Archive for October, 2001

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
has added a product page for , 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!

A Future for Fighting Fantasy?

Tuesday, October 16th, 2001

A few days ago, posted a rumor that some of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks (which include such classics as The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and Deathtrap Dungeon) may return to print in the near future. Although this republication is by no means a sure thing, the new interview with series co-founder Steve Jackson verifies that a publisher has expressed interest and that there is indeed hope for the books’ return. With a little luck, perhaps the near-dry gamebook market will start to show a few new signs of life….

Rogue Publishing Offers Trip Directly to Hell

Tuesday, October 16th, 2001

Rogue Publishing, an interesting e-publisher which splits its time between reprinting classic swashbuckling fiction and releasing new role-playing products, has just announced the availability of a new adventure: The Collectors: The Burning House. This 81-page PDF file costs $4.50 to download, which is a pretty good deal considering it contains the complete rules of Fudge plus a full-length adventure. In it, the players are cast as novice “collectors,” demons sent to pick up a soul on Earth and bring it to Hell. This mission works as a stand-alone adventure or as the start of a longer campaign, and it should make an interesting change of pace from just about any regular campaign. With Halloween rapidly approaching, players may also want to check out the company’s first RPG release: Priceless, a stand-alone live-action role-playing adventure containing quite a few good scares.

Pokemon Craze Returns From Grave To Feast On Flesh Of Living

Monday, October 15th, 2001

As long as we’re at ICV2, check this: Yu-Gi-Oh, the show and game that unseated Pokemon as the one true god of the youth of Japan, has come to America and is already getting huge ratings. One interesting piece of news is that Yu-Gi-Oh is even more fiendishly tied in with its associated product than Pokemon was, relating the purchasable CCG cards directly to the successes and failures of the plot’s protagonist (as a result, the show had to be cut – boohoo, otaku – to comply with kids’-programming regulations here in the States). What’s next? A show that plots itself, Torg-like, based on the aggregated results of actual tournament games? A show in which a young boy must collect and marshal tiny heroic figures with little dials in their bases, or else he’ll never defeat his evil father and take his rightful place beside his queen-mother on the throne? Jeez.

White Wolf: “We’re Number One! We’re Number One!”

Monday, October 15th, 2001

ICV2 has the scoop, because they always do: “In the White Wolf presentation at the Diamond/Alliance Retailer Summit in Las Vegas last week, Director of Sales Fred Yelk announced that, ‘White Wolf Publishing is determined to become the #1 independent publisher of d20 products.’ The company is scaling up to be able to produce five d20 products per month in 2002.” I have a feeling that 2002 for d20 is going to look and feel like the WWF – lots of smack-talk, drama and big players. Given Sword and Sorcery/Necromancer Games/Fiery Dragon/Malhavoc Press, the Arthaus brand Ravenloft is under, and White Wolf itself, they could easily become the biggest d20 publisher without anyone’s actually noticing how huge they are. On the other hand, they could also do it solely by recycling old products, as the ICV2 article goes on to imply.

Zombies!!! Playtest Report

Sunday, October 14th, 2001

Play on a biiig table. It took us about 2 hours to play our first four-player game of Zombies (so figure on 90 minutes once you get up to speed), and the whole deck of map tiles did come out. You will be needing lotsa space. And if you suck at zombie-killing as much as we did, the 100 included zombie pawns might not quite be enough. For all our stumbling, though, we had a great time. If I have a complaint, it’s that things can feel isolationist – you don’t really interact with other players on your turn, or very directly at all. You can only mess with them via cards in your hand (cards that mess with other players are maybe 40% of the card mix?) and by moving a few zombies toward them at the end of your turn. There are some vaguenesses in the rules as well – we still don’t know if the grenade Nathan lobbed at the police station should have won him the game on body count or not.

Zombies’ randomness and reliance on fun, exception-based cards give it the feel of a fast, silly game, although it actually has the pace and resource-management decisions of a longer, more serious board game. It’s a curious balance and I’m psyched to try it again. Pick it up fast, though, because the company has reportedly sold out, and given the layoffs, we’ll have to see if they print any more. At least it’s cheap. (You know, if I were USPC, I might wonder a bit about a division that put full-color cards with gorgeous art, specially-cut color map tiles, and 106 custom-molded plastic parts in a box and sold it for $19.95. They can’t be losing money on every sale… can they?)