Archive for July, 2005

Tomorrow Knights RPG, today

Sunday, July 31st, 2005

After a bit more delay than expected, Z-Man Games has shipped a completed Tomorrow Knights RPG. The 128-page rulebook is based on the comic series, which I haven’t read, but sounds somewhat similar in concept to Bubblegum Crisis, or at least in the same ballpark. Spectrum Games developed the game, which should be in stores any minute now.
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Warmachine: The Card Game (note: lies)

Sunday, July 31st, 2005

1) Wow, we really haven’t posted since the podcast.

2) New podcast will be up Monday night probably.

3) The Warmachine Faction Decks are the best product Privateer has ever made. They comprise one (or, in the case of warjacks commonly fielded in groups, more) of each character card for all the units in the first two sets of Warmachine (that is, Prime and Escalation), grouped by faction. Each faction will run you about $12.99 for all the cards, which are just like the ones that come in the figure packages, only in color (maybe those are in color now, I don’t know). You can then put these cards in little plastic sleeves, so you can use grease pencils to check off all their little checkboxes during play, and pair them with your D&D minis, old MechWarrior figs you picked up from the discount rack, chess pieces, whatever. You might even just get those little plastic stands for Cardboard Heroes or somesuch, stand the cards in them and play that way… inconvenient, but great for style points. You’ll need the rules, of course, but the quick start is a giveaway poster at most stores. I don’t know why this appeals to me so much more than playing out of the books, but it really does. These cards are cool.

4) Josh Kornbluth, noted monologist and star of the films Haiku Tunnel and Red Diaper Baby, is sitting and typing at the table out in front of this cafe. His ergonomics are terrible.

Introducing the OgreCave Audio Report

Tuesday, July 26th, 2005

So, Chris wanted to podcast, and I said, “Okay.” The OgreCave Audio Report is a weekly half-hour-or-less on the gaming industry topics of the week, plus what we are playing and liking. We figure we spend enough time just kind of Waldorfing about gaming stuff that we may as well record it and put it up. It’s got an iTunes-ready feed and everything, although it needs a nicer template (also some links to other gaming podcasts would be lovely – I know GeekSpeak and Boardgames To Go, but please post links to others in the comments). There are some sound troubles which we’ll have ironed out by next week, hopefully – I don’t think they detract from the current program’s enjoyability. This week we discuss the Rackham news, as well as the WizKids announcements and sundry other goings-on. Hope you enjoy it.

Games Expo 2007: beginning of the end of GTS?

Monday, July 25th, 2005

As you might expect, the announcement of the vaguely Games Quarterly-affilliated Games Expo 2007 is wreckin’ all kinds of shop out there. GAMA loyalists are calling it unprofessional, divisive, et cetera; those less than happy with GTS as an industry trade show claim that GTS wasn’t super likely to go on in 2007 anyway. (Games Expo is scheduled for GTS’ traditional March weekend.) Me, I think competition is good and while GAMA is decent at running a consumer-oriented show at Origins, their performance with GTS shows a lot of room for improvement. Also, the thumbnail cover on Games Quarterly’s site looks like it has a headline of “City of Herpes” if you squint.

Computer-based paper magazine on computer-based paper games

Monday, July 25th, 2005

On one level it’s a shame about Escapist magazine’s relentless insistence on the forms and tropes of paper magazines in a digital medium… but on the other, at least they do it well. And check out this talk with Greg Gorden, designer of the original James Bond 007 and, yes, Torg RPGs, on how that early work informs his work in mobile games today. (Oh, and Allen Varney’s the interviewer!)

Any excuse for a haiku contest is a good one

Monday, July 25th, 2005

And a Knizia board game with John Howe art about Beowulf is an especially good excuse. To wit:

No, it’s not co-op.
It comes out in October.
Here’s the contest link.

Chris Pramas on WFRP sales and the industry’s info-poverty

Friday, July 22nd, 2005

The new edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay sold better than anything else GR has done lately, but you wouldn’t know it from Comics and Games Retailer, which most of the retailers I’ve talked to cite as the only entity actually trying to deliver sales rankings. Well, apparently there’s another now, and that’s great, because all my retailer contacts agree with Pramas that C’n'GR does an iffy job at best. I mean, how hard should it have to be for retailers – and publishers, and press for that matter – to know what’s selling?

