12:24 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
|Wednesday, February 28, 2001|
Battle Cattle Miniatures Exclusive!
We worked out a deal with Wingnut Games to get the exclusive first look at the new Battle Cattle miniatures. The minis were left unpainted to show off the fine detail of these bovine warriors. We've also added the weapons packs to the side shot. Click on the shots below for a closer look. You can't find these anywhere else, so get 'em while they're hot!
1:37 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
|Tuesday, February 27, 2001|
Now this is totally my style: I Want My 1000 Blank White Cards.
Who else out there used to set up all of their board games on the floor of the family room at once and just kind of let their Monopoly pieces wander all over? Tell us about it.
11:46 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
|Monday, February 26, 2001|
Do You Love Zombies?
Eden Studios is looking for their biggest fan. If you can convince them that no one loves All Flesh Must Be Eaten, Conspiracy X, and Eden's other games more than you, you'll get everything they make for the next two years. How can you convince them of your fanatical devotion? Check out the contest details for ideas.
Dark Portal Open
Dark Portal Games, a new RPG company, has released their first D20 product as a free download. The pdf adventure, Dead Fire, is for 4-6 characters of levels 1-2, and involves one hell of a forest fire.
A Quick Drink
Wizards has a new Instant Tavern Generator that's worth checking out. Set the accomodation quality, the number of rumors to be heard, and even print out a random menu to show your players. Belly up to the bar, lads!
The latest issue of Focus on Freeport is up at Green Ronin's site. This month's cool feature: a free D20 adventure called Holiday in the Sun, for characters of levels 2-4.
Agatha Blades Launches
Another young D20 company, Agatha Blades just launched today, and already has a downloadable adventure available. Shades of Yesterday, an adventure for four 1st level characters, is available for free in multiple formats on the site.
White Wolf posted a preview of their newest supplement for Vampire: The Dark Ages. The supplement, Veil of Night, reveals the medieval Islamic world for World of Darkness fans.
6:18 AM: Demian Katz says...
Rising Sun #7 Released
The seventh issue of The Rising Sun, a quarterly e-zine devoted to the Lone Wolf gamebooks, has just been released. This issue contains an article by author John Grant on the re-release of some of his Legends of Lone Wolf novels, a review of The Caverns of Kalte, a couple of poems and some other interesting material. Past issues are also worth checking out, as they contain everything from new solitaire adventures to alternate rules for playing through the classics.
11:08 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
|Friday, February 23, 2001|
GOO to Publish Tekumel
Professor M.A.R. Barker's richly detailed Tekumel setting will be publishing in role-playing form once again, this time by Guardians of Order. Using GOO's Tri-Stat system, Tekumel: Empire of the Petal Throne will make its debut at GenCon 2001 in August. As one of the oldest and most detailed game worlds, Tekumel is sure to be welcomed back into the hobby by old fans and new.
11:53 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Get Ready to Rum-Bull
Aldo from Wingnut Games tells us that the Battle Cattle 25mm miniatures should be reaching stores within a couple of weeks. Let the bovine combat commence! Keep watching on OgreCave for more info.
Mage Knight Beta Release
The popular and addictive Mage Knight game will be revised for a Beta release in April. The new release will have more durable packaging, and each figure's protective plastic shell will be color coordinated to signify the figure's rarity. The game play will remain unchanged.
Broken Shadows Approach
Diskwars has a new expansion set hitting stores next week called Broken Shadows. Players who are willing to preorder all eight packs from Fantasy Flight Games will get a limited edition Helspanth X'ru disk (worth 25 Army Points). Oooh, aahhh.
Porn Star Freed From Freak Factory
When a chance for a title like that comes along, you've gotta take it.
On Valentine's Day, Freak Factory Game Studios transferred ownership of their
controversial card game, Porn Star, to Death Tech. After all the problems Freak Factory had promoting the game last year, it remains to be seen if the company change will help the game's success.
11:23 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Introducing OgreCave Reviews
Houston, we have review. Read our take on Cosmic Coasters, the new board game from the creators of Fluxx, Chrononauts and Icehouse.
