West End Games

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West End Games
Private
Industry Role-playing, board, wargaming
Fate Bankruptcy in 1998. Partially merged in 1999 and definitely acquired in 2001 by Humanoids Inc.
Successor D6Legends, Inc. (a Humanoids Inc. unit, 1999–2003)
Purgatory Publishing (since 2003)
Founded 1974
Headquarters New York City, New York, United States
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 City, 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.

History[edit]

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.

the culminating event involves mismanagement between West End Games and its then parent company, shoe importer Bucci Retail Group. When the parent company filed for bankruptcy, West End Games could not survive the process and had to go under as well. [1]

D6 Legends[edit]

The bankrupt West End Games became WEG / Creative Design Group while a new West End Games (D6 Legends, Inc.) was formed in partnership with Yeti, a French design house and publisher in 1999.[1][2] Yeti started out as a graphic design company working on books, cartoons, and multimedia then expanded to publishing choose-your-own-ending books. Yeti expanded to game publishing in 1998. Under court supervision, WEG / Creative Design Group was selling off product and assets to pay off debt. WEG / Creative Design Group sold to the new company intellectual property, the Paranoia licensing contracts, and the trademarks. Licensing contracts for Indiana Jones, Star Wars and Xena remained with Creative Design Group.[1]

At the 1999 GAMA Trade Show, the new West End Games announced the Third Edition of Paranoia for late June or early July released followed by Bug Sector supplement and the DC Universe RPG.[1]

On July 1, 2002, the company made its systems, D6 Classic, D6 Legend, MasterBook, and Torg, available via a standard license to any publisher.[2]

Purgatory Publishing[edit]

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 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 Gibson was one of the few products that was turning a profit.

West End Games' most recent planned offering, the Septimus roleplaying game, was publicly canceled by Gibson in March 2008.[3] Gibson announced on the morning of July 16, 2008 that West End Games could not currently afford to provide refunds to customers who preordered the canceled 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.

Following the Septimus cancellation, fan pressure for answers and the ensuing forum flameout, Gibson said that he was selling all of its properties.[4]

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.

Purgatory Publishing sold off all of their properties and closed down operations. In June 2010, TORG was sold to a German game company, Ulisses Spiele. The Masterbook System, Shatterzone and Bloodshadows were sold to Precis Intermedia.[5] The remains of West End Games was purchased in 2016 by Nocturnal Media, White Wolf Publishing founder Stewart Wieck's current gaming company, which consisted primarily of the D6 RPG system[6] and Junta.[5]

Associated designers[edit]

Game designers previously affiliated with West End Games over its long history include:

Systems developed[edit]

  • D6 System[1] - Used in games like Star Wars, Ghostbusters, and MIB.
  • Masterbook[1] - 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. sold to Precis Intermedia.[5]
  • Torg,[1] sold to Ulisses Spiele[5]

Role-playing games[edit]

Board games[edit]

Wargames[edit]

Historical boardgames with an emphasis on C3 ranging from Romans to Modern (80s).

  • Eastern Front Tank Leader (1986)
  • Western Front Tank Leader (1987)
  • Desert Steel (1989)
  • Against the Reich (1986)
  • South Mountain
  • Shiloh
  • Chickamauga
  • Air And Armor
  • Air Cav
  • Fire Team
  • Killer Angels
  • Soldiers
  • Druid
  • Imperium Romanum II (1985)

Other games[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Haring, Scott D. (1999-04-16). "Pyramid Interviews: Scott Palter" (html). Pyramid. Steve Jackson Games. Retrieved 2007-04-24. 
  2. ^ a b Sugarbaker, Mike (July 1, 2002). "West End Games Chucks Its System Out There". OgreCave. Retrieved January 18, 2017. 
  3. ^ Gibson, Eric (March 31, 2008). "Bill Coffin's Septimus Cancelled". Gaming Report. Retrieved July 18, 2008. 
  4. ^ Sugarbaker, Allan (July 21, 2008). "West End Games for sale, maybe". OgreCave. Retrieved January 18, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Sugarbaker, Allan (July 18, 2010). "Precis Intermedia acquires remaining West End Games properties". OgreCave. Retrieved January 18, 2017. 
  6. ^ Appelcline, Shannon (January 3, 2017). "2016: The Year in Review". Advanced Designers & Dragon. RPGnet. Retrieved January 18, 2017. 

External links[edit]