Archive for March, 2005

Before you die, you see the pentagon

Tuesday, March 15th, 2005

If only it were true. I mean, if I knew I only had seven days to live, you can be damn sure I’d give ol’ Rumsfeld a little sump’in sump’in when I saw him. But, um, my actual point: I typed in www.wizards.com/hecatomb/ on a whim, and look what I got. Adorable. Every spooky graphic design cliche of the last ten years in one convenient bookmark.

You know, a lot about this game looks dumb so far, but show attendees are actually saying this could be what Wizards needs right now – namely, a fantasy-themed card game that people interested in Magic can get into on the ground floor, without having to study obsessively and/or draft for twelve months before they catch on. So, I’m willing to believe it might be okay. But damn, I’m not optimistic about the graphics so far.

GTS press wrapup, part deux

Tuesday, March 15th, 2005
  • Piles of news on smaller companies here – Face2Face is continuing their Sid Sackson revival line with an edition of Can’t Stop that goes back to the classic stop-sign board. Plus, Eagle has a new original(?) big-box combat game called Conquest of the Empire, and we see just how very full indeed is Fantasy Flight’s schedule. It turns out that a couple of those games are old OOP Games Workshop titles (Warrior Knights and Fury of Dracula, specifically).
  • The Magic: the Gathering team has this year – bad plans. I mean, seriously, Magic Road Show? Thanks for completely missing the point, guys. The heart of your game right now is drafting, like it or not, and learning to draft in the current environment is too damn hard. Maybe your Road Show should be a traveling school – or maybe you should tweak the DCI to emphasize sealed-deck or Arena-style league play instead of anything Type II.
  • Mongoose announces Paranoia standalone card game, with new B&W art. This could go either way, given the Mongoose “kwality-with-a-K” design department. Or maybe it’s just their RPGs that have that problem. At any rate I have long dreamed of the card-gaming possibilities in the Paranoia universe so I’ll watch this one’s career with great interest, as it were.

FFG at GTS: perfecting the art of breeding larger and larger boxes

Tuesday, March 15th, 2005

Fantasy Flight is showing boatloads of stuff, including an English edition of Reiner Knizia’s excellent abstract Einfach Genial (under the new title Ingenious), a World of WarCraft boardgame in a mammoth Twilight Imperium-sized box (multiple win conditions: sell gold on eBay without getting caught and banned by Blizzard, or actually find something to do after you hit 45th level), and evidence of their highly questionable decision to work with Marvel Comics. Plenty of original titles too. Oddly, no Arkham Horror box.

WotC maybe sort of announces Narnia tie-in CCG

Tuesday, March 15th, 2005

Brace yourselves for some actual reporting: a random source at GAMA tells us WotC will be doing a CCG in the second half of the year to tie in with the Chronicles of Narnia movies. According to the same source, this brings WotC’s total for new CCGs coming out this year to a staggering six. This right after WotC told retailers that, out of 157 CCGs made in the history of the hobby, only twelve have lasted longer than four years. (Way to toss more bodies on the pile, Wizards!)

GTS press wrap-up, part the first

Tuesday, March 15th, 2005

Since we haven’t got a correspondent at GAMA this year, our coverage comes to you live from the OgreCave.com Worldwide Network GTS-CENTERPLEX Coverage Center (which looks suspiciously like the cubicles at our day jobs), where we tap into every GTS news source available to our high technology (which looks suspiciously like reading the same news sites you do) and bring you the highlights. To wit:

  • features a few surprises, including four Star Sisterz books, all of which have titles that make them sound vaguely like softcore pornography.
  • WotC kills GI JOE TCG effective immediately. Everybody now, along with me: COOOHHHHH-BRRRAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!!
  • Despite our increasingly frequent claim that WotC understands and uses market research better than almost anyone else in the industry, . You know, 41% of 15-year-olds in focus groups think it’s “edgy” to say “hecka.”
  • The first photograph here (scroll down) suggests that AEG will also be announcing a City of Heroes product. My first guess would be a CCG. [Update: Yup.]
  • reveals there will actually be a book called “D&D for Dummies” coming out. Hits in April. That sound you just heard was a thousand asinine morning radio DJs and comedy writers licking their chops in anticipation.

