Archive for July, 2002

Humans Continue To Occupy Landfill

Wednesday, July 31st, 2002

The CaBil, in association with Dirt Merchant Games, is bringing Human-occupied Landfill back into the light. HoL 2nd edition will ship to distributors next week, and will be at the Wizard’s Attic booth at GenCon. The hand-drawn book (yes, even the text. Yes, that book) will retail for $20, and may sell out again on novelty factor alone.

Buffy RPG To Premiere At GenCon
Eden Studios has announced that the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG has gone into the final stages of printing, and will be available at GenCon. Copies of both the regular and limited edition versions will be available, and are sure to go fast. When you get to GenCon, head to booth 848 and stake your claim.

Origins 2002 Deemed A Success
The numbers are in, and according to GAMA Executive Director Mark Simmons, Origins 2002 had a total attendance of 11,299 people. This estimate has a lower margin of error than in previous years (only 4% this year) due to new registration software. Naturally, GAMA aims to reach even higher numbers next year.

Mutant Card Game on the Way!

Wednesday, July 31st, 2002

We have all seen our precious pen and paper games turned into computer games.  Well card players rejoice, for the tables have turned.  Access Denied is the new computer hacker card game from Interformic Games.  With a 63 card deck it is up to you to crack the code before anyone else.  At the same time you have to protect your system from others.  Interformic Games has posted a list of startup cards on their site.  Ok.  You be Yahoo and I will be some recluse who sits in his basement and can’t handle social contact.  Ready…Set…Go!

Mutants and Masterminds Art and Characters Revealed
Green Ronin has posted two of the characters used to playtest their yet to be released Mutants and Masterminds.  Sam Wood (of D&D 3ed fame) did sketches of two characters, Inferna and the Pugilist from which author Steve Kenson created playable characters.  Inferna is a smoking teenage girl (I mean that literally, she smokes like a Yule log) who has been involved with some shady government chaps. The Pugilist is an immoral boxer who shows up whenever there is boxing to be done or worlds to be saved (where was he when we all had to sit through the Tom Cruise boxing scenes in Far and Away?).  Due in October 2002, Mutants and Masterminds promises to be one heck of a $32.00 rulebook.

Retailers To Games Workshop: Stop Poking Me

Monday, July 29th, 2002

Also from ICv2, an uncharacteristically long article about a statement signed by 52 retailers, officially compaining about GW policies. I’ve always been surprised that Games Workshop gets away with as much as it does, and, well, I don’t expect anything to change – WotC’s been the target of retailer ire like this before and has typically responded with a big fat yawn. Games Workshop has even less incentive to make substantive changes, given that it, you know, actually makes money and stuff. GW gamers just want nice deals on their models and either exhibit retailer loyalty or don’t – and increasingly, that retailer is a GW-owned store like the brand new one I just visited in San Francisco’s Metreon. It was, um, very clean.

Few More Details On Simpsons CCG

Monday, July 29th, 2002

The redoubtable ICv2 has a little more background. Garfield isn’t on the design team, but several WotC R&D longtimers are. This story seems to suggest that this game will be pitched more as geek bait than as mainstream crossover material, which may be appropriate for the audience the show has today. I worry, though – because that’s what I’m good at, okay? – that this will become some kind of embarrassing quote-fest where you get points for yelling things out on cue like an electrically stimulated paramecium. It’s not that I never quote anymore – I’ve even been known to quote Python still – but, like a lot of forms of geek humor, it doesn’t actually take much thought, you know? When I first realized how much of my brain was, from someone else’s perspective, occupied by pop culture, I resolved to start thinking of a few of my own things to say. But I’m probably worrying for nothing; no one’s going to remake the Austin Powers CCG or anything. Which I’ve never actually played, so I guess I shouldn’t bag on it. Whatever. I have peas.

Sword of Justice Review

Monday, July 29th, 2002

Joe’s been busy lately. His latest review tests the metal (*ahem*) of the d20 adventure The Sword of Justice by Monkeygod Enterprises. Just how sharp is the book? Have a look and find out.

Grey Ghost Press is Coming to Change your Game

Monday, July 29th, 2002

Gamemastering Secrets Second Edition is at the printers.  Grey Ghost Press has been promised 100 copies of their gaming opus by the time GenCon opens in August. This is going to be a great for all you first time GMs, you can learn the craft from the masters at Grey Ghost Press.  For a look at the table of contents, cover art and more goodies, check out the official Gamemastering Secrets Second Edition web site.  Will this thing explain the particulars of running a Slaad Lord bordello?  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Masters of Arms Previews from Second World Simulations
The nice folks at Second World Simulations have been nice enough to post a ZIP preview of their upcoming September release Master at Arms.  Filled with all kinds of new crunchy bits for your more violent characters, among other things Master at Arms introduces two new prestige classes ( the Dual Sai Master and the Crossbow Master) each with their own special way of smiting the more deserving monsters and bad guys.

