West End Games
|Industry||Role-playing, board and wargaming|
|Fate||Bankruptcy in 1998. Partially merged in 1999 and definitely acquired in 2001 by Humanoids Inc.|
|Successors||D6Legends, Inc. (a Humanoids Inc. division, 1999-2003)
Purgatory Publishing (since 2003)
|Headquarters||New York City, NY|
|Key people||Daniel Scott Palter (founder)|
West End Games (WEG) was a company that made board, role-playing, and war games. It was founded by Daniel Scott Palter in 1974 in New York, but later moved to Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Its current and past product lines include Paranoia, Torg, Shatterzone, Men In Black, DC Universe, Star Wars, The World of Indiana Jones, Junta, Necroscope, Tales from the Crypt, Bloodshadows, and Metabarons.
Previously a producer of board wargames, the company began producing roleplaying games in 1984 with Paranoia. The high production values demanded by the wargames industry made them one of the few companies who could compete with TSR, and they were able to acquire the license from Columbia Pictures to produce an RPG based on the film Ghostbusters. This game, Ghostbusters: A Frightfully Cheerful Roleplaying Game, formed the basis of the D6 System which was to be heavily used in many of their licensed products.
Around 1987, the company acquired the license to produce a Star Wars role-playing game. Since the films had been released some years previously, and there was (at the time) no new media forthcoming, the success of these books came as a surprise. Their early work on the Star Wars Roleplaying Game established much of the groundwork of what later became the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and their sourcebooks are still frequently cited by Star Wars fans as reference material. Lucasfilm considered their sourcebooks so authoritative that when Timothy Zahn was hired to write what became the Thrawn trilogy, he was sent a box of West End Games Star Wars books and directed to base his novel on the background material presented within. Zahn's trilogy, in turn, renewed interest in the franchise and provided many sales for West End Games. In the early 1990s, the FidoNet Star Wars Echo hosted a message forum for playing the Star Wars RPG on computer bulletin board systems, and some current and future West End Games freelancers took part.
Eric Gibson's Ownership of West End Games
|Trading name||West End Games|
|Industry||Role-playing, board and wargaming publisher|
|Founders||Eric J. Gibson|
|Headquarters||Coatesville, Pennsylvania, USA|
|Products||D6 System, Torg, Junta|
|Owners||Eric J. Gibson|
|Website||None (formerly www.westendgames.com)|
In November 2003 West End Games was bought by Eric J. Gibson, who moved the company to Downingtown, Pennsylvania, in 2004. Under his tenure, WEG's flagship line was a generic version of the D6 System, which led to a line of irregularly produced supplements and met with general approval from fans. Unfortunately, this approval did not translate into high sales; in a post on the official West End forums in 2008 Eric Gibson announced that none of the D6 products produced since he acquired West End had turned a profit, and West End's other RPG lines were not performing as well as he had expected, leading to losses of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
West End also expanded back into board games, beginning with a new edition of Junta, which according to Eric was one of the few products that was turning a profit.
West End Games' most recent planned offering, the Septimus roleplaying game, was publicly cancelled by Eric Gibson in March 2008. Eric Gibson announced on the morning of July 16, 2008 that West End Games could not currently afford to provide refunds to customers who pre-ordered the cancelled Septimus product, and indeed could not even afford to pay the postage to ship books to individuals who expressed a willingness to accept a refund in the form of products instead of money.
On Sunday, July 19, 2008, following both an extended discussion of West End's failure to provide refunds for those who had preordered Septimus and the ensuing forum flameout, Eric Gibson announced on the West End Games forums that he was officially through with the company and was selling all of its properties; he revealed that he had already been contacted by interested parties, but felt that he should not make the facts about the offerings public. Eric Gibson later expressed that he was no longer looking to dissolve the company or sell off any of its properties.
Eric Gibson has stated in an interview that he was "perhaps naïvely optimistic" in assuming that distributors would order products produced under his ownership of the company "just because it's West End Games." He further stated that this led him to print more books than he could sell, books which he had to destroy in order to save on storage costs. Towards the end of the company's history, Gibson had plans to release the d6 System under the terms of the Open Gaming License "to save the d6 System from myself," meaning that if the company had to go out of business, the system would still be available to the general public.
The company has since paid off all outstanding debt, released Septimus via print-on-demand, and released several formerly commercial products for free download under the terms of the Open Game License. In 2009, West End Games moved forward with Open D6, intending to release more content from their D6 products under the Open Game License.
West End Games is currently selling off all of their properties and working to close down operations. TORG was sold to a German game company, Ulisses Spiele. The Masterbook System, Shatterzone and Bloodshadows was sold to a company Precis Intermedia. The status of West End Games final remaining property, Junta, is unknown at this time.
