Archive for July, 2001

*****Live from Origins 2001:***** Origins Awards Winners

Friday, July 6th, 2001

We probably won’t be first online with this, but I sat there and wrote them all down in my Palm, in Graffiti, and now I’m going to type them all AGAIN so you’d all better appreciate it or I’ll turn this thing around and go home.

And the Origins Award winners for the year 2000 are…

  • Best Game Accessory: Munchkin’s Guide to Power Gaming
  • Best Game-related short fiction: “Matt & Gilly’s Big Date,” Dork Tower
  • Best Game-Related Novel: Dragons of a Fallen Sun
  • Best Historical board game: Axis and Allies: Europe
  • Best Abstract board game: Icehouse: the Martian Chess Set (yaaaay! oops, sorry, back to editorial impartiality now)
  • Best Historical Miniatures Rules: Fields of Honor
  • Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Miniatures Rules: Mage Knight: Rebellion
  • Best Historical Figure Miniatures Series: Hammer’s Hellhounds (US Paratroopers)
  • Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Figure Miniature: Beholder
  • Best Vehicular Miniature: Shadowsword Titan Hunter
  • Best Amateur Game Periodical: Alarums & Excursions
  • Best Professional Game Periodical: Pyramid
  • Best Play-by-Mail Game: Starweb
  • Best Fantasy/sci-fi board game: The Great Brain Robbery
  • Best Traditional Card Game: Chrononauts
  • Best Card game expansion/supplement: Brawl Club Foglio
  • Best Trading Card Game: Sailor Moon CCG
  • Best Graphics for Board game: The Hills Rise Wild!
  • Best Graphics for Card game: Brawl Club Foglio
  • Best Graphics for RPGs: D&D3 Monster Manual
  • Best RPG Adventure: Death in Freeport
  • Best RPG Supplement: GURPS Steampunk
  • Best RPG: D&D3

Tomorrow, some of my favorite small-press finds. Oh, and about Bionicle: a couple days before I came out here, I actually saw a big ol’ 4×4 truck with a camper shell driving around Berkeley, that was all painted up with Bionicle promo graphics. Lego is targeting… the college crowd with these things?

Oh, and I sat three rows behind Origins special guest Julie Caitlin Brown on the plane. She was in first class. She has nice shoulders.

*****Live from Origins 2001:***** Journeyman Stops Suckin’ The Collectibility Bong

Friday, July 6th, 2001

Journeyman Press, publishers of last year’s Scooby Doo and Age of Empires CCGs, is showing three standalone games here at Origins, and at least two of them look funny and compelling. The first, Zombies!, looks like a cross between Space Hulk and Wiz-War, in which players compete to kill the most zombies in a Hollywood-action-movie-esque downtown, or just get to the helipad and get the hell out. And then, there is the fabled eBay card game. It’s real, it looks pretty simple and amusing, and it has art from the Nodwick guy. Another, more family-market-oriented game, titled Peasantry and apparently loosely based on Canasta, I didn’t get a look at. It’s great to see more companies moving back to self-contained games that are fast and fun for multiple players.

New Avalon Hill Titles Have Eerie Unpresence
I’ve spotted two boxes, both with little blue Hasbro stamps on the sides and big AH insignia on the covers. One said History of the World on it, and looks to be a straight redesign of the old AH standby. The other, Risk 2101 A.D., is in fact an update of good old Risk, that’s playable either as straight Risk or as a futuristic world with underwater cities, multiple unit types, and even resource management(!). At least, that’s how the WotC guy described it, and he said he wasn’t fully sure. Both games seem to have sold out from all dealers at the show before I got here…

Troll Lord Is Doggin’ You
Felsentheim, Dogs of War! Sure sounds exciting; can’t say I’ve gotten a close look yet. But they have it here at the show, and it’s a D20 adventure that apparently concludes a trilogy that began back before D20 even existed. The whole trilogy will be D20 soon, they told me. Also on deck from Troll Lord are more of their controversial modules on CD-ROM, but they’ll be in nice boxes now, which may mollify reluctant retailers. Finally, they have a thirty-dollar hardback sourcebook coming out in December called Codex Germania that’s all about… yes… the Norse (we told you about it a while back). If you haven’t got enough Viking roleplaying now, then by Valhalla-or-whatever, you will soon.