Interview: Mystic Eye Games

Monday, July 29th, 2002

For all you d20 enthusiasts out there, we start the week out right by bringing you an interview with Mystic Eye Games. Find out more about the d20 company that could end up a coastal wizard in its own right someday.

Major Mongoose Update

Sunday, July 28th, 2002

The Mongoose Publishing website has been updated with specifics on the company’s new releases: the Slaine RPG, The Sleeping Kin and The Rookie’s Guide to Psi-Talent for Judge Dredd, Quintessential Monk, Encylopedia Arcane: Chronomancy, and The Slayer’s Guide to Medusas. The product schedule has been extended through the rest of the year, as well.

Oh Crap, Something Else I Forgot To Post From Origins

Saturday, July 27th, 2002

At the talk Reiner Knizia gave on game design (I told a couple people I’d post my notes from his talk here, but he made a joke about how he didn’t have notes to give out himself, and if he did, he’d lie about it – that made me believe that he wouldn’t want them floating around the net), he showed the cover to the Sauron expansion for the Lord of the Rings board game. It says 3 to 6 players on the cover, whereas the core game and the Friends and Foes expansion say 2 to 5. Hmm… and the cover has a picture of the, um, those guys, the Dark Riders or something? Ringwraiths? Yeah, ringwraiths. So, it adds a player and it has ringwraiths in it. Do The Proverbial Math. (I admit I was only reminded of this by the FFG Rants page, which will further give it away for you.)

Jade Magi & Bugbears

Saturday, July 27th, 2002

We’ve got a pair of new reviews for you this morning: Greg’s look at Jade Magi Sewer Crawl by Monkeygod Enterprises, and Matthew’s analysis of The Slayer’s Guide to Bugbears by Mongoose Publishing. Have at them!

Fantasy Flight Releases D20 On Multiple Fronts

Thursday, July 25th, 2002

Though still getting former AEG guy Kevin Wilson settled, Fantasy Flight has managed to keep cranking out the hits. The Nocturnum campaign just might be available in time for GenCon, which is sure to decrease the sanity of many Call of Cthulhu D20 characters. The modern day horror campaign details more than a dozen adventures that all lead toward a final, apocalyptic ending. In the meantime, Path of the Sword has run the gauntlet of printing devices and is now available. A sourcebook for the combative types (fighters, rangers, barbarians and monks), the book will introduce the concept of the Legendary Class, “high-level prestige classes for characters that have grown to such ability that they have become legends in their own time.” A variety of other rules will be presented as well, of course (an eight-page preview is available for the curious).

Daddy, Build Us A Mech
I have no choice but to applaud this sort of insanity. Next on the building schedule: a Death Star the size of the Epcot ball. Hey, now there’s a theme day I’d make the trip to Disneyworld for. Now you will witness the power of this fully operational theme park!

Cheapass Switches Promo Ploys At GenCon

Thursday, July 25th, 2002

For the past few years, Cheapass Games has run ads in the program books at Origins and GenCon. Usually, these featured free Button Men that could be cut out at the Cheapass booth and made into the fully operational model. This GenCon, the company’s skipped that in favor of a Milwaukee area newspaper coupon, which can be redeemed at the Cheapass booth for a copy of the new Hip-Pocket style game, Swag. If you can’t find the coupon, you’ll get a free copy along with a purchase of $25 or more. Freeloader will also be available at the convention, though in a pre-release form. So you’ll have to be content with an entire free game this year, and if you really want some new Button Men, you can order the new Diceland Button Men exclusively through the Cheapass website.

Boston Massacre Next Month

Thursday, July 25th, 2002

The first supplement for Tyranny GamesThe End is at the printers and scheduled to reach stores next month. Entitled The Boston Massacre, the book will provide details on the Boston region, describe the Boston-D.C. conflict, and supply game stats for the area’s important personalities. A new class, the Founder Reborn, will rear its battle-scarred head as well. Also, if you missed the limited edition, black cover of The End, there may be a few lurking at the Tyranny booth at GenCon.

