Archive for March, 2010

Clix and other distant rumblings from GTS 2010

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Sadly, the OgreCave crew didn’t make it out to the GAMA Trade Show this year, but if we had, we’d probably be talking about the following news trickling out of Vegas right now (other than the Origins Awards nominees, of course):

  • HeroClix, now coming to us from NECA/WizKids, is back in a big way at GTS. The Brave & the Bold, with its team-up “duo” figures, arrives next month; Brightest Day is after that, followed by Web of Spider-Man (which will have an Iron Man/WarMachine duo figure), and then DC 75 will celebrate DC’s 75th anniversary and include characters from the White Lantern Corp. The HaloClix game will also get a new set, possibly to coincide with the release of Halo: Reach late this year.
  • In other NECA/WizKids news, there are plans for games based on the movie properties of Gremlins and Freddy vs Jason, though according to a forum post by Justin Ziran, VP of Brand Marketing at WizKids, these will not be Clix games. Finally, WizKids plans to introduce three new Euro style boxed games coming this fall, designed by some combination of Reiner Knizia, Vlaada Chvátil, Mike Elliot and Eric Lang. The Euro games will be based on three “HUGE properties” and use pre-painted figures – a WizKids speciality.
  • Pirate versus Pirate (Out of the Box Publishing) will have a triangular play area with some loot in the middle, and pit 2-3 teams of pirates against each other. In this board game sequel to Ninja versus Ninja, each Pirate crew can win by capturing the treasure or eliminating his opponents.
  • Wizards of the Coast will produce a new D&D “Red Box” Starter set in September, and have a number of 4E products lined up for beginning or returning players. Let’s not forget the big Castle Ravenloft cooperative board game, either – coming in mid-August, the game will be for 1-5 players (solo rules? Interesting…), and include a scenario book, 40 plastic figures, interlocking dungeon tiles, 200 encounter and treasure cards, and more, all for $64.95. I’m trying not to get my hopes up for this to be a D&D take on Space Hulk. I’m trying, but failing. It just sounds sweet!
  • James Ernest and Mike Selinker ran demos of their new game Dust & Sin, an appropriately-named game about building Las Vegas, which will be published later this year by Mayfair Games. [EDIT: After a few name changes, this game is now called Lords of Vegas]
  • AEG and Dust Games will release Mad Zeppelin in May, and a Thunderstone expansion, Wrath of the Elements will arrive this year as well.
  • Super Genius Games (the company founded by R. Hyrum Savage and Stan! that brought us Cthulhu adventures like Murder of Crows) announced the Adventurer’s Handbook, a 96 page softcover compiling some of the best Genius Guides from the company’s Pathfinder line. It ships July 2010 and will cost $19.99.

We’ll add more as we hear it. Game publishers: if you announced products at GTS this year, tell us about ‘em, and I’ll add to the story as I’m able. (You could also put news(at)ogrecave(DOT)com on your PR email list, while you’re at it. Please and thank you.)

Origins Awards 2010 nominees announced

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

As per the usual pattern, as the GAMA Trade Show ends, this year’s contenders for Origins Awards get sorted out and announced. As per the selections made by the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design, the nominees for 2010 are listed below. In Card Games, The Stars are Right is up against Thunderstone and Martian Fluxx for the award; in Board Games, Castle Panic is fighting to beat Small World and the Space Hulk rerelease; and the Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space RPG is hoping to snatch the RPG award away before Eclipse Phase or A Song of Ice And Fire can grab it. But we won’t know the results until the Origins Game Fair this summer, where the attendees will vote to decide the winners. (By the way, more than a few of the nominees were part of our OgreCave Christmas Gift Guide 2009. I’m just saying.)

(more…)

Ye can get ye flask at PAX East’s IF Summit

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

As far as I’m concerned, here’s your schedule for PAX East next weekend – the complete Interactive Fiction track, administered by some of the leading lights of the medium. You’ll note a session of last year’s Gift Guide-honored ACTION CASTLE; the long-awaited follow-up JUNGLE ADVENTURE will be for sale at the show. If you’re new to the classic text adventure and want a deep dive in a short time, don’t miss the world premiere of the documentary GET LAMP. > SCORE!

Catalyst monetary trouble rumor gets official reply

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

For most of us, it started two days ago when a former freelancer for Catalyst Game Labs, going by the login “Frank Trollman”, posted his take on recent rumors concerning CGL’s future. In Trollman’s post (copied below, after the jump), “reliable sources” claimed that approximately $850,000 had been discovered to be “missing outright” from the company’s coffers. While this rumor may have initially been spread due growing frustration from multiple freelancers over unpaid work, subsequent to this rumor breaking out into the wild, it was revealed that Jennifer Harding (Shadowrun Assistant Line Developer and CGL Office Manager), Adam Jury (CGL layout & design powerhouse), and possibly another employee, had announced their resignations (though not due to being fired or forced out). This official statement was issued by Catalyst late Tuesday:

Catalyst Game Labs recently completed a detailed financial review of the company. We learned that over the past several years the company has achieved dramatic growth in terms of demand, increased total revenues and strong sales with an increasing market share in the gaming industry, despite a lackluster economy. We are thrilled by that news and are eager to move forward with our upcoming original game Leviathans, along with our other new casual games. We also remain committed to plans for our beloved licensed games: Shadowrun, BattleTech, Eclipse Phase, and CthuluTech.

