Majestic Twelve Games was founded in 1788 by a Viennese shopkeeper who little suspected the juggernaut into which his wenig Liebhaberei would develop. Initial forays into the infant Kriegspiel market were disappointing, such as the violently negative response to MJ12's first product, Wars of the Swedish Impressionists, which resulted in the company's warehouse being put to the torch. While this was regarded as a minor inconvenience by the excessively-optimistic MJ12, it unfortunately resulted in a 200-year hiatus before the company's next release. In 1994, Starmada was unveiled to the general public as a "freeware" game via the rec.games.design Usenet board. As this event did not trigger widespread rioting and/or arson, MJ12 considered it a resounding success. Since then, MJ12 has shown itself to be a leader in the small-press wargaming community. Starmada is regularly cited as a favorite among starship combat gamers, and games such as ARES: Miniatures Wargaming System, For The Masses, and Iron Stars have carved out sizeable niches among discriminating leadheads. The release of Defiance: Vital Ground has brought the MJ12 brand of easily-understood, statistically-balanced, universally-adaptable rule systems to the sci-fi skirmish genre.