Archive for February, 2005

Issaries’ next order: one HeroQuest, hold the Glorantha

Thursday, February 24th, 2005

At DunDraCon this past weekend, Issaries announced QuestWorlds, a new “poly-genre” roleplaying system built on top of Robin Laws’ system for HeroQuest. Here’s the closest thing I can find to an official online announcement. The authors have done some work before for HeroQuest and All Flesh Must Be Eaten; at least the latter gives them a little multi-genre cred. Can the market support another system of this kind right now… even if it’s a Robin Laws system?

WotC senior designer on why books are not great sometimes

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

You don’t see this getting talked about in public much. And, well, it’s possible we weren’t supposed to see it in public at all. But more likely it came out of a forum or something. This (specifically, the curtailing of the scope and selection of Forgotten Realms sourcebooks) is what it costs to keep D&D in print, so if you care about the business, pay attention. You see, WotC has these things called “targets” – and they hit them.

Invisible City Plays Hide and Seek

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005

Invisible City has just announced their free game of the month for February. In Navigator, two to four players explore a map, trying to track down each other’s hideouts. On a related note, the Invisible City site has a new comment system in place, so it’s now possible to suggest your own variants, speak your mind, and generally give something back to this entertaining resource.

Between the headgear and the rotting tongue, “arrr!” just comes out sounding like a broken telephone

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005

Privateer has figured out how to improve on the now-hackneyed idea of the undead pirate crew: put a diving bell on one of their heads. AWESOME

Seriously, these are great sculpts. I was a little let down not to see the actual ship, but I guess Privateer is still run by mere mortals with mere mortal bank balances. And, um, we have some (unrelated) news from DunDraCon but we are still putting it together for ya. Sit tight.

OgreCave reviews: Argonauts and Campers

Friday, February 18th, 2005

Let’s get our reviews rolling ahead again with a d20 PDF and a card game. Justin gives us the details on The New Argonauts by Sean K. Reynolds Games, but even after reading his review, it’s all Greek to me. And I regret saying that last bit so much, I’m hoping Summer Camp by Dead Ant Games might be able to cheer me up. Demian provides his insight on the humorous card game.

AEG loses Stargate license

Thursday, February 17th, 2005

In a forum post on the Alderac boards, Stargate SG-1 RPG Brand Manager Rob Vaux announced that AEG will no longer be publishing Stargate products. According to Vaux, negotiations with Sony Entertainment to renew the license failed. AEG hopes to continue supporting the game online, but no additional products will be produced.

Rumors are circulating that Stargate is the new license Eden Studios will be announcing at GTS next month, but Eden’s George Vasilakos has semi-denied it. According to his forum post, “Currenlty [sic], we have only one new license for 2005 being announced this year for 3rd quarter release. That will be announced at GAMA… and it’s not Stargate.” However, no comment was made on whether Eden will have a Stargate license after 2005. We’ll see if they’re saddling up to ride the next big licensed game, or if they’ll have to keep searching for a Buffy-level hit.

Tom Jolly’s Camelot rules up for Valentine’s Day

Monday, February 14th, 2005

Just in time for the lovers out there (huh?), Wingnut Games has posted a PDF of the full rules to Tom Jolly’s Camelot. Fellow Cave Dweller Steve and I first experienced Tom’s Lightning system, which powers the Camelot boardgame, in an early form at GenCon SoCal ’03, and even then, the turnless system glowed with potential. Once the game ended up at Wingnut (reportedly, FFG was interested as well), Tom refined and retuned it, and it was given the “multiple Arthurs” theme I’m so fond of. Now being printed overseas, we’ll see how Tom Jolly’s Camelot turned out when it arrives this May.

Slaying enemies is hard! Let’s go shopping!

Monday, February 14th, 2005

Hasbro’s showing something at Toy Fair that they are openly calling a roleplaying game for pre-teenage girls. Star Sisters didn’t teach them a lesson, apparently. It’s called Dreamlife, and it seems to be some sort of self-contained electronic thingie. I’m actually really intrigued by this. I’m not sure whether it’ll be a huge success due to its essentially being Animal Crossing, a huge failure due to its essentially being Animal Crossing… or a huge failure due to its not essentially being The Sims.

Let me explain what I think the difference is. In D&D, your character accumulates stuff – XP and items – in order to become a bigger badass than anyone else. In The Sims, as in Animal Crossing, you still have to accumulate stuff, but the why of it is different – you’re doing it to have more choices. Your growth aspiration isn’t upward, but outward. So, The Sims and its near-analogues like AC are not saliently competitive but still give you something to strive for, and I think that’s why The Sims is the best-selling PC game of all time. It’s among the only video games out there that are really more dollhouse than D&D. Whether Dreamlife embodies this distinction will be interesting to watch.