9:02 AM: Demian Katz says...
|Thursday, February 22, 2001|
New Gamebook Series Published Online
A brand new series of solitaire role-playing gamebooks, The Chronicles of Arborell, is now being published online free of charge. The series is designed in a manner reminiscent of the classic Fighting Fantasy and Lone Wolf books, and while it must be played through a web browser, it retains the old gamebook feel by requiring the reader to roll dice and keep track of statistics on a printed character sheet. The first book in the series, a 260-section fantasy adventure called Windhammer, is available now; the next volume, Earth and Stone, is due in June.
11:24 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
|Tuesday, February 20, 2001|
SFR Buys Dragon Dice
The new game company SFR Inc. has finalized its purchase of the Dragon Dice game property from Wizards of the Coast. The game will surge back to life with three limited edition Dragonkin Champion dice early this year, followed by the Treefolk game expansion this summer. Other products will come thereafter, including the Champions and Unearthly expansions. I'll have to check with my former Gamers.com co-worker Brian, but I'm reasonably sure we talked with SFR at Dragon*Con last year, and Brian got some dice out of the encounter.
Dominion Rules 2.0, the free RPG from Dominion Games, isn't ready just yet. However, a production update has been posted to keep fans informed until the game's release this spring.
11:01 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
More Cavemen Cometh
Due to popular demand, Wingnut Games will be printing a second edition of Land of Og. Before it goes to press, though, it has to be just right. "So, if you have anything from typos to omitted rules, look at our online FAQ then send them over," said Aldo Ghiozzi, Wingnut owner. Once Og 2E is out, keep your eyes peeled for The Complete Caveman's Club Book, which will expand the world of Og even more.
12:38 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
White Wolf Grabs Ravenloft
Arthaus, Inc., a smaller affiliate of White Wolf Publishing, announced today that it has acquired the rights to publish D20 products for the Ravenloft campaign setting, previously published by Wizards of the Coast. Goals have been set for four products per year, starting with a core rulebook that will hold "plenty of new surprises and a wholly revamped setting for hard core Ravenloft fans." Now if only someone would do the same for Planescape and Birthright, we'd be set.
11:47 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
"I Choose You, Pokéthulhu!"
Inquest Gamer Magazine's Fan Awards 2000 are drawing to a close. This is one of the few awards that allows readers to write in alternate choices in each category, so don't hold back. If you want to add your vote to the mix, head over there and vote before Wednesday, February 28th. I'm sorely tempted to vote for Pokéthulhu, myself.
1:22 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
|Monday, February 19, 2001|
Celebrity Encounters at DunDraCon
We met Tom Jolly, creator of Wiz-War and Diskwars, who was at DDC running Diskwars tournaments for the second year in a row. The title of this item would probably amuse him as much as the fact that Fantasy Flight is officially appending his name to the title of his upcoming tile-based board game. You know, like Bram Stoker's Dracula: Tom Jolly's Drakon. Tom said the idea that his name will ship units strikes him as pretty funny. (By the way, if you play Wiz-War but don't own it, he said to buy your own damn copy. We think he might have been joking. Maybe.)
Anyway, Tom Jolly's Drakon is a version of a game, variously titled Traps or Vaults, that Jolly's been developing for ages. From what I saw, players lay down new rooms of a dungeon on a regular grid, and each room contains special rules and restrictions on pawn movement. Similarly to Wiz-War, the goal is to get treasure, but there's also presumably an element of getting out alive. The game is in final assembly stages and should be released relatively soon. I didn't have a chance to give Drakon a test drive, though. What can I say, after the con I went to a party in Fremont that involved wine mousse cake and torture by Trivial Pursuit while I watched two guys play PS2 Beatmania to euro-disco songs about an Indian guy whose family was eaten by a tiger. Long night.
11:47 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
|Friday, February 16, 2001|
DunDraCon XXV in Full Swing
The biggest game convention in California, and the oldest one as well, DunDraCon calls to us once again. As the first game convention I ever attended (back around DDC XI or so), this one holds special memories for me, and I never miss it. Here's a few of the highlights I plan to check out:
- Jennifer Clarke Wilkes and "other WotC staff" will give the traditional state of the union address early Saturday morning.
- Greg Stafford and the staff of Issaries, Inc. will "Illuminate" fans.
- Bruce Harlick of Hero Games and Steve Peterson of Cybergames.com will discuss how things are going in their neck of the woods.
