Musings on the 20th Anniversary of Demise of West End Games

Started by bayonetbrant, June 29, 2018, 10:48:14 AM

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QuoteEvery year as July approaches I get a little glum about the summer of 1998 when West End Games filed for bankruptcy and pulled the rug out from under numerous employees, creative freelance writers and artists, and fans of the company's groundbreaking Star Wars roleplaying game. "Consider yourselves unemployed," was how the company's owner initially broke the news to the puzzled editors, graphic designers, and sales personnel unexpectedly summoned to his office. These annual, bittersweet recollections send me into a spiral of memories from which I can usually extricate myself by focusing on the positive aspects of that time. During my five years at West End I worked on many projects that still make me smile with a proud sense of satisfaction: certainly The Official Star Wars Adventure Journal; Platt's Starport Guide; the revised and expanded version of the game's second edition; the Star Wars Introductory Adventure Game (and similar products for the Men in Black and Hercules & Xena game lines); numerous solitaire tutorial adventures (including the standalone book Imperial Double-Cross); and a revision of the roleplaying game's Star Wars Style Guide that helped authors with all aspects of the submission and writing process (which notably resurfaced a few years ago on the interwebzes as the guide George Lucas supposedly ignored when making the prequels, certainly not its original intention). It was a dream job, despite constant anxiety, vicious office politics, and what I expect are the general idiocies that plague any modern American workplace. But the occasion also gives me an opportunity to reflect on the many good things West End brought into my life and other people's lives.

much more at the link
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What a great read; thanks for sharing.

I was a HUGE WEG fan back in the day - loved the original Star Wars RPG system and the 2.0 version as well. They also made the original RAF solitaire game, which still is one of my favorites, as well as Air Cav.

Nocternal Media was supposed to revive it but if I remember right, the death of Nocturnal's owner just a couple of years ago put that on ice fast. :(


WEG had some great stuff.

I still have Soldiers.  I recall it being a rather odd duck when I first got it, back in the 80s.  A tactical wargame at individual soldier level with game mechanics focused squarely on morale, and limiting what you can do because of it.  I had never seen it given such a central focus in rules back then.  Still rarely, if ever, do.  Interesting game.

At some point I'll pull it out, count & organize to make sure everything's still there. 

Can't remember all the WEG wargames I owned back then, but had a number of them.

Silent Disapproval Robot

I had a fair number as well.

Star Wars RPG
and a fair number of the modules and sourcebooks to go along with it.

Star Warriors tactical ship combat boardgame.  Lots of fun and could be used in conjunction with the RPG

Ghost Busters RPG.  Good for a few laughs but it never got played much.

Paranoia RPG
.  More fun to read the rules than it was to play or GM.

Air Cav  i really liked it but my friends weren't too into it.  Felt it was too groggy and that missiles were far too deadly to make for a fun game.

Fireteam.  I never got to play this one as much as I would have liked but I really liked the initiative system that simulated greater initiative for US junior commanders vs. Soviet adherence to doctrine.  The US player would get a lot of activation pulls that would let him issue a command to a single squad or sometimes a whole platoon.  The Soviet player would only get a few activations per turn but then they could activate whole companies at once.

Soldiers.  Bought it and thought it looked interesting but only ever played it once as my usual gaming group weren't all that into wargames (especially tactical ones) and on days when I could convince them to play one, they only ever wanted to play Sniper Bughunt or Phoenix Command.

Junta.  My group liked this one a hell of a lot more than I did and I ended up trading it for a copy of Cold War by Victory Games.


I also recall enjoying their Air & Armor game.  Probably due to it's hidden strength factors, and the production quality being so good for the time.


Quote from: Silent Disapproval Robot on June 30, 2018, 12:03:10 AM
Paranoia RPG[/b][/i].  More fun to read the rules than it was to play or GM.

I agree with that assessment. You really need a right-minded group to enjoy Paranoia.