OgreCave

Unplugged Gaming News and Views

August 15th, 2018

August 15th, 2018: Allan Sugarbaker says...

Gale Force 9 gets Dune license


Dune logoGale Force Nine has reached an agreement with the Herbert Estate to publish tabletop games based on the Dune property. This will include a roleplaying game in late 2019, as well as board and miniatures games timed to release just before Legendary Pictures’ Dune movie in 2020. GF9 says it “plans to align with other game companies on numerous categories and formats in the future.” Read: “we are all in on this one.”

Considering how things ended with Last Unicorn Games’ Dune: Chronicles of the Imperium RPG in 2000, this is hopeful news. As the release date for Dune: Chronicles got close, LUG was struggling with debt. The company was bought out by Wizards of the Coast, who released a limited edition of Dune: Chronicles only available at Gen Con and Gen Con UK, never intended to keep it going – after all, that would be a threat to their impending Star Wars d20 RPG. WotC failed to get the Dune license for any other products (some say the Herbert Estate wasn’t really interested in talking with WotC about making a deal; others say the price was too high for WotC), and since then, no publisher of the same caliber has given Dune a go. The only Dune games in the last 18 years have been unofficial, free downloads.

If you want a glimpse of the long out-of-print Last Unicorn Games Dune RPG, head over to OgreCave’s Instagram feed. We’re happy to whet your appetite for the adventures on Arrakis this new license agreement could bring us. We have every confidence GF9 can create a new game that looks at least as great – probably even better. Here’s to hoping.

Click through for the full press release, below.
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August 15th, 2018: Allan Sugarbaker says...

It’s Morphin’ Time as Power Rangers Kickstarter launches


Early yesterday, Renegade Game Studios unleashed the Kickstarter for Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid, a new cooperative board game based on Saban’s beloved series TV series. In just over 24 hours, the crowdfunding campaign has amassed pledges reaching more than $150,000 – easily funding the project with more than 22 days left. The love for Power Rangers, which first launched in the United States in 1993, obviously remains strong in the gaming community.

Heroes of the Grid will provide 2-5 players a set of ability cards for each Ranger, and miniatures in the appropriate colors. The core game will also include miniature figures and game stats for Bones, Rita Repulsa, Pudgy Pig, Madame Woe, and the ever-present Putty warriors the Power Rangers must guard against. Gameplay will last 45-60 minutes, wherein players will defend sections of Angel Grove against invading villains. The game was designed by Jonathan Ying, who worked on Star Wars: Imperial Assault, Warhammer 40k: Forbidden Stars, and DOOM: the Board Game.

Power Rangers game

Multiple expansions are built into the KS campaign, including Shattered Grid, which will have additional challengers from the BOOM Studios comic series, including the Ranger Slayer, Black Dragon, and Lord Drakkon himself. Another expansion, White Light, will bring in the White Ranger, increase the maximum players to 6, and call Lord Zedd to the fray. Added figures and component upgrades are planned as stretch goals, which are likely to be unlocked if the campaign maintains momentum.

If you’ve always wanted to be a Power Ranger and face down nasty foes from other dimensions, you owe it to yourself to give Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid a look. The game is expected to release in Spring 2019.

(Why were the evil foot soldiers called “putty” anyway? I never got that. Were they squishy and soft? No, that can’t be right…)

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June 17th, 2018

June 17th, 2018: Allan Sugarbaker says...

2018 Origins Award winners


You’ve already read through the 2018 Origins Award nominees, right? And played all of them, as you were instructed? Okay, good – let’s proceed.

As always, congratulations to all the nominees. Here’s the winners:

2018 Origins Award winners

Best Board Game, Fan Favorite, and Game of the Year:
Gloomhaven (Cephalofair)

 

Best Card Game:
Ex Libris (Renegade Game Studio)

 

Fan Favorite Card Game:
Hero Realms (White Wizard Games)

 

Best Miniatures Game & Fan Favorite:
Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition (Games Workshop)

 

Best Collectible Game & Fan Favorite:
Star Wars Destiny: Awakenings Booster (Fantasy Flight Games)

 

Best Family Game & Fan Favorite:
Azul (Plan B Games)

 

Best Game Accessory & Fan Favorite:
Terraforming Mars Organizer (The Broken Token)

 

Best Role-Playing Game Supplement & Fan Favorite:
Xanathar’s Guide to Everything (for Dungeons & Dragons) (Wizards of the Coast)

 

Best Role-Playing Game:
Adventures in Middle Earth (Cubicle 7)

 

Fan Favorite Role-Playing Game:
Starfinder (Paizo)

 

Surprised by anything? Outraged, even? Or completely happy and satisfied, maybe? Let us know in the comments.

