Archive for April, 2005

OgreCave reviews: Sword & Skull

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

Our new review comes from Merwin, who has explored the recent addition to the Avalon Hill boardgame line, Sword & Skull by Wizards of the Coast. He’s weighed anchor (as well as the rest of the game), and tells us if it’s worth hauling around, or if we’re better off saving our gold for other adventures.

Firefly RPG based on Serenity confirmed

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

Margaret Weis Productions has confirmed what we’ve strongly suspected for a while now: that it will release a Firefly-related RPG. Based on the upcoming movie, the Serenity Roleplaying Game will employ a new system (ie, not d20) and will be a full-color hardback with images from the film. According to the press release (below), “It will provide rules for play, character creation, and a short adventure along with information about the crew of the Firefly-class spaceship, Serenity.” No release date is set just yet, but plans are already in the works for supplements and web support.
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OgreCave reviews: Idylls of the Rat King

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

Everything old has become new again with the advent of D&D 3.5, including many of the first adventures. Matthew gives us his take on the recently-updated retro module Dungeon Crawl Classics: Idylls of the Rat King by Goodman Games. Did Matthew think the adventure was worth updating? Have a look and find out.

We’re gonna need a lot more black cloth

Monday, April 25th, 2005

I’m embarrassed to say I like the pun. Yes, Ninja Burger 2: Sumo-Size Me! continues the honorable tradition of ninja fast food delivery, adding 72 cards to the original game (not that one. The card game, silly). The expansion promises new missions (“I’m delivering it where?“), Fortune cards, Menu Items, and other ninja goodness. For your $16.95, you’ll also get a side order of ninja money tokens, though it’s unclear whether they’ll double as shuriken. Steve Jackson Games shipped the expansion on Saturday, so the unseen delivery warriors should be in place at your local store soon.

Ronin Arts’ Superline now in super format

Sunday, April 24th, 2005

Ronin Arts fans can now grab a limited print copy of the company’s latest M&M Superlink product, Superline #1: Tomorrow’s Headlines. For those who weren’t aware, Superline is a new series of supplements that will “present fan-oriented gaming material for M&M Superlink in a comic book format and with comic book spirit.” This is the way all supers RPG products should be presented, and at $3 plus an SASE, it’s even cheaper than the PDF version! Has Phil Reed gone mad? Only with his skillz, my friend. [EDIT: Or I'm missing the detail Phil just pointed out below that states "to puchase Superline #1 without the need to buy the PDF" the print copy is $10. See, he hasn't gone mad at all. It's just me.]

Kevin Wilson’s gonna sing the Doom song now

Saturday, April 23rd, 2005

The designer of Doom, WarCraft and the developer on the new Arkham Horror edition is interviewed, and gives what I think are heretofore-unreleased gameplay details about the latter. And it’s just generally a fun read for design heads such as myself.

Original Arkham Horror expansion rises again

Saturday, April 23rd, 2005

A while back, our friends over at Yog-Sothoth.com scored a copy of the unpublished supplement to the rare and elusive Arkham Horror boardgame, and posted it for all to download and enjoy. Unfortunately, the site had to take the file down shortly thereafter until a day when the game’s ownership issues (mentioned here) could be sorted out. That day has come, and once more the fine cultists of Yog-Sothoth offer the sacred ritual text that is Return to Arkham Horror. The stars must be aligned or something.
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Cartoon Action Hour story

Friday, April 22nd, 2005

Z-Man Games and Spectrum Games have been collaborating to pack each Cartoon Action Hour release with energon cubes – um, sorry, entertaining campaign material. Their newest product, currently in PDF at the Z-Man site, looks to be no exception. Star Warriors is the third series book for CAH, a 64-page supplement that provides a details of a fictional space opera series complete with “meta-game backstory of the cartoon itself.” I wonder if it gives reasons for the series being cancelled, or perhaps a list of celebrity voices that appeared on the show.
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That hobby with the dungeons and stuff

Tuesday, April 19th, 2005

A friend pointed out a London Times article about Games Workshop‘s recent decline in share value. Other than strangely comparing GW’s drop in profits to “Jessops, the camera shop, and Topps Tiles, the ceramic tiles specialist”, this article was notable for one other reason: the reporter sites GW as the company “which specialises in the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game.” Now, it’s great that D&D has the name recognition power to stick in this person’s head, as she’s obviously not a gamer. But come on, people. If her mistake were correct, it’d be bigger news than her intended topic. “Games Workshop shares down 30%. Oh, and they now own D&D.”

Please don’t eat the settlements

Tuesday, April 19th, 2005

Fun for the whole family that’s strategic, challenging, and delicious!

Mongoose sends boxes of ugly bugs into distribution

Tuesday, April 19th, 2005

Seriously. Mean, ugly, nasty, and, er, tall. I’d rather face a bunch of Genestealers than a pack of these. So: recall that this is the Andy Chambers-designed brand new Starship Troopers minis game. After a long time of talk and no action, distributors have it and it should be in US shops this week. That starter box looks to set up a situation with plenty of drama, but it isn’t clear how broadly this game can develop with essentially just two factions. There’s a promo animation, which does not quite top our old Battle Cattle video at Gamers, but comes close.

