Hall of Fame
Introduction by Michael Stackpole
It might seem curious to some that gaming actually has a Hall of Fame. We’ve certainly all grown up with Halls of Fame, especially in the arena of sports, so we have a sense that they memorialize the best and brightest, the people and things that have had the greatest impact on the appropriate subject. Somehow, though, it seems incongruous that we would have a Hall of Fame with people and products being elevated to where they could be compared to Hank Aaron or Babe Ruth. Even those folks elected to that Johnny-come-lately Hall of Fame for Rock and Roll (ours predated it by over a decade) seem to be more important than our members.
However, it’s not for the outside world that we have a Hall of Fame, it’s for us. In our Hall of Fame we find those people who have made critical contributions to gaming overall. We have those who elevated game design to an art and those who elevated the art found in game design. We have members who have made contributions to the business side of gaming, and those whose contributions have been less in design and production than in service to the industry as a whole.
And we have the greatest fruits of their labors enshrined there as well.
I can think of no other honor that thrilled me more than being elected to the Hall of Fame. Members are chosen by their peers, and the competition is fierce, so being elected is at once an attaboy and a thank you by those people who know you and what you’ve gone through. And the best part, perhaps, is that the election comes with no jealousy, but smiles and nods that say, “You go on along ahead. I’ll be there soon enough.”
There are some interesting situations when you look at the membership of the Hall of Fame. Small companies fare pretty well in getting members elected, with Flying Buffalo, Inc., having the highest per capita ratio of employees to members. This points less to jealousy of big companies that prevents their employees from making it, than to the vibrancy of an industry where a person with talent, a good idea, and the guts to bring both to market can make a serious impact on the industry. Face it, everyone who is in the Hall of Fame walked away from the wider world where they could have made much more money, just because they wanted to follow a dream.
So, while our Hall of Fame members might not be as recognizable as their sports counterparts, they’re just as special. They’ve helped shape an industry that grew up in the later half of the twentieth century, through “fadness” into a phenomenon that gets mentioned in articles, on TV, in films; a pastime that has entertained millions worldwide for decades, and will continue to do so. Instead of playing at a game others created, they’ve defined, redefined, innovated and expanded something new, something special, something that invites participation, not just watching.
And, without a doubt, the best part of it all is that they’ve done this for the love of the hobby. Not for money. Not for acclaim. Just for that smile from someone who has fun playing what you’ve done. So, our Hall of Fame celebrates them, and has plenty more room for the rest of you, when you get there.
Born in the deep dark south in the mid-sixties. Brom, an army brat, spent his entire youth on the move and unabashedly blames living in such places as Japan, Hawaii, Germany, and Alabama for all his afflictions. From his earliest memories Brom has been obsessed with the creation of the weird, the monstrous, and the beautiful.
At age twenty, Brom began working full-time as a commercial illustrator in Atlanta, Georgia. Three years later he entered the field of fantastic art he’d loved his whole life, making his mark developing and illustrating for TSR’s best selling role-playing worlds.
He has since gone on to lend his distinctive vision to all facets of the creative industries, from novels and games, to comics and film. Most recently he's created a series of award winning horror novels that he both writes and illustrates.
Brom is currently kept in a dank cellar somewhere in the drizzly Northwest.
Vlaada was born in 1971, and since then, he has been playing and making games. He studied computer science (and made strategic play-by-mail computer games as his master thesis). Then he worked for a classic IT company for a few months (and added as ascii-art video game to the hospital information system they developed). After, he started to work at a video game company (and, well, made games there, too). All that time, he was creating board games as his hobby. When he felt the video game industry grew too big, he co-founded Czech Games Editions and switched to board games professionally, keeping video games as his hobby instead. In the past several years, he joined these two passions and has been working closely with the CGE digital team, making mobile and computer implementations of his board games.
This is the inaugural year for the Rising Star award. The Hall of Fame honors individuals who over their careers have contributed in fields that have advanced gaming and brought new players into its audience. Usually the candidates for the Hall of Fame have worked in their fields for 15 years or longer and their accomplishments have stood strong over the years. The Rising Star award is intended to honor individuals who are in the early stages of their careers in gaming who have demonstrated exceptional ability in their early work and achievements. By honoring the achievements of our newer colleagues, we hope to inspire them and others to continue to create the things that our players love.
Jamey Stegmaier co-founded and runs the day-to-day operations of Stonemaier Games. His lifelong passion for playing and designing board games have led to the creation of Viticulture, Euphoria, Scythe, and Charterstone. Jamey has also helped to develop and publish several other games and expansions through Stonemaier Games, which has a lifetime revenue of over $22 million. He shares his observations, experiments, and opinions with other creators on his crowdfunding/entrepreneurship blog and his game design YouTube channel.