Sunday, June 3, 2012

Inner City Games, the Gaming Company You've Never Heard Of


As I walked around the store this evening, I happened to notice the number of games we carry from the largest game company you’ve probably never heard of,  Inner CityGames Design . At last count, we carry Fuzzy Heroes, Lejendary Journeys (now out of print from ICGD) and a number of their bagged minigames including Gigantic, When Good Villagers Go Bad, My First LARP and Crouching Hamster Hidden Translation, as well as their promotional game, Penny Wars.  We have more of ICG’s games in stock than a lot of better known game companies.
Inner City Games is one of the oldest game companies still operating and certainly one of the few still  operating under its original owner, Chris Clark.  The company launched with the Inner City RPG, in which the player characters were gang members or other city stereotypes, then followed up with Puppy Pounders, combat rules with stuffed animals.  This proved successful enough (by selling out the print run very quickly) that a year later, a more commercial version, Fuzzy Heroes, came out, followed by several supplements.
About ’97, ICG released War PIGs (Plastic Infantry Guys), combat rules for the plastic army figures found in your toybox.  It set off a demand from its customers for more plastic bagged microgames from the company, 28 in total over the years.  During this time the company started working with Gary Gygax (yes, THAT Gary Gygax) and released two of his RPG adventures.  The collaboration proved so successful that Clark and Gygax formed a new company, Hekaforge Publications, to take Gygax’s Lejendary Adventures RPG to market (Hekaforge went defunct about 2006).
More recently, ICGD released 2nd editions of War PIGs and Fuzzy Heroes (almost a decade after the announcement of a second edition of FH). A new hard science RPG, Lance is also under development as well as two new micro games:  a gladiatorial combat game called Lutus and another title Underground Empires dealing with underground empires, I guess.  Clark would like to develop more but  he is currently a principal in Eldritch Enterprises, a new gaming company comprised of himself and RPG industry icons Jim Ward, Frank Mentzer and Tim Kask, so, as Clark says “Most of my time, happily, spent on ICGD is in sending out orders and mailing out quarterly tax forms” Not bad for a thirty year old company which no one has ever heard of.