Metagaming Company Report
By Howard Thompson
The Space Gamer #28 (May/June 1980)

Metagaming Report

Metagaming has finally completed all necessary steps to secure registration of "microgame" as a trademark. Once registered, a mark must be defended. It may be lost if others come to use it as a generic term for small, cheap, fast-playing games. If they aren't writing about Microgames published by Metagaming they are talking about something else. Metagaming will actively police publications to insure we retain exclusive use. If you hear some rumbles about trademark hassles and Metagaming, this will probably be the cause.

Working for Metagaming

Metagaming has broadened its publications program and reorganized the effort. Now, it is easier for those not in Austin to perform publication-related tasks. Aside from game design, two tasks can be performed by mail. The first is play-test/evaluation. This consists of developing a critique and written commentary about a game design. The goal of the written evaluation is to screen out games that aren't suitable for publication and provide those designers with a basis for revision.

The second task is final play-test/editing. This is for games that have been accepted for publication. The goal is for the editor to play-test the game again and develop a final rules draft, corresponding with the designer as needed. This is a harder task and pays more than the more limited evaluations.

If you have a desire to participate in this kind of work then send us a sample of what you can do. One way is to take one of our already-published games and do an evaluation of it. Or, for editing, take one of our games and edit/organize one of its sections the way you feel it should have been done originally. This is a way to put dissatisfaction with a game into writing productively.

Tournament Prizes

Last year Metagaming had wanted to sponsor some tournaments but the project got lost in other hassles. This year we already have over $2,000 committed to cash prizes at Origins, Nancon and Pacificon.

We've always felt that the poor gamer got the short end of the stick in our hobby. The publisher is known, the designer is known, the games are known, and conventions are known. But who is the best in the country in a certain game? Who plays the best Ogre or Stellar Conquest or whatever?

Metagaming thinks that the gamer should be the hero of gaming. Until a gamer is better known than anyone else in gaming our hobby isn't doing things right. Cash prizes for tournament play is one way to focus attention on garners and the play of games as the hub of our hobby.

This is one reason Metagaming doesn't feel that game covers should be cluttered with the names of designers, developers, and whatnot like movie credits. That encourages the "author" cultism that plagues and hinders science fiction fandom. There is more to gaming than adulation for the producers. The gamer is the guy who pays the bill and plays the games. He or she should be the one to get the credit and attention.

The day will come when more people in gaming know the leading gamer than know the president of a company or a designer. That is a day we should all be willing to work toward. That is the day our hobby will have grown up and done something more for our customers than count the dollars.

Next for Fantasy Trip

TFT is developing as a comprehensive series of products. The goal is a continuing mixture of materials that enhance player enjoyment at a low price. Metagaming is accepting design submissions in the following areas:

MICROQUESTS - These are programmed solitaire adventures similar in concept to DEATH TEST. They should all be solitaire-playable, yet usable by Game Masters as ready-made mini-labyrinths. Microquests should be no more than 9,000 words long and use no more than one map. They may depend on the Melee and Wizard rules, maps and play counters; these should serve as the basis for most areas. Labyrinth areas depending on material in Advanced Melee, Advanced Wizard, or TFT:ITL should be so identified. Microquests may be set underground, outdoors, in a building, on an island, or anywhere else that fits into the TFT framework.

ADVENTURE SUPPLEMENTS These are supplementary materials or stocked adventure areas like Tollenkar's Lair. The purpose of an adventure supplement is to provide a GM with material he can use in his campaign. Stocked labyrinths are one type of supplement. Another type could be a description of a historical period with charts, details and values necessary for conducting a campaign with TFT rules in that time period. Or a supplement could describe a mythical or fantasy world of your creation.

CONSTRAINTS: Adventure Supplements will be published in 8 1/2 x 11 book form. Nothing should be included that can't go onto the pages of a booklet. Microquests will have components of the standard 4 x 7 size. A map could be 4 or 6 panels that size. A 4 x 7 sheet of counters could also be included. An important point: CHANGE NO RULES that are already established in TFT, and be careful about creating new rules that don't fit well into the system.

No new character actions or options should be added. You may develop new races, monsters, artifacts, treasures, social structures, economies, traps, talents, spells and such as long as they aren't over-powerful or inconsistent with TFT.

Those making submissions to Metagaming must do so on the proper submission forms. These may be obtained on request by mail from Metagaming. A self-addressed, stamped envelope will speed our response. Submissions not accompanied by a form cannot be considered due to policy and time constraints.

Important Notice

Metagaming and The Space Gamer are no longer connected in any way. If you have a change of address or complaint about one or the other, it MUST go to the proper address. If you have a magazine question send it to TSG. If you have a question about Metagaming service or products then write to the Metagaming address.


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