Archive for August, 2003

More schadenfreude: WotC Stores steadily closing

Friday, August 15th, 2003

Revealed in the details of Hasbro’s just-released quarterly report are gruesome numbers regarding the retail arm of Wizards of the Coast. From the article: “With no purchaser for the chain, and an apparent inability to make most of the stores profitable, [Hasbro] appears to be willing to continue to close stores as leases run out and cut its losses incrementally over time.”

Next wave of SR figs pushed back two months

Friday, August 15th, 2003

Want more Shadowrun figures and want ’em now? Nyaah nyaah. Now they aren’t coming until December. All the schedule changes can’t be endearing WizKids to their fans, but at least the company is starting to show signs of knowing its limits.

OgreCave contest: P3 – Phil’s Plethora of PDFs

Thursday, August 14th, 2003

You like winning free stuff, right? Then have a look at our new contest, Phil’s Plethora of PDFs, which comes to us compliments of popular game designer Phil Reed. You know all those nifty downloadable products he’s got on his site? You could win all of ’em. Yep, every single one. Have a look.

Gen Con ’04 date in flux

Wednesday, August 13th, 2003

The Gen Con website has a poll up that should interest anyone who’s even remotely considering attending next year. It seems that a major NASCAR race, the Brickyard 400, has changed its dates to the originally proposed dates for Gen Con ’04. While the convention space itself wouldn’t be affected, traffic and getting hotel rooms could become major headaches. The poll asks how moving the convention to the latter half of August 2004 would affect your coming to the show. If you want to weigh in on the matter, go have a look.

SJG stops hitting itself in the head with tiny pewter hammers

Monday, August 11th, 2003

There’s no permanent URL for it that we can find, so we’ve pasted it below: Steve Jackson Games is closing its miniatures department, effective at the end of the month. As always, Steve’s honesty and directness in corporate communications is unrivalled and appreciated – “[t]he reason for the shutdown is simple: the division has been, ever since it was set up, the least profitable of our endeavors.” Read on for the complete release.
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I keep wanting to say Optimus

Monday, August 11th, 2003

So the folks at Bizzaro Games are working on Odyssey Prime, which they describe as a game “of Alternative Universes and Modern Covert Operations” – kind of a militaristic take on the whole Stargate thing. Even if that doesn’t float your kontiki, D20 Modernists might want to check out the PDF preview of the Outrider and Wetwork classes they just posted. The PDF kinda had the do-funnies in my browser, but downloading it outright may get you better results. And it’s 100% Open Game Content, for the health of your colon.

I’m ready for the exploding computer graphics: BattleBall Playtest Report

Friday, August 8th, 2003

I’ve got my hands on it and it is indeed the new Epic Duels. (Except that that other thing is more literally the new Epic Duels, because it’s just like the old Epic Duels. Yeah.) If Blood Bowl is too ponderous for you but seems to hold some appeal, you need BattleBall – what it lacks in humorous theme it more than makes up in speed and simplicity.
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Cyber-Gorilla my dreams

Thursday, August 7th, 2003

Atlas Games reports that the new Feng Shui sourcebook, Gorilla Warfare, is now available. The book comes with a Phil Collins soundtrack, and Rosie O’Donnell lends her voice to… okay, no, too much Disney movies with the little one showing through there. The cyborg simians, also known as the Jammers, are the subject of the final faction sourcebook for the action movie RPG. However, Blood of the Valiant (by Chris Pramas of Green Ronin, if I remember correctly) will be expanded and reprinted in the months ahead.

OgreCave reviews: X-Bugs & Nanofictionary

Tuesday, August 5th, 2003

Now that the GenCon hullabaloo has settled down a bit, we’ve got two new reviews for you. First, Matthew tells us a bit about this year’s GenCon UK and a lot about X-Bugs: Microscopic Mayhem by Steve Jackson Games. Then Cedric gives us his take on storytelling games, particularly Nanofictionary from Looney Labs.

Firefly glows brighter

Tuesday, August 5th, 2003

Firefly Games, the fine company that brought us Monster Island, is expanding a bit to prepare for greater things to come. To that end, the company announced its new Marketing Director, Christina Stiles. Yes, you’ve probably heard her name around before. Click the link below for more details.

GenCon wrap-up: Erotic Fantasy promoted heavily

Saturday, August 2nd, 2003

Having left Wizards of the Coast, Anthony Valterra has joined in on one of the most controversial d20 ventures to date: the Book of Erotic Fantasy by the Valar Project, Inc. Drawing inspiration from the Book of Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, and pointing to the Book of Vile Darkness as proof that an audience exists for adult d20 products, the Valar Project has put the hype machine into high gear. Aside from Sword & Sorcery’s Arcana Unearthed, more people were talking about Valar’s upcoming release than any other product than any other — and not always in a good way. Though as press I was able to get a free copy, many convention goers were grumbling about the idea of paying $9.95 for a preview, even a 32-page full-color one.
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GenCon wrap-up: Goodman builds toward Autumn

Saturday, August 2nd, 2003

Though their anticipated release of the Complete Guide to Beholders, co-written by Keith Baker (the WotC setting contest winner), didn’t make it to the show in time, Goodman Games has big plans. Looming on the horizon are a number of products nearing completion that will hit stores in the next few months, including three hardcover supplements.
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GenCon offers partial refund to Saturday attendees

Saturday, August 2nd, 2003

By way of apology to those who were inconvenienced by unusually long lines last Saturday, Gen Con has announced a partial refund offer. Those who bought a one-day pass on Saturday can send in a photocopy of their badge, and receive a check for $12 in return, more than half the $23 cost of a one-day pass. The full details are under the “Read more” link. This unprecedented announcement is sure to go a long way toward undoing any negative feelings attendees came away from the show with.

GenCon wrap-up: Dragonlance support already taking flight

Friday, August 1st, 2003

When Wizards of the Coast published Call of Cthulhu d20, there was a complete failure on the part of Chaosium to cash in on their marketing by putting out supplementary releases. That hasn’t happened with WotC’s Dragonlance d20 release and the company lined-up to support it, Sovereign Press: the first big resource for Dragonlance d20 (which hasn’t even hit store shelves yet) was available at the show. A couple hundred copies of Age of Mortals were shipped directly to the show, between two weeks and a month ahead of the product reaching distribution channels.
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GenCon wrap-up: Flesh and Magic

Friday, August 1st, 2003

No, this isn’t about the Book of Erotic Fantasy. I’ll get to that shortly.

In the meantime, let me give you my impression of Eden Studios this year: a company on the verge of becoming huge. With the Army of Darkness RPG planned for October, and the CCG as well, and the Buffy TV juggernaut having ended, I’d imagine Eden is casting about for another big property to ride. The convention’s new releases were still intriguing: The Book of Archetypes, a short supplement for All Flesh Must Be Eaten, provided a few dozen new character choices, including the Stripper and the Porn Producer; and The Magic Box, the new Buffy RPG book, dives headlong into the mystic side of the property, breaking the spell selection down by the seasons they aired. I’m sure Buffy will continue to do well for a while, as will AFMBE, but Army of Darkness is likely to be a big hit that fades away (a very cool one, but still… ). I just kept thinking that Eden is on the prowl for that next huge something. We’ll see, I guess.