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Recent Reviews
Goblin Grapple
(Silver Gaming Co.)
(505 Games)
Pathfinder Card Game
(Paizo Publishing)
Cthulhu Invictus Companion
Boss Monster!
(Brotherwise Games)
Murder of Crows
(Atlas Games)

Randy Angle - Gruesome Ghoulies (9/28/20)
James Wallis - Alas Vegas (2/13/13)
Gareth Hanrahan - The Laundry RPG (5/17/10)
Jamie Chambers - Signal Fire Studios (7/21/09)
Darren Watts - Hero Games (5/4/09)
Stan! (11/7/08)
Brendan LaSalle