Saturday, April 28, 2012

GangBusters News

Several years ago, per my game contract with TSR, Hasbro (present day owner of TSR) reverted the rights to "GangBusters" a/k/a Bloody 20s to me. Several weeks ago, I was contacted by James Maliszewski, of Grognardia blog , asking about the rights to "GangBusters". When I informed him that the rights had reverted to me, James (a fan of "GangBusters" from his teenage years) asked what I was planning to do about getting "GangBusters" back in print. After some initial reticence on my part, the persistent James convinced me that it was something I should explore. If only it was as simple as Captain Picard's "Make it so."

What I am asking the followers of this blog is for their thoughts on a remake of "GangBusters". What would you be looking for in a revised "GangBusters" ? Would you buy it as a Print on Demand ? Would you support a "Kickstarter" campaign ? Or should the rules book, remain the same and just be available as a Print on Demand ? Interest in new historical modules ?

Feel free to comment here or on the "Gangbuster's board" at the Original D&D Discussion Blog found here.  Your comments are appreciated.

32 comments:

  1. I'd be on a Gangbusters kickstarter program like shine on a silver dollar.

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  2. Might be helpful to put up a poll some place for this. I never got a chance to play or get it when it came out, so I'd be down with a Print on Demand and a Kickstarter.

    If you did do it on Kickstarter, perhaps you could bundle the original rules, either as one rulebook or as a PDF, but I'd be really interested in seeing the game as you originally intended. The Gangbusters Authors edition...Aka "The Bloody 20s" just to see what got dropped if anything when TSR put it in print, or stuff you didn't have space to put in. A boxed set on Kickstarter with the PDF of the Authors edition and the PDF of the original edition. Then of course you could add in things like Prohibition level supporter, Speak Easy level supporter, Bootlegger Level Supporter, etc.

    Allright, 'nuff said.

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  3. I would also throw money at a Gangbusters Kickstarter.

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  4. There is a very interesting thread on theRPGSite about Kickstarter - http://www.therpgsite.com/showthread.php?t=22573 I would encourage you to read it before considering kickstarter.

    Would I be interested? Of course, I love that era, but if you were going to revise it, I would broaden it's scope a bit so that different aspects of the 1920s/1930s could be incorporated. Think detective pulp/adventure pulp, I guess. Savage Worlds is a competitor in this area, so the focus on just gangsters makes you unique but might limit your audience. What would you want to achieve with the remake?

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  5. I would do print on demand or Kickstarter. A pulp supplement would be very cool.

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  6. I would love to have GB available again--I really loved it back in the day. I'd be happy with making the original stuff available again, along with some new stuff, but a reworked edition would also be very cool.

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  7. I would love to have a PoD version of the original rules - absolutely love the game and the genre! Release a revised edition later on after you gauge interest to the original rules release, and expand on the areas the community gives feedback on. Build it and we will come.

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  8. Thanks everyone for your comments, so far. They are greatly appreciated. Let me throw something out to the gang.

    It is the maps and the movement system described in the rules. Therein is a big problem, I think, for doing a simple re-release of the PDF.

    Thoughts & comments ?

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  9. One of the most memorable characters I ever had, from any game/genre, was my wanna-be gangster, Duke Steele. I had a blast with Gangbusters back in the day and would love to see it again. Especially considering how close we are to the centennial of the Bloody 20's anyway.

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  10. For my purposes a PoD + PDF of the original rules would serve my purposes. On the other hand, I think a Kickstarter would be the way to really build excitement about a re-release, and get the word out. For a Kickstarter, it would nice to see a refresh of the original rulebook. Not to change the rules, but simply to flesh them out a little more, and include some of the interesting material that must have accumulated in the last 20 years or so. Are rights to any of the old modules available? Or perhaps a new module could be created as part of a Kickstarter.

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  11. I'd like to see the original rules (if not original format) preserved, absolutely.

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  12. I never played your game but I'd love to try. I wouldn't contribute to a kickstarter but if you made the original or somewhat modified [by you or someone who's played it with you] version available as a download I'd buy it.

    Hope it comes back in some version! Thanks.

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  13. Yes Please. I would invest in a Kickstarter project or buy the reprints. Even though I have my old brown box still, I would love to see POD hardcaovers of one of my favorite games. Great to see you still have the rights. Thanks so much for the hours of fun you gave me as a child!

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  14. As for the original maps, post them up as free support files, or provide an order link to a PoD poster printer like VistaPrint. You could Kickstarter them and get them done professionally as well, it depends on how much work you want to put into the project, of course. I don't see the maps as a huge roadblock to distribution (it may be for some), but let's hear everyone's thoughts and see what the community thinks is the best way to go.

