Loomis at Gen Con Indy 2014
|Born||August 24, 1946|
|Died||August 23, 2019(aged 72)|
Rick Loomis served in the US Army in the 1960s, serving his one tour of duty at Fort Shafter in Oahu, Hawaii.:34 He had discovered the wargame Gettysburg by Avalon Hill in a toystore, and in 1970 had invented a game called Nuclear Destruction which—unlike most tabletop games—included hidden movement; in January 1970, Loomis started sending mail to readers of The General who had advertised for play-by-mail (PBM) opponents, offering to moderate multiplayer Nuclear Destruction games.:34 He soon had more than 200 players in multiple games, and asked fellow soldier Steve MacGregor to write a computer program to moderate the games; they began renting time on a computer near Fort Shafter, using the name Flying Buffalo devised by Loomis.:34
Founding Flying Buffalo
After leaving the military in 1972, Loomis and MacGregor incorporated their PBM company as Flying Buffalo, Inc., or FBI.:34 Loomis and MacGregor pooled their savings to purchase a Raytheon 704 minicomputer to run PBM turns.:35 Loomis claims to have been the first person ever to buy a computer solely to play games on it. Loomis acquired Nuclear War and began publishing it in 1972, soon becoming one of Flying Buffalo's best sellers.:35
Ken St. Andre asked Loomis to take 40 copies of Tunnels & Trolls to Origins in July 1975 to sell; when every copy sold, Flying Buffalo picked up the rights to T&T later that year and published a second edition under their own brand in December 1975.:36 After a friend suggested that someone should make a dungeon adventure book that allows the player to choose an answer and turn to another page, Loomis wrote Buffalo Castle (1976).:36 Buffalo Castle was an introduction to Tunnels & Trolls, a basic dungeon for a warrior of level 1-2.:226 Loomis came up with the idea for Grimtooth's Traps, which was published in 1981.:37
— The Editors of Space Gamer Magazine, 1985.
Loomis designed the Origins Award-winning play-by-mail game Starweb (1976). Nuclear Escalation, a card game released in 1983, had been the subject of a potential ban on all war related toys when two MPs of the UK Labour Party called the game "a nasty twist on the toy industry". Loomis was interviewed as part of this discussion saying "the game is intended to be humorous... the subject is so serious that you have to laugh about it because otherwise you'd cry."
When the company's lease on their headquarters ran out in 1985, Loomis moved the offices of Flying Buffalo to a farmhouse he had inherited in Scottsdale, Arizona.:39 Also in 1985, Loomis tied for first place for "Best PBM Moderator" with Mike Williams (of Rebel Enterprises) in the 1st Annual Paper Mayhem Awards in the November/December 1985 issue of Paper Mayhem.
On August 19, 1978, Loomis was elected as a temporary officer to be the President and Treasurer of the Association of Game Manufacturers (which soon became the Game Manufacturers Association or GAMA).:36 He was one of the founding members of GAMA and served as its President on multiple occasions. He was one of the few remaining Emeritus Directors (alongside Will Niebling and Michael Stackpole) on the board.
He was also one of only six people who had attended every Origins Game Fair since its founding in 1975. In 1988 Loomis received the AAGAD Hall of Fame award at the Origins Game Fair.
In 2002, Flying Buffalo published The Origins Metagame for the Origins convention, and Loomis later printed Poker decks for the con.:40 When it was discovered that Outlaw Press, who were publishing supplements for T&T, had been using art without permission, Loomis revoked their T&T license.:41
In 2013, Flying Buffalo announced a new version of Tunnels & Trolls. This Deluxe version was done as a Kickstarter (which earned over $125,000) and was released in 2015. This new edition brought a lot of new interest in T&T and many of the old products as well as new adventures have been published in the ensuing years. Rick Loomis oversaw all the logistics and was the publisher of these new products. He also wrote a new section for his solo Buffalo Castle that was added to the deluxe version of that adventure.
In 2015, Flying Buffalo announced the Kickstarter for the 50th Anniversary edition Nuclear War Card Game. That Kickstarter earned over $156,000 and the 50th edition was released in 2016 and contained a new population deck and a couple of additional cards (designed by Rick) added to the main deck.
In March 2019 Flying Buffalo announced the kickstarter for the Combined Edition of Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes. It combined the text of the 1983 Flying Buffalo edition with the additional text of the 1986 Sleuth edition, corrected errata, and added 20 new pages of content with new illustrations. It earned $31,904 (over a goal of $10,000) and had 886 backers.
Health and death
In January 2019 Loomis was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. In an email he said that he was very optimistic as his cancer was "very treatable". On August 17, he was moved to the intensive care unit and could not receive visitors until August 21. A GoFundMe page and a Bundle of Holding offer (Catalyst 2019) were set up to solicit donations for his medical bills. On August 23, 2019, a day before his 73rd birthday, he died of medical complications.
- Steine, Erik. "Announcement - Rick Loomis (Flying Buffalo) has passed". Tenkar's Tavern. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
- Baker, M. Sharon (June 22, 2001). "Guessing Game", Puget Sound Business Journal 22 (7): 24.
- Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
- Wichner, David (August 12, 1991). "Flying Buffalo rounds up players Moves mailed to fantasy game entrepreneur". Phoenix Gazette. p. B5.
- Loomis, Rick (2007). "Fluxx". In Lowder, James (ed.). Hobby Games: The 100 Best. Green Ronin Publishing. pp. 116–118. ISBN 978-1-932442-96-0.
- McLellan, Dennis (April 18, 1986). "Laughing at Apocalypse : In 'Nuclear War,' the End of the World Is in the Cards", Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- Schick, Lawrence (1991). Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games. Prometheus Books. ISBN 0-87975-653-5.
- Editors (July–August 1985). "Rick Loomis on Play-By-Mail [Editor Intro]". Space Gamer: The Magazine of Adventure Gaming. No. #75. p. 35.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- "MPs seek ban on nuclear board game described as 'disgusting and offensive'". Ottawa Citizen. March 3, 1984. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
- "1st Annual Paper Mayhem Awards". Paper Mayhem. No. 15. The Paper Mayhem Association. November–December 1985. p. 23.
- ICv2 GAMA ELECTS NEW DIRECTORS, OFFICERS - Reveals Current Member Counts, Early Origins Numbers | Posted by Milton Griepp on June 15, 2019 @ 3:01 pm CT
- "AAGAD Hall of Fame Award 1988". Archived from the original on December 27, 2013. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
- Kickstarter: Mercenaries, Spies, & Private Eyes (Combined Edition) (March 5-March 29, 2019)
- Griepp, Milton. "RICK LOOMIS DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER". icv2.com.
- ICv2 Rick Loomis Diagnosed With Cancer | Posted by Milton Griepp on January 14, 2019 @ 2:53 pm CT
- Zinser, John (August 24, 2019). "RIP Rick Loomis". Alderac.com. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
- Peters, Jayson (August 24, 2019). "Rick Loomis, influential game designer and publisher, dies". Retrieved August 24, 2019.
- Loomis, Rick (May 1999). "The History of Play-by-Mail and Flying Buffalo" (PDF). Flying Buffalo Quarterly. No. 79. pp. 2–5. Retrieved April 17, 2020. Provides details on Loomis's military service and transition founding Flying Buffalo Inc.