Archive for March, 2007

Paizo to launch line of novels

Friday, March 30th, 2007

When our next Audio Report goes up, you’ll hear how Wizards of the Coast’s latest product catalog is rather heavy on novels. Not to be deterred, Paizo Publishing has announced a “new line of classic science fantasy novel reprints” starting this August. Called Planet Stories, the sci-fi and fantasy line will bring select backlist novels to book and hobby stores for $12.99 per title. Planned releases include Almuric by Robert E. Howard; The Anubis Murders by Gary Gygax; City of the Beast/Warriors of Mars by Michael Moorcock; and Black God’s Kiss by C.L. Moore. It seems like Paizo is expanding its purview, a popular trend these days. We’ll see how it goes for them.
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Underestimate the pretty collectible horses at your peril

Friday, March 30th, 2007

I told you not to count Hidden City Games out; they’re now the exclusive licensor outside of Scandinavia for a product called Bella Sara. What on Earth’s that, you ask? Why, it’s “an imaginative, joyful world of horses, where every girl is special and uniquely beautiful! Horse cards can be collected, traded with friends and used to play fun card games. Each horse has a positive message for you to discover. Every card also has an activation code, which you can enter on this website to put your horses online in your very own stable.”

If that sounds like a miss to you, you obviously haven’t heard of Webkinz, wherein a Canadian plush-doll company gives kids online versions of the dolls they buy, has sold two million of them in two years, and has to put specific measures into their online games to stop kids from playing them constantly. And it’s not like they’re great looking dolls, either. I can’t remember who I saw online recently saying that a My Little Pony RPG was WotC/Hasbro’s biggest missed opportunity; if Bella Sara can take off stateside, maybe a My Little Pony CCG would follow suit? (Or even a card-model game, although removable heads might not be advisable.)

Audio Report: Games Expo, card models, and dragon junk

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

The complete rundown on this year’s trade events, past and future, plus the twin announcements of what we used to sort of call “constructible strategy games” for June, are the meat of this show. Fans of Currently Playing have a ton of mini-reviews to chew on as well. Also, check our amazing turnaround.

Book on best hobby games coming from Green Ronin

Monday, March 26th, 2007

Now this looks to be interesting: at Gen Con ’07, Green Ronin Publishing will release Hobby Games: The 100 Best, a book of essays penned by 100 different game industry authors and designers. Each contributor has written the praises of a hobby game from the last 60 years, one that they didn’t design or benefit from financially. Edited by James Lowder, the 400 page book will boast game recommendations from names such as Gary Gygax, Richard Garfield, Greg Costikyan, Sandy Petersen, Mike Pondsmith… just click through to the press release and see for yourself, this sounds somewhat impressive.
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Map of Perplex City replaced with something interesting

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

Curse my distributed-story-loving soul, but I am starting to get my hopes back up about Season 2 of Perplex City. The website is demonstrably worse, unless you need a constant supply of alterna-Sudoku puzzles from Japan (which I kind of do… I loves me some Ponturu), but if your local vendor has some of the new cards, cop a few and check out the card backs. Putting fragments of their immersive fiction onto the cards, in combination with isolating the web-LARP component of play onto one site (check the goofy video… kinda YouTube-ish for a company with $7MM in venture capital), may make ARG play a little more inviting and less of a pain in the ass for the masses. The puzzle side of the cards, of course, remains fun and lovely. Two bloody stumps up from the Ogres.

Confidential to “Dreamblade Fan”

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

First, way to be on topic. Granted, that part is kind of our own fault (we’re working on a solution). But second, if “we’re not going to pay people quite as much to play our game” equals “killed off,” then the game never had much life to begin with, did it?

Introducing Planet Story Games

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

So I did this thing.

