Introduction to the Hall of Fame
by Michael Stackpole

It might seem curious to some that gaming actually has a Hall of Fame. We’ve certainly all grown up with Halls of Fame, especially in the arena of sports, so we have a sense that they memorialize the best and brightest, the people and things that have had the greatest impact on the appropriate subject. Somehow, though, it seems incongruous that we would have a Hall of Fame with people and products being elevated to where they could be compared to Hank Aaron or Babe Ruth. Even those folks elected to that Johnny-come-lately Hall of Fame for Rock and Roll (ours predated it by over a decade) seem to be more important than our members.


However, it’s not for the outside world that we have a Hall of Fame, it’s for us. In our Hall of Fame we find those people who have made critical contributions to gaming overall. We have those who elevated game design to an art and those who elevated the art found in game design. We have members who have made contributions to the business side of gaming, and those whose contributions have been less in design and production than in service to the industry as a whole.

And we have the greatest fruits of their labors enshrined there as well.

I can think of no other honor that thrilled me more than being elected to the Hall of Fame. Members are chosen by their peers, and the competition is fierce, so being elected is at once an attaboy and a thank you by those people who know you and what you’ve gone through. And the best part, perhaps, is that the election comes with no jealousy, but smiles and nods that say, “You go on along ahead. I’ll be there soon enough.”

There are some interesting situations when you look at the membership of the Hall of Fame. Small companies fare pretty well in getting members elected, with Flying Buffalo, Inc., having the highest per capita ratio of employees to members. This points less to jealousy of big companies that prevents their employees from making it, than to the vibrancy of an industry where a person with talent, a good idea, and the guts to bring both to market can make a serious impact on the industry. Face it, everyone who is in the Hall of Fame walked away from the wider world where they could have made much more money, just because they wanted to follow a dream.

So, while our Hall of Fame members might not be as recognizable as their sports counterparts, they’re just as special. They’ve helped shape an industry that grew up in the later half of the twentieth century, through “fadness” into a phenomenon that gets mentioned in articles, on TV, in films; a pastime that has entertained millions worldwide for decades, and will continue to do so. Instead of playing at a game others created, they’ve defined, redefined, innovated and expanded something new, something special, something that invites participation, not just watching.

And, without a doubt, the best part of it all is that they’ve done this for the love of the hobby. Not for money. Not for acclaim. Just for that smile from someone who has fun playing what you’ve done. So, our Hall of Fame celebrates them, and has plenty more room for the rest of you, when you get there.


1974-TurnbullThe first member of the Academy’s Hall of Fame, Don was the head of TSR UK for many years before moving to Lake Geneva to be a part of TSR. Don left TSR with Gary Gygax to form New Infinities Productions back in 1987. After that endeavor folded, Don left the adventure gaming industry. He’s currently living in England once again, teaching computer use to corporate executives.1975-DunniganThe co-founder of Strategic Publications, Inc., (SPI) and the original publisher of Strategy & Tactics, Jim has written and published a list of wargames as long as your arm. These days, he spends his time writing books about the military (the Digital Soldiers series) and authentic histories (the Dirty Little Secrets series).1976-ShawTom started with Avalon Hill in 1960, where he designed many games, including Football Strategy and Baseball Strategy, and edited The General from 1964 to 1972. In his later years with Avalon Hill, he worked as the company’s sales manager, bringing their games to a whole new generation of gamers. He retired in the early ’90s, and he’s been greatly missed.1977-simonsenRedmond co-founded SPI, where he worked as the Vice President/Art Director until it was sold to TSR in 1982. He designed the components and edited the rules of every game SPI published, including those in Strategy & Tactics. He was last seen working in the computer gaming industry.1978-HillThe "Hill" in Avalon Hill, John designed some of the most popular wargames of all time, including Johnny Reb, Squad Leader, and Tank Leader.
