Last updated December 14, 2020
We're a publisher of games, books, and other entertainment and information, both on paper and online. We're best known for Munchkin, Zombie Dice, Ogre, Chez Geek, GURPS, Car Wars, The Fantasy Trip, and Illuminati.
The company was founded in 1980. Steve Jackson did his first game design work for Metagaming, starting in 1977. In 1980, he bought Space Gamer from Metagaming and went into business for himself. Three games and one set of Cardboard Heroes figures were released in late 1980. The new company really took off in 1981, when Car Wars hit the stores. So that makes us 40 years old in 2020!
We have somewhere north of 30 employees and contractors, plus a number of part-time staff, contractors, and so on. In terms of sales, we are sometimes in the top 10 adventure game companies, but – depending on what you call an "adventure game company" – not the top five.
We've published more than 1,500 games, expansions, accessories, books, toys, and other unclassifiable items. For a current listing, see the Our Games page. For a complete list, see the Everything We've Ever Released page.
You can call us at (512) 447-7866. Our fax number is (512) 447-1144.
Our mailing address (for US snailmail only) is:
Steve Jackson Games
PO Box 18957
Austin, TX 78760-8957
This is the place to send checks, letters, and so on.
Parcels (via UPS, Federal Express, and so on) should come to:
Steve Jackson Games
3735 Promontory Point Drive
Austin, TX 78744
It's our preferred method in most cases! We have a number of email addresses, depending on the specific department you want, or you can email the general company address at email@example.com. If you need to reach a specific person, see our staff list.
You bet. We're on Twitter and Facebook, @SJGames on both, and on Instagram @SteveJacksonGames. Keep up with our Kickstarters by following our profile, and you can find our articles on Medium. We have a variety of other sites we occasionally interact with – find them on our Follow Us page. You can also sign up for our gamer newsletter here and read our daily blog on our home page.
Of course. You don't need any special permission to add a link to us. Just link to
http://www.sjgames.com/. And if you want, you can use this graphic on your page for the link:
Here's the actual code for it (you'll need to download the GIF to your site too):
<a href="http://www.sjgames.com/"> <img src="minisjg.gif" width="163" height="28" border="0" /> </a>
You can also download other banners for linking to our site.
In general, no. All these things are protected by copyright, and our game titles are trademarked . . . and we make our living by selling games, and would really prefer it if people didn't go around copying them, in part or whole.
We make some exceptions to this for online uses, because (within reason!) if you write about our games, you are helping us make a living and do what we love, and therefore we like you. Please read our online policy.
Munchkin is dungeon crawling, without all that annoying "roleplaying" junk, in the form of a card game. It's fun, it's funny, and it's our top seller ever. It's spawned TWO boardgames (Munchkin Quest and Munchkin Treasure Hunt) and started to cross over to other games . . . look for Munchkin Panic, Munchkin Loot Letter, and Munchkin Gloom. We've even invaded TV shows (Munchkin Adventure Time, Munchkin Rick And Morty), movies (Munchkin The Nightmare Before Christmas), and comics (Munchkin: Marvel Edition, Munchkin: X-Men Edition). And there's more to come. Munchkin will not rest until it takes over the world! (Or at least all the fun parts.)
GURPS stands for Generic Universal RolePlaying System, and that's exactly what it is: One set of rules that works for all genres. We have published over 400 different books and supplements for GURPS. And check out the character design program, GURPS Character Assistant, for Fourth Edition. For more information, read our More About GURPS page.
Ogre was Steve Jackson's first game, originally published in 1977. It's a future wargame in which one side has a single giant robot tank, the Ogre, and the other has a force of infantry and armor. The Ogre's goal is to destroy the enemy Command Post, while the defender's goal is to preserve it, regardless of losses. Ogre has been released in a number of versions, including miniatures rules. The current version is Ogre 6th Edition. Plastic miniatures have been released, and more sets are coming. A computer game from Auroch Digital is now on Steam. And we are continuing to release scenarios and other Ogre support.
Always. Check out
• Coming in 2020, a new edition of Car Wars!
Warehouse 23 is SJ Games' online store. We mostly sell our own games and products, but we also stock the wares of other publishers, such as Atlas Games and Amarillo Design Bureau. Warehouse 23 sells both physical games and digital files. You can buy a copy of the core Munchkin set, SJ Games-branded clothing, a download of the digital-only GURPS Gun Fu, and a PDF of the out-of-print classic Toon at the same (virtual) place!
e23 was the name of our PDF store. As of February 2014, e23 was combined with Warehouse 23. Now customers can buy great gaming goodies from the same shop, regardless of whether they're physical or digital.
