Archive for January, 2004

Arkham Horror revisited at Yog-Sothoth

Friday, January 30th, 2004

Our friends over at Yog-Sothoth have scored in a major way: the site has just been allowed to post Return to Arkham Horror, the previously unpublished supplement for the classic Arkham Horror board game. Written by Keith Herber and Richard Launius, the 22-page PDF contains everything Yog-Sothoth could scrape together for the supplement, including “player mats, new cards, counters, dimensions, rules and the second edition ‘Arkham Gazette’.” Chaosium still plans a 15th anniversary version of Arkham Horror, tentatively set for release this June. I’m sure the PDF supplement will whet gamers’ appetites for more Arkham mayhem.
[EDIT: Now I'm hearing that Chaosium no longer has the rights to produce Arkham Horror, and hasn't for years. According to one source, the game will be produced by another company later this year. Why the game is still listed as "Upcoming" on Chaosium's website, I dunno.]

HarnMaster free for download

Friday, January 30th, 2004

Columbia Games is allowing people to download a PDF copy of HarnMaster Third Edition. With the free download, you’ll get an e-coupon toward other Columbia products. Other goodies are available as well, but it’s a limited time offer, so if you want all 160 pages of Harn goodness, grab it now.

Duel Masters: might not suck completely

Thursday, January 29th, 2004

After reading the article in Undefeated and hearing opinions from a couple of local retailers, I have to say that it looks like Duel Masters will be a credible game design as well as an actual, good business move for WotC. If you want the next Pokemon, it makes sense to go over to Japan and form an alliance with their creatives to make it. Game Trade says the game will get a glitzy launch in New York on March 6th, and the cartoon series hits Toonami about a week later. WotC has plenty of other good game properties, but what it needs right now is growth, so I’m happy to see something that might deliver it. Sustainability, or at least coming out of the inevitable crash with more dollars than you went into the whole enterprise with, is another question…

Lone Wolf RPG [non] sighting

Tuesday, January 27th, 2004

For those of you anticipating the Lone Wolf RPG, coming from Mongoose Publishing in April, here’s a taste: a first glimpse of the cover and product info. Hey, I said a taste. You’ll have to wait a bit for something you can truly savor. [UPDATE: Apparently, I was wrong. Matthew from Mongoose stopped by the comments to correct my error.]

Reporter falls prey to another collectible game

Tuesday, January 27th, 2004

Okay, so I wasn’t that impressed with the initial release of the D&D Miniatures Game. The figures looked good, but not outstanding, and I didn’t want to get sucked into another collectible product line. But there’s no hope for me now: I’m hooked. The D&D Miniatures Game is growing on me like a patch of green slime, and there’s little doubt I’ll be checking out the Archfiends expansion when it arrives in March. I’ve heard there’s a gorgeous Silver Dragon that’s part of the 60 figure set as well, but there’s no Archfiends previews yet on the official WotC page.

A sign of economic recovery?

Monday, January 26th, 2004

Rio Grande Games has released their first newsletter of the new year, and they report that 2003 was their most successful year yet. This can only be a good thing, as it presumably means lots more German games coming our way. Check out the PDF file for a taste of what’s coming up next!

OgreCave review: Torches & Pitchforks

Friday, January 23rd, 2004

Matthew has gone out monster hunting in Torches & Pitchforks by Green Ronin. He’s reported back on the stylish card game, and gives us his verdict in his latest review. Have a look.

Decipher: Leaving Los Angeles

Thursday, January 22nd, 2004

An announcement on the company’s website today stated that Decipher’s Los Angeles office is shutting down tomorrow. All of the RPG product lines will continue to be managed from Decipher’s main HQ in Norfolk, VA. Here’s the full announcement:

Decipher announces today that effective January 23rd it is transferring responsibility for the RPG product lines from its Los Angeles office to Decipher headquarters in Norfolk, Va. We want to thank all of the Los Angeles RPG Studio staff, contract writers, and contract artists for the excellent product they have helped us create over the past two years. We are very proud of the award-winning products they helped us produce.

