At the end of last year a small group of people met at the office of the Victorian Partnership for Advanced Computing (VPAC), in Victoria Street, Carlton. Their purpose was to establish a new incorporated association for the promotion of roleplaying and simulation games.
There was a gentle and tragic narrative occuring at the same time. The board of VPAC, which had provided supercomputer services for the previous fifteen or so years, had decided to close the non-profit association down, and many would say without justification. In just days after this meeting VPAC would close its doors for the last time.
Nevertheless, from the ashes of one association another, albeit very different in scale, scope, and activities, could arise. The agenda was set, with the following purposes for the Association:
* To promote and advocacate the use simulation and roleplaying games.
* To design, develop, and distribute of simulation and roleplaying games by members.
* To publish periodicals, manuals, books, websites etc related to the simulation and roleplaying games.
* To engage in activities, including generating income and expenditure, to further these aims.
The association will use the Model Rules for Incorporated Associations, published by the Victorian Government. The association will have an annual membership fee of $10. The association will take ownership of the RPG Review website and the RPG Review Quicksales store, for use and development by members. The association will raise funds for the publication and distribution of simulation and RPG games designed by members (e.g., Gulliver's Trading Company) and will purchase ISBNs for this purpose.
The following motion was tabled and, put following discussion.
"That the RPG Review Cooperative be formed, and that the Model Rules for an Incorporated Associated be applied."
Moved Lev Lafayette. Seconded Andrew Daborn
The motion was passed, and with the election of a committee consisting of Lev Lafayette, Karl Brown, Andrew Daborn, Liz Bowman, and Nicholas Moll, the organisation was its way.
Consumer Affairs Victoria approved the application and on January 7th 2016 we received the certificate of incorporation, with the identity A0094301K.
The immediate activities was to establish a github (because that's what the cool kids are doing) for works in development, including several game systems and supplements and applications (Torquil Gault's Visual Combat Simulator is a particularly great item), open up the RPG Review Quicksales store to all members, and advertise existing game sessions organised by members. Soon after this we started organising monthly movie nights at the Astor for their invariable appropriate double-feature sessions – including a very enjoyable visit on World Aliens Day.
"All right sweethearts, what are you waiting for? Breakfast in bed? Another glorious day in the corps! A day in the Marine Corps is like a day on the farm. Every meal's a banquet! Every paycheck a fortune! Every formation a parade! I love the corps!"
As part of our advocacy role we launched a petition to Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast to give 4th edition Dungeons and Dragons and Open Game License. The Game System License which it has been granted compares poorly to the OGL (no open game content, restrictions on game terms) and as a result it means that consumers and publishers have less choice for this particular edition of the game – it is also inconsistent with the licenses granted for the third and fifth editions of the game.
The Association has also started a library of games, magazines, and supplements. There was an offer to ship the significant gaming library from the Murdoch (University) Alternative Reality Society (MARS), and organisation which the president founded way back in 1988, and is now defunct after over two decades in operation. That has not been not happened yet, but we're still hopeful. In the meantime, a library has been established with generous donations from Lev Lafayette, Paul Smith, and Simon Stainsby. Borrowing rules have been established and Charmaine Daborn has kindly taken the role of looking after the library. It's not enormous yet, but from such humble beginnings great things can grow.
To top it all off, every month the RPG Review Cooperative has provided a newsletter to its members, Crux Australi.
The Association has succeeded beyond expectations. A number of committee members are old hands at this sort of thing and they know full-well that such a body only really gets its feet truly on the ground. Already we have more members than expected and will aim to increase that even further by the end of the year. The library will hopefully continue to expand, and we will certainly continue to provide the online store, this journal (ISSN about to be established), the newsletter, our movie nights, the github, and our regular gaming sessions. The next major task will be buying a bulk of ISBNs for would-be publishers – including the superhero game, Verge, the third edition of Swordbearer entitled Spirit and Sword, the well-playtested Gulliver's Trading Company, The Eclipse Phase Companion, and The Laundry Down Under.
Something we will not be doing in the immediate future of course is holding our own conventions. We're Melbourne based and there is already several well-established conventions operated by some excellent minds in this city, including Arcanacon and Conquest. As much as we possibly can we will be working with existing groups, not in competition but in cooperation – indeed competition in a hobby like this is frankly quite bizarre. We will instead look other national oganisations such as SVEROK in Sweden and their federated approach to promoting a critical advocacy to our shared hobby, and put any differences aside in favour of that common interest.