1979-IsbyDavid designed many wargames, including Air War. These days, David spends his time writing military guidebooks for the Janes imprint of Harper Collins and other publishers.1980-GygaxAs the co-designer of Dungeons & Dragons and the co-founder of TSR, Gary is arguably the best-known game designer ever. He brought TSR out of his basement and created a multi-million dollar company. After leaving TSR, he formed New Infinities Productions, which published Cyborg Commando. Later he published Dangerous Journeys through Game Designers Workshop. He later worked on Lejendary Adventures from Hekaforge. Gary died March 4, 2008.1981-MillerMarc was one of four founders of Game Designers’ Workshop (GDW). He is the designer of Traveller, one of the first science-fiction roleplaying games, and several other roleplaying and war games from GDW. He was also quickly onto the collectible card game scene with Super Deck! These days Marc works as a print buyer and consultant for several game companies, and still works on game design projects.1982-JacksonSteve got his start at Metagaming, but in 1980 he founded his own gaming company: Steve Jackson Games. Steve’s best-known work is no doubt GURPS, the most successful generic roleplaying system to date. He also has the distinction of having won a court case against the Secret Service after that agency raided his company’s offices in an attempt to halt the publication of GURPS Cyberpunk.1982-RobertsThe grandfather of wargaming, Charles is the man for whom the wargaming awards are actually named. He founded Avalon Hill and created and published the first modern wargame–Tactics–in 1952. He also designed such classics Tactics II, Gettysburg, and D-Day.
1983-ArnesonThe co-author of the original Dungeons & Dragons, Dave designed the first fantasy roleplaying campaign: Blackmoor. He went on to work in the trenches of the computer gaming industry. Dave went on to be a course director at Full Sail University, a private school teaching multimedia courses, in Orlando Florida. Dave died April 7, 2009.1984-ChadwickFrank was one of the co-founders of Game Designers Workshop, and he has many of that company’s wargames to his credit. He was also the author of the best-selling Gulf War Factbook. Frank was the president of GAMA for many years.1986-ZocchiCaptain Lou Zocchi formed the first adventure game distributorship ever, helping to establish the three tier distribution system that’s still in place to this day. He was the first editor of The General. He has designed many games and even polyhedral dice, including the 10-sided die and the legendary 100-sided Zocchihedron. He was the vice-president of GAMA for its first five years. Lou sold his distributorship a few years back, but he still runs Gamescience, and you can see him as a guest at the War College at Origins every year. Plus, the man plays a mean hand saw.1987-StaffordOne of the founders of Chaosium and the co-author of the original Runequest, Greg has also published his cult-favorite Glorantha material.1988-LoomisRick is the founder of Flying Buffalo, Inc., the publisher of the second roleplaying game ever–Tunnels & Trolls–and the first ever play-by-mail company. Rick has done more than just about anyone to keep play-by-mail gaming alive. Rick was the first president of GAMA, and is still working as the president of Flying Buffalo.
1989-WardJim Ward wrote the first post-apocalyptic roleplaying game: Gamma World. After Gary Gygax left TSR, Jim filled his shoes as the director of creative development, steering the company’s game designs for over a decade. When Wizards of the Coast bought TSR, Jim opted to remain in Wisconsin and work as a consultant in the gaming industry.1990-BergA long-time wargame designer, Richard is best known for his "amateur" publication Berg’s Review of Games, which is also in the Hall of Fame. Richard has designed games on just about every subject, ranging from ancient history to sports and everything in between.1990-PetersenSandy Petersen co-designed Call of Cthulhu and Runequest during his time at Chaosium. He also worked on the mega-hit computer games Doom and Quake.1991-GreenwoodDon started work with Avalon Hill back in 1972, and he developed a number of their best-selling games, including Squad Leader, Advanced Squad Leader, and Statis-Pro Basketball.1991-MeierTom was one of the original sculptors at Ral Partha, starting back in 1973. He’s also sculpted figures for Thunderbolt Mountain, Lance & Lazer, Global Games, Games Workshop, Proctor & Gamble, Kenner, and many others.
