TSR Giantlands

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darjr

I crit!
Couple things worth noting:

1) Jim Ward claims that Dark Sun is a "Sci Fi" setting rather than Postapocalyptic Fantasy... which is patently ridiculous when GiantLands involves high tech and magic as their claim to the title.

2) Jim Ward having an incurable neurological disease may indicate a cognitive break or decline in which case we're giving a person with a physiological impairment a hard time for being impaired.

Though if that were the issue, the Dark Sun Sci Fi defense makes it ring pretty hollow since he has enough faculties to defend his position on a further spurious claim.
To be clear, and more fair. It was the giant lands Twitter that made the sci-fi claim of darksun. I’m confident James Ward doesn’t run that account.
 

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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I fail to see how this is relevant to the thread - we're discussing the giantlands game, not Jim Ward's health a decade ago. I don't think 'if someone gets sick, you're not allowed to criticize their game or their statements' is a reasonable position, but that seems to be what you're doing. I'll also note that you're the one making this thread about Jim Ward personally - I commented only on the game and his statements about the game.

On the other hand, you started your first comment on this thread with the following:

The claims he's been making about the game sound overblown to the point of desperation. ...Spending a lot of effort making and defending really weak or spurious claims makes the game look much worse to me than if he didn't throw the overblown stuff into the conversation.

This heightens the appearance of desperation to me, since it makes it clear that he should know better as he's been involved with the overall genre to a large extent.


So, you were talking about someone else when you you used "he"? You were thinking of someobne else who made the claim and has been involved with the overall genre? You weren't piling on?

Whatever, man. Your post speaks for itself.

Look, own your own words. This games looks like a travesty. But unlike the other people involved (LaNassa, Gygax Jr., Dinehart), Jim Ward truly gave a lot to this hobby. And his involvement is a tragedy.
 

Dessert Nomad

Adventurer
2) Jim Ward having an incurable neurological disease may indicate a cognitive break or decline in which case we're giving a person with a physiological impairment a hard time for being impaired.
No, we're discussing public comments about the game and game itself. Having an impairment doesn't mean any product you release is immune from criticism. Trying to stifle discussion about a game and it's public marketing by claiming that criticism of the comments and game are somehow personal attacks on a disabled person is completely unreasonable, especially when it's not even clear that the comments are from that person. (Like darjr points out, the Giantlands twitter is likely not even run by Jim Ward).
 


Dessert Nomad

Adventurer
On the other hand, you started your first comment on this thread with the following:
Anyone scrolling up can see that that was actually in my second comment in the thread, which was a reply to you. If you're going to go on a big 'own your words' rant, you should at least get the most basic facts of the matter straight.
So, you were talking about someone else when you you used "he"? You were thinking of someobne else who made the claim and has been involved with the overall genre? You weren't piling on? Whatever, man. Your post speaks for itself.
I was responding to your post (as indicated by me quoting your post), which claimed that the statements were from Ward, and not contesting that part of what you said. Acting like I'm doing something horribly wrong by taking your words at face value speaks a lot more about you and your posts than about me.
Look, own your own words. This games looks like a travesty. But unlike the other people involved (LaNassa, Gygax Jr., Dinehart), Jim Ward truly gave a lot to this hobby. And his involvement is a tragedy.
This looks like a non-sequitor to me; I don't see anyone in this thread disputing what Jim Ward has done in the past. But 'this guy did some good stuff decades ago' doesn't mean 'the current game he's working on is immune from criticism.'
 

Sir Brennen

Legend
Here's the original KickStarter, which is a year behind schedule (possibly pandemic-related delays? Haven't read all the updates).

The subsequent social media marketing has been more hyperbolic than what was on the original KS.

Giantlands Kickstarter
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I fail to see how this is relevant to the thread - we're discussing the giantlands game, not Jim Ward's health a decade ago. I don't think 'if someone gets sick, you're not allowed to criticize their game or their statements' is a reasonable position, but that seems to be what you're doing.

You yourself have mentioned desperation - have you considered that the desperation might stem from his health? When the successes we can name are from 30+ years ago, we can expect major chronic health issues to be quite a strain. Ward so far seems to be guilty of a few overblown statements about the game he wrote. On the scale of things said by folks in the TSR3 orbit, these are the least significant.

While you are correct that being ill doesn't make someone beyond criticism, there's also this thing called "empathy" that we should practice.
 

Weiley31

Legend
Seems like nothing big or even worthwhile to be excited about. (in a hypothetical world where they didn't sink their ship before leaving the flipping port.)
 



Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
This whole thing makes me sad as well. All of my interactions with him have been cordial, and he's seemed like a nice guy. He suffers a lot. Not just from the neurological issues, but diabetes has done a number on him. Lost his foot, crippled the other, has major heart issues. He's been pretty adamant about trying to get people to change their eating habits based on his own experiences over the past few years at least.

I really wish him well, and I don't know why he's said some of the things he's said recently.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Again, just to be absolutely clear- Jim Ward is not the one who made the terrible comments about gender roles. Jim Ward did not make the terrible transphobic comments. Jim Ward is not responsible for the twitter account, or the issues around TSR-cubed. Jim Ward's last tweet in February 13, 2014, wherein he is discussing going to the 2014 GaryCon.

I have no special insight as to what is going on with Jim Ward, other than what I remember happening 10 years ago. It speaks poorly of this industry, that one of the seminal figures who contributed so much to so many could be left destitute from a medical condition.

Do I know if his medical condition is causing his actions? No. Do I know if his financial straits caused him to be less picky about some of the people he associated with? No. I do know that he is making poor choices.

But I can try and understand that life can be hard, and difficult, and can suck, and that could be me, or someone I love. And I will remember Jim Ward for all the joy that he provided, and hope that he comes out of this okay.

(EDIT- I did not see the Mod note. But I will not be engaging with that person again.)
 

DammitVictor

Druid of the Invisible Hand
This was the product I promised I was going to "buy on sight" if anyone ever managed to bring it to market. Recent comments... have caused me to both downgrade GiantLands to "wait for reviews" and suspect that it's even less likely to be published than I realized. Dismissing the community most likely to be excited about a new Jim Ward product in 2021, and announcing that the game itself is going to be 100% closed content have completely drained my enthusiasm for it-- beyond the fact it's a mechanical style I don't care for and he's throwing every Davenport Q&A red flag under the sun.

Jim Ward has got as much right as practically any other living person to catch a ride on TSR's legacy-- but the price of admission, no matter who you are, is to help the people who are still trying to build it.
 

Sir Brennen

Legend
This was the product I promised I was going to "buy on sight" if anyone ever managed to bring it to market. Recent comments... have caused me to both downgrade GiantLands to "wait for reviews" and suspect that it's even less likely to be published than I realized.
Per the last update on the KS in early June, it says the special boxed edition of the game ships at the end of next week. So, we'll see. But that's only 100 copies. There are also PDF and Basic Box pledge levels, but I don't see that those have been fulfilled yet, or if a future delivery date has been given (though I can't see all the KS updates as I'm not a backer.)

Still, if the Basic Box version and PDFs were in the wild, we would have heard about them, no? Most KS's I've backed provide the PDFs well in advance of the physical product shipping, so that seems odd.

On the TSR site, it says a limited edition boxed set will be shipping in August, available for pre-order now. It'll be print only, and limited to 2000 copies.

When this is literally the only product you have for sale on your site, this seems like a horrible business model.

Dismissing the community most likely to be excited about a new Jim Ward product in 2021, and announcing that the game itself is going to be 100% closed content have completely drained my enthusiasm for it-- beyond the fact it's a mechanical style I don't care for and he's throwing every Davenport Q&A red flag under the sun.
What's a Davenport Q&A redflag? (Like, what does that mean, and what are the flags?)
 
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grimslade

Krampus ate my d20s
I don't know. Maybe I am jaded, but the claims about Giantlands being revolutionary and first of its kind are marketing dress. It doesn't affect me. Dismissing other people's work is disappointing, but is just so much squid ink. No one is going to back a Kickstarter that is labeled 'an iterative and banal pastiche of 1E, now with percentile dice!'. I like that Giantlands is a post-apocalyptic fantasy setting made by Drawmij. Judge it on its own merits and flaws. That said, I didn't back the Kickstarter and likely won't buy a hard copy.
 

Sir Brennen

Legend
I don't know. Maybe I am jaded, but the claims about Giantlands being revolutionary and first of its kind are marketing dress. It doesn't affect me. Dismissing other people's work is disappointing, but is just so much squid ink. No one is going to back a Kickstarter that is labeled 'an iterative and banal pastiche of 1E, now with percentile dice!'. I like that Giantlands is a post-apocalyptic fantasy setting made by Drawmij. Judge it on its own merits and flaws. That said, I didn't back the Kickstarter and likely won't buy a hard copy.
The Kickstarter has been over for more than a year. The marketing there is pretty much just making broad statements about the style of play of Giantlands which don't sound much different than just a standard definition of a role-playing game. "We use dice, thoughts, coins and various other game elements..."

