Archive for August, 2007

InQuest Gamer ceasing

Friday, August 24th, 2007

A different “wizard” company, Wizard Entertainment, made the brief announcement yesterday that it would discontinue the publication of InQuest Gamer magazine after the September issue. Thus, another successful casting of Dispel Magazine comes to pass. Seems to be a popular ritual this year.

Upper Deck bails out of Topps bid

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

After one last public letter, it seems Upper Deck is withdrawing its bid to buy Topps, sports/trading card company and owner of Wiz Kids. The Upper Deck letter states that Topps “has erected a series of hurdles designed to frustrate UD’s ability to move forward”. Now we’ll see if legal battles start up over this whole mess, or if everyone will calm down and focus on developing games and such.

So, uh… did anything else happen at Gen Con?

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

They previewed Gleemax – like, the real one – and you can see a few screens over here. It looks like an improvement over what’s up now, but the UI still isn’t doing a fabulous job of making clear what the site is.

Catalyst Game Labs, the new custodians of Classic BattleTech, released the by-all-accounts very, very sweet Intro Box Set (copious preview material at that link). Also some Shadowrun stuff I’m having a harder time getting a fix on.

Weis Productions will be doing three Serenity supplements next year, allegedly.

Rackham’s original minis game Confrontation will be coming out in a pre-painted version in October, with rules basically the same as AT-43′s. Fantasy Flight will be taking over Rackham’s stateside distribution and organized-play management.

There were of course all kinds of story games released; breakout new games included Steal Away Jordan and Dirty Secrets. I’ll get links on those when I can. New games from Vincent Baker (of Dogs in the Vineyard fame) and Emily Care Boss (designer of Breaking the Ice) sold out their print runs (of unknown size) at the show.

What else you got? Post it here, ’cause our po’ asses couldn’t go.

Mixed messages, man… that’s what got us in trouble in the first place

Sunday, August 19th, 2007

Should it worry me that Amazon is pairing this book with Exemplars of Evil?

ENnie Awards doled out at Gen Con 2007

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

The winner list for this year’s ENnie Awards is popping up in multiple places (such as RPG.net), so here’s the early reports on who took top honors:
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Audio Report – 2007 Ogre’s Choice Awards

Friday, August 17th, 2007

Despite my extra hours at work, the editing’s finally complete on our latest OgreCave Audio Report. Our first episode ever with all four regulars, we close out the Gen Con ’06 – Gen Con ’07 product year with our second annual Ogre’s Choice Awards. Now, keep in mind that we recorded this before all D&D 4th Edition announcement hoopla, so you can see how our predictions stack up against the info WotC has managed to get out to the world.

WotC’s series of tubes still clogged 14 hours later; video trickles out

Friday, August 17th, 2007

(For those of you just joining us, Wizards of the Coast announced D&D 4th Edition and their web server turned into a small pile of crisped meat. Also, the new edition will be accompanied by a big online product, which is sort of a part of this other Gleemax thing.)

Well, it’s more articulate than “Service Unavailable” now, but still, the idea that they didn’t think to invest in a short-term bandwidth solution is just embarrassing. However, I think we can trust this video of the D&D Insider gameplay screen, seeing as how it comes from the same YouTube user that posted all this other stuff including the complete Gen Con presentation.

I’m disappointed in the approach they took to online play, although not for the reasons you’re seeing all over – “Oh, boo hoo, D&D is just a video game now.” And what, Mr. Bitter McNostalgiapants? – but for reasons of practicality. There’s a shift now starting in online gaming, away from downloads and 3D and toward in-browser games that can be developed more quickly and reach more people faster. It worries me that WotC is throwing more software at the problem of an authoritative online-play experience than they really need to, instead of taking this more agile, less-software approach; I fear another Master Tools debacle.

At the same time, it’s incredibly clear that we’re not looking at the final version of the software. So I reserve judgment. I also hope to see more of the social aspects of the D&D Insider product, and how they’ll be integrating their online supplements into this whole thing.

WotC posts mysterious page starting with ’4′

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

I would not put it past them to just be messing with us, though. And I kind of mean that.

Update: oops, foreign distros spilled the beans – D&D 4th Edition has indeed been announced. Unless, as we must always allow for, someone is just completely making stuff up. Here goes the allegedness:

- Relesase date – May 2008
- PHB @ May, MM @ June, DMG @ July
- The SRD/OGL/D20 will still exist, however he didn’t reveal any further details
- Apprantaly [sic] there will be at least 7 books of D&D 4 on 2008, no info what exactly though.

