Flying Buffalo

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Flying Buffalo Inc. (FBI) is a game company with a line of role playing games, card games, and other gaming materials. The company's founder, Rick Loomis, began game publishing with Nuclear Destruction, a play-by-mail game which started the professional PBM industry in the United States. Loomis added games and players while introducing computer moderation and soon incorporated into the company Flying Buffalo Inc. The company published games in other genres, including card games such as Nuclear War and a role playing game called Tunnels & Trolls, a game similar to Dungeons & Dragons. Flying Buffalo acquired its 10,000th customer account number in 1980 and reached its largest size of 21 employees in 1983.

Flying Buffalo Inc.
TypePublic
IndustryRole-playing game publisher, Play-by-mail game moderator
FoundedJanuary 1970[1]
HeadquartersScottsdale, Arizona
Key people
Rick Loomis, Steve MacGregor, John Ward (Webbed Sphere CEO)
ProductsTunnels & Trolls, Nuclear War
Websitewww.flyingbuffalo.com

In July 2021, Webbed Sphere bought Flying Buffalo with plans to incorporate Flying Buffalo's products. The PBM games were not included in the sale and were continued by a separate company called Rick Loomis PBM Games.

HistoryEdit

Flying Buffalo Inc. was founded in January 1970.[2] That year, Rick Loomis invented a game called Nuclear Destruction, a play-by-mail game, for which he moderated multiplayer games.[3]: 34  Nuclear Destruction is widely considered to be the first commercial play-by-mail (PBM) game. He soon had more than 200 players in multiple games, and asked fellow soldier Steve MacGregor to write a computer program to moderate the games; they began renting time on a computer near Fort Shafter, using the name Flying Buffalo devised by Loomis.[3]: 34 [4]

 
A Raytheon Data Systems 704. Used here as an onsite seismic data processing system in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1974

After leaving the military in 1972, Loomis and MacGregor incorporated their PBM company as Flying Buffalo, Inc., or FBI.[3]: 34  Loomis and MacGregor pooled their savings to purchase a Raytheon 704 minicomputer to run PBM turns.[3]: 35  In 1972, the company began publication of their Flying Buffalo Quarterly magazine.[5] Also in 1972, Loomis acquired and published Nuclear War; it soon became one of Flying Buffalo's best sellers.[3]: 35  In 1975 they published Tunnels & Trolls, a fantasy role playing game generally similar to Dungeons & Dragons. Later products included background materials for fantasy role playing games, which became the "Catalyst" series. In 1976 the company started running a space exploration/conquest PBM game titled Starweb. In 1978 they purchased a board wargame titled Schutztruppe from game designer Jim Bumpas.[6] Also in 1978 the company began publishing Sorcerer's Apprentice.[5] The company's gross sales in 1978 was $125,000 with expenses at $130,000.[7][a] 1979 brought some additional changes. Flying Buffalo's Vice President, Dave Slight, died, slowing PBM operations. The company purchased another Raytheon computer from a local doctor's office, which promised to speed printing by an order of magnitude (although it initially was missing some key required equipment).[7]

In 1980, the company stated that it had more than 3,000 players worldwide.[8] The staff reached its largest size of over 21 employees in 1983.[9]: 2529  The company also ran a gaming store at various locations in Tempe, Arizona until 1985. In 1985, Flying Buffalo reached a milestone, assigning its 10,000th account number.[10] The company noted that, although account No. 1 went to its founder, Rick Loomis, account No. 10,000 went to a customer from Athens, Alabama.[10] They noted in the 14-years period, some of their PBM games had been run hundreds of times each, including over 870 games of Starweb, 930 of Battle Plan, and 720 of Nuclear Destruction.[10] The company was also up to No. 50 in its print run of Flying Buffalo Quarterly, its company magazine.[10][b]

In 1992, the fiction book Mage's Blood and Old Bones: A Tunnels & Trolls Shared World Anthology was published by Flying Buffalo.[12] Following the dissolution of TSR in 1997, Flying Buffalo remains the oldest pen-and-paper role-playing game publisher in the world.[9]: 115 

In July 2021, Webbed Sphere purchased Flying Buffalo Inc. with plans for Flying Buffalo to join its existing product lines.[13] The PBM games were not included in the sale and a separate company, Rick Loomis PBM Games, continues to run nine PBM games originally published by Flying Buffalo, including Heroic Fantasy, Nuclear Destruction, Starweb, and others.[14]