Hay! Battle Cattle Minis Re-Release

Wednesday, July 24th, 2002

Wingnut Games has just released the Battle Cattle miniatures with new (and greatly improved) packaging. The Medium Battle Cattle is also seeing light for the first time in this release, so those of us who got our figs from the first release still need to get to stores for the new combatant. These figs add a lot to any session of bovine combat, so if you indulge in cattle carnage from time to time, you need to check these out. I cud you not.

Rio Grande Update

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2002

Rio Grande Games has released another newsletter. The highlights of the newsletter are descriptions of two forthcoming games: Trans America, a railroad game due in late August, and Heave Ho!, a Scottish tug of war game (!) featuring Nessie (!!) due out in late August or September. The newsletter also mentions that several additional titles are in the works, but it looks like we’ll have to wait until the next issue for titles or details….

Krusty Would Approve

Monday, July 22nd, 2002

Wizards of the Coast has announced plans for The Simpsons TCG. The game will first arrive this October in the form of 40-card decks featuring Bart, Homer, Lisa or Mr Burns. Naturally, 11-card boosters will also be available. Ex-cellent.

Interview With Bad Axe Games
Joe has cornered Bad Axe Games for a few questions, and we’ve got the Q&A available for you. Go have a look at what this new D20 company had to say.

Treeforts Appear in Invisible City

Sunday, July 21st, 2002

Invisible City Productions has released a larger-than-average game of the month this week: Treefort Nations. In this strategy game, players control territorial monkeys building treeforts in the Great Wood and attacking one another with catapults. The game can be played by two to eight players, takes anywhere from a couple hours to a couple days (depending on the number of participants and starting resources) and requires only a six-sided die, some coins, and a few printouts to play.

Green Ronin to Arm Everyone

Friday, July 19th, 2002

Green Ronin has struck a deal with Charles Ryan to publish a D20 version of his ground breaking Ultramodern Firearms.  Ultramodern Firearms was originally released by Chameleon Eclectic in 1993 but fell by the wayside when Chameleon Eclectic went under. The new edition will feature all manner of new and deadly weapons.  Green Ronin expect the D20 version to be just as good as the original.   “Since Charles is on the design team for d20 Modern,” adds Pramas, “the new mechanics will be impeccable.” Just in time for Christmas, you can gun down someone you love.

Games Workshop Wins the Battle
In their real life game of capture the flag, Games Workshop has recovered their standard, the Battle Wagon.  As you will remember the wagon was stolen from a motel parking lot last week.  Well the van has tuned up, but with no signs of the dastardly villains who swiped it in the first place.  This story is far from over.  Games Workshop is still offering a large reward to anyone who gives up these traitorous souls.  So inform now and avoid the rush.

Gregory Horror Show: Nevermind

Friday, July 19th, 2002

Played it. Tried to figure out how it used the booster minis, as we hoped that would alleviate the slow-as-snails, isolationist game that came in the core box. Turns out that the minis are either supposed to get brought in when you happen to draw a card that depicts the monster mini you own, or when you make something called a “shady deal” that involves a short stack of monster cards in your own deck, which the rules never adequately explain how you’re supposed to use anyway. Maybe I’m dumb and haven’t read the rules thoroughly enough, instead going by the way the Upper Deck rep taught me to play, but maybe the rules shouldn’t be this poorly organized and dense. In either case, you’d still be asked to move your pawn across a fifty-space-wide board, with a 25% chance of getting two spaces of movement on your turn. And maybe getting up to five.

I’d recommend picking up some of the miniatures boosters, for use in your Cheapass gaming, Epic Duels, or just as top-of-the-monitor toys, whatever. If you do end up picking up the core game box, though, try the following:

  • Double the movement values on the movement table.
  • Sort the monster cards for the minis you own out of the deck before play starts. Take turns selecting a mini and placing it in either the Roaming Monster spots or the Monster Traps. Then begin play as normal.
  • Better yet, play as a Feral Monster, with the attendant special abilities.

I hope that teaches you all a little lesson.

WotC Rumblings: Online Store, E-Tools, And So On

Thursday, July 18th, 2002

With Hasbro’s quarterly earnings announcement due this coming Monday, it comes as no surprise that Wizards of the Coast‘s online store has closed down. Why? Because WotC has finally announced part of what’s been rumored for weeks now: someone else will be handling online retail sales for them from now on (specifically, SVGames, LLC). WotC wasn’t selling anything at their booth at Origins last month, reportedly due to a clause in the new contract with SVGames. Will WotC’s retail stores be sold off soon as well, fulfilling the other part of the prophesy? Perhaps we’ll see on Monday.