1993-featherstoneDonald Featherstone published a book of rules for minatures in 1962 called "War Games". This was the first effort to make rules for wargames since H.G.Wells published his book "Little Wars" and it was a remarkably good one. "War Games" laid the ground work for all rules for minatures battles and led (I suspect) to "Chainmail" by Gygax and Perrin, and from there, it was a short jump to "Dungeons and Dragons."1993-StackpoleMike got his start at Flying Buffalo, but he earned his fame with his Battletech novels for FASA. He is also known for his Star Wars novels that persistently made it on to the New York Times bestsellers’ list. Mike is also the industry’s official spokesman against those who would like to link gaming to tragedies in the lives of children, and he’s appeared as an expert witness against defense lawyers who have tried to use the "gaming defense."1994-FindleyThe only member of the Hall of Fame to be inducted posthumously, Nigel was one of the most prolific game designers of the early to mid-’90s, focusing most of his work on writing roleplaying game supplements and novels. He was always a gentleman, eager to give a rookie a helping hand. He died suddenly of a heart attack in February of 1995.1994-GuthrieJulie is one of the best-known miniatures sculptors ever, so much so that she was actually given her own line of figures by Grenadier. These days, Julie’s still sculpting away, but you’re just as likely to see her handiwork gracing larger-scale collectible pewter figures (she worked on a popular Star Trek series) as in a miniatures game line.1994-WisemanJordan was one of the founders of FASA and one of the co-designers of Battletech. He went on to found several game companies such as Level 42 Entertainment, Wizkids, and Harebrained Schemes.
1995-DanforthLiz got her start at Flying Buffalo, where she worked as both a writer and an artist. Most people are familiar with Liz’s name for the amazing artwork she created for games like The Middle-earth Roleplaying Game, The Middle-earth Collectible Card Game, and Magic: The Gathering, although she’s a fine writer as well.1996-BromleyDarwin was the co-founder of Mayfair Games and co-designer of Empire Builder, the first in Mayfair’s popular line of railbuilding games. He has arguably the largest game collection in the world. These days, Darwin spends his time as a consultant in the gaming industry.1998-GarfieldNext to Gary Gygax, Richard is likely the best-known game designer of all time. His first published game was Magic: The Gathering, which started the entire collectible card game craze the adventure game industry is still caught up in to this day. He has also designed the CCGs Netrunner, Battletech, Vampire: The Eternal Struggle, Star Wars Trading Card Game, the card game The Great Dalmuti and the board game RoboRally.1999-CostikyanGreg has designed nearly thirty different games, many of which are considered classics. These include Barbarian Kings, The Creature that Ate Sheboygan, Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, Star Trek: The Adventure Game, Paranoia, Toon, and Violence: The Roleplaying Game of Egregious and Repulsive Bloodshed. He also does computer game design. He has designed games for Victory Games, Avalon Hill, Steve Jackson Games, West End Games, Prodigy, Crossover Technologies, and the Discovery Channel. He has also had published four novels and a number of short stories. He has won several Origins Awards: for Best Roleplaying Game of 1987 for Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, for Best Roleplaying Game of 1984 for Paranoia, for Best Historical Boardgame of 1985 for Pax Britannica, for Best Pre-20th Century Boardgame of 1984 for Web & Starship, and for Best Fantasy/Science Fiction Boardgame of 1979 for The Creature that Ate Sheboygan.1999-ElmoreLarry came to TSR in the early '80s, and he immediately brought a whole new level of quality to the cover and interior art of the company's products. Over the years, the name Elmore has become synonymous with fantasy roleplaying and fantasy fiction. He left TSR many years ago and went on to grace the products of many other companies with his amazing covers. Larry has painted the covers for dozens of games and novels, including the best-selling Dragonlance series, Shadowrun, Dark Conspiracy, and many others.