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June 1st, 2018

June 1st, 2018: Allan Sugarbaker says...

2018 Origins Award nominees announced


The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design has announced their 2018 Origins Award nominees. There will also be Fan Favorite categories, voted on by attendees of the Origins Game Fair (as usual). Let’s peruse the list, shall we? Then, hurry and play all of them so you can make your predictions.

Let us know how that goes.

Board Games

Card Games

  • 5-Minute Dungeon by Spin Master (designed by Connor Reid)
  • Aeon’s End by Indie Board & Cards (designed by Kevin Riley)
  • Custom Heroes by Alderac Entertainment Group (designed by John D. Clair)
  • Ex Libris by Renegade Games Studios (designed by Adam P. McIver)
  • The Fox in the Forest by Renegade Games Studios (designed by Joshua Buergel)
  • Hero Realms by White Wizards Games (designed by Darwin Kastle)
  • Honshu by Renegade Games Studios (designed by Kalle Malmioja)
  • Jump Drive by Rio Grande Games (designed by Thomas Lehmann)
  • The Lost Expedition by Osprey Publishing (designed by Peer Sylvester)
  • One Deck Dungeon by Asmadi Games (designed by Chris Cieslik)

Collectible Games

  • Cardfight Vanguard Demonic Advent Booster by Bushiroad
  • Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Icons of the Realms: Monster Menagerie II by WizKids
  • DC Comics Dice Masters: Batman Foil Packs by WizKids
  • Dragon Ball Super Card Game – Galactic Battles Booster by Bandai
  • Final Fantasy TCG: Opus I Collection Booster by Square Enix
  • Marvel HeroClix: The Mighty Thor by WizKids
  • MTG Ixalan Booster by Wizards of the Coast (designed by Mark Rosewater and Ken Nagle)
  • Pokémon TCG: Sun & Moon Booster by The Pokémon Company International
  • Star Wars Destiny: Awakenings Booster by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 2017 Mega Tin by Konami

Family Games

  • Azul by Plan B Games (designed by Michael Kiesling)
  • Bunny Kingdom by IELLO (designed by Richard Garfield)
  • Codenames: Disney by USAopoly (designed by Vlaada Chvátil)
  • Codenames: Duet by Czech Games Edition (designed by Vlaada Chvátil)
  • Downforce by Restoration Games (designed by Wolfgang Kramer)
  • Dropmix by Hasbro Gaming (designed by Harmonix)
  • Hotshots by Fireside Games (designed by Justin De Witt)
  • Mountains of Madness by IELLO (designed by Rob Daviau)
  • Sagrada by Floodgate Games (designed Daryl Andrews and Adrian Adamescu)
  • Viral by Arcane Wonders (designed by Gil d’Orey and Antonio Sousa Lara)

Miniatures

  • Blood & Plunder by Firelock Games (designed by Michael Tuñez)
  • Runewars Miniatures Game by Fantasy Flight Games (designed by Andrew Fischer)
  • The Walking Dead Miniatures Game by Mantic Games (designed by Mark Latham)
  • Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition by Games Workshop

