Archive for the ‘Game Design’ Category

Eleven Games to Play at your Stranger Things Party

Friday, October 27th, 2017

Cast of Stranger Things (Netflix)More than anything, watching the kids on Stranger Things obsess over their favorite games hits us with heavy nostalgia for those classic games of the 1980s. When you celebrate this modern classic of kids against the supernatural, whether you binge-watch entire seasons or savor each episode slowly, you’ll want an ideal activity to symbolize that you stand with the citizens of Hawkins, right? Don’t be a mouth-breather – grab your Eggos and your wrist-rocket, and check our picks for the best games to capture the feel of Stranger Things.
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Z-Man posts preview of Pandemic Legacy: Season 2

Saturday, September 30th, 2017

Z-Man Games has posted a preview of Pandemic Legacy: Season 2, the follow-up to the critically acclaimed 2015 boardgame. Designers Rob Daviau and Matt Leacock have created a game of both exploration and resource management in the anticipated co-op sequel, which per the “Legacy” line, will permanently alter the year-long game campaign depending on player decisions. In the preview, we learn a bit more about the fragments of civilization that remain in the post-apocalyptic, plague-ridden world. The teaser describes a bit more:

[Season 2] plunges you into a world torn apart by a virulent plague. Those who remain in this post-apocalyptic setting cluster in the few remaining cities, barely eking out an existence. In this harsh environment, antibiotics, food, medicine, tools, and other supplies are precious commodities. […] Only nine cities are on your grid at the beginning of the game, but the tantalizing possibilities of what lies beyond are on full display. Once you have established the appropriate infrastructure in select cities across the map, you can begin to explore some of the lost world by taking the Recon action.

As with Season 1, the game will come in two box colors, but the contents of each will be identical. For 2-4 players, Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 looks to arrive late in Q4 2017.

Gen Con game convention wins 2017 Diana Jones Award

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

At Gen Con 50, the winner of this year’s Diana Jones Award for excellence in gaming has been announced as… Gen Con itself! First organized in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin by Gary Gygax himself, Gen Con has grown to become an annual gaming mecca and affirmation of the gaming hobby, currently raging onward in Indianapolis. Other nominees this year were The Beast, a single-player card & journaling game; End of the Line, a hybrid LARP combining Camarilla-style Vampire and Nordic LARP; the fantasy board game Gloomhaven, which was a huge hit on Kickstarter; The Romance Trilogy, a group of relationship-themed RPGs by Emily Care Boss (the first of which, Breaking the Ice, made it onto OgreCave’s 2005 Christmas Gift Guide); and Terraforming Mars, a resource management board game. As always, OgreCave congratulates all the nominees, and Gen Con, “The Best Four Days in Gaming,” for its win this year.

Gaming News Update – Anna Meade (Uprising: The Dystopian Universe RPG)

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

In this Gaming News Update interview, we throw new OgreCave contributor Lars Roberts to the wolves and have her interview Anna Meade, co-author of Uprising: The Dystopian Universe RPG from Evil Hat Productions. Due to hit Kickstarter for a 2018 publication date, Anna tells us about creating the roleplaying setting based on the card games Coup, Coup: Reformation, and The Resistance. She also hints at some confrontational – nay, backstabbing, even – mechanics to the FATE system that Uprising will bring to the table. As bonus features, Anna mentions her novelization of The Dystopian Universe for Indie Boards & Cards, her upcoming appearance as a featured presenter at Gen Con 50 next week, and what fun she’s had expanding tabletop gaming’s inclusivity and representation. Be sure to listen to Anna before attending her seminars next week, and browse our previous podcast episodes for many other game discussions.

