

Many game companies save big announcements for the trade show (maybe even us -- you never know . . .), so there's sure to be some news coming out of the show. Tell you all about it when I get back next week.
-- Scott Haring

March 23, 1997

An Interview with Steve

Steve Jackson is interviewed in the newest (#3) issue of Capitol City, an Arts & Entertainment magazine published here in Austin. Richard ("Lord British") Garriott of Origin Systems is also interviewed.

March 22, 1997


We've added a page for Killer. Though the game is out of print, we just might re-issue it for late 1997. In the meantime, Bob Apthorpe left us this pretty page design, so we linked it in!

If you know of any fan pages for Killer, please slip us the information; we'll check them out and link to the good ones!
-- Steve Jackson

March 21, 1997

Staff Changes

Whew. You know it's "interesting times" when you get three resignations, all from good people, all in a week. Even if they're unrelated, even if you fill the gaps quickly, it's weird.

Our Sales Manager, Matthew Grau, has decided to return to the (relatively) frozen North and concentrate on his own life and his own writing. He'll continue to put his two sins' worth in with In Nomine. Woody Eblom, late of Atlas Games (and a good friend of Matthew, which makes the transition easier) will be stepping in. He will be telecommuting from his secret Northfield, MN headquarters, and flying here occasionally for top-level [fnord].

Our Art Director, Bruce Popky, got a very good offer from a local firm; they want him to come do web design, the Hot Job of the Nineties. Good for him. Scott's still working out how to fill the slot, but it may involve a change in the job description, which is why no job opening has been posted.

And our receptionist, Shannon Faseler, also got a great offer. (When you attract the kind of talent that a good game company does, and pay the lousy salaries that a game company does, this eventually happens. Not just to us, either. It seems to come with the territory.) Sarabeth Sorenson will be stepping in to fill the gap.

Good luck, all three of you. We'll miss you.
-- Steve Jackson

March 20, 1997

Hardback in the House

The advance copies of the In Nomine Hardback arrived yesterday, and they look really, really cool. You're going to just love 'em.

Be sure to ask your local game retailer to reserve a copy for you -- but if you can't get it locally, you can always order from us. And that gives me an excuse to point out Kira's new, improved online ordering catalog, ready for your browsing and shopping enjoyment. Check it out!
-- Scott Haring

March 19, 1997

Dino Hunt Tourney Rules

(Before we get into it: Kira has just gone through the whole Dino Hunt web area and improved the graphics a thousandfold – as well as making it easier to use. Check it out! Now back to our regularly scheduled announcement.)

One of the few negative comments that we have gotten about Dino Hunt is that there's not enough pre-game strategy. Some people really miss the deck-building aspects of other card games.

Well, Matthew Grau has addressed that objection brilliantly in a new set of Tournament Rules. The executive summary: Everybody needs their own cards. Before the game, build a deck of Specials (you can only draw from your own deck) and a "bid deck" of dinosaurs (coordinated with your Specials, which is where the strategy starts). Everybody's dinosaurs get shuffled together, and you play. You catch them, you keep them, regardless of who brought them.

I really like this. Thanks, Matthew!
-- Steve Jackson

March 18, 1997

Austin Amiga Guru Needed...

We have this old Amiga 2000 which was, once upon a time, running one incarnation of the Illuminati BBS. The logical thing to do is to put it in the web auction. But to do that, we have to know exactly what we have and how well it works. And nobody here now knows the Amiga from their left . . .

Well, anyway.

If you live near here, know Amigas, and would be willing to do us a favor (and/or accept a suitable bribe), please contact Thanks!

March 17, 1997

Old Space Gamers & Fantasy Gamer Wanted

Not just any issue. Specifically, we are looking for:

(a) Space Gamers 79, 80, and 81, and any after Number 82 . . .

(b) Any Space Gamers published by 3W, Inc., or any of their successors, after their "Vol. II, No. 1" dated July/August 1989.

We need these issues to complete our office file of Space Gamer for the period after we sold it . . . and we're not even sure, at this remove, how many such issues there were.

And we don't have an office copy of Fantasy Gamer 6. Aw.....

If you've got any of these issues, and you're willing to let them go, send me e-mail. We will attempt to offer a trade you can't refuse. Thanks!
-- Steve Jackson

March 16, 1997

More Good Reviews

The online magazine Scribe just reviewed In Nomine . . . visit their page and see what they had to say!

