Archive for April, 2001

Iron Kingdoms Invade

Tuesday, April 17th, 2001

Privateer Press has been very active of late. Not only have they launched IronKingdoms.com in support of their D20 setting, but Privateer Press is also featured on RPGaction. Best of all, along with the Matt Staroscik interview and company profile, the complete D20 stats for steamjacks are presented. Can you say mecha combat for D&D 3? Me too.

Wounds Unlimited Reaches Its Limit
The stylish internet gaming zine Wounds Unlimited has called it quits. Sighting “problems in the Real World, both in the financial and personal side,” the site’s content has all been taken down, except for their coverage of GenCon 2000, which will stay up a while longer. Us Cave-dwellers bid the team at WU farewell, and wish them luck in their future projects.

Girl Genius in Stores. Stupid Boy Not Sighted

Monday, April 16th, 2001

The latest release from has swarmed store shelves nationwide. is a card game based on a new comic book series by the enigmatic Phil Foglio. The game mechanics are similar to those used in an earlier joint effort from James Ernest and Phil Foglio, Xxxenophile, but without the adult artwork. The full-color 108 card packs sell for $14.95.

Two other Cheapass games, Unexploded Cow and Devil Bunny Hates the Earth, will both be released in the first week of May.

Children of Misguided Games

Monday, April 16th, 2001

Misguided Games has posted a new page on the races from their upcoming RPG, Children of the Sun. Due to arrive in Spring 2002, Children of the Sun is a dieselpunk fantasy setting that has already generated some interest at last month’s GAMA convention. Each month through the end of this year, Misguided Games will post info on another of the game’s races. The first race posted is the Avendera, “an enigmatic race of leonine beings that dwell in dark, underground regions.” Caves? Excellent. We ogres approve.

Frag Beta Capsule Review

Saturday, April 14th, 2001

In the PC gaming world, you have to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on hardware and software to deathmatch effectively, and you have to sign NDAs up the wazoo to review a beta. In our world, a beta version of Frag cost us $12, and we don’t have to sign a damn thing to tell you what we think.

For those who missed the hype, Frag is designed to be a boardgame take on Quake, Doom, and their first-person-shooter ilk. The board is a grid spattered with weapons and gadget pick-up spots, walls, doors, and the occasional pool of acid. Each player’s pawn runs around shooting and getting shot, and “respawning” whenever it dies. There’s no penalty for dying a lot, apart from losing your stuff. The point here is not realistic combat; it’s realistic simulation of an unrealistic gaming genre.

Frag’s rules are just complicated enough to give you that old-timey boardgaming feel, without being so complex that you can’t tear through your turn like a skiing scout in Tribes. A turn-based board game can only take the simulation of a deathmatch so far, but generally, we found the mechanics to be fair and plausible in our two games. Shooting a rocket launcher felt about like shooting a rocket launcher in Marathon, for example. There’s a very healthy amount of luck in the actual mechanics of taking a shot at someone – most of the game’s real strategy probably lies in the card play. And that’s pretty random too. That’s not to say that there’s no tactical play on the board, though. Hell, we only played a couple of games, what do we know.

If we have a complaint, it’s that being the guy who keeps getting shot and never gets ahead is a little less fun when you slow deathmatching down to the pace of a boardgame. In Quake, you can at least crash around really fast, enjoy the graphics and scenery, and have a laugh even if you suck. We had a laugh when we sucked too, but something about having cards in your hand and having to wait your turn makes you feel a little more ripped off when you lose at the last second. But PC deathmatching is more of a sport than a game in many ways, and I suppose that’s the difference.

Steve Jackson Games has now sold out of the beta edition of Frag.

GAMA’s View of Chainmail

Friday, April 13th, 2001

I just realized it’s Friday the 13th. Let’s get on with the news before something goes wrong. 🙂

A brief article on the Chainmail miniatures game preview at GAMA is on the WotC site. There isn’t much info, but reports are that everyone was enthusiastic. Our friend Chris Pramas, Creative Director for the Chainmail game, is shown in the pics, running demos for convention goers. We’re looking forward to October to see it ourselves.

Listen Up, Cyberpunks…
R. Talsorian’s 2001 product schedule lists a milestone looming in August: Cyberpunk V.3. The new edition will jump ahead twenty more years, placing us firmly in the Post Information Age. I may have to dust off my Solo, Edwardo, and jack in.

Avalanche of D20
Avalanche Press has two more D20 adventures following on the heels of their acclaimed Last Days of Constantinople. Ragnarok: Tales Of The Norse Gods will put players in the roles of lesser gods & goddesses from the Norse pantheon. Their quest: to stall the “Doom of the Gods” (otherwise known as Ragnarok). The Greenland Saga will be a historical adventure that involves “the disappearance of the Norse colony of Greenland.” Both adventures seem to be scheduled for June releases.

Mage Knight Lancers List

Friday, April 13th, 2001

WizKids has posted the complete list of figures from the new Mage Knight Lancers set. There’s over 100 new figures listed, and a few have images to view as well. Check out the scorpion rider, and pray your DM doesn’t use it as a drider.

