Archive for October, 2001

The Gables Has Launched!

Wednesday, October 31st, 2001

Yep, it’s live and open for business. Come on over to The Gables and join in for a while. If you’re lucky, one of the Victorian manor’s butlers will give you a sugar candy. :-)

Details on Cheapass’ Diceland

Wednesday, October 31st, 2001

James Ernest, proud father of a baby girl as of yesterday (congratulations to you and Carol!), released details of the long-awaited Cheapass project Diceland to the Cheapasses mailing list today:

Diceland is a tabletop game played with large paper dice, about 2 inches to a side. It’s a cross between a traditional miniatures game and billiards. It will be “modular,” meaning that you can customize your army, but it will not be “collectible,” meaning randomly sorted in booster packs. You get the whole expansion in the box, like a set of Button Men or BRAWL decks. [...]

The first edition [...] will contain 25 dice in five “crews” of five. The dice are printed in full color and die cut, and are designed to assemble easily and come apart easily, but only when you want them to. [...]

[...] We are hoping to have at least a preview of the game at GAMA in March, if not the finished product. We are tentatively planning a major Diceland event at Origins.

You know those cool paper calendar things some companies give out, that are sort of hex-ish but not actually 12-sided, and have the rubber band in the middle so they pop up? Cooool. He’s not using those or anything. But still. Cooool.

The Gables Launches Tonight. Come Get Your Chat On

Wednesday, October 31st, 2001

Be sure to come join me (and the other folks I work with) at tonight’s launch of The Gables, RPGnet‘s first Chat Theatre, taking place from 4pm – 10pm PST. Come prepared to chat, roleplay, and explore the creepy Victorian manor. And bring some ghost stories.

Freeport Guns For Dragon Annual
The next Dragon Magazine Annual will contain a Freeport article written by Chris Pramas. The article will be “based on material that will appear in Freeport: The City of Adventure,” including rules for firearms. The City of Adventure book, along with its much-anticipated full-color poster map, is scheduled for release next month.

Happy Halloween, ladies. – The Kurgan

OgreCave Secretly Plants Manifesto In Fiery Dragon Module

Wednesday, October 31st, 2001

Fiery Dragon Productions has released an adventure I heartily endorse, despite never having read it: The Giant’s Skull. Why do I put OgreCave’s Seal of Approval (TM) on this one? Well, I read the description, of course.

Not only can the players portray the heroes who must retrieve a valuable artifact from the brutish ogres living nearby, but a second scenario can unfold where the players take on the parts of the ogres, attempting to punish the human raiders once and for all!

Giving the ogres a chance for payback, eh? Excellent. The adventurers of the world need to learn that us ogres aren’t going to take their crap anymore. The first adventure is for four 10th level characters. The second is for 5th level Ogres, characters for which are included. Fiery Dragon also posted a pdf of errata from the adventure.

Reap the Whirlwind
WizKids he latest Mage Knight expansion, Whirlwind, is now available. The new set “introduces the Mage Spawn-controlling Shyft faction, the powerful Krugg race, and twelve new special abilities.” And there was much rejoicing.

Hârn Now Fortified With Essential Peppers & Spices

Tuesday, October 30th, 2001

Columbia Games today announced Trobridge Inn: Pepper & Spice, a HârnMaster/D20 module detailing “a fortified trading post on the major trade route between east and west Hârn.” This new module expands on articles from the old Kaldor “kingdom module,” zooming in to city-book levels of detail. Get ready to meet some vengeful political factions. Here, I’m gonna keep making that funny letter, just ’cause it’s so fun to do in HTML: âââââââ Cool. Wonder how you pronounce that. By gargling, maybe.

Of Gods and Green

Tuesday, October 30th, 2001

Dennis Detwiller, co-author of Pagan Publishing‘s Delta Green, has posted some preview art from Godlike, as well as an excerpt from the game’s upcoming sourcebook Will to Power. Detwiller promises the quickplay rules will be available soon, which “includes the entire rules section of the rulebook.” For Delta Green fans, Detwiller has not only posted intros to his two upcoming DG novels, but also presents a short story in its entirety, and a preview of another short story that will appear in Delta Green: Dark Theaters.

The Gables Launching Halloween Night

Monday, October 29th, 2001

We’ve sent out the press release, so you now know what I’ll be doing Halloween night: launching RPGnet’s first Chat Theatre, The Gables. More info will be along soon, but until then, just plan on skipping all that boring partying and trick-or-treating in favor of some online fun with us, between 4 pm – 10 pm PST.

