Archive for February, 2008

Remember, kids, stealing genes doesn’t make you cool

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Suave-looking straight-up 2D adaptation of Space Hulk for Windows. Free, free, free. I don’t know about network play, though.

Doors opening to more Portal goodness

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

In case you couldn’t tell from our Portal themed podcast a while back, the OgreCave crew really enjoyed our participation in the Aperture Science experiment. Well, we aren’t the only ones, as during last week’s Game Developers Conference in SF, the show’s Game Developers Choice Awards gave Portal the nod for 2007 Game of the Year (I’m sure the words “This is a triumph. I’m making a note here: huge success.” were uttered). A pair of announcements trickled out of Valve at the conference as well, the main one being the rumor of Portal 2 getting confirmed as “in progress” by this X-Play interview with Valve’s Kimberly Swift. Secondly, Jonathan Coulton‘s outstanding and hilarious Portal song “Still Alive” (if you haven’t heard it yet, keep playing, you’ll get there) will be available to download for Rock Band at a date still to be determined. Both announcements are for the good of all of us, except the ones who are dead.

FFG licenses Black Industries and Sabertooth stuff, and more

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Okay, I think this justifies the word “huge.” (And not just because it’s a PDF link.) Everyone’s always clamoring for the old Games Workshop board games, and if Fantasy Flight really now gets to have them across the (um) board, instead of piecemeal, that’s exciting, but sadly the deal does not include Space Hulk or any other games with minis elements. The Sabertooth part is mildly surprising but, like their games, not very exciting. The portion of immediate interest is that there will be new-product support for Dark Heresy. Now the only thing to worry about is whether the core book will be available at the same time as the support.

Hidden City hidden up Gen Con’s… website?

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

For those who didn’t spot my comment, I went back and played Dragon Hoard, the in-browser casual game hosted rather incongruously on a section (which it currently occupies all by its lonesome) of Gen Con’s site labeled “Gen Con Now.” I have no idea how long it’s been there, but seeing as how I found it when I went to look for the press release about the bankruptcy filing, well, I kinda reacted.

Dragon Hoard is fine. It’s a fairly original casual game – it’s all about dragging stuff, which might not be to your taste, but hey. The only problem with this game is where they put it; games like this currently live or die on a flood of people looking for something clicky and mindless to do (and there’s no shame in that whatsoever). Said people are not currently coming to Gen Con’s web site to find it, and won’t be in the near future, no matter how badly Gen Con wants another revenue stream. Now, maybe there are plans to hook Dragon Hoard up to the usual spigots (BigFish, Yahoo Games, whatever), but right this second, the partnership here between Gen Con and DH’s developers Hidden City Games – that is, Peter Adkison’s other company, publishers of Clout Fantasy and US licensors of Bella Sara – seems even more unfortunate in light of Gen Con’s admittedly unforeseeable new resource crunch.

So, okay. Maybe not what I would have done from a business standpoint, but fine. I go on about my business, and get this thing I read about on Penny Arcade, this Spectromancer. From the description and title alone, you know it’s gonna be a bounce off of Magic, but reading the website I’m surprised to learn that Richard Garfield and Magic R&D legend Skaff Elias actually did development work on the game design. I download, I run the installer, and what’s the publisher’s name on the newly created folder? Hidden City Games. Well, that’s… actually pretty cool. And yet, where does the link go if you click through to Spectromancer’s discussion boards? To community.gencon.com.

Maybe I’m the only one this is all news to, and again, nothing’s wrong with Spectromancer as a game – there are some translation issues right now, but the ways in which it simplifies M:tG are actually really elegant and appealing – but does anyone else think it’s a little weird how thoroughly Hidden City seems to be leaning on Gen Con right now? Especially given that Gen Con’s got trouble and Hidden City’s got pony crack?

Hero announces 6th Ed in 09, Champions MMORPG?

Monday, February 18th, 2008

Yesterday at DunDraCon, Hero Games‘ home-base convention in many ways, they announced that they’d be doing a revision of the HERO System for next year, in the form of two core books (one for character building, one for everything else) and a Champions book. That isn’t the end of the news for Champions, though: our sources at the Game Developers Conference in SF this week (as in, the for-real game developers, the computery kind that make money? Yeah, those) say that Champions has been licensed to an online game developer that aims to produce a competitor for City of Heroes. We don’t have much in the way of details yet, which is to say it could all be bollocks. Watch this space.

Seriously, what the hell is up with Gen Con LLC

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

Gen Con LLC files Chapter 11. Okay. That and the Lucas thing, kind of not wonderful together. Kiiiind of crazy. Bankruptcy is by no means a death sentence or a threat to the Indy show, most likely, but the list of crazy isn’t over. Here’s the new Gen Con LLC home page, with entries for the company, the Indy show, and “Gen Con Now.” Click on “Gen Con Now” and… “Dragon Hoard“?? Might be a fine game, but at the moment I’m a little scared to find out.

