Ten years ago today, a bunch of folks over at Decipher games in Virginia launched the WARS Trading Card Game with its first set, “Incursion”. Since then it's had another card set, a Roleplaying game, a soundtrack, six novellas (with three more on the way!), a plethora of short stories, a podcast, and a whole slew of fan made stories, pictures, and more.
I first discovered WARS in the magazine Scrye, which also featured a nifty postcard showing off the amazing art from the game. I lapped up the short stories Decipher posted on their website... And no store around me carried the game. I even asked. As it was it was no surprise when the game disappeared. Even though it was short lived, it lingered in my mind, as it did so many fans around the world. Since then people have shared the short stories with each other online, played games of the card game with their friends, made campaigns of the Roleplaying game at their colleges, and not forgotten. Somehow, through sheer tenacity, WARS has stuck around. Its never been big, its never had a film or TV show, its not a part of the popular consciousness.
But you know what? Its ours.
The obscurity of WARS has led to some amazing creativity on the part of fans. I know of several novels in the works that all started at stories about WARS, and the amount of fanfiction produced for such a tiny property is truly inspiring. There's been fanart, and an entire set of fan lore around the property that is so much its own thing its hard to really figure out exactly where it came from.
We call WARS fans Muppets.
We're all aware that David Bowie is considered a prophet in the future of WARS on Gongen even though there is no basis for it in canon (though there really should be!
Hoshi the Gear Girl has her own T-Shirts and she's unofficial to.
Then there are fan made characters with legends around them: Radical Doitzel, Chess Mistress Hex, Hotaru Kowano, Fei Tam-Yen, Jade Darkshadow, Kalingkata, Jakata, Michael Dragonet, Shadow, Tetsuya, Elodie, Mikey, Aequitas, Vertias, The Heirophant, Heirum J. Whitehead., the Hypercube family, Jhe Aladdin, James, Nightingale, Darius Nefarius Jones, Dexter, Ameratsu, Scotty, Graelyn Scythes, Greed, Sparky, Anya, Irene, Jack Sitting Bullshit, Carlos Dangerfield Owens, Kuro Tamiya, Case Geier, Doctor Jonathan McCoy, Archimedes, Ariadne, Maximus, Gabriel.... Gee this could go on forever.
Through it all, we've persevered, we've kept on going, and we've made WARS into something amazing. Grail Quest books has carried the official torch valiantly, and hopefully they get to keep telling stories for a long, long time. Josh Radke, Nathan P. Butler, Jim Perry, Sean E. Williams, Sabrina Fried, and Brian Thomas Shmidt have provided us with amazing tales, and we thank them all for keeping this alive. We also thank everyone at Decipher who made this possible, which would be a list of names so long I wouldn't even know where to start.
We've built a community, a small one separated by distance, but one that has meant so much to me personally, and will hopefully bring people even more joy in the future.
WARS 10th Anniversary may not be met with the pomp and grandeur of the anniversaries of some big properties, but its still so so special. And everyone, artists, writers, musicians, fans, and anyone else, should all be so proud of what we've done, and what we can still do. WARS isn't over, this is just the first ten years.
The best is still ahead of us, whatever we make of it.
Happy 10th anniversary you wily Muppets.