2001-HickmanAs we begin to honor a generation of game designers who also made their mark as novelists, it’s important to note that it all started with two people -- Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman -- and one game line turned literary sensation: Dragonlance. Several of the other nominees on this ballot, as well as some already in the Hall of Fame, would not have had the opportunity to make their mark without the trailblazing work of Weis and Hickman. Their 10 Dragonlance novels (and 9 short story anthologies) were just the start for this duo, who have also contributed such best-selling fantasy and science-fiction series as the Rose of the Prophet trilogy, the 7-volume Deathgate Cycle, the Darksword and Starshield series, and the Sovereign Stone novels.2001-WeisAs we begin to honor a generation of game designers who also made their mark as novelists, it’s important to note that it all started with two people -- Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman -- and one game line turned literary sensation: Dragonlance. Several of the other nominees on this ballot, as well as some already in the Hall of Fame, would not have had the opportunity to make their mark without the trailblazing work of Weis and Hickman. Their 10 Dragonlance novels (and 9 short story anthologies) were just the start for this duo, who have also contributed such best-selling fantasy and science-fiction series as the Rose of the Prophet trilogy, the 7-volume Deathgate Cycle, the Darksword and Starshield series, and the Sovereign Stone novels.2004-Bond2004-Charrette2004-Greenwood
2004-Knizia2004-Teuber2004-Wiseman2005-Seifried2006-AllstonAaron Allston worked in the hobby game industry for almost twenty-five years. He wrote all or part of forty-five well-received products, including books for AD&D, D&D, Champions, Car Wars, Dying Earth, GURPS, Justice, Inc., and Rolemaster. His editorial credits include stints at the helm of the magazines Adventurers Club, Space Gamer, and Fantasy Gamer. Aaron also penned several bestselling novels, most notably several successful Star Wars books, and worked in the computer game field. Under his editorship, Space Gamer magazine won the H.G. Wells Award for Best Professional Role-Playing Magazine in 1982. Savage Empire, a computer game which he co-wrote, was named Best PC Fantasy RPG by Game Player magazine in 1990.
2006-BlackburnJolly R. Blackburn quit his “real job” in 1990 to publish the small press gaming magazine, Shadis. The magazine won three Origins Awards for Best Professional Gaming Magazine before ceasing publication in 1998. Somewhere along the line, Jolly found the time to create a crudely drawn comic called Knights of the Dinner Table as filler. As Jolly puts it, the comic started as a “creative burp” that didn’t get a lot of thought. “It was supposed to be a onetime thing,” he says. As it turns out, that strip proved more popular than the magazine itself, so Jolly sold the magazine and published the strip as a monthly comic book. It didn’t take much to convince Jolly that being part of a team was much better than struggling alone, so he jumped on board with Kenzer & Company. Since teaming up with Kenzer, Jolly and his humble Knights achieved feats far beyond anything he ever imagined, including three Origins Awards for Best Professional Gaming Magazine. KotDT appears in many different languages around the world. Aside from his work on KotDT, Jolly contributed to numerous Kingdoms of Kalamar and HackMaster products.2006-MacGowanFor thirty years, Rodger MacGowan earned a name as one of the most prominent artists in boardgaming. Rodger honed his skills working with Redmond Simonsen of SPI. His art graces the covers and components of more than two hundred board games, from Avalon Hill's Squad Leader and its supplements, to titles published by Yaquinto, Hobby Japan, Game Designers’ Workshop, and Strategy & Tactics magazine. Rodger founded Fire & Movement magazine in 1976 and now publishes C3i magazine. He is currently art director and one of the partners at GMT Games, responsible for the component design for many of GMT’s products, as well as the cover art and packaging. For three decades, his creations consistently raised the bar for artwork in the hobby game field and set high standards of quality by which future products will be measured.2006-MizeMost people know Dennis Mize for his impressive body of work as a sculptor at Ral Partha. His designs netted many Origins Awards and a vast amount of industry respect. He also created many impressive and award-winning