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Supporting Our Troops In a Whole New Way

I've got another hobby horse... I know that there are gamers and industry folk reading my LJ, and this is for you. A group of soldiers in Iraq are putting together a RPG convention, and they are desperately in need of materials. Let's bury these men and women in so much gaming material they won't run out till they're old enough to retire!  News: I've set up a web site to use as an information center at Toys4Troops.org.

And lookie here - GAMA's Games for Troops program!

Selectively quoted from Gamegrene.com. Additional material from SPC Amberson.

Our Gamers in IraqWhen President Bush ordered troops to Iraq, he probably never imagined that he would be ultimately be responsible for what very well could be the very first D&D convention/game day ever held in a war zone. Ziggurat Con, being held June 9 from 1200 to 2100 hours at Camp Adder/Tallil Airbase, is open to all allied military personnel and civilian contractors in Iraq.

KBR and MWR (the army’s Morale Welfare & Recreation Department) have graciously allowed service members to use part of the Community Activity Center to hold the Game Day. The Ping Pong room will be set up for RPGs (Role-Playing Games, not to be confused with the rocket propelled grenades which share the same acronym), and the DVD Movie room will be playing Anime Movies all day in support of the event.

The largest problem with running a Con in Iraq, of course, is that there are no local stores or game publishers, and few game books on the post. Even dice are in short supply, with many soldiers breaking the unwritten taboo held by many gamers and sharing dice. Thankfully, many game publishers have also lent their support, and have agreed to supply game products to help the Con along. aethereal FORGE, Sovereign Press, Final Redoubt Press, Goodman Games, Paizo Publishing and Steve Jackson Games are among those that have thrown in their support for the convention. But Amberson indicated that the soldiers could definitely use more.

"This convention is currently in drastic need of prizes and giveaways for the troops," he said. "Everything donated will go directly to the troops, or to MWR to use as loaner books for the soldiers."

For more information, contact SPC David Amberson at the following address: david.amberson (at) iraq.centcom.mil

Donations can also be sent to SPC Amberson directly at the following address:

SPC David Amberson
A Co 86th Sig Bn
APO, AE 09331

They’re planning to run the following games (and will be happy to get additional games).

Babylon 5 RPG, Cyberpunk 2020, D&D, D&D RPGA, GURPS, Historic Miniatures Battles, Magic Tournament, MechWarrior Miniatures, Rifts, Shadowrun, Starship Troopers, White Wolf System-Vampire, White Wolf System-Werewolf, XCrawl

Let’s get those games out there!

Update: SPC Amberson says they're expecting around 300 people.  Not bad for a war zone!  Martin Rayla of Treasure Tables reminds me that Amazon will ship to military addresses, in case you'd like to use them.

Update: muskrat_john   aka John Kovalic (he of Dork Tower fame) is not only spreading the word via his LJ, he also says:
I'm making damn sure everyone at the con gets a comic book or two. I'm also sending a ton of trade paperbacks for door prizes, as well as Out of the Box games, Munchkin, Chez Geek, Mag*Blast and, of course, Chez Grunt.
Update: Additional places to send gaming stuff - Games for GI's. They send stuff to all forward deployed troops.
We are currently at an address where we can ship all care packages through military means free of charge. If you’d like to find out more making a contribution or volunteering, or if you’d like a copy of our needs list, I may be contacted at zacharythefirst@hotmail.com. Additionally, if you have a friend or loved one you’d like added to our care package list, contact us, and we’d be happy to do so.The address and central distribution point to send your contributions is:
Games For G.I.s
c/o Zachary Houghton
PSC 62 Box 6902
APO AE 09643

Update:  from Dave Amberson - they would be delighted to get PDF products as well. They have laptops and access to printers...
Update:  More love, this time from pandemonium_bks  in Cambridge, Mass.  They will take donations via Paypal to add to the shipment they're sending out May 2nd.


Apr. 11th, 2007 03:11 pm (UTC)
I have already sent them stuff. :)
Apr. 11th, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC)
I emailed to ask if they wanted Mage stuff, but never heard back. Dunno if that's a commentary on the game or just that the dude I emailed hasn't a lot of time. :)
Apr. 11th, 2007 08:07 pm (UTC)
Might just be a reflection of the time difference. I've gotten two emails from him today. I'd say just send it - they like Werewolf and Vampire, after all. :)
Apr. 11th, 2007 10:38 pm (UTC)
Maybe CARP can send them a CARE package?
Apr. 11th, 2007 11:55 pm (UTC)
Exactly my fiendish plan. I'm hoping we can send them a big box from CARP, with a card signed by all of us.
Apr. 13th, 2007 03:27 pm (UTC)
The box will be in the mail shortly - details via email!
Apr. 13th, 2007 03:46 pm (UTC)
I have brought this to the attention of the owner of the game store I work for. I'd like to do a game drive in store for them.
Apr. 13th, 2007 03:48 pm (UTC)
Excellent! That's exactly the kind of thing I am hoping for. The more people we can get involved, the more stuff they'll get.
Apr. 14th, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
Pandemonium Books in Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, will be sending them some books, and covering postage for a game drive; over the next 2 weeks, starting tomorrow, people will be free to buy or bring in new games and drop them off, we'll collect them, and package them up the first week of May to allow for time to get over there.

