Rick Loomis

In Memoriam: Card Game Designer Rick Loomis

Rick Loomis
Rick Loomis. Image via Flying Buffalo Games

Rick Loomis, the hugely popular owner of Flying Buffalo Games and publisher of the Tunnels and Trolls RPG and Nuclear War card game, has passed away after a lengthy struggle with lymphatic cancer.

But the battle hasn’t ended – his many friends and family are now struggling to pay medical bills, despite his qualification for US Medicare as a US veteran.

IVC2 notes Loomis founded Flying Buffalo Games in 1970, which published the games Nuclear War, Nuclear Escalation, Tunnels and Trolls (created by Ken St. Andre) and Grimtooth’s Traps, among others.

He was one of the first people to ever run a Play-by Mail game on a dedicated computer, the designer of the first-ever solitaire adventure, Buffalo Castle, and a co-founder of the Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA), served as its President for multiple terms, and was an Emeritus member of its Board of Directors.

Loomis first picked up a copy of Avalon Hill’s Gettysburg in 1970, while serving at Fort Shafter in Hawaii. Finding himself fascinated by the game, he soon developed his own, Nuclear Destruction, one of the earliest, if not the earliest board games to feature hidden movement.

Just last year year, Rick successfully championed a Kickstarter campaign to create Vault of K’Horror, a new Tunnels & Trolls GM Adventure.

Vault of K'Horror, a new Tunnels & Trolls GM Adventure
Vault of K’Horror, a new Tunnels & Trolls GM Adventure

Vault of K'Horror, a new Tunnels & Trolls GM Adventure

Despite his celebrity in the gaming world, he was not a rich man in money terms. When he was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer, as a US army veteran he qualified for medicare, but his share of the medical bills ran to the tens of thousands of dollars, prompting the launch of a GoFundMe campaign to help his family and help keep the  legacy of Flying Buffalo going strong.

“Rick’s biggest worry is not himself, but for his two sisters that live with him and the legacy of his company, Flying Buffalo,” noted Flying Buffalo Art Director and fund raiser Steve Crompton. “Both his sisters (Nancy and Laura) have been trying to help Rick … the bills have been overwhelming. They need some help taking care of the medical bills and catching up with other expenses that Rick usually took care of.

“Rick has helped his church and the gaming industry for many years, now we are asking you to give a little help to Rick and his family during this very difficult time. Anything you can pledge will be greatly appreciated.”

“During the decades he spent in the Industry, I never heard him speak a bad word about anyone and never heard anyone say anything negative about him,” commented ICV2 columnist Scott Thorne on his passing. “Thanks for everything Rick.  The world is a better place because you were in it.”

“Rick was an amazing person,” commented Steve Crompton in a tribute on his passing. “He had the ability to inspire and nurture talented people to be more talented than they thought they could be. He had the ability to give his people the freedom to develop their own solutions to problems and then he would calmly guide them. He did this in every facet of his life, whether it was in gaming or management or even his church softball league. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why so many people loved Rick and loved working with and for him and why he attracted so many talented people like Mike Stackpole, Larry Ditillio, Liz Danforth, Jennifer Roberson, Ken St Andre and so many others who went on to create entire worlds and realms — Rick encouraged that in a way few do.

“Rick sacrificed his life for a dream. A dream of wonderful, fun games and worlds of adventure. Games that inspired creativity and fun. Rick’ s games were always in the end, about fun – not winning. Rick’s dream will live on and we who he has left behind will do our part to carry that dream forward.

“And we will never forget what he taught us – patience, persistence, fun and kindness. That is what Rick stood for. His loss will leave a hole in our community, our industry and our hearts – but I urge you to remember to be kind to each other, be patient with each other and don’t let go of your dreams. Rick never did.

“The world is lessened by your absence Rick, and you are missed…”

Rick Loomis, born 24th August 1946, died 23rd August 2019

Columnist Scott Thorne pays tribute to Rick here on ICV2, noting the recent passing of other US game industry stalwarts

• Even with his veteran’s benefits, the family’s medical bills will run in the tens of thousands. If you were a fan of his games and the games he published, you can contribute to the Go Fund Me campaign that was originally launched to help fund Rick’s treatment, or purchase a Catalyst Bundle of Holding, a Bundle of Holding offer specifically created to help Rick and his family

Catalyst Bag of Holding Package launched to support Rick Loomis’ family
Catalyst Bag of Holding Package launched to support Rick Loomis’ family

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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