Anyway – they are also apparently showing a Candyland DVD game that makes your living room into the board. I’d joke about how the D&D Scourge of Whatever DVD should have made your apartment into the Caves of Chaos, or about that Candyland LARP I wanted to run once that involved doing shots when you lost rock-paper-scissors… but I think maybe the confluence of this kind of game with LARPs could really be fruitful. I’m not quite sure how yet.

I know I’ll regret opening comments on this, but ehh.

U.S.A.! U.S.A! Arrr! Arrr!

Thursday, February 10th, 2005

So Pirates of the Revolution will be standalone, which takes care of the slight no-core-set-in-print problem that Pirates of the Spanish Main is about to have. “New Events and Fire effects add depth to the game.” Setting ships on fire is awesome. There was this old PlayStation game called Shipwreckers where… eh, skip it. This hits in June.

Hero emphasizes direct sales; retailers emphasize unhappiness

Sunday, February 6th, 2005

After giving a respectful shout to their colleagues at Guardians of Order, the Hero Games folks announce a preemptive strike to keep from meeting the same fate. “Effective immediately, we’re going to start putting all of our books in the Online Store as soon as they become available to retailers. We are not going to make them available before retailers get them — that wouldn’t be fair — but we’re not going to delay for a month or more the way we have in the past.” Plus free shipping, some PDF products, and a bunch of other stuff.

Clearly, retailers are not thrilled about this kind of rhetoric, but it is increasingly looking like the way for smaller game publishers to survive. (If only because growing their market seems to be beyond them.) Retailers that don’t add lots of value through in-store events and outreach are gonna feel the pinch more than others, of course. The other risk of making an announcement such as this one is that gamers will let their insecure side dominate, and look to sell off their collections of a game that’s about to “die.” Me, I think we’re about to see the end of the days when a game’s going out of print impacts anyone’s ability to keep playing it, but then again, that prediction also relies on a lot of heads being screwed on straight, which you can never count on in our neighborhood. I keep meaning to write more about the net’s place in the future of RPGs, but, another time.

Arkham Horror details loose at Yog-Sothoth

Saturday, February 5th, 2005

Yog-Sothoth.com, the haven of all things Cthulhu, has new details on the second edition of Arkham Horror coming in May from Fantasy Flight. According to Y-S, the classic boardgame has been reworked by Kevin Wilson and original designer Richard Launius; has new art for the gameboard, cards, and other pieces (largely from the CCG); 16 investigator characters, with a new skill system that allows for customization; and uses a non-dice-based movement system. There’s even a big picture of the board and components, and other details man was not meant to know! Get ready for a sanity check, and go have a look.

The grotesquely enormous hand of Chewbacca presents: ATTACKTIX!!

Friday, February 4th, 2005

Hasbro is probably the only company that still has any chance at all of bringing off an action-figure combat game. Which is what they’ve just announced, even if they’re only half size. “Launching with Star Wars: Episode III toys, ATTACKTIX is a battle figure game that combines great action figures with kinetic battling features.” That means actually shooting actual little things, from what I can see. Nostalgiariffic! Hopefully this will quickly move past Episode III theming, so we can evaluate it without having to suppress our gag reflexes, but still: interesting.

Duel Masters Trade Day: Beefy card swapping

Friday, February 4th, 2005

The latest promo event announced for the Duel Masters TCG, the game with some of the most entertaining (and longest) expansion set titles, is the Duel Masters Trade Day on March 5th. Yes, this means Duel Masters fans will gather at participating stores to swap cards, and undoubtedly engage in some card slinging. Yes, the 15 exclusive cards that will be found in McDonald’s Happy Meals are sure to be exchanged numerous times, as the Trade Day seems designed to draw attention to them. No, you can’t have fries with that, as the Trade Day is taking place at game stores, not the restaurant chain. That would’ve been quite a promo event, though rather greasy.
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WizKids announces standalone family game – no, seriously this time

Friday, February 4th, 2005

Despite how it frequently appears, we at OgreCave actually want WizKids to succeed – we just want them to do it by making successful games, not successful lines of collectible plastic posing as games. The latter only does violence to the industry’s ecosystem, and it must be admitted even by the most partisan that WizKids could stand to do more of the former. So here comes Tsuro, a standalone board game that’s either abstract or has a theme the PR department just didn’t feel like talking about right now. I’d say from the “families” remark that it’s 2 to 4 players. We’ll see it in the fall. This certainly augurs well, although I am still firmly in the wait-and-see (and hope nothing egregiously wack happens with Crimson Coast) camp.

Great pics of Monsters Menace America

Tuesday, February 1st, 2005

Release isn’t scheduled ’til tax day, but for now, peep out those stompy token things. This game looks lavish but not ridiculously so, which seems very appropriate and like a positive sign about AH’s general health. I hope the new RoboRally looks like this.