I’ve long heard complaints from folks that the forums that are the epicenter of the story-gaming community are too hard to be a part of, and it wasn’t even that long ago that I felt that way myself. The weblogs and LiveJournals of the community are often a better, clearer (and nearly always jargon-free, if you care) way to read its pulse; blogs, however, are scattered all over the place and difficult to find, let alone follow.

Couple hours dorking around with the Planet software, and problem solved. Hope you enjoy. Please suggest some more feeds I could add if you think of any.

Transformers card-model game for summer: Wizards transforms into me-too company

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

I think this news might make me a little sad. Not because a Transformers CSG is something I don’t want to see in the world – I’m fine with it, I think card models that can “transform” will sometimes be pretty neat, and I am especially hoping they don’t design out the possibility of just using your Transformer collection to play instead – but I guess I was into the idea that, with Hecatomb and Dreamblade, WotC was at least trying to lead instead of follow. This feels like a following product to me… in announcement form, anyway. Really, it’s all in the game design, so, as I always have to say, we’ll wait and see. Just 26 figures, two per pack; hits in June. (Yeah, I don’t want to hear about how D&D Minis was me-too. There was a clearer need for it than there is for this.)

Privateer makes more P3 and more card game

Monday, March 19th, 2007

Despite P3 paints getting a mixed response (no pun intended), P3 will become a full hobby line this year, including brushes, other tools, and Privateer’s first standalone painting guides. Even harder to comprehend, except from a pure game-design standpoint – Matt Wilson’s minis rules have always set the hobby’s standard for a certain elegant kind of “gamey-ness” in my opinion – is the announcement of a card game, for summer release, titled Infernal Contraption. There might be ways to package this to make it appealing as a product, but man are they ever stepping into an overcrowded arena with this game. I don’t know if we need more monster-y, fantasy-ish standalone card games for the next while. But I will be happy to be proved wrong if this game turns out to have legs.

Paizo collects D&D minis, game designers

Monday, March 19th, 2007

Paizo is giving us more than a few reasons to scratch our chins lately, the latest of which being that they are buying up large collections of D&D Minis. Why? Doesn’t say. We know they have a big year planned, with “new and exciting products, company changes, and a late summer release of a line of products Paizo’s never produced before,” the latter of which could mean literally anything and the second of which we keep hearing rumors about that we can’t confirm. I guess that leaves the first?

Oh, also I never did link to Mike Selinker’s development blog for Stonehenge, which (to recap) is a new and exciting product indeed: an all-star cast of game designers creates five games you can play with one set of swanky components. Apparently it’ll even be followed by an expansion set with more games by (ahem) more designers. Good times, and a great concept that could get more folks over the price-tag hump for nice board games.

Audio Report: DunDraCon, Goodman Games and Troll Lord

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

Allan’s interview with two D20 survivors – Goodman Games and Troll Lord games, respectively – is the meat of this show. We also report on DDC more generally, and threaten to talk about lots of other stuff. Get with it.

Topps sold to former Disney CEO’s consortium

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

Actually Eisner’s company is splitting it with some other company, and I guess I’ve just blown the only chance I’ll get for a while to use the word ‘consortia’ in a headline. What does this mean for Topps’ wholly-owned subsidiary WizKids? My guess is as good as yours, but there you have it. They get two words in the article, though, so that’s good!

BattleLore gets epic, then flexible

Monday, March 5th, 2007

Okay, so, we slept on this a little – in part because the first portion, the Epic BattleLore expansion that’ll open the game up to 6 players at a time, was expected. But this Call to Arms business is entirely intriguing, offering an alternate card-based army deployment system. It’ll hit in April for $20, whereas the Epic stuff will hit this month online, so register those back-of-the-booklet codes if you haven’t.

Reaper announces pre-painted plastic figs sold non-collectibly

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

That little noise you just heard was the sound a tiny, faraway shark makes when D&D Minis jumps right the hell over it. Or we could be wrong, and D&D Minis could actually have a life beyond DMs who buy and trade for the figures they really want. I guess we’ll find out in June.