D&D Minis – Angelfire: First look

Friday, July 22nd, 2005

As both a roleplayer and a miniatures gamer, I was excited to receive some Angelfire figs to fiddle with. The selection assembled for the set seems to have a wide range of heroic individuals, menacing beasts, and staples of fantasy miniatures (kobolds and skeletons? Check). I even managed to get my hands on a 124 point CG commander, Ghaele Eladrin, who gives extra activations to followers that roll a 19 or 20 while attacking. As game mechanics go, the new set looks to push the game’s envelope in new directions. Thus far nothing jumps out at me as a figure with a broken, dominating ability.
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Confrontation publishers plan pre-painted, non-collectible mech game for ’06

Thursday, July 21st, 2005

Just yesterday I was complaining to Chris that there hadn’t been any really good miniatures games that went with pre-painted figures but were non-collectible, or at least sold on the same a la carte basis as Warmachine and others. I would love to be playing more Warmachine, but I can’t bring myself to play with an unpainted army – and there is no way I can make the time to paint them. I’m a gamer, and that’s my hobby; I’m not looking for games that come with a whole other hobby stapled to them.

So. Minis fans know French publishers Rackham for their beautiful sculpts and solid games such as Confrontation. It would seem that in the latter half of next year, they aim to bring out a sci-fi themed game, with mecha, done to their usual standards, but pre-painted – also to their usual standards. You can see an early (unpainted, plastic) model here. Confirmation is available on their English-language forums here and here.

I have no idea what the economics of this are going to be – plastic models are cheap, but only if you do enough of them, and that kind of scale means a lot of hard painting to be done – but man, am I ever looking forward to finding out.

Etherscope coming from Sword & Sorcery and Goodman

Wednesday, July 20th, 2005

White Wolf (or rather, its Sword & Sorcery arm) will bring us more Goodman Games goodness in the form of Etherscope, a standalone “Cyberpunk Victoriana” RPG spun off from d20 Modern under the Open Gaming License. Developed by the guys at Malladins Gate Press, Etherscope will join the rapidly growing list of second party products published under the Sword & Sorcery banner. The 240-page hardcover rulebook will arrive in November, followed by quarterly support products. The full press release is below.
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Feel the Twonky flowing through you

Wednesday, July 20th, 2005

The Robo Rally Flash demo up at Avalon Hill looks on the surface exactly like the Flash demos for all their other games. Poke through it, though, and you eventually find a fine solitaire puzzle game called “Mini Rally Training Ground,” featuring five or six levels of compact boards, a single hand of program cards and a goal. Good wholesome fun! (BTW: our verdict on the new edition of RR is that you probably don’t need it if you own and like the old version. If you hated the old one, though, the new version’s preset board scenarios and “docking bay” will probably help you enjoy it much more. Give it another try; like Zendo, it’s hard to set up properly for a first game but very rewarding if you do it right.)

ENnies 2005 nominees announced, voting open

Tuesday, July 19th, 2005

This year’s ENnie Award nominees have been announced for 2005. As always, the winners will be revealed at Gen Con Indy. You can swing by and vote now, if you like. In case traffic gets heavy, nominees are copied below.
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Race Day CSG: NASCAR connection is official

Tuesday, July 19th, 2005

Which, sadly, probably precludes a lot of the interesting mix-and-match options we could have had if driver, car, and sponsor didn’t have to fit reality. I so wanted to swap out the Tide sponsorship for, say, Monsanto and get the special ability of spewing toxic chemical clouds onto the track. PDF of the release, full text after the jump.
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Rumors of WizKids’ next CSG release

Friday, July 15th, 2005

We’ve recently heard an unconfirmed rumor of plans for a NASCAR CSG coming from WizKids in the fall. I don’t know if that would have the same mass appeal that HeroClix and Pirates of the Spanish Main have stumbled across, but it’ll be interesting to see how the game’s received. Perhaps a licensed version of Car Wars could see the light of day?

Rio Grande Update

Friday, July 15th, 2005

The ever-productive Rio Grande Games has released yet another newsletter featuring a variety of products. Popular classics Tikal and Torres are getting re-released, and newer offerings include That’s Life!, a re-titled version of a German game of the year nominee; Fjords, a strategy game for aspiring Slartibartfasts; Palazzo, a palace-building game; and Pickomino, in which players aspire to profit by selling specialty cooked worms to birds. Truly, there is something for everyone this month.

