Justus Productions

Peter Schweighofer, formerly of West End Games

Hello, Peter. Thanks for taking the time for this interview.

It’s my pleasure. Anything to help draw interest in MACE and gaming in general.

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do in the gaming industry?

Most folks know me for my years in the 90s writing and editing D6 Star Wars Roleplaying Game material for West End Games. I’ve since done freelance writing for various companies and game lines, including Wizards of the Coast’s Star Wars RPG and West End Games’ D6 System. The past few years I’ve spent publishing my own game material in PDF form through my Griffon Publishing Studio imprint (www.griffonpubstudio.com); my two main publications are Pulp Egypt and Heroes of Rura-Tonga, though I always have other projects in development. I recently began writing short articles for Examiner.com as the Charlottesville area “Hobby Games Examiner” (www.examiner.com/hobby-games-in-charlottesville/peter-schweighofer), a project which allows me to try to educate the general public about a wide range of games in our hobby.

What is your latest project? What excites you about it?

Right now I’m diverging from roleplaying games and developing ideas for board games with historical themes. The primary one is “Kadesh: Pharaoh’s Chess,” an abstract wargame where pieces on each side have different move strategies to simulate the ancient Egyptian battle between Ramses’ mixed forces of chariots, infantry, and archers against the swift Hittite chariotry. I love ancient Egypt and games, and Kadesh combines both passions. In my spare time I’m also making slow headway on roleplaying game projects, including a Victorian-themed Egypt book and a medieval fantasy setting. I’m a bit distracted, though, by my relatively recent duties as a full-time Stay-at-Home Dad.

Do you attend cons often? What have you attended recently?

I used to have a fairly regular convention season that included cons in North Carolina and Virginia, but these days, as a new father, I don’t have the same kind of freedom in my schedule, so I have to limit myself. Last October Nuke-Con hosted me in Omaha for a fantastic weekend of gaming and panels. MACE is my first convention after my son’s birth, and may be my only one for the coming months.

What makes gaming your passion?

Play is an important element in our lives for education, social development, personal growth, and recreation. I focus a lot on the historical aspects of gaming; I’ve always felt people learn best when they’re having fun. For me developing games is an outlet for my enthusiasm for writing and different historical eras, though I love good fantasy and science fiction, too. And while gaming serves as a focus for my creative interests, it’s ultimately worthwhile when I’m sitting around the table having a fantastic time interacting with people through the medium of games.

Thanks again for taking the time out to speak with us.


Darren Watts, DOJ Inc., owner of Hero Games

Hello, Darren.  Thanks for taking the time for this interview.

DW: No problem, thanks for having me aboard!

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do in the gaming industry?

DW: Well, I’m the co-owner and President of DOJ Inc., which has three parts as a company. First, we own Hero Games, publishers of Champions and other games using the Hero System. Steve Long is the Line Developer and primary creative guy behind Hero, while I mostly these days handle the administrative side, but if I’m lucky I get to squeeze in a book or two a year. For Hero I wrote Millennium City, Vibora Bay, UNTIL, and a few others, and co-wrote Champions Universe and Post-Apocalyptic Hero with Steve and Lucha Hero with Jason Walters.

DOJ is also the majority owner of Indie Press Revolution, which is a sales group representing about 90-odd small indie RPG presses, selling online direct to customers and retailers. Lastly, we also own DOJ Logistics, which provides warehousing and fulfillment services to game publishers. We handle all the warehousing and shipping for Hero and IPR, of course, but also other companies like the Game Publishers Association, Burning Wheel, Adept Press and a few others.

What is your latest project?  What excites you about it?

DW: Well, we’re still pretty new as the owners of IPR, and running that has taken up a lot of my time recently. IPR represents some of the most exciting and innovative companies in RPG publishing these days, so getting to put awesome games like Fiasco, Dresden Files, Annalise, Ganakagok and literally hundreds of others into the hands of fans is very rewarding.

My most recent new book is Lucha Hero, which is probably the strangest product Hero’s ever published. It’s the role-playing game of masked Mexican wrestlers battling monsters, mad scientists and other rudos, and it was a complete labor of love for me and Jason, both longtime fans of mexploitation cinema. When I have spare time these days I continue to work on Golden Age Champions, which is WWII-era supers, and that’ll be done someday. Before I retire, anyways. It’s replaced Lucha as the “President’s project,” and it’s done when I say it’s done.

Do you attend cons often?  What have you attended recently?

DW: I typically go to maybe half a dozen a year. This year I went to Dundracon, Dreamation, Origins, Dexcon and Gencon, and MACE will probably be the last one of the year. I love cons, and wish I had time to do more of them. Direct contact with fans is one of the most fun parts of the job!

What makes gaming your passion?

DW: I love stories. Stories of all sorts, but preferably action-packed adventures of pretty much any genre. I love to read them, to write them, but the most fun thing is to create them alongside other people. I’m particularly partial to superheroes and pulp, mostly because I love the sensation that literally ANYTHING could happen in the next scene. Talking gorillas, alien invasions, invisible planes- I’m a fan of what Alan Moore called the “lovely and pointless” details of genre fiction.

Thanks for taking the time out to speak with us.