I always forget to check ICv2 and then find great news there two weeks later, so it’s no surprise that I missed it on Christmas Day. But that was when WizKids announced they’re spinning off Ral Partha. Effective on Tuesday (that’s the first of the new year, if you’re… dumb), RP will operate independently from its new location in Ohio. No word on whether it will continue to produce Mage Knight Metal, although there’s every reason to expect they will. The only odd thing is the fact that they recently sold off some figure rights to a now-competitor. Oops?
Archive for December, 2001
Apparently, there are some words in The Slayer’s Guide to Amazons too, and if you’d rather someone else read them for you, we’ve got you covered. Hence, Matthew Pook hits you with a review. You’re welcome.
WH40K CCG FAQ – Well, Actually Just Rules, But How Could I Not Type That
A reasonably complete sketch of the rules to the Warhammer 40K card game are online at Sabertooth Games. I still haven’t gotten to play with my deck, but it looks like an interesting game with some bluff to it. Although it’s played across five distinct territories, it doesn’t really look like a positional game. There are some pretty deeply positional CCGs, though, which I’m currently looking into to inform my Vortex review, which I will finish in a week or two, thank you. Anyway. There is also a WH40K CCG FAQ, sort of, which actually looks helpful.
While the RPG department at Decipher gains momentum by the day, it looks like their CCG department is having its legs cut out from beneath it. On the company’s website today, Decipher CEO Warren Holland provided extensive quotes from a July 2000 presentation made to Lucasfilm executives. The quotes were “provided simply as an indication of what Decipher wanted to do for our customers in the areas of Marketing and Public Relations, Digital Cards, Star Wars CCG 2nd Edition and more.” The final few sentences of the presentation quotes are particularly interesting:
Lucasfilm can achieve all its goals for this category and more by embracing Decipher as a partner and not abandoning two of the strongest brands and game engines in the CCG industry. Imagine for a moment that our competitor chose a strategy of abandoning Magic: The Gathering… It’s silly brand management. Yet Wizards is asking Lucasfilm to do just that with Star Wars CCG and Young Jedi.
Our customers feel ‘ownership’ of these games… In fact, our customers have nearly a quarter of a billion dollars invested in our Star Wars CCGs. How can you abandon that?
[Lucasfilm did not grant the license extension to Decipher.]
Sounds like we’re just now hearing that license negotiations back in July of ’00 didn’t go so well for Decipher, and WotC may be to blame. To repeat, Lucasfilm has decided not to renew Decipher’s CCG license past the end of this year and Decipher’s current manufacturing and sell-off period is through April 30, 2002
Mongoose Goes On Crusade
Mongoose Publishing just won’t rest. As if they weren’t releasing enough major projects next year, Crusades of Valour: When Gods Collide has just been announced. The 128-page sourcebook will be written by Paul Cockburn and have cover art by Chris Quilliams. According to a post on the mailing list, the book “will introduce religious crusades into any campaign world. Huge, kingdom-sweeping wars erupt as religions clash, knightly orders engage in deadly combat and even the gods themselves may walk the world in order to galvanise their followers into final victory.” Several new knightly orders are promised to be in the book, which is scheduled for a March 2002 release.
Matthew has given us two more d20 reviews to round out the year with. The first is The Last Dance, a ghostly mystery of an adventure from Atlas Games. Our second review is of Assault on Darkspyre from Hammerdog Games, wherein the players help bring down an archmage’s fortress because his neighbors don’t like magic. Can’t we all just get along?
Once Bitten, Twice Eden
Got two Eden Studios tidbits for ya. First, the official website for Eden’s upcoming Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG is up, but there isn’t much there yet. Second, a single errata correction for the KoDT: HACK! Card Game has been posted here. You may now resume playing.
Speaking of Errata…
Wizards of the Coast has posted the updated errata from the Fighters and Monks book, Sword & Fist. I suspect it’s a bit more than replacing accidental usage of “feet” with “feat,” but I haven’t read through the corrections yet.
I just learned on the gamebook mailing list that the wonderful Time Machine series of interactive books has been re-released in eBook format. Although aimed at children, these are among the most effectively-written and interesting of the many “Choose Your Own Adventure”-type books released in the eighties. At $3.99 each, the new electronic editions cost twice as much as the original paperbacks did, but it’s still a pretty good deal if you want to relive your childhood adventures or learn about history in a game-like manner. The series can be purchased at Amazon.com and several other sellers of eBooks.
Mongoose Publishing has just announced that Gary Gygax himself will be writing The Slayer’s Guide to Dragons. Gygax, along with Jon Cretfield and two other developers, will create a 128-page monster of a book. According to Gygax, “We plan to bring you fresh perspectives on the ancient race of dragons, plus many brand new things to broaden and enhance your gaming. After all, dragons can only deserve the very best.” Artist Chris Quilliams, the guy responsible for the excellent anatomical illustrations the series has had thus far (as well as the infamous Amazons centerfold), will do both the cover and interior art for the book. The Slayer’s Guide to Dragons is scheduled for release in Summer 2002.
