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Margaret Weis to launch Battlestar Galactica RPG

December 22nd, 2006: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Margaret Weis to launch Battlestar Galactica RPG

Though leaked a while ago, the announcement finally came down from Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd., and just in time for Christmas: yes, Virginia, there is a Battlestar Galactica RPG in the works. A quickstart guide is planned for early 2007, and the main game should be a spring release. The new roleplaying game will use the same rule system as the Serenity RPG. See the official press release below.

Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd. press release follows:

Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd. Arms Battlestar Galactica

December 21, 2006 (Lake Geneva, Wisconsin) – Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd. has reached an agreement with Universal Studios Consumer Products Group to produce roleplaying game products based on the enormously successful, critically-acclaimed television series, Battlestar Galactica.

“When we established our company we made the commitment to produce character- and story-focused role playing games using the best source material we could find,” says Margaret Weis, New York Times best-selling author and game publisher. “Battlestar Galactica is the kind of science fiction that we do best, where the drama and characters are more important than the guns and the gadgets. The very survival of the human race is at stake in the series and exploring the story possibilities in the setting can make for some very exciting games.”

Battlestar Galactica is the Emmy-nominated television series brought to the small screen by Executive Producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick. In the United States, the program can be seen weekly on the Sci-Fi Channel. This hit show captivates its audience as an aged battleship leads a ragtag civilian fleet away from a terrifying enemy – the Cylons – and toward hope on a mythical world called Earth.

Like the show, the role playing game book is set in space and will focus on the challenges of survival in exceedingly trying times – and the difficult choices that must be made. The core product, the Battlestar Galactica Role Playing Game, is a self-contained game product using the same game system as the best-selling and award-winning Serenity Role Playing Game (also produced by Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd.). The game book will be a full-color hardcover book featuring still images from the series as well as original artwork. It will provide rules for play, character creation, and information about the ship and crew of Galactica as well as the other main characters from the show. A Quickstart Guide will be released in early 2007 with the core product premiering in the spring. Additional products will closely follow the release of the core product. The entire line will be supported by an interactive website.

Jamie Chambers (Dragonlance Campaign Setting, Serenity Role Playing Game) is helping lead a team of writers and designers dedicated to re-creating the excitement, drama, and danger of the groundbreaking television series. “The Galactica universe is a dark and dangerous place. Yet in terrible times people learn the truth about themselves and their relationships with others. It’s a challenge to re-create that critical tension in a game and keep the play fun. That said, I know gamers will be smiling even while their characters are going through hell!”

In keeping with the military setting of the series, Sean Everette (Knightly Orders of Ansalon, Castlemourn Campaign Setting) is an important part of the project. Having served in both the United States Navy and Air Force, he will bring his writing, game design, and military knowledge to the table. “The military culture is a key aspect to the show. The writers do an amazing job of presenting the dynamic in a realistic manner. Our objective is to take that realism and turn it into a fun and easy way for players to portray a variety of military characters, such as Viper pilots and Marines.”

More information will be released in the near future with further details about the upcoming line of Battlestar Galactica role playing game products.

About Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd.
New York Times best-selling author Margaret Weis continues to lead her company into carefully selected ventures in book and game publishing. The company has enjoyed great success and won multiple awards including an Origins Award (Gamer‚s Choice for Best Role Playing Game in 2006) and the Gen Con EN World Awards (Best Production Values). Recent successes include the Serenity Role Playing Game and the Paths of Doom series of adventure fiction. The company will be announcing several new exciting initiatives in the book, card game, board game, and role playing game categories over the next few months. Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd. is based in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, the birthplace of hobby roleplaying games.

About Battlestar Galactica
Battlestar Galactica is the gripping saga of humanity’s last remnants and their struggle to find a new home while fleeing from their deadly Cylon enemies. Redefining the space opera with its gritty realism, Galactica has distinguished itself by the intensity and present day relevance of its stories and the command performances of its ensemble cast. The series confronts everything from religion, politics and sex, to what it really means to be “human.” Galactica has struck a chord with audiences, who have made it one of the most talked about series on television. Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica recently premiered on SCI FI Channel in October 2006. Battlestar Galactica is from NBC Universal Television Studio.

