Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

In case anyone’s taking our silence as assent, rather than just the usual state of things around here

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

So… GamerGate. Yeah. F**k those guys.

Interactive fiction conference streaming June 9th

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

Choose Your Own AdventureSo, remember Choose Your Own Adventure books, the Fighting Fantasy and Lone Wolf gamebooks, and other solo-adventure enabling products? Those are interactive fiction. We like to bring them up from time to time because they were formative influences on our gaming tastes long ago, and they still provide a great source of inspiration and enjoyment. If you long to revisit the days of exploring an authors world in a more immersive way, of following literary versions of the IF/THEN/ELSE command to their destinations, you should check out VuPop 2 – An Academic Conference Where YOU are the Hero: Interactive Fiction in Print and Online. Organized by our longtime resident gamebook expert Demian Katz (who also runs, the event promises several informative talks on the genre. Best of all, if you can’t make it out to Villanova University in Villanova, PA this Monday (tomorrow), the conference will be streamed online. So skip work, wake up early and get interactively fictional to start your week off right.

2012 Origins Awards nominees announced

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Retailer attendees at last week’s GAMA Trade Show made their choices, and now we’ve received word: the 2012 Origins Award nominees are officially up. As usual, the awards ceremony will be announced during the 2012 Origins Game Fair, Saturday, June 2, 2012 in Columbus, OH, and Origins attendees will vote for the winners. And now, on with the list!

The 38th Annual Origins Awards Nominees

Best Roleplaying Game
Abney Park’s Airship Pirates – Cubicle 7 Entertainment – “Captain” Robert Brown, Peter Cakebread, Andrew Peregrine, Ian Sturrock, Ken Walton
Arcanis – Paradigm Concepts – Eric Wiener, Pedro Barrenechea, and Henry Lopez
Ashen Stars – Pelgrane Press – Robin D. Laws
Leverage: The RPG – Margaret Weis Productions – Cam Banks, Rob Donoghue, and Clark Valentine
The One Ring – Cubicle 7 Entertainment – Amado Angulo, Marco Maggi, Dominic McDowall-Thomas, Francesco Nepitello

Best Roleplaying Supplement or Adventure
Bookhounds of London (Trail of Cthulhu) – Pelgrane Press – Kenneth H. Hite
Dragon Age, Set 2 (Dragon Age) – Green Ronin Publishing – Steve Kenson, T.S. Luikart, Chris Pramas, and Jeff Tidball
The Great Clans (L5R 4th Edition) – AEG – Shawn Carman, Rob Hobart, Brian Yoon
Monster Vault (D&D 4E) – Wizards of the Coast – Rodney Thompson, Logan Bonner, & Matthew Sernett
Shadows over Scotland (Call of Cthulhu) – Cubicle 7 Entertainment – Stuart Boon

Best Board Game
Conquest of Nerath – Wizards of the Coast – Richard Baker, Mons Johnson, & Peter Lee
Automobile – Mayfair Games – Martin Wallace
Hibernia – Closet Nerd – Eric Vogel
High Noon Saloon – Slugfest Games – Cliff Bohm & Geoff Bottone
Pastiche – Gryphon Games – Sean D. MacDonald

Best Traditional Card Game
Cthulhu Gloom – Atlas Games – Keith Baker
NUTS! – Wildfire LLC – Matthew Grau
Red Dragon Inn 3 – Slugfest Games – Geoff Bottone, Jeff Morrow, and Cliff Bohm
Star Trek Deck Building Game – BANDAI – Alex Bykov
Struggle for Catan – Mayfair Games – Klaus Teuber

Best Family, Party or Children’s Game
BEARS! – Fireside Games – Anne-Marie De Witt
Faux-Cabulary – Out of the Box Publishing – Matthew Nuccio
Get Bit! – Mayday Games – Dave Chalker
Scavengers – Zombie State Games – John Werner
Space Mission – Schmidt Spiele – Matthew Worden

Best Miniatures Figure or Line
Forge Father Huscarl – Mantic
Giant Sized X-Men Heroclix – Wizkids/NECA
St. Luke – Dark Age
Storm Strider – Privateer Press
Zombie Wedding Party – Studio Miniatures

