Monday, June 11, 2012
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF
Hi. I’m Angus Abranson. Over the years I’ve done a variety of roles related
to games and gaming, from working as a Saturday boy at a local games
store (which I later went on to manage), magazine contributor and assistant
editor, writer/designer of RPGs and Miniature skirmish games, a long stint (10
years) in The Camarilla (White Wolf’s global fan club – I started off running
the London branch in the UK and ended up heading their International
Development program which was great fun and also allowed me to travel to
places such as Brazil to meet and help the affiliate branch there), part owner
of Nightfall Games (the company behind SLA Industries) and founder of
Cubicle 7 Entertainment (whom I left after 8 years last December) and now
Chronicle City, my new baby
Apart from being an avid gamer I’m also a massive music fan (both live and
recorded), love films, comics, books and seem to have a wardrobe full of black
(or shades of black) t-shirts.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO GAMING?
I’d been boardgaming, and making up my own little games, ever since I can
remember but got into Roleplaying in 1984 when I spent some time living in
the States. I’d previously played some of the Fighting Fantasy books written
by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson (the UK version :p) and really enjoyed
those and then on the second day I was in the States my cousins introduced
me to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and I was hooked. I very shortly
afterwards played Top Secret, was given my own AD&D Players Handbook
and Dungeon Masters Guide for Christmas, moved back to the UK, found a
store in central London, brought MERP and got involved in a school group.
The rest is, as they say, history.
WHAT IS IT YOU FIND SO APPEALING ABOUT GAMING?
It’s a combination of both the stories that unfold and develop as well as the
social aspect of hanging out and playing with friends. I love playing in long
running campaigns where you can really see the characters and group evolve,
the in-jokes develop, certain situations go down in the annals of the gaming
group ‘lore’ to be recounted years later as well as shorter campaigns, and
one-offs, which have a definitive start, middle and end upon which the story is
complete (whether the characters survive or not). At the end of the day it’s the
great imagination and fun you can have.
SHARE A FAVOURITE GAMING MOMENT WITH US
There’s been loads over the years but one that stands out was an impromptu
no rules game that we ended up playing at an old flat I lived in. There ended
up being five of us and we just started running a systemless game with two
players and three GMs. There was no communication between the GMs and
the two characters started off in completely separate places. Each GM took it
in turn running a scene for alternate players. So GM1 ran a scene for Player
1, GM2 then ran Player 2s scene, GM3 then took over from where GM1 left
off with Player 1, GM1 for Player 2 and so forth – rotating through as the
twin stories developed. It could have gone horribly wrong but it was fantastic
seeing the stories develop, the characters slowly collecting clues to the overall
picture and discovering answers to questions that the other player characters
dilemmas. In the end both characters ended up in the same location (The
Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco) to solve the puzzle – but a hundred
years apart. Between them they managed to defeat the supernatural ‘Big Bad’
but only because of the actions of both characters in their own timelines – and
never realising that they were only half of the overall tale.
We only ever did that the once but it was a truly memorable evening. Improv
can be great.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY PLAYING?
I’m not actually involved in any RPG at present. We’re looking at starting up
a game at the house (with my housemates and my girlfriend) but haven’t
decided on what to actually play yet. It will probably be one of the new games
that Chronicle City is publishing though – although I’d also really like to play
Dresden Files or a more ‘Supernatural’ inspired game.
CAN YOU TELL US WHAT YOUR FAVOURITE GAMES ARE?
I have loads of favourites for a whole variety of reasons. My top ten is
probably fairly fluid beyond the Top 5, and even then they can chop and
change. My all time favourite is probably Call of Cthulhu, but games such
as Marvel Superheroes (TSR’s Advanced Set), TORG, Kult, Deadlands,
Vampire: The Masquerade, Hunter: The Reckoning, Warhammer Fantasy
Roleplay, Victoriana, the Iron Kingdoms setting for D&D, 7th Sea, Traveller,
Amber and Cyberpunk 2020 all feature strongly. I’ve had loads of fun with
most of the games I’ve played over years – from classics such as Bunnies
& Burrows and Golden Heroes to newer games such as Dead of Night and
Clockwork & Chivalry.
WHAT WAS THE LAST GAME YOU PLAYED?
Airship Pirates. When I was back in London for a few days I hooked up with
my old games group and joined in their game. It was also the first experience
of roleplaying for my girlfriend and was run by Andrew Peregrine (who has
written for loads of games and companies over the years) who actually
designed the Heresy Engine (for Victoriana) which Airship Pirates uses. The
game I had played before that was also Airship Pirates actually, I really enjoy
WHICH PRODUCTS HAVE YOU HAD YOUR WORK PUBLISHED IN?
The first game (outside of magazine work) that I had material published in
was a cyberpunk skirmish game/RPG called Dark Winter that was released
in 1992/93 (I think) by a company I was co-owner of called Network X. It was
pretty much a low budget student project but we got the Virgin Megastore
chain (whom used to have a large games section at the time herein the UK)
to stock it, promoted it around various conventions and sold a couple of
thousand copies of it over the course of a couple of years or so.
A lot of the 90’s was actually spent doing magazine work and playtesting for
other companies (mainly White Wolf and Steve Jackson Games) as a lot of
my time was taking up either actually playing/running games, running Leisure
Games (the retail store I was working at) and also helping run The Camarilla.
When I left The Camarilla in 2003 it was mainly so I could dedicate myself to
starting up Cubicle 7 and actually finally start publishing games. Unfortunately
running a games company generally means I was doing a lot of the business
type affairs rather than the fun writing bit – although it did mean that I could
decide what we should be releasing and write up project outlines and hire
writers to then take the outline and ideas and mold them in to an actual game/
ARE YOU WORKING ON ANY GAMING-RELATED PROJECTS AT THE
I’ve recently just started a new publishing company called Chronicle City.
There has been lots of ‘behind the scenes’ business setup and foundation
building going on so I’ve not had much time to put pen to paper (or finger to
keyboard in a creative manner). I’m working with over twenty other companies
and designers helping them bring their games to print through our print
partnership scheme but we also have a number of games we are looking at
creating ourselves (as well as possibly some older games we’re looking at
rebooting and/or licensing) which I’ll be having a more direct involvement with.
That’s Phase 2 of the plan, but it’s already started moving so hopefully I’ll
actually be able to do some more writing again.
DO YOU HAVE ANY WEBPAGES OR SOCIAL NETWORK ACCOUNTS
WHERE FANS CAN FIND YOU?
Chronicle City has a website that should be up soon (www.chroniclecity.com)
as well as a Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/chroniclecity) and a
Twitter account (@Chronicle_City).
I also have a Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/angus.abranson) and
a Twitter account (@Angus_A). I tend to be a pretty frequent Facebook poster
on my own account though, so be warned!