- Other luminaries in attendance (from a quick scan of the program): Nicole Lindroos, Chris Pramas, Mark Arsenault, Ken Hite, Rick Loomis, Tom Jolly, John Wick... the list just keeps going.
We'll be grabbing as much news as we can, beating it into submission, and smuggling it out in a burlap sack. Stay tuned.
9:37 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
John Tynes Owns Your Soul
The good people at Games Unplugged have just posted an interview with John Tynes, co-creator of Unknown Armies and Delta Green, as well as the brilliant Puppetland and all sorts of other goodies. The interview seems awfully out-of-date, though... what's Tynes been up to since? Oh, keeping himself busy.
1:28 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
I am deeply, deeply afraid.
12:33 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
|Wednesday, February 14, 2001|
Tired of the way all computer games and video games are the same? So is Ernest Adams, a game developer who's worked for Bullfrog among other high-profile PC game companies. He's taken the Dogme 95 rules that made a splash last year in the film world, and applied them to the computer game industry. The result is a great read, brought to our attention by Plastic, my second favorite weblog. The discussion is here.
12:47 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Tasty Morsel - Here's the best result on Living Room Games' Random Grimness Table, intended to keep role-playing sessions from getting too lighthearted:
86-90: Sun disappears for a moment, with no apparent cause, as an old man comes out. He points at the party screaming, "It is the prophesy! They will doom us all!!!" Lynch mob follows.
12:24 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Relics & Rituals,the new D&D3/D20 book from Sword & Sorcery Studios, lists a ton of magic items and spells. However, Sword & Sorcery intentionally doesn't give prices for any of them (too world-specific). Since having the price of an item helps the DM decide how much treasure to award, "Irishman" has stepped up to organize some volunteer pricing. Here's his recruiting notice:
If anyone wishes to help create the magic item price list for the Swords and Sorcery book, Relics and Rituals, and has the time to compute a page or two of the magic items values based on the rules in the Dungeon Masters Guide, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The results will be posted on the Sword & Sorcery website.
11:46 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
|Tuesday, February 13, 2001|
Large Miniatures Enter Mage Knight
Is that like jumbo shrimp? Nevermind.
The Mage Knight miniatures game will bring dragons into play this coming June. The Great Fire Dragon will be 6" tall, have a 9" wingspan, and four combat dials built into its 6" base. The dragon's point value will be scaleable, lending more playability to the figure. Expect to shell out $24.95 to own this baby.
2:18 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Decipher Buys Star Trek Fan Club
After Wizards of the Coast announced their purchase of the Star Wars Fan Club, it should come as no surprise that Decipher is now buying the company that runs the Star Trek Fan Club, FANtastic Media. Founders of both the Star Wars and Star Trek fan clubs, FANtastic Media will add to Decipher's growing dominance of the Star Trek mythos (they currently own the rights to CCGs and RPGs based on the property). Warren Holland, CEO of Decipher, said "We will be announcing other exciting fan club licenses positioning FANtastic Media for substantial growth over the next several years." Warp speed, Sulu?
11:36 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
|Friday, February 09, 2001|
A Peek at Games Unplugged 2001
In an agressive move, Games Unplugged is going monthly starting this month. Here's a look ahead at what this year's issues will contain. My previous place of employment, Gamers.com, was supposed to be part of this month's Best gaming sites on the net, but given the massive layoffs, who knows? I'll have to check on it.
- February '01: Best gaming sites on the net
- March '01: Will include a free deck of Warlords from AEG
- April '01: 50 Most influential people in gaming
- May '01: RPG and miniatures game design
- June '01: Upcoming releases for Origins and GenCon
- July '01: Richard Garfield's secret upcoming game
- August '01: D20 mania and a look at the OGL
- September '01: Foreign games in the U.S.
- October '01: Horror games special issue
- November '01: Holiday shopping guide
- December '01: Lord of the Rings Issue
11:35 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Dragon Lords Adventure in April
Chaosium announced plans for the first supporting product for Dragon Lords of Melnibone, their D20 setting. Slaves of Fate places the adventurers on a Vilmirian slave ship as captives. After that, things get difficult. Slaves of Fate is scheduled for an April release.
12:34 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
I'm thinking "Action Man: The Collectible Dice Game."