sculptures for Dark Sword Miniatures, Reaper, and Paizo Publishing. Dennis constantly honed his craft throughout his career, explaining his philosophy this way: “If you can look at a miniature you sculpted two years ago and not be able to sculpt it better now, then you ain’t trying hard enough to get better at what you do.” Dennis left an impressive legacy of outstanding pewter miniatures and is sorely missed by those who had the privilege of knowing and working with him over the years.2006-PondsmithMike Pondsmith is the founder of R. Talsorian Games, a talented designer, and a hobby game industry innovator. “Maximum Mike”, as many industry insiders call him, either invented or popularized many different genres of role-playing, including cyberpunk (Cyberpunk 2020), steampunk (Castle Falkenstein), and anime (Mekton). Under Mike’s leadership, R. Talsorian was also one of the first publishers to embrace desktop publishing. Very few creators made Mike’s broad impact on the role-playing field. Both fans and fellow industry professionals eagerly await each new hobby game project Mike undertakes.2007-Moon
2007-Tweet2011-Randolph2011-SacksonSid was a significant American board game designer, collector, and writer. For several years in the mid-1970s, Sid Sackson wrote a monthly column for Strategy & Tactics magazine. The Chicago-born game designer collected games throughout his life; at the time of his death his collection was estimated at over 18,000 titles. Many of those were unique, sent to him by hopeful game developers who wanted Sackson's advice. At one point in his life, Sackson turned down an offer to bring his collection elsewhere for permanent safekeeping. The games were sold at a series of auctions after his death, breaking up the collection. Sid died November 6, 2002.2011-Wujcik2013-Coleman

1977-Dungeons-and-Dragons(Gary Gygax & Dave Arneson). This is the roleplaying game that started it all. Arguably, no other game has been as influential in the entire adventure game industry.1977-EmpireThis classic game brought miniatures wargaming in the Napoleonic era to tabletops around the world.1993-Ace-of-Aces{Al Leonardi, Douglas Kaufman, Jerry Redding). This game of WWI dogfighting was the first adventure game to ever receive a patent. The system became the basis of many other games, including the Lost Worlds series and Marvel Comics’ Battlebooks.1993-Diplomacy(Allan Calhamer). The classic game of European intrigue, it distinguished itself by being entirely diceless. It’s truly a game of skill. It went on to inspire a best-selling computer game of the same name.1994-Dragon-Magazine
1994-RiskThe classic game of world domination, this is one of the few "mass-market" games in the Hall of Fame. Its ease of play but depth of strategy speaks to gamers of all levels.1995-Axis-&-Allies1995-Call-of-Cthulhu(Sandy Petersen & Lynn Willis). The first horror roleplaying game, few other games have ever captured the feel of their subject matter as well. Many game designers put it at the top of their list of the best roleplaying game ever designed.1996-Advanced-D&D(E. Gary Gygax). AD&D, as it’s popularly known, is by far the most popular roleplaying game of all time. Spawned from the original Dungeons & Dragons game, it fired the imagination of players around the world.1996-Cosmic-Encounter(Bill Eberle, Jack Kittridge, Bill Norton, Peter Olotka). A wacky science-fiction game in which the rules change as the game goes along, Cosmic Encounter has been credited as one of the main influences in the development of Magic: The Gathering.
1996-Traveller(Marc Miller). One of the first science-fiction roleplaying game, Traveller brought roleplaying out of the dungeon and thrust it into the stars.1997-Battletech(Charles Crain). Ral Partha showed the industry how to bring a miniatures game to life in 25mm pewter figures.1997-berg's(Richard Berg). This newsletter, published by Hall of Famer Richard Berg, gives its readers the kind of no-holds-barred reviews that wargamers depend on to help them choose which game they should next dedicate their life to playing. The writing is clear and sometimes savage. No one ever asks, "Richard, what did you really mean by that?"1997-Fire-&-MovementF&M has been through a lot of publishers, but it still concentrates on giving in-depth and capsule reviews of the newest and best wargames on the market.1997-Illuminati(Draper Kauffman). The classic play-by-mail game based on the classic card game of the same name, Illuminati Play-by-Mail brought conspiracy and paranoia to its players’ mailboxes on a regular basis.
