I didn’t expect to give in to temptation so quickly. But, in the Strategic Review (December 1975, Volume 1, Issue #5), there is a short, self-written bio of each of the current TSR employees (E. Gary Gygax, Brian J. Blume, Robert J. Kuntz, Theron O. Kuntz, and Timothy J. Kask). These differ significantly from other such descriptions I’ve read, due to the period in which they are written. Most such statements were made long after AD&D had become a household name. These, on the other hand, were made in the earliest days of TSR, when the OD&D supplements were just coming to print (and before the shake-up had begun).
At the end of Tim Kask’s “In the Cauldron” column appeared the following:
And now, by popular demand, here is a little data on the odd assortment of strange folks that make up TSR.
E. Gary Gygax
I was born in Chicago 37 years ago — 27 July 1938 for those of you who are astrology freaks — and nothing has gone right since then (witness, for example, WWII, Korea, ‘Nam, and I am expecting worse momentarily). Despite these outrageous slings and arrows, I have somehow managed to carry on with a stiff upper lip, even going so far as to marry a beautiful redhead and beget five offspring (Ernie the Barbarian being the most infamous). I occasionally attended various educational institutions, but the end came when my wife insisted that she did not wish to spend the next few decades visiting places like the Matto Grasso, and my anthropology career was nipped in the bud. . . sort of, anyway. So I went to work for a different insurance company (I was working for another while attending college) thus selling out creativity and independence (at least) for a buck — who needs material dross like food and a place to live anyway?! However it was already too late and I didn’t even know it. I began playing chess at age six, and history has fascinated me since high school; furthermore, I’d purchased an AH game (GETTYSBURG) in ‘58 or ‘59 and avidly sought more. My eventual downfall was thus assured. I began to get involved in organized wargaming in the mid-1960’s. Soon writing articles, designing rules and games, and otherwise fooling around occupied all of my free time, as well as good chunks of time supposedly being paid for by my employer (there was never enough for me to do running that little underwriting unit in any event). My wife threatened divorce often: “It is either going to be me or those games!” Fortunately for me, she never actually forced a decision. . . My association with Guidon Games cemented my downfall, for I learned much about the business of wargaming during that time. Then, without really realizing what we were getting into, we started TSR in October 1973. You know all the rest. Help a lost man. Go and buy his ALEXANDER THE GREAT from AH, and get all the TSR products you can afford. That will make me rich, and then maybe, just maybe, I’ll actually be able to play wargames again.
Brian J. Blume
I was born in Chicago 26 Years ago — 12 January 1950, for those of you who are astrology freaks — and nothing has gone right since then (witness, for example Korea, ‘Nam and the Seven Days War, and I am expecting worse momentarily). Despite these outrageous slings and arrows, I have somehow managed to carry on with a stiff upper lip, even going so far as to marry a beautiful brunette, but even that didn’t work right, and I am no longer married. I attended various educational institutions, but the end came when money-lust struck me. I went to work as a tool and die maker’s apprentice and finally made $20,000 in one year. I began playing chess at age seven, and history has fascinated me since junior high school; furthermore, I’d purchased an AH game (GETTYSBURG) in ‘59 and avidly sought more. My eventual downfall was thus assured. I began to get involved in organized wargaming in high school. Soon game playing and otherwise fooling around (designing) occupied all of my free time, as well as good chunks of time supposedly being paid for by my employer (there isn’t much to do while watching a lathe go around and around). My wife finally ran off with a handsome sailor after getting tired of being ignored. In 1973, I finally badgered Gary into letting me in at the “ground-floor” of TSR. You know the rest. Help a foolish man. Buy PANZER WARFARE and all of the TSR products you can afford. That may get me up to the $6,000 mark again, and may give me time to be able to play wargames again!
Robert J. Kuntz
I was born September 23rd 1955 in Lake Geneva and have lived here all my life. As a kid I played the game that everybody played on our block: “Bang! You’re Dead!”, though it did vary at times. I learned about Wargames in a peculiar way. As I sat skimming through an issue of Playboy one day when I was barely thirteen years old, I came upon a game section describing all varieties of party gifts to give to your family or friends for Christmas. I saw a “Dogfight” game listed among the buyables and immediately proceeded to the nearest dimestore with hopes high. I was disappointed when the assistant manager informed me that they did not carry the game and was about to leave when he suggested that I come over to his place and try some games he had. He named a few off; “Stalingrad”, etc., and I was on my way . . . . In my seven and one-half years of participation in the wargames field I have enjoyed boardgames, miniatures and play-by-mail types and am now employed with a company that produces games and of which my best friend is the head thereof. I intend to write many more rules sets before I pass away and I have this spectre friend of mine who can give the inside on this good “ghost-writer. . . ”
Theron O. Kuntz
Born December 25, 1953, in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, my family moved to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, when I was 1-1/2 years old. Here, I grew up and learned about wargaming through my brother Rob when I was 15 years old. Frequently, Rob would play a miniatures or board game with his new friend Gary Gygax. After getting interested in some discussions with Rob over some games he played with Gary I had to go to take a look. Well, slowly but surely I got hooked. I immediately started collecting my own Napoleonic 30mm Prussian Army which started me out in the miniature world. I played many miniature battles which included Medievals that were played often on a sand table at Gary’s house. After graduating from college in 1974, receiving a diploma in Mechanical Drafting and Design, I found it hard to find employment in the field that I worked so hard and long at to learn. So, I waited, hoping to find something but still nothing showed. It wasn’t until October 1, 1975, that TSR Hobbies Inc. offered me employment in their company to help design rules and games for the wargame enthusiast. I hope in the future that I may please a number of fellow gamers and designers with my projects and/or group projects through TSR. So, there you are and always remember “Steal from the rich and give to the poor”.
Timothy J. Kask
Born 14 Jan., ’49, in Moline, Ill. One day, when I was in the sixth grade, an old friend and I finished making a model of the solar system in clay for a science project, and looked for new challenges. We decided to fix his TV set. The fact that neither of us knew the first thing about TV never phased us. Upon reaching into the rear of the chassis, I got my first lesson when I discharged the picture tube into my tender young body, which caused me to fly across the room, and set my ears to ringing ferociously. About an hour later, he dug out a weird new game he had picked up but hadn’t played yet. It was put out by the then unfamiliar AH; DDAY. Oh Lord, I was hooked, and little did I know that I was to become a Simulations-Junkie. We played that game to death in the next three years, then went our separate ways. I thought I had kicked the habit, but fell into evil ways in the Navy when another friend and I jointly purchased 1914. This was the hardcore stuff. We would play from Friday afternoon until Monday muster, stirring from the barracks laundry room only for sustenance or to answer the call of nature. About two and a half years ago, I got exposed to miniatures and D&D, though I still love a good board game. I have a large Fantasy/Ancients/Medieval miniatures army of which I am overly proud. My wife never thought much of gaming, until she found out that I might be able to make money at it. Please help me convince her; BUY TSR!
As an aside, this was my first opportunity to see if the text in these PDFs were actually selectable. The answer, fortunately, is yes! However, the first page of the above quoted section selected both columns of the page, not just the column I was interested in. This resulted in the text from the two columns being merged together. It’s not a great hardship to separate a small amount of such merged text, but a whole document would be a nightmare. The second page of material selected just the column I wanted. I haven’t tested any other PDFs so I don’t know which form is the standard, or even if all the PDFs are even selectable (since one is, I’m hopeful that all of them will be).