Pyramid is a PDF magazine available via Warehouse 23. It used to be a regular paper magazine, but issue #30 was the last paper issue. Then it became a weekly HTML-based "magazine" serving up an assortment of articles each week, for 10 years (and over 500 weekly issues!). The last incarnation of Pyramid was devoted almost exclusively to RPGs. Most of the articles provide both systemless support and new material for GURPS. We also have reviews, humor, and other interesting tidbits. Each issue has a specific theme; we might devote one issue to tools and tricks for wizards, the next to space opera, and the next to how to combine horror with espionage . . . We are no longer creating new issues, but you can get the old ones on Warehouse 23.
At your local hobby games or comic store! Here's our Store Finder.
You can also find a limited selection of our games in mass market stores including Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Target, Toys 'R' Us, Walgreens, and WalMart.
Yes, we have an online retail store. But please – support your local retailer! Here's our Store Finder. If your retailer doesn't have a book or game that you want, ask them to order it. If they don't WANT your business, WE sure do . . . but please give them a chance first.
Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, you can browse a virtual catalog which (in theory, heh), is always up to date, on the Our Games page. A different version, covering products currently in distribution, is a big part of our Retailer Support page. But please try your local game store first – they really deserve your support!
This question often arises just after a game switches from the "Printing" status to "Now Shipping." Does "Now Shipping" mean it's for sale RIGHT NOW?
When something first moves to the "Now Shipping" status, it is doing just that – shipping from our warehouse to the distributors, who will then ship it to your Friendly Local Game Store's shelves. This process can take two weeks or longer, and the store probably has no way to know what day the shipment will show up. Please be patient, and either check back, or ask them to contact you when it arrives.
A couple of weeks after a game ships from the distributor, it should be in stores, and at that point we usually post a note on the Daily Illuminator.
What you're seeing is a Stupid Software Trick. The New Releases page automatically updates the current month to "New!" every month. However, occasionally a game will not actually begin shipping (and therefore have the status updated to "Now Shipping") until a few days later. During that brief period, the game is tied to the "New!" month, but it isn't yet "Shipping," so it's not displayed at all.
Sometimes, for a little while after distributors and stores run out of copies, Warehouse 23 will have a few.
Please check Warehouse 23. If the title is listed as "low stock," we have some. If it is listed as "out of print," then we're completely out, too. Please don't call to double-check, plead, or beg, because if we had some, believe me, we'd list them for sale.
If Warehouse 23 is out of a physical product, it might still sell a digital version. We continue to bring out-of-print books back via PDF – focusing on GURPS Third Edition first, then older GURPS, then other lines.
If you can't find what you're looking for, your best bet is to try a dealer who specializes in out-of-print titles.
Yes, many of our games have been translated – especially Munchkin, which is now available in 18 languages. We do not sell the translated versions; you'll need to order by mail from the publisher, or visit a retailer in the appropriate country. Our foreign partners include:
For Munchkin and Other Games:
We no longer send out hardcopy of errata. All our errata can be found online. Feel free to print it out. That's what WE do when we need a hardcopy . . .
You can post a question in the appropriate spot on our public forums and get an answer. We don't answer questions by phone, email, or social media because if the question goes to the forum instead, then everyone can see the answer and discuss it.
Openings do happen. We have a web page dedicated to Job Opportunities at SJ Games. Check it out and see what might be posted.
We have a Facebook group where we announce upcoming playtests; anything listed there is open to the public. We also sometimes announce playtests on Twitter, our forums, or the Daily Illuminator. Your chances are best if you live in or near Austin (or are willing to travel here), but we do frequently take playtest games to conventions we're attending; come find us!
Some of our games (mostly GURPS books) are playtested online. A week or two before such a playtest begins, it will be announced -- normally on our forums, but occasionally in the Daily Illuminator. The announcement will explain how to apply to become a playtester: who to contact, what information to provide, and so on. All playtests have limited slots and some have specific membership requirements (these are always included in the announcement). If you are selected, you will be signed up for a playtest mailing list and told how to access the files for the book.
You'd like to run Steve Jackson Games demos in your friendly local game store, or maybe at a convention? You just might be the next member of our elite support team . . . the Men In Black.
To become an MIB for your area, please review the description of a MIB and send email to the appropriate Regional Director explaining how you fit the mold. You will be contacted. This IS a test.
MIB activities are somewhat curtailed, of course, by the pandemic.
