That’s right, and I get to launch the first missile at Lynn Minmay. Er… In yesterday’s press release (also copied below), Palladium announced a new licence with Harmony Gold to begin publishing Robotech RPG products once again. According to Kevin Siembieda, publisher and founder of Palladium Books, the company’s goal is to “make the upcoming new Robotech and Robotech The Shadow Chronicles RPGs even more fun and exciting than the original RPG to please long-time gamers and enthrall a new generation of fans.” There may well be a new generation ready for Robotech, considering the success of another recent transforming robot movie whose name escapes me right now. Hollywood’s thinking along the same lines, after all: Warner Bros. has optioned the property for a live-action film. Competing with Optimus much? You better believe it.
Archive for September, 2007
Since it didn’t have the same endless barrage of Saturday morning commercials that the original game had, the latest incarnation of Crossbows & Catapults, a joyous game of disk-flinging combat, managed to sneak into Target and other major stores unseen by my circle of gaming buddies. It was only while cruising through the store for other purposes that I spotted Battleground: Crossbows & Catapults from Australian company Moose Enterprise. Boasting Orcs and Knights instead of Vikings and Barbarians, this new version’s already beckoning to my gamer nostalgia with its War Chest base set and two expansions (with more on the way). Not that I don’t still have the original game that I crack open from time to time, mind you. But as this comparison gallery shows, the components got an upgrade. We don’t even have to use the word “carrom” anymore, as the kids these days prefer “Attack Disc”. Sometimes change is a good thing.
So here was my little mystery story tonight: go by Cheapass’ news page, be surprised to find a press release from GameTable Online. In the press release, find this: “Instead of subscribers in thousands, we have yet to break the 200 subscriber mark.” Oh, wait, that’s pretty interesting but not what I’m talking about. Here it is: “The great news is that a recent sale of the license to use our game platform, now called Metagameâ„¢, and contract game work have provided us with the resources to [...]” Well, wait a minute; this release was posted in June, and who might have been shopping for a board game engine around then? Ohhhh. A trip to the Metagame website confirms it: the same engine that powers GTO will be powering the online board games on Gleemax. So if you’d like a preview, I guess subscribe to GTO.
But man… 200 subscribers? It makes a kind of terrible sense, given how many of those crappy free play-by-web games are out there that people put incredible amounts of work into for no compensation at all – not even players. GTO’s offering is pretty far from terrible; it’s well-executed, attractive and solid. And I happen to know how bloody much work it takes to code that. Hell, making the crappy kind is more work than I want to do. And it still only gets you 200 subscribers. I guess enough people are willing to make this kind of thing for free that the value just gets driven down. Well, okay, and the case for subscribing to a mildly random selection of board games is quite different from, say, the case for D&D Insider’s playtable (which will run on a completely different engine, just to be clear). But it doesn’t bode well, although the analogy is still not perfect, for the financial success of efforts like WotC’s upcoming Uncivilized, or that one game I was going to start a company and do someday, or of, um, the Gleemax online board games. *sigh* Glad I could cheer us all up!
If you’re like me and have a spot of Magic: the Gathering in your past, but have more or less lost interest in all the little furniture-rearrangements and wacky new kitchen appliances they’ve added to that house over the years… well, it looks like as of the next big block of cards, they’ve added a whole new room. The Planeswalker cards have an entirely new currency (Loyalty points), don’t interact with all the other cards in conventional ways, and (like a lot of other recent new stuff in MtG) seem crazy-powerful. It really feels like they’ve added a chunk of new game, rather than sub-games. And the above-linked article is surprisingly readable if you have only primary-school-level Magic knowledge (again, like me). Will this become a thriving part of the game, or is it the new phasing? Discuss.
Tabletop Gaming News reports that Rackham, publishers of AT-43 and Confrontation, is under “legal protection,” which is how they say Chapter 11 in Europe apparently. Here’s a PDF press release and another PDF about this whole legal-protection thing if you’re curious. (I guess “PDF,” similarly, is European for “web page.”) This certainly sheds new light on their recently announced partnership with Fantasy Flight (again with the PDF).
Wondering what Gary Gygax is up to now that Gen Con Indy has come and gone? Of course you are. It seems Gygax will be translated into cartoon form yet again, as the Code Monkeys series on G4 Tech TV has announced his guest spot next Wednesday, September 5th at 9pm ET. It could never live up to his Futurama appearance, though. After all, Al Gore threatened to take his dice away.