ProductsEdit

Play-by-mail gamesEdit

Flying Buffalo published various play-by-mail games.[15]

OtherEdit

The company produced a range of unusual dice, such as a set to determine which toppings to order on pizza, and currently hold the printing rights to the Ace of Aces and Lost Worlds flip book systems.[citation needed]

AwardsEdit

Various Flying Buffalo games have won awards.[16]

The Origins Hall of Fame award is given to game designers who have the best contributions of their field. Multiple Flying Buffalo writers and designers have won this award.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Loomis said the company had run for two years as a hobby and seven years as a business at a loss.[7]
  2. ^ Flying Buffalo Quarterly was initially called The Flying Buffalo's Favorite Magazine from issue No. 1 to at least issue No. 31.[11]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "PBM Company Listing". The Journal of the PBM Gamer (7th ed.). Paper Mayhem. 1993. p. 44.
  2. ^ "PBM Company Listing". The Journal of the PBM Gamer (7th ed.). Paper Mayhem. 1993. p. 44.
  3. ^ a b c d e Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  4. ^ Wichner, David (August 12, 1991). "Flying Buffalo rounds up players Moves mailed to fantasy game entrepreneur". Phoenix Gazette. p. B5.
  5. ^ a b Johnson, Forrest (May–June 1980). "A Guide to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Game Publishers". The Space Gamer. No. 28. p. 15.
  6. ^ "Schutztruppe: East African Guerilla Warfare, 1914–1918 (1975)". boardgamegeek.com. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Loomis, Rick (June 1979). "Editorial". Flying Buffalo Quarterly. No. 39. p. 1.
  8. ^ Flying Buffalo, Inc. (August–September 1980). "StarWeb". Different Worlds. No. 9. p. 48.
  9. ^ a b Appelcline, Shannon (2014). Designers & Dragons: The '70s. Silver Spring, MD: Evil Hat Productions. ISBN 978-1-61317-075-5.
  10. ^ a b c d Flying Buffalo (Jan–Feb 1985). "Gameline – News and Items: Flying Buffalo Assigns 10,000th Account Number". Paper Mayhem. No. 10. p. 18.
  11. ^ "Back Issues". Flying Buffalo Quarterly. No. 39. June 1979. p. 11.
  12. ^ Mage's blood & old bones : A tunnels and trolls shared world anthology.
  13. ^ Jeffrey Dohm-Sanchez (August 4, 2021). "Webbed Sphere, Inc. Acquires Flying Buffalo, Inc". ICv2. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  14. ^ "Flying Buffalo Has Been Sold". Rick Loomis PBM. August 2021. Retrieved September 22, 2021.
  15. ^ Charles Mosteller (6 January 2011). "PBM Boneyard". PlayByMail.net. Retrieved October 24, 2021.
  16. ^ "Awards we have won". Flying Buffalo.
  17. ^ "Origins/Charles Roberts Award Winners (1980)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
  18. ^ "Origins Award Winners (1993)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on 2007-11-06. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
  19. ^ "Origins Game Fair Winners 1982". GAMA – Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design. Archived from the original on 4 October 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  20. ^ a b "Origins Game Fair Winners 1990". GAMA – Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design. Archived from the original on 2014-10-04.
  21. ^ "Origins Game Fair Winners 1991". GAMA – Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design. Archived from the original on 2014-09-24.
  22. ^ a b c "Origins Game Fair Winners 1992". GAMA – Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design. Archived from the original on 2014-10-04.
  23. ^ a b "Origins Game Fair Winners 1997". GAMA – Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design. Archived from the original on 4 October 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  24. ^ a b "Origins Game Fair Winners 1983". GAMA – Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design. Archived from the original on 4 October 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  25. ^ "Origins Game Fair Winners 1984". GAMA – Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design. Archived from the original on 4 October 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  26. ^ "Origins Game Fair Winners 2000". GAMA – Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design. Archived from the original on 9 October 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  27. ^ "Origins Game Fair Winners 2003". GAMA – Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design. Archived from the original on 9 October 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  28. ^ "Origins Game Fair Winners 2006". GAMA – Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design. Archived from the original on 9 October 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  29. ^ "AAGAD Hall of Fame Award 1988". GAMA – Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  30. ^ "AAGAD Hall of Fame Award 1993". GAMA – Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  31. ^ "AAGAD Hall of Fame Award 1995". GAMA – Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  32. ^ "Len St Andre Inducted in the Origins Awards Hall of Fame". Dungeon Master Magazine. Retrieved 20 June 2018.

External linksEdit