OgreCave reviews: Yog-Sothoth and an Exosuit

Sunday, April 17th, 2005

Sounds like a quirky sit-com title, doesn’t it? But no, it’s our latest reviews! Demian has looked deeply into the abyss of Shadows of Yog-Sothoth by Chaosium, and given us whatever sane thoughts he has left. Also, Cedric’s review of Exosuit AOK by Deep7 should enlighten any reader, otaku or not.

From the “slight change of pace” department…

Saturday, April 16th, 2005

Another free game of the month has arrived from Invisible City. Tumblewords is sort of like a hybrid of Connect Four and those word search puzzles often found in special large-print editions for the elderly. If you’ve got some spare Scrabble tiles lying around, this isn’t a bad way to get some new use out of them!

WalMart uses miniatures to make more retailer friends

Saturday, April 16th, 2005

Apparently mega-chain retailer WalMart is moving deeper into collectible miniatures territory, a trend that’s making some game store retailers nervous. As a guest retailer reports at ICV2, WalMart is selling the Star Wars Miniatures Game at well below MSRP (and though the story claims WalMart did not carry the first two sets of the game, both are listed on WalMart’s website at similarly discounted prices). Does this actually surprise anyone? Of course the biggest selling products of the gaming industry will attract the attention of the biggest retailers. Independant retailers shouldn’t get too bent out of shape over WalMart wanting a piece of the collectible minis pie, and the discounted price lets the company elbow its way in for the largest piece possible. If this was indeed a recent change for WalMart, independant retailers should have seen it coming. (Amusingly, WalMart claims to have the hardcover version of the miniatures. WalMart: undoubtedly gaming specialists.)

Green Ronin turns five

Tuesday, April 12th, 2005

Green Ronin fans have a chance to fill in some holes in their collections during GR’s Fifth Anniversary celebration. Each week for the next five weeks, visitors to the Green Ronin Online Store will find two products on sale for just $5 each, and another product will be in the “Award-Winner Showcase” at 50% off. The sale has already begun, with Tales of Freeport and Denizens of Freeport selling for $5 apiece, and Freeport: City of Adventure in the Winner’s Circle for half price. A new selection will be available each week, so keep your eyes open for those titles you’re still missing.

OgreCave reviews: Solid! and Kung Fu Samurai

Tuesday, April 12th, 2005

Today’s batch of reviews adds some humorous titles to our library. Justin gives us his take on Solid! from Wingnut Games, which he wasn’t impressed with for several reasons. Then Matthew describes Kung Fu Samurai on Giant Robot Island from Z-Man Games, and quotes some of his favorite cards in the process.

Amazon ventures into print-on-demand

Monday, April 11th, 2005

We’ve heard through the grapevine that Amazon has just acquired a print-on-demand company called Booksurge. Yes, the giant online store can now offer to print and bind a book for you that only exists in electronic form until you buy it. Depending on what Booksurge charges, Amazon could be in a position to lower the barrier of entry into the game industry and the book trade in general. It has long been debated in certain circles that print-on-demand could eliminate the need for physical game stores, or at least complement their shelf stock. And yes, print-on-demand has been around for a while, and several companies make use of it to stock their shelves, but now a huge entity has the ball and might decide to run with it.

Hecatomb site (and logotype) rapidly improving

Wednesday, April 6th, 2005

So there’s some interesting stuff to read there now. Including this “first small hit of game information”: “When you attack with your abominations and your opponent is foolish (or devilish) enough not to block them, the abominations reap souls from that player. Be the first to reap 20 souls, and you win!” Er… yeah. While I’m aware that there is more to Hecatomb’s design than running a search and replace on the Magic quick start rules, the latter concept does amuse me. What if Star Sisterz had gone this way? “Be the first to make 20 poorly-dressed, non-Limited-Too-wearing younger girls cry…”

OgreCave reviews: Cthulhu Dark Ages & One False Step

Tuesday, April 5th, 2005

As this fine Tuesday draws to a close, I’m finally able to get back online and get some reviews up. Matthew gives us his analysis of Cthulhu Dark Ages by Chaosium, and he pulls no punches. Then Demian tells us about One False Step for Mankind by Cheapass Games, and how he got to color a bunch of poker chips. Pull up a chair and have a look.

Sword and Skull Playtest Report, plus sort of some news

Monday, April 4th, 2005

This interview with Sword & Skull designer Mike Elliott leads off with a note on one of those missing Wizards CCGs – a Xiaolin Showdown license – and goes on to explain some of the numerous ways in which S&S is like Monopoly but less sucky. I mean, how many times have you glided your top hat past Park Place and thought, “this is okay, but I wish I got to fight pirates”? Your wish was not in vain, sir.

I won’t repeat Elliott’s specific claims – my 3-player test on Friday night basically confirmed them all. We did have one player who seemed to want the game to be over sooner than it was, although she ended up winning (maybe because she was the only one goal-oriented enough to want the game to end). S&S can suffer from a bit of Talisman Syndrome – wander around the board trying to build some stat up, have random things happen to you that knock you down, lather, rinse, repeat. But you do get some ways to ameliorate the grip of luck, and frankly, just staggering around trying to get your friend back for stealing your gold last time is pretty fun. Our game ran a little under two hours.

So: light and frothy by contemporary AH standards, not the grind Monopoly can be, all the “advanced” stuff that Elliott goes on about doesn’t drag it down (but doesn’t end up being all that salient either), and we liked it. We recommend that you rechristen your Pirate and Officer figures as Giant Dwarf and Nancy-Boy, respectively.