7/28/2018

A Designer in Need

Pete over at Griffon made me aware of this, and while I've got very little signal to offer, here's what little boost I've got.

Click here to visit a KS fundraiser on the part of the mighty mighty Greg Porter to help Lee Garvin, a game designer I know from way back.

[Update: Good news; it funded!]


Lee's had a terrible run of events and he's currently putting his life back together, which can get real tricky in this line of work.

I have multiple Lee Garvin stories. None of them are appropriate today and none of them are appropriate, ever, but that's part of what makes them funny.

I'll just recount the first time I met him; that one's G-Rated and doesn't involve Nelson Terrace (people just called him 'Street,' and if you ever see this, Lee; know that I can honestly and precisely say that Nelson made an indelible mark on my memory; you can quote me on that, unless I got his name wrong, which would be hilarious, all things considered).

It was at the Hunt Valley Marriott in Maryland, down in the wine cellar and adjoining rooms they used for open gaming at a couple of different (well, differently-named) sci-fi conventions in those days. I've mentioned that wine cellar before and I will again; it's a cosmic nexus of some kind.

I was fresh to writing for Steve Jackson Games in those days (articles for both Roleplayer and ADQ, with the GURPS Russia contract still fresh) and was waving my most enthusiastic GURPS flag, and Lee zeroed in on me, because he was prowling around with a binder full of Tales From the Floating Vagabond, looking for a publisher.

He buttonholed me with a short version of the pitch and asked if I thought SJG might bite. I told him I didn't know; I was just an SJG-adjacent freelancer and not (in those days) a staffer, but that they already had Toon as far as comedy things go, so that might dim their interest.

It did nothing to dim Lee's enthusiasm, and he opened into a larger pitch.

I chuckled at the bartender's name (Hawk Luger), but then I spotted, over Lee's shoulder, a guy I'd done some convention-partying with from The Avalon Hill Game Company, an affable gent by the name of Nick Atlas.

I made some excuses and a quick introduction, and fled the scene, feeling proud of myself for the playfully wicked joke I'd just made. As if The Avalon Hill Game Company, buttoned-down, cardboard chits, case-format and all, would have any interest in a comedy RPG ha-ha. They could put that right next to Squad Leader on the shelf ha-ha.

Ha ha.

What happened next is something I can't take any credit or blame for; it was down to Lee's own enthusiastic salesmanship (and I had zero role in the corebook), but it would turn out to be Just the Beginning, as later on Nick would ask me if I wanted to do some writing for that very same game.

This leads to so many other stories, including a sleepover at Lee's place, featuring myself, Nick, a former TSR editor named Robin Jenkins, a pile of pizza boxes and a copy of Drop Dead Fred played basically on a loop because Lee's affection for Pheobe Cates could probably kill the G-Rating of this post.

Of course, it also led to the emotional trauma of having it drilled into me that you never, ever, EVER call it "Avalon Hill." It's always The Avalon Hill Game Company, and that is burned on my brain.

Right next to Nelson Terrace.

Lee needs some help. Please consider it.