Archive for May, 2004

Wizards announces activities for GenCon Indy 2004

Friday, May 28th, 2004

Just in time to help build hype for Gen Con Indy, Wizards of the Coast has announced its line up for the Best Four Days in Indianapolis. Highlights include the conclusion of the Living City campaign, the D&D Miniatures Championship Finals, an early glimpse (and even a few pre-sales) of the new D&D Basic Game, a look at October’s coffee table book, a D&D timeline exhibit, and an “Epic Level D&D Party” on the first evening of the show.

Topps dinged in Europe for ancient price manipulation

Thursday, May 27th, 2004

A Yahoo Finance story yesterday tells of a “relatively low” fine ($1.94 million) imposed on Topps by the European Commission. According to the story, “The Commission fined the company for an elaborate strategy to prevent imports of the children’s items [Pokémon collectibles] from low-price to high-price countries in 2000 in the European Union, saying it was distorting competition.” Basically, if Charizard stickers were fewer Euros in Portugal, Topps discouraged retailers in Denmark from having them shipped in, artificially stunting the supply. My question: why are we hearing about this now? I want news on the next Yu-Gi-Oh sex scandal, or Cthulhu CCG counterfeiting ring. Pokémon is so end of the twentieth century.

Fantasy Flight grabs Arkham Horror and runs

Thursday, May 27th, 2004

I was hoping for it way back when, but didn’t dare really expect it. Now it’s fact: FFG will be lending their considerable graphic and marketing might to the classic, long-out-of-print Arkham Horror board game by the end of the year. So far the news is just on the poorly-titled Rants page (it’ll fall off in a week or so), but get a load of this cover artwork. This is almost exciting enough to make up for the announcement that the Call of Cthulthu CCG isn’t going to make Origins (grumble grumble).

Shop ’til you drop, then get run over

Thursday, May 27th, 2004

The latest Atlas Games Dispatches post describes and shows a picture of another vehicle from Cthulhu 500, the Satanic Pushcart. The two-deck card game of Elder God-influenced racing still appears to be on track for release at Gen Con Indy in August, and will likely carry a price of $19.95. Now, if there’s a Deep Ones’ Dune Buggy, specializing in aquatic and beach terrain, I’m definitely going to have to pick this up.

Weird D&D reference of the moment

Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

According to a Sci Fi Wire story, actress Judi Dench was nearly enticed to play a little Dungeons & Dragons by my wife’s favorite bald guy, Vin Diesel. This all happened (or didn’t happen, apparently) during the shooting of The Chronicles of Riddick, which comes out next month. So, were Riddick’s eyes a play off of the drow living in darkness? Nah, couldn’t be.

OgreCave review: The Noble’s Handbook

Tuesday, May 25th, 2004

With our latest review, we welcome Justin into our midst, and he’s decided to pull up a stone and stay a while. His first review here at the Cave takes a look at The Noble’s Handbook by Green Ronin Publishing. After his look at this d20 supplement on upper crust society, Justin found many things to comment on, some flattering and others, not so much. Have a look.

Dying Earth goes PDF

Tuesday, May 25th, 2004

Pelgrane Press has decided to release its Dying Earth RPG in PDF form through From the sound of the press release, the main rulebook and other supplements will all see electronic form, and new products will have “a decent interval between print publication and pdf release.” How long will it be before this is the standard practice for all tabletop RPG companies? WotC’s been offering out-of-print products in electronic form for years, and now smaller companies are finding an added source of revenue from electronic re-release.

D&D television segment? Blame Canada

Tuesday, May 25th, 2004

On a subsection of the Discovery Channel Canada website, there’s a new video segment on the 30th anniversary of D&D. The segment features WotC Special Projects Manager Ed Stark, and Brad King, author of Dungeons & Dreamers. Make no mistake, you won’t be surprised by the content; the video is definitely aimed toward the uninformed neophyte. There’s still some interesting discussion, though. The most evocative quote came from Mr King: “I think it’s fair to say, without Dungeons & Dragons there would be no videogame industry today.”

D&D3.5 ruled ineligible for Origins award, voluntarily withdrawn by WotC

Friday, May 21st, 2004

According to a noncommitally titled GAMA press release, AAGAD chair Nicole Lindroos and WotC RPG brand manager Charles Ryan came to the conclusion that D&D3.5 doesn’t fully meet the AAGAD’s requirements for nominees, and Ryan made the decision to pull it. “A second or subsequent edition of a game is eligible to compete in in the Best Roleplaying Game category only if a set percentage of the content is new and the rules are substantially altered in the new form from every previous form. Although substantially altered, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, V3.5 does not contain the set percentage of new material.” The replacement nominee is Z-Man’s Cartoon Action Hour.

Because we need more LotR miniatures games

Thursday, May 20th, 2004

Jeez. Although, honestly, this one is not looking like such a bad move at first blush. WizKids obviously has the capacity to make a lot of this punch-out plastic and make it cheap, and it looks from the picture like plasticard is well suited to the sort of rack-’em-up game where your units get pushed around in formation. The price certainly may be right compared to the competition, but is WK driving down its own profit margin? Should they be announcing another plasticard game, given that they professed at GTS that they aren’t sure anyone will buy the first one? Is that fell beast big? Yes. Yes, it is. Well, folks, that’s the Lord of the Rings Epic Battle Game, set to ship in October. Thanks and good night. Try the beer-battered trout.

OgreCave interview: Mongoose on Lone Wolf RPG

Wednesday, May 19th, 2004

Now, you may not know this, but one of the Cave Dwellers, Demian, is a major gamebook enthusiast. So it’s only fitting that with the Lone Wolf RPG coming out this month from Mongoose Publishing, he conduct the interview with the game’s designers. Choose the correct path and have a look at what Demian found out about the highly anticipated game.

