Archive for June, 2006

Origins 2006 Live: vicious because the stakes are so small

Friday, June 30th, 2006
  • Picked up a copy of Mortal Coil, the new diceless (and no, it doesn’t use playing cards either) small-press RPG by Brennan Taylor, better known to the world as the head of Indie Press Revolution. It looks like it’s in the Baron Munchausen camp a bit, but building on a simple token-betting thing with other conditions and costs. I’ve also looked at Ron Edwards’ It Was A Mutual Decision, which has the best single sentence summary ever. From the mouth of Clinton R. Nixon: “It’s a breakup game where you might be a wererat.” WORD
  • I know I’m years late in getting on this train, but damn, Memoir ’44 is fun as hell.
  • Finally got to play Treehouse against real humans, instead of playing it solitaire on Volity. It’s the game that Looney Labs wanted it to be, which is to say that it should appeal to Fluxx fans, or at least not offend them. Getting them excited is another question, and I guess we’ll see.
  • I’m gonna jump back into the exhibit hall for a few minutes before my Roach game, because I haven’t so much been looking at new stuff today and I’d like to post about something else before bed. Well, I say that, but really I just wanna go buy Memoir ’44.

Origins 2006 Live: who goes to that show? We do.

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

So! A few quick hits:

  • It really is pretty shocking how much roleplaying seems to be going on. Many rooms full of tables, lots of LARP action across the street at the Crowne Plaza. Was it always like this and I just didn’t notice? I think the LARP stuff at least is kinda new.
  • WotC indeed has no booth in the exhibit hall, which I think is a tactical mistake for Dreamblade. The crowd here is at least potentially down for DB.
  • Definitely feels uncrowded. Not empty, but uncrowded.
  • There is a Clout Fantasy starter in every reg bag, for free. Also, unrelatedly, two HorrorClix figures packaged with a map and counters and presumably even some rules of some kind. (The figs are not, you know, notable personas like promo figs of yore, but I think playable things in swagbags are a much better idea. Also there is a booster pack of relaunched POGs.)
  • Someone with a product called Tokkens has a huuuuge booth and a bunch of highly visible bags they’re giving out. The product? Collectible D20 item cards printed on metal. *sigh* At least they are rokken like Dokken.

More to come. I recorded some stuff with the Volity team but it isn’t clean enough to upload straight away, so you’ll probably hear it after the con.

Audio Report: the death of the grown-up CCG

Sunday, June 25th, 2006

BSG is great, and it doesn’t matter. That’s the crux of the first half of this show, with Gen Con talk comprising most of the rest. Our question to you for the comments: what, literally speaking, stops you from buying $20 worth of BSG and pretending it’s a non-collectible 2-player game? Discuss. (And subscribe.)

Future of Futurama looking up

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

According to a New York Post story, the cult-favorite cartoon Futurama (Matt Groening’s other masterpiece) will have at least 13 new episodes on Comedy Central by 2008. The power of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim can no longer be denied! To those who couldn’t care less about the fate of another mistakenly-cancelled FOX cartoon, you can bite my shiny, metal… um, desk lamp, I guess.

Weisman indeed ousted as WizKids CEO

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

I know everyone hates “sources,” but we do now have multiple ones, so here goes: “sources” confirm that Jordan Weisman is no longer in charge at WizKids. Discuss!

[EDIT: And now we have confirmation, and added details, from Jordan Weisman himself. Click "Read more" below for today's press release]
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Volity: digital games for analog people

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

So this guy asked me, “Aren’t you excited about anything at Origins besides your scheduled events?” And I said, “Well, I’m apparently going to be on the gaming-podcasters Q&A that Paul Tevis set up, so that’s cool… but I’m mostly looking forward to seeing people I haven’t seen in a long time, like the Volity guys.” And I realized two things: 1) I have started thinking of them as “the Volity guys” instead of a subset of the Looney Labs community (how I first met them); 2) I haven’t told you people what Volity is yet, and it’s in public beta now.

Volity is like the old-style Yahoo Games, only less sucky in two ways. First, it isn’t the same old combo of chess, go, hearts and backgammon – not that there’s anything wrong with that. (It’s also not the garish collection of Bejeweled clones that Yahoo Games has since become.) And second, it’s an entirely open-source protocol – anyone (with the technical acumen!) can add their game to Volity. The technology basically supports turn-based games only, for a lot of good reasons, and the culture going into it has solid roots in board and card games from the light and fluffy to the hardcore.

