Free Birthday Gift Box!

My birthday isn't in August, but a lot of my family birthdays are – including my wife's, my mother's, and my twin daughters'.

And then there's what you might call my first baby, Atlas Games. It was born 20 years ago, when I brought copies of Tales of the Dark Ages, a licensed Ars Magica adventure collection, to Milwaukee to sell at the Lion Rampant booth at Gen Con. At the beginning, this company was a supplement to my career as a freelance writer and editor (and student), but within a few years it was my main gig and freelancing was the occasional sideline.

It's amazing that we're still here, still making games, and actually making a living at it — especially if you know much of the history of the adventure/hobby game industry. I've been doing some office cleaning lately, and as I tossed shipping logs and catalogs from the mid-90s in the recycling, I skimmed through them and observed that only a handful of the distributors that were our customers twenty years ago are even in business any longer. Among fellow manufacturers, there has been no shortage of turnover. Only a handful of the leading companies from the era when I started are still around; the number is even smaller if you consider the companies that were, like industry titans Avalon Hill, TSR, and Wizards of the Coast, absorbed or acquired.

Why are we still around? Of course I'd like to take some credit for myself, my business partners (the good folks of the Source Comics & Games, most notably Bob and Jerry, who believed in me and a wacky CCG idea back in 1994), and the talented employees and freelancers we've had the fortune to work with over the years.

But the biggest reason is simple — YOU, our customers. Whether you picked up one of those copies of Tales of the Dark Ages back in 1990, or maybe tried out our latest newest card game, Ren Faire, just this month, you've made it possible. You've let us build a business and a livelihood out of creativity and fun. Thank you!

To celebrate the 20th birthday of Atlas Games as this summer comes to an end, we'd like to give you a present — literally! If you're willing to pay for shipping, and are one of the first 250 people to act, we'll send you a gift box of Atlas Games products (most of which are, of course, games). Fans who have been around here a while may remember that I did something similar about five years ago with d20 RPG books. We really enjoyed that, and figure our company's 20th anniversary is a wonderful occasion to do it again.

Shipping Cost

I've figured out a simple cost based on US Postal Service flat-rate shipping boxes. Medium flat-rate boxes come in two shapes: 11" x 8-1/2" x 5-1/2" and 13-5/8" x 11-7/8" x 3-3/8". The box we use depends on what we send you. (For example, the covers of our hardback RPG books are just a little too big to fit inside the first box shape.)

You pay $12 if you are anywhere in the USA; $29 if you are in Canada or Mexico; or $46 if you are anywhere else that the USPS will deliver these boxes to. (And if you're somewhere else, you probably don't have internet access to read this.) This is a little more than the postage itself; I factored in the PayPal transaction fees and rounded up to the nearest dollar. I hope you'll agree that's fair.

Important Note: You are responsible for any customs duties, fees, or taxes that may apply to your gift box, if you are outside the USA. We won't be able to refund your money — after all, we will not get a refund on the postage we bought — if you learn that your local post office won't deliver unless and until you've paid various taxes and fees.

What You Might Get

You can expect three categories of things, entirely at our discretion or whim:
  • Brand New Items: We will mostly be giving away games and books that we'd like to expose to more gamers. Try them with your friends — we hope you like them (and that your friends rush out to buy their own copies!).
  • Scratch and Dent Items: Imperfections keep us from sending them to distributors, but they are still perfectly usable.
  • Promotional and Unique Items: We may include promotional items of various types in the package (sample cards, promo coins, posters, t-shirts). It's also possible that that some truly unique items, such as a printer's proof or a game prototype, may find their way into the boxes.
Additional Fine Print
  • To keep things simple, we will only accept payment via PayPal, using the link below.
  • We are limiting this to one gift box per name or address, and 250 gift boxes total. (If we're past this number, you'll get a “Sold Out” message from PayPal if you try to send us money with this link.)
  • We make no promises about what exactly we'll send you, but we want to maximize the odds of it being something you'll enjoy. So please do tell us which Atlas Games products you already own, and any general likes/dislikes (e.g., do you play RPGs? CCGs? Do you dislike Cthulhu spoofs?). If we wind up sending you a duplicate of something you already have, or something that's just not your cup of tea, please accept our sincere apology and pass it along to a friend.
  • We reserve the right to reject requests that we deem, in our sole judgement, to be abusive of our generosity, or if we suspect fraud.
  • We might ship your box via UPS Ground, while using a shipping carton equal to or larger than the medium flat-rate USPS boxes.
  • Please be patient. Filling these requests has a lower priority than other tasks on our to-do list (such as shipping out September's new releases and reprints).
And at last...

So with all that prologue...if you'd like your Atlas Games birthday gift box, here's the button to order it up!

Update, 6:30 AM, 8/30: Well, that was fast. I have an e-mail from PayPal timestamped 3:03 AM informing me that the 250 gift boxes are spoken for, so I've removed the "Buy" button. Now we have some boxes to pack!