FFG takes two CCGs to potentially interesting fixed-set model

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Okay, this is creepy. I was literally just thinking about how the CCG was only one model of business, and of game design, in what is probably a much wider array of yet-undiscovered possibilities, and about how much I’d like to see somebody start exploring that (the same way that the space of play possibilities near what we’ve always thought of as RPGs is being pushed outwards). Maybe you could say that online CCGs are best equipped to do this, I don’t know. And I don’t think this is really necessarily it either, but it’s a step: Fantasy Flight announces the “Living Card Game” release format for A Game of Thrones and Call of Cthulhu (PDF link). Maybe the only difference between this and a card game expansion is the marketing term… but maybe people will take to it. The commons-and-rares angle is kind of interesting and might support things like league play (remember leagues? Ah, memories) in new ways.

So, what do we think? Nevermind for now whether it’s a new idea; fixed sets of 10 single cards and 3 copies each of 10 other cards – good idea, or bad? It reminds one of the periodical model that Pinnacle tried back in the day with Doomtown, but maybe with better survival characteristics in this day and age.

LucasFilm sues Gen Con LLC over charity auction of Star Wars memorabilia

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

It’s hard to know what to make of this item, so here’s a quote: “LucasFilm says that Gen Con, a company that puts on gaming conventions, failed to uphold a contract to deliver proceeds from a ‘Star Wars’ memorabilia auction to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. [...] According to this complaint, Gen Con owes almost $1 million to the charity and to LucasArts for proceeds from an auction held at last May’s Gen Con convention in Los Angeles. LucasFilm says it undertook expenses to advertise the auction to increase participation.” Wow.

New sources of enlightenment for spendthrifts: Push and Second Person essays online

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

Despite its being the only print source for two RPGs everyone should own – namely, James Wallis’ Baron Munchausen and John Tynes’ Puppetland – I imagine that not all of you bought MIT Press’ Second Person when it came out last year. Well, now some of the highlight essays from that volume are online at MITP’s Electronic Book Review, along with some contentious new “answer songs” that have never appeared anywhere. Also, Push editor Jonathan Walton is taking the journal online starting with its next… well, I guess starting with all of it, because Volume 1 is slowly coming online (keep up with it at this subpage of the Push weblog).

World of Warcraft Minis Game, because Blizzard can’t allow a licensed-product gap with Halo

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

Well, that’s probably not the reason. To me, the interesting bit about this announcement is the attribution of “paint scheme design” to Mike McVey, the painter that Privateer made, um, I guess famous for some definition of the word. The addition of a “name” painter to the marketing is interesting, if only because the paints still don’t look very interesting. But yeah, Upper Deck’s doing it, it comes out in the fall, and, er, nobody has yet taken credit for the actual game design.

2nd Dark Heresy printing rumored coming soon; next Warlord CCG printing confirmed coming from Germany

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

Multiple sources tell us that another printing of the WH40K Dark Heresy RPG rulebook is indeed on its way, despite the announced immediate shuttering of its publisher Black Industries. So, you might wanna hold off on hoarding those extra copies for eBay.

Uh, a single source tells us that AEG is licensing its Warlord CCG exclusively to PHOENIX Interactive GmbH for all future support. But that source is, like, an actual press release, so it’s okay.

Judges Guild founder struggling with cancer

Friday, February 1st, 2008

We heard yesterday, but waited for the official announcement:

Dear Guildmembers and Fellow Gamers,

It is with deepest regret that I announce that the Judges Guild’s President, Bob Bledsaw has been struggling against terminal cancer, and has but a short time left with us. He is in good spirits, with house in order, and is ready to begin “the Great Adventure,” as he calls it.

For those of you who have been awaiting new products; it may take some time. The Guild will go through some changes as it is passed to his three sons. They have only begun to go through his writings and unfinished works, which there is much of. They do not plan to close or reduce the Guild, and will do their best to honor any existing contracts, and persue new product ventures, as time allows.

Calls, cards and flowers are not needed, but prayers for Bob, or a pause for reflection on a time when the Guild brought you some joy, is very much appreciated. Bob loved to see happy faces around the game-table, and doesn’t wish to sadden anyone with his passing. His family and friends wish to thank everyone for all the support offered, but nothing can help this situation.

As Bob would say, “Sometimes even the Dungeon Master could use a Saving Throw.”

With Regards,
Maed Makistakator
Bob Bledsaw Jr.

As the first company to publish third-party RPG support products, as well as the first RPG setting product, Judges Guild led the way for future generations of game publishers. The staff of OgreCave wish Bob Bledsaw, his family and friends the best during these difficult times, and thank Bob for all the great times and high adventure.

Board Game Geek now geekier, so you don’t have to be

Friday, February 1st, 2008

I’ve always wanted to get more use out of BoardGameGeek.com but have been stymied by its user interface. Well, they’ve given the front page and controls a nice overhaul – I’m not sure how recently – and I’m finding the site a lot more pleasant to use now. (Unfortunately there still doesn’t seem to be an easy-enough way to quickly tell it what games you own… from what I can see, there is an “export collection” feature but no way to import. So you’ve got to hit the page for each and every game you own, check a little box that says “I own this,” and repeat for the rest of your life collection. Bad show, BGG.)