I’ve always been a great believer in credit where it’s due. When I was freelancing, I always appreciated the companies that would put my name on the cover of a book I had written and I’ve made sure to follow that practice at Green Ronin. I was frankly a little surprised to find how good Wizards of the Coast is at this sort of thing, at least in general. If you look at the credits of the 3E Oriental Adventures, for instance, author James Wyatt lists titles and authors for all his direct sources, down to the level of Dragon Magazine articles from 10+ years ago. Sometimes, WotC has even given more credit than is due. For example, if you look in the Chainmail rule booklet, you’ll see a bunch of guys credited with “original design” or somesuch. Those guys worked on a Heroquest-styled boardgame before there WotC did minis and honestly very little of what they did had any bearing on the Chainmail rules. Nonetheless, they were duly credited.
So imagine my surprise to look over a copy of the new WotC minis rules and discover that no mention of Chainmail or its design team is made. From what I hear from people on the inside, a conscious effort was made to distance the new game from Chainmail, even though the rules are clearly Chainmail 2.0. While I can sympathize with their concerns (I wouldn’t want to release a product tied to a previous failed product either) I can’t imagine a simple credit or even a special thanks would have infected the new game with the corpse-smell of failure.
I saw that rulebook back at San Diego Comic Con in July and it got me a little riled up, but I let is pass. Recently, the Miniatures Handbook came out. This one took it a step further. It includes rules for running a skirmish campaign, and those rules come directly from the Ghostwind Campaign, a Chainmail book I was lead designer on. Now WotC has every right to use that material. They own it after all. But this time they went so far as to use my actual writing (and I know this because the book uses the same examples from Ghostwind, complete with the names of my gaming group!) and again do not credit me or the Ghostwind Campaign as a source. Nor did anyone think to send me a copy.
I think the miniatures team at WotC could learn a little something from the rest of the company.