Monday, February 10, 2020

Concerning Judges Guild

I use facebook to keep in contact with various individuals including Robert Bledsaw II, the owner of the Judges Guild IP and the son of one of the company's founders.

Saturday evening, I noticed the following post:

Read the caption above the picture to see the issue.

This is unacceptable.

Sunday evening, I called Robert Bledsaw II and discussed the issue. I notified him that I will no longer be doing future Judges' Guild projects and will only continue to sell what I have currently listed.  I stated that I will be calling the other Judges Guild licensee and inform them of the situation and of my decision.

I was not planning making any public announcements. Given the mob mentality I have seen emerge, I was not comfortable in making a public statement.

However, because I was calling several people who are immediately affected by this situation, the odds of a public post were high. With issues like these, one has to follow the dictates of their conscience. It has gone public hence this post explaining what happened and why.

In addition to the above post, I noticed shortly before the call the following post.

The video is of Christian Bale dropping the card and looking disappointed

This cemented my decision that I can no longer be in a future business relationship with Judges Guild. Then later this post was pointed out to me.



This too, I consider unacceptable.

For now, I will keep up my Judges Guild related products up for sale. I currently have a unique situation in regards to the royalties I pay. Given the state of the Kickstarter finances, Robert Bledsaw II suspended the royalty payments in lieu of paying me for finishing the last nine maps. This has been going on since November of 2017 when I released the CSIO map. Since then, all revenue after taxes and expenses have gone to me. This will not last indefinitely, at which point I will have to revisit having these products listed based on how things have progressed. I will make an announcement accordingly.

Expect a post outlining my future plans for Bat in the Attic Games. In a nutshell, I wasn't expecting to have a license to Judges Guild IP ten years ago and was proceeding on that basis for what became the Majestic Wilderlands supplement. Then an opportunity came up after I finished working on the map for City State of the Sea Kings, and as a result I secured a license.

Last Word
To those of you familiar with my published writing: I try to follow a philosophy of less is more. So is it the same in the case of my response. I don't need to explain the ills caused by generations of bigotry and prejudice. It is just wrong, and it is unacceptable.

Further developments
Since I posted this, Robert Bledsaw II issued his statement. You can go to his message and my response using the below link.

Concerning Judges Guild, Further developments

What happens next?
Concerning Bat in the Attic Games

48 comments:

  1. Similar posts from both of the younger Bledsaws we're why I, a JG customer and endorser since the 70s, stopped buying anything from them. I'm glad to read about your decision.

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  2. I’m not sure how the Judges Guild’s current business is viable, given this and the failed Kickstarter. Has anyone made Bob2 an offer? Is it worth much?

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  3. What the hell? As a super-duper long time Judges Guild aficionado (like 42 years), I hope Bledsaw II's comments are a product of these times and personal opinions of Bledsaw II.

    I have not come across racist or anti-Semitic views attributed to Bob Bledsaw Sr. or Bill Owens. So what friggin' cloistered online cabal is Bledsaw II hanging out in? Sad all around and good for you standing against the bigotry.

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    Replies
    1. I used to write for JG in the 70s and 80s and was uncomfortable when Senior made use of the verb”to Jew”; both Chuck Anshell and I were present and both Jewish and both rather discomfited by this. I’m fairly certain he knew what he was doing.

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    2. Bill,

      This comes as very disturbing news.

      Would you please elaborate; was this one among other various unpleasant acts or tendencies or was it an outlier? Was this part of a pattern of beliefs? Did he treat you and Chuck differently than others?

      Is his progeny's Antisemitism an aberration, or was it something that Bob II learned from his father?

      I knew Bob Sr from 1999 until his death. I do not know how he acted before that time. I never encountered such behavior during the time I knew Bob Sr, nor had I ever heard from others that he had ever exhibited such behavior during that time or prior.

      Perhaps he had changed by the time I knew him?

      He seemed incapable of dissembling any such beliefs in the time I knew him.

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  4. Good on you. I would have done the same.

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  5. Judges Guild catalog and products were one of my first introductions to the hobby.
    This is so damn disappointing... but it's not like things like this haven't been turning up in abundance over the past few years.
    Thanks for taking the stance and letting us know.