Roleplaying Game

  • Adventures in Middle Earth Player’s Handbook by Cubicle 7 Entertainment (designed by James Brown, Paul Alexander Butler, Walt Ciechanowski, Steve Emmott, Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, Jon Hodgson, Shane Ivey, Andrew Kenrick, T.S. Luikart, Dominic McDowall, Francesco Nepitello, James Spahn, and Ken Spencer)
  • Blades in the Dark by Evil Hat Productions (designed by John Harper)
  • Blue Rose (2nd Edition) by Green Ronin Publishing (designed by Steve Kenson, Jack Norris, Richard Bellingham, Jeb Boyt, Crystal Frasier, Steven Jones (III), Shoshana Kessock, Anna Kreider, Kira Magrann, Alejandro Melchor, Andrew Peregrine, F. Wesley Schneider, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, John Snead)
  • Cthulhu Confidential by Pelgrane Press (designed by Robin D. Laws, Ruth Tillman, Chris Spivey)
  • The Dark Eye Core Rules by Ulisses Spiel (designed by Alex Spohr, Markus Plötz and Jens Ulrich)
  • The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen (3rd Edition) by Fantasy Flight Games (designed by James Wallis)
  • My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria by River Horse Ltd. (designed by Alessio Cavatore, Jack Caesar, Dylan Owen)
  • Monsterhearts 2 by Buried Without Ceremony (designed by Avery Adler)
  • Puppetland by Arc Dream Publishing (designed by Arnold Cassell, Arinn Dembo, Matt Forbeck, Gareth Hanrahan, Fred Hicks, Kenneth Hite, Jason Morningstar, Ross Payton, John Tynes, James Wallis)
  • Starfinder by Paizo (designed by Robert G. McCreary and Owen K.C.)
  • Star Trek Adventures by Modiphius Entertainment
  • Tales from the Loop by Modiphius Entertainment (designed by Nils Hintze)
  • Traveller Starter Set by Mongoose Publishing (designed by Martin Dougherty and Matthew Sprange)
  • Vurt by Ravendesk Games (designed by Alexander Lepera, Lee Pruit, Pete Stauber)

Roleplaying Supplement

  • Adventures in Middle Earth – Rhovanian Region Guide by Cubicle 7 Entertainment (designed by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, Francesco Nepitello, Jacob Rodgers)
  • Adventures in Middle Earth – Loremaster’s Guide by Cubicle 7 Entertainment (designed by Walt Ciechanowski, Steve Emmott, Gareth Hanrahan, Jon Hodgson, T.S. Luikart, Dominic McDowall, Franceso Nepitello, Ken Spencer)
  • Blue Rose – Narrator’s Kit by Green Ronin Publishing (designed by Josh Gutenberg, Jesse Hibbs, Steve Kenson)
  • Call of Cthulhu: The Grand Grimore of the Cthulhu Mythos by Chaosium (designed by Mike Mason and Matthew Sanderson)
  • Call of Cthulhu: The Two Headed Serpent by Chaosium (designed by Scott Dorward, Paul Fricker, Mike Mason, Matthew Sanderson)
  • Castles and Crusades Codex Germania by Troll Lord Games (designed by Brian Young)
  • Castles and Crusades Codex Slavorum by Troll Lord Games (designed by Brian Young)
  • Cypher System Expanded Worlds by Monte Cook Games (designed by Bruce R. Cordell)
  • Cypher System Predation by Monte Cook Games (designed by Shanna Germain)
  • Doctor Who RPG: Gamemaster’s Companion by Cubicle 7 Entertainment (designed by Morgan Davie, Gareth Hanrahan, Mark Lawford, Andrew Peregrine, Nathaniel Torson)
  • Dungeons & Dragons Xanathar’s Guide to Everything by Wizards of the Coast (designed by Jeremy Crawford and Mike Mearls – Lead Designers)
  • Mutants & Masterminds Atlas of Earth-Prime by Green Ronin Publishing (designed by Scott Bennie, Jason Brick, Darren Bulmar
  • Shadow of the Demon Lord: Demon Lord’s Companion by Schwalb Entertainment (designed by Robert J. Schwalb)

Game Accessories

  • Chaosium Call of Cthulhu Coloring Book by Chaosium
  • Sword & Sorcery Custom Dice Pack by Ares
  • The Broken Token Terraforming Mars Organizer by The Broken Token
  • Sails of Glory Series 4 Ship Packs by Ares Games
  • Smirking Dragon Tablecloths by Smirking Dragon
  • D&D: Icons of the Realms and Pathfinder Battles Pre-Painted Miniatures by WizKids
  • Xia Station Organizer by Meeple Realty

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May 15th, 2018

May 15th, 2018: Allan Sugarbaker says...