Nazi werewolves…I hate these guys

Thursday, April 12th, 2001

Pinnacle has the new cover art for Weird Wars, and they’re showing it to the world. Seems enthusiasm for the game is growing, so new artwork has been commissioned. Looks great from where I’m sitting.

Scarred Lands Needs Stories
Sword and Sorcery Studios has issued an open call for short story submissions to fill the Scarred Lands Anthology. Is your pen mighty enough for Sword and Sorcery? Give it a shot and find out.

Atlas Harps on Mummies

Thursday, April 12th, 2001

Coming early this July is the D20 adventure Instrument of Destiny by John Nephew, from Atlas Games. It starts with a festival, goes into the desert, and things get ugly from there. Could the release be set in hopes of riding the tide of The Mummy Returns, perhaps? The adventure will be for character levels 6-8, and will have rules for “hieroglyphic magic.”

Pagan Does Cthulhu for d20

Thursday, April 12th, 2001

That sounds kind of salacious, doesn’t it? Pagan Publishing, the fine folks behind the acclaimed Delta Green supplements for Call of Cthulhu, confirmed earlier this week in a press release (way, way below the fold) that their staff will be writing the WotC-published D20 System version of the Call of Cthulhu basic rulebook. This means that, though none of the award-winning Delta Green world or other supplementary material will be in the core book, great writers like John Tynes will be writing the basic text that re-introduces horror role-playing to the masses. This is a good thing.

Scorpion’s Nest Works With Impressions Advertising

Wednesday, April 11th, 2001

Scorpion’s Nest Tactical Gaming has just announced that Impressions Advertising & Marketing will be working with them to increase exposure of their games, including Terminus 5. With a 422 page master rulebook, the Terminus 5 miniatures and role-playing game covers fog of war, plenty of weapons and vehicles, a detailed timeline, and a unique world history.

The Latest from Rio Grande

Wednesday, April 11th, 2001

Rio Grande Games, the company responsible for bringing lots of clever German games to the American market, has just posted their fifteenth newsletter. Quite a few interesting forthcoming releases are described, including Barbarossa, a classic Pictionary-like game which uses clay instead of pencil and paper, and The Traders of Genoa, a game of trading and negotiation set in the 16th century. Also, Tolkien fans will be happy to hear that Lord of the Rings: The Search will be on its way some time this summer!

Organized Chaosium

Tuesday, April 10th, 2001

The summer release schedule has been posted at Chaosium. Some of the highlights are 20th Anniversary Call of Cthulhu and 5th Edition Stormbringer (formerly known as the Elric! RPG). A reprint of the Complete Dreamlands and the Encyclopedia Cthulhiana, and a new Miskatonic University Graduation Kit, are among the other products mentioned. I’m looking forward to the San Francisco Guidebook for CoC. I remain convinced that Coit Tower houses an ancient evil.

Stack ’em Like Cordwood

Tuesday, April 10th, 2001

According to the official GenCon page, all of the convention hotels are now fully booked. Don’t let that stop you from going, though; just expect to rent a car and drive in to the con from your distant hotel each day.

Free Stuff From the Death Mages

Monday, April 9th, 2001

If you have your copy of Necromancer Games’ Demons and Devils, look up the product password and head to the company’s site for another free download. This time, 21 pages of additional material are available to supplement the already excellent D&D adventures in the book. As if that weren’t enough, two maps are also available. If you’ve got the password, go grab ’em.

By the way, the solution to the Rappan Athuk riddle has been posted somewhere on the Necromancer site. If you can find it, you can download a special encounter, which pays tribute to the Vault of the Drow encounter that inspired it.

Zorro Takes Over Game Trade
The May issue of Game Trade Magazine will be rife with Zorro RPG promotions. Quick-start rules and a mini-adventure for Gold Rush Games’ upcoming The Legacy of Zorro Introductory Adventure Game (*whew*) will compliment a featured “Zorro Sword” by United Cutlery Brands. The full game should reach stores in June. Be careful when handling your copy of the magazine — too much Zorro can stain.

Void Where Downloaded
The new issue of Battles With Miniatures, i-Kore’s official Void publication, is available for download. Miniatures gamers will enjoy a look at Void, and pick up some painting tips, perhaps.

GO Goes Pay-to-Play

Monday, April 9th, 2001

Would you pay a dollar a month to read reviews and get into flame wars? Aaron Powell of Gaming Outpost hopes you will. While the articles and forums at GO will be accessible only to subscribers, the news page will remain free, and will go to a Slashdot-style model with discussions of its own. Will this set up a caste system, where the rabble gets noisy, unmoderated discussion for free, and paying customers get the discussion with intelligence? Or will the paid forums simply turn into a ghost town? GO’s forums are among the most heavily-trafficked and opinionated gaming forums online, and this change will mean something, either way. As for the articles, Pyramid was an online subscription-based magazine before it was cool. Can GO compete? Will all fans of non-mainstream interests (that’s us) be paying for all of their web content soon?