21 Comments »

21 comments

  1. Chris says:

    Ok, I am going to be pro-actively negative about this one. I was severely disapointed by the quality, layout, and content of the Serenity RPG, which to date has gotten virtually no supplemental material. At $44.95 for the BS:RPG main book, I certainly hope to see all of the above change. This is a property that has a lot of potential, I really believe that. With the track record from some of the more recent licensed product out there, I REALLY hope this book doesn’t suck wind. It would be a nice change of pace…but nothing from past performnce makes me have much hope.

  2. steve says:

    I completely disagree. This is a must-buy for me.

    Save for the obvious error of no character sheet and no index, Serenity was the highlight of 2005 RPG products. It was a masterful adaptation of the game world, right down to including the jargon in the rules text and sneaking references from the unlicensed Firefly show into the stat blocks.

    If MWP can do as good a job adapting the feel of the BSG series into the core book, then this will be this highlight of 2007.

  3. Chris says:

    We can certainly agree to disagree then 🙂

  4. Dai Oni says:

    From what I hear, Universal (the production company responsible for SERENITY and BSG franchise), wants to pull the plug on the SERENITY RPG. Just be grateful they got the core rulebook out in time.

    At least with the BSG RPG, and the SCI-FI series still on the air, there will be future support.

  5. FoE3 says:

    I’m with Chris, but not quite for the same reasons. I did enjoy the Serenity RPG – despite a few rather telling flaws in the rules completeness, the missing items steve mentioned. I thought the rest of the production values were solid.

    MWP lost me on the support for the product. For whatever reasons – licensing or otherwise – support was exceptionally slow, and communications were poor. I’m not impressed at all with the two support products thus far.

    Now, BSG will hopefully have more legs, being in active production and such. I’m a huge BSG fan. MWP is saying some of the right things now. I’m going to be a skeptic on this one until I see the goods though.

  6. steve says:

    Hey Chris, FoE3,

    I always thought Serenity was a one-shot product. I never expected anything else to be released in the line.

    Having the Serenity RPG license restricted to just the film and not the show was fatal for an ongoing game franchise. There’s just not enough material in the movie – even with all the deleted scenes and early script drafts – to support more than the core book.

    If core BSG book is a reasonably complete standalone, then I’m happy.

  7. Dai Oni says:

    To FoE3:

    I honestly don’t know how MWP could lose you due to lack of support when the IP owner, Universal, pulled the plug on it. That’s what happened when you published licensed products whose brand or IP you don’t own, you’re at the owner’s mercy and whim.

  8. FoE3 says:

    Dai Oni: because I’m not a customer of Universal; I’m a customer of MWP. 😉

    As I’ve said, I recall the expectation that there would be support material. I had assumed that much of it would be original / Firefly riff, since I knew they had the Serenity license (and not the Firefly series license). I felt their follow-up was slow as was their communication. As I already said …

    And please, don’t play the MWP apologist for me. MWP chose to create an RPG line from Serenity. If they anticipated limited support / poor licenses, they should have said “one shot” from the start. Too little; too late.

    Again, hopefully, they won’t have similar problems with BSG, given where BSG is in the production cycle.

  9. Chris says:

    So riddle me this Batman,

    I have heard it mentioned a couple times here that the Serenity RPG was only supposed to be a one-shot product. If that’s the case why do we have

    MWP 1002 – Serenity RPG Screen – $14.95
    MWP 1003 – Serenity RPG Out of the Black – $24.95

    along with that one shot?

  10. Dai Oni says:

    When you buy SERENITY or BSG rulebook, you do become an Universal customer. 😉

    A portion of your spending toward purchase of licensed product goes to the owner of the IP.

    I’m not apologizing for MWP. I’m sorry that Universal pulled the plug on MWP, who thought they were in for the long haul. It’s like having an investor to help you start up a business but after the first year, he decided he won’t support your business anymore. It sucks, not just for you but also for your customers, too, who probably looks at you to blame. As I said, that’s the way with licensed product.