Fool’s Paradise Arrives
In case you hadn’t noticed the Halloween decor (see our hapless adventurer in the upper left corner), you should know that horror is on everyone’s mind this week. Just in time to assist with your fear-inducing fun comes Fool’s Paradise, the latest supplement for Principia Malefex. The supplement contains new fiction, six new scenarios, and info on the most dreaded of all places, the suburbs. Get into this game of modern horror set against the backdrop of Britain, and allow yourself to be scared silly by something other than anthrax for a while.

Gaming Night at the Improv
The new issue of Roleplaying Tips Weekly covers one of my favorite subjects: gamemaster improvisation. I reached the point where I hate fudging dice rolls, ’cause I want to be surprised by the results just as much as the players. I’d rather take the chance that I’ll have to change the adventure to accomodate the results of combat than know how everything’s going to work out ahead of time.

WebRPG Needs Women! Uh, I Mean Money!

Friday, October 26th, 2001

Gamegrene‘s on a roll. This opinion piece on the stripped-down online RPG tool WebRPG is interesting and should raise some hackles (and harvest plenty of WebRPG alternatives in the comments section – hey, there’s one), but it’s really about software and the Internet more than it’s about… you know… us. The debate about “beta” software and free services has been a hot one for a while. I’m not sure what I make of gamerchick’s take, but then, I’ve never used WebRPG and can’t say if it’s worth paying for. This makes me wanna wander back over to the Neverwinter Nights page and make sure they’re still on schedule…

Ninjas and Vampires

Thursday, October 25th, 2001

As you can see on the lefthand side of the page, we’ve added two new reviews for your reading pleasure. Matthew Pook brings us a look at Ninja Burger from 9th Level Games. After trying this game, you’ll never look at fast food the same way again. Secondly, Joe Kushner calls the Vampire Wars miniatures line to our attention, just in time for both Halloween and the release of White Wolf’s new Ravenloft.

Hasbro Advertising Machine In Full Swing

Wednesday, October 24th, 2001

Seems like Hasbro’s putting their product in our faces more often than usual lately. At my local supermarket, the Lucky Charms boxes are shrinkwrapped together with a CD-ROM that has both a free Hasbro Interactive game (Boggle, Chutes & Ladders, Operation, Monopoly Junior, or Yahtzee) and AOL version 6.0. As if getting in your face during breakfast wasn’t enough, a new TV commercial for Hasbro’s Get Together Games shows a bunch of guys so bored, they start sticking party horns into any orifice they can find (above the shoulders, that is). Is someone making a big push for a strong Q4 profit? Methinks someone is.

Speaking of Monopolies…

Wednesday, October 24th, 2001

Well, as I’m sure you all know by now, this Thursday the 25th marks the release of a major new piece of software that some say is a godsend and a breakthrough, others say will waste untold hours of computing productivity, and virtually all agree is an extension of America’s most dominant monopoly. Yes: that software. (I mean, what did you think I was talking about?)

It would be nice to believe that Monopoly Tycoon’s new release date was indeed an unusually witty corporate joke, but the truth is that publisher Infogrames originally wanted to release this new “competitive sim game” late last month but postponed, and probably genuinely picked 10/25 because they figured lots of people will be roaming CompUSA that day. But, while this title has some corporate smarm in its DNA, it also has concepts and gameplay strong enough to get me excited about it. And I don’t get excited about PC games much anymore. (When I do, I almost always note it here. Folks who don’t follow video-gaming press should also check out Advance Wars. Would you believe that one of the most anticipated holiday releases for the Game Boy Advance is a turn-based wargame?)

Monopoly Tycoon lets you play one of seven characters based on the Monopoly tokens (boot, top hat, etc.) and sets you loose in a SimCity-type landscape based on the Monopoly board. Boardwalk and Park Place are blocks next to the river in a tony part of town, whereas Baltic Avenue is across the river in the sticks. You develop businesses and residential complexes, and they interact with each other interestingly, but I wouldn’t be writing about this at all if it weren’t for the fact that the other characters – and in networked games, other players – are in there with you, placing competing bids for development rights and generally trying to mess you up. That’s cool. Gameplay doesn’t really have much to do with Monopoly, but speaks to the kinds of urges you always have when you do play the original: “What do you mean I can only have one hotel? I wanna build a shopping mall!” Not sure what the hardware reqs are on this – no Mac version, of course – but I’m just hoping to Uncle Moneybags I can run it. (And no, I don’t mean Bill.)