2018 Spiel des Jahres nominees announced


This year’s nominees for the Spiel des Jahres – Germany’s Game of the Year, a highly regarded title in tabletop gaming – have been announced, along with nominees for the Kennerspiel des Jahres (“Expert Game of the Year”, intended for game connoisseurs) and the Kinderspiel des Jahres (“Children’s Game of the Year”). Three titles were nominated for the main Spiel des Jahres award, with the winner to be announced soon:

The Spiel des Jahres jury also recommended the six titles – honorable mentions, as it were: 5-Minute Dungeon, Facecards, Majesty: For the Realm, Memoarrr!, Santorini, and Woodlands.

The Kennerspiel des Jahres also has three nominations for 2018, and a pair of recommendations:

  • Heaven & Ale, by Michael Kiesling and Andreas Schmidt (eggertspiele)
  • Pretty clever, by Wolfgang Warsch (Schmidt Spiele)
  • The Quackers of Quedlinburg, by Wolfgang Warsch (Schmidt Spiele)
  • Other recommendations: Clank! and Pioneers

The Kinderspiel des Jahres had three nominations as well, and five recommendations:

  • Emojito!, by Urtis Šulinskas (HUCH!)
  • Funkelschatz (Dragon’s Breath), by Lena and Günter Burkhardt (HABA)
  • Panic Mansion (Shaky Manor), by Asger Harding Granerud and Daniel Skjold Pedersen (Blue Orange Games)
  • Other recommendations: Dino World, The Legend of the Wendigo, Rhino Hero Super Battle, SOS Dino, and Speed Colors.

Finally, a special prize was awarded to Pandemic: Legacy – Season 2, by Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau (Z-Man Games). The award was to acknowledge the “ingenious gameplay” against which “all future legacy games will have to be measured”.

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May 6th, 2018

May 6th, 2018: Allan Sugarbaker says...

OgreCave review: Goblin Grapple


Goblin Grapple logoOn the day of it’s Kickstarter launch, Lars Roberts brings us a review of Goblin Grapple from Silver Gaming Company. A fantasy-themed card game of speedy combat, this Stratego-like design is perfect for playing a few rounds between longer games.

Have a look at our review to see what Lars thinks of the upcoming game, then if you’re interested, stop by the Goblin Grapple Kickstarter page to learn how to get your own copy.

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April 14th, 2018

April 14th, 2018: Allan Sugarbaker says...

Z-Man announces Choose Your Own Adventure co-op game


Choose Your Own Adventure GameWith board games becoming more story-driven, it makes sense for game publishers to look toward classic adventure stories for design inspiration. It makes even more sense to design a game around the Choose Your Own Adventure books – stories that invented the “gamebook” and captured the imagination of a generation of kids. Z-Man Games has got you covered with Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger, a cooperative board game based on the 1982 book (which was popular enough to be released in seven languages). Due to hit shelves in August 2018, 1–8 players will explore the aforementioned House together as psychic investigators, choosing their adventure path through story cards, gathering item cards, and hunting for clues. From Z-Man’s description:

Do you follow the noise you just heard? Do you venture down the dark cavern? It’s up to you to decide! Investigate the many narrative branches in each of the five exciting chapters, discovering hours of play and thousands of options. Face deadly challenges to find clues or increase your psychic skills. […] As you explore the mysteries of the House of Danger, new clues will guide your investigation, illuminating new paths or equipping you with useful items.

From the Z-Man announcement, the game promises skill development and item usage, two features the original books often struggled to emulate. If Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger is well received by gamers this fall, we could certainly see follow-up titles – after all, the CYOA book series boasts over 180 titles to play through. House of Danger will sell for $24.99.

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December 29th, 2017

December 29th, 2017: Allan Sugarbaker says...

OgreCave review: Brothers


BrothersTo close out the year for us, Lars Roberts offers us a review of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons from 505 Games. This adventure game for PC and consoles stands out for its unique controls, which both play off of and add to the game’s story. If you’re in the mood for a heartbreaking faery tale plot with lovely scenics, Lars may have found your next indulgence.