Invisible City Offers Two for the Price of None

Friday, July 15th, 2005

This month, Invisible City, home of free monthly games, offers not one, but two gifts to the world at large. First up is BAG, which is sort of like Scrabble, but you’re lining up pictures that represent related concepts rather than letters that spell out words. This is accompanied by Run, Hamster, Run! (Version 2.1), a new revision of the bizarre dark comedy classic. What are you waiting for? Get printing!

WizKids announces their first CCG

Friday, July 15th, 2005

I don’t know, do you think they can handle such a commercial type of game, with such high production values? High Stakes Drifter is a CCG due in November, which “uses a betting and bluffing system similar to Hold ‘Em where players challenge each other based on Skills, Smarts, and Luck.” Right, because the Hold ‘Em trend won’t be over in five minutes. No siree. I give ‘em credit, though, they are lining up lots of not-obviously-bad designs and appear generally serious about survival as a company. PDF press release here, full text after the jump.

While we’re talking about WK, though: 1) we never talked about the official death of Mage Knight, and still don’t have anything to add except that, um, now I guess we’ve talked about it; 2) if you haven’t watched any of the animated Rocketmen “webisodes,” don’t, unless you want your brain to hurt. That is all.
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Transformers movie release date announced

Thursday, July 14th, 2005

It was already known that a live action Transformers movie is in the works, and that Spielberg is attached to the project, but this was all to happen in the vague, distant future. Well, today’s announcement sets the date as July 4th, 2007, which Dreamworks should be able to adhere to (unless the company gets scared off by a Fantastic Four sequel or the like). I keep saying this is begging to be an RPG, especially with Hasbro owning both WotC and the Transformers property. If someone could craft said theoretical game with the feel of classic Battletech combined with Cartoon Action Hour, they might have a hit. Loads of full color screenshots from the movie, hardcover rulebook, the works. Of course, things could go the other way as well, and we could have another D&D movie calamity on our hands.

In praise of tiltyblocks!

Wednesday, July 13th, 2005

If you’re like me, you did not even notice that Attack Vector: Tactical won this year’s Origins Award for best minis game. That is probably because, like me, you hadn’t seen this picture. Hubba hubba. The whole starship-combat market has been empty to the point of echoing lately, so it’s great to see this.

Industry pros on RuneQuest, Mongoose, D20 and more

Monday, July 11th, 2005

You think I sound like a grump about the RPG business? Listen to some folks who are actually in the industry. This is on the weblog of D&D stalwart Mike Mearls, whose leadoff post is a bit annoyingly vague. But check out Ryan Dancey’s followup; for all his faults the guy often sees the industry clearer than almost anyone. And don’t skimp on clicking through to the replies and sub-comments; lots of fantastic stuff in there, like this.

SJ Games’ Scott Haring in car accident

Thursday, July 7th, 2005

According to a Daily Illuminator post and other sources, e23 editor Scott Haring and his family were in a car accident, causing the death of his stepson. Scott is an all-around great guy, as I learned from sharing a room with him at GTS, and he spoke fondly of introducing his stepson to various gaming luminaries that year. The staff of OgreCave wishes Scott and his family all the best during this sad time.

Mongoose announces new RuneQuest

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005

Matthew Sprange says Mongoose Publishing will be doing a new edition of RuneQuest next year. Comedy ensues. Sprange is active in both discussions and has confirmed that the system will not be D20-esque nor the original game’s system, but rather a new creation that aims for the old feel. I have not yet found anything explaining how the future of Issaries and HeroQuest fits into all this, but I am reluctant to spend work time reading all 35 or so pages of forum chatter. Report back if you find anything.

UPDATE: okay, so I missed it. Greg Stafford confirms that Mongoose has licensed Glorantha, and that the system will be essentially the same as the original game’s system, just rewritten from scratch to skirt copyright. That could get interesting.

2005 Origins Award winners posted

Friday, July 1st, 2005

Despite the confusion of still having the defunct originsawards.com website up and running, the 2005 Origins Award winners were announced early yesterday. They’ve finally made it to the Academy page (and are copied below), though are still MIA on the GAMA site proper. Perhaps if there were still some sort of ceremony or presentation, more people would’ve noticed. In any case, many of the winners announced were in line with critical praise given elsewhere, so the process isn’t as screwed up as it could be.
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Axis & Allies Miniatures pics, gameplay

Friday, July 1st, 2005

That guy got to play a little bit of it and took a bunch of pics. He says it’s not long on innovation rules-wise but it’s solid and seems fun. Anyway the most important thing here is clearly that the turrets rotate. Sold!