Quick D20 Bits

  • Mongoose Publishing has their Slayer’s Guides out at the Wizard’s Attic booth, for Hobgoblins and for Gnolls. Both are slim and affordable, and have considerable details about the cultures of these species, which your players can ignore as they move in for the senseless kill.
  • Vengeance Games has two of their Friday Night Six-Pack packs out now, for a grand total of 36 premade characters, if you count each of the three levels they come in. I have no idea if these are new. Also, they have some neat color map-mats called Paper Passages. Yay.
  • Green Ronin is showing the first of their Legions of Hell creature books, which has something in it called a Knocker. Nobody have a pair of these in an encounter, please; too obvious. Hell in Freeport should be out for Gen Con, with the Monster Slayer’s Handbook classbook thingy possibly as early as October, then the Secrets of Freeport sourcebook in November.

The Origins Awards ceremony is in a couple hours, I’ll try to make it in. Do you need a ticket? Damn I hate tickets.

Live from Origins 2001:

Friday, July 6th, 2001

Big Ups To The Columbus Chamber Of Commerce
Or whoever’s responsible for making this convention center suck so much less. Last year’s site for cheap chinese food and expensive sodas is now a nice Internet cafe from which I can not only post to OgreCave but, since I forgot my cell phone charger again, actually communicate with the outside world. And there is much to tell from here at Origins 2001 already, including but not limited to a multi-level late-night Giant Icehouse game that gave new meaning to the term “throwdown.” But anyway:

Avalanche Press Brings First of 3 Viking Sourcebooks for D20
The one that’s actually here on the show floor is Greenland Saga: The Lost Norse Colony, and the one that might be out for Gen Con is Ragnarok: Tales of the Norse Gods. A third sourcebook (all three of these, by the by, are thinnish guys like AP’s earlier Last Days of Constantinople, one of the more interesting d20 books so far in my opinion) will be out, um, sometime, and then maybe a bound collection of the trilogy? (That last is speculation on my part.)

Why Did I Not Even Notice This?
White Wolf has a huge new game out on the floor, and this time, it looks like it might actually not suck. At all. It’s called Exalted, for those of you who are like me and are blind to the apparently massive amounts of hype WW did for this game… in the backs of their own books, that is. Its lead designer Greg Grabowski, a personable man who thinks monkeys are always funny and therefore clearly has his finger on the pulse of the American psyche, describes it as “fantasy for people who hate fantasy … no dwarves or elves or throwing the ring in the mountain again, or any of that crap.” It’s all about epic ancient myths of the anime-influenced kickass variety, rather than the namby-pamby Joseph Campbell-esque stuff that’s swept the Western world. The surprising number of you who voted “Mayan-Incan” in our old neglected-RPG-genres poll would do well to look at this one.
(Note from Sven: The Exalted website has posted new fiction today from the game’s prologue. And Mike, you didn’t notice Exalted because you rarely role-play, buddy. 🙂

Early Candidates For Scariest New CCG
Upper Deck Entertainment, the fine folks who brought us the Survivor CCG (*shudder*), have teamed up with Lego on a property that was already plenty weird enough, but whatever – Bionicle: Quest For The Masks has a bunch of stat numbers that are all multiples of 100 for no apparent reason, and robots that are trying to collect masks, um, so that they will have something to stick to their heads. I don’t know. Those Lego people are Danish or something, and therefore inscrutable. I admit I haven’t looked at my free sample booster (which feels like it has about 6 cards in it), so maybe it’s decent. It’s just sad to be reminded of how the mighty Lego has fallen…

More later… I’m paying 15 cents a minute here…

Fast Forward Entertainment Announces D20 Products

Thursday, July 5th, 2001

Fast Forward Entertainment, fronted by TSR alums Timothy Brown, Lester Smith, and James Ward, is diving into the D20 market with three upcoming adventures. Fortress of the Ogre Chieftain(3-5 characters, 4th-6th level) is set in a haunted fortress packed with — you guessed it — ogres. Sven approves. Temple of the Troll God(4-7 characters, 4th-6th level) begins with an omnious gathering of troll forces. Slave Pits of the Goblin King(5-9 characters, 4th-6th level) places the goblins in a heap of trouble, as they’ve kidnapped a noble maiden that “sets wheels of empire into motion.” Each of the adventures focuses on one of the Green Races, the unsavory humanoids that we humans fear so much.