Well, a few of their RPG team members had already left (Christian Moore among them), and others didn’t work from the office anyway. Maybe this won’t have much of an effect on Decipher’s RPG lines, or even have a positive one. What? I can hope, can’t I?

Green Ronin licenses The Black Company

Thursday, January 22nd, 2004

In another sweet arrangement, Green Ronin has licensed The Black Company series of fantasy novels. Expect a d20 roleplaying sourcebook, The Black Company Campaign Setting, in the Fall. This news is sure to make a lot of gamers very happy. Any guesses as to what will get licensed next?

This is not even mostly a nostalgia moment

Tuesday, January 20th, 2004

It’s a little annoying how people seem to want to remake old computer games over and over instead of pushing gameplay forward, but there are a few classic games that, if remade to find a new audience, would push gameplay forward. Archon: Evolution is a 2D DirectX facelift of the classic chess-variant-with-pummeling for the C64 and other old boxen, set to probably debut this year sometime. It’s a spare-time effort by some of the original game’s developers, along with new friends. Now, if we could just get someone to do Herzog Zwei

Chaosium goes dark

Tuesday, January 20th, 2004

Despite repeated product delays (Secrets of Japan, anyone? Thought not), Chaosium is getting a more regular product flow going lately. Cthulhu Dark Ages is obviously just kind of another repackaging, and takes more than a page from White Wolf, but the cover looks sharp for a change, and I bet this will be pretty interesting. It should be in your store in February.

New contest: Ogres in Love

Monday, January 19th, 2004

In preparation for Valentine’s Day (well, a gamer’s preparation, at least), OgreCave and Mongoose Publishing have a little contest for you. Well, it’s actually an excuse to celebrate the impending release of The Slayer’s Guide to Ogres, with our Ogres in Love contest. No, no, stop screaming. Have a look at the contest, throw together your entry, and you could win a free copy of the book. Then you’ll be all set to go out and slay some ogres… umm… wait a minute…

Two for One at Invisible City

Sunday, January 18th, 2004

In order to catch up with their game-a-month schedule, Invisible City Productions has just released a pair of free games. The first, Zombie Rancher, is a humorous strategic board game of undead farming (hey, what else can you do with a flesh-eating corpse but eat it?). The second is the more abstract Accellerator, a maze game with a particle physics theme. Whatever your taste in board games, this makes a nice start to the new year!

Dracula’s Revenge webpage launches

Friday, January 16th, 2004

Human Head Studios has launched a webpage for its upcoming board game release, Dracula’s Revenge. So far, there’s not much more than some wallpaper to download, but there’s sure to be more updates in the weeks ahead. Can’t wait to slay me some bloodsuckers.

Mean Streets get more crowded

Wednesday, January 14th, 2004

Deep7 wants to tell you about some of its new friends in Usual Suspects, a new PDF supplement for Mean Streets. More than twenty new friends, actually, all detailed enough to become ongoing characters in your film noir campaign. At $3.95, I’d pick up a copy just on the off chance I’ll need one of the “more eccentric characters, such as trawler captains, antique dealers and nightclub waitresses.” And since all the proceeds from Usual Suspects will go to The American Cancer Society, you can contribute to the greater good while you equip yourself for more gaming.

More goofy **** from Hasbro

Tuesday, January 13th, 2004

Hey, because if we combine Shadowrun Duels with Z-G, that ought to go over: XEVOZ is not just a metal band from 1979 but a new collectible action-figure-parts game from Hasbro, for the 6-and-up set. From the nicely done demo, it looks to basically be a simple dice game using figures as a score track. GR seems to have most of a press release. Ooh, the loading widget on the XEVOZ page Flash applet goes all the way to 101%, so I guess they have some advanced technology after all.

APE brings Big Top, Anathema

Monday, January 12th, 2004

APE Games has finally released two card game titles I’ve been waiting to have a look at: Anathema and Big Top. Of the two titles, Anathema is obviously the darker, themed around the Salem Witch Trials. Illustrated by Drew Tucker, whose murky, brooding works in Magic and Jyhad are widely recognized, Anathema pits 2-4 players against each other as they try to capture cards. Big Top lets players act as circus owners, investing in up-and-coming acts and making sure the show goes on. These cards are illustrated by Alessandra Cimatoribus (of Torres fame), having a distinctly non-”burn-them-at-the-stake” look to them. Both full-color games are based on classic, time-proven card games, so playability shouldn’t be a problem. Anathema carries a pricetag of $11.95, while Big Top is a bit more at $19.95.