Game Designer Eric Lang wins 2016 Diana Jones Award

Saturday, August 6th, 2016

At Gen Con 2016, the winner of this year’s Diana Jones Award for excellence in gaming has been announced as prolific and impressive game designer Eric M. Lang. Lang is known as the man behind Chaos in the Old World, the Living Card Game versions of A Game of Thrones and Star Wars, and more recently for the elegant Ragnarok-themed board game Blood Rage. Other nominees this year were ConTessa, an organization; Fall of Magic, a story-game by Ross Cowman, published by Heart of the Deernicorn; Larpwriter Summer School; and Pandemic Legacy published by Z-man Games. OgreCave congratulates all the nominees, and Eric Lang for his award this year.

Diana Jones Award press release follows:

THE WINNER OF THE 2016 DIANA JONES AWARD IS ERIC M. LANG

To say that Eric Lang is a prolific game designer is the punchline of a joke hilarious in its understatement. This year’s Gen Con, for example, sees the release of no fewer than four new Lang designs or co-designs: Bloodborne: The Card Game, The Others: 7 Sins, Arcane Academy (with Kevin Wilson), and HMS Dolores (with Bruno Faidutti).

A small sampling of Lang’s past designs include Blood Rage, Dice Masters (with Mike Elliott), 2010 Diana Jones nominee Chaos in the Old World, and Living Card Game designs for A Game of Thrones, Star Wars, and Warhammer 40,000.

And these games are not sausage, vomited from an assembly line and rushed to market carelessly undercooked. Rather, Lang’s games are perennial inhabitants of lists that laud both evergreen sales and – in the parlance of BoardGameGeek – “Hotness.”

The variety and quality of Lang’s co-designers speak to the joy of collaborating with him. It’s telling that those who’ve worked with him in the past would not hesitate to do so again, whatever the project. The top-shelf media properties that Lang has adapted for the tabletop demonstrate the trust that publishers put in Lang’s insight, skill, and ability to deliver.

Lang’s ludography is worthy of celebration on its own, but Eric’s sincere love for games, gamers, the gaming hobby, and the art of game design are exemplars not only for his immediate peers, but for those who strive in literally any field of endeavor. If you ran marathons, or raised children, or played heavy metal music with the same spirit that Eric brings to game design, you would exemplify the best spirit of those callings, and the world would be better for it.

It is the opinion of the Diana Jones Award Committee that Eric Lang exemplifies excellence in gaming. We are proud to award him our trophy for this year.

OgreCave video: KublaCon 2015, Goodman Games, Cheapass Games

Friday, October 16th, 2015

Because we got some great footage at KublaCon 2015, we’re doing our best to ambush you with some of it (Flashback Friday, anyone?). We’ve included a general look at parts of the convention, but also managed to talk with Joseph Goodman of Goodman Games, as well as James Ernest of Cheapass Games. Some of what we discussed has hit game stores by now, but Joe and James both reveal some plans for the future. In particular, Joe describes new features of Dungeon Crawl Classics and his plans for Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar setting, while James tells us about the Kill Doctor Lucky Kickstarter campaign (which just started and runs until November 13th – check it out).

We’ll have more vids posted soon, so if you have the chance, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and stay tuned!

OgreCave video: Luke Laurie, CelestiCon

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

Around the Cave these past few months, Real Life (TM) has been busy, so gaming has suffered. But even hibernating ogres need to stretch, wake up, and hunt for good gaming now and then. To facilitate a good hunt for everyone, we have a new(ish) video from CelestiCon (going on this weekend in Fremont, CA. Okay, yeah, this is from the 2014 show – we’re way behind on posting this). Get a glimpse of this great convention for game enthusiasts of all varieties, listen to Luke Laurie from the League of Gamemakers talk of the League’s mission and CelestiSpiel, a haven for game developers to test game prototypes, and come out to the show this weekend if you can.

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, or listen to our large library of audio podcasts. There’s more hibernating goodies dislodging every time the Cave Dwellers manage to wrestle them into submission.