  1. Nice, this is actually on my actual birthday!

  2. Happy birthday then, Mike!

    We just finished having a birthday party for the twins, and it looks like at this point 105 of these are already spoken for. At this rate I wonder if any will be left by tomorrow for the folks who check our website as a way of procrastinating at work or school... :)

  3. My birthday was the 23rd.! Thanks for the offer and happy birthday!

  4. Phillip Hecht8/29/2010 5:56 PM

    I did get my purchase in but I did not see anywhere to say anything about what we play or what not as is said in the post. Not that I am all that picky about your products, but I must say that I would hope more for Ars products then any other... though I would like to try Ren Faire too. is my email if that would help any, thanks!

  5. Hi, Phillip - There is a field where you can add a note to the PayPal purchase, and that's normally what people are using. A couple folks have written separate e-mails (since that field on PayPal is limited to 40 characters or something).

    I saw your payment come in, and we'll try and take good care of you. :)

  6. Order placed! Happy birthday, Atlas.

  7. I got my purchase in, but my comment got lost when I had some Paypal issues. I love the Ars Magica stuff, but Lunch Money remains my favorite. A copy has lived in my purse for years in anticipation of spontaneous gaming.

  8. Noted, Candace. Thanks for enjoying our games and sharing them spontaneously! We'd love for all our fans to carry one (or more!) of our games around in their purses and backpacks... :)

  9. Of course, I completely forgot to fill in the comment box -- I mostly play RPGs (I just moved, so I had to pack up all those d20 books -- there were many), but Lunch Money is tons of fun.

    -Bob H.

  10. Happy Birthday, and thank you so much for this gift!

  11. Oh I didn't see any comment space, and haven't told you my preferences either... Well, to be honest Ars Magica is the only thing I have actually played from Atlas, but I'll be happy with anything that is not a CCG :)

    Happy birthday Atlas and thanks!

  12. Happy Birthday, had paypal issues with comments as well it seems. Have Ars Magica but we've been more board game oriented lately. Also we have Dungeoneer and enjoy it very much :)

  13. I already said this in the paypal comments field, but Over The Edge was my go-to RPG in high school when everyone else was stuck on Vampire. I grew up with Atlas Games. Happy birthday, and here's to twenty more years!

  14. All the best to you and your family! Good to meet you and work the booth at GAMA with you.

    -Darren, formerly of Vegas

  15. Damn not enough room to note all the Atlas games I own. I've got all but the Wrath of the Serpent Queen Dungeoneer sets.
    Man, you're in every corner of my gaming collection/room.

    Happy Birthday and here's to 20 more years!

    -Darren formerly of Vegas

  16. I hope that the birthday celebrations are going well. I wish I could seen this before it sold out, but I was performing at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival all weekend. I remember the last birthday present we got, and use a lot of that stuff still. Maybe next time I can join in on the fun.

    John, stop out at the Renaissance Festival and ask for the Riddle Booth. We'll give you a riddle and a clue for free!

  17. HAPPY BIRTHDAYS, guys! And congratulations! And thanks a ton!

  18. IdahoGeekette8/31/2010 4:01 AM

    Thank you so much for this kind offer! And even being willing to try to tailor the packages to our gaming needs or desires was a surprisingly thoughtful offer of your time and effort on top of your product cost.

    I look forward to using the goodies in my package in my non-profit game club when we do our community gaming meetings and promotions, so feel pleased that no only have you pleased some consumers, your cheap offer of games will also yield you publicity and demos of your products!

  19. Thanks all for the additional comments and birthday wishes.

    Yesterday I took care of printing out all of the orders, and sorting them into USPS and non-USPS piles. Depending on the destination (depending on distance, whether or not a Delivery Area Surcharge is applied, etc.), it will in some cases be cheaper to send via UPS -- which is a good thing, because it means I can use the cartons we already have in the warehouse, rather than waiting for the big order of USPS materials that are on the way. (Our in-the-warehouse materials are previously used; that's true of most of our packing material, including all the packing peanuts we get from the guys at the Source from their incoming shipments. Then we re-use them for our outgoing shipments.)

  20. Oh crap. I just saw my RSS feed on this and got excited. Then I saw the ending update. Oh well. Thanks for some really awesome games, Atlas. Keep up the good work and I'm sure I will keep funneling my green to your games. Thanks again.

  21. The surprise to me is that it wasn't faster. I was surprised that I got in soon enough when I did it in the afternoon.

  22. Bah humbug! I missed this, and I'm another August 23rd birthday! I was too busy with Grand Tribunal to celebrate, and now I miss this! :) Congrats to everyone who made it, and what a wonderful gesture from Atlas Games!

    cj x

  23. IdahoGeekette9/13/2010 3:15 PM

    WHoooo Hoooo!

    Paypal just sent word that the USPS has been contacted that boxes are ready to ship.


    So excited to see what we get, and what we can play and enjoy.

  24. Paul - Chicago9/15/2010 7:24 PM

    Oh Wow :D

    My box arrived today. Thanks so much. A wonderful selection of products.