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.
Archive for May, 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Well! That didn’t take as long as I thought. No voting yet from what I can see.
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.
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.
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.