Archive for December, 2003

M:tG Darksteel: new high for pack prices, new low for expansion titles

Wednesday, December 31st, 2003

It’s official – Wizards has figured out that every other CCG in the damned world, including several of its own, sells at the $3.29 price point for just 10 or 11 cards. As the article points out, Yu-Gi-Oh is committing highway robbery on that score, but only one game at a time gets to be Yu-Gi-Oh. The Darksteel expansion hits in February for $3.69 per 15-card pack, and probably features an intelligent talking sword or something.

WotC retail stores to close; Hasbro stock up bupkis on news

Wednesday, December 31st, 2003

All 64 remaining retail stores will close in 60 days, quoth the press release. That’s all; I just wanted to say “bupkis” in a headline. Did I spell it right?

Hey, look: there’s a Classic BattleTech box set again

Sunday, December 28th, 2003

I’m pretty sure this product is newish. The manager of the store where I saw it on the shelf said that FanPro has only barely been promoting it, but it’s hard to know if I was unaware of it for that reason, or because it’s old-ass news. In any case, it is yet again possible to buy an inexpensive box with everything you need to play basic original BattleTech, and I think that’s pretty neat. [Update: yeah, it's been out a while; distribution has been spotty apparently.]

You got your chocolate in my game mechanics!

Friday, December 26th, 2003

Ever felt the need to combine Strange Adventures in Infinite Space with Magic: the Gathering? If you have, you should probably hold back, because it turns out someone already has. This is the nicest original-to-computers online CCG I’ve seen yet. (Via Penny Arcade, of course.)

OgreCave Christmas Gift Guide 2003 – part 4

Wednesday, December 24th, 2003

As promised, our fourth and final 2003 Gift Guide list is up, and it takes into account the fact that precious little time remains for gift shopping. Last but not least, it’s our Electronic Christmas Nonet, brimming over with downloadable product suggestions, where shipping time isn’t a factor. Can’t stand the holiday shopping crowds? Stay home with OgreCave, read through the list, and shop from home with us. Fewer traffic jams this way.

Expendable Superheroes of the World Unite!

Monday, December 22nd, 2003

Deep7 is once again expanding their grip on the realm of cheap, fast, one-off role-playing. They’ve just added a new title to their 1PG line: Hero Force, a quick and easy game of classic superhero action with an emphasis on the cheese. Sounds like fun to me!

Gen Con SoCal: No Val

Friday, December 19th, 2003

About a week or so before the convention, it was announced that actor Val Kilmer would be appearing at Gen Con SoCal. On the industry mailing lists, talk suddenly shifted to a flurry of excited emails about The Saint, The Doors, Val’s cameo as Elvis in True Romance, and the few game products based on Willow. There wasn’t time to properly advertise his appearance, but gamers were certainly excited at the prospect of seeing him.

Gen Con SoCal: A demo guy’s report

Friday, December 19th, 2003

I’m not sure who gave me this wicked cold, Shatner or Mickey, but I’d like to get a look back at last weekend’s Gen Con SoCal started, fever or no. We’ll get into more details about union woes, how my buddies and I did in the True Dungeon, our talk with Peter Adkison, and so on. However, my aching joints and cough aren’t going to let me do much right now. I’ll settle for making a Val Kilmer post (heh), and letting resident reviewer Merwin give you his take on the convention. We’ll get down to the brass tacks as soon as I can see straight again.

A glimpse into the madness that is RPGA

Friday, December 19th, 2003

Allan and I have never been RPGA types, and organized D&D play has never really made sense to me. If this page at GR is any indication, it’s making less sense to other folks as well. But wasn’t this the mainstay of OrganizedPlay’s business? Should Ryan Dancey be allowed to have time on his hands?

*snrt* I’m awake!

Tuesday, December 16th, 2003

Right, so, Allan’s been at the other Gen Con and now he’s at the other thing in Anaheim and we haven’t been posting really. Apparently the only news from the show is that a bunch of retailers and publishers are kinda pissed off. That, and some computer game stuff: Blizzard chose the show to unveil a bunch of details on World of WarCraft, which has a good shot at being the next fantasy online game of choice in my opinion. You’ll just have to have hardware that could arm wrestle RoboCop to run the thing, is all.

We aim to have our last 12 Games Of list for you in the next couple days. Don’t worry, it’s the PDF list; downloadables mean you don’t have to budget much shopping time.