We'll also be sending some of the stuff they requested, and a few other things as a donation from the store, as well as some recent paperbacks, and maybe a small stuffed Cthulhu or two (Cthulhi?). We'll be ordering in a number of small things on Monday for people to buy to contribute, like Cosmic Wimpout, Fluxx and such (toss in the pocket type games that can be readily carried).

People who wish to contribute but who are not in Cambridge, MA, can send paypal donations clearly marked as IRAQ DONATION to general@pandemoniumbooks.com, and I will use the donations to fill things out when we're ready to ship.
Apr. 14th, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC)
Pandemonium - you guys totally rock!
Apr. 13th, 2007 03:55 pm (UTC)
This is very cool, and I've emailed my RPG group to see if anyone wants to contribute to the package of stuff I'm going to send. :-)
Apr. 13th, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC)
Is there a place online to donate money?
Apr. 13th, 2007 04:06 pm (UTC)
Not yet, but I could set something up with Amazon or Paypal... I know he's not allowed to receive funds, but he can get *stuff*. You can also order something from Amazon (or probably other online retailers) and send stuff to them directly.
Apr. 13th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
Sweet. I've had friends in Iraq who were gamers, and while I don't know anyone over there now I'd do anything to support our boys.
Apr. 13th, 2007 06:07 pm (UTC)
Seriously consider getting an Amazon wishlist set up and linked to; it's a great way to make sure stuff isn't duplicated, and that way we can all clicky-clicky to make the stuff go.
Apr. 14th, 2007 06:17 pm (UTC)
Hey; I work for a game store, Pandemonium, in Cambridge, MA, and we're going to take donations through paypal and then buy the games to ship over to them. If you would like to send a donation, mark it IRAQ DONATION, and send it to general@pandemoniumbooks.com. I'll keep tabs on all of the donations and use them to fill out the shipment after other people have donated games in store, so they get a balance of all types of games.


Apr. 13th, 2007 05:01 pm (UTC)
I hope to help out too!
Thanks for the post. I'm a gamer from KY and somthing just really made me want to do something with this!

I read about this in the post on Dork Tower's comic site on Gamespy. I'm forwarding this to all of my gaming buddies, so hopefully they'll help out. Also, I'm going to hit the gaming stores around Lexington, KY to see if they'll contribute a little somthing! No promises, but I'll be picking up a few odds and ends to send their way.

Apr. 13th, 2007 05:04 pm (UTC)
Re: I hope to help out too!
Anything they get will be more than they have. Gamers are the nicest people!
Apr. 13th, 2007 06:15 pm (UTC)
Advancing Hordes Dice & Miniatures will ship to military addresses too.

Brigid from AdvancingHordes.com here. We've donated dice and dice bags for gamers in the military before, through Games for GI's http://rpgblog.typepad.com/rpg_blog/2005/06/games_for_gis.html
and we'll probably put a package together for ZigguratCon.

I just wanted to let folks (gamers in the military, and their friends and family)know that AdvancingHordes.com ships to military addresses regularly. We ship worldwide, with no minimum order.
www.AdvancingHordes.com : Unusual Dice, Miniatures and Accessories for Gamers and Collectors.
Apr. 13th, 2007 08:33 pm (UTC)
I'm gonna drop a donation box at my FLGS (and maybe a few others) as well as hit up my folks Troop Support Group to see what money can be raised for them.
Apr. 13th, 2007 11:02 pm (UTC)
Would small fantasy and sci-fi posters be welcome as prizes i wonder? Say anything between 8x10 and 11x17? i dont know how much storage some of those troops have but all i can really contribute is art.
Apr. 14th, 2007 12:03 am (UTC)
I imagine they'd love to have fantasy art. It might not fare too well in the long run (heat, sand, bombs...), but it'd sure brighten up the place in the meantime!
Apr. 13th, 2007 11:26 pm (UTC)
Will contribute
I will send DVD's full of pdf's of DnD, D20 modern, and Star Wars books
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 15th, 2007 06:57 am (UTC)
I am emailing the goth/hair model Redvamp. She will send over a picture to anyone on active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. ' If you are currently a soldier stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan and would like a free autographed print of one of the following photos, please email RedVamp with your request, photo file name, and proof of service or military address.'http://redvamp.com/gallery28.htm I am hoping she will send over a Vampire style picture as a price for the vampire games. Even of Amberson does not want one for a prize he will know that individuals can get them from this modern Vargas Girl. In any case We will bring over a stack o' books including 'The Mother of All Surrenders'(a spoof game from the last Iraq war).
Hugs, Erika
Apr. 16th, 2007 01:06 am (UTC)

