Setting[ edit ] Gangbusters was inspired by both historical figures such as Al Capone and fictional accounts of the era. The default location for Gangbusters campaigns is Lakefront City, a fictional metropolis located in an unspecified state on the western shore of Lake Michigan , probably Chicago. A basic description of the city is included in the Gangbusters rules, and expanded upon in the five adventures published for the game. Each career includes a unique set of advantages and disadvantages to differentiate it from the others. Characters are further customized by adding non-career skills , such as Auto Theft or Photography. Characters are improved by earning experience points.
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My friend Jim LaFountain quite rightly pointed out that he was the creator of those terms. Sorry Jim. My blunder transitions perfectly into this article. When I was at TSR the process of naming products was very important. I spent many an hour with sales people, marketing people, legal people, and the editors and designers at TSR putting names on things.
As time went on they because busier and busier and the naming of things worked down a few management levels. We tried lots of different approaches. We looked at the creatures and equipment of the game and nothing struck us there.
We looked at the type of characters created, there was no interest there. We had some great play tests and after one especially deadly game where lots of characters were blasted away; several of us came up with a title at the same time.
I think it was Brian Blume who said where do all the characters of the game end up. It was time to name my apocalyptic role-playing game. I came in really wanting to name it Omega Force. The MA name had been a popular one and I thought we should continue the process.
We talked about what Metamorphosis was. We defined it as a Dungeon Maze in a can. Then we looked at the play tests of the second game. Radiation damage had caused a lot of problems. We thought Gamma rays were some of the most powerful radiations that characters could be exposed to.
I think it was Gary who came up with Gamma World and we both instantly liked it. The concept was perfectly positioned in the title. It was a world wide game with lots of radiation. It was around or so and the legal department and sales were trying to come up with a name for the great roaring twenties game that TSR was producing. I made the mistake of walking by their offices and I was dragged into the meeting. Me being dragged into things happened a lot at TSR.
I was asked there to break the tie. The sales group liked the machine gun one and the legal department really liked the gangs one. I explained to them what happened in the play tests of the game.
I was lucky enough to be in on a few of the Mark Acres games. I could tell they were tired and all of them were frustrated. I thought it was a perfect name for a 20s role-playing game and everyone agreed to legally check if the name was available. This next naming scenario drove us to distraction for many hours. I have written about TSR making their own collectible dice game in a previous article. It was about and I was at Gen Con when I was asked to go right over to the meeting room.
I came in on the legal department arguing over the name of the dice game. Lots of names were being proposed on several large sheets of paper hanging on the walls. I looked over the choices; Deadly Dice appealed to me. The legal department was very skeptical as they were positive someone had already taken that name.
We sat there adding and subtracting names for several hours and no one was happy. We realized we were spinning our wheels and not coming up with anything. They just thought it was already taken. I brought up the point that the company could always try and buy the use of the name from whomever held the trademark.
That idea was well received. We had trademarked it when we put out our own dice packages. We all had a good laugh at that and the game was named. Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10,