Gaming News Update – Paranoia Reboot (James Wallis)

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

OgreCave newscasterWith the holiday season already upon us, roleplaying gamers are looking for quality RPGs to pick up, and some of us are planning ahead. In this Gaming News Update interview with James Wallis, notably of Spaaace: the Games Consultancy and the man behind the trailblazing company Hogshead Publishing, what was old is becoming new again via the Paranoia Reboot Kickstarter campaign. With less than a week left to accept pledges, James tells about his plans for the new Paranoia boxed set. He also talks about dark humor in roleplaying, why death in gaming isn’t nearly the handicap it used to be, and offers some excellent news for gamers who pledged to either his Alas, Vegas campaign or Gareth Michael Skarka’s Far West RPG campaign. Thanks to Friend Skype, James tells us all about Friend Computer, Alpha Complex, mutants, terrorists, and more – probably more than your clearance level will allow, so trust no one – in our latest podcast episode.

OgreCave video: Japji Khalsa at KublaCon 2014

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

In our final KublaCon 2014 video, we manage to grab a few minutes with Japji Khalsa, Executive Producer and founder of KublaCon. In this video, we learn about the CCG-derived origins of the convention, how game designers use the show for their own nefarious ends, and some of the latest improvements to the overall KublaCon experience. You’ll get a small tour of Hyatt amenities, a few words from this year’s exhibitors about the convention, and glimpses of other KublaCon activities, between segments. In all, if you haven’t figured out KublaCon is “The Khan of Cons” yet, you simply haven’t been paying attention!

Have a look at all six KublaCon videos, and be sure to subscribe on YouTube to get all our upcoming video coverage. We’ll have some new things soon. No, really.

OgreCave video: Crafty Games at KublaCon 2014

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

We’re getting back into videos, and to make things go smoothly, we’re launching the OgreCaveDOTcom YouTube channel! We already have a few things there, starting with some coverage from KublaCon 2014. First up, an interview with Patrick Kapera of Crafty Games. He talks of the Mistborn RPG supplements Terris: Wrought of Copper and Alloy of Law, of the Little Wizards RPG, of Z-Corps, and more!

Be sure to like, subscribe, tell friends, and generally spread the OgreCave goodness.

2014 Origins Award winners announced

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Origins logoThe 40th annual Origins Awards were given out Saturday night. The details of said nominees and winners are a bit hard to find, so we thought we’d compile them for you here. Or all the ones we could find, at least.

2014 Origins Awards nominees and winners:

Best Roleplaying Game
13th Age – Pelgrane Press
FATE Core System – Evil Hat Productions, LLC
Mummy: the Curse – White Wolf Game Studio
Numenera – Monte Cook Games
Shadowrun: Core Rulebook – Catalyst Game Labs

WINNER: Numenera (Monte Cook Games)
FAN FAVORITE: Shadowrun: Core Rulebook (Catalyst Game Labs)

Best Roleplaying Supplement
DC Adventures Universe – Green Ronin Publishing
Heart of the Wild – Cubicle 7 Entertainment
Transhuman – Posthuman Studios
Night’s Watch – Green Ronin Publishing
Eternal Lies – Pelgrane Press

WINNER: Night’s Watch (Green Ronin Publishing)
FAN FAVORITE: DC Adventures Universe (Green Ronin Publishing)

Best Board Game
Trains – Alderac Entertainment Group
Time n Space – Stronghold Games
Space Cadet: Dice Duel – Stronghold Games
Krosmaster Arena – Japanime Games
City of Iron – Red Raven Games

WINNER: Trains (Alderac Entertainment Group)
FAN FAVORITE: Trains (Alderac Entertainment Group)

Best Collectible Card Game
Pokemon Black & White: Legendary Treasures – The Pokemon Company, Intl.
Pokemon Red Genesect Collection – The Pokemon Company, Intl.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Battle Pack 2 – Konami Digital Entertainment
Yu-Gi-Oh! Super Starter V for Victory – Konami Digital Entertainment
Yu-Gi-Oh! Legendary Collection 4: Joey’s World – Konami Digital Entertainment

WINNER: Pokemon Black & White: Legendary Treasures (The Pokemon Company, Intl.)
FAN FAVORITE: Pokemon Black & White: Legendary Treasures (The Pokemon Company, Intl.)

