Thursday, August 12, 2021

Flying Buffalo News

Since the middle of June, I'd been hearing rumors that Flying Buffalo, the oldest still-extant RPG publisher, had been sold to someone, but no one had any details on who that someone might be. The Internet being what it is, all sorts of fanciful theories were put forward, the most plausible one in my opinion being Goodman Games, which had a longstanding relationship with Flying Buffalo as a result of its reprints of the beloved Grimtooth's Traps books. 

In due course, Steve Crompton, manager of Flying Buffalo, confirmed the rumors but was tight-lipped about FB's new owner. This was frustrating, though understandable, given the way business acquisitions work. However, if you visit the website of Flying Buffalo, you will see that it not only looks quite different than it used to, but that it's also very spare. A single long on the homepage leads to a press release that identifies the company's new owners as Webbed Sphere, Inc. of Corbin, Kentucky, USA. Self-described in the release as "a management and holding company for numerous ventures, including online retailer Troll and Toad, home decor brands Darware, Decorae, and AuldHome; game and toy publisher Toy Vault, and jigsaw publisher Mchezo," it doesn't seem, on first blush, to be an obvious choice as the new publisher of Tunnels & Trolls and other venerable FB game lines, like Nuclear War, but stranger things have happened.

Though not a regular player of T&T, I'm very much a well-wisher and hope that the purchase of Flying Buffalo will not negatively impact it in any way. I've noticed a renewed interest in the game in recent years and the Deluxe Edition of the game (published in 2015) seems to have been well received by fans. I'll certainly be keeping an ear out for additional news. If any readers are more knowledgeable in these matters, I'd anything you have to share on the subject. 


  1. Steve Crompton gave a minor update at the Trollbridge the other day

    Per Steve "Hello all - As you know the sale has indeed occurred. We sort of mentioned it earlier than we should have. Presumably you have heard the news from various sources. My advice stands for anything you buy on Drive-thru. You should always download anything you buy there in case Drive-thru is hacked.

    Buffalo will be at GenCon in September and you can see what they have in mind then. They will also have many of our books and games there, so be sure to drop by. Who knows? You may even see a familiar face or two.."

    Trollbridge is the hub for the online T&T community, and is also the publisher of Trollzine.

    Here is the link to Steve's post

    1. My pleasure, you should drop on by, it's a very interesting community- very different than a typical TSR/OSR forum.

  2. Past experiences with Troll & Toad make me leery of anyone even vaguely associated with them, but that was over twenty years ago and perhaps they've changed for the better.

    Regardless, hope things turn out well for FB under the new ownership. They (like Fantasy Games Unlimited) have been quietly doing their thing for most of my lifetime and seeing them vanish or radically change would be another piece of gaming history (and personal nostalgia) gone.

  3. Looking into Mchezo, Troll and Toad, and other companies mentioned by the press release, I found this article:

    It explains the hodgepodge of companies mentioned and why.

    I do not know who John Huston is, but he seems to be at the center of it all. I hope this is helpful.

  4. It’s a weird world. My former boss now owns Flying Buffalo and Tunnels & Trolls.

    Jon Huston owned Troll and Unicorn Comics and Games in the suburbs of Dayton, Ohio, where I was the weekend manager from 1987-90 (a mere teenager for most of that time). He later sold the store and started a games and collectibles fulfillment business named Troll and Toad, which is still around today. Jon was a character….Everybody in the comics scene in Dayton (customers, employees, and fellow retailers) had a Jon story.

  5. I feel quite concerned mostly about the future of MSPE which is one of my favorite games. I had been quite overjoyed when it was made available (and reprinted) in PDF, because it did mean that it would not completely vanish. Let's hope that it stays that way. But it is surely far too soon to have any idea as to where the wind will blow...

  6. Keep in mind, they bought Flying Buffalo because of all the cool games we made, so mspe will be there with all the rest. I think their goal at this point will be to get our stuff back in print and back in the stores...