Avalon Hill announces A&A D-Day

Thursday, December 11th, 2003

Mike Selinker dropped us a note about Axis & Allies D-Day, a new “standalone expansion” for Axis & Allies set to hit next May, to coincide with D-Day’s 60th anniversary. “Standalone expansion” is apparently what A&A Europe and A&A Pacific are called, as well. Well, okay: Selinker was really writing us to complain that we said A&A was getting split into two parts in its upcoming revision, which it’s not. We didn’t actually say it was, but in the resulting confusion, well, I don’t even know what we did say. You should clearly just be listening to Selinker instead of me, which just got easier thanks to his new series of columns at the AH site.

Deadlands Reloaded peek at Pinnacle

Tuesday, December 9th, 2003

The folks at Pinnacle have just posted a first look at Deadlands Reloaded. Rumored to be coming out next summer, Deadlands Reloaded will be a full-color, hardcover retrospective, telling the entire story of the Weird West in one volume. According to a column from last July, the new game will use the Savage Worlds system, and stay away from d20 or the original Deadlands system. Deadlands Reloaded will be a gorgeous book, as Shane Hensley made the concious decision to contract one artist for all 80+ pieces of color art, a mister Thomas Denmark. Citizen Games’ Way of the Witch also had art done exclusively by Thomas, and it remains one of the best looking d20 products out there. Plus, there’s the added bonus that some friends of mine and I got to pose in wild west clothing for some photos Tom’s using as inspiration for his art. That guy with the two guns, there? That’s Colin.

OgreCave Christmas Gift Guide 2003 – part 3

Tuesday, December 9th, 2003

As you’ve seen in the earlier installments of OgreCave’s annual feature, the holiday gift picks are flying fast and furious. With our third list of gift suggestions, we go exclusively d20, with A Dozen Christmas d20s. Come have a look at what the OgreCave staff considers essential reading in the d20 universe this year. We’ll have one more gift list for you in the days ahead, filled with games where shipping time is not a concern. Oops, did I just give it away?

Now everyone can enjoy what Mike has been obsessing over

Monday, December 8th, 2003

Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates is formally out of beta today, so if you’re curious to check out the first major, professional massively multiplayer online RPG that doesn’t hew so close to the traditions thereof, check it out. No Tolkien anywhere to be found up in here, and no lame hack-and-slash gameplay or level grinding either. Those on not-so-current machines are especially encouraged to investigate.

Lunch Money expansion & sequel planned

Monday, December 8th, 2003

Atlas Games has announced the impending arrival of more schoolyard ass-kickings. Specifically, Atlas plans to release both an expansion deck and a sequel to the classic-yet-twisted card game, Lunch Money. Details aren’t available yet for the sequel, but the expansion, called Lunch Money: Sticks and Stones, will be a 55-card set that can be added to the original 110-card game. According to Atlas, Sticks and Stones will “bring new mechanics into the game, and the added cards also make it easier to accomodate larger groups of players.” Sticks and Stones should be available by the time the GAMA Trade Show rolls around (next March).

Quick, someone get the SuperDeck license

Sunday, December 7th, 2003

Yup, here it comes. Thank god CMGs have a slightly higher barrier to entry, financially speaking, or else it’d have been 1994 all over again last year, swarms of little plastic guys overwhelming us all. This original CMG (that is, the anime isn’t out yet) comes from Bandai, who are apparently all done licking their wounds from the Digimon and Gundam CCGs a few years ago (and have also announced plans to reenter that fray). What did we do to deserve it all? I know: this is punishment for all those failed Setting Search entries.

Cheapass releases downloadable beta board game

Saturday, December 6th, 2003

It was on the schedule but it’s not done, so James Ernest has taken a tip from the online gaming industry and decided to let us all be his QA engineers. Jacob Marley, Esquire requires the usual pawns and stones as well as 400 chips in 4 colors, which if you play One False Step For Mankind you’ve taken care of. Oh, and you need to print it out. This PDF edition will only be available for the month of December, so screw up your courage and fire up your browser. Then tighten up your shorts and prepare to face the Anthony Gallela star vehicle The Man Between, now available on DVD for your gift-buying needs.

