Archive for February, 2004

Return of the King wins Best Movie, ten others

Sunday, February 29th, 2004

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.

D&D Minis go Huge in June

Wednesday, February 25th, 2004

The price increase on Expansion Packs of D&D Miniatures didn’t come to pass, thankfully. At least, not yet. The Archfiends set releasing next month will still carry the MSRP of $9.99 per box, but the price will go up with the Giants of Legends set in June. Perhaps in an effort to justify the cost increase, the June expansion will not only offer regular Expansion Packs (at the new price of $12.99), but “Huge Packs” as well for $19.99. Huge Packs will have 8 randomized minis, plus one huge one. How huge is huge? Try up to 8 inches tall (watch your back, Galactus). Expect dragons and giants to be the big figures of the set. The whole Giants of Legends set will have 72 figures, 12 of which are big boys. But will the Huge Packs still say D&D Miniatures on the box, or would D&D Action Figures be more appropriate? [UPDATE: There's been confusion over the number of figures in the Huge Packs. It seems the actual total is 8 regular figures and one huge one.]

MLB SportsClix hits stores

Wednesday, February 25th, 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.

Ogres in Love contest winner

Monday, February 23rd, 2004

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.

Rio Grande Offers More Trading and Building

Friday, February 20th, 2004

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!

Invisible City releas…AAAAAH! PROBES!

Friday, February 20th, 2004

It’s once again free game time at Invisible City Productions, and this month’s offering is something a little different. In Alien Abduction, one player is the abductee while the rest are aliens. Each alien chooses a different phobia with which to afflict the abductee as a result of his or her terrible experience in space. As the abductee role-plays through a normal day, the aliens interrupt his or her actions whenever a phobia might be triggered and the abductee tries to identify the terrors before it’s too late. This one should be great at parties!

Microsoft licenses Catan for MSN Zone, Messenger

Thursday, February 19th, 2004

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.
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Mongoose announces Paranoia XP, designers blog it live

Thursday, February 19th, 2004

In the wake of the industry seminars at DunDraCon (on which more later), it’s kind of nice to have some good RPG news to report. Paranoia creator Greg Costikyan is finally throwing down on a new edition, he’s got some highly talented friends doing the heavy lifting, and the treasonous rumors that Mongoose was the publisher turn out to be true. A live development log will be kept on Costik’s site, and comments will be at least sort of open. I cannot possibly impress upon you with mere words how psyched I am for this. Read on for press release hilarity – seriously, you want to read this.
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Green Ronin to publish for Human Head

Tuesday, February 17th, 2004

Green Ronin Publishing and Human Head Studios have partnered up. Starting now, all Human Head tabletop game products will be published by Green Ronin. First up will indeed be Dracula’s Revenge, designed by Matt Forbeck, Director of Human Head’s Adventure Games Division.
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Last dance, last chance for love

Saturday, February 14th, 2004

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.

Cargo arriving at DunDraCon

Friday, February 13th, 2004

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.

WotC plans for D&D 30th anniversary

Thursday, February 12th, 2004

Wizards of the Coast has revealed more details about their celebratory events around the thirtieth anniversary of D&D. The coffeetable book, with as-yet-unnamed celebrities appearing in its pages, gets mentioned again, as does a new Basic Set and a huge party at Gen Con 2004. A worldwide D&D Game Day in early October is also in the works, and a plug for the D&D Miniatures works its way into the press release, though I didn’t see a 30th anniversary tie-in per se.
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Upper Deck adds to CCG plans

Tuesday, February 10th, 2004

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.

RPGs officially a threat to the state

Monday, February 9th, 2004

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.

Mongoose lays the Smackdown

Monday, February 9th, 2004

In the March/April issue of Game Trade Magazine, there’s a product listing for Games Company Smackdown by Mongoose Publishing. Due in April for $19.95, it seems to be, well, a game about running a game company. Here’s the blurb:

Packed full of strategy and intrigue, Games Company Smackdown is a game of bluffing, tactics, and empire building where players attempt to release their game into the market whilst ensuring that their opponents run into setbacks and delays through the help of corporate spies, geek fanboys, and budding entrepreneurs.

From the listing, I can’t tell if this will be one of new boardgames Mongoose has planned, or if it’s an RPG supplement.