New 1PG On The Way

Wednesday, October 24th, 2001

Deep7 has been so busy creating deluxe CD-ROM editions of their 1PG mini-RPGs that they haven’t had time to create any new ones for quite some time. Fortunately, they’ve just announced an addition to the line, created by game designer James Stubbs. Dime Heroes will extend the 1PG series into the realm of two-fisted pulp action. If you’ve ever wanted to become Doc Savage with a minimum of effort, your chance will arrive in November!

A Reminder From The Great Old Ones

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2001

I finally got myself a copy of Chaosium’s latest masterpiece, 20th Anniversary Edition Call of Cthulhu. If you haven’t seen them, these books are gorgeous. I won’t bother boring you with the details, but I will say the stack of these books has dwindled below 80 copies, and they’ve been going so fast, Wizard’s Attic has already taken them off the website (though you can still order directly through Chaosium). Suffice it to say, if you were planning to get one, you don’t have much time left.

WotC Postin’ Free Adventures Like Mad
Lookin’ for free stuff? Wizards has posted Secret of the Windswept Wall, a D&D3e adventure for four characters of levels 2-4. If that isn’t enough to sate your appetite, there’s also Death, Dirt, and the Nerf Rancher’s Daughter, a Star Wars RPG adventure for four 6th level characters. Just on name alone, it’s worth a look.

I Got Your Forgotten Realms Right Here

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2001

Allan and I always used to talk about how cool it would be to write a regular gaming feature about all the games that languish unplayed in the back of our closets… the longer the better. We were going to call it The Gamer’s Closet, and it would be all about the hilarity that ensued when we actually tried to playtest some of these old things. To make characters, at least. We’d talk about doing this, then we’d realize that it would mean playing Space Opera, and we’d all get a chill and start talking about something else.

However, the fine people at Gamegrene are running a sort of unofficial column (which makes us the last gaming website not to have at least one high-concept, extremely sporadic column) called The Forgotten, or Forgotten Games, or something. They aren’t playing them, but they are writing amusingly about Boot Hill and, just today, Gamma World. I’d like to see them write with a little more depth, myself, but maybe it really isn’t all that necessary. Boy, TSR produced an amazing amount of stuff back in the day – I’m surprised at how much I remember seeing on the shelves of Kit & Caboodle. We hereby encourage this kind of archaeology. Now I’ve just got to write that review of Gammarauders…

You Know, For Kids!

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2001

According to ICv2, that goofy Bionicle stuff is actually taking off. Maybe I’m just predisposed to see any new high-concept Lego thing as hopelessly lame. The Upper Deck-produced Bionicle CCG also appeared hopelessly lame, but I didn’t look very closely at it at Origins. Has anyone played it? Also, that Hasbro profits article actually does mention the success of the Harry Potter CCG, although it doesn’t mention WotC. All this stuff is making me wonder: in the post-Pokemon age, will we ever again see a successful CCG aimed at grownups? I think I smell a poll question…

Lost Identities Found, Now Shipping

Monday, October 22nd, 2001

Looney Labs‘ Origins award-winning card game Chrononauts has a new expansion called Lost Identities, a fixed set of 13 new ID cards (IDs are one of the game’s three win conditions, and the most likely of them in my experience). Chrononauts can get a little bit frustrating when everyone’s familiar enough with all the ID cards to stymie the game whenever they notice that someone wants a particular timeline. If that’s a problem in your games, this set should liven things up. There’s also been talk of a whole alternative timeline, which would really be something, although it won’t happen until next year if it happens at all.

Hasbro Finishing 2001 Strong

Monday, October 22nd, 2001

According to this article, Q3 profits for Hasbro are up a bit. Maybe now they won’t screw around with Wizards of the Coast (which wasn’t mentioned in the article) for a little while.

Invisible City Catches Up

Monday, October 22nd, 2001

Further compensating for the missed August game of the month, Invisible City Productions has released a second free game for the month of October. This time it’s Dungeon, a randomized hack-and-slash dungeon crawl played with a standard deck of cards. If you’re having trouble waiting for Mage Knight Dungeons to come out, here’s a good way to pass the time!

