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Audio Report: GTS wrap-up, finally

April 8th, 2006: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Audio Report: GTS wrap-up, finally

At long last, Chris’ near-immediate GTS post-show impressions claw their way loose from our production entanglements. It’s still a pretty eye-opening show, and we still want to hear from you about that big roleplaying question. Bring it!

14 Comments »

14 comments

  1. Chris says:

    Pardon how I sound. I had a massive migraine while we recorded this.

  2. Mike Montesa says:

    Great show as always guys. You have the best game industry info on the web. Love the commentary, and I really appreciate hearing your opinions about things that are going on.

    What does roleplaying mean to me as a hobby – how do I practice roleplaying? Man, big question.

    Roleplaying is easily the best way possible for me to indulge my imagination. With RPGs I can sit down with a group of friends and we can create, in the theater of the mind’s eye, the best movies we’ve ever seen. Imagination provides an unlimited budget.

    Roleplaying engages me in an extremely active and creative way. I have other hobbies and interests, but none are as mentally stimulating as gaming. It’s also something I could do without any equipment at all. If I were stranded on a desert island with no games (horror), I’d spend my time creating one of my own.

    Roleplaying is a way I can spend time with the best friends I’ve ever had. When I think about it, nearly all of my closest friends are gamers, with some friendships stretching back over 20+ years.

    Roleplaying is a source for entertainment, intellectual stimulation, and social activity that has been an extremely fulfilling part of my life. I’ll never give it up! 🙂

  3. Anon says:

    Excellent show!

  4. Lee Valentine says:

    Chris, I think this is the second time you said that Wiz Kids will have full returnability of its BSG CCG. Is there info online about how the returns will work? Will you send stuff back to them, or will you send stuff back to the distributors? If to the distributors, have the distributors agreed to participate in collecting products from retailers to ship back to Wiz Kids?

    Tri King had the “Anachronism Challenge”, and if the products didn’t sell you could even send back individual decks and boosters. Will Wiz Kids do the same thing, or are they just accepting back sealed POP displays.

    How much does full returnability lend to your interest (as a retailer) in products, Chris? I ask, because you have been down on CCGs lately, but you seem interested in BSG, and I suspect that’s because of the strength of the license and the fact that there is returnability. Right?

  5. Chris says:

    Lee, all good questions. Lemme do my best to answer…
    I don’t believe there is info online about this program. The information has been directly disseminated from WK to Retailers, or from distributors to retailers. If and when we need to send things back, we send it to the distributor we bought it from. As far as I know, this applies to all distributors reselling WKs products. Thats the one area I don’t know for sure. Distributors have done this in the past for other manufacturers with other product lines/initiatives. Thankfully they have some experience to make it easier on them. By agreeing to take part, they share the risk with the rest of us in unrecoverable processing hours when and if product goes back.
    As far as I know, WK will allow us to send back anything we haven’t opened on a per package basis. No sorting through boosters to get rares, then send the open packs back…but they will allow us to return partial displays.
    Full return-ability is about 80% of the reason we are willing to try this game. BSG’s license is the other 20%. CCGs are just flooded right now with the customer base plain burnt out on all the different games, and amount of money they are being “asked” to spend on them. For the amount of players, the number of games just hasn’t been sustainable. BSG might cross-over, so we are gonna give it the old college try…

    Hope that made sense.

    Ch

  6. Lee Valentine says:

    Chris, is there a minimum amount of time before you can return BSG? Or is there a maximum doorway after which you can’t return?

    Are there companies other than WK and Tri-King doing this kind of returnability in the specialty hobbies industry, to the best of your knowledge?

  7. Chris says:

    Lee, I will have to look those up. There is a specific amount of time, less than 3 months and more than 30 days (if I recall correctly.)

    AEG was the only other one I remember off the top of my head. I _think_ the people who do Chiazo Rising may be attempting a similar offer….