Best Miniatures Rules or Expansion
Battletech: The Wars of Reaving – Catalyst Game Labs – Ben H. Rome, Herbert A. Beas, Paul Sjardijn
Carnevale: The Miniatures Game – Vesper-on Games – David Esbri
Light Bikes – Glory Games – J. P. Trostle
Street Fighter Starter Set – Wizkids/NECA – Wizkids/NECA
Tomorrow’s War – Osprey Publishing/Ambush Alley Games – Shawn Carpenter, Robby Carpenter
Warmachine: Wrath – Privateer Press – David Carl, Bryan Cutler, Doug Seacat, Jason Soles, Matt Wilson

Best Collectible Card Game or Expansion
Legend of the Five Rings: Second City – AEG
Magic the Gathering : Innistrad – Wizards of the Coast
Pokemon Black & White: Emerging Powers – Nintendo
World of Warcraft: Dungeon Decks – Cryptozoic Entertainment
World of Warcraft: The Throne of Tides – Cryptozoic Entertainment

Best Game Accessory
Dungeon Tiles: The Witchlight Fens – Wizards of the Coast – Peter Lee & Jason Engle
Dice Earrings – GameScience – GameScience
Dungeon Masters Keep – Gale Force Nine – Gale Force Nine
Munchkin Zombies 2: Armed & Dangerous – Steve Jackson Games – Steve Jackson
Shadowrun Runner’s Toolkit – Catalyst Game Labs – Elissa Carey, Rusty Childers, Cole Davidson, Mark Dynna, Adam Jury, Robyn King-Nitschke, Adam Large, Drew Littell, Elizabeth Nold, Brandie Tarvin, Peter Taylor, Malik Toms, Michael Wich, Russell Zimmerman

Best Game-Related Publication
Cliffourd the Big Red God – Atlas Games – Kenneth H. Hite & Andy Hopp
The Kobold Guide to Board Game Design – Open Design LLC – Mike Selinker with Rob Daviau, James Ernest, Matt Forbeck, Richard Garfield, Dave Howell, Steve Jackson, John Kovalic, Richard C. Levy, Andrew Looney, Michelle Nephew, Paul Peterson, Lisa Steenson, Jeff Tidball, Teeuwynn Woodruff, and Dale Yu
Designers & Dragons – Mongoose Publishing – Shannon Appelcline
Untold Adventures – Wizards of the Coast – Alan Dean Foster, Mike Resnick, Kevin J. Anderson, John Shirley, Jay Lake, Sarah Zettel, and many more.
Everything I Need to Know I Learned From Dungeons & Dragons – Wizards of the Coast – Shelley Mazzanoble

Best Historical Board Game
Strike of the Eagle – Academy Games -Brian Bennett, Uwe Eickert, Robert Zak
Test of Fire: Bull Run 1861 – Mayfair Games – Martin Wallace
Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles – Worthington Games – Jim Krohn
Lost Battles – Fifth Column Games – Philip Sabin
No Retreat! The Russian Front – GMT – Carl Paradis
World War II Barbarossa 1941 – Zvesda – Konstantin Krivenko

Best Historical Miniatures Rules or Expansion
SAGA – Gripping Beast – Studio Tomahawk
Waterloo – Warhammer Historical – Mark Latham
Flames of War: Cassino – Battlefront Miniatures Ltd. – Battlefront Miniatures Ltd.
Command Combat: Civil War 1861 – Bandwagon Books – Jeff McArthur
Force on Force, 2nd Edition – Osprey Publishing/Ambush Alley Games – Shawn Carpenter, Robby Carpenter
Hail Caesar! – Warlord Games – Rick Priestley

Best Historical Miniatures Figure or Line
Bolt Action WW2 – Warlord Games
Italian Wars – Wargames Foundry
Sudan 1881-1885 – Perry Miniatures
Napoleon at War – Man at War
Tropic Lightning Vietnam War – Battlefront Miniatures Ltd.
Anglo Zulu War – Empress Miniatures

Best Play by Mail or Correspondance Game
Continental Rails – Production R Danard – John Van De Graaf
Hyborian War – Reality Simulations Inc -Edward Schoonover
Phoenix: Beyond the Stellar Empire – KJC Games
Cruenti Dei – Sardarthion Press – Thom Ryng
Heroic Fantasy – Flying Buffalo Inc – Rick Loomis and Steve MacGregor

D&D Next and limits to growth

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

From a somewhat disturbing post over on Story Games:

And yet another different D&D freelancer friend said:

“This is why D&D 4E is called an indie game. It tells you how to play. Many of us know that the rules are better than they have ever been design wise but that’s not the point. Look at Iron Heroes designed by Mike Mearls. The same people who loved that game, a game which was similar to 4E in many ways, hated 4E. Why? They actually like the rules in many cases. But they don’t want to be told this is the way to play. These games are about people. They are about friends. And you don’t know my friends better than I do.”