Update: no, wait, apparently there’s been an actual, no-foolin’ announcement – click here or click below for the complete press release. ENworld says that “D&D Insider” is a chunk of the still-somewhat-inscrutable web initiative Gleemax, and given that gleemax.com is in the URL of all Wizards forums, that seems likely. No word one way or another on the Saga question; not that I’ve seen, anyway. Whee, who said staying home from Gen Con would be boring?
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Pendragon Campaign wins Diana Jones Award

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

The 2007 Diana Jones Award winner was announced at the annual industry-only award gathering, and White Wolf’s The Great Pendragon Campaign by Greg Stafford is this year’s big winner. From the press release:

“In terms of sheer scope alone, Greg Stafford’s Great Pendragon Campaign breaks new ground, presenting almost a century’s worth of continuous story with gemlike clarity; in almost fractal fashion, any given year can become its own campaign.”

Other nominees were Atlas Games’ Pieces of Eight by Jeff Tidball, and Stefan Pokorny, master sculptor and painter behind the Master Maze miniature dungeons from Dwarven Forge.
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Halo ActionClix ties into videogame preorders

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

According to this ICv2 story, Sunday marked the start of a Halo ActionClix promotion at Target stores. Target customers who preorder Halo 3 will receive an exclusive pair of figures, Master Chief and Elite, though it’s unclear if these will be uniquely marked/powered. The Halo ActionClix game launches a week before Halo 3, which might be enough time to lure in some fanatical videogamers that need some sort of Halo fix to tide them over… if they were made available ahead of the Xbox 360 title’s September 25th release, which it doesn’t seem they will. In related news, WizKids just posted the Halo ActionClix rules PDF for anyone that’s chomping at the bit.

Cthulhu dice coming from Q-workshop

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

Normally we don’t post about unusual dice, but these are just cool (and may provoke a SAN check). To quote the Q-workshop website: “Cthulhu Fhtagn ! The stars will be right in September, as Q-workshop and Chaosium Inc. unleash the Cthulhu Dice upon the mortal world. Available in all standard designs and color schemes, these dice will be a great asset to all servants of Great Old Ones.” The dice are pictured here if you think your mortal mind can withstand perceiving them. As with most announcements this time of year, these will be available at Gen Con Indy (booth 924).

Paizo blazes a trail to Pathfinder

Monday, August 6th, 2007

Pathfinder, Paizo Publishing‘s post-Dragon project, is expected to ship the first volume next week, but another early peek is available. Paizo is offering up a free PDF download of Pathfinder: Player’s Guide to Rise of the Runelords, a 16-page character-building aid that will get players ready for the Pathfinder adventures to come. As Joshua Frost of Paizo mentioned in our podcast recently, a print version of the Player’s Guide will be available later this month, singly ($2) and in five-packs ($10) to supply whole gaming groups. Note that gamers who subscribe to Pathfinder before August 13th get a Player’s Guide for free. Paizo still offers free downloads of the Free RPG Day module D0 – Hollow’s Last Hope as well, so D&D players have no excuse to be unprepared when Pathfinder rolls for initiative. Click below for a look at the Pathfinder release schedule. (more…)

Mongoose to publish Traveller

Saturday, August 4th, 2007

After resurrecting a number of other RPG lines (including Paranoia and Runequest), Mongoose Publishing has announced today that it will now turn its attention to Traveller. Stating that its goal is “to halt the fragmentation of the Traveller game, and reintroduce one solid system (based on Classic Traveller)”, Mongoose went on to promise their new core rule book Traveller: Science-Fiction Adventures in the Far Future by February ’08. The Traveller ruleset will power licensed sci-fi titles as well, including Strontium Dogs and the returning Starship Troopers, and will also be available under an Open Gaming License. The press release (below) gives details on the long awaited Traveller5 as well, so click through for the lowdown.
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BSG RPG, Dragonlance trailer at GenCon ’07

Saturday, August 4th, 2007

Gen Con announcements have started rolling in, and Margaret Weis Productions sent a pair of good ones. First, a reaffirmation that the Battlestar Galactica RPG will make its debut at Gen Con, as will a Quickstart Guide which contains a full adventure. Second, the animated movie trailer for Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight will be shown Thursday night at the show, along with behind the scenes footage from Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. More details in the press releases below.
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Taste the fearsome beak of critical standards!

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

I’m kind of excited about The Owlbear, a new group blog devoted to RPG criticism, founded by some denizens of story-games.com and other such haunts. Before you assume that this new venture is going to be a big fat hippie-gaming love-in, read their introductory post in detail: “Those who are best informed on the state of the art are least willing to speak frankly about games they think are flawed. Some fear taking a dollar out of some one else’s pocket, others offending their peers. The result is that flawed, weak games make it onto the shelves of stores and onto the tables of gamers, who conclude, understandably, that the role playing industry is doomed. We believe that this well-intentioned self-censorship is doing no one any good.” That’s right, people; it’s time to do some choppin’ with the sword of truth. (It’s startling how similar that introduction is to this great essay, that should be read by anyone who cares about judging cultural artifacts of any kind, from issue 1 of populist lit mag The Believer. To half of it, anyway.)