Watch this space for more reviews soon, and watch us on Instagram for what we’re discovering now.

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October 27th, 2017

October 27th, 2017: Allan Sugarbaker says...

Eleven Games to Play at your Stranger Things Party


Cast of Stranger Things (Netflix)More than anything, watching the kids on Stranger Things obsess over their favorite games hits us with heavy nostalgia for those classic games of the 1980s. When you celebrate this modern classic of kids against the supernatural, whether you binge-watch entire seasons or savor each episode slowly, you’ll want an ideal activity to symbolize that you stand with the citizens of Hawkins, right? Don’t be a mouth-breather – grab your Eggos and your wrist-rocket, and check our picks for the best games to capture the feel of Stranger Things.
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September 30th, 2017

September 30th, 2017: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Z-Man posts preview of Pandemic Legacy: Season 2

Z-Man Games has posted a preview of Pandemic Legacy: Season 2, the follow-up to the critically acclaimed 2015 boardgame. Designers Rob Daviau and Matt Leacock have created a game of both exploration and resource management in the anticipated co-op sequel, which per the “Legacy” line, will permanently alter the year-long game campaign depending on player decisions. In the preview, we learn a bit more about the fragments of civilization that remain in the post-apocalyptic, plague-ridden world. The teaser describes a bit more:

[Season 2] plunges you into a world torn apart by a virulent plague. Those who remain in this post-apocalyptic setting cluster in the few remaining cities, barely eking out an existence. In this harsh environment, antibiotics, food, medicine, tools, and other supplies are precious commodities. […] Only nine cities are on your grid at the beginning of the game, but the tantalizing possibilities of what lies beyond are on full display. Once you have established the appropriate infrastructure in select cities across the map, you can begin to explore some of the lost world by taking the Recon action.

As with Season 1, the game will come in two box colors, but the contents of each will be identical. For 2-4 players, Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 looks to arrive late in Q4 2017.

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August 17th, 2017

August 17th, 2017: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Gen Con game convention wins 2017 Diana Jones Award

At Gen Con 50, the winner of this year’s Diana Jones Award for excellence in gaming has been announced as… Gen Con itself! First organized in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin by Gary Gygax himself, Gen Con has grown to become an annual gaming mecca and affirmation of the gaming hobby, currently raging onward in Indianapolis. Other nominees this year were The Beast, a single-player card & journaling game; End of the Line, a hybrid LARP combining Camarilla-style Vampire and Nordic LARP; the fantasy board game Gloomhaven, which was a huge hit on Kickstarter; The Romance Trilogy, a group of relationship-themed RPGs by Emily Care Boss (the first of which, Breaking the Ice, made it onto OgreCave’s 2005 Christmas Gift Guide); and Terraforming Mars, a resource management board game. As always, OgreCave congratulates all the nominees, and Gen Con, “The Best Four Days in Gaming,” for its win this year.

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August 12th, 2017

August 12th, 2017: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Gaming News Update – Anna Meade (Uprising: The Dystopian Universe RPG)

In this Gaming News Update interview, we throw new OgreCave contributor Lars Roberts to the wolves and have her interview Anna Meade, co-author of Uprising: The Dystopian Universe RPG from Evil Hat Productions. Due to hit Kickstarter for a 2018 publication date, Anna tells us about creating the roleplaying setting based on the card games Coup, Coup: Reformation, and The Resistance. She also hints at some confrontational – nay, backstabbing, even – mechanics to the FATE system that Uprising will bring to the table. As bonus features, Anna mentions her novelization of The Dystopian Universe for Indie Boards & Cards, her upcoming appearance as a featured presenter at Gen Con 50 next week, and what fun she’s had expanding tabletop gaming’s inclusivity and representation. Be sure to listen to Anna before attending her seminars next week, and browse our previous podcast episodes for many other game discussions.

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June 7th, 2017

June 7th, 2017: Allan Sugarbaker says...
KublaCon 2017 photo gallery – complete!