Now, that’s just the opinion of one alleged freelancer, and even if we took it as truth, it doesn’t pose a large problem… unless you’re interested in the accessibility of D&D. The trouble with not telling people how to play is it limits the game’s growth to the oral tradition. A new group, as in people who don’t know (or don’t know they know) anyone else who plays, must fill in that deliberately larger gap between the rules and the table all on their own, which A) has a lot of known bad side effects, and B) simply fails more often – often enough that I’d guess it doesn’t replace players faster than they drop out.

By returning to not (fully) telling you how to play, Wizards is accepting that D&D is inaccessible from the outside and that the best it can do is reclaim some old players. As we’ve discussed, with D&D Next they’re likely really just aiming to win back recent converts to Pathfinder. That’ll do, corporately speaking; that’ll hold the line. It disappoints those of us who’d rather that D&D were closer to a living part of gaming culture than an archival piece, but it does suit Hasbro’s general M.O. and stated reason for investing in D&D at all: getting value out of a brand through an array of ancillary products. Hell, I kind of don’t know why they don’t just distribute the core RPG books for free. (They haven’t said they won’t, of course; in my view it’d be a smart way to return to the PDF market.)

There are ways, though, that Wizards could make the oral tradition more effective. They’ve announced that they are revamping the D&D website, which is good, but my confidence is a little low that they’ll be able to do what’s really required: utterly changing their online corporate voice. If they did manage it, they could be the oral tradition, the place people go to see and hear what this hobby is and what it looks like when people live it. The right selection of official YouTube videos alone would be a great step towards clearing away the annoyingly persistent confusion about just exactly what it is you do when you play D&D.

That would possibly reopen the door to the world at large. But from what we know right now, that isn’t a goal.

So I guess there’s also gonna be an old D&D

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Yesterday Wizards announced they’ll be reprinting the 1st Edition AD&D core books in new collectible (in the pre-Magic sense of the word, thanks) editions this April. We can only assume that the choice of reprinting this particular edition, rather than the white box or something else you can’t readily find in free boxes on the curb, was chosen for reasons of rights and convenience on Wizards’ part. It would certainly speak volumes about the supposed commitment to embracing all editions in D&D Next if some other reprints got the same treatment.

EDIT Mike is a jerk: it makes a certain amount of sense that this is a reprint of the last major edition of D&D that Gary Gygax was personally invested in, since the books are a benefit for the Gygax Memorial Fund. Okay then.

Perigon launches tomorrow

Friday, November 18th, 2011

While there’s always some new Eurogame or RPG coming along, it seems less often that you hear about a new, interesting all-wood abstract strategy game… I’ll do my best to remedy that — I’m told that a new one is hitting the market tomorrow!

In Perigon from Clarendon Games, each player controls four pieces that live in grooves in the board and move by rotating around intersections of the grooves. There is also a neutral flag piece which can only be moved by connecting to it with your own pieces. The object of the game is to capture the flag and move it through your opponent’s side of the board and onto a goal line. Of course, like many simple but deep strategy games, it’s probably easier to play than to describe — you might get a better idea of how it works by watching this video.

OgreCave – coming out of hibernation

Friday, August 26th, 2011

So, you’ve probably noticed a distinct lack of… well, anything here for a bit. More of a bit than usual, that is. We’ve had multiple CaveDwellers going through major Real LifeTM events, both happy (congrats to Lee and Demian on their newborn babies!) and unhappy (working through divorce, myself). This last item has been the main issue impeding site progress. But rest assured, OgreCave has plans in the works, and you’ll be seeing more new reviews (Lee has managed a few lengthy reviews, for example, despite recently becoming a father), coverage of gaming events (PAX coverage will commence shortly – watch our Facebook page!), and our podcastery will resume. So to sum up: if you missed us, we’re sorry, and thanks, ‘cuz we’re not done; if you didn’t… well, we’ll show you why you should have.

Petroglyph Announces Elves & Dwarves Expansion for Graxia

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Petroglyph, the makers of Guardians of Graxia, has announced a new expansion for the PC version of the game. It is called Elves & Dwarves, and it is available from major PC direct download services. The expansion features two new Guardians, Flist the deceitful Elf and Broxin the greedy Dwarf. They bring with them even more powerful units and abilities to engage on six additional skirmish maps, some of which have random tile generation for unique gameplay. The base Guardians of Graxia PC game has a downloadable demo. We have previously reviewed the board game version of Guardians of Graxia and interviewed Chuck Kroegel, the General Manager of Petroglyph, as part of our Gaming News Update podcast series. We have also reviewed the fantasy deck-building card game Heroes of Graxia. Whether you are a card gamer, a board gamer, or a PC gamer, there’s plenty of fantasy gaming coming out of Petroglyph these days.