Pinnacle Brings Out Their Dead… and Sells ‘Em

Friday, October 19th, 2001

Ever wanted to dive into the Weird West, but just didn’t get around to it? Better spur your wallet into action, pardner, ‘cuz Pinnacle is having a rather large Halloween/5th anniversary sale of Deadlands related products. Eighteen different reduced-price bundles of products are being offered, from the core game, the Anthology With No Name fiction line, Deadlands: Hell on Earth, and The Great Rail Wars. A bundle of items from The Great War miniatures game and The Last Crusade CCG rounds out the sale.

Fast Forward Moves… um, Forward

Thursday, October 18th, 2001

Fast Forward Entertainment has announced plans for their next three D20 supplements. Looks like they’re making a play for the title of “Most D20 pages published in Q4.”

  • Encyclopedia of Demons and Devils ($29.99; Ships Nov 12) – 224 page hardcover with all manner of demons and devils.
  • Rings of Power ($26.99; Ships Dec 3) – 160 page hardcover with more than 75 magical rings. Each has “a complete history and … enough story hooks to create entire adventures.” There also appears to be a tie-in with real jewelers, who created actual versions of the rings that can be purchased.
  • Swords of Power ($29.99; Ships Feb 11, 2002) – 224 page book of over 100 mystical swords, done in the same style as RoP, including a similar tie-in with actual sword-makers.

Sounds like the Power supplements are trying to appeal to LARPers as well… or to gamers with way too much money.

2002 Games 100

Thursday, October 18th, 2001

Funagain Games just released this year’s Games 100, the annual best-of list and unofficial holiday buyer’s guide compiled by Games Magazine. The year’s #1 game according to the 100 is Evo, in which dinosaurs try to get to warm climates and “bid for genes.” Many other interesting nuggets can be found in the list as well. Go forth and shop! (And if you haven’t noticed in those URLs, we get a small financial reward if you buy anything after following that link. Disclaimers: we have no other relationship with Funagain, support your local retailer unless they suck, blah blah blah.)

Rangers of Taradoin Return

Thursday, October 18th, 2001

With remarkable speed, Sean-Robert Shaw has released the sequel to his Rangers of Taradoin gamebook. The book, entitled The Rangers of Taradoin: Of Cuneral Larinon and the Scions, provides both solitaire and multi-player role-playing rules (just like the first one) but, according to the author, doesn’t have the numerous editorial SNAFUs that made the first book rather difficult to read. Sounds good to me! You can currently order the title from Barnes & Noble, and it should appear at other online booksellers in the near future.

Buy Your Way Into Chez Geek

Wednesday, October 17th, 2001

The Game Industry Disaster Relief Auction continues to draw support from all corners of the game industry, and is rumbling toward the $10,000 mark. Today, Steve Jackson Games and their ally John Kovalic got together to offer a truly unique item to the auction: an official Chez Geek card based on you. John Kovalic will create the artwork based on a photo the auction winner provides, and Steve Jackson will create rules and text for the card, which will be game legal. Hell, I haven’t even played the game, and I’m tempted to bid… except that it’s already at $180.

Legion of Lost Souls Heading to Printer

Wednesday, October 17th, 2001

Privateer Press announced that the conclusion of the Witchfire Trilogy, The Legion of Lost Souls, shipped to the printer yesterday, and should be arriving in stores in about a month. The Trilogy’s final installment has been expanded to 96 pages, and will retail for $12.95. Definitely worth waiting for, though Privateer’s teasing us a bit more with some preview artwork on their main webpage: a woman named Selar, “Crime lord, heavy drinker, half-elf.” Sounds like a personals ad gone horribly wrong. S1/2EF into good livin’ and the underworld, seeks S1/2EM or SEM with good CON and pickpocket experience…

Hip Pocket Game Line Launched
Cheapass Games has added a product page for Nexus, the first of their Hip Pocket Game line. The new strategy game seems to be packaged minimally in a ziplock bag, just like The Big Cheese and a few other Cheapass titles. The Nexus description mentions the next Hip Pocket Game title as well, a great market-building game called Agora, which will arrive “in the next few months.”

Happy birthday to Cheryl, my

Wednesday, October 17th, 2001

Happy birthday to Cheryl, my wife and best friend. Without your help and understanding, OgreCave would not exist. Happy birthday, sweetie!