Archive for July, 2009

Decipher embezzler sentenced to six years

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Decipher was once a major force in the tabletop game industry, with nearly 100 employees and some of the most popular CCGs and RPGs on the market. It didn’t last, though, due primarily to a massive amount of embezzlement. The embezzlement lawsuit against Rick Eddleman, former VP of Finance for Decipher, has continued, and now a verdict has been reached. Eddleman, who has been convicted of stealing $8.9 million from Decipher over a ten year period, has been sentenced to 36 years in prison, of which he will actually serve just over 6 years. Upon release, Eddleman has been ordered to pay $910,000 to Decipher, but since Eddleman hasn’t accumulated any obvious signs of wealth that could be repossessed, repayment will take time. WKTR News out of Norfolk, VA has video interviews with both Decipher CEO Warren Holland (Eddleman’s brother-in-law) and now-convicted embezzler Rick Eddleman.

Two RPG events that should be happening regularly in every town

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

First, the Tucson Gamemasters’ Conference. More or less speaks for itself.

Then, the weekly Dungeons and Divas game at Guardian Games here in Portland. An article ran on this in one of the local alternative weeklies, and that on its own is interesting both as a barometer of perceptions of D&D as well as of what is perceived as cultural progress for it.

OgreCave reviews – Forsaken Bounty & Middle Kingdom

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

A pair of new reviews are up today. First, Chris joins the Cave staff and carves his thoughts on FFG’s Rogue Trader: Forsaken Bounty into the nearest wall. This Free RPG Day offering gives roleplayers a taste of next month’s Rogue Trader RPG, and Chris tells us if the flavor’s savory, sweet, or sour. Then Dennis has given Middle Kingdom from Z-Man Games a try, and his review sheds light on this Far East-themed card game. Have a look, or browse our review index for more.

EDIT: Fans of Rogue Trader should also head over to FFG’s website for the Forsaken Bounty follow-up adventure, Dark Frontier, just posted for download today – and it’s free, too!

2009 Diana Jones Award shortlist announced

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

This year’s nominees for the Diana Jones Award have been announced, and as always, they include a worthwhile assortment of game innovations. They also pit two Origins Award Best RPG nominees against each other again:

  • Dominion (Rio Grande Games)
  • Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition (Wizards of the Coast)
  • Jeepform (the Vi √•ker jeep collective: http://jeepen.org/)
  • Mouseguard (Archaia Studios Press)
  • Sweet Agatha (Kevin Allen Jr)

The winner (or winners – there’s been a tie before…) will be revealed on August 12th, the night before Gen Con begins.
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ENnies 2009 voting open

Monday, July 27th, 2009

This year’s ENnies are open for voting business now. If participating in the RPG-focused awards appeals to you, head on over and fill in a ballot. The polls close this Saturday, August 1st, and as always, the winners will be announced at Gen Con in Indianapolis.

Lone Wolf gamebooks to become feature film

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Variety.com reports that Convergence Entertainment has secured the rights for a live action Lone Wolf feature film. Joe Dever’s classic fantasy gamebook series has already made the transition to full roleplaying game through Mongoose Publishing, but the leap to the movies is a big step. Convergence also secured the rights to produce a Gungrave film, based on the anime series which has already spawned two PlayStation games. According to the story, Convergence plans each film to have “budgets in the $30 million-$35 million range”. If the project comes to fruition, this could be interesting – or another good idea mangled by Hollywood. We’ll see.

Family Games 100 contributor list announced

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Following in the footsteps of the excellent Hobby Games: The 100 Best – which we recommended in our 2007 Christmas Gift Guide – Green Ronin has been hard at work on its follow-up book, Family Games: The 100 Best. Edited once again by James Lowder, the 400 page paperback will offer essays on favorite games from a wide range of game industry luminaries. The contributing authors for the new book have been announced, and include Alan R. Moon (Ticket to Ride), Richard Garfield (Magic: The Gathering), Mike Selinker (Risk: Godstorm), Keith Baker (Eberron), James Ernest (Kill Dr Lucky), Kevin Wilson (Decent), Luke Crane (Mouse Guard), Fred Hicks (Don’t Rest Your Head), Stan!, Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson (co-founders of Games Workshop), a foreword by Senior Director of Product Acquisition for Hasbro Games Mike Gray, and an afterword by author and actor Wil Wheaton. Due to release later this summer, this is sure to be another must-read.

NECA buys HeroClix, selling exclusive fig at SDCC 2009

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Reports are trickling out of San Diego Comic Con of NECA Toys selling an exclusive HeroClix figure at the show. Yes, I said HeroClix – NECA is selling a Marvel HeroClix: Hammer of Thor figure called Thor’s Mighty Chariot, which depicts exactly that. NECA is also offering preorders of the figure through Amazon, where a shipping date of August 15 is listed. The convention exclusive itself isn’t particularly newsworthy – these sorts of big show releases serve to anger retailers on a regular basis – but the fact that NECA seems to have bought HeroClix and still hasn’t officially announced said purchase is certainly worth noting.