The D6 System is open and the books are available for free for download.
Game designers previously affiliated with West End Games over its long history include:
- Greg Costikyan
- Paul Murphy
- Eric Goldberg
- Joe Balkoski
- Jon Southard
- Jeff Briggs
- Ken Rolston
- Bill Slavicsek
- D6 System - Used in games like Star Wars, Ghostbusters, and MIB.
- Masterbook - The Masterbook system grew out of the system used in the game Torg. It was further developed and became the basis for games such as Necroscope and Tales from the Crypt.
- Paranoia (1984)
- Ghostbusters (1986)
- Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game (1987)
- Ghostbusters International (1989, second edition of Ghostbusters: A Frightfully Cheerful Roleplaying Game)
- Torg (1990)
- Shatterzone (1993)
- The World of Indiana Jones (1994)
- The World of Necroscope (1995)
- The World of Tank Girl (1995)
- The D6 System: The Customizable Roleplaying Game (1996)
- Indiana Jones Adventures (1996, conversion of The World of Indiana Jones to the D6 System)
- The World of Tales from the Crypt[disambiguation needed]
- Shatterzone (1997)
- Men in Black (1997)
- Hercules & Xena (1998)
- Stargate SG-1 role-playing game (1999, aborted project, due to bankruptcy)
- DC Universe (1999, published under Humanoids Inc.)
- Metabarons (2001, published under Humanoids Inc.)
- Septimus (2007, published via print-on-demand)
- Bug-Eyed Monsters (1983)
- Junta (1985, third edition. The first one was released in 1978, but it wasn't from West End Games)
- Against the Reich (1986)
- Kings and Things (1986)
- Star Wars: Star Warriors (1987)
- Star Wars: Assault on Hoth (1988)
- Star Wars: Battle for Endor (1989)
- Star Wars: Escape from the Death Star (1990, not to be confused with the 1977 game)
- Tales of the Arabian Nights
Tank Leader World War II boardgame series with an emphasis on C3.
- Eastern Front Tank Leader (1986)
- Western Front Tank Leader (1987)
- Desert Steel (1989)
- Gibson, Eric (3 April 2004). "Septimus Preorder". West End Games. Retrieved 2008-06-11.[dead link]
- Gibson, Eric (31 March 2008). "Bill Coffin's Septimus Cancelled". Gaming Report. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
- Gibson, Eric (16 July 2008). "Pandemonium Games and the strange death of WEG". RPGNet. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
- Gibson, Eric (20 July 2008). "Pandemonium Games and the strange death of WEG". RPGNet. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- Gibson, Eric (20 July 2008). "For Sale". West End Games. Retrieved 2008-07-21.[dead link]
- DiceCast Special Holiday Interview Episode  (by Polymancer Studios). Podcast, includes interview with Eric Gibson
- OGL Releases on West End Games Fan Forums, the official forums of West End Games
- Open D6 Update Thread on West End Games Fan Forums, the official forums of West End Games
- SETH GELBER Daniel, COSTIKYAN Greg, GOLDBERG Eric and ROLSTON Ken, Paranoia, West End Games, New York, 1984, ISBN 0-87431-025-3
- PETERSEN Sandy, WILLIS Lynn y STAFFORD Greg, Ghostbusters: A Frightfully Cheerful Roleplaying Game, West End Games, New York, 1986, ISBN 0-87431-043-1
- COSTIKYAN Greg, Star Wars: The Role-Playing Game, West End Games, New York, October 1987, ISBN 0-87431-065-2
- ALLSTON Aaron and KAUFMAN Douglas, Ghostbusters International, West End Games, New York, 1989, ISBN 0-87431-223-X
- Bug-Eyed Monsters on Boardgamegeek, a boardgames specialized website
- Junta on Boardgamegeek, a boardgames specialized website
- Against the Reich on Boardgamegeek, a boardgames specialized website
- Kings and Things on Boardgamegeek, a boardgames specialized website
- Star Warriors on Boardgamegeek, a boardgames specialized website
- Star Wars: Assault on Hoth on Boardgamegeek, a boardgames specialized website
- Star Wars: Battle for Endor on Boardgamegeek, a boardgames specialized website
- Star Wars: Escape from the Death Star (1990) on Boardgamegeek, a boardgames specialized website
- Star Wars: Escape from the Death Star Game (1977) on Boardgamegeek, a boardgames specialized website
- Star Wars Miniatures Battles on Boardgamegeek, a boardgames specialized website
- West End Games' official website (no longer online)
- Publication list on Pen & Paper
- Precis Intermedia Acquires Last WEG RPG Properties
- West End Games' D6 Rulebooks, D6 System RPG rulebooks for D6 Adventures, D6 Space, and D6 Fantasy genres.