A local veteran has put his cooking career on hold to follow a lifelong dream: Creating a fantasy role-playing game.
Chris Zimmerman recently unveiled the second edition of “Labyrinth,” a pen-and-paper RPG akin to “Dungeons & Dragons.” He first designed the game as a teenager in the 1980s and rediscovered his creation a few years ago while moving. After seven years as a soldier in the U.S. Army and 15 years as a chef at various restaurants across the country, he’s putting his cooking career on hold in an attempt to break into the tabletop gaming industry.
Zimmerman describes “Labyrinth” as a pen-and-paper version of arcade hit “Gauntlet.” Like “Gauntlet,” players control one of four classes and slash their way through dungeons. It glorifies “the grind” – repetitive monster slaying and trap busting to gain experience and treasure.
The first edition of “Labyrinth” sold about 50 copies in 2015. After gathering feedback through test-play sessions held at 5:30 p.m. every Sunday at Legends Comics and Games in Fashion Fair, Zimmerman released the second edition in August. These starter kits are sold at Legends and Crazy Squirrel Game Store for $17.95 or online for $22.95. Expansion modules are available at stores and online for $9.95.
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Zimmerman still works as a part-time cook at Maui Hawaiian BBQ in Clovis, but he hopes to launch a Kickstarter campaign in the near future that would help him transition to full-time game designer. He plans to give demonstrations of his game at this year’s Zappcon, the largest local comic and gaming convention held Oct. 15-16 at the Fresno Convention Center.