And Science Fiction Weekly liked our dinosaur game . . . "Dino Hunt gets everything right... Although this game is for folks eight years old and up, it will have a strong pull for older players because of its potent ingredients: superb art, good concept, strong science and fantastically awesome dinosaurs."

March 15, 1997

Anarchy Online?

This week in Austin, the big deal is SXSW . . . the South by Southwest film, music and interactive media festival. Much music. Much stuff.

Earlier this week, I spoke on a SXSW panel entitled "Anarchy Online." The question before the panelists: does the government fear a wired society?

This, of course, is too easy; the answer is "Of course." The harder question: should we fear the loss of privacy, and increased opportunity for government control, that a wired society will bring? At that point, it got interesting . . .

The net is a two-edged sword. When does your right to collect information - to conduct your business, to further your political or social goals, or just to enjoy your hobby - step over the lines of your neighbor's privacy? Reply hazy. Ask again later.
-- Steve Jackson

March 14, 1997

Interplay Update

I just got a phone call from my contact at Interplay, telling me that they were indeed dropping the GURPS system from the project which has been going forward as GURPS Fallout since 1994. Sigh.

The stated reason was that they were "too far along" with the process of deGURPSizing the game. I asked if I could get any of this in writing. He laughed. But he said he'd talk with others there and "see" if he could send me a letter.

He also stated that Interplay was still interested in starting a new game using the GURPS system, and I replied that I would look at a proposal. But the saying "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me" comes to mind.

I'll be at the Computer Game Developers Conference this April, and it looks like I'll have a lot to talk about with the companies represented there.
-- Steve Jackson

March 13, 1997

Reign of Steel

The first copies of GURPS Reign of Steel have arrived. They look great -- it's been a while since we had a new John Zeleznik cover. They'll ship near the end of the month, when the In Nomine hardback gets here.
-- Steve Jackson

March 12, 1997

Auction Update

A couple of unexpected things happened recently in the auction.

First, we found out that most of those who bid on the Polish INWO sets were mainly interested in getting new cards . . . because months ago, we thought there would be new cards in the set, and said so on the INWO news page. But the Polish set, as published, includes no new ones. Whoops. Sorry! So all bidders were given the chance to withdraw or scale down their bids, and that auction has been restarted.

Second, the bidding for the In Nomine Angel and Demon hit the stratosphere and was still going. We started feeling self-conscious and contacted all the bidders who were still in it, and made a proposal: we scale back the price to only a little over what we thought might be vaguely reasonable, and everybody wins. Which probably also brings in more, overall, for the webserver. And all five of them agreed, so we're cool on that.

New auction stuff will show up Real Soon Now. Again, thanks for the support.
-- Steve Jackson

March 11, 1997

Now Shipping

We're now shipping Pyramid #24 and the In Nomine GM Screen, along with the reprinted GURPS Robots. You'll see them on your game store shelves around the middle of the month.
-- Scott Haring

March 10, 1997

New In Nomine Pages

We have had many, many requests for rules to convert In Nomine to GURPS - that is, to use the GURPS rules to play angels and demons. Well, it's finally done; apologies for the delay, but (you've heard this song before) we wanted to get it right.

Without further ado, here's the conversion. Many thanks to S. John Ross, who drafted the original version, and to Moriah, Hunter Johnson, and Kromm, all of whom helped with the final version. Comments should go to Hunter, who is now coordinating In Nomine errata.

We've also posted the In Nomine FAQ. Thanks to John Karakash for assembling and maintaining the FAQ!
-- Steve Jackson

March 9, 1997

New In Nomine List Admin

John Karakash ( has taken over administration of the public In Nomine mailing list (in_nomine-l) from line editor Mike Sullivan. Thanks, John!
-- Steve Jackson

March 8, 1997

@move Kira to Austin

Steve suggested I write this, so rather than get ZOT'ed by Martian ray guns, or pelted with raw fish, I guess I will... :)

I've finally moved to Austin, and am actually in the office (some of the time). My Mac showed up Monday, and I have a cozy little hideout under the stairs (formerly Derek's office).

Not sure yet what I think of Austin, though at least I know more people here than I did in Dallas, so there might even be (gasp) a hope of a social life here. We'll see...