I've passed word along to fireflyfans and the Southern California Browncoats, in case they want to donate some Serenity RPG games. as well as to the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society. :>
Apr. 16th, 2007 02:32 pm (UTC)
As an ex-Serviceman myself (albeit British ;)) I've just posted this information over at a UK website I run (www.ukroleplayers.com). I know quite a few of the members there are Servicemen (or ex-Servicemen) and hope that we can help out in some small way.
Apr. 16th, 2007 02:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you! That's wonderful!
Apr. 17th, 2007 03:18 am (UTC)
D&D game stuff for the troops
I am going through all of my husbands D&D books, dice, and anything he will let me send. I trust the troops will use them well. Do they need pens, and paper too? What else should I look for while I'm digging through the boxes? Any requests?
Wendie in California
Apr. 17th, 2007 03:34 am (UTC)
Re: D&D game stuff for the troops
They're good on pens and paper, but could use cards (Magic and such) and miniatures. And dice (but you mentioned that). Thanks for helping out!
Apr. 17th, 2007 09:51 am (UTC)
can you help verify yourself?
I've forwarded the information about your con to everybody I know, and I do my best to help.
Still, now that we have all already tried to help... can you help by verifying that this is real? :)
Small, and legitimate request.
Apr. 17th, 2007 12:56 pm (UTC)
Re: can you help verify yourself?
My best suggestion would be for you to do what I did - write to SPC Amberson yourself. His email is in both the article I quoted and in mine, and I've been holding an email conversation with him. He does have a .mil address, and his responses are timed consistently with the time difference between US Eastern and Iraq.

As for me, I'm a long time convention and club organizer, as well as the creator of RPGA's "Living Force" Star Wars campaign. You can Google "Jae Walker" - I'm not the glider pilot or the Wells Fargo VP. :)

I don't blame you for being cautious - the first thing I did was email SPC Amberson.
Apr. 17th, 2007 01:00 pm (UTC)
Re: can you help verify yourself?
Thank you. I first forwarded, ignoring caution. :)
Not very smart but it's about fandom and what holds us fans together and makes us a community even if we never met.

Now that so many people are contributing money, I figured some more organization behind this is in order and sent in the request.
Apr. 17th, 2007 01:05 pm (UTC)
Re: can you help verify yourself?
Let me clarify:

Say this is completely legit (which we all already acted upon, not only assumed). How do we protect the fans?

Many different folks offered to gather money and send goods over in a concentrated fashion. I love this, but it opens us to a very unpleasant risk we should avoid...

Some more organization on this side of things could really be helpful.
May. 2nd, 2007 04:54 pm (UTC)
Even More Love

Just so you know, the folks over at Code Name: Hunter (Darcy, the artist, is a military brat. Her parents were both enlisted, tho long mustered out.) will be sending out a care package of books and prize stuffs this week. We're also heading down to our Friendly Neighborhood Game Store (Badmoo Games) this weekend to try and spread the word.

May. 11th, 2007 05:49 pm (UTC)
Our box of geek love has been sent

I'm happy to say that my gaming club just sent off nearly 27 lbs of minis, dice, gaming books and a Spycraft T-shirt via priority mail today.

See you at GenCon at a Blackmoor table.


Eric Kiefer, President
Jun. 12th, 2007 04:05 am (UTC)
Have you had any reports on how it went? I have no idea if they received my stuff, according to the tracking, it seems to have never left my local post office! Sucks because I sent them $300-400 worth of stuff: dice, dice bags, and around 30 copies of my game Zombie Cafe.
Jun. 12th, 2007 08:33 pm (UTC)
Haven't heard yet, and I just emailed again yesterday. I read about a tightening of internet access for the troops in Iraq, so that might be a reason.

I hope we get pictures, though. Lots of 'em.
Jan. 7th, 2008 03:56 am (UTC)
hi, quick question about site
hi all im new and had a tiny question bout this community.

how can I add my skype chat name to my user page?

thank you ahead of time
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:28 am (UTC)
Re: hi, quick question about site
It's in "Edit Personal Profile". As you scroll down the screen, you'll find that you can enter your ids for various online services.

Good luck!

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