On January 6, novelist and longtime tabletop gaming industry member Michael A. Stackpole posted the contents of a letter to his blog. In his letter was his resignation from his position with the Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Despite resigning with “profound sadness,” he took the opportunity to slam the Board of Directors. For years, Stackpole has worked against both censorship and bigotry in the industry, perhaps most famously in The Pulling Report.
With Loren Wiseman’s help, in the late 1980s and early 1990s I successfully led the fight against the religious right and their attempts to censor and abolish the games we create, enjoy and share. I still take pride in gamers reporting to me that The Pulling Report enabled them to fight back against anti-game bigotry even to this day. Though the work is difficult, I have been pleased to continue the fight as part of the Industry Watch Committee of GAMA.
GAMA is a non-profit organization in the hobby game industry. It runs trade and consumer shows in addition to providing networking and informational resources to its members. Stackpole, an Emeritus member for over a decade, wrote about his dissatisfaction with GAMA’s Board of Directors. He describes numerous meetings with poor time management, feeling the Board “has done less than ever before” since June 2018. He also cited other frustrations, such as the Board’s handling of the actions of President Stephen Brissaud during GenCon last August. According to a police report, a female member of the security team sustained injuries after Brissaud refused to present his badge and pushed past.
Despite his frustrations with GAMA, he closes the letter of resignation on a positive note:
During my time in the industry, I have seen incredible change for the better, and an incredible resilience to recover from all manner of disasters—economic, social and board-generated. I have great belief that the gaming industry will survive and thrive in the future. It is bigger than any one person, or a board. It can be defined only by the pleasure and joy it brings everyone it touches, and, therefore, will be eternal.
At the time of writing, GAMA has not released an official statement. What Stackpole’s departure from the organization means for GAMA is uncertain.
The Pulling Report is a fascinating debunk of the culture of fear and hysteria surrounding Dungeons & Dragons and tabletop gaming. It’s hard to believe that, only a few short decades ago, people shunned and demonized the hobby. Now, people all over the world and from all walks of life are discovering the joy of tabletop gaming. Thanks, Michael, and best of luck on your next adventure.