Best Traditional Card Game
Love Letter – Alderac Entertainment Group
DC Comics Deck-Building Game – Cryptozoic Entertainment
Boss Monster – Brotherwise Games
Clubs – North Star Games
Marvel Legendary: Dark City – Upper Deck

WINNER: Love Letter (Alderac Entertainment Group)
FAN FAVORITE: DC Comics Deck-Building Game (Cryptozoic Entertainment)

Best Children’s, Family, Party Game
Walk the Plank – Mayday Games
Three Little Pigs – Iello
My Happy Farm – 5th St. Games
ROFL – Cryptozoic Entertainment
Choose One! – Looney Labs

WINNER: Three Little Pigs (Iello)
FAN FAVORITE: Walk the Plank (Mayday Games)

Best Game Accessory
Krosmaster: Fire & Ice – Japanime Games
Shadowrun GM Screen – Catalyst Game Labs
Fate Dice – Evil Hat Productions, LLC
Space Gaming Mat – HC+D Supplies
Pathfinder Battles: Skull and Shackles – WizKids Games

WINNER: Space Gaming Mat (HC+D Supplies)
FAN FAVORITE: Pathfinder Battles: Skull and Shackles (WizKids Games)

Best Miniature Figure Rules
Marvel HeroClix: Avengers Vs X-men Starters – WizKids Games
Battletech Alpha Strike – Catalyst Game Labs
Judge Dredd – Warlord Games

WINNER: Marvel HeroClix: Avengers Vs X-men Starters (WizKids Games)
FAN FAVORITE: Marvel HeroClix: Avengers Vs X-men Starters (WizKids Games)

Best Historical Miniature Figure/Line
Fife & Drum: Revolutionary War – Fife & Drum
Highlander Force – North Star Military Figures
Fate of a Nation: Arab Israeli Wars – Battlefront Miniatures
Red Army: 28mm Russian Infantry – Wargames Factory
Devil Dogs and Dragons – Empress Miniatures

WINNER: Fate of a Nation: Arab Israeli Wars (Battlefront Miniatures)
FAN FAVORITE: ? – still looking for this info

Best Historical Board Game
SOS Titanic – Ludonaute
Navajo Wars – GMT, designed by: Joel Toppen
Freedom: The Underground Railroad – Academy Games
1775: Rebellion – Academy Games
Francis Drake – Eagle Games

WINNER: 1775: Rebellion (Academy Games)
FAN FAVORITE: 1775: Rebellion (Academy Games)

Best Historical Miniature Rules Supplements
SAGA: Varjazi & Basileus – Gripping Beast
Flames of War: Fate of a Nation – Battlefront Miniatures
Force on Force: Classified – Osprey Publishing

WINNER: ? – still looking for this info
FAN FAVORITE: ? – still looking for this info

Best Historical Miniature Rules
Fields of Fire 2nd Edition – Proving Ground Games
Fire and Sword – Wargamer
Chain of Command – Too Fat Lardies

WINNER: Fields of Fire 2nd Edition (Proving Ground Games)
FAN FAVORITE: Fire and Sword (Wargamer)

Best Miniature Figure Line
Malifaux: The Guild’s Judgement – Wyrd Miniatures
HeroClix: Wolverine and the X-men – WizKids Games
MERCs Mini’s (Shock Trooper, Spy, Eagle, Beacher) – MegaCon Games

WINNER: Malifaux: The Guild’s Judgement (Wyrd Miniatures)
FAN FAVORITE: HeroClix: Wolverine and the X-men (WizKids Games)

Best Game Related Publication
Khan of Mars – Evil Hat Books
Fire for Effect – Catalyst Game Labs
ICv2 – Editor: Milton Griepp
Dork Tower – Editor: John Kovalic
TableTop – Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day/Geek & Sundry

WINNER: TableTop (Geek & Sundry)
FAN FAVORITE: TableTop (Geek & Sundry)

As usual, it’s a great list of game products, and OgreCave extends hearty congratulations to all the nominees and winners.