WotC to Discontinue Another Miniatures Line

Monday, January 17th, 2011

First came the news in November of the discontinuation of the Heroscape line of products. Now, Wizards of the Coast has announced that apart from occasional collector’s sets, they will no longer be regularly producing pre-painted D&D miniatures. Previously sculpted miniatures will continue to see new life in other Wizards of the Coast products like the Wrath of Ashardalon board game. However, those uses of minis aren’t typically pre-painted.

Aliens and Kaiju Attack Train Lines Worldwide

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Days of Wonder has announced that in February 2011, Alvin and Dexter will be attacking Ticket to Ride boards across the globe. Alvin is an angry alien in a space ship. Dexter is a giant reptilian monster. These two rampage across the board, cutting off players’ access to key destinations during the game, and reducing points for destination tickets to those cities at the end of the game. They are moved by players discarding locomotive cards in a never-ending battle to stick some other poor sucker with the giant monster and the alien menace. This expansion will work with all Ticket to Ride board games, and will have a suggested retail price of $13.00.

AEG Engages in Bold Marketing for New Horror-Themed Deck-Building Game

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Nightfall is AEG’s newest deck-building gaming creation. It is due out in early 2011. Designed by David Gregg, Nightfall puts players in control of things that go bump in the night, creatures like werewolves, vampires, and ghouls. Each player is fighting for control of a world that has been plunged into perpetual darkness. Unlike many other deck-building games, Nightfall will feature direct player-vs.player action as well as card drafting and some mechanics new to the deck-building game genre. To herald the coming of Nightfall, AEG has announced a special promotion called “The First 100 Days”. Every day from January 1 through April 10 one name will be drawn to receive a full copy of the game in a special preview collector’s box. Be sure to check back regularly at the game’s website,, for more information.

Gamewright Wins Prestigious Awards for 2010 Releases

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Massachusetts-based game company Gamewright earned over 50 awards in total for its games released this year. Among the top performers this year, Matt Leacock’s Forbidden Island won the coveted Mensa Select award. Take the Cake and Hide and Eeek! were awarded the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Seal. Parents’ Choice Gold were awarded for Rory’s Story Cubes and Can You See What I See? Bingo Link. This marks the first time since 2001 that Gamewright has won Parents’ Choice gold, and the first time ever that two games won in the same calendar year. For a complete list of awards that Gamewright has won over the years visit their awards page.

AEG Running Contest for Fans of L5R Roleplaying Game

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

AEG is running a new contest for avid writers and fans of the Legend of the Five Rings RPG who want to be published authors. In the summer of 2011, AEG will release The Imperial Histories, a sourcebook for the L5R RPG 4th Edition. This sourcebook will present individual chapters covering ten separate eras in Rokugan’s history, with all the information a GM would need to run a campaign in that era and all the mechanics a player would need to play in it.

During the month of October, the L5R RPG 4th Edition Design Team will be accepting proposals for a fan-created era or setting to be depicted within The Imperial Histories. This chapter will include fiction, a timeline, prominent heroes, and mechanics, just like all the other chapters.

For complete details on the contest visit the L5R website. The fourth edition of the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game was released in June of 2010.

Founder of Avalon Hill Dies

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Charles Roberts, the founder of the Avalon Hill gaming company, died on Aug. 20 at the age of 80 from complications of emphysema and pneumonia . Roberts was a Baltimore native, so the Baltimore Sun has a full story on his life and his passing.

Days of Wonder to Release Fourth Expansion for Small World

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Days of Wonder just announced Tales & Legends, the fourth expansion for their award-winning area control boardgame Small World. Tales & Legends will feature a deck of 54 large-format Event cards. In every round except the first, an event card will change the way that the game plays. This expansion was created by Laurent Verrier, Special Prize Winner of the 2009 Small World Design Contest. Small World was named Game of the Year by Games magazine in 2009 and had the highest first year sales of any Days of Wonder product since Ticket to Ride. Like the base game, Tales & Legends will be available in six languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Dutch, and Japanese. Tales & Legends is expected to hit hobby game stores in late June or early July with a suggested retail price of $15.00.