The Day of the Ninja is upon us

Friday, December 5th, 2003

As I mentioned yesterday, our buddy Aeon, the Ninja Burger guy, has organized The Day of the Ninja, and we’re trying to do our part. The latest Ninja Burger RPG supplement, Burgertech, has been released by 9th Level Games, sites all over the web are ninja-fied, life is good. And don’t forget the RPGnet contest where you can win the new Ninja Burger card game by Steve Jackson Games. But to make all these ninja announcements publicly, loud and clear, just seems wrong. So a ninja has snuck into the Cave somewhere. (and I’m not talking about our review. And he’s not in the Santa suit, either, so don’t ask.)

New Arrowflight Goodies Arrive

Friday, December 5th, 2003

In case you recently found yourself wondering “Hey, what ever happened to Arrowflight?” you can wonder no further, as publisher Deep7 has just announced the release of three new .PDF supplements: A Cast of Thousands, a licensed collection of NPCs from SteamPower Publishing; Smuggler’s Bane, a complete adventure module from Politically Incorrect Games; and Deep7‘s own Cold Roads, a guide to the Region of Ice.

The ninjas approach

Thursday, December 4th, 2003

Our buddy Aeon, of Ninja Burger fame, is running a contest over at RPGnet where you can win a copy of the new Ninja Burger card game by Steve Jackson Games. He’s set it up to celebrate the Day of the Ninja, which is tomorrow. Why tomorrow, you ask? I’ll let Aeon tell you:

I’m going to try and coordinate the efforts of the thousands of Ninja Burger fans, my friends, and maybe some of my enemies, to make Friday, December 5th the Day of the Ninja. Why that Friday? Because it’s opening day for the new Tom Cruise movie, The Last Samurai, and everyone knows that ninja will be celebrating the fact that there’s only one last samurai left to do away with. And it’s Tom Cruise, at that.

Stupid Gaijin.

Sounds good to me. As long as my burger and fries arrive in 30 minutes or less.

OgreCave’s Christmas Gift Guide – part two

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2003

The second of our 2003 Gift Lists is up for all to see. Games Under the Tree: 12 Games of $40 or less is our selections for the slightly bigger ticket items on your gift giving list. You know, the games that will make a true gamer drop what he’s doing just to drool. Follow our suggestions, and you can’t go wrong. Don’t forget about the next two Gift List sections, arriving in the days ahead.

The madness continues: Star Wars CMG?

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2003

That’s the rumor, anyway. Allegedly this’ll be out next year at Gen Con (the real one). You know, at least a few of these games had to have been conceived when it was already apparent that Mage Knight was starting to flag commercially. Did they think they could somehow freeze time long enough to pick up some of the former Mage Knight players before they went on to other pastimes? Is this just a niche play for adult HeroClix buyers and other otaku? I guess what I’m trying to say is “why, God, why,” but I don’t really wanna come out and say it. Anyway, this will be sold in configs similar to D&D Miniatures; who knows, it might be similarly D20-derived as well. Further updates as they happen and we resignedly accept the slow slide into the oblivion of creativity in the game industry.

Hey, you got your dungeons in my zombies!

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2003

That’s right, kids: Eden is finally doing an All Flesh Must Be Eaten genre sourcebook for straight-up fantasy. Dungeons and Zombies should hit in March. If, like me, you always feel a little instinctual confusion when an All Flesh product comes out – a genre supplement for a zombie game, shouldn’t that be the other way around? – bear in mind that this is the first time Eden’s applied their mojo to a straight-up fantasy world. (Unless you count the Iron Dragon computer game they’ve apparently done – what the?!?!) My brief experience with the Unisystem left me feeling pretty good about it, so you might even pick this up and run a zombie-free game if you’re feeling restless. Or sinister.

OgreCave’s Christmas Gift Guide 2003 – part one

Monday, December 1st, 2003

Christmas is a time of traditions, and OgreCave has its own annual tradition in the form of its trilogy of Christmas Gift Guide lists. At the end of each year, the editors and review crew here at OgreCave delve through all the releases of the last twelve months to recommend what gamers might like to receive this holiday season. Then we divide them up by price bracket, and well, you know the drill by now, don’t you? The first of our 2003 gift lists, A Dozen Stocking Fillers: 12 Games each $20 or less, is nailed to the mantle right now, so go have a look at what our staff considers the best gifts. Keep watching around the Cave, though. The rest of our 2003 Christmas Gift Guide will be along shortly, and we’ll be adding a fourth list category as an added holiday bonus.