Yeah, it's an old joke, but more "synergy" products are definitely in WotC's future at this point... I'd say discuss amongst yourselves, but we have no message board. (And I must scream.)
11:41 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Hasbro Tightens Belt... Again
Your favorite toy giant and mine, Hasbro, has announced additional layoffs of 100 more employees. This is in addition to the 750 employees they already laid off in December of last year. According to CEO Alan G. Hassenfeld, "We don't want our bottom line dependent on the success of a blockbuster license." The slowing sales of Furby, Pokemon and Star Wars was sited as the cause for the layoffs. Hasbro's future emphasis will be on more "reliable" brands such as Tonka, Easy-Bake Oven and Play-Doh.
No word yet on what this might mean for Wizards of the Coast.
11:39 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Deciphering the Rings
The official announcement of Decipher's plans for the Lord of the Rings CCG went up on their site today. Decipher has the rights to make a card game for each movie in New Line's trilogy, and they plan to take full advantage. There is mention of an electronic card game to compliment the traditional CCG. If the movies turn out as well as everyone hopes, get ready to shell out some cash for a variety of card decks and booster sets.
11:37 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
From Reality Storms to Camel Racing
In the mid '90s, Omni Gaming Products made a valiant effort to purchase the Torg licence from West End Games. Their ideas for Torg would have set the game back on course, repairing the ugliness that had accumulated in the official campaign. However, monetary issues stopped OGP from releasing more than an introductory newsletter.
OGP didn't curl up and die, though. In the tradition of Cheapass Games, OGP announced their new game, Blazing Camels. At a paltry price of $5, can you afford notto give it a try?
4:30 PM: Owen Flechyr says...
|Thursday, February 08, 2001|
SCA Event - Wargy
The Society for Creative Anachronism (sca.org) is a medieval reenactment society that puts on events that range from feasts to giant wars in full armor. Wargy is a one day event on the 10th of February in San Jose, California, in the Kingdom of the West. The event is a day long Resurrection battle, in which participants who die can go back to a resurrection point and rejoin the carnage. The battlefield is a giant map, divided up into the various principalities of the Bay Area. War groups can hire mercenaries to fight with them for their prizes. E-mail the autocrat for directions.
12:31 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Atlas Rides the Waves
Expanding Atlas' Penumbra D20 adventure series, The Tide of Years is a new, 48 page quest involving deep sea diving and a crystal that manipulates time itself. Written by Michelle A. Brown Nephew (wife of Atlas President John Nephew), the adventure will provide "an opening for GMs to introduce time travel into their campaigns, either as a one-time extraordinary experience or as an ongoing campaign theme." A supplementary PDF of the clerical Domain of Time provides gamers with a preview to "tide" them over until the adventure's release in early March.
12:00 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
|Wednesday, February 07, 2001|
News from Mythrole
Mythrole Games, publishers of digitally-distributed analog card games such as Night of the Ill-Tempered Squirrel, will be publishing a full line of D20 material, according to tragically misinformed sources. Mythrole put out a non-confirmation last week. From the press release:
Says company owner Tyler Sigman, "we are very pleased to be having nothing to do with the sizzling D20 intellectual property. The timing is right, and this move strategically doesn't place Mythrole on the crest of gaming and allows us not to leverage the might and activity of the d20 license in our favor. We will be not releasing our first d20 product in March, and we are very excited about what the future holds in terms of not taking advantage of this current trend." Mythrole's news page has the full story.
10:43 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Shadowrun Supplemental #13 Available
The latest issue of The Shadowrun Supplemental is available for download here.This issue was delayed slightly by the news that FASA is closing up shop, which prompted a last minute update.
Freeport in Focus Again
Green Ronin Publishing has posted a new episode of Focus on Freeport. A look at the upcoming Madness in Freeport adventure is included.
Hero Wars Gets Thunder Rebels
Greg Stafford and our friends at Issaries have released another great looking supplement for Hero Wars. Thunder Rebels: The Players' Book for Orlanthi Barbarians, details nearly 50 cults to follow, and "also includes myths and maps to help adventure on the Divine Plane, including a map of Orlanth's own divine Storm Realm." Whoa. Go take a look to see some sample art, the complete table of contents, and an excerpt from the book.