Well, actually, you should buy it because it’s been the most commonly-played game out of everything I’ve been bringing to game nights over the past three months. It’s called Laguna, and it’s German. Its regular game page on Funagain is here if you want to see pictures, but if you’re reading this in 2002 or later, be advised that you missed a sweet clearance deal. Laguna is a bit like a real-time RoboRally – I know, that has a bunch of you heading for the aisles already, but it’s not anywhere near as convoluted as RR, so stay with me. Players control “rafts” – little wood rectangles with six holes in them – and try to ferry marbles of their color into a volcano in the center of the board. Marbles you carry cover holes in your raft, which is good, because if a “current” arrow on the board’s grid shows up through your raft, you’ve got to follow it, and if a reef shows up, the rest of your 30-second turn (a sand timer is included) will go to the next player. It’s not so time-pressured as to be out-of-control, and it leads to a lot of very engaged path-finding and occasional resigned meandering. Pick it up, and something else if you feel like it and want to be nice to us.
WizKids have declared this to be Dragon Month (in mid-December? Must be that new math). Each Friday for the next three weeks, the WizKids website will be posting a Mage Knight scenario that revolves around one of those big-ass dragon figures. Why post these scenarios (aside from the coolness factor, that is)? According to the press release, “Part of the reason for giving you these scenarios is to prepare you for the new large scale Mage Knight rules that will be coming out in a few months, and partially because it’s a lot of fun to play a dragon!” The first scenario, “Raze,” is already available, in both WORD and PDF files.
In A One-Horse Open Slay…
It has come to our attention that most of you haven’t even noticed our subtle change in decor. Yep, Santa’s out exploring and hunting for gold pieces. How’d you think Santa pays his elves? Them union workers ain’t cheap.
Bastion Press announced two new additions to its Board of Directors: Ryan Dancey and Cathleen Adkison. If you’ve never heard of those names, go review the press release. Of course, if you’ve never heard those names, there’s a few other names you probably missed. We’ll start with a little company called Wizards of the Coast…
Privateer Press has posted a freebie for the third installment of their Witchfire Trilogy, The Legion of Lost Souls. The downloadable PDF has a map prop to give the players. Unless, like me, you prefer them to stumble around, lost and defenseless.
Amazons! Everywhere You Look — Amazons!!
MicroTactix has a new entry in their Budget Battlefield Army Pack line: the Amazon Army. The cardstock figures are inexpensive ($6 for the set), and are a great alternative to expensive miniatures. Those who play d20 could even use the figures with a certain Lay-er’s Guide to Amazons — er, sorry, that should be Slayer’s Guide. The centerfold threw me.
According to a recent press release, WizKids has sold off some of the Ral Partha rights to Iron Wind Metals, which plans to continue some of the product lines. Bravo, I say… as long as the figures live up to the Ral Partha standard. Guess Iron Wind will carry on with the traditional Battletech miniatures line while WizKids works steadily toward the release of the collectible version, ala Mage Knight, discussed in this interview.
A Little Poll Dancing For Ya
Yuk. Forget I said that.
And in case you hadn’t noticed, we’ve got a new poll up. Go vote!
One of the pillars of the gaming industry, Wargames West, will be closing its doors for good at the end of this month. CEO Wayne Godfrey sent out this message today to clients and industry friends:
After twenty years of business in our industry, I have decided to close Wargames West Distribution at the end of 2001. It has been a wonderful twenty years. I am looking forward to enjoying other aspects of my life. Our employees have supported both Wargames and myself loyally. I ask that you support them now as they seek other opportunities for their lives.
Knowing that many of you have placed your faith and confidence in us, I am determined that we close our business as clean and untarnished as possible.For our vendor friends, all debts will be reconciled and paid with return merchandise as we can mutually agree. For our customer friends, we have arranged with ACD Distribution to seamlessly transfer their accounts with a minimum of hassles. ACD will have access to our credit records, as law permits, to assure a smooth transition for any customers who choose this route. Should our customers desire other arrangements we would be happy to refer them to any of a number of fine distribution operations such as ABC, Alliance, Centurion, Gameboard or Georgia Music.
We have ceased ordering products as of Tuesday, December 11th. We will cease receiving merchandise in our warehouse after December 21st. Our regular sales operations and 800 lines will cease operating after Dec 28th. We intend to offer additional discounts for bill payment and closing orders and our sales staff will be contacting you to assist you in this transition.
I want to thank all our employees, both in Memphis and in Albuquerque for their loyal service and devotion to customers. I would also like to thank our many, many customers, past and present, for their faith in us even when times were rocky. And lastly our manufacturers, without whose help none of our business would have been possible.
How blessed we all are to work in such a fine and wonderful industry with so many creative, talented and warm people.
Thank you all for all the many wonderful years!
There was nothing quite like thumbing through the old Wargames West catalogs and choosing items to order. All of us here at OgreCave wish the employees of Wargames West all the best in their future endeavors.