  8. JohnH says:

    There is a little bit of info on the WizKids website (http://www.wizkidsgames.com/battlestar/article.asp?a=40735). But all it says is “With this initial game release, you can return any unopened product—down to the pack—after it has been on the shelf for 12 weeks. (For more information, please contact your distributor.)”

    They’ve just uploaded the rules to the website too. I have to say this is the first CCG I’ve seen for a long while that I might consider buying a significant number of cards for.

  9. Chris says:

    John, I have some of the cards….they are awesome!

  10. Thomas says:

    The great role-playing question:

    My wife and I used to play rpgs before we were married; this was a way to get a group of friends together, to just have fun with each other. When we moved out to our current location, we really didn’t know anyone outside of work. While we were thinking of a way to meet people, we thought about joining a gaming group. After all, it’s a social activity where there’s a good chance that everyone has several things in common — gamers tend to like similar types of movies, television shows, and media. We know that there’s a lot of common ground to talk about with each other, and suddenly we’ve got a social network growing. The practical application of role-playing really is a social one to us.

    As far as game systems go, I prefer the rules light systems, the ones that don’t pause the story that’s being told by needless flipping through game manuals. I’m usually the GM when we play, so my perspective from the other side of the GM screen is a bit lacking. As a GM, I see my role as a facilitator for the story. It’s a story that’s created by the other players in the game, and I’m there to let everyone have a good time. When we start a campaign or a series of game sessions, I initially have a thought about where the overall storyline is going and who some of the major players might be. Our first few sessions are simple things, so I can try to gauge the other player’s interests in the setting. As the game sessions continue, the story shifts over to the players, shaping the story around them. You may have already guessed, but I see role-playing games as a long term story investment rather than deciding we’ll play a game session with game x this weekend and game z the next.

    But why do I profess to enjoy rules light systems when I’m playing D&D 3.5 and Shadowrun 4? For D&D, the answer is simple: it’s the lowest common denominator. You’re going to play D&D? Gimme a guy with a sword, a spellcaster, a walking first aid kit, and a thief — we’ve got some orcs that need killing. Everyone knows this. Some good stories can be told using that game, but I loathe the game system. For SR4, it’s the setting. They hooked me with Bug City and I’ve been a sucker for the setting ever since. If a game has a good setting, I tend to think that the game system that comes with it is probably the best one to use with that setting, even if the game book is as poorly laid out as the SR4 book is. It looks like all the rules are in a logical order, but when you actually have to reference a rule, it’s like playing hide and seek with haystacks and needles. In fact, we had such a difficult time with the matrix section, I had to rewrite the entire section to make it user friendly. What I should have done is taken the game setting information and ported it over to some other, simpler, easier, system.

    With a setting, you get story. The system can either facilitate that or get in the way.

  11. Chris says:

    Wow, Thomas that was fantastic!
    You are really going to enjoy the show we have in the can about RPing 🙂

  12. JonL says:

    Chris:

    I’m Jon Leitheusser, the Sr. Director of R&D at WizKids and I wanted to clear up some comments you made about the Battlestar Galactica CCG.

    At one point you said the the game was designed by two of the same people that created the B5 CCG from a few years ago. That’s completely untrue. (You can find more about BF here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/2640)

    The designers and developers of the BSG CCG are Chuck Kallenbach (ex of Decipher), Tyler Bielman (ex of WotC), Jim Long, Matt Robinson, Brook Willeford, and me (all of WizKids). As for the design, it has no relation to the B5 game whatsoever. I think I saw that game (but didn’t play it) years ago, but it didn’t influence the design we created. Instead we wanted to create a game that felt like BSG and was a good, fun card game.

    I hope that helps clear up some errors and rumors.

    Best regards,

    Jon Leitheusser
    Sr. Director of R&D
    WizKids, Inc.

  13. Chris says:

    Thanks Jon, that was something I picked up at GTS at the WK booth. I have no idea who said it to me, so I can’t point you int he direction of the person. Thanks for the clarification.

  14. Thomas says:

    Looking forward to hearing it. Sorry for the late response, tho.

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