Wednesday, March 05, 2003

I had a long conversation today with Ed Wimble , while his African Grey parrot shrieked in the background. Ed is one of my best friends, but I see him rarely more than once a year--when we drive out to Columbus Ohio around Fourth of July weekend for Origins, where I work at the
Clash of Arms booth with him. I've known him since 1975 when we were in college together.

Always a connoisseur of great stories, Ed was telling me about his struggles to get his line of American Revolution games into gift shops at the national parks, and the people he encountered there. There was the guy who had given a massive donation earmarked for the upkeep of the
Fort Mifflin National Historical Site which was, shall we say, re-appropriated by the current Philadelphia city government. There was the black reenactor friend of his who was harangued outside the Germantown Historical Society by Black Muslims who demanded that he
acknowledge "that the Moors were here before Columbus." And my favorite involved, as so often, the French.

This certain game designer--we'll call him Francois--had a Napoleonic game that a friend of Ed's was going to publish an English version of here in the USA. Suddenly, a few weeks ago, came a feverish email from Francois: He would not allow his game to appear in America if there was
a war in Iraq! Ed's friend calmly pointed out that there was a signed contract, one totally devoid of any "Iraq" exclusions. But Francois was hardly deterred--instead, he demanded that his name be taken off the project. (A brief editorial note from your narrator--these kinds of Napoleonic simulation games have print runs of maybe a thousand to two thousand, and sell to an audience so tiny that every single person who could potentially be a buyer for this game already knows exactly who the
designer is, rendering the gesture equal parts symbolic and silly). But the French remain, as always, good for entertainment.

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