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Rick Loomis is an American game designer, most notable as the founder of game publisher Flying Buffalo.[1]

Rick Loomis
Rick Loomis.jpeg
OccupationGame designer


Rick Loomis served in the US Army in the 1960s, serving out his one tour of duty at Fort Shafter in Oahu, Hawaii.[2]:34 He had discovered the wargame Gettysburg by Avalon Hill in a toystore, and in 1970 had invented a game called Nuclear Destruction which - unlike most tabletop games - included hidden movement; in January 1970, Loomis started sending mail to readers of The General who had advertised for play-by-mail (PBM) opponents, offering to moderate multiplayer Nuclear Destruction games.[2]:34 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.[2]:34[3] After leaving the military in 1972, Loomis and MacGregor incorporated their PBM company as Flying Buffalo, Inc., or FBI.[2]:34 Loomis and MacGregor pooled their savings to purchase a Raytheon 704 minicomputer to run PBM turns.[2]:35 Loomis claims to have been the first person ever to buy a computer solely to play games on it.[4] Loomis acquired Nuclear War and began publishing it in 1972, soon becoming one of Flying Buffalo's best sellers.[2]:35[5]

Ken St. Andre asked Loomis to take 40 copies of Tunnels & Trolls to Origins in July 1975 to sell; when every copy sold, Flying Buffalo picked up the rights to T&T later that year and published a second edition under their own brand in December 1975.[2]:36 Loomis designed the Origins Award-winning play-by-mail game Starweb.[4] After a friend suggested that someone should make a dungeon adventure book that allows the player to choose an answer and turn to another page, Loomis wrote Buffalo Castle (1976).[2]:36 Buffalo Castle was an introduction to Tunnels & Trolls, a basic dungeon for a warrior of level 1-2.[6]:226 On August 19, 1978, Loomis was elected as a temporary officer to be the President and Treasury of Association of Game Manufacturers (which soon became the Game Manufacturers Association or GAMA).[2]:36 Loomis came up with the idea for Grimtooth's Traps, which was published in 1981.[2]:37 When the company's lease on their headquarters ran out in 1985, Loomis moved the offices of Flying Buffalo to a farmhouse he had inherited in Scottsdale, Arizona.[2]:39

Nuclear Escalation (the card game) had been the subject of a potential ban on all war related toys when two MPs of the UK Labour Party called the game "a nasty twist on the toy industry". Loomis was interviewed as part of this discussion saying "the game is intended to be humorous... the subject is so serious that you have to laugh about it because otherwise you'd cry."[7]

In 1988 Loomis received the AAGAD Hall of Fame award at the Origins Game Fair.[8]

In 2002, Flying Buffalo published The Origins Metagame for the Origins convention, and Loomis late printed Poker decks for the con.[2]:40 When it was discovered that Outlaw Press, who were publishing supplements for T&T, had been using art without permission, Loomis revoked their T&T license.[2]:41


  1. ^ Baker, M. Sharon (June 22, 2001). "Guessing Game", Puget Sound Business Journal 22 (7): 24.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  3. ^ Wichner, David (August 12, 1991). "Flying Buffalo rounds up players Moves mailed to fantasy game entrepreneur". Phoenix Gazette. p. B5.
  4. ^ a b Loomis, Rick (2007). "Fluxx". In Lowder, James (ed.). Hobby Games: The 100 Best. Green Ronin Publishing. pp. 116–118. ISBN 978-1-932442-96-0.
  5. ^ McLellan, Dennis (April 18, 1986). "Laughing at Apocalypse : In 'Nuclear War,' the End of the World Is in the Cards", Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  6. ^ Schick, Lawrence (1991). Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games. Prometheus Books. ISBN 0-87975-653-5.
  7. ^ "MPs seek ban on nuclear board game described as 'disgusting and offensive'". Ottawa Citizen. March 3, 1984. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  8. ^ "AAGAD Hall of Fame Award 1988". Archived from the original on December 27, 2013. Retrieved October 9, 2013.