Here's a little game for you. Try to answer these questions without referencing anything but your own memory.
And yes, I do give some answers in the text. There are some questions that you shouldn't read ahead before answering, if you want to make an honest go at it.
And I'm assuming that most of you are gamers - if you're not, there's not really any point to reading this.
1) Name five authors.
Too easy, right? Okay:
1a) Name five Science Fiction and/or Fantasy Authors.
Still way too easy, isn't it?
1b) ... who are still alive
Again - very easy.
1c) Name five science fiction and/or fantasy authors who have written books based on games.
It's a bit tougher, but still (for most of you) doable - I expect that, if this were a written test and I were a teacher, I'd see a whole lot of R.A. Salvatore and Michael Stackpole on your papers. A smattering of Weis & Hickman.
Let's turn it up a notch:
2) Name five fantasy artists.
Right. Let's cut to the quick on Question 2, shall we?
2a) Name five fantasy artists who have contributed art to a game.
Larry Elmore. Brom. Timothy Bradstreet. These are the names I would expect to see the most.
3) Name five role-playing games.
Most of you can probably do this in your sleep.
3a) Name five role-playing game authors.
That is, five people who have written role-playing games.
Not as easy, is it?
Gary Gygax is going to show up a lot. I expect a smattering of Jonathan Tweet and Robin D. Laws. Some of you will list Steve Jackson or Kevin Sembieda. Can you name any others?
4) Name ten board, card or miniature games.
Again - you can probably do this in your sleep.
4a) Name five people who are credited as writers or editors for any of those ten games.
Reiner Knizia. Klaus Teuber. Richard Garfield. Christophe Boelinger. Bruno Faidutti. Richard Borg.
Yeah. Even I sometimes struggle with that last one.
Why is that?
We can easily name people who tell stories, but we struggle to name people who laid the framework for those stories.
We can spout endlessly about rules for our various games, but we can't usually tell you who wrote those rules.
It doesn't help that a number of the family games we grew up playing are uncredited - look through the rules of some of those games sometime. There are some very good games which are uncredited - I am a huge fan of Sabotage. I think it's one of the best two-player games ever produced. But there's no credit given for it - not in the rules, not on the box, no-where on the board. No credit. One of my all-time favorite games, and I don't know who to thank for it.
Checking the Geek, I can see that there are a lot of uncredited games.
Why is this? Someone wrote the game - even if it was a committee. Even if all they did was glue new names to the Monopoly board, someone had to pick those names.
So why don't we give credit where it is due?