Some people, places, and institutions have so much meaning that capturing them with words seems almost impossible. Such is Osprey Publishing to me. For over a decade, and excepting only my wife, Osprey stood as the most important constant in my life. At a time when I had left my country, my family, and my friends behind, Osprey provided employment, purpose, and community. For many years, it felt like a second home, a place where I was completely comfortable and accepted. It provided opportunities I never could have imagined and helped usher me into my next phase of life.
As 2020 came to a close, I bid goodbye to this incredible publisher.
Now, before I go further, let me be clear – I still plan to have a close relationship with Osprey Games. There is more Frostgrave and Oathmark still to come. Later this year, they will publish Stargrave and The Silver Bayonet. I hope and expect for them to publish these games for a long time to come and am in constant conversation about how to make these games better.
But, after over 14 years, my time as a salaried employee has come to an end. This was completely my decision and was not the result of any ill will toward the company. I just felt it was time for me to move on and take on some new challenges. I wanted more creative freedom, a chance to completely map my own road as a writer and game designer.
Knowing it is time though, hasn’t made it easy. During this period of heightened stress, I have had days (and sleepless nights) where I have questioned the sanity of leaving a steady job. I have also struggled with letting go of something that has been so much a part of my life. I have so many incredible memories of my time with the company, and I suspect I’ll write a lot more about it over the coming years. For now, here are a few memories that lept to mind:
- Snowball fights on the lawn in front of the office.
- Digging through the mess in the ‘Marketing Cupboard,’ which was like digging through the history of the company.
- Walking alone through the back rooms of the National Army Museum.
- Seeing Phil Smith laugh so hard he turned purple.
- Watching Peter Dennis paint on our stand at Salute.
- Getting to play Black Powder with Rick Priestly in John Stallard’s game room before the game was released!
- Leading the Osprey Games office in a spontaneous rendition of ‘Lord of the Dance’.
- Filming a zombie video…
- Old West wargaming with Henry Hyde in the Gettysburg meeting room.
- GenCon with Christian, Phil, Duncan, and Brent.
- Shouting matches amongst the Marketing Department in the middle of the office.
- The ‘Coca-Cola Time’ dance.
- Sitting in a hotel room, during Adepticon, signing 500 copies of Frostgrave, eating a burger, getting high on marker fumes, watching UNC play in the Final Four.
- Watching Phil get stopped by German police… (for jay-walking!)
- The announcement that Osprey’s best-selling book of the year was Frostgrave.
- Every Christmas party.
These were all moments, but really, my biggest memory is a general feeling of warmth, camaraderie, laughter, and a love of the books.
I hope that those I leave behind carry on Osprey’s traditions of great books, but also its tradition of being a wonderful place to work.