Sack Armies Headed to Stores

Thursday, July 5th, 2001

Hope you had a good Fourth. Let’s see, what’s going on…

Tyranny Games announced that Sack Armies is ready to ship to retailers. The final, high-quality color printing should be quite a sight. We’ll have more on Sack Armies soon.

Warhammer 40K Preview Decks Available for Download
Sabertooth Games has posted preview decks for the Warhammer 40,000 CCG. Decks for the Orcs and the Space Marines can be downloaded from the company’s site. The cards aren’t finalized, but this early preview should give us a sense of how the game works.

Mongoose Linked to Demonology. Platypus Also Suspected.

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2001

This September, Mongoose Publishing will unveil Demonology – The Dark Road,the first of their Encyclopaedia Arcane series of D20 sourcebooks. Mongoose deserves some applause for delving into territory that has traditionally been avoided. The company’s site has already posted the cover art and a preview chapter to give readers a small taste. The sourcebook series will continue in November with Necromancy – Beyond the Grave.Looks like they’ve got the usually-forbidden bases covered.

Cover of LotR board game Lord of the Rings Moves to FFG
There was considerable concern in the gaming community when Wizards of the Coast decided they would no longer be the U.S. publisher of Reiner Knizia’s outstanding Lord of the Rings board game. Today, Fantasy Flight Games announced they would take over publication of the game, much to the relief of Tolkien fans. Additionally, FFG will publish the board game’s first expansion this October, Friends and Foes.In the same month, FFG will release The Hobbit board game, designed by former WotC employees Micheal Stern and Keith Meyers and illustrated by acclaimed Tolkien artist Ted Nasmith. With these new game products, it should be a very Tolkien Halloween.

Steve Perrin to Work with Green Ronin

Monday, July 2nd, 2001

Green Ronin has brought in Steve Perrin (of Runequest fame) to take on the Monster Slayer’s Handbook, set for an early ’02 release. Green Ronin also had this to say about the project:

The Monster Slayer’s Handbook will be the first of Green Ronin’s Classbooks. It will introduce a new core class to the d20 System, plus a bevy of new equipment, prestige classes, and organizations.

New core class? Hmmmm…

No Time to Blink

Monday, July 2nd, 2001

At Mystic Eye Games, things look rather busy. While another web enhancement has gone up for those who already own Pit of Loch-Durnan, the company plans to post two enhancements for owners of their Nightmares & Dreams creature book: a printable sheet of full color monster counters, and a mini-adventure using one of the N&D beasts. As if that weren’t enough, MEG announced their product schedule through February 2002. We’ll bring you more details on each product as it grows nearer, but here’s a quick look at the plan:

  • Mystic Warriors (08/01) – New feats, cults, techniques, and 20+ prestige classes for warriors.
  • The Hunt: Rise of Evil: Core Book 1: Land of Dreams & Nightmares (08/01) – “Welcome to the world of Gothos. …a strange, gothic land that is greatly effected by the nightmares and dreams of earthly sleepers.”
  • Of Places Most Foul: Adventure Collection (09/01) – Ten short adventures based in the world of Gothos.
  • Nightmares & Dreams II: Don’t Fall Asleep (10/01) – MEG’s second creature collection. “This one gets even darker.”
  • The Hunt: Rise of Evil: Core Book 2: Guilds and Adventurers (11/01) – Looks into the guilds and cults of Gothos, with plenty of prestige classes for all.
  • The Witch of Loch-Durnan (12/01) – Return to the hamlet of Loch-Durnan in a mid to high level adventure.
  • The Hunt: Rise of Evil Core Book: The Pantheon and Pagan Faiths (01/02) – The gods and pagan cults of Gothos.
  • Dire Port: City of Dark Dreams (02/02) – A fully-detailed city in the forested kingdom of Dunreth. “You can always use another city.” Ain’t that the truth.

New Race Described at Misguided Games
The latest race to join the Children of the Sun RPG are the Hu Lenkra, barbaric warriors who may remind you of the bear-people from The Thirteenth Warrior. There’s some interesting ideas regarding their society.