    You should try it, market someone’s IP.

  11. James S. says:

    “It’s like having an investor to help you start up a business but after the first year, he decided he won’t support your business anymore. It sucks, not just for you but also for your customers, too, who probably looks at you to blame. As I said, that’s the way with licensed product.”

    Sadly true. Just ask Eden who were (reportedly) sitting on the manuscripts for several Buffy and Angel books that will now never be released.

  12. Dai Oni says:

    That’s why I don’t invest more than my money (like my emotion) to a licensed product line based on franchise, be it STAR TREK or HARRY POTTER. Except for a rare few, they tend to be short-lived.

  13. FoE3 says:

    You should try it, market someone’s IP“.

    … because you know for a fact I haven’t and don’t, right? 😉

    Regardless, your points, Oni, are well taken – hence my skepticism about the whole BSG thing.

    Incidentially, just because BSG is currently on and hot doesn’t mean that will carry through to rpg support. If anything, it might be more difficult for MWP to receive timely approvals. They at least have striking while the proverbial iron is hot in their favor.

  14. Jamie Chambers says:

    Happy New Year, folks.

    While I’m definitely glad to see some supporters out there who enjoyed the Serenity RPG, I’m equally grateful for those of you letting us know where we fell short. I’m in complete agreement.

    On the product side, we had three products on our initial licensing agreement but were told that we could create more if things went well. They went very well for us, just not so great for the film. The good news is that there is a very good chance we’ll be able to create more product for Serenity in 2007. We’re stll negotiating, but before we left for the holiday break things were looking very promising.

    As for communication and other kinds of support, it is an area where I wish I could go back and do a few things differently. The spirit was willing, but the staff is small (three people) and we were pushing the company into different directions. We’ve continued our line of Dragonlance products, created a line of fiction products (the Rose of the Prophet trilogy, the Paths of Doom series), and pursued additional game titles that have not even been announced yet. All very exciting and promising, but these sorts of growing pains made customers of individual products not see the kind of support they deserve.

    Skepticism is fair, because there’s a few areas where we have not yet proven ourselves. But it’s something we’re focusing on in the coming year while we continue to improve the quality of our game products.

    BSG is going to be gritty and dark — but fun. I hope you’ll check the book out and decide for yourselves.

  15. chris says:

    Right on Jamie,

    I appreciate the honest, open communication. It’s an approach like that gives me lot more confidence as a retailer to order BSG. I am pretty clear I have been critical here and on the podcast…but I appreciate your willingness to open the channels. I can’t change what I have said in the past, but I can certainly approach this a little more of an open mind.

  16. Dai Oni says:

    Three people? You guys have got to expand, human(?)-wise.

  17. chris says:

    Dai,

    Could you please share the location of your Magic Money Tree? I think we would also like to share in the bounty…

  18. Dai Oni says:

    Magic Money Tree to fund employment? Dude, you’ve come to the wrong Oni. I hunt potential laborers for free.

    😉

  19. chris says:

    Ha! Well Dai, don’t forget, you get what you pay for 😉

  20. Yurichan says:

    Yeah the reason why there was no supplements for serenity is because of FOX. Battlestar has several books (around 6 to 8) already lined up for supplements and MW has the backing of Universal. All of you are just hearing about this but this was decided long before winter 2006. I knew this was coming since Gen-Con when I spoke to Jamie Chambers personally.

  21. Threnodist says:

    For what it’s worth, the Serenity RPG has plenty of source material from which to draw without raising the ire of Fox’s legal department.
    Now *there’s* a creature that’ll leave even the mightiest adventurer shaking in their boots…
    Anyway, with “Into the Black”, MW has demonstrated a fine grasp of Joss Whedon’s own source material for much of the original Firefly concept. All they have to do, for the time being, is just research places and events from just after the American Civil War for a starting point.
    Admittedly, it would be something of a challenge to translate the “Bone Wars”…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_Wars
    … into something consistent with the rules of the ‘Verse, but what’s life without a few challenges?

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