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  6. Thanks for having a conscience, Robert.

    Not that it matters, but I think you made the right decision.

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  7. This is truly sad to see... I have been a long time customer of JG and have a lot of fond memories tied into many of their products. I will no longer be that person. I do not condone racism at all, and this is beyond the pale :(

    Truly sad :(

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  8. Well...as much as I love JG products, the only products I'll ever purchase now are vintage ones from eBay. JG won't get a dime from me for any reprints or new products.

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  9. Thank you for making this choice. It is not ok to push these ideas. What a disappointment.

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  10. Sorry to hear about how events are unfolding with all this, and condolences. That said, you do have another campaign setting to debut, yes?

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  11. Condolences. Very dignified post.

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  12. Thank you for speaking out about this.

    As for Judges Guild, I'm done with them. My contact is minimal (backing a failed Kickstarter, and ownership of a few old products and a handful of PDFs), so that's more of a moral statement than a practical one.

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  13. Thank you for your honesty and your decision.

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  14. Thank you for standing up for what's right, Robert. It is disappointing to see this, but not surprising. I met him once at NTRPG con and he was not a nice guy then. I'm just glad you were able to salvage some of the old Kickstarter. Love your stuff!

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  15. Absolutely disgusting. Thanks for this post Rob.

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  16. Thanks for this post, antisemitism is rising again in lots of parts of the world and people really don't understand how destructive it can be.

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  17. I backed the KS. I got some nifty maps out of it. I used the JG world exclusively in my older gaming days. I probably will still use it going forward, but I will never give them a cent again.

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  18. Thank you for making this decision and, as someone else put it, dignified response.

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  19. Racism and bigoty generally, and anti-Semitism in particular, are on the rise with associated violence continuing to mount. As we know from history, it is the silence of good people that permits hate to fester. So I thank you both for taking a principled stand and for making it known. if all people of good will voice their opposition to racism, bigotry, and anti-Semitism, perhaps those who harbor those views will crawl back into their caves and we can stop the current trend of societal deconstruction.

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  20. Good for you, Rob! The way to stop racism is to not support the racists. I wonder if there are going to be lawsuits over the Kickstarter.

    I also want to say, "Great Post!" to MSWallack. That's spot on!

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  21. Mad respect for anyone taking a stand. Thanks Robert for bringing it to our attention.

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  22. Not a smart move on his part, if you want people to buy stuff don't spout garbage like that. Get as far away from that tirefire as you can. Good job.

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  23. Rob,

    I had this moment a few months back after seeing some deeply troubling stuff on Bledsaw's wall a few months back (for me, it was some over-the-top misogyny). It was a sad moment because I was pretty stoked to start a more involved video series on JG and Wilderlands in general after my first video proved to be a hit.

    After seeing what I did and what sort of cause my work doing free advertising would ultimately aid, I decided I could not continue with the project in good conscience. People have given me some noise over this decision, but I'm better able to sleep at night.

    Seeing your post, I will be de-listing my video on Wilderlands; I'd left it up in the knowledge that I might be helping you out a bit by having it up.

    I think we are more or less eye to eye that the sort of stuff that Bob is posting, and that he thinks he can get away with posting, is not okay, so I won't walk everyone here through the logic...I am cheered to see that the commenters here so far are in agreement on this.

    Cheers,
    The CGA

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  24. Thanks Rob. Very sad, but you have made the right thing.

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  25. Thanks for taking a stand and pointing a spotlight on this. Frog God has followed suit and cut ties. Hopefully Goodman is not far behind.

    It’s a sad day but this kind of behavior cannot be tolerated.

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  26. Unfortunately not a surprise; anyone in the OSR has probably seen Bledsaw Jr. post this kind of things for years. Oh well, into the bin.

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  27. Looking forward to seeing your future ventures, sir.

    Also, at the risk of being less articulate than the above posters: Fuck that guy.

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  28. Thank you, Xathos, for the kind words about my comment. Sadly, I've been actively engaged in fighting racism, bigotry, and especially anti-Semitism for far, far too long. And I can't tell you how heartbreaking it is to be a father and hear your then 6-year-old daughter ask on the way to school, "Daddy, why do people hate the Jews?"