Eden announces tabletop RPG based on City of Heroes

Monday, March 14th, 2005

Eden enters the crowded supers market, but with the considerable force of this license behind them, might they actually prevail? Find out next issue! (Okay, Eden, after a joke that lame on my part, nobody else will be reading the rest of this post, so here: start putting your press releases out as HTML, not PDF. Seriously. PDF is for products, not news that you want people to read and make use of. HTML’s been around a long time and it won’t bite you. Just use it next time and I promise not to tell anyone that you’re calling your CoH core book the Registration Manual, okay? Oh, my bad.)

Press release text, and we mean text, is below.
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Marvel’s case against City of Heroes falling apart

Friday, March 11th, 2005

It looks as though City of Heroes has an excellent chance of emerging from Marvel’s copyright infringement lawsuit unscathed, due to today’s announcement of several charges against NCSoft and Cryptic Studios being dismissed. Agreeing with the defendants’ assertion that many of Marvel’s exhibits were “false and sham,” the judge pulled the plug on more than half of Marvel’s claims. NCSoft and Cryptic have ten days to respond to the rest of the case’s claims, and file any counterclaims. Not quite a resounding “Bad Spidey! No biscuit!” But the comic book giant may soon see the rest of its frivolous case go down in flames.

It’s not the size, it’s how you delve it

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005

The uberdungeon of the ’90s, TSR’s Ruins of Undermountain, is getting the floors redone and a new coat of paint in a series of web articles on the WotC site. Now this is the way to bring a mind-numbingly large, sprawling dungeon to the the gamer masses: in bite-sized chunks, for free. Don’t go for the world record and cram every single beast with an experience point value into a boxed set or kobold-crushing tome. AEG’s already tried that, and spent too much time on shoehorning the SRD’s beasts into the World’s Largest Dungeon, while not spending enough time editing.
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Rio Grande Sells Smallest Continent

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005

It is once again Rio Grande Games newsletter time. Most of the featured games this issue were already shown last time around, but there is one new entry — Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling’s Australia, a board game giving players control of the continent’s destiny starting in the twenties, a time of simultaneous industrial growth and environmental conservation. The land down under isn’t the subject of nearly as many games as, say, Europe, so this should at least fill a little gap in the hobby….

There’s a monster in the Flash, and it does a modern dance

Monday, March 7th, 2005

Dan Davis, co-creator of the visually luscious free online campaign book Agyris, has started blogging over at Monster Machine. Those interested in blingin’ illustrations and the future of online RPG distribution might want to add it to their inventory. If you need some room, chuck out that old dagger +1. Seriously, dude, you’re a magic user; you’re not gonna convince any chicks that you fight close-range in taverns. And that beard is just tacky.

DragonMech: Second Age preview online

Monday, March 7th, 2005

Giant mechs of dwarven design will continue to dent and blast the mechs of other races, in DragonMech: Second Age of Walkers. Fresh today, Goodman Games has a 15-page preview download on the autocratic Stenian Confederacy, providing the first detailed look at the DragonMech world. Though I haven’t taken the plunge into fantasy mechs just yet, I’ve heard good things about the DragonMech setting. Second Age of Walkers should be in your local stores now.

Equip your GM for GM’s Day

Friday, March 4th, 2005

Or grab stuff for yourself, take your pick. Lots of folks are offering savings today in celebration of GM’s Day: the RPGnet Store, as well as DriveThruRPG.com (who have their sale through the whole weekend), and RPGnow, among others. Purchase your GM bribes now, and ensure your survival in the next game session.

From the “abandonware isn’t just for PCs anymore” desk

Tuesday, March 1st, 2005

So in 1981 or so, this company Dwarfstar Games came out with some 2-player hexes-and-counters wargames, along fantasy and sci-fi thematic lines, and allegedly made a big splash. Over the years, Dwarfstar went as wargaming companies were going in those days (hint: opposite of north), and after a while the rights to the games ended up in the hands of Reaper. I would now like to formally pronounce that Reaper is cool, because all eight Dwarfstar games are now available as free downloads. It’s fantastic to see this kind of preservation work being done for gaming’s heritage, and I look forward to more of it.