According to a post on Fluid Entertainment’s boards by Fluid’s Scott Matthews, the D&D3 eTools will be released at GenCon on Friday, August 9th. Scott will be giving a two-hour presentation of eTools the same day. The GM aid software will be sold on CD Rom, with an electronic manual crammed on it as well, but considering WotC’s recent retail wackiness, who knows if you’ll actually be able to get your hands on it at the convention. Scott expects the price to be around $30, but that’s just a guess.

WotC has also made some announcements regarding their product lines. The Wheel of Time RPG won’t be seeing any more supplements, nor will the recently cancelled Chainmail game see its planned September releases in their intended form. Instead, the figures from September’s sets will be sprinkled in amongst the Giants and Dragons I and II, and City of the Spider Queen sets. The reason given for shoving September’s figures out the door so haphazardly was difficulties in fitting them into the production schedule, plus, “This will allow us to better focus our efforts on the upcoming D&D miniatures game for Spring 2003.” Another one? Hoo-boy. I’m sure this one will overthrow Warhammer, and retailers everywhere will jump on the bandwagon without hesitation. Yeah, that’s the ticket…

By the way, there’s an online petition to change WotC’s mind about cancelling Chainmail, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

ENnies Awards Voting Open

Wednesday, July 17th, 2002

EN World has just opened up online voting for the seventeen categories of the ENnies. The awards focus on the same subject as EN World, the D20 System, and will announce the winners in a ceremony at GenCon next month.

Spiel Des Jahres Winner Speaks

Wednesday, July 17th, 2002

BrettBoard points us to this interview with Villa Paletti designer Bill Payne. Damn Canadians!

More Hard Sci-Fi, GURPS-Style

Wednesday, July 17th, 2002

Steve Jackson Games has scheduled a second edition of the GURPS Uplift sourcebook for release in October. Based on David Brin’s classic Uplift series, humans challenge the galactic status quo by daring to “uplift” chimpanzees and dolphins into tool-using sentience. After Transhuman Space and Traveller, this neatly positions GURPS as the premiere rpg system for “hard” science fiction. Now if only they would do Asimov’s Robot novels…

D20! Here Comes D6. HALO to the Rest of You!

Tuesday, July 16th, 2002

In the tradition of the D20 Open Game License, Eternal Tempest has released their core rules, HALO. Eternal Tempest is giving away the system for any game company or designer to use.  They have posted the core rule files and usage guidelines on their site for download.  The system has been the backbone of the Metalface game.

Book of the Righteous off to the Printer
Green Ronin‘s big August release is off to the printer.  In anticipation of Book of the Righteous, Green Ronin has published some goodies for us.  First an interview with Book of the Righteous designer Aaron Loeb.  Second, a two page preview from the book itself, showing off one of the many myths to be found in the book.  They are teasing us further by letting us know to look out for an entire sample church.  For those not in the know, Book of the Righteous is planned as a huge, hardback containing twenty fully developed churches for you to drop into any D20 campaign.  I wonder if they will take a swipe at Cthulhu again.

Games Workshop Releases New Evil Car
Well not a car, but they have redesigned their Space Marine Predator Tank.  Designed for WarHammer 40K games, the tank can be configured in either Annihilator or Destructor.  Can we get this thing made in rush hour in St. Louis mode?

Origins Photo Gallery Posted

Tuesday, July 16th, 2002

Mike took the digital camera along to Origins a week or so back, and now we’re showing you what he saw. Have a look-see at OgreCave’s Origins 2002 Photo Gallery. And if you feel tempted to push any little girls into the spike-lined trap, you’re a sick, sick individual. Welcome to the club. :-)

November At Goodman Games
With The Complete Guide to Velociraptors shipping now (the cover art makes me think of Torg‘s Living Land), Goodman Games has announced two more d20 products targeting a November release. The Aerial Adventure Guide series by Mike Mearls will continue with Vol. 3: Monsters, Magic, and Sky Ships. Flying vehicles from a variety of races will naturally be found in this supplement, along with mystic items and strange beasts. I find the “golems of the air” mentioned in the product description of particular interest, myself. New dragons and devils are also expected. The Complete Guide to Doppelgangers is the other November product, covering the shapeshifting species backwards and forwards. Author Keith Baker will provide combat tips, a species background, and even rules for Doppelganger characters, plus variations on the basic monster. Each of these nifty 32-page books will sell for $11 apiece and be just in time for your Thanksgiving weekend gaming.