Archive for February, 2002

Arkham Horror 15th Anniversary Edition Announced

Thursday, February 28th, 2002

Yes, drooling Cthulhu fanatics, Chaosium has finally answered your fevered prayers by announcing a 15th Anniversary Edition of Arkham Horror. Set for a late Summer/Fall 2002 release, demo games are already planned for Origins and GenCon this year. The infamous Cthulhu boardgame of monster hunting and insanity has been highly sought after for years, so I expect this to be another hot product at work. Just hope nothing seeps out of the boxes and into my office. It’s creepy enough around here already.

Steve Jackson Ships Robin Laws GM Guide, New Editions Of Damn Near Everything (But Not GURPS… Yet)

Wednesday, February 27th, 2002

Not only does today’s Daily Illuminator announce the shipment of Robin’s Laws of Good Gamemastering, a general guide to GMing by the renowned designer, new editions of Chez Geek and GURPS Horror, a Deadlands-branded Frag (is there a Wild West FPS they could have grabbed the license for?), the first supplement for Transhuman Space and a whole mess of other crap, but buried deep in sjgames.com is a page that turns out to be a survey about what you want in GURPS Fourth Edition. So, that edition is still a long way off, clearly, but go on and make your voice heard.

Deadlands Conversion Rules Coming Next Week

Tuesday, February 26th, 2002

Until now, Pinnacle had been sticking to their guns by saying there would be no conversion rules to take original Deadlands across to Deadlands D20. But next Tuesday, Pinnacle will finally relent and give conversion guidelines to players new and old. Shane Hensley described the rules as they’re shaping up so far:

It’s completely dependent on the level of your party. …The new rules we’re polishing up right now take that into account so you can tailor NPCs and monsters to your posses’ relative level. It isn’t exact at the extremes, and you’ll still have to fudge some, but this should help those of you who are new to Deadlands convert some of our classic products to your new Deadlands D20 game. We’re also featuring official translations of some of our key products in future versions of the Epitaph.

This will be one more step toward my Grand Unified RPG, wherein one character can be converted to any game. Though it would be much easier if a GURPS: D20 existed. Hey, I can dream. ;-)

Castle Dunmere Review

Monday, February 25th, 2002

Joe delves into the fortress and its surroundings in our new review of Castle Dunmere, a d20 adventure from Citizen Games. What evil lurks in the heart of the castle? I ain’t tellin’ — but Joe is. Go take a look.

Green Ronin Gives Freeport Peek

Monday, February 25th, 2002

The crime-ridden district of Freeport known as Scurveytown is detailed in Green Ronin‘s online preview of Freeport: City of Adventure. The three-page preview describes things such as the Beggar’s Market, and Krom’s Throat, a rather unsavory orc bar that requires hosing down each morning. The preview, combined with the reports of full-color fold-out maps, makes City of Adventure one I’ll be watching for when it ships next month.

Roleplaying Tips Weekly #112
This week’s installment of Roleplaying Tips advises GMs on how to use music to enhance your roleplaying sessions. Personally, I favor scaring the wits out of the players with the soundtrack to Aliens, but that’s just me.

Rio Grande Games Just Can’t Stop

Monday, February 25th, 2002

Hot on the heels of the last one, Rio Grande Games has released another newsletter! It elaborates on Dragonland and Clash of the Gladiators (both of which turn out to be Reiner Knizia designs), and it also describes a previously unmentioned (if memory serves) April release: Pizarro & Co., a game in which players take on the roles of kings and hire explorers to bring them wealth and glory from the New World. Sounds promising to me!

Ronin War First Look (Or, A Savage Journey Into The Heart Of The Swedish Dream)

Sunday, February 24th, 2002

Having to glue things together sucks. I mean, sure, I’m spoiled, wargames, uphill in the snow, yada blah foo. Maybe it’s just the plastic that’s giving me trouble. I tried to separate the little tank and airplane units, the ones that don’t require any gluing, and found that the connections to the plastic sprue were so thick that the model would splinter and peel a bit when I twisted it. X-Acto isn’t doing a great job hacking these things either. I have put together all of the stubby little Raider units, which are cute as buttons. But friends tell me that the Ronin themselves are difficult to put together even for experienced modelers. So, if you’re mechanically declined, that’s reason #1 to wait for MechWarrior.

A possible reason #2 is the frequent stipulation that the weapons and parts with which you customize your models actually be glued on. They do provide a number of tiny little magnetic balls, which you use to stick little wound-flags on your Ronin when they’re hit. That’s cool, but why not go all the way and design the weapons and weapon-placement points to take magnets too? Because then you’d have replayability with the models you spent all that time and money on, and wouldn’t have to go buy more when you want to change your strategy? Could be!

