A complicated meme
, suggesting feelings of guilt
, and regret
to wargamers who played during the late 1970s.
The circumstances surrounding the failure of Simulations Publications, Inc and the takeover the flagship wargaming magazine Strategy & Tactics by TSR are obscured and muddled. Lawyers are involved, and hard feelings, and big egos.
What can be stated is a brief timeline:
- SPI loses lots of money
- SPI borrows money from TSR to make its payroll
- SPI pays its employees
- SPI goes bankrupt
- TSR takes over
- TSR repudiates SPI's debt
The big problem with the last fact is that one of the largest debtors of SPI were its lifetime subscribers, gamers who had payed $100 or $300 in the early 70s when SPI needed to raise capital, and who in return were promised a lifetime subscription.
Sadly, it turned out to be SPI's lifetime, not the gamers. I never bought another TSR product, and cackled with glee when TSR was bought out by Wizards of the Coast.
Moving from a bare summation of facts to opinion...
Greg Costikyan was a designer for SPI and coined the term, "SPI Died For Your Sins." You can read his take on the meme at http://www.costik.com/spisins.html
Kevin Maroney has posted to rec.games.board about how talked with Gary Gygax during this debacle. Maroney says that Gygax did not act out of malice.