You'd be disappointed. It's not a madcap all-day games session – it's an office, and most of us spend all day on the computer or the phone. We're not set up to entertain visitors, and we don't offer tours. We do have an open-house every so often, and we sometimes throw evening or weekend playtest sessions open to the public. They'll be announced in the Daily Illuminator, and if you can make it to one of those, we'd love to see you.
If you really want to meet us, come to a convention where we're making an appearance. That's the best time to catch us in Social Game-Playing and Talking mode.
The short answer is yes. We are VERY open to submissions for GURPS material to be published in PDF format. We are likewise very open to Fantasy Trip submissions of varying lengths, from 500 words or so (for the Hexagram zine) on up. Please do not submit anything to us until after you have read the Authors' Guidelines and the info page for the appropriate line.
We're sorry, but no. We simply do not have the time. At some conventions, especially Protospiel, we are specifically visiting to see new games . . . please try us there.
At the moment, we are not open to boardgame and card game submissions. We already have a shelf full of partially completed games . . . and Steve, Sam, and Randy keep having new ideas. So we have more than we can handle already.
We contract for art one project at a time, and we already have a talented and reliable stable of artists. However, we are willing to look at online portfolios. For more information, see our Artists' Guidelines page.
PLAN AHEAD! Register your convention online no later than three months prior to its starting date. Your listing will appear on our Convention and Trade Show Registry page. If you are interested in prize support, ad swaps, or promotional items for your event, please email our Events Director.
Got a briefcase full of large, unmarked bills? Well, okay, there are other ways. Start by reading the Requesting a Guest for Your Convention page. Then email our Events Director as early as possible (at least 8 months to a year) before your convention. Start with the basic info: where/when it is, how many people attend, what is special about your con, and so on. We'll get back to you.
We show up at a lot of conventions, big and small, every year when there's not a worldwide pandemic. Our convention schedule page shows the cons we're currently planning to attend.
A digital game inspired by Munchkin has been released by Asmodee.
We operate a multiplayer online game, UltraCorps. It is not based on any of our paper games. It is an experiment, and a learning experience, and Steve really likes it. Guess which of these is the most important reason we keep it going.
We have done some iPhone and Android apps; we hope you like them!
If you mean a "game aid" or "player aid" program, yes, you certainly can, if it's for a PC-type computer. We currently do not allow "apps" for mobile devices to be created using our content or trademarks. Yes, this seems like an arbitrary distinction, and as we learn more and the legal and technical issues become more clear, we may be able to change this, but please don't write us saying "I want to write an app, so change your policy," because the decision is not related to the number of pleas we get from would-be app coders. Sorry.
Our online policy makes it possible for fans to create this kind of program, as long as trademark and copyright restrictions are honored. Several such gamer-created utility programs are already available on our website.
If you mean a net version – an actual online game – or an actual home computer game . . . the answer is probably no. In general, we're only open to approaches from professional game publishers, The reply you should expect is "No, thank you."
It's not that we don't like computer games. We do. It's that right now, our time is much better spent in creating new games for our own market, and learning about the digital game business at our own speed.
This is complicated. The answer boils down to No . . .
In general, no. See our online policy for more information.
There's one special exception: If you want to set up a M* (or other online environment) using the In Nomine theme and characters, and you are not charging for it in any way, we will license you for it, for free. Here are the complete rules.
Obviously, if anyone does something really tasteless, or if laws or the Net change in some way, we might have to change our policies. We hope that never happens. We like the fact that people want to play in our worlds . . .
So many games, so little time . . . In 40 years of business, a lot of games have run their course. Trust us – we don't let things go out of print just to annoy the fans. When we run short on something, we take a hard look at its sales performance, calculate reprint costs, and talk to distributors and dealers to gauge future sales. If we can sell enough to make some money, we'll reprint it. If not, adios . . . at least for a while.
The first time we set up a casting plant, we quit because we weren't making very good miniatures. The second time, we made very good miniatures, but we didn't make as much money on them as we did on other kinds of games, and the presence of the casting operation drove up insurance costs for the whole company. Thanks to a successful Kickstarter, we are now making plastic ones, and you can still buy them, and some of the metal ones, on Warehouse 23. We are thinking about dipping our toe into the fantasy miniatures market, but this is as close to an actual announcement, right here, as we have ever made.
Car Wars had a very successful Kickstarter, and we sent everything off to the factory, but it has been caught up in the pandemic. The factory's work, and our communications with them, have been badly slowed. We now expect to ship the game in mid-2021.
We sold it to DTI, back in 1986. We're sorry . . . After that, it went through several owners, some of whom seem not to have to put out a single issue before it was resold. The last we heard, Space Gamer was being published by Better Games, as an ezine. However, downloadable PDF versions of the classic issues we published are available for purchase in Warehouse 23.