[ We use "thoughts"? ]

There's also multiple additional sentences given to elaborating how players user their imagination to play the game. It's like text for an RPG Kickstarter from 1985.

Oh, and name-dropping "Gygax" (both Sr. and Jr.) a staggering number of times.

The KS does describe the actual system as "simple", not "revolutionary". From the other text, I think the Giantlands team wanted an original system that has an OSR "feel". Jim mentions his admiration of Gary Gygax DM'ing style where he "never checked a rule or looked up a stat" (which, when you're the game designer, that's probably a little easier.)

Though the mention that characters have to collect sigils to gain power sounds somewhat video-gamey to me.

Again, we can't really judge the merits of the system until we see the actual game, which supposedly will be in the next several weeks. Perhaps someone on ENWorld can get an advance copy for review?
 

DammitVictor

Druid of the Invisible Hand
What's a Davenport Q&A redflag? (Like, what does that mean, and what are the flags?)

Dan Davenport runs Q&A interviews on his Discord server, to let creative types promote their crowdfunding campaigns or upcoming products or whatever. They're an incredibly valuable opportunity for a creator who has their ducks in a row, but some of the questions asked by the host, the regulars, or the audience can be tough and they can reveal that a creator isn't ready for the spotlight.

I used to try to help coach interviewees to help present their products in the best possible light, but Discord's harder for me to keep track of than IRC.

Anyway, massive red flags are claiming that your game is the first to do practically anything, because it's rarely ever true and it shows a lack of awareness of the RPG field on the part of the author. It's a warning sign that the mechanics are going to be stale and janky, and almost always lacking in intentionality, because the author simply isn't aware of anything else they could have done. It's also one of the major signs of an author who doesn't know what their game is good for, second only to claiming it's good for everything.

Slagging other peoples' work-- which, to be fair, I didn't see him do myself-- isn't just "a bad look" or unprofessional, it's a very specific sign of a lack of creative vision in your own work. If you're excited about your work and what it does, you want to talk about your work, not the crap that convinced you that you could do better. People who've done better want to stay on that message.

I was probably exaggerating when I said he was throwing "every" red flag, but these are the two biggest.

Less severe... but also a warning, is boasting that you've been working on a project for a number of years. Authors think they're displaying passion and commitment, but it speaks to a lack of direction and implies the finished product will be disorganized and internally contradictory. People with passion and commitment get it done, and the longer development cycle usually speaks to multiple changes of direction and partial overhauls in the intervening years.

My own primary work-in-progress, my life's work, Shroompunk is something I've wanted to do for almost twelve years now, but I haven't been working on it for twelve years. I stink of this pitfall myself. I keep telling myself that I'm going to start serious work on it any day now, but when I do... I'm going to tell people I was inspired a decade ago and started work recently. And... frankly... there is no way now for me to make it not look bad.

I mention that because... one, I don't want to seem unsympathetic to a genuine legend, and two, to establish that I know this particular failstate intimately because I've seen it from the inside. Also because I'm utterly shameless about self-promotion.

And... finally... boasting about the massive multimedia empire you're going to build before you've got the first cornerstone laid, the first minimum viable product... well, speaking of incredibly ambitious failstarters, that's Far West. That's Mighty No 9. Not only are these the biggest crowdfunding failures of all time, I've never heard a single success story that starts that way.

I wish I could say that I don't understand what anyone at TSR is thinking, but I understand it perfectly. I know every play in this game plan-- though even I'm surprised they're pulling all of them-- and I've seen how it ends a lot of times. I really want them to succeed here, and I want them to straighten up and fly right, but they're not going to succeed here unless they straighten up and fly right.
 

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
Give me TSR and I'm making a Greyhawk OSR game and Castle Greyhawk is finally published :p

You'll also need all the material Gail Gygax owns to do that... this new TSR is just picking up lapsed names, they don't actually own any material from the original TSR time.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I wonder if others are unimpressed with spoilers that have been provided for Giantlands thus far as I am. A lot of spurious claims and a whole lot of relabeled stole....I mean recycled ideas touted as ground breaking.
There are hundreds of small press games every year, but we seem to be giving an awful lot of undue attention to this company and game. I mean yes, I am unimpressed. But, why do we keep giving them free publicity?
 


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