The Gaming invention that had to be

Future Fossil: The Gaming Invention that Broke Time

I found the joys of Dungeon Mastering later in life, but I was made aware of Dungeons & Dragons when I was very young. There was a kid whose family spent summers at the same lake as mine and he started bringing in this red box stuffed with weird papers and little metal action figures. He would gather a few other kids in the corner of the clubhouse by the ping pong table and spread a dozen sheets of loose leaf paper around covered with notes and crude drawings of mysterious dwellings. It was cool but totally foreign to me; who would voluntarily write in a notebook during summer?

Thinking back, I wonder why he didn’t try and explain to me what he was doing. I was probably soaking wet from swimming or covered in sand, and maybe I didn’t exactly fit the description of a role playing gamer. I was creative and drew a lot, so that might have hooked me—and the dice and minis were pretty cool—but it was too hot to sit around and escape into my imagination when I was at the lake. Sure, I wanted to run, jump, climb, and explore but, if at all possible, I wanted to do it for real and I wanted to do all of it wet.

Still, I remained intrigued. They were so engrossed in what they were doing and extremely annoyed if anyone suggested they stop and go outside, and that I got instantly. When I was drawing, I didn’t like to be jolted out of my own little world and I can now understand how much more interesting theirs must have been to the one those of us were splashing around in. From that summer forward, I would always stop by the tabletop role playing shelves at my local mall bookstores and check out the colorful hardcovers. I was a reader, so opening the books and digging in was something that came naturally. But I still didn’t quite get it, and outside of that one kid, I didn’t know another soul who paid even the slightest attention to this stuff.

Then along came the Internet and for all the woes I associated with it, there were also some big wins – and learning about Dungeons & Dragons was one of the biggest. I watched stream after stream of D&D sessions to pick up the rules and rhythm of the game and it helped to see all the rules in action. Ah, the rules! All that glorious minutiae available for study and debate made me dizzy with a flavor of excitement I never knew I craved. I certainly dug video games, and was always a fan of genre fiction and entertainment that included dark fantasy, but this was something completely new. As a fledgling screenwriter and filmmaker who was now fully understanding the limitless possibilities of improvisational storytelling, I felt like I had opened a door that had been waiting patiently for me in some deep, dark cavern since the day I was born.

Flash forward hundreds of hours working as a traveling dungeon master, I began to fantasize about writing and publishing my own settings and adventures. I also turned “pro”, and started running games in person and online for small sums, dreaming that one day I might combine everything I’ve ever had a passion for my entire life into a role playing game empire.

They say you never know where life may take you, and there I was, months later, on the cusp of my first gaming invention. I was wracking my brain trying to figure out an easy, safe and affordable way to prop up gummies to be used as combat encounter minis. Of all the projects I have pursued and continue to pursue, I can honestly say this particular pursuit found me, and in the most natural and organic fashion one could possibly conceive. I needed enemies for my sessions, I didn’t have access to a lot of minis, I wanted something I could carry around that wouldn’t break the bank and there they were, gummies, staring back at me, winking, reminding me how delicious they were. Alright, alright…give me a bag. But how to get them to perform like real minis. That’s where my gaming invention comes in, and the rest, to invert a phrase, is the future.

It’s been a really fun ride so far, and there’s no telling where it will go or how long it will continue. But honest to orc tusks, it’s almost as if I’m not in control. These stands seemed to have wanted to exist and like finding a dragon’s egg under a low, leafy branch I’m simply the bumbling sod chosen to steward them into existence. Gummy Gobz™ fill such a narrow, sliver of a void in the gaming community that most probably wouldn’t have noticed or acknowledged it – and yet, now that it’s out in the air it’s as if we had been living in the tabletop stone ages. Gummy creatures in stands on a battle mat that you eat when you beat them. By gods, the very concept is as primitive as it is futuristic, as accommodating as it is revolutionary. It serves to facilitate without complication. It is a contribution to tabletop gaming that neither sets obstacles nor portends obsolescence. It is fresh and new, yet old as the game itself. These stands are like fossils of future wonders, trickling back in time to delight us. This gaming invention simply had to be, forever.

And it is I, your humble servant, who was chosen to bring them to you.

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