Archive for August, 2009

Game Chef changes hands, faces, channels

Monday, August 31st, 2009

The DJA-nominated Game Chef mini-RPG competition is on for 2009, and it’s now being operated by Push editor Jonathan Walton, who’s given it a great look, a rules overhaul, and a very clever and well-executed new means of communication. Whereas the last several Game Chefs have had dedicated web forums, Walton is encouraging competitors to start free weblogs and is aggregating the results through several feeds. It’s a new approach to community that I think will be a good fit for the contest, and new approaches to community are certainly needed in the RPG world. Also, the tight time restriction of GC is now optional amidst the new achievement-badge-style contest schema; if you’re long on ideas but short on free time, take a look at those.

Disney to Buy Marvel

Monday, August 31st, 2009

After escaping the Green Goblin and the Sandman for years, Spider-Man will soon be caught by a mere mouse — Mickey Mouse. In a $4 billion deal, Disney is acquiring 5,000 Marvel-branded characters and other associated properties. For the gaming industry, this might make Marvel licensing available only to the “big boys”, because Disney’s licensing division is notoriously harder for small companies to navigate without a Disney-vetted licensing agent or a stable of other successfully managed licenses in the game company’s portfolio. Still, as Marvel’s value as a licensor has gone up in recent years, the licensing fees may have already put Marvel out of the reach of many game companies anyway. The guys at Upper Deck renewed their license at just the right time. Feel free to comment with additional details or speculations. The full story is here.

Gen Con 2009 attendance almost holds steady

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

The Gen Con Indy 2009 wrap-up press release (also pasted below) provided this year’s head count, reported as “over 27,900 unique attendees”. This means Gen Con was down less than 2.5% from last year’s total of 28,600 visitors. Gen Con’s long-established status as an annual gamer pilgrimage seems to have helped it weather the rough economic times better than Origins ’09 or GTS ’09, which each experienced 18% attendance drop-off. Of course, current economic optimism may have helped Gen Con a bit, too…

Additionally, Gen Con raised $12,000 in charity funds, and no one refused the gaming-tainted cash (unlike last year). So no righteous indignation for you, Joe Gamer.
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Champions Online offers lifetime subscriptions through August 31

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Fans of Hero Games and City of Heroes, take note: there’s a bargain you may want to look into. Perhaps it’s a sign of how excited gamers are for the next Cryptic Studios MMO launch, but I’ve never heard of this sort of deal before (though admittedly, I’m not currently in the market for a new MMO addiction, so this deal may not be as unusual as it seems). Cryptic is offering lifetime subscriptions to Champions Online for $199, as well as six-month subscriptions for $59, until 11:59pm on August 31. Cryptic is throwing in access to the Star Trek Online closed beta to increase the enticement, as well as special in-game character costumes for both games, a Foxbat action figure, and extra character slots. Maybe you’re going to wait and check out Champions Online at PAX 2009 next weekend (we sure plan to), but if you’re fairly certain you plan to get your MMO supers on, this could be your time to act.

Thinking outside the box and the envelope

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Small Box Games has, ironically enough, no games in small boxes: they do cloth bags, custom printed with cover info and such. Games are around the $20 mark, seem to have decent components, look kinda interesting, and catch some love on BoardGameGeek here and there.

That’s good, internet. Now bring me some more.

Fantasy Flight acquires Tannhäuser

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Fantasy Flight Games recently let its fans know that the company had acquired the rights to Tannhäuser from its previous publisher, Take on You, Ltd. This should allow FFG to release new expansions – such as the upcoming Daedalus set due later this year – on a more regular basis. Other expansions are also planned in 2009, including troop packs for the Union and Reich, four new figures, and a second edition of the core game fully compatible with the original release.

Campaign Coins seek big payoff

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Gen Con always brings new game products into view that were obscure before, and this year’s no exception. I’m not sure what to think of Campaign Coins – metal coins of different sorts for your fantasy RPG campaign. The website’s still in progress, but there’s internet murmurs of a partnership or license with a major RPG company. Here’s the thing: my players are easily distracted already – would adding a pile of RPG money aid the roleplay experience, or cause my players to play Tiddly Winks with shiny objects instead of listening? What would you do?