1997-Middle-Earth(William B. Feild Jr., Peter G. Stassun). Based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and the Middle-earth Roleplaying Game from Iron Crown Enterprises, the Middle-earth Play-by-Mail game gave the players the choice to fight for good or evil and change the course of history for all of Middle-earth.1997-Nuclear-War(Douglas Malewicki). The classic cold-war game of blasting your opponents’ countries until they glow in the dark, Nuclear War has seen several expansions, including a set of collectible cards for use in the game.1997-Strategy-&-TacticsOne of the first magazines dedicated to wargaming, S&T was edited by Jim Dunnigan for most of the time it was published by SPI.1997-The-Courier(Dick Bryant). The Courier set the tone for all historical miniatures wargaming magazines that followed it. It’s still regarded by many as the best ever of its kind.1998-MTG(Richard Garfield). Not since Dungeons & Dragons introduced the world to roleplaying games has a game had as much of an influence on the adventure gaming industry. As the first collectible card game, Magic invented an entire category of games, revitalizing the entire industry and raising it to all-new heights of popularity.
1999-ChampionsFirst released in June of 1981, this game quickly became the best-selling superhero roleplaying game, a category which was largely ignored until Champions. Champions pioneered or popularized a number of roleplaying innovations: creating characters by point allocation, character disadvantages, designing the effects of powers, and creating character backstory. Champions was able to represent the feel of superhero combat with simple rules (such as knockback) which have been widely imitated by other superhero RPGs, but never bettered.1999-GURPSFirst published in 1986 as a boxed set from Steve Jackson Games, GURPS (short for Generic Universal Role-Playing System) was one of the first games to tackle the ambitious task of being a rules system that could be used in virtually any setting. The GURPS system has gone through three editions and several revisions. More than 1,000,000 copies have been sold over the course of the game's life, and over 150 supplements for the game have been made.2001-Settlers-of-Catan(Klaus Teuber ) A past winner of Germany’s Game of the Year award, Settlers of Catan is one of the most popular boardgames of the past decade. But for American gamers, it has even greater significance. Its success opened the door for scores of other great German boardgames to cross over to American markets, and gave Settlers designer Klaus Teuber a whole new audience to dazzle.2004-squad-leader2004-warhammer-40000
2006-Star-Fleet-BattlesFirst published in 1979, Star Fleet Battles is second only to Dungeons & Dragons as the longest continuously published gaming property. Star Fleet Battles literally defined the genre of spaceship combat games in the early 1980s, and was the first game that combined a major license with “high re-playability.” Throughout that time, it remained popular with players, too. In the early 1990s, the Origins Star Fleet Battles tournament often boasted more participants than any other gaming event. It even outdrew the Magic: the Gathering events for attendees for 1993 and 1994. Star Fleet Battles went through five editions and spawned three computer games based on its game model, with a fourth currently in the works. In 2005, Star Fleet Battles was distilled down to its most basic elements and relaunched as Federation Commander.2007-napoleans-battles2007-pendragon2011-amber2011-Aquire(Sid Sackson) This classic game has taken many different forms over the years depending on the publisher. Each player strategically invests in businesses, trying to retain a majority of stock. As the businesses grow with tile placements, they also start merging, giving the majority stockholders of the acquired business sizable bonuses, which can then be used to reinvest into other chains. All of the investors in the acquired company can then cash in their stocks for current value or trade them 2-for-1 for shares of the newer, larger business. The game is a race to acquire the greatest wealth. The original version is part of the 3M Bookshelf Series.