Audio Report: ’tis the season to listen to us talk

This week on the Audio Report, it’s some news about WotC firings that you know by now, plus some discussion (and previews!) of the Gift Guides. Please enjoy, and feel free to discuss the scandalous hint of a long-threatened and now finally upcoming Ogre’s Choice Award.


  1. Nice show.

    Something I have bought, that I’d like to recommend that Mike look at is the “Mythic Roleplaying Game.” RPGNOW.COM carries it. It’s definitely a new style RPG. It can be run with or without a GM. Mike wants something that really is designed to help him tell stories. This system is designed for that. It was NOT my cup of tea, but it is an interesting system designed around the notion of task resolution relating to formulating questions and coming up with answers to those questions to determine success or failure. I could be wrong, but I think this might be something Mike would be interested in. Definitely an interesting design even though it wasn’t to my taste.

    As for PDF games for your holidy list, the two I have been playing recently are Final Twilight and Infinite Armies. I’m also gonna recommend a few others that may be worth a look.

    Final Twilight is a PDF customizable card game that gives you three decks of cards for less than $3.00. It’s a really fun game, but the designer is not rules lawyer enough, and so about a 10th of the cards have wording problems that you have to house rule. Still, for under $3.00 it’s quite fun. The premise of Final Twilight is a near future neo-Gothic realm where there are the minions of darkness and the heroes who fight against them. The mechanics are like a cross between Star Wars and Magic the Gathering. Intriguing. Definitely got my money’s worth, even though the card wordings needs some house rules and errata for some of them. Final Twilight is from NEO Productions. Decks are $1.00 each or $2.25 as a bundle.

    Infinite Armies. Make your own war game customizable card game. Yup. You make your own cards, and customize your deck with 100% custom cards. You can even customize the artwork, though the game ships with many images for you to slot into your cards. Each card has a series of Rock-Paper-Scissors sequences on them which you compare for attack and defense. Very, very deep thought game. Not a beer and pretzels game. Plenty of replay value. $10 from BTRC with a $3.00 expansion pack of new images.

    If you haven’t checked it out (it came out last Christmas), BTRC’s F*CK This game is a game about building silly, offensive sentences. It’s very humorous looking. Haven’t played it yet, but worth a look. Think Scrabble with words instead of letters. That kind of thing. Probably a great party game. And there is even a Christmas expansion.

    The above games are all available from RPGNOW.COM.

    Mutants and Masterminds is now available in PDF. Check out the Green Ronin website. I think that’s the only place to order it.

    True 20, also from Green Ronin is available at RPGNOW.COM.

    Both products are worth a look, but I prefer M&M2 to True 20, in spite of some of the play balance problems inherent in M&M2.

    Blue Devil Games has a game called “Witchstones” (board game in PDF format), which looks really interesting. I bought it for like $1.50, but haven’t played it yet. It is an abstract game where you have stones of different colors on the board with rules on capturing them to score points. I thought this game looks very, very ingenious, but since you have to be able to mix the stones thoroughly, it doesn’t lend itself well to the PDF format. That said, I still recommend buying it along with some colored glass gem stones from your favorite gaming store and giving them as a gift, the rules + the stones. I think the game looks pretty interesting.

    The last thing that I’d like to recommend as something that caught my eye is the Medieval Murder Mysteries RPG (for playing Name of the Rose, Brother Cadfael, etc.). Haven’t bought this yet, but it looks interesting. Available from RPGNOW.COM.

    Anyway, I don’t know that you guys track the PDF market much. I do. And these are the things that either caught my eye in terms of genre (Medieval Murder Mysteries, something that would be a tough sell on the mass market) or price. While True 20 is $12 and M&M2 is substantially more (like $20+), everything else above is like $10 or less, and several for under $5.00.

    So, they are definitely interesting gifts. If you print them out and sleeve them (cards) or bind them at Kinkos (RPGs) some of these would make interesting gifts. While I’d just buy a print version of M&M2 if I wanted it bound, a PDF of that game is a useful laptop tool for GMs, and a useful way, via the Open Gaming License, to make player handouts.

    Hope that helps.

  2. Regarding D&D’s future:

    Before it bought up WoTC, Hasbro bought up Avalon Hill, maker of such fine games as Titan, Cvilization, and Outdoor Survival. AH also made Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) which is the ultimate in counter-pushing, hyper-detailed wargames.

    Hasbro pretty much gutted the AH wargame division. There was no way they were going to do Iron Men and Wooden Ships — Star Wars collector edition. ASL was clearly headed the same way.

    Enter, Multiman Publishing (or MMP). MMPs only function is to continue to produce and sell ASL products (along with a number of other heavy-duty wargames, but ASL is the core focus). They licensed the rights from Hasbro and now they’re happily churning out core sets and modules and stuff for a very small, but very dedicated audience.

    It may very well be that D&D goes this route. A hardcore, dedicated team will simply take this unorthodox property out of Hasbro’s hands and just develop it at a scale and pace that’s more reasonable considering the audience.

  3. Tom, thats an interesting idea but I don’t think we’ll see that happening. D&D is more than the sum of its roleplaying game roots. Hasbro is also pulling money from licensing fees and the intellectual property by itself is still valuable.

    So, in essence, your scenario could happen but someone is going to have to fork over a lot of money to make that happen.

  4. Lee,

    Some great suggestions there… We will certainly take a look at them before we write up the next “12 Games Of…” list.

  5. Thanks again for the shout out for GOBLIN, it’s really helping to build momentum and seems to be working.


  6. What has always amazed me about Hasbro owning D&D is the lack of crazy tie-ins that they have never done. Look at Duel Masters. They had beanded versions of Sorry, Life, Monopoly, toys, actions figures, clothes, the list goes on.
    In the time that Hasbro has owned WoTC…nothing. I have never understood why they haven’t tried to extend the brand into the mass more with some similar tie-ins…

  7. Oh man, I so need to spell check. “Beaneded” shoudl have been branded. Excuse my lack of brains. I am still at Disneyland today ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Chris, agreed.

    I’m equally surprised that they didn’t mount such a push when the LOTR movies was in full swing. I’d love to have seen Todd McFarlane do a line of D&D action figures… which was unlikely given Hasbro making their own toys (and, outside of their Star Wars Unleashed figures, generally sucking).

    … and given the tendency to make everything else one, I’m shocked we haven’t seen a D&D CCG yet.

  9. I heard your comments about the possibilities of D&D 4E next year, and in what direction WotC could go with it.

    Knowing D&D online is being made, is there any possibility of Hasbro taking pen and paper D&D in a more “electronic” direction?

    Just my 2ยข,

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