The list of games as it stands is an odd mix of the classic, the obscure, and the really obscure. More than one Looney Labs title is there – there’s a great implementation of Fluxx, which will be worth the download on its own for many people. (Yeah, there’s a download, and you need Java. But it won’t tax your system, really.) Other highlights include Your Move’s Space Station Assault, which gives you a broader idea of the direction Volity has in mind.

I really like this project – enough to put their slogan right there in the subject line of this post (I don’t think I’ve ever done that before). I haven’t made a game to run on their framework yet, but I haven’t ruled it out. You might be similarly inspired; take a look.

Audio Report: KublaCon and the business of cons

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

After we get through with the KublaCon recap, Chris runs down a thumbnail sketch of the business side of game conventions. I think it’s a fascinating listen. And a lot of the usual gaming goodness too. Get on it!

WizKids forced to reorganize

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

Times are tough all over. If you’ve been online today, you probably heard: WizKids has undergone another reorganization. According to the press release, this “brought about a tough decision to have a reduction in force.” No details are released yet about who will be leaving the company, or what specifically brought on the reorganization. The company stated that “These steps are necessary for the long term health of WizKids, and will allow us to focus on our core Brands of Battlestar Galactica, HeroClix, HorrorClix, MechWarrior and Pirates.” Perhaps all this unfortunate activity is why WizKids CEO Jordan Weisman seemed a bit subdued in his (unrelated) cable television appearance earlier today on G4’s Attack of the Show. Or maybe he’s just generally a calm sort. In any case, the staff of OgreCave hopes everyone affected by the reorg lands on their feet.

Perplex City event announced, perplexingly scheduled

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

The front page of Perplex City’s leading “newspaper” currently says the following: “The Academy and Mind Candy have announced plans for a celebration to inaugurate the opening of a new data connection to Earth. The event is planned for mid-August in San Francisco, in the United States. Cube hunters from around the world will be invited to attend the festivities.” Uhhh… mid-August? Apparently they have no word for “Gen Con” in Perplex City. Nor for “half of your player base will be in the Midwest,” or “tight travel budget.” Possibly not even for “dammit.”

Audio Report: feel the hate flowing through you!

Thursday, June 15th, 2006

We do bring the love by the end of the show, but wow. Some of this is old news, but it’s worth it for Chris’ perspectives and, as always, for the philosophy. We get going on Gen Con, Privateer, Ptolus, D&D, The Shadow of Yesterday, Infinity, and some Spanish RPG that is rumored and unconfirmed. Bring it!

True Dungeon sells out at Gen Con 2006

Thursday, June 8th, 2006

As expected, True Dungeon has sold out at Gen Con Indy again. This is despite the increased ticket price, and may have been aided by the changes/upgrades announced a while back. Meanwhile, we’re still trying to define the type of LARP-offshoot genre that True Dungeon has become. Live puzzle game? Cooperative quest game?
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Audio Report: her first name ain’t baby, it’s Diana, Ms. Jones if you’re nasty

Wednesday, June 7th, 2006

Another good reason to subscribe to the podcast feed: if you had, you would have heard this show yesterday. Whereas my dumb ass is just now getting around to posting it here. Anyway, this time we talk about the Diana Jones shortlist, that Star Wars starship game announcement, make wild proclamations, unbalanced assertions and bad jokes. More to come soon.

D&D Miniatures promo dragon at Paizo

Monday, June 5th, 2006

Though it somehow wasn’t mentioned in the company’s weekly newsletter, Paizo is now taking preorders for a Sorceror on Black Dragon limited edition repaint from next month’s Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Game expansion, War of the Dragon Queen. The figure is only available to Dragon subscribers, and only 5,000 are available at $9.95 apiece. So, if you’re down for D&D Minis, or need all those promo versions even if the repainted Black Dragon is bright orange, check it out before they’re gone. The promo figures should ship to the loving arms of gamers by late June.

Origins Gamer’s Choice voting is open

Thursday, June 1st, 2006

For, er, what it’s worth.