While we wish the review had only uncovered positive news, we also discovered our accounting procedures had not been updated as the company continued to grow. The result was that business funds had been co-mingled with the personal funds of one of the owners. We believe the missing funds were the result of bad habits that began alongside the creation of the company, which was initially a small hobby group. Upon further investigation, in which the owner has willingly participated, the owner in question now owes the company a significant balance and is working to help rectify the situation.

The current group of owners was presented with this information on Monday. Administrative organization for the company is under review, and accounting procedures have been restructured, to correct the situation and provide more stringent oversight. We feel the management team at Catalyst did the responsible thing by seeking this financial review and we will continue to restructure as needed. We are in discussions with our partners and freelancers to remedy any back payments that may also be due as a result of this review.

We are embarrassed that this situation did occur but we hope our eagerness to make these changes, along with our reputation for making great games, will encourage you to stand by us. We understand that for a few employees the news was too stressful and we wish them all the best in their new endeavors. However, the majority of the team remains and will continue to bring great entertainment to you all. We appreciate the support our friends, freelancers, and fans have provided us in the past and look forward to a successful future.

Speculation over Catalyst’s future will undoubtedly continue, with some seeing the press release as mere spin tactics, but some fans have been encouraged by the forthright company response and admission of problems. Gamers may want to keep watch for any news of the Shadowrun and BattleTech licenses lapsing and getting reeled in by Topps, or news of publisher changes for Cthulhutech (WildFire) or Eclipse Phase (Posthuman Studios) – any of which could be signs of more trouble at Catalyst.

(more…)

Spycraft Third Edition announced for 2011

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Crafty Games, having just gone rogue from Mongoose’s Flaming Cobra imprint and moving to Studio2, is planning several new releases over the coming months. Primary among the company’s announced projects is Spycraft: Third Edition, due Spring 2011. According to Crafty Games’ Patrick Kapera, “Updating Spycraft gives us the chance not only to synchronize rules across all our core games but also lets us bring the focus of the Spycraft brand back to espionage.” The new edition will make use of the Mastercraft system, and allow for increased customization and gamemaster tools. See the full press release below for more details.
(more…)

Accumulated things we should mention

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Sleep is Death, a two-player game for PC and Mac in which one player acts like they’re playing a basic point-and-click RPG, and the other has 30 seconds per turn to arrange the world’s graphics around them to make it seem like they are. Yes, they get to prepare some of the graphics. Yes, this is as simple and completely awesome as it sounds. Stupid cheap, too.

Iconica, a gorgeous indie card game being sold on Etsy. The linked post is subtitled “Not Just Another Pretty Face,” but frankly doesn’t make much of a case for that; the game seems like it might be a little samey and tough to learn, and the world-building seems pretty generic. But oh, that design. I’m also interested in Etsy as a venue for sales of actual independent games, as opposed to just crafts based on video games.

Deathwatch, the third core Warhammer 40K roleplaying game, has been announced. I only bring it up because I keep seeing threads about it and thinking, “that’s a bit harsh, it seems like the system has plenty of support and I don’t know why anyone would think it was dyi– OH WAIT”

OgreCave review – Basic Action Super Heroes!

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

To help get you through to Friday, Andy has provided us with his thoughts on the Basic Action Super Heroes! Ultimate Edition Role Playing Game by Basic Action Games. While readers might remember that BASH! made me get all nostalgic recently, Andy has approached the game from a purely analytical viewpoint. What did he think of this supers RPG system? Click through and read on.

Free Darkness to celebrate Read an E-Book Week

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Apparently, it’s Read an E-Book Week – certainly a trendy event, what with all the Kindles, Kindle-likes, and upcoming iPads pushing the book market that direction. In order to celebrate and promote the medium, DriveThruRPG and White Wolf Publishing have a free electronic offering for gamers. Those who stop by DriveThruRPG.com before the end of this Saturday, March 13, can download a free copy of the World of Darkness rulebook. Yes, the full, 200+ page core system book from a few years back is yours for the taking. But maybe you’ve already got a queue of electronic books you’re reading your way through – what’re you reading this week?

Ogres tweet and have Faces

Friday, March 5th, 2010

In case you aren’t in the know just yet, OgreCave’s voice is echoing in more directions than ever before. For those who have joined the massive Facebook nation, you can become our fan at OgreCave’s Facebook page, facebook.com/OgreCave, and find bonus goodies there like our Oddness Observed by Ogres gallery. Also, most everything posted there and here on the main site gets announced on our Twitter feed, at twitter.com/OgreCave, so if you’re inclined to be as connected as possible, we’ve established a side cavern to the Cave there. We’ll have these linked in the sidebar for future reference shortly, and if we set up shop anywhere else, you’ll be the first to know.

Windhammer Gamebook Competition Entering Third Year

Friday, March 5th, 2010

In case you missed out on the first two years, the third annual Windhammer Prize is posting its rules and schedule early to allow plenty of time for writing and judging original gamebooks. While this hasn’t quite reached the scale of the computer-based Interactive Fiction Competition, it’s a similar opportunity to be creative in a medium with a lot of potential, and I hope it keeps growing. Do your part and check it out! Oh, and did I mention the cash prize?