Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Passing of Bob Bledsaw Sr.

A tribute. I really bet his games were awesome! If any of his former players would like to post a few stories it would be great! 04/22/08 - The Passing of Bob Bledsaw Sr. Born May 18, 1942 in Decatur, succumbed peacefully to cancer April 19th, 2008 in the home of his son, surrounded by family. A graduate of Lakeview Highschool and Richland Community College, attended Millikin University. He was employed as an engineer by A.W.Cash, Grigoliet, Essex Wire, General Electric and Zexel Illinois, contributing to the developement of quadrophonic sound-systems. In 1976, with partner Bill Owen, founded The Judges Guild Game Company of Decatur, manufacturers of role-playing games and supplies. Through this venture, he became known world-wide as an author and pioneer of Fantasy Gaming, and president of the company. Robert was a faithful member of the Parkway Church of the Nazarene, with deep affection for his church-family there. Politically, he was an active liberal Democrat, who hated all war, and supported our constitutional liberties. He contributed to many charities, and was a devoted and loving son, brother, father, uncle, and grandfather. He touched, through his life and works, many lives throughout this world. He was survived by his father, Walter C. Bledsaw of Decatur, IL; two brothers, Jim (Lynette) Bledsaw of Chanhassen, MN, Bill (Priscilla) Bledsaw of Niantic, IL, and three sisters, Judith (Decie) Huffaker of Murfreesboro, TN, Kathy (Patrick) Eytchison of Lincoln, IL, and Debi (Marc) Summerlott of Decatur, IL; his former wife, Norma Ellrick of Latham, IL; three sons: Robert E. (Jenny) Bledsaw Jr. of Harristown, IL, Bruce A. (Tammy) Bledsaw of Warrensburg, IL, and Walter S. (Kathy) Bledsaw of Decatur, IL; seven grandchildren: (Robert Jr.) Robert E. Bledsaw III, Martin F. Bledsaw, Samuel J. Bledsaw, Aaron J. Bledsaw, Jason W. Bledsaw, Courtney L. Bledsaw, and (Walter) Zane T. Bledsaw; several nephews, nieces, great nephews and great nieces. He was preceded in death by his loving mother, Dorothy E. "Dort"; infant daughter, Kathleen Sue and infant granddaughters: (Bruce) Elizabeth, Lucinda, and Hope. Services to be held at Parkway Church of the Nazarene, 2701 E. Faries Parkway, Decatur, Illinois at 10A.M. Wednesday, April 23rd, followed by interment at Graceland Cemetery. It is the wish of family that any memorials in his honor be made to this good church.


  1. > I really bet his games were awesome! If any of his former players would like to post a few stories it would be great!

    I'm a former player of Bob's. I grew up in Decatur, about 15-20 minutes away from the Judges Guild and it was a great place to hang out as a kid. Twice a week they'd have open gaming where people would get together and play anything from miniatures to role playing games to incredibly complex board games. And frequently Bob would run D&D games. He was a GREAT game master (aka Judge).

    Bob played a style of D&D that I've not seen since. For him, and for the players, it was all about the role playing and the story. Game mechanics beyond the early D&D editions were uninteresting to Bob; he tolerated them but they tended to bog the game down more than he wanted and he didn't like that. Bob wanted a rapidly paced game where players got to role play and influence the events -- the extra "realism" with the more involved game mechanics was the opposite of what he wanted. Bob would just "wing" situations as they happened and it worked nicely.

    Boib's games had a really nice mix of high adventure, combat, role playing, and thinking your way out of trouble. There were always plenty of "lures" -- bite down on the wrong one and you'd find yourself in trouble very quickly. Accidentally offend the wrong person in the City State of the Invincible Overlord? Bad things would happen to you that would turn into an adventure of their own.

    Bob's playing style perfectly fit the style of the old Judges Guild products. They provided an outline, some interesting details, some characters, but the magic started and ended with the game master (Bob). Bob was incredibly imaginative and could quickly spin stories and adventures out of nowhere so he could start with an outline and soon you'd find yourself immersed in an intricate story -- it really was magical.

    Want to play something weird? Bob was okay with that; he'd balance the game so it worked out for everyone. Once he let me play a baby beholder and as I advanced I'd grow new eyes with different powers. :)

    Bob really was an extraordinary gamer, an extraordinary game master, and a heck of a nice guy. Bob, I miss you man, and I miss the great times at the Judges Guild as well.

    Rob Greenberg

    1. I didn't thank you for the wonderful post all those years ago. Thank you. I was told my Back to the Dungeon Zines for LL/AEC were like old Judges Guild's stuff. A true great honor.

    2. I'm happy to have done it! The Judges Guild was a huge part of my childhood and it was an incredibly fun place to hang out as a kid. You'd never know what was going to happen from one game day to the next; D&D, Traveler, computer games, miniature battles, Villains and Vigilantes, and every board game and role playing game you could imagine. It was a blast and I miss those fun days when I was a kid.

      > I was told my Back to the Dungeon Zines for LL/AEC were like old Judges Guild's stuff.

      Then you did great with them! That style of role playing game is hard to find these days but in the right hands it is infinitely more fun than the exhaustively scripted adventures and rulebound "stop the game for 10 minutes while I look up this rule and argue about it" style that is so common today. The fun is the story and the role playing and occasional combat and not enough DMs and players realize that.