Cthulhu demands you view the galleryOkay, the flood of KublaCon photos has reached its peak, and all are now neatly contained in OgreCave’s KublaCon 2017 photo gallery (over at our Facebook page). Final attendee count was reportedly 3,321 – a good sized show! See if you can spot yourself in our gallery, or rather, see if you got spotted by our photo crew.

We’re working on a few things behind the scenes, but as soon as we have goodies to share, we’ll serve them up. In the meantime, enjoy the pics, and tell us what you loved about this year’s KublaCon.

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June 2nd, 2017

June 2nd, 2017: Allan Sugarbaker says...
KublaCon 2017 photo gallery

KublaCon 2017 logoThose of you who follow OgreCave’s Facebook page have already heard, but in case you missed it, the first half of OgreCave’s KublaCon 2017 photo gallery is up and running. Have a look, comment, like, and see if you got spotted at last weekend’s KublaCon Game Convention. We’ll have the other half added to the gallery in a couple of days, so check back early next week. Share and enjoy.

We’ll have more site news soon, so check back for that as well. Much to do.

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September 26th, 2016

September 26th, 2016: Mike Sugarbaker says...
MAID RPG, Tokyo Brain Pop, and why GTE couldn’t just fix their network

First, a public apology. A few years ago, Andy Kitkowski, publisher of Tenra Bansho Zero and co-publisher of MAID RPG, sent us a review copy of MAID and was very flattering in a note he attached to it. We’ve felt for a while that we let him down by not getting a review up. Not to put Allan on the spot, but Allan looked MAID over and couldn’t figure out how to approach it. [My players were just plain confused by it, honestly, and wouldn’t try it. – A] I have a feeling that a lot of you reading this are right there with him. We asked all our other reviewers if they wanted to take it on, and they all recoiled.

Now, I know the deal with MAID, because I happen to know this particular deal with anime culture and Japanese pop culture in general. Said deal is that a lot of stuff from Japan looks to us like it’s being presented sincerely, and is thus creepy and crazy, when it’s understood in Japan as being satirical. The original MAID game falls into that category, as does most of the maid-themed anime that inspired it. You can certainly still argue that attempted satire of sexist tropes just spreads sexism, particularly when the culture as a whole – ours in this case – doesn’t get the joke. I myself feel more or less this way, in fact, but the comparatively low-titillation presentation style of MAID does a lot to redeem it for me.

The failure of cultural translation was utterly predictable with MAID – enough so that its publication, the first of an original Japanese RPG into English to make it to print, was neither a great business move nor a good strategy for opening American minds to Japanese RPGs. That said, if you’re one of the many American nerds who understand anime tropes deeply, a game with MAID‘s themes can be hilarious, and MAID delivers. The execution is dead on. The players play the many stereotypical French-style maids of an aloof male master – you could run it as My Life With Master, only funny (comedy and horror are close cousins). The game runs beautifully and is a pretty amazing source of random tables (tragedy tables! Mental complexes! The mind-shreddingly massive Costume Table 2!).

But there’s no saving MAID in the Western market. You could possibly reskin the system and sell the conversion, but that’s not the same. And you could run and sell it at anime cons, but not outside anime culture. (I am not suggesting that any of this is news to Andy.)

A while ago, an RPG we’ve honored in the past did a sort of splashy relaunch; I mean, it debuted in an Asian-culture-themed round of Allen Varney’s indefatigable Bundle of Holding, right around Christmas, which is not bad. It’s called Tokyo Brain Pop, and it’s about Japanese schoolgirls amongst whom one or more has horrifying psychic powers. Its mechanics focus on social dynamics amongst teens and fighting evil demons in equal measure. It’s pretty great.

And if it sounds familiar, it should: it’s Panty Explosion, which OgreCave has honored in our Christmas gift guides in the past. It was renamed in response to long-building public resistance to the name, including its publisher getting blocked at one point from tabling at GeekGirlCon. Now, to my ear, the title Panty Explosion was always pretty transparently an ironic shot across the bow of anime tropes as they play in the US. But there was no saving it in the Western market either. Too many people, for reasons either respectable or reflexive, are just gonna do this.

Let’s talk about “branding,” and what it really means.
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