My Time With Groo

Groo: The Game is currently $110 and up on eBay. And the expansion alone is currently $50 minimum. It is honestly one of my favorite games. And as a game designer myself, I admire it. I feel fortunate to have been part of its production.

The game is based on Sergio Aragonés’ comic book character, a dimwitted barbarian with godlike combat skills, who bumbles through his world, leaving a trail of destruction behind. (Imagine Inspector Clouseau in the body of Conan the Barbarian.) Groo’s only two friends are his dog Rufferto and the Sage.

The game’s designer, Ken Whitman, may well be Groo. That would make me either the Sage or Rufferto. I hope to god I’m the Sage, and not the dog.

Comparisons between Ken and Groo should be obvious. It is no secret that Ken has swept through the game industry leaving a trail of destruction and burned bridges behind him. His name is anathema around the world. But dammit, I can’t help but remain his friend.

That sentiment may well earn me some ire. It may sour the wine in Tenkar’s Tavern, where bitters are served whenever Ken’s name comes up.

But while Ken has many times frustrated me or disappointed me, my life has been the fuller for knowing him. I’ve honestly never spent a regretful hour in his company. And I know many people in this industry—some of them legendary—who could well say the same.

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