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  29. Thanks for posting this Rob. It seems unreal to me but what a sad, sad disappointment.

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  30. Well done, Rob. Thanks for speaking out clearly and making me aware.

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  31. I totally back your decision. I was already angry and disappointed about the CSIO KS, this just cements my feelings at JG is dead and gone, sadly. Even without the misogyny and bigotry I never felt like the recent works were anything except republishing what Bill and Bob Sr. had already done.

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  32. Well done. Interesting that even Frog God cut ties, considering the issues they’ve had.

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  33. Shalom mate! I hold you in high respect for your decision.

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  34. I actually blogged about this topic a couple years ago, and it was the Bledsaws in part that motivated my post. Rather than repeating my argument here, I'll just link back to my original post: https://themichlinguide.wordpress.com/2018/07/24/voting-with-your-wallet-or-public-vs-private-a-guide-to-consumer-ethics/

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  35. Well, damn. And here I was, still thinking that Senior was a good guy. Your experience is at odds with what was posted by James Mishler here: https://adventuresingaming2.blogspot.com/2020/02/regarding-robert-bledsaw-i-and-bobs.html

    Ultimately, I'll still continue to use my collection of JG material personally, and I'd already resolved not to give the two younger Bobs any of my money. But perhaps I won't be such a cheerleader for the original JG work anymore.

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  36. Hey Rob,

    Have you considered building your own setting based on the model of the Wilderlands? Your previous work shows that you have the necessary skills. If you take the hexcrawl approach from Blackmarsh and combine it with something like the strategic overview from James Mishler's World of the Wilderlands, you could have a winner. I suspect a lot of OSR gamers would love an "open" setting with an old-school flavour supporting a broad range of play styles.

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  37. So freaking pathetic. I cannot think of anything to say that would be tasteful. Thankfully, Rob - you did so and did so well.

    Most (obviously not ALL) Racists live sad/angry despondent lives full of varying degrees of despair, hatred and invariably impotence (not referring to sexual, but sure - why not.)

    May they "enjoy" a similar fate if not already there.

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  38. Bill,

    This comes as very disturbing news.

    Would you please elaborate; was this one among other various unpleasant acts or tendencies or was it an outlier? Was this part of a pattern of beliefs? Did he treat you and Chuck differently than others?

    Is his progeny's Antisemitism an aberration, or was it something that Bob II learned from his father?

    I knew Bob Sr from 1999 until his death. I do not know how he acted before that time. I never encountered such behavior during the time I knew Bob Sr, nor had I ever heard from others that he had ever exhibited such behavior during that time or prior.

    Perhaps he had changed by the time I knew him?

    He seemed incapable of dissembling any such beliefs in the time I knew him.

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  39. Is anyone really shocked? Anyone who had the "pleasure" of "debating" with Bob was well aware he was a bigoted jerk.

    But hey he was a fan of the free market and self responsibility, lucky him.

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  40. James,

    > I knew Bob Sr from 1999 until his death. I do not know how he acted before that time. I never encountered such behavior during the time I knew Bob Sr, nor had I ever heard from others that he had ever exhibited such behavior during that time or prior.

    I knew Bob Sr when I was a junior high school kid through college, from around '77 till '85 or whenever the JG closed their doors. I also interacted with him later, up until the late 80's.

    I am Jewish and never saw anything that might have suggested antisemitic beliefs. I remember him as as a gentle, mellow, cheery guy. I worked for the JG one summer and again, never saw anything that suggested he harbored any such beliefs. Heck, I had Bob Sr over to my house a couple of times with a gaming group.

    Regarding Bill's comment about "Jewing someone down", I've encountered this comment a handful of times in my life and yes, it is offensive. However, when I've pointed this out to the people saying it, they were shocked and apologetic and none ever realized what it actually meant, they were simply repeating a phrase they'd heard used before. Based on my own experience with Bob, I very much believe that he'd fall into this same camp.

    And I knew Chuck Anshell as well and had no idea he was Jewish.

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