In case you missed it, there are now eleven more reasons for New Line to make The Hobbit. Only Titanic and Ben Hur won as many Oscars in a single year as The Return of the King just did. Now if only Decipher would keep publishing the dozen or so LOTR RPG products that are already written, despite getting rid of the remaining RPG department staff, roleplayers could give Decipher some money.
Archive for February, 2004
The much-hyped MLB SportsClix becomes available today, and begins its true test to see how well it can sell. While the baseball miniatures’ stats are based directly on the previous MLB season’s official stats for each player, I haven’t found many HeroClix or Mage Knight fans that are anxious to play the new game. In fact, I overheard a WizKids Envoy (their “official” demo guys) who had seen MLB SportsClix already saying how little he liked it. But that seems to fit with WizKids’ strategy of not cannibalizing the fanbase of their other titles to make new titles successful. The idea is to get new fans, not just make the old fans happy. To each customer his own, and if WizKids can find hordes of new customers amongst the vast legions of sports fans, more power to ‘em.
It took a while of debating, but we’ve finally selected the winner of our Ogres in Love contest, David Vega. We’ve selected several other entries that were in the running for the best submission, and posted them along with David’s prize-winning poem of an Ogre’s Valentine’s Day (a disturbing prospect at best). David’s well-earned copy of The Slayer’s Guide to Ogres will be on its way shortly. Have a look at the best entries we ended up with.
A new Rio Grande Games newsletter is upon us, and the theme seems to be lots of trading and building. Games described in detail include Power Grid (a redesigned reprint of Funkenschlag), 5th Avenue (a skyscraper-building game), Goa (involving spice trading), Saint Petersburg (in which players develop the title city) and Marco Polo (a race to the East). Other news includes the fact that, alas, the Bohnanza expansion has been delayed. Still, it seems there will be plenty to tide us all over in the meantime!
Today’s other big news is that Microsoft has picked up the license to every Catan game there is, I think (naturally including The Settlers of Catan, far and away the most successful German game in the US), for inclusion in their online gaming stable. Because it’ll be part of the Premium service, it won’t have a spot in the Start menu under Games in the next release of Windows, which would be about like having a five-level store in Times Square, but still, this is huge. This means that the hordes and hordes of casual online gamers (you know, women in their thirties, non-gaming businesspeople… the ones the industry ignores while they try and figure out how to clone EQ again) will get sucked into the magic… unless of course they look at it, scratch their heads, wonder to themselves why anyone would play a complex game they don’t already know, and wander back over to Bejeweled. Whichever way it goes, we’ll find out this summer. Mayfair has issued a press release, which we have included below with typos corrected, ho ho.
You’ve only got until tonight at 12 midnight PST to enter our OgreCave Ogres in Love contest. It’s an easy one: just come up with a few sentences describing an ogre’s Valentine’s Day, and you could win a copy of this month’s new Mongoose Publishing release, The Slayer’s Guide to Ogres. So look at the rules (I think there’s only two, actually), and type up a contest entry while there’s still time. What’s that? Girlfriend? Nah, she can wait.
Some of you may understand that title, others not, so let me elaborate: Tom Jolly’s Cargo, the new strategy boardgame from Wingnut Games, will be available for the first time at DunDraCon this weekend. The neat little game of shoving crates of tea around the docks at the Boston Tea Party was, well, held up at the docks of the Port of Oakland while customs was clearing it. But just in time for the con, the Cargo cargo was cleared and arrived in Wingnut hands this morning. Be sure to check the game out, whether you make it to DunDraCon or not. Gotta love a Tom Jolly title that reminds you of both Dig Dug and chess.
So on top of the DC CCG planned for July, the Marvel CCG at the end of March, and the TMNT TCG due this month (which manages to be a mouthful despite the abbreviation), Upper Deck has more news. According to ICv2, Upper Deck plans two more collectible games: the Shaman King CCG and the Bratz Fashion Party Fever CCG. I’m not familiar with the Shaman King, though I can apparently catch it on Fox’s Saturday morning line-up. However, the Bratz CCG, while possibly making inroads with the young girl market, won’t be entering my house. The wife and I deemed the entire Bratz concept to be a bad example for our daughter. They all look like they should talk like Rosie Perez on speed, and that ain’t good.
Okay, people, we have a problem: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an Oregon prison inmate can’t receive roleplaying materials in the mail. Firstly, it’s White Dwarf that’s at issue (so to speak), so there aren’t any roleplaying materials in it… but the court doesn’t draw that distinction, and maybe it isn’t fair to ask it to split hairs as finely as we do. Apparently, the same prisoner had earlier been denied a subscription to the superhero comic Green Lantern, on the basis of an obscure law that’s been overturned, but the real motivation behind that was probably the same as that of this ruling: “to prevent inmates from placing themselves in fantasy roles that reduce accountability and substitute raw power for legitimate authority.” Uh, yeah: who’s got the raw power here, hoss?
It would be easier to decry such a stereotype about gaming materials if there weren’t (more than) a grain of truth in it. But my bigger concern is something else: the computing and Internet industries have been struggling in a similar fashion with judges that appear unwilling or unable to grasp all the subtleties of that which they’re passing legislation for. Have our subcultures become so complex that they outstrip the complexity of the law – that is to say, too complex to be healthy? Or are we just looking at the classic American schizophrenia of the mainstream versus the intellectuals/geeks/bohemians/whatever? This is just depressing – I mean, I don’t relish the thought of some con ordering up a box of bloodlusted Orks either, but still.