Space Hulk returns to print

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Yep, rumors on the internets were true: Games Workshop is bringing beloved boxed game Space Hulk back as a $99 limited edition on September 5th. If you’re into it, you might wanna hop on that preorder.

This Just In from Sunday afternoon at Gen Con 2009!

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

It’s Sunday, the final day of Gen Con 2009. To go out on a high note, Ryan Macklin has recorded the final ’09 episode of This Just In… From GenCon! from the show floor. The Sunday 3pm show has multiple guests from Pirate Jenny – Emily Care Boss of Black & Green Games, Danielle Lewon of Cream Alien Games, Anna Kreider of Tasty Bacon Games, Michelle Mishko, and Willow Palecek from The Forge. As promised, OgreCave has the show notes, so here’s the final write-up for this year:

  • Convention goers have been excited about Pirate Jenny. The indie RPG landscape has evolved, and titles are more spread out between The Forge, Pirate Jenny, and such.
  • Arm dragons are neat.
  • Fear of the recession affecting customer turnout has been replaced by relief.
  • Penny For My Thoughts is very nearly sold out.
  • Kagematsu – the RPG nearly sold out the first day.
  • Willow won a Shadowfist CCG tournament.
  • RPGirl, a zine on women gamers.
  • The community of RPGBloggers.com, and two great tastes could go great together.

The OgreCave crew extends its thanks to Ryan and all his co-hosts and guests for a cool series of TJI shows this year. We’ll be happy to watch your back again in the future. We’ll also have to corner you for an interview or podcast appearance, so don’t wander off.

This Just In from Sunday morning at Gen Con 2009!

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

It’s Sunday, and Gen Con 2009 is in its final stretch. This Just In… From GenCon! has posted its Sunday 11am show, with co-host Derek Rex from Pulp Gamer, and guests John Wick and Robin Laws. Until host Ryan Macklin gets back home, OgreCave will be providing the show notes, so here’s the latest write-up:

  • Derek’s been meeting army buddies, attending Phil & Calye Lacefield’s wedding, attending the RPG Podcaster meet-and-greet, and more, all at Gen Con.
  • The White Wolf party
  • Robin has been at the Pelgrane Press booth, pushing the Gumshoe system, and getting ideas “into the bloodstream of gaming.”
  • John Wick’s Shotgun Diaries (see the cool little YouTube preview) and Houses of the Blooded have blown out of the show.
  • Epidiah Ravachol’s Time & Temp
  • Joe MacDonald’s Ribbon Drive and it’s mix CD.
  • Jeremy Keller’s Chronica Feudalis
  • Paul Tevis’ Penny For My Thoughts
  • Serial Homicide Unit
  • Mist-Robed Gate
  • John was impressed with the Pathfinder RPG, and it has inspired him.
  • Thoughts on what has and hasn’t been impacted by the economic downturn.
  • A plug for Action Castle.

Check back after the 3 pm Sunday show for more notes, or just hang out at OgreCave for a while, ‘cuz we like you and appreciate your business.

OgreCave reviews – Timestreams & Candyman

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

A pair of new reviews are up today. First is Dennis’ look at Timestreams from Bucephalus Games, a new card game that pits different eras of history against each other. Then I’ve thrown in my review of Run For Your Life, Candyman! from Smirk & Dagger. For my money, it’s the only way to revisit the dreaded childhood game Candy Land, and far more enjoyable, too. It seemed only fitting to post this now, since S&D’s sequel game Shootin’ Ladders has just hit Gen Con.

This Just In from Saturday evening at GenCon 2009

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

This Just In… From GenCon! has posted its late Saturday afternoon show live from the big event. This time around, Ryan is joined by co-host Ed Healy of War Pig Radio, and guests Eddy Webb of White Wolf Publishing and Brennan Taylor of Indie Press Revolution. We’re still helping Ryan out with the show notes, so read on and be enlightened.