OgreCave Reviews: Deathtrap Dungeon

Monday, January 12th, 2004

Demian has brought us his analysis of Deathtrap Dungeon from Myriador Ltd. So how did the classic Fighting Fantasy gamebook turn out when translated to the d20 System? Have a read and find out.

Carcassonne: The Castle Playtest Report

Thursday, January 8th, 2004

I admit that our newest poll is more cryptic than usual, particularly if you aren’t already a fan of the Carcassonne franchise. Carcassonne is now large enough in Europe to challenge the hegemony of the last big megahit, everyone’s favorite settlers from a little spot called Catan. More to the immediate point, it is now getting remixes from superstars: namely, this new two-player design from Reiner Knizia.

Counterassault for MechWarrior hits streets

Thursday, January 8th, 2004

The newest Mechwarrior: Dark Age expansion, Counterassault, has hit stores (see the full release below), though I can’t say I’ve heard much about it yet. The “positive heat effects” certainly sound interesting though, as something that could change MW’s overall gameplay. One of my local stores has an extremely active MW league and can’t keep each expansion in stock; others hardly sell any of the game. As with any collectible game, seems it’s all about building the community to sell it, and supporting that community. That, and the “first taste’s free” approach.

Topps shows great results with Juicy Drop Pop, not so much with WizKids

Wednesday, January 7th, 2004

The publicly traded Topps Company reported disappointing results from WizKids for the third quarter of the 2004 fiscal year; the division lost $3 million largely as a result of Creepy Freaks. A loss that focused is certainly fixable, although if their idea of a fix is SportsClix, well, we’ll have to see how that goes. We here at the Cave believe that Creepy Freaks is not really the crux of the trouble with WizKids, but for more on that, you’ll have to wait for our upcoming feature on 2003 Products That Mattered in the Game Industry.

Green Ronin in 2004

Wednesday, January 7th, 2004

In Green Ronin‘s annual state of the union address, company president Chris Pramas looked ahead toward plans for the new year. Citing a theme of “diversity,” Pramas mentioned several highlights on the schedule for 2004, including a card game and board game that have yet to be revealed fully. Naturally, expanded support for Mutants & Masterminds is in the works, and the system will take on the Red Star comic license, which was a surprise revealed in time for Gen Con SoCal. The Advanced d20 Rulebooks and an OGL game of “romantic fantasy” called Blue Rose were also mentioned as parts Green Ronin’s grand plan. Click the link below to see the full press release.

Much Ado About Foglios

Monday, January 5th, 2004

Through the help of a tipster, we learn what Studio Foglio is up to. Apparently, in an update sent to the Girl Genius Yahoo group, Phil and Kaja Foglio let fans know that the recent decision by WizKids to close its new publishing department would not affect plans to continue the comic series. WizKids had been planning to publish the series, which has inspired a card game using the Xxxenophile game mechanic. The rights to publish the series have been returned to Studio Foglio, and the next issue (#11) will release in April, to the cheers of all assembled. The full update from the Girl Genius group is below.

Cheapass expects you to talk, die

Friday, January 2nd, 2004

It’s on: Cheapass will be reprinting the classic Before I Kill You, Mister Bond with a new title. They just don’t know what that title will be, which is where you come in. Come up with a good name and you might win a year’s supply of new Cheapass stuff. Come up with a series of mediocre puns, like I’m doing (“Terminally Spy,” anyone?), and you will get nothing.

WotC and Pokémon settle lawsuit

Friday, January 2nd, 2004

Apparently, continued pursuit of legal proceedings weren’t necessary for Wizards of the Coast and Pokémon USA. The two companies have agreed to settle things out of court after WotC charged two former employees of revealing trade secrets to their new employer, Pokémon. No details have been revealed, and likely never will be. With any luck, no further Pokémon products will be revealed either. I can dream, can’t I?