In 1984, Tom Filsinger proposed a wrestling game to the World Wrestling Federation only to be rejected in favor of a Milton Bradley game. This rejection inadvertently led to the creation and success of Champions of the Galaxy, a sci-fi RPGish wrestling dice-and-card game that can be played alone or with two or more friends, and which features hundreds of characters from the future of professional wrestling. Since then Tom has expanded and the game has kept a fierce following for over 30 years with a new story-line expansion released every year. Add to this his numerous collaboration with wrestling legends (Randy Savage, Harley Race, D.D.P....) and federations (Ring of Honor, Chikara....) and you have a company with decades of fans. Tom was nice enough to take some time to answer a few questions about Filsinger games and it's longevity.
What were your inspirations for Champions of the galaxy?
Mainly Marvel Comics and professional wrestling. I loved both while I was growing up and Marvel in particular stimulated my imagination. I also love playing tabletop games and will always be a big advocate for them. It's cool to hold game parts in your hand and to collect game cards, something you don't get with electronic games.
What do you think has drawn people to this game for 30 years?
I think a big part of the attraction is the games have a community of followers that interact with each other. Community is everything. Also the opportunity to unleash your own creativity. Fans are always creating new characters and new game scenarios and many send them to me and they are amazing. I am proud to encourage creativity, which has been a treasure island gift to me all my life and I want to share it with others. Our growth into licensing agreements with Indy wrestling promotions has also extended our reach and introduced our action-packed game system to many newcomers. We are proud to represent Indy wrestling and their great fans and stars.
How many people are involved in the character and story-line development?
When I write Champions of the Galaxy it's all coming from me. I send my ideas to my two artists, Darryl Banks and Werner Mueck then we go back and forth on the card art until it's just right. When I complete my writing of a new game expansion (which takes months) I send the draft of the cards and handbook to some people on my staff for feedback about historical accuracy and any other feedback that will tighten the package. Collaboration isn't one of my gifts. Like most creative people, I prefer to work alone.
Of all the story-lines you have had, what is your favorite?
My favorite is always the next one, which in this case is 2134 which is coming in July, 2018. I am always looking ahead and 2134 is a BIG expansion because it ties together loose ends that have been building up for many years and not just real years, but going back to Black Death 2127. Having said that I will always be fond of the first edition for starting the ball rolling, plus the first early editions. All the classic characters, Star Warrior, Thantos, Wolf, every single one down to Pulsar and Mutant. After that my highlights are The End and everything that began with Black Death.
Last year was your most sucessful to date. What do you attribute this to?
We are the real deal! Filsinger Games is a great example that small is beautiful. As a small indie company we've had the freedom to release our games for fun only. My staff is pretty much made up of game fans who are designing and marketing game cards they themselves love to play. In a landscape of large corporations devouring and dominating the marketplace we are an oasis of creative freedom and expression. Plus we've expanded our reach by working with many indie wrestling promotions and we will continue to do so for years to come. But the bottom line is our fans are part of our company. I think the love flows through, the fans feel it, and we are all in this for enjoyment and creative expression.
Thanks again James! Appreciate your support.
Thanks Tom. I have been a fan of the game right from the first set and will continue to be a fan.
The Gentlemen Blogger
Jim is a lifelong gamer. He will play any game at least once. You will see a wide variance in the games he reviews.
Halden is our war game correspondent. He is on the front lines for skirmish game reviews.
Chris Globus is the newest member of the blog team. He is on a personal quest to fine tune his collection at all times.