  • The 3-2-1 rule (hours of sleep/meals/showers per con day). Ed appreciates the very cool cosplayers, and Ryan saw the coolest save point ever.
  • Rough Magicks and Shadows Over Filmland (reviewed here), both from Pelgrane Press
  • IPR is everywhere at Gen Con, and Brennan comments on how the show’s going.
  • The girls of Pirate Jenny, mentioned again, will be on the eighth episode of This Just In… – stay tuned!
  • Eddy speaks of Geist: The Sin-Eaters, which is selling better than Hunter so far, and general convention thoughts.
  • Starblazer Adventures
  • Eclipse Phase is selling out its limited copies.
  • Someone from Atomic Array got mugged by LARPers.
  • Alpha Omega, and a Twitter war at the Diana Jones Awards
  • The Gen Con iPhone app – good idea, needs work
  • ENnie Awards and amusing abbreviations

One more day of the Best Four Days in Gaming to go, and OgreCave will have your show notes. Feel free to explore the Cave, by the way – we only pummel those who don’t read a review, an interview, the daily news, follow us on Twitter, and listen to our podcasts. So you’ll be fine… right?

This just in from Saturday morning at Gen Con 2009

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Allan isn’t doing this one, dammit! LOVE ME.

Show notes for the Saturday 11am This Just In… From GenCon! episode are as follows:

All OgreCave tourists and visitors are directed to the information booth. See you again this afternoon, if not sooner.

This Just In from 5 pm Friday at Gen Con 2009

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Gen Con 2009 rages on, and the Friday evening episode of This Just In… From GenCon! is online for all to hear. OgreCave is helping out with some show notes, so here’s the lowdown for the Friday 5pm show, with co-host Sean Nittner from Narrative Control, and guests Will Hindmarch & Jeff Tidball from GamePlaywright.net:

  • Much love is expressed toward Things We Think About Games (some of it sordid).
  • Putting faces to names: Clark & Amanda Valentine of The Dresden Files RPG; Joe MacDonald of Ribbon Drive; John Wick.
  • @RyanMacklin offers love for Twitter, and for retweeters @fredhicks, @GamerTraveler (Daniel Perez), and @CUnderkoffler
  • The vote: chairs.
  • Gorilla GamesWho Would Win, over at booth #403.
  • Another Pirate Jenny shout-out, next to the t-shirts and corsets.
  • More talk of Geek Chic, and how the company is working to bring the game table back into the family room.

We’ll keep the notes going tomorrow. If you’re new to OgreCave, come on in and sit a spell. We have reviews, interviews, daily news, podcasts, and other neat stuff.

This just in from 11:00 am Friday at Gen Con 2009

Friday, August 14th, 2009

The sounds of Gen Con 2009 continue to flow through This Just In… From GenCon!, and we’ve got show note duty. For the Friday 11am show, with co-host Chris Hussey from Fear the Boot, and additional guests Sean Patrick Fannon and Carrin Seabolt from DriveThruRPG, here’s what we have:

Check back this evening for the Friday 5pm show notes, or just peruse OgreCave in general for game reviews, daily news, podcasts, and more.

Warmachine’s next big thing is a video game version under development

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Privateer Press announced at a seminar today at Gen Con that developer WhiteMoon Dreams is underway on a digital version of Warmachine for… consoles? PCs? Both? Info is coming in via Twitter and is thus a little thin on the ground. Apparently the game will be first-person strategy of a sort – you’ll be in the warcaster’s perspective, issuing orders to your ‘jacks – and that’s about all I know. Unless the game has a confirmed publisher, this might not really even be an announced product so much as a really awesome plan. But there’s a nice, shiny coming-soon page!

Pathfinder SRD available at launch

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Remember all the waiting for a certain 4e game license? Paizo Publishing’s not taking that route. Instead, when the Pathfinder Core Rulebook went on sale yesterday at Gen Con and online, Paizo posted the Pathfinder RPG Reference Document. Please note the apparent cut-and-paste of a certain Open License version 1.0a. To complete the siren call to disenfranchised 3.5 gamers, Paizo has also posted a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Conversion Guide, providing a guide for updating existing campaigns to the Pathfinder system. There’s no denying it now – this is serious competition for D&D. It just needs the name recognition, which will be tricky.

Everything old is psionic again: Dark Sun setting for D&D 4e in ’10

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Yeppers. As the linked interview notes, Dark Sun has much more distinctive flavor than a lot of the other settings WotC could have revived. It sounds like a considerable number of crunchy bits will be distinctive to this book as well.

