Archive for November, 2005

Audio Report: SoCal 05 and True Dungeon in depth

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

We recorded this in a big hurry between SoCal and the Thanksgiving holiday… then, as always, I took a damned week to post it. But! It’s good. Listen, enjoy, and subscribe.

Finally, something that Dwarven Forge compares favorably with on price

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

BrickQuest: Master Maze with LEGOs.

So the Forge DID explain what they hell they were talking about!

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

It turns out that what I was looking for – a brief introduction to role-playing theory as it’s applied in what James Wallis’ Hogshead used to call “new-style” games – was right under my nose: Ron Edwards’ essay from 2001, “GNS and Other Matters of Role-playing Theory.” It’s clear, readable and beautifully organized. I’d been led astray by the repeated insistences of Ron and others on the Forge forums that this essay had out-of-date bits and/or could not convey a complete understanding of RPG theory without reading a string of subsequent essays in order. But the Forge is a game design forum, so those warnings really only apply to people who want to apply RPG theory to design work. For the rest of us, who just want to understand our gaming better and see if there might be another way to play that makes us happier, the 2001 essay is more than adequate.

I was worried that the presence of the now-controversial “Simulationism,” the S in GNS that’s usually applied to old-style RPGs, would be a liability in this essay, but lo and behold this bit from chapter 2: “Controversy: is that third box really there?” This section jibes well with the Forge’s current position that Simulationism as a design genre is really kind of mythical; I prefer just to call most games previously described as Sim by the descriptor “old-style.” Why ascribe a theory to a game that was designed without one?

OgreCave, your source for celebrity news

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

Via Boardgame News (which incidentally is the new home of the much-lauded gameblogger Rick Thornquist, ex-GameWire): “actress Daryl Hannah is looking to earn herself a name in a new role: Game designer. That’s because Hannah and her best friend, fellow actress Hilary Shepard, have taken their passion for board games to store shelves with the new game ‘Liebrary.’ ” Game is essentially Balderdash. The duo claims to have designed another mass-market-aimed game which was altered substantially by the publisher.

Pinnacle to create WizKids RPGs

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

In a press release today, it was announced that Pinnacle Entertainment Group has been granted the rights to create roleplaying products based on WizKids properties like Mage Knight and the Pirates CSG. Pinnacle, in the form of Great White Games, will also be able to design scenario books for WizKids lines, up to and including new game pieces. This seems like a smart partnership, especially for WizKids. When wading out into a new market, always swim with a buddy.
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OgreCave Christmas Gift Guide 2005, part 1

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

Once again, OgreCave has some suggestions for holiday gift shoppers in the form of our Christmas Gift Guide 2005. The first part of our annual list, Twelve Games At The End Of The Bed, recommends game gifts for $20 or less apiece. Over the next few days, we’ll put up our other lists of quality gift ideas, and hopefully provide an idea or two to ease your shopping worries. Stay tuned.

Deryni Adventure Game shipping

Monday, November 28th, 2005

The fine folks at Grey Ghost Press have announced that The Deryni Adventure Game, long-awaited by many, is now shipping and should be in stores early December. The 256-page RPG is based on the Deryni series of fantasy books by New York Times best-selling author Katherine Kurtz, and will retail for $39.99. In a year that has seen Green Ronin’s Blue Rose doing quite well, the climate may be just right for The Deryni Adventure Game to be a hit.

The only thing scarier would be a used car salesman

Saturday, November 26th, 2005

Here’s a quick break from feasting, shopping, or whatever you’re up to this Thanksgiving weekend: the best car commercial ever, in my humble opinion, is this one. Cthulhu fans, take note, and have a happy holiday weekend.

Gen Con SoCal ’05 attendance numbers up 12%

Thursday, November 24th, 2005

Official word from last week’s Gen Con SoCal is in, and apparently attendance was up a bit. According to Peter Adkison, CEO of Gen Con LLC, “Unique attendance was about 6,300, an increase of 12% from 2004.” So more of us gamers came to the show, which is good. If a few more of the problems holding the show back could be sorted out (schedule book errors, convention hall union issues, the “Best Four Days of Gaming” being closer to three this time, to name a few), Gen Con SoCal just might be around for years to come. We’ll talk more about this in our next audio report, but despite the attendance increase, the jury still seems to be out on California’s Gen Con spin-off.