As you can see, a few details are missing (and if you’ve got them, please, let us know in the comments). Why? Mainly because this is cobbled together from a variety of sources, but not from GAMA’s Origins Award page. As of this post, the GAMA site had neither the nominees nor winners listed. Now, GAMA has been quoted before as not wanting to become the Oscars of tabletop gaming (funny, since it’s an academy that puts forth the nominees), but not advertising your awards on your own site? That’s just shooting yourself in the foot.

I say, if fans and publishers want to build up your brand for you, give them the tools to do so – or at the very least, don’t sabotage the process. But maybe that’s just me.

2014 Diana Jones Award shortlist announced

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

This year’s nominees for the Diana Jones Award have just been announced, and as always, the selections are thoughtful and varied. Two publishers and three games made the list. The nominees are:

  • Evil Hat Productions, the folks behind FATE, Dresden Files, Don’t Rest Your Head, and more.
  • Hillfolk by Robin Laws (Pelgrane Press), which had a tremendous Kickstarter drive.
  • Paizo Publishing, the Pathfinder folks, long confirmed to be outselling D&D.
  • ROFL! a party word game with illustrations by John Kovalic (Cryptozoic Entertainment).
  • Terra Mystica, a strategy board game of terraforming (Feuerland Spiele/Z-Man Games).

Check out the full press release below for details of why each deserves the nomination, and let us know what you think. Who would you give the lucite pyramid to?
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Gaming News Update podcasts: James Ernest, and Free RPG Day

Friday, June 14th, 2013

OgreCave newscasterWe’re still having flashbacks to the great time we had at KublaCon 2013, and we’d like to share those experiences. To that end, we have two new podcasts for you to eavesdrop upon. In the first of two Gaming News Update episodes, we talk with . The esteemed Mr Ernest is the designer of over 150 game titles, and he led the “cheapass” wave of publishing that swept the industry in the late ’90s. We talk with James about Cheapass Games’ return to the publishing arena, how a game’s theme and design are linked, KickStarting deluxe editions, and the design that’s kicking around his brain trying to get out.

Naturally, you have Free RPG Day 2013 marked on your calendar for tomorrow, Saturday, June 15. In our second new podcast interview, we sit down once again with Aldo Ghiozzi of Impressions Advertising & Marketing (and Free RPG Day) to talk about the evolution of the event, how big companies sometimes get confused, flaming cargo ships, and more. From Paizo Publishing and Fantasy Flight to Lamentations of the Flame Princess, several fan favorites are participating in the annual celebration of roleplaying games, on once again at a game store near you.

WildFire to release The Void RPG under Creative Commons license

Friday, May 31st, 2013

WildFire, the company behind the stylish and award-winning CthulhuTech RPG, has been plagued with publisher problems from the beginning. Now WildFire has posted an update on its plans which don’t rely on a publisher to carry out. According to a press release from WildFire VP Matthew Grau (also repeated below), the long-awaited The Void RPG will be released for free download and under the Creative Commons license, allowing fans to generate their own materials for the game. Supplemental materials will be available for sale from WildFire as well at reasonable prices, but the core rules will be free online “within the next couple weeks”. A print-on-demand version will also be made available through DriveThruRPG. We’ll be interested to see how things develop in The Void community in the months ahead.

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Diana Jones Award 2013 shortlist announced

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Arguably the most interesting and best informed award in the game industry, the Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming has just announced its nominees for the 2013 winner. Now, remember: Ms. Jones doesn’t limit herself to just published game items – everything from designers to companies to concepts are fair game. Here’s the rundown:

As you can see, that’s an RPG, a card game, a game convention, an RPG history book, and a YouTube channel show. Diana, you never disappoint us. As always, the winner will be decided by the Diana Jones Award committee, and announced the first day of Gen Con Indy at the end of this summer.

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