To think, this all began with a postcard. In 2004, I got a postcard covered with enticing art enclosed in an issue of Scrye Magazine in the mail. It was announcing Decipher, Inc.’s new trading card game, WARS. I spent the whole afternoon looking at the art on that postcard, and daydreaming. I was hooked instantly, and when I got to read the stories Decipher began posting online, I was in love.
There were feuding aliens that came through a “Mumon Rift” into our own world, cyborg pirates on the edge of space, samurai with jetpacks, vehicles like rolling balls, and so many wonders. But what really hooked me were the characters: WARS focused heavily on personal conflict and the reasons why people acted the way they did. There was hearty adventure, and it never lost that heart. There was no evil empire, only people who believed what they thought was just and right...in a way that was incompatible with others.
And all too quickly, that riftage daydream ended. The game was put on hiatus, and the stories stopped. But I never forgot. In college, I gave out WARS decks I bought for pennies on the internet, and started making friends playing the game, going on to run a popular WARS roleplaying game in college where those friends became lifelong ones. We told stories together, and dreamed that we could bring that joy to others.
It was during all of that that Grail Quest Books took up the license to publish WARS stories, and put out six novellas detailing the history of the setting. From my passion for the setting, I got my first job in traditional publishing through Josh and Kasandra Radke: proofreading and giving content advice on a few of the Novellas. But soon, those novellas stopped too, and WARS was once again on hiatus.
But I hadn’t stopped, along with the friends I made in college, I started my own sci-fi series, 10,000 Dawns. I edited anthologies, worked with heroes of mine till they became colleagues, put out novels, wrote plays, and finally began to publish books I didn’t write a word of myself. My small press, Arcbeatle Press, was doing well, and I’d begun to establish myself in the world of writing and publishing.
That was when I got the email: the folks at Grail Quest Books, who’d given me that first job, wanted me and Arcbeatle Press to take over the WARS publishing license.
It had been my dream for 15 years. How could I say no?
I’m so honored, and excited to be carrying the torch of Decipher’s WARS Universe. I can’t tell you much about our plans, we’re working on a lot of things and it’s going to take time to get them ready, but rest assured, me and the team at Arcbeatle Press are passionate about this, and we can’t wait to show you what we’ll be making. Arcbeatle Press will be publishing old and new stories, and bringing the universe of WARS to a brand new audience.
Helping me out is one of the Lead Editors of Arcbeatle Press, Jo Smiley, who was right there with me having late night chats about our dreams with WARS. Jo and I have always had big dreams with telling stories, and with WARS. Jo has written for Arcbeatle Press, Shotgun Angel Games, and Boundless Endeavors, Inc., and we’ll be pouring our shared experience and passion into this. In their own words: "When I was in college, the WARS roleplaying game was one of the things that kept me from totally falling apart, and the friends I made through it are still my friends today. So I'm extremely excited to hear that there is going to be new material published! I can't wait to be a part of it and let it help me explore the universe once again."
So the future is Under Construction (and if you haven’t read our new story, you can find it here: http://www.jameswylder.com/wars.html ), so be patient, and look ahead. We’ll be working hard to make that future a brighter one.
This journey has been a long one, and a tough one, so there’s a lot of people we should thank. So, probably missing many people, I’d like to say thank you to:
Jordan Stout, Miguel Ramirez III, Taylor Elliott, Jo Smiley, Rosalie Derk, Elizabeth Tock, Emmeryn Telemain Reed, David Koon, Patrick Blaker, Rosa New, Nathan Kramer-Herman, Jon Ward, Ashey Nichole Sims-Cleavland, John Cleaveland, Brandi Hornbuckle, Andrea Paul-Bonham, Mary Beringer, Thomas Jones, Ellie Fairfield, Dan Alejos, Kyle Edge, Meghin Clark, Olivia Hinkel, Colby McClung, Joshua Anderson, Phil Walker, Anthony Forthhofer, Spencer Sholty, Walker Roberts, Annie Bladen, Gara Gaines, and all the other folks who brought me so many memories and joys during our time together.
Rebecca Jacob, Gwen Ragno, Simon Bucher-Jones, Eric Asher, Lauren Jankowski, Stuart Douglas, Niki Haringsma, Nate Bumber, Jacob Black, Sam Maleski, Hunter O’Connell, Charles Whitt, Ruth Long, Mark Fearnow, Genevieve Clovis, Evan Forman, Michael Robertson, Tycho McPhee Letts, Kevin Burnard, Rob and Martha Southgate, Chris Mau, Luther Siler, Kathy Barbour, James Bojaciuk, Corey Roth, Damon Null, my parents, sisters, and brother in law, and everyone else who believed in me or Arcbeatle Press and helped us get here.
Josh and Kasandra Radke, Nathan Patrick Butler, Sean E. Williams, Jim Perry, Sabrina Friend, Bryan Thomas-Schmidt, Joshua Anderson, Brian Hickey, Chuck Kallenbach, Mark Tuttle, Michael A. Stackpole, Bryan Borgman, Michael O’Brien, Marianne Plumridge, Warren Holland, Tim Ellington, and all the other folks who worked on WARS who have been kind to me over the years.
Plus, all the many fans of WARS and Arcbeatle Press who have believed in us. You rock.
We’ll get to work then. See you on the other side of the rift,
Publisher at Arcbeatle Press
Poet, Playwright, Game Designer, Writer, Freelancer for hire.