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Brett M Bernstein Interview
Please welcome Brett M. Bernstein of Precis Intermedia.
As well as bringing back classic RPGs such as Shatterzone and Bloodshadows, Precis Intermedia also has a few original roleplaying and war games under it’s belt as well as some fun paper miniatures and accessories. I caught up with Brett to see what’s up with Precis these days.
Jonathan Hicks: Welcome to the site, Brett – how’s life in the RPG publishing industry?
Brett M. Bernstein: Ever-evolving. Every time I turn around, there is some new fad or trend, or even more expensive product that people can’t wait to get, yet I fail to even find remotely interesting. I’ll never understand it.
JH: What’s your history with tabletop gaming?
BB: I started playing D&D back in the 80s, followed by Star Frontiers, RuneQuest, Marvel Superheroes, and then tons more.
JH: What is it about gaming that attracts you? What is it about the hobby that makes you want to write, produce and play games?
BB: I like that it draws out people’s creativity. It does mine, so that’s why I like to create new settings or at least put my own spin on existing ones.
JH: Do you still get time to play? What are you playing at the moment?
BB: I don’t get time to do much these days, so I don’t really play much anymore.
JH: How did you, or what drove you to, get involved in producing roleplaying games?
BB: I’ve always wanted to create things. And when you pick up skills during your life experience, it sometimes puts things into perspective, so that you can motivate yourself to get the job done. It’s easy to start a project, but hard to complete one.
JH: You have a long list of games in your catalogue; I don’t want you to pick a favoured of your children, but what do you enjoy working on the most? Which one is most personal to you?
BB: It’s hard to say which I like working on most or which is most personal. It changes with my mood, but they all become very personal to me — otherwise, I wouldn’t work on them. Bloodshadows 3E is fun, because it can be pretty whacky, as can EarthAD to a degree. HardNova and Ghostories are easy to write for. I’m really digging working on Supergame 3E right now too!
JH: My favourite is the ENnie Award-winning Ancient Odysseys: Treasure Awaits! You’ve already released the core rules and the wilderness expansion, will we see any further releases?
BB: Treasure Awaits! is a favorite of mine too. Apart from adventures, I don’t foresee any future books. It does what I set out for it to do, so that’s it. The supplement license lets anyone create their own material, so new settings and adventures can be done by others too.
JH: Older titles such as Shatterzone and Bloodshadows also make an appearance on your list; are these games personal projects of your love for the games, or did you see a market for them out there? What made you want to get them back in the market?
BB: I’ve always liked Bloodshadows and Shatterzone. The MasterBook system is a perfect fit for Shatterzone (though this is an earlier version of the system), but I never felt that it fit Bloodshadows. That’s why I created the third edition of Bloodshadows, which is a stand-alone game (unlike previous editions, which were just setting guides). I definitely love these games, but there is clearly a market as well. They are very popular. I don’t like to see old games fall by the wayside, so when I see something abandoned to which I have some sort of connection, whether out of nostalgia or appreciation, it makes me want to snap them up and get them available for more people to check out. I sometimes reprint them or redesign them (or both). The two oldest games I have acquired are Supergame (1980) and A Fistfull of Miniatures (1986).
JH: You’ve got some other nice tabletop games and accessories as well, such as the miniatures games Warcosm and Brutes, and the Disposable Heroes paper minis. Will we see any more of these?
BB: There are a few tabletop games in the works, but nothing I can announce at the moment. They have been in development for some time, but haven’t reached a final stage that makes me want to release them just yet. I am also working on adding a basic dungeon-mapping system to the existing Disposable Tilescapes+Starmaps™ app for Mac, but not sure when that will be ready.
JH: What else does Precis Intermedia have planned? What’s on the horizon?
BB: You can expect Supergame 3E and Two-Fisted Tales 2E within the next few months. Supergame 3E is a low-cost superhero roleplaying game, designed to be very quick and easy, yet with the details needed to simulate heroes from the comics. Two-Fisted Tales is more refined, focusing on gritty to cinematic pulp heroes, as well as golden age supers — it has been called “the definitive pulp RPG.” Beyond that, there’s also Brutes, a stand-alone fantasy game using an updated version the MasterBook rules. Also look for a re-release of Crosshairs, a supplement for Shatterzone, plus new supplements for Bloodshadows 3E. You can check out my blog ( rpg.deals/blog ) or Precis Intermedia web site (www.pigames.net) for the latest info on these projects.