Archive for November, 2003

2004 Games 100 announced; New England is Game of the Year

Thursday, November 13th, 2003

GAMES Magazine’s 2004 GAMES 100 is up in its entirety at ye olde Funagain, and the veteran design team of Alan Moon and Aaron Weissblum took Game of the Year honors with their tile-laying Pilgrim fiesta New England. Curiously, last year’s winner Dvonn is listed again this year to fill out the Abstract Strategy top 10. Whatever. Further down, there are even more “returning guests.” I guess it just underscores my theory that so little of interest happened this year that you may as well fill your shopping guide with standouts from years past. (OgreCave’s upcoming Twelve Games of Christmas lists will not do this, incidentally. Also incidentally, yes, those Funagain links will kick back a percentage of resulting sales to OgreCave, disclaim disclaim. If you’ve supported your local retailer lately, feel free to support us by shopping at Funagain.)

Game of Thrones Board Game Playtest Report

Wednesday, November 12th, 2003

FFG’s in-house board game designs are just looking really sharp these days: they aren’t what you’d call mind-blowingly original, but they preserve the feel of their source material and keep the focus on fun, fun, fun. Game of Thrones: the Board Game is basically Diplomacy modified until unrecognizable. It has the standard starting board setups for each faction, which generally set your strategic direction; it has the tight board that’s guaranteed to get you into trouble with someone rapidly; it has the emphasis on raw, naked bloodlust. Wait, Diplomacy doesn’t have that so much.

New Cyberpunk CCG, because the last one sold so well

Wednesday, November 12th, 2003

Yeah, I still pine for NetRunner. Cyberpunk the CCG is an entirely different design and may get some things right that NR, God rest its soul, got wrong, at least from a marketing perspective. The post-apocalyptic sci-fi thing seems to be riding a wave in CCGs right now – rumor has it that even Magic is going to start making good on its pan-planar promise and incorporating sci-fi themes. You can download the beta version of the Cyberpunk rules; they look pretty straightforward.

Rio Grande Update

Monday, November 10th, 2003

Rio Grande Games has once again found the time to release another newsletter. In addition to the usual notes on release date changes and such, five new games are featured: Nero, dealing with the struggle for Rome following Nero’s death; Age of Napoleon, a diplomatic and military strategy game; Alexandros, a game of economics in the wake of Alexander’s conquest; The Prince, a card game about the struggle for Papacy; and Maya, a pyramid-building strategy game.

Axis and Allies becomes one again in ’04?

Friday, November 7th, 2003

Avalon Hill has announced a new revision of good ol’ A&A to hit in March. It’s billed as the first major revision in 20 years, although splitting the thing into two parts seems pretty friggin’ major to me. There’s no word in either the press release (included below) or the web site on whether the Europe and Pacific versions of the game have a future. Announced changes include a reduced-size box, presumably along the lines of the new, svelte Risk 2210 form factor, and new territories on the board(!!). [Update: some clarifications are in the comments.]

OgreCave Redhurst contest winner announced

Friday, November 7th, 2003

We’ve just announced the winner in our Redhurst Spellflag Season Contest. The lucky winner should be receiving their copy of The Redhurst Academy of Magic student handbook, signed by Matt Forbeck, very soon. (Am I jealous? Oh yes.) Thanks to everyone who entered, and special thanks to Matt and Human Head Studios for making the contest possible.

‘Cuz it’s just wrong enough to sell

Friday, November 7th, 2003

Z-Man Games has proven it can play the “sick and wrong” game with the best of them with it’s latest release. Baby’s First Mythos is just what you think it is: an ABC book using the Cthulhu horror mythos as its examples. Plenty of excellent illustrations serve to show kids precisely what Dagon and Narlethotep are, and start the mind-warping good and early in their development. This is, of course, an instant classic. A warped, twisted classic, but a classic nonetheless.

Mage Knight 2: the new hotness is under our control

Wednesday, November 5th, 2003

We played as near to a “complete” game as we could muster, which was damn near – I was able to play a faction-pure 300-point squad of elves, and we even used the wacky weather modifier things on the PVC cards – and the higher point total did indeed make Allan feel a little better. He still bitched about not being able to spin and attack with a figure in one action, but that’s the way the mace bounces; a move is a move, and when you finish one, you’d better think about your facing and keep tempo in mind. If you take turns, you’re going to get situations where a figure can just stay one move ahead.

Overall, there is not much else to report. Elves kind of suck, but you all knew that already. We found our first utterly ba-roken figure: Caldera, a 136-point lizard guy who couldn’t fit into our first game because, well, he was bigger than our squads could be. Homeboy has like seven or eight dominating special abilities right up at the front end of the dial, and high-ass stats. It’s a good thing Allan forgot that we had a little thing called objective points, and that they were, you know, the objective.

So I won this time. We both like Mage Knight, and we are only about a year late getting onto that train. Apparently the attendance at local MK events has fallen way off; mileage may vary in your area, and I don’t have any nationwide sales figures handy. What do you think: is it too late for the original clicky-base game to bounce back?

Modern advice for today’s gamer

Wednesday, November 5th, 2003

For you d20 Modern fans, Wizards of the Coast has started a new online column, Bullet Points, to answer rules questions for the system. The “sage” providing the answers for the column is Charles Ryan, codesigner of d20 Modern. In the first installment, skills and feats are the main course, with subjects ranging from the Dead Aim Feat to Two Weapon Fighting to house rules for computer security.

Free download for Dungeoneer

Wednesday, November 5th, 2003

Dungeoneer designer and artist Thomas Denmark has created a downloadable guide on how to play the game. No, it’s not the rules (though those are also available). Instead, it describes the color-coordinated clothing you have to wear and then shed as your character takes damage. Or not.

To those about to game, we salute you

Wednesday, November 5th, 2003

Or, to put it in more detail, to those about to come out and game at the RPGnet Game Day: Oakland I’ve been coordinating, you rock. If you’ll be in the San Francisco/Oakland area this Saturday, come out and win some stuff from Chaosium, Firefly Games, Goodman Games, Hero Games, Issaries, or Wingnut Games. Come out and see what Peter Adkison of Gen Con LLC has to say about next month’s Gen Con SoCal. Come out and meet Chris Pramas, Aaron Loeb, or Thomas Denmark (or all of the above). All that is reason enough to make the trip, but if you’re coming just to try out some new games being demoed, you’re my kind of gamer. Hope to see you there.

Online d20 community gets big scare

Saturday, November 1st, 2003

Early last Monday, fans of the preeminent d20 website, EN World, got one hell of a scare. Russell Morrissey, the site’s administrator, posted a notice on the site explaining that due to hosting costs, EN World was $1,600 in debt, with another $400 being incurred each month. Despite the site’s attempts to become profitable, if the ISP wasn’t paid by the following day, EN World would have to be taken down for a while (an act that’s usually the harbinger of death for a website). Worried they’d lose their online community forever, the fans of EN World took action, organizing donation methods through d20 companies and other individuals. Still, with less than 24 hours to get the money together, the situation looked bleak.