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  15. I'd like to see you do a new version rather than just reprint the original rules, after all, I already have the original rules and they are available fairly cheaply on ebay when they do show up. What I would like to see is a version of the game that represents what you would have created had the TSR censors not been involved in your creation. Let's see the Bloody '20s as it was meant to be seen, blood and whores and all. Let's see the Raymond Chandler Philip Marlowe as opposed to the Humphrey Bogart Philip Marlowe. I would totally support a Kickstarter on this.

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  16. Reprint the original rules, please (prefereably PoD rather than pdf, or at least offer both). I'd love to see a few new modules, too, perhaps one campaign length module that can take players through several related scenarios.

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  17. >> It is the maps and the movement system described in the rules. Therein is a big problem, I think, for doing a simple re-release of the PDF.

    Why is that? Is the issue that the maps/movement system aren't owned by you, or that you think they would be difficult to covert to a PDF?

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  18. Michael, difficult, but not impossible to convert to PoD. I'd like to have a way to figure out using Google Maps, which would make a local game very local 8-)

    I've used foam board geomorphs.

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  19. I would buy either POD or Kickstarter, but prefer Kickstarter, possibly offering a box set type of set up. Gangbusters was one of my "big 3" purchases back in the early 80's that was not AD&D; Boot Hill, Top Secret, and Gangbusters. Count me in as someone who would like a revised rulebook. I always wanted to see more robust rules for newspaper characters, with rules on stories or contacts and putting together a big scoop.

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  20. I would definitely purchase this game in any format. I would like to see a kickstarter, and recommend that you contact Autarch who did James' materials. The idea of having Gangbusters with Dry Erase combat maps is very appealing to me.

    I would also recommend that you stay strictly historical in the base game. As much as I am a fan of Pulp, I think that would be a wonderful expansion product. I'd like the base set to stick to an "Untouchables" and "Made Men" feel. Besides, it's better to have the option for more products.

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  21. I would love a print on demand version. Gangbusters was one of my early purchases. I remember heading down to the toy store (back when toy stores sold rpgs) and picking up the boxed set.

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  22. Hi!

    I own a copy of the original, and adapted at least one adventure to use with a different system ( http://www.pa-mar.net/rpg/pulp/library/deathondocks.html ).

    I'd be interested in a "new" version - replacing the old mechanics which in my opinion didn't age gracefully, and adventures (either completely new, or ported to a new rule system).

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  23. I have my copy of Gangbusters in my game room. I player it all through the 80's. I would back a kickstarter for Gangbusters in seconds.

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  24. I really liked the original game but I haven't played in about 25 years so I am not sure how it would be received now. I didn't like the setting either, so there is another vote for a change to a more historical setting. Without being able to see the game again, I would say a major refresh is in order. On the huge plus side, I think that the brand would get people to look at whatever you came up with as a redesign and that gives you a leg up on any other person trying to do that genre. Personally, I own some Savage Worlds stuff and don't think you'd have any problem doing a better job than they did. Combat is Savage Worlds is horrible and predictable, and the game is so generic that it takes all the fun out of role playing to me. Best of luck whatever you decide. I would buy it to play with my kids!

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  25. I never actually played GangBusters, but I'd certainly pitch in a little if you started a crowdfunding campaign for it. If the rules are simple enough so that I could easily run a one-off game at a party, then I'd shell out enough to at least get the PDF. For me it's more about seeing old RPGs back in print than anything else.

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  26. I'd love to see this done as either a PDF or POD. I might back it on Kickstarter, depending on the levels and what was offered. I'd especially like to see more adventure support and a pulp expansion.

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  27. Top Secret, Boothill and Gangbusters where the first games I played other than D&D. I loved all three but I am a huge fan of the 1920's era (Prohibition and all that, me loves Boardwalk Empire tv show.) I'd fully support a kickstarter project and would like to see a boxed set with a freshening up of the original rules but not dramatically so. One of the reasons I loved Gangbusters was the rules. I don't want a 2000 rpg type revision.

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  28. I would purchase as a Kickstarter or PoD.

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  29. I loved the original Gangbusters, and I still have just about everything printed for it. I'd pick this up in whatever form you decided to reprint it. I'd also join the Kickstarter, so if you go that route please advise. :)

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  30. Back when GB was first published, I though it would be so cool if there were a couple of additions to the game—one covering Hollywood and the other Local Politics. Since TSR hadn't come up with anything, I though I would do it myself. Over the years, I have been slowly working on these two supplements. They are far from finished. However, would you be interested in taking a look at them? Perhaps they might be of help with rebooting your great classic GangBusters.

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  31. Too late to comment?

    How about republishing it, and re-imagining it as a miniatures wargame. Less of an RPG, and more into story driven wargame.

    That's my wish!

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