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Seen and heard at GAMA Trade Show 2008, part 2

April 28th, 2008: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Seen and heard at GAMA Trade Show 2008, part 2

Okay, I had to work this weekend, but I’ve finally had a chance to sit down again and really try to mention as many GTS ’08 releases as I can recall. If you’re just joining us, start with my first GTS post, then head back here.

By the way, GAMA seems to be sticking with the just-after-Easter start, proceeding with the theory that starting Monday instead of Easter Sunday itself will solve the scheduling problem. Never mind that many retailers and exhibitors will be watching over their kids for spring break… In all, the Easter timeframe still seems like a very bad plan for GTS 2009 and 2010.

To the games:

  • White Wolf is working away on Hunter: The Vigil for a Gen Con release, but I didn’t see any previews at the show. Meanwhile, WW’s other lines are going strong – Dogs of War for World of Darkness, some Exalted setting books (and an Exalted boardgame, Legacy of the Unconquered Sun, in June), Scion: Ragnarok this summer, and other RPG goodies. The Mwahahaha! boardgame of mad scientist mayhem looks fun as well.
  • Mongoose is about to hit with Traveller any day now, and start powering the return of Starship Troopers, Judge Dredd and others with the same system.
  • Though I mentioned this in the comments of my first show summary post, two of the biggest RPG releases on the horizon are Green Ronin’s George R.R. Martin licensed games. A Song of Ice and Fire comes out this summer, sporting a new game system and two support products in the fall. Wild Cards, a campaign setting for Mutants & Masterminds.
  • Games Workshop will have a boxed set later this year with over $300 of Warhammer 40K figures for a mere $60. They’ll also have an awesome Hydra figure, with custom head/neck pieces available through direct ordering. After all, you want to see two heads growing back where one was chopped off, right? Ah, if only I could paint…
  • The Indie Press Revolution booth had an assortment of new goodies on display: Spirit of the Season from Evil Hat Productions; the hardcover edition of Arc Dream’s Monsters and Other Childish Things; Greg Stolze’s Reign; and Profane Miracles for Pelgrane Press’ The Esoterrorists, among others. In the larger hall, roleplayers were also drooling over Mind Storm Labs’ Alpha Omega RPG, a 404-page full-color tome of dark futuristic beauty.
  • Days of Wonder was showing off the Ticket to Ride Card Game, due out next month. The Merlin’s Company expansion for Shadows over Camelot, which comes with Merlin and Sir Bedevere figures, was also on display well ahead of its July release.
  • Though I didn’t see them at the show, Smirk & Dagger’s flier announced plans for two more Cutthroat Caverns expansions – Relics & Ruin (around GenCon), and Tombs & Tomes (Oct).
  • Ninja versus Ninja, baby. Out of the Box Games has a hit with this two player boardgame of positional strategy, due out in August. John Kovalic’s ninja and sensei figures, hand painted for the game (though probably not by Kovalic himself), are perfect.
  • Atlas Games was proudly displaying Mad Scientist University (which we’ll have a review of soon). Michelle Nephew was kind enough to give me a look at Where the Deep Ones Are, Ken Hite’s “story of childhood terror”,¬†illustrated in 32 pages of full color by Andy Hopp – creepy in all the right ways.
  • Speaking of Andy Hopp, Mutha Oith Creations will continue to explore the Low Life setting this summer in a card game called Dementalism: The Low Life Memory Game. For 2-12 players, expect this one to sell for $19.99.
  • Shadowcircle Press had one of the show’s little gems, the Adventurer Card Game. Special cards were designed by Gary Gygax, Tom Wham and James Ward, respectively. Gary’s card, a character named Shade the Trickster, is one powerful fellow. Expect to see this in distribution soon, with an expansion later this year.
  • Miniature Building Authority, intentionally or not, is playing into the excitement surrounding the next Indiana Jones movie – models like the Rope Bridge, the Old Temple, and the River Trading Post look like they came straight out of the films.
  • Catalyst Game Labs had the biggest tech manual Classic Battletech has ever seen, Technical Readout 3039. This baby is absolutely massive, and packed with every vehicle and mech you could need.
  • Griddly Games brought Wise Alec to the show, a younger-players’ trivia boardgame that had a crisp, bright-looking board, questions in history, science, and spelling, as well as two difficulty levels. They weren’t in distribution yet when I spoke with them, but GTS is the place they could score a deal.
  • I knew Dragonfire Lasercrafts had gone into creating laser-cut wooden ship templates for use with miniatures, but I had no idea things were so far along. The company has numerous ship designs now, and will have a Viking Longship in May, and a multi-deck Deluxe Galleon in June. This is in addition to all the useful wooden RPG tokens and medieval boardgames in the company’s collection.
  • Midnight Syndicate, the masters of RPG soundtracks, had the recently-released soundtrack to The Dead Matter, a horror flick coming later this year. As with all Midnight Syndicate releases, many tracks on this CD can add cool, creepy feel to your game sessions.
  • Bucephalus Games will have a metric ton of releases this year – 23 titles are listed on the handout for summer ’08 releases – from a variety of designers, including Mike Selinker (as he mentioned here). Three different Mad Scientist games (Frankenbuilder, Lab Rats, and Final Exam) prove the theme’s a popular one this year. The inkblot game Rorschach sounds like it will have gameplay similar to Apples to Apples. The two party games Top Ten: The Bill of Rights and Top Ten: The Ten Commandments have Selinker influence, and each involve achieving individual goals for the final set of rules players vote on. None of these games were retail-ready yet, so packaging style and production quality remain to be seen.
  • McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds had several themed expansion sets for You’ve been Sentenced, the only game officially endorsed by Miss Delaware (no, really – weird and unexpected, but any PR is good PR).
  • Chessex will be importing some sweet dice pendants, made by a company in Italy. Each holds a Chessex-sized die of a certain type, which can be swapped out for another die of the same type. Customizable dice jewelry seems like a sure-seller.
  • Darkson Designs was running demos of the AE-WWII Miniature Wargame, which stands for Alternate Events WWII. I nearly got crushed by some sort of cyber-gorilla, while undead soldiers charged my battle armored warrior. The figures for this look excellent.
  • Gozer Games brought Collateral Damage: The Anime Board Game. Players each take the role of a gang boss trying to take over Neo Japan, all while fighting, falling in love, and accidentally causing – you guessed it – collateral damage to sections of the city, making them less valuable. If I remember correctly, over 50 characters were available in the game.
  • Blue Orange Games had collector’s editions of Double Shutter and Bendomino (which we reviewed here), and a nifty penguin-themed kids game Pengoloo, as well as some new packaging for certain titles.
  • Red Juggernaut was showing off Battue: Storm of the Horse Lords, which we recently posted a review of here.
  • Chad at Your Move Games showed me the two-card Red Dragon, Hydra, and other beasts for Battleground, as well as the Rome versus Carthage historical sets (elephants!), and mentioned the fall release of the random mission deck for quickly creating campaigns. Good stuff.

In all, no earth shattering announcements this year, but a great time catching up with folks in the industry, and getting acquainted with the games we’ll be seeing throughout the coming year.

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