Ronin Arts gathers magic in Freeport

Tuesday, May 18th, 2004

The collaboration between rogue samurai is well underway, as Ronin Arts announced its Treasures of Freeport PDF, approved by Green Ronin Publishing. The new Freeport d20 supplement provides 47 pages of what Ronin Arts is known for: over 100 treasures, both magical or otherwise. For a paltry sum of $6.50, Freeport players will be all over this one.

Also fresh off the Ronin server is Forbidden Arcana: Kelust’s Tower, which provides 28 pages of intruction, including a wizard tower. One can never have too many towers, after all.

Will it play in Mystara– uh, I mean Peoria?

Monday, May 17th, 2004

Why you should bookmark the new Gamethink weblog immediately, despite the Orwell-esque title: “I’m shooting here for perspectives anchored in practical understanding of the possible, for rolegaming as a commercial pursuit as well as a social one.” Word up to that.

Dragon, Dungeon magazines get relaunches, ugly logotypes

Friday, May 14th, 2004

Paizo Publishing has announced that, while Dungeon will be focused solely on D&D moving forward, Dragon will be widening its focus to all the media in which D&D appears: the minis game, computers, et cetera. Dragon will also include a WotC catalog every quarter. The relaunch officially happens in, of course, August.

Winning Moves deciphers a new contest

Friday, May 14th, 2004

According to Joe Sequino, director of marketing at Winning Moves Games, “If you like The DaVinci Code, you’ll love playing CODA.” Well, I have no feelings one way or the other toward The DaVinci Code, but codes in general have always intrigued me. I might have to pick up a copy of CODA now, since certain retailers (listed on the Winning Moves website) can enter me in a contest to win anything from the purchase price of the game, to the company’s complete 2004 product line-up (see the details below). Considering how the purchase price you might win is calculated without shipping and handling added in, this contest seems like an interesting attempt to help brick & mortar stores move some games, which is always good to see.

Exosuit A-OK joins Deep7′s 1PG line

Thursday, May 13th, 2004

Actually one of the first 1PG titles written, Deep7‘s latest release, Exosuit A-OK, has only recently been deemed ready for prime time. The downloadable RPG of robot suit anime draws inspiration from all the greats, from Neon Genesis Evangelion to Robotech. For only $3.95, the 13-page RPG gets you started in no time, like the rest of the 1PG line.

Origins Awards nominees (short list this time) announced

Monday, May 10th, 2004

Well! That didn’t take as long as I thought. No voting yet from what I can see.

Mutants & Masterminds sells out, second edition coming

Monday, May 10th, 2004

While superhero RPGs aren’t my thing, if today’s Green Ronin press release is any indication, I’m obviously in the minority. Mutants & Masterminds, the company’s increasingly popular game, has sold out entirely, having outsold Death in Freeport by a significant amount. The core rulebook will see a revised second printing next month.

Understanding roleplaying via Understanding Comics

Monday, May 10th, 2004

Gamers with a yen for comics should check out this essay on “Comics, Games and World-Building” by New Zealand-based cartoonist Dylan Horrocks (whose graphic novel Hicksville should be owned by every avowed comics fan).

WizKids snafu of the month

Friday, May 7th, 2004

They just can’t catch a break, can they? This time, independent retailers are less than thrilled that the new HeroClix starter sets and booster design, set to go on sale two weeks or so from now, went on sale at WalMart yesterday. Alliance Distribution doesn’t even have their allotment yet, so small shops are out in the cold. Um, WizKids? Those small shops do your organized events for you. Just a tip.

Rio Grande Games Says ‘Ass’

Thursday, May 6th, 2004

Perhaps figuring that James Ernest has gotten away with using that particular word for long enough, Rio Grande Games has, in their latest newsletter, announced Who’s the Ass? as one of their forthcoming titles. Of course, they’re referring to the quadruped, not the body part, so it’s really not all that naughty. Other titles mentioned in the newsletter include FBI, a criminal-catching game, and Maharaja, a strategy game set in India. As always, there’s also news on the company’s latest adjustments to their release schedule, so if you’re a fan of German games, take a look and see what’s on its way.

OgreCave review: En Route III

Tuesday, May 4th, 2004

Matthew’s latest review gives us the skinny on one of Atlas Games‘ latest products, En Route III: The Road Less Travelled. See if the adventures contained in this d20 anthology are what your campaign is looking for.

FFG lifts veil of reality on Cthulhu CCG

Tuesday, May 4th, 2004

Wanna try out the beta version of the new Call of Cthulhu collectible card game? ‘Course ya do, you mugs. Here’s your rules PDF and here’s your card mockups.

This is shaping up well, I think: like Duel Masters, every card is playable upside-down as a resource. I think we can put that on the list of best practices for a CCG. (Decipher’s “showing” mechanic is also on the list, but I like this better for some reason.) You have a small set of story cards common to all players. Players try to score those story cards by committing characters to them. The struggle over each story card plays out a bit like A Game of Thrones – that is, by counting the relevant symbols on character cards – but each story card posits multiple symbol challenges, and each challenge has an effect that resolves immediately. For instance, you might have the Terror challenge locked, but the Combat challenge immediately thereafter might tear you up. Deciding which characters will commit to what might get a little RoboRally-esque, as you plan and re-plan for a cascade of emergent complexity CALCULATED TO DRIVE YOU MAD!

Which is our kind of fun, naturally. Looks like we will definitely see this at Origins, if there was any doubt.