Richard Garfield Announces Next Game

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Gamasutra reports that Mind Control Software is joining with Magic: The Gathering‘s creator Richard Garfield and Skaff Elias to produce a new game called Mind Twist. The game will be playable on iPhones and as a Flash application on Facebook. Apparently this will be a wargame playable in 10 minutes or so. A free army will be offered to beginners, with more armies being made available for purchase as time goes on.

Gaming Report.com = gone?

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

For a while, GamingReport.com was a go-to site for tabletop game news. After the site was purchased by F&W Media, Gaming Report became the online home of Scrye magazine. Ever since Scrye was cancelled back in April, there’s been speculation the languishing news site might be headed for the same fate. Today, the website no longer leads to the GamingReport.com page, but to cbgxtra.com instead (also owned by F&W). A mistake, perhaps? Or the first steps toward being off the web?

Original Talisman designer self-releases follow-up after 26 years

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

So this is interesting: Bob Harris, who designed Talisman for Games Workshop in 1983, has published a short-run limited edition of Mythgardia, a new fantasy adventure game that, at first glance, both does and doesn’t remind one of Talisman. It is self-published and seems to straddle the line between handmade prototype and “real” product (although it is professionally printed), but for bragging rights and a first glimpse at the evolution of a classic, who cares? Small editions like this one from legendary designers generally get scarfed up at Essen or something, never to be seen again; here’s a rare chance to buy one online (for a bit less than collector’s prices).

Random Encounter interview: Jamie Chambers

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Just over a week ago, we told you about Signal Fire Studios and Metamorphosis Alpha. We wanted more details though, so we went straight to Jamie Chambers, President of Signal Fire, for the skinny on plans for the MA relaunch. Our Random Encounter interview with Jamie offers a quick Q & A session on the new company and upcoming releases.

Kindle brings up the PDF versus print debate again

Friday, July 17th, 2009

This is scary: a number of Amazon Kindle owners learned buying an e-book doesn’t always mean you get to keep it. Merely because a publisher decided to change its corporate mind and stop offering certain books in electronic form, those who paid for said downloads had them automatically removed from their Kindle devices. Sure, the price of those e-books was credited to each buyer’s account by Amazon, but I’m not fond of the idea that electronic ninjas can sneak into my home and take back products I’ve legally purchased. Wow. I mean, way to kneecap the electronic medium’s struggle toward acceptance as legitimate, “tangible” product. Bravo, Amazon. Wasn’t there a signed contract between Amazon and the publisher to avoid just such a thing?

The implications for the game industry are chilling. If Wizards of the Coast had been able to reel a few of its PDFs back in like this, instead of merely pulling the plug on all further downloads a few months ago – I’m sure the company would’ve been smart enough not to do it. At least, I hope so. It’s one thing to deprive a small percentage of customers of their George Orwell books (yes, 1984 was one of the revoked titles – Big Brother loves the irony), but it’s another thing to deprive your entire fanbase of products that are out of print. After all, obscure Forgotten Realms supplements aren’t likely to be reprinted soon.

Cubicle 7 licenses Call of Cthulhu, adds to momentum

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Cubicles must be much larger these days than what I remember, because Cubicle 7 has a ton of upcoming products under its banner. The UK based company just announced that Chaosium granted Cubicle 7 licenses to publish Call of Cthulhu and Basic Roleplaying products. The company has already made plans to unleash Cthulhu Britannica, an adventure compliation due in August, and Cthulhu Britannica: Folklore in November. As for Basic Roleplaying, Cubicle 7 merely states it’s “being used to develop a brand new game based upon the works of a popular award-winning author” to be announced in the months ahead. This new arrangement adds momentum to Cubicle 7’s current pace, which includes recent partnerships with Postmortem Studios (100 Series PDFs), Boxninja (3:16 – Carnage Amongst The Stars), Adamant Entertainment, and John Wick. Through these partnerships, Cubicle 7 will release each company’s products to a wider audience, and publish Boxninja’s follow-up RPG, Carnage Amongst the Tribes, this November (among many other products – check the individual links for each company’s arrangement). And let’s not forget the Doctor Who RPG, due this October. In all, Cubicle 7 is definitely a busy company, and one to keep tabs on.
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OgreCave review – Kachina

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Though it may still be working its way to stores near you, we already have a review of Kachina by Bucephalus Games. Demian had a look at this tile-laying strategy game, and gives us his verdict. (‘Tis rather favorable – oops, I spoiled it, didn’t I?) Proceed to his review, or peruse our other game write-ups in the review index.