The last time I was this excited about an upcoming online game, it wasn’t really about anything. This time, it’s about pirates, and since I basically look like one, well, you can imagine how I feel. Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates is the full title of the game, it’ll be available for Windows, Mac and Linux, and it’ll maybe ship this year even. (But maybe not.) In addition to a sophisticated economic system (you know, like in Pimps at Sea), you keep your ships going and your swords clashing by playing various puzzle games inspired by Tetris, Bejeweled, Alchemy and the like. I am rapidly becoming a world-class bilge pumper, thanks to my mad simple-pattern-recognition skills. w00t – uh, I mean, arrrr or something! Arrrr!
Archive for April, 2003
Mr. Buckethead, the superhero with a bucket for a head, now has a gamebook series thanks to Cybergecko, the company responsible for Super Giant Monster Showdown. In the Mr. Buckethead Adventure Game Series, readers wander from comic book panel to comic book panel (and sometimes from book to book) gathering items and companions and fighting dangerous foes. Two volumes are currently available and two more are currently in the works. Gamebook fans and appreciators of strangeness and rubber monsters should have lots of fun here; for more information, check out my review of the first two adventures over at Demian’s Gamebook Web Page.
CCG Workshop is an online purveyor of the cardboard crack of the past, and allegedly the future. Games currently playable online include DoomTrooper (if I’d known, I might not have spent five dollars on those five pounds of cards over the weekend), Wildstorms, BattleTech CCG, Kult, NetRunner (yaaaaay!), Shadowrun CCG, and the deadest of them all: Mythos. Those of you who don’t share my obsession with the lamented and/or lamentable CCGs of our history might be interested in the extensible gaming engine that allows for original, new games. They may be walking the line between good and evil when it comes to copyright, even though the games they’re serving up thus far are no longer in print – and it’s ambiguous as to whether they’ll be charging for their service in the future. So download now or frown loads later.
Myriador, a new D20 publisher, has made arrangements with Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone to adapt their Fighting Fantasy gamebooks into D20 modules. The first two titles are The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and Caverns of the Snow Witch, and other classics like Deathtrap Dungeon should be on their way. The initial titles were unveiled at Gen Con Europe, where Steve Jackson (the British one) himself played his first D20 game. More information on this can be found in a press release posted yesterday.
Sabertooth Games legitimized the rumor we’ve been hearing for weeks now: the company has signed a deal with Sony Online Entertainment Inc. to create an EverQuest II Collectible Card Game. Tentatively titled Guild Wars, the game will pit players against each other as guilds fighting for prestige on a server. The CCG will hit stores a month before EQ2, providing a peek at the new incarnation of the most popular MMORPG in the world.
While some tabletop gamers might see this as the first true sign of the apocalypse, I think it’ll be interesting to see if Sabertooth can pull it off. I mean, the EverQuest RPG (tabletop version) from Sword & Sorcery isn’t exactly gathering crowds, and a couple years back, the Age of Empires CCG was a tremendous flop. But as long as a session of the EQ2 CCG doesn’t cause any screams of “Train to zone!”, I’ll give it a try.
Hasbro Posts Earnings of Penny Per Share, healthily beating analysts’ prediction of a 6-cent loss. Hasbro CEO Alan Hassenfeld says these results are “gratifying when considering many factors that could have worked against us, including [...] the substantial reductions in Star Wars revenue”. Maybe the Star Wars RPG and TCG will be trading hands (again) in the next couple of years? Wouldn’t surprise me.
I have it on good authority that these folks competed with Ral Partha back in the day. I confess I didn’t know offhand who they were, and I still can’t figure out what RAFM is supposed to stand for. (Requisition A F%@#ing Miniature?) They do appear to have big plans, though, and have a bunch of “Under Construction” pages for games that appear mostly to be historical. So that might turn into news eventually for those of us who aren’t old enough to exclaim, “Oh my God, they’re still in business!” And if you are old enough for that, well… hi.
It’s reasonable to be a little confused as to why this press release is circulating the news sites. Until you know that one of the developers of this dark-horse massively multiplayer online game is Unknown Armies developer John Tynes! That’s right: as a consolation prize for the Delta Green PC game not finding a publisher, he got hired instead. (Note: if you think it actually worked that way, you’re dumb) Your world is understandable once again! You’re welcome!
WizKids and HeroClix got some recognition this week from Diamond, the big boys of comic book distribution. The GEM Awards, which are voted on by retail store owners, named WizKids 2002 Game Publisher of the Year, and HeroClix 2002 Game Product of the Year by the GEM Awards. What does this mean? The game sold like hotcakes, and retailers appreciate that.
Once again, there’s proof that conforming to the Open Gaming License is serious business. At GenCon 2001, the WotC legal team checked on all the d20 products and forced some folks to make changes right then and there. Now, Fast Forward Entertainment has been forced to make a public statement (see the “Read more” link for the whole thing) and even destroy one of their products. Apparently, four products were in violation of the license. Rings of Power, Dungeon World, and Dungeon World: Secrets of the Enemy Capital all made reference to various gods (Lolth, Gruumsh, etc) that are reserved as Product Identity of WotC. Enchanted Locations: Crypts & Tombs “contains material from Wizards of the Coast product Monster Manual II without an independent license from Wizards of the Coast” which is also a major no-no, and FFE goes on to state that “any copies of Enchanted Locations: Crypts & Tombs in Fast Forward’s possession have been destroyed.” Yikes. Well, if any copies of Crypts & Tombs shipped to stores before the destruction order was given, I bet they jumped in price.
A retailer reports on the call he got from a Games Workshop VP. He brings up at the end of his post the fact that there really isn’t that much legal precedent for this. But leaving that aside for a second, suppose the cascade effect he also predicts takes place. If all major publishers cut internet retailers off, would it trigger a mass revolt in the hobby? Or just a mass not-having-enough-money-anymore? Or would we all just keep buying everything because we’re hopeless addicts who like to talk big about boycotts?
GR has gotten some anonymous tips that Games Workshop will be pulling their products from anyone who sells online, even if they have real-world retail stores as well, as of July 15. GW would probably pull their products from anyone who isn’t them if they thought they could get away with it; they can probably only get away with this because online discounters are so universally loathed. I mean, how long until WizKids does this? However, if the rumor that GW will cite “Intellectual Property” as the reason for this action, then… wow. The term will have officially become meaningless. I can start using it as an excuse to stiff waiters on their tip or something. “Sorry, can’t pay my taxes. Intellectual property. I’m sure you understand.”
This here press release claims that these color-printed, plastic sheets where you punch out the deals and make little models have already sold 40 million units. So, the logical thing to do with them is hire Dan Verssen and make a game. You know, given that you can apparently make fighter jets and cool jeeps attack dinosaurs and race cars, this may have the 7-year-old male demographic nailed.
You might wanna bookmark this fellow if you’re into either minis gaming or just cool leads. He claims a focus on free and/or independent rulesets, too, which is always interesting.
The Citizen Games website has the cover art posted for a new board game, Pirates of the Caribbean. All we know at this point is that it will be for 2-4 players, should be available this summer, and the same artist that did Dungeoneer will do the cover (Thomas Denmark, for those keeping score). I’m all for more board games, as long as there’s no Disney ride tie-in.