Monday, March 26, 2012

Looking Back at What Almost Was: Adventure Games Journal #1 and The Wilderlands of High Adventure

Is it four years since the first (only?) issue of the Adventure Games Journal?

Let me catch folks up on AGJ, it's publisher Adventure Games Publishing and the one man show behind it all, James Mishler.  James had the idea of licensing Judges Guild's Wilderlands, which in turn was going to use the Castles & Crusades license, to produce a line of gaming supplements.  And so he did.  Excellent stuff.  Well written stuff.  Well presented stuff.  For printed products, fairly priced stuff.

To pay for future publishing, and I'm sure hoping he had lightning in a barrel, as the reviews from Grognardia and elsewhere were damn near perfect, James offered a subscription scheme.  You even got yourself an ID number of sorts (which was a matter of pride for those of us that had one).  Everything was looking great.

Until it no longer did.  Apparently, James ran short of funds to print items that were due to subscribers, and the direct to PDF supplements I'm assuming didn't bring in the cash that was expected.  By mid 2009, he had gone waay from the subscriptions (which were converted to credit for other releases) and then James went away for a bit.  He came back, hoping to get things moving again, and it just never happened.

He planned to pay out subscribers with either products or a refund as his finances permitted, I believe in subscriber number order.  Unless I missed an email, it never reached me.  Amazingly, I really don't care about the cash and I would have told him such if it ad reached me.  I just wish James was still producing product.

His stuff was good.  I would have really enjoyed watching him rework a corner of the Wilderlands.  Heck, I'd love to see him produce his very own Sandbox Styled Campaign.  If he did it via Kickstarter, I'd be the first to put my money down.  Yes, I mean it.  It was that good.

I have no idea hat James is doing now, although I assume it is far and away from RPGs.  Damn shame.  James was an excellent writer.  His business sense might not have been up there will his skill as a game designer, but that doesn't detract from the skill that he has.  It just makes it stand out more.


  1. He started his new blog up quite a while back. He doesn't post as often, but it's good stuf and I know he reads other blogs because he's commented on mine before.

    Adventures in Gaming v2

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I guess the lesson here is that even an old pro can't make a business model from 197x work today. Still, James produced some great stuff. AGJ #1 was a firecracker and the poster sized maps he produced were superior to the ones in the 3e Wilderlands books in every way.


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