Plenty of other D&D tidbits have been announced, including one that caught my eye: D&D Heroscape for a February release. We’ll bring you more on that one when we can. Also a Ravenloft board game for next Gen Con – it’s a bit curious that WotC didn’t start doing board games based on D&D-related properties sooner.

This just in from 5:00 on Thursday at Gen Con 2009

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Here’s the show, here’s your notes:

  • The Diana Jones Award.
  • Catalyst has the old WizKids booth spot, right by the entrance. From a polished toy manufacturer to punks in kilts with BattleTech pods: I can get behind that.
  • Hero doesn’t have the 6th Edition books yet, so you can preorder and walk away with a PDF on CD. Turns out that’s easier to get in your suitcase.
  • Champions Online will be out on September 1st.
  • We live to serve, fellas, but as far as the Podcaster Meet & Greet, I can’t figure out where the Safehouse is supposed to be. Unless you’re supposed to go to Milwaukee. Sorry.
  • Cubicle 7 has Starblazer Adventures, of course, and some Doctor Who promo thing of unspecified nature.
  • Gamescience: precise dice.
  • Geek Chic furnishers and their rico-suave new joint, the Emissary. The Sultan is still available as well.
  • The Palomino restaurant.
  • Eclipse Phase.
  • A couple of Hero 6 supplements already out: the Hero Edition of The Day After Ragnarok (not finding a link on it at Atomic Overmind, but it’s at the Atari/Cryptic Hero booth), and the awesomely named War of Worldcraft.

If you’re new to OgreCave: hi. We normally just run photos of people with greenish skin, but we’re covering this game stuff as a favor to Ryan. The guy up in the corner has a sword and armor because, uh, budget concerns.

Allan’ll have your back tomorrow morning. Sleep tight!

New edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay announced

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Yeah, whole new edition… and it looks fascinating. Possibly fascinating in the car-wreck sense, but it’s a bit early to know for sure. Also, it’s a box set at a planned MSRP of $99 – which people will see as a bold step, even though it looks like a better deal than the D&D core books plus dice and power cards. No announced release date that I can see, and it’s an FFG production, so caveat anticipator.

This just in from This Just In From Gen Con 2009

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Once again it’s on: Ryan Macklin is re-attempting his mildly insane project of podcasting semi-live from Gen Con, and we’re doing his show notes semi-officially this time. For the Thursday 11am show:

There it is, or as much of it as I wrote down, anyway. If you’re new to OgreCave: hi. No, we aren’t just a podcast. Yes, we still do the podcast (podcasts, even). You should follow us on Twitter. We like you and think you’re special.

Reaper to produce Pathfinder RPG miniatures

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Paizo Publishing announced an agreement today that Reaper Miniatures will produce monthly metal miniatures to support Paizo’s Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Paizo has had excellent miniatures through Crocodile Games in the past, but now we’ll get to see what Reaper does with the line. No word yet on whether any preview figures are at Gen Con this week – a Fall release is expected for the start of the line. The full press release is below.
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Dominion wins 2009 Diana Jones Award

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Huzzah and congratulations. My game group played three consecutive games just last night; I’m pretty sure that’s a record for us. Dominion beat out multiple big-name nominees, which are listed over here.

Other news coming in via Twitter: lots of people hate lots of airlines.

Fascinating details on LEGO’s board game line

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

BrettSpiel has a good-sized interview with freshman designer Cephas Howard, who was on the cusp of getting a couple of board games published when he landed what I think we can all agree is a pretty sweet job: lead designer for the entire LEGO Games line. (Although apparently Herr Knizia is credited on a couple of them, and consulted on many of the rest.) Check the hot piece-prototyping action on the dice there. Howard also confirms that game hacking – with good recommended methodology, even! – is an explicit part of the products. These things are gonna be hot, hot fun.

My next band is called Stardust Overdrive: Yu-Gi-Oh rolls on

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Yu-Gi-Oh sets TCG lifetime sales record at 22.5 billion cards. Thing about TCGs is once they have enough momentum, they don’t seem to ever stop rolling, ever. It’s like comics: there will always be people who act like comics collectors, even though neither the paper drives of the 40s that made Golden Age comics rare nor the 90s Image boom are ever going to happen again. It might perenially shrink like a radioactive half-life, but it will always be with us.