The 2013 ENnies nominations have been announced and voting is now open. I recently spoke with Thom Wilson of Throwigames. Throwigames Simple Roleplaying System (TSRS) was nominated for a Best Free Game ENnie. Voting begins on Monday, July 22 and runs to Wednesday, July 31. The ceremony itself will be on Friday, August 16, in the Union Station Grand Hall at 8 pm with the cocktail reception beginning at 6:30 pm.
Michael Tresca (MT): What is TSRS?
Thom Wilson (TW): It’s a short guide (21 pages) that introduces the basic foundation of a system I designed over 25 years ago. After finding the notes to the system in an old box last year, I decided to publish the guide for entry in to three Con awards. The system fell short in the other cons but the judges at Gencon must have liked it.
MT: Tell us about your company.
TW: Throwigames was created for several reasons. Obviously, I needed a company for TSRS, but I also was in the process of several other business developments (video game – still in build, and a retail store for gaming). Additionally, when I completed TSRS, I decided to give it away. Even after paying for great art and developing add on products, I still wanted to give the game away. Each and every TSRS product is free in PDF at our website. Print copies of the main guidelines are available for a small cost.
MT: Why should voters vote for your product/site? What sets it apart?
TW: Voters should see the work put in to it – great art and content, with a clean layout. I’d like to the say that the guidelines are different or unique but of course, that’s hard to do. There are elements of TSRS that have similarity to other games as well as the inverse. I think what sets it apart is the “sandbox” feel with magic and the swiftness of combat. It’s a deadly game for sure.
MT: How do you feel about the state of the gaming industry today?
TW: One of the main reasons I wanted to develop a free game was to counter the ridiculousness of the big publishers in the industry; they charge way too much for their books. Gamers need only a few guidelines and should be able to enjoy a night of gaming without it hurting the wallet. While the artwork of these huge publishers is amazing, I wonder if it’s causing the cost of product to skyrocket while setting buyers expectations with a video game feel of the books. Prefab campaign worlds and huge monster guides aren’t needed for the savvy gamemaster. He or she can create the same or better if they put the time in.
MT: How hard is it for a game publisher in this economy?
TW: I’d say that it’s challenging for anyone trying to make a living in this industry, even when the economy is okay. Most publishers have day jobs (me included) to pay the bigger bills – most of us enjoy writing and playing so we do this because we want to. The money isn’t usually the most important part. Having a player email me about a game session is better than a few bucks for a book.
MT: How has Kickstarter changed or influenced your business model, if at all?
TW: So far, KS hasn’t changed how I do business; most of my work is published electronically and is free to download from my site. I am planning a KS All-in-One guide in the 4th quarter – the key to KS project success is to complete the work *before* starting the project. Backers will know that they will receive their item(s) on time. Several recent KS failures has the industry a bit frightened so we will see what happens next. Ideas-only projects are ruining the small publisher industry.
MT: What’s next for your company?
TW: Well, I’m finishing up the Terra World Guide and Res Magicus in the next couple of weeks. These are also part of the KS All-in-One Guide, so that’s up after that. I have two adventures in the works as well as the starting framework of the TSRS Variant Guide (using the TSRS foundation for Westerns, Sci-Fi, Horror, and Espionage). I have several more adventures planned after that. We’ll see how far we can get in 2013.
MT: Will you be at Gen Con? Where?
TW: I’ll be there, roaming about the vendor and auction halls. Before writing TSRS, I was a gamer and collector, so naturally I’ll be gaming and buying the missing mods and books! I am working with the OSR booth to sell the last of my printed TSRS Guidelines. If I can work that out, I plan on spending some time there to talk to players. I might even squeeze in a few demos!
MT: Where can we find out more about your company online?
TW: throwigames.com – everything created by the company is there free of charge!
MT :Anything else you’d like to share?
TW: I can truly say that being nominated is a great honor. Sure, I’d like to win, but I didn’t create TSRS for awards, but for gamers looking for something different without spending a fortune! Thanks to all and of course, enjoy!
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