It’s not often that a new gamebook series hits the market these days, but Fighting Fantasy publisher Wizard Books has just launched a new product likely to bring page-flipping to a different demographic. The Football Fantasy Gamebooks allow players to control the actions of football (i.e. soccer) teams, playing either solo or against a human opponent. Each book represents a different team and features a design by gamebook veteran Jon Sutherland and extensive visuals by Lone Wolf illustrator Gary Chalk. It’s hard to say whether these will get an American release in the immediate future, but British collectors can find them in stores everywhere while Americans can get them shipped in via amazon.co.uk or the overseas bookseller of their choice.
Archive for October, 2004
If you need some Halloween excitement and you don’t have time for one of our RPG suggestions, all is not lost. Thanks to the wonders of Invisible City‘s latest free Game of the Month, you can participate in a Cthulbeque. That’s right — if you have the strength and sanity to battle indescribable horrors from beyond, it turns out that they make mighty good eatin’. What better way to spend the evening?
This ICv2 report taught me a couple of things I didn’t know: 1) that Hasbro had planned to ship its new gamers’ Milton Bradley game HeroScape to small game retailers a month or two ahead of the mass market, but shipping snafus forced them to go straight to the big boys, and 2) upcoming HeroScape expansion packs may ship first to the hobby market to make up for it. A date for those packs hasn’t even been announced that I can find, so I guess wait-and-see is the order of the day. And no, we still don’t have a copy. Dammit.
Since the last update I posted, Rio Grande Games has produced not one but two newsletters. They’re fairly similar, though, both previewing the same new titles. We now have photos and descriptions of the forthcoming Carcassonne releases, plus there are first looks at Niagara, a gem-collecting canoe-racing game with a 3-D board; Heart of Africa, a simulation of 19th-century colonial trading companies; and Naval Battles, a World War II game which will presumably appeal to more than just the pure simulationists (unless its publisher has decided to head in a new direction, of course).
The VsTank Micro IR Battle series is a line of small remote-control tanks, about two and a half inches long, the sort that you plug into the controller to recharge. They have a few features you might not be expecting, though – such as infrared sensors on top that detect when they’ve been hit by (oh God oh God) the infrared shooters on the ends of the tanks’ cannons. No joke. They are also equipped to shake when hit and eventually stop moving until reset if they take one hit too many. Tanks retail for about $20 each. Is this the future of miniatures gaming or am I full of crack again?
When I first got a draft of this review from our freshman staffer Dave Chalker, I had just gotten back home from watching Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back on Chris’ big screen, and I thought up this brilliant announcement post that had Dave as the young Padawan and all this other crap. I have since forgotten it. Also, I have not thought of anything clever regarding Halloween and the fact that it’s a haunted-house game. Whatever, anyway, he reviewed Avalon Hill’s Betrayal at House on the Hill and I guess he liked it, gimme a drink.
Or perhaps I should be kinder to WizKids and characterize their “Open Letter to HeroClix Players Worldwide” as merely mysterious. I mean, they must know that a focus on collectors and the most hardcore of hardcore fans is what almost destroyed the comics industry, right? And that you have to be pretty hardcore to attend a convention, right? And that the focus on things that casual players can’t get is the primary reason their casual players are dropping out like pregnant high-school students, right? So their motivation for drawing attention to all this in an otherwise content-free release must be subtle indeed. Fire up the conspiracy theories!
I forgot to mention something else I noticed yesterday during my sojourn into the world of mainstream children’s retail. I idly picked up a copy of manga warhorse Shonen Jump and it fell open to what looked like a page of tips on playing Go. It turns out that Hikaru no Go is a Yu-Gi-Oh-esque tale of a boy who seeks to become the best Go player he can be. What possible commercial force can be driving a medium that usually props up trashy CCGs to start pimping a hard-to-expand (let alone copyright) classic game… albeit one that beats chess up and takes its lunch money? I don’t know but I’m glad to see it.