Race Day and High Stakes Drifter hit stores

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005

As my schedule continues to recover after four days in Anaheim, it’s nice to note that other schedules are recovering as well. In this case, WizKids has been doing the recovering, as the delayed High Stakes Drifter CCG just hit stores. At the same time, the company’s NASCAR tie-in game, Race Day, has also reached retail shelves. As you’ll hear in our next podcast, the game looks damn good, and is likely to be another successful CSG release for WizKids. Both press releases follow.
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Live at GenCon SoCal ’05: Best non-miniatures minis wargame

Sunday, November 20th, 2005

Your Move Games has one of the more interesting games at the show: Battleground: Fantasy Warfare (which was sold at Indy, but is officially releasing this month). This card-based wargame is an idea whose time should’ve come years ago, but for some reason hadn’t materialized until now. Each card represents one unit of a fantasy army, displaying an overhead view of the warriors, trolls, undead, or the like, and moves around the battlefield in card lengths, similar to WizKids’ Pirates. Players aren’t encumbered with tables and charts, but are instead able to mark lost health, current orders, and other status changes directly on the cards, which are dry erase marker friendly. One 48-card starter from any of the three armies (Undead, Orcs, or Men) of this non-collectible game provides enough combatants for two players to let slip the dogs of point-based beat-down. If that ain’t enough, each faction has a 50-card reinforcement deck with plenty more units, and at that point you own every card for the faction. At under $20 for either starter decks or reinforcement decks, any gamer who enjoys a good multi-unit fantasy rumble should look into Battleground.

Audio Report: oh, oh, oh, it’s magic

Friday, November 18th, 2005

Sorry for the delay. We may or may not have a show next week, but this one recorded last week has plenty to chew on, including the long-promised “Magic rant.” I don’t know why I keep saying “for the weekend of” at the top of the show because they’re never done by then.

The question put to you, dear listeners: how did you get into gaming (the short version, please), and is that entryway still there for people today?

News from the (somewhat shrunken) floor of Gen Con SoCal

Friday, November 18th, 2005

Real quick: apparently Privateer has the four core box sets from Hordes on sale at the show. Who knew? (Uh, fellas… that’s a nice surprise and everything, but given the projected shortages of Warmachine core sets through the holiday season, you might wanna get back to casting things people already know they want and can buy? Just a thought.) Also, more Shadowrun 4E books are shipping to distribution today and Monday.

More proof that D&D3 is too complex

Tuesday, November 15th, 2005

“To play D&D, all that is required is a core rule book, D&D dice, a pencil, some paper, and imagination.” And, apparently, an eight-hour online course.

Dead of Night sees light of day

Tuesday, November 15th, 2005

SteamPower Publishing has unleashed a bit of terror into the roleplaying world with its new release, Dead of Night. This 224-page, digest-sized gamebook is “based on campfire tales, horror stories and urban myths.” The book’s easy portability is emphasized in statements on the website like “adapted for play on the move”, which makes me think of Sherpa, the RPG designed to play while hiking. Containing five adventures to play through and stylish artwork as well, Dead of Night sells for $19.99 and should be in stores now.
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Tabletop RPG theory for the casually curious

Saturday, November 12th, 2005

Ron Edwards is a great writer – from what I’ve seen, he can accomplish pretty much anything he decides he wants to accomplish. But there are times that I really wonder about what he wants to accomplish, such as when I try to read his RPG theory articles at the Forge. To quote Tim Burton: “These read like stereo instructions!” Maybe there are good reasons to choose that vernacular, like settling arguments or keeping out the riff-raff. But being riff-raff myself, I went looking for an easier-to-read trip through a few of the high points of Gamist-Narrativist-Simulationist theory, sharing GM duties and all that other good stuff. And lo and behold, it was right under my nose at the site of Dogs in the Vineyard author Vincent Baker. Rock! Don’t let the page title scare you: Baker is as good a writer as Edwards and, in this instance, a better teacher.

Audio Report from an undisclosed location

Thursday, November 10th, 2005

We join up with OC correspondent Steve Kani for a brief, actually-live-in-person Audio Report.

To discuss: hey, it’ll be time for the Xmas gift guides soon… what do you want under the tree?

AEG spins off Spycraft

Thursday, November 10th, 2005

Yes, AEG is unloading Spycraft, and to whom? Stalwart Spycraft developer Patrick Kapera is creating a new business to take it on. Seems like good news all around, except some poor guy now has to start a company to support a CCG. Or, you know, not, I guess – there is apparently “active discussion regarding the continuation of the Spycraft CCG.”

New GAMES 100 out, Australia is Game of the Year

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

And you thought it was just the only country that’s also a continent! (Which I’m not even sure it is.)

There’s no need to fear, Underdark is almost here

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

In preparation for tomorrow’s release, Wizards has posted the Underdark figure gallery. This new set for D&D Miniatures introduces rules for Epic level figures, such as Balor, Artemis Entreri, and Elminster. It also gives those who picked up the Fane of the Drow adventure the rest of the figures needed to properly run it.