These were magazines which we no longer publish. Autoduel Quarterly ran through issue 10-4 (40 issues). Roleplayer had 30 issues, and d20 Weekly had 48. All these are out of print, but you can get PDFs of ADQ and Roleplayer in Warehouse 23, along with PDFs of the print issues of Pyramid.
Metagaming was the first game company Steve Jackson worked for. It went out of business around 1982. A few of its games were bought by other companies; most are out of print. We can tell you nothing about the whereabouts of its founder. As far as we know, the "Unicorn Gold" treasure hunt was never resolved.
It's back! In late 2017, Steve Jackson recovered the rights to the eight TFT releases that he'd written, including In The Labyrinth and both versions of Melee and Wizard. A very successful Kickstarter project in mid-2018 put the huge new "Legacy Edition" in stores in 2019. A number of support products have already been released, and more are on the way. See thefantasytrip.game for more information.
No, that's the other Steve Jackson. An English writer named Steve Jackson, along with his partner Ian Livingstone, founded Games Workshop and created the Fighting Fantasy series. These days, the English Steve Jackson, having sold his interest in Games Workshop, is continuing to work on various projects (you may have seen his Battlecards – it was a trading card game released before Magic: The Gathering). The American Steve Jackson, who founded SJ Games, is another person entirely.
The Illuminati BBS dates back to April 1, 1986. In its original incarnation, it was a one-line system, running T-Net on an Apple ][+. Over the years, it grew, and so did the Illuminati community. The board quickly became vital to company operations. Not to put too fine a point on it, we knew that this was the way the future would look.
On March 1, 1990, the Secret Service raided the offices of SJ Games, taking – among other things – the BBS system. See below for more of that story. The Illuminati BBS was back up within a month, running on two lines instead of one.
In 1993, we decided to take our act to the Internet. Illuminati Online became a full-scale Internet information service.
Eventually it was spun off into a separate company, Illuminati Online, which grew into a local service provider rather than an online game center. It wasn't what we expected, but that's what you get when you have a free market. So we've come full circle with our forums . . . which recreate, in many ways, the online gaming community that started with the BBS.
Once upon a time it was an Internet access service for the Austin and Houston areas. It started as our BBS system, back in 1986, and grew to a division of Steve Jackson Games before being spun off as a separate company, under a license from SJ Games to use the "Illuminati" name and symbol. It was eventually bought by PrismNet; in 2011 they sold the domain to an undisclosed (as of now) purchaser, and all io.com email accounts were closed. Here's a fuller history of Illuminati Online.
We still think "Illuminati Online" is a good name for a service. Hide and watch.
The short version of a very long story: On March 1, 1990, the Secret Service raided our offices, looking for evidence of a non-existent conspiracy in which they thought one of our employees had been involved from his home. They had a broadly-drafted and unsigned search warrant. They took a lot of material, including all current drafts of GURPS Cyberpunk and the computer which was running the Illuminati BBS. And they were not cooperative, or even truthful, about giving it back.
With the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, SJ Games eventually took the Secret Service to Federal court, and won. The judge simply did not believe important parts of the Secret Service's testimony, and gave the agent in charge of the raid a public tongue-lashing.
SJ Games was awarded more than $50,000, and finally got paid early in 1994, more than a year after the judgment. It did not nearly make up for the true damage to the company, but it was better than nothing . . . and just winning the case was the important thing.
Yes, we got most of our equipment back. Some of it was damaged or destroyed while in Secret Service hands, and quite a bit of data was lost. The award included compensation for those losses.
Many of the people who were involved in the case are now active in EFF-Austin, which – while not affiliated with the national EFF – works for similar goals.
Well, we can't tell you the real reason.
The cover story, which is satisfactory for most purposes, is this: When Steve Jackson published the game Illuminati, he did a great deal of research into conspiracy theory, and into the people who enjoy theorizing about conspiracy theory. It was fun. And as the game became more popular, it became so closely identified with SJ Games that we registered the eye-in-the-pyramid symbol as a trademark. It's now our company logo.
The Principia is the unofficial bible of Discordianism (which, after all, could hardly have an official bible). It is also closely connected with conspiracy theory and the Illuminati.
Best of all, this work is in the public domain. Anyone can reprint it in any form. In 1994, SJ Games published its own edition, with new material, of this culturally significant and deeply silly book.
Sorry, you're not cleared for that.
Glad you asked . . . We have FAQs for:
And, of course, we have a FAQ for the Illuminati, the Secret Masters themselves. We may add more. Keep asking those frequent questions.