Meanwhile I'm hacking away at the site. Did you know the SJ Games website has approximately 2500 HTML pages? Scary, isn't it? One thing that's going to happen soon is a search function for the site... that's something we've needed for a while. Now if I just had enough time in one day to do the million-or-so other things I want to do...
-- Kira

March 7, 1997

In Nomine -- In Hardback!

Announcing a special, limited edition of the In Nomine rulebook -- in hardback!

This is not a new edition or anything (so put down those torches and pitchforks...). This hardback edition has the same full-color, 208-page interior as the exisitng softcover rulebook -- in fact, the interiors were printed at the same time. We've just put a fancy new cover on these copies to entice those gamers who want a classier version of the game.

Actually, we're doing two new covers. The "angel" version features the In Nomine logo and a stylized cross in red foil on a white faux leather cover. The "demon" version comes in black ... with the cross inverted. We think which version people buy will say perhaps more about them than we want to know, but we're willing to take the risk. But why take chances -- buy both!

The In Nomine Hardback will ship in late March to distributors, and will be available in game stores in early April. You can also check out our online catalog if you like ...
-- Scott Haring

March 6, 1997

Live Chat on AOL!

I'll be live on AOL tonight in the Online Gaming Forum (keyword: OGF) for the monthly Steve Jackson Games conference. The fun starts at 10 pm Eastern, 9 pm Central, 7 pm Pacific (I think that's 4 am Friday in Bosnia, but I'm not sure . . .). Anyway, I'll be answering questions about our summer plans, our new games, industry happenings, and anything else that comes up.

Also, this weekend the AOL gaming pooh-bahs are running an online gaming convention. AmeriCon starts Friday night and goes through Sunday. Live game demos (Pagan Publishing's John Tynes is running the new Delta Green supplement for Call of Cthulhu for one), panels, prizes, all sorts of stuff. I'll be on a "State of the Industry" panel Sunday afternoon (2pm Eastern, 1pm Central, etc., etc.). If you have an AOL account and can actually get on (hey, we wouldn't be cool internet dudes if we didn't take cheap shots at AOL), hope to see some of you there!
-- Scott Haring

March 5, 1997

Bless My Sole

For those who like to draw their In Nomine stories from real life:

The Reebok company, beset by sudden media attention, is making tracks to find a new name for its Incubus brand of women's running shoes. A Reebok spokesman was quoted as saying that their marketing department chose the name in 1995. Apparently nobody knew what the word meant. An "incubus" is a demon who seduces women . . .

Someplace out there, an energetic young servant of Nybbas just earned himself a Word. Granted, "Demon of Athletic Shoes" isn't the sexiest job in the corporeal realm, but he's made a Hell of a good start . . .
-- Steve Jackson

March 4, 1997

Vanishing GURPS Books

Although we keep "core" GURPS books like the Basic Set in print, we can't possibly keep all of the 100+ GURPStitles available. Sometimes we run out. Sometimes we run out too soon . . . as with GURPS Alternate Earths, which was released just last July. So if you'd been intending to grab this one, ask your local retailer for it while there are still some on distributors' shelves.

Other GURPS books that we'll run out of in the next few months include GURPS Bunnies & Burrows, GURPS Callahan's Crosstime Saloon and GURPS Scarlet Pimpernel.

Some of these titles may come back eventually - but fair warning: that could mean years. Our priority is: keep core books in print; release neat new stuff; then reprint non-core books.
-- Steve Jackson

March 3, 1997

New On Our Web

As you've probably noticed, our website is constantly growing and changing. Big changes, little changes, secret changes fnord. Here are a few of the more recent additions and improvements, in case you missed them:

March 2, 1997

Bio-Tech files in HTML

Jonathan Lang has generously HTML-ized the GURPS Bio-Tech playtest files. They're located at (But these are still only available to IO users.)

March 1, 1997

Pyramid #24 Arrives!

Another one of those exciting advance shipments, this time of Pyramid #24. It looks pretty good, if I do say so myself -- many thanks to Richard Meaden and new editor/production guy Gene Seabolt for all their help.

This issue has a look at the new Jovian Chronicles game from Dream Pod 9, a mini-adventure for Pendragon, rules for magical tattoos in GURPS, and more for In Nomine, INWO and more.

When the rest of them get here on the truck, we'll send them out right away . . . watch those store shelves!
-- Scott Haring

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