12:21 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Troll Lord at Visioncon
Troll Lord Games, a company that's developing products for the D20 system, will be in full effect at Visioncon. Anyone near Springfield, MO, on Presidents' Day weekend should be made aware of this. That is all.
12:18 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Lost Colony RPG Delayed
Though the CCG has been out for a while now, the Lost Colony RPG is
still a no-show. While I was working at Gamers.com, I inquired about setting up a preview feature for the game, and was asked to check back in a month or two. The latest update on Pinnacle's website confirms it: Lost Colony is delayed, until late this spring, at least. That's okay. What I've seen of the setting has me intrigued enough to wait for it.
The D20 conversion book for Deadlands will also be completed late this spring. John Goff, frequent Deadlands contributor and the new Line Developer for Eden Studios' Conspiracy X RPG, has the project well underway.
4:13 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
|Tuesday, February 06, 2001|
I'm not a big RPG guy, but that news about adding "mystical gateways" to the Forgotten Realms canon is interesting. Yes, it will unbalance campaigns that get crazy with them, but for some campaigns it may be the balance they want. But that's not what I'm thinking about.
Suppose you had a campaign with a couple of towns, and a trade route between them. Then some wizard discovers how to open a portal between the two towns. There is great public interest, and the wizard gets the bright idea of restricting use of his/her portal to those willing to pay him/her a fee. (Maybe the portal saps more of his/her energy depending on how much mass you move through it. I leave the wizard's motivations up to you. Maybe the portal is preexisting but the wizard discovers how to make it more stable.)
So, wealthier merchants are able to get their goods to the other town much more quickly, giving them an economic advantage, and poorer merchants lose out on this advantage, thereby becoming even poorer. The king sees how this is wreaking havoc in the mood of the citizenry and hires the players to put a stop to it. (Or, perhaps, to stop the band of former forest bandits who, upon the drying-up of their old trade-route pickings, have decided to exercise their forest ambush tactics in town!)
This illustrates a couple of good game-design maxims: 1) Turn difficulties into the path. 2) Steal economies from real life. The latter maxim drove the first stage of development of my card game in progress, Napalicious. But I've said too much already...
12:14 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
De Planes! De Planes!
If you berks didn't know the Planescape setting is alive and well, you obviously didn't count on the fans. Since the Planescape line had ceased production, Mimir.net was the place citizens of Sigil frequented. Not for long, though, as Planewalker.com will be stepping in as the new official site of Planescape. Jim Butler, Director of RPG Licensing at Wizards, detailed the reasons for the change:
Jon Winter, webmaster of mimir.net and moderator of the Planescape list, has recently come forward to tell me that he'll be unable to keep updating the site to the extent that he has in the past. He'd also like to step down as moderator. It seems that getting a PhD is more important... imagine that! ;-)
Please join me in congratulating Brannon and www.planewalker.com! I look forward to seeing the exciting offerings planned for the new official site in the future.
12:10 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Oh look, a Magic Door
Nearly every fantasy setting, from the Ultima series' Britannia to the Wheel of Time, makes use of mystic portals. The principal characters need to see the key events that drive the plot, even if those events are thousands of miles apart. I've made use of various types of portals myself. If the portals are interesting enough, they can even become the focus of the adventure.
In the first installment of Perilous Gateways over at Wizards, Roger E. Moore describes the ancient network of portals created by the elven kingdom of Illefarn. Each article in the series will bring "more detail about a network of portals linking various parts of Faerűn and beyond in the Forgotten Realms campaign." Handled carefully, the series could add to the Realms; handled poorly, the portals idea could unbalance many a campaign, as could the use of any mystical gateways.
8:24 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
|Friday, February 02, 2001|
For those who have lives and therefore don't pay any attention to Slashdot, they had an intriguing discussion on zero-sum games today.
12:28 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Wingnut Games at Visioncon
Aldo Ghiozzi, owner/founder of Wingnut Games, will be a special guest at Visioncon this President's Day weekend. Wingnut is best known for wacky games like Battle Cattle (a personal favorite of mine). Aldo's looking for Wingnut fans to run demo games at the con while he mans the booth, so if you're interested and plan to be in Springfield, MO, email Wingnut and let Aldo know.
1:49 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
|Thursday, February 01, 2001|
Seriously this time: watch this space in the coming weeks. We've got some more free time now.