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History of the IFGS
The IFGS was founded in 1981 in Boulder, Colorado by John Cade
and Mark Simmons. Cade, a fencing enthusiast and Simmons, manager
of a local hobby shop, ran a game called The Truing in the summer
of 1981 where players who were experienced fencers were the only
ones who were allowed to fight in melee - using fencing foils
and wooden staves! It quickly became apparent that foam weapons
were necessary for the enjoyment of everyone.
By the following year, 8 more games ran, and by 1987 the IFGS
had begun to spread across the U.S., with its second chapter in
Dallas, TX. The organization in Boulder became the Denver/Boulder
chapter and a new organization, the Society, was formed to standardize
games in different locations.
Chapters in New England and Los Angeles quickly sprung up, and
by 1989 the IFGS was large enough to host is own convention, Once
Upon a Con, which ran annually from 1989 through 1993. Once Upon
a Con featured guests of honor such as Steven Barnes, Larry Niven,
Steven Brust, Mercedes Lackey, Elizabeth Moon, Simon Hawke, Jennifer
Roberson, Robin Wood, Walt Freitag and Rick Cook. Many of these
guests participated in IFGS games run at these conventions.
By the 1990s there were chapters in Alabama, Ohio, Wisconsin,
Atlanta, Oklahoma as well as multiple chapters in Colorado. Today,
the IFGS has a number of chapters across
the United States.
of games run during the first 20 years
of the IFGS is long and varied - from
small minigames with a participation of
a half dozen people to huge festivals
with over 250 participants. IFGS games
attract young and old alike, and offer
experiences for every taste - whether
that be serious, heroic fantasy, dark,
challenging games or light, humorous romps
in the park. Here are some
photos from an early game in 1983.
The Dream Park connection
The International Fantasy Gaming Society, Inc. (IFGS) is named
after the fictional organization described in the Dream
Park series of novels (by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes).
Similar to the organization described in the novels, the IFGS
designs, runs, and sanctions various fantasy based live action
role-playing games. Niven and Barnes attended an early IFGS convention
and Steven Barnes played in an IFGS licensed game in Colorado.
Niven later played in a game in California. In subsequent Dream
Park novels, the authors adopted the "real" IFGS as
the historic background for their future one, and provided the
"real" IFGS with publicity, as well as donating the
original manuscript of one of the Dream Park novels to the IFGS
for fund raising purposes.
20th Anniversary Awards
The Society Board decided to select 20 members to honor for Society
level service to coincide with the 20th anniversary celebration
of IFGS on July 29, 2001. We intentionally did not consider those
who may have given outstanding service at the Chapter level, but
had not been major contributors at the Society level. We felt
that each Chapter is better positioned to identify and honor those
members. Instead, we were looking for those people who have contributed
to building the Society as a whole and keeping us moving forward.
We also recognize that, inevitably, we would be overlooking some
members, either due to our memory lapse, or the limited knowledge
of the Board not being aware of the service of some. Still, we
felt it better to honor those we could identify rather than wait
for the perfect list. We also attempted to select 10 members who
made major contributions in the first decade, and 10 members who
made major contributions in the second decade. Making these choices
was tough and I'm sure we've had to omit others who are equally
worthy. Perhaps a future Board can give further recognition where
it is due.
While I could not begin to list all the contributions of the
following members, I've included a few notes for each member so
others have some idea of the work that is being honored. The Society
will be presenting each of these people with a special 2"
silver pin recognizing their service. The pin was designed and
made for IFGS (at cost) by IFGS member Tom Paul Grissom. Congratulate
and thank these people when you see them.
- Patrick McGehearty, Society President 2001
Honoree list for 20th anniversary of IFGS
- John Cade - Co-founder of IFGS, original permanent FRC member
- Dan Frazier - Contributed art work to many earlier pubs,
traveled to new chapters and assisted them in getting started
by coproducing games.
- Tony Fabrizio - Elected early FRC member, long service at
- Paul Hayes - Traveled to new chapters, assisting in productions,
President, Board, stabilizing influence.
- Mark Matthew-Simmons - Co-founder of IFGS, permanent member
- Peter Sartucci - Membership chair, Treasury for many years,
President, long Board service
- Kevin Taylor - Long time FRC and Board service
- Margo Toth - Publications (including several complete books)
and Treasurer, Chainmail
- Fred Welch - Original Safety and original Safety Handbook
- Bob Wimberger - Wrote Registry book still in use after 10
- Dennis Waltman - Long Board service, documents, Expansion
Committee, standard chapter constitution task force, contributions
to many committees
- Sid Pogue - Active Board member and President, long FRC,
BlueBook Chair, standard chapter constitution task force
- Karen Murphy - SSC, Game Library organizer, cross chapter
help, new EC handbook
- Patrick McGehearty - Board Member, President, liason to Norman
during its probationary period, Blue Book Chair and member multiple
- Paula Hopkins - SSC, work on Game Writer Handbook, multiple
games to Game Library
- Ian Hense - Board service, editor 6.8 Rules
- Marcus Hayes - Board 3+terms, SSC 2+ terms, 6.5 rules contributions
- Bill Cowern - SSC Chair, long service and voice for calm and
- John Brewer - Society Board, President, Games Library originator,
- Ray Appling - Chainmail Editor (and now video reporter)