For a lot of people, the thick, difficult-to-read catalog of weapons and their in-game effects will be reason #3 to lower themselves to playing with pre-painted rubbery guys for their giant-robot combat jollies. Having all the numbers you need right there in the base is definitely worth such humiliation. So, the “user interface,” if you will, of Ronin War is looking a little sub-optimal. But I still want to know about the game that’s under there, dammit, so even if this ends up being another case of “good game, bad situation,” I’m going to soldier on through and let you know. Eventually. In the next couple of days, I’ll be able to tell you more about the actual rules. As far as playtesting, we’ll have to see. Keep your fingers crossed that I don’t mortally wound myself with the knives, the files, or with my luck, the glue.

New Review – Backdrops

Friday, February 22nd, 2002

Once again, Matthew dives into a d20 supplement to give us the skinny. This time, it’s Backdrops from our friends at Atlas Games. How does a book of two-page city settings fare in Matthew’s estimation? Click over and have a look. The Penumbra line is coming along quite well, I’d say.

Undersea Number-Stacking

Thursday, February 21st, 2002

Invisible City Productions has posted another game of the month. This time it’s Sharon J. Cichelli’s Coral Reef, a two-player strategy game played with either two decks of playing cards or a set of number tiles. If you’re looking for a fast and simple time-filler, this should please you.

Vampire Hunters Of Europe, Rejoice!

Wednesday, February 20th, 2002

Gamers in Europe will soon sink their teeth into their first taste of the Buffy CCG. According to the official newsletter, “Buffy CCG cards will be heading over to Europe as early as next week, for an immediate release upon arrival.” The cards were obviously slowed in their journey overseas, for which they had to be in their coffin. Am I trying too hard with these vampire jokes? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

New Review – Skraag: City of Orcs
As you can see, we’ve posted another review from Matthew, this time delving into Skraag: City of Orcs by Mongoose Publishing. Humans, elves and the rest might have trouble adventuring in Skraag, but we’ve got the lowdown on what the book offers. Got Orcs?

The Return of Mythrole

Tuesday, February 19th, 2002

This seems the be the week of returning web sites; after a long downtime, Mythrole Games‘ site is back up on a new server. It doesn’t have any new announcements on it just yet, but there seem to be rumblings of something to come.

Piecepack Contest Announced
James Kyle has announced a competition to design a new set of rules for his Piecepack generic board game system. The theme is “Time Marches On,” the deadline is March 15, and the prize is a pocket-sized Piecepack set.

Details on Unknown Armies Second Edition, More

Monday, February 18th, 2002

John Tynes‘ weblog, Dispatches from Revland, is a particularly good thing to read right now. It features copious details about the upcoming second edition of Unknown Armies (including a tentative completion date of April), the cover of said edition, a nugget of joy from the RPGnet forums, and a couple of true stories that are simply amazing. The one thing you should know about the UA book (that is, the one thing you should know if you prefer not to follow links and simply remain here, basking in the glory of the Cave) is that the book is structured in four parts. You know how many RPG books have the first section for players and the section for GMs? UA2 will have section 1 for players in campaigns where they aren’t supposed to know that much… then another section for players who know a little more… then a section for players who really see inside things… then the GM section. It’s an easy way for gamers to dial the game to any kind of campaign they want to run. Impressive stuff.

Holy Flying Crap, There’s Going To Be A Wheel Of Time Supplement

Monday, February 18th, 2002

The book that stood alone stands alone no more! Wizards has just announced (well, they probably announced it before but now they’re screaming about it) The Wheel Of Time: Prophecies of the Dragon, a nearly 200-page six-part campaign supplement. The events in the campaign dovetail neatly with the first five WoT novels, as the players are “faced with a Darkfriend plot that will destroy Rand al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn, unless they can prevent it.” Rad. Maybe that guy who came to Endgame last week and stared at the Wheel of Time book for 45 minutes before deciding not to buy it will get off the fence now.

So Did Anything Happen At DunDraCon?

Monday, February 18th, 2002

Yeah, I guess so. A whole mess – possibly an entire passel – of Hero System fans were hanging around the joint, enjoying Hero Games‘ celebration of the 5th edition going to press. We also heard news from Ken Hite of Decipher, who assiduously avoided saying that he knew anything about when anything was coming out, although the new Star Trek RPG players’ guide is at the printer now. Allan has the notes on that one so I’ll let him post the full story. There was a great talk about massively multiplayer online gaming, which conclusively proved that no interesting new online games will be made, ever. I also got to play Diceland with James Ernest, who was overheard drooling when I took out my giant Icehouse pieces. We’re still kind of recovering and will have more details soon.

AdvancedFightingFantasy.com Returning Soon

Saturday, February 16th, 2002

If you’ve tried to visit AdvancedFightingFantasy.com lately, you’ve probably noticed that it’s not there anymore. This is because it got so much traffic in the wake of its announcement of the Fighting Fantasy reprints that its cheapo web host got overwhelmed and took it down. Fortunately, the site will be returning within the next week or so with the help of a more reliable service provider, so news on the future of gamebooks will once again be available in the near future.