Dennis Sustare

I have been playing games since the end of World War II, and designing games and variants since the 1960’s. Started playing chess in 1953, and heavily into war games in the later 50’s and the 60’s. Learned to play Go properly at U. Wisconsin in the late 60’s. My first published game designs were the original Druid rules for D&D and Bunnies & Burrows, both in 1976 (the same year I got my PhD in Biology). I started cranking out game publications as we moved into the 1980’s. Intruder (1980,Task Force Games), Kung Fu 2100 (1980, Steve Jackson Games; this was the outcome of a contest entry from the magazine, that Steve liked well enough to ask me to write up a full game version for him to publish separately). Heroes of Olympus (1981 1st ed., Task Force Games; 1983 2nd ed.), and from Heritage, The Wizard’s Bane, The Cleric’s Quest, The Woman Warrior, The Fighter’s Fury, Star Smuggler, and Swordbearer 1st ed. (1982). The 2nd ed. of Swordbearer would be published by FGU after the demise of Heritage. During this time I also published a bunch of scenarios and articles for Runequest, Citybooks, Paranoia, and in Wargaming, Different Worlds, The Space Gamer, Wyrm’s Footnotes, Nexus, and perhaps others I’ve forgotten. Some had design features I was really proud of. Heroes of Olympus captured some aspects of Greek mythology that I loved, and Swordbearer was probably too innovative to become popular, although Heritage kept out some of my more far-out ideas, and forced me to include many standard races so as to cover their miniature lines, which excluded some of my more imaginative race ideas. Sigh…

I taught college for six years, before getting a job as Principal Game Designer at Coleco. I was principal designer/project leader on Looping (CV, IV, 2600), Super Action Baseball (CV), Rocky Super Action Boxing (CV), Super Action Football (CV), Dragon’s Lair (ADAM), Smurfs Save the Day! (2600, Gemini KidVid), Frenzy (CV), Ladybug (IV), Roc’n’Rope (CV, 2600), 2010 Strategy Adventure (ADAM, Apple II, C-64), Destructor (CV), Smurfette’s Birthday (CV), and Sword and the Sorceror (CV). I was designer for SmartLOGO (ADAM), LOGO Step-by-Step (ADAM), Smurf Paint and Play (CV), Cabbage Patch Kids Adventures in the Park (CV), SmartWriter (ADAM), Pinball Construction Set (ADAM), and Wargames (CV). I was design supervisor for Front Line (CV), Time Pilot (CV), 2010 Graphic Action Game (CV), Dr Seuss Fix-up the Mix-up (CV), Wizard of Wor (CV), and Pepper II. I contributed to the hardware design for the Super Action Controllers (CV), the Roller Controller (CV), and a keyboard (Apollo). With Eric Bromley, I was awarded a patent (4,672,541 “Video Game with Interactive Enlarged Play Action Inserts”).

Eventually I left the game industry to go to aerospace, and spent twenty years working for Tracor (and its successors), until retiring in 2008. Since then, I have spent spare time in RPG, playing, GMing, and designing old-school games, mostly for Frog God and for game sessions I run at NTRPG and Chupacabracon. Scott Robinson and I are currently (late 2017) doing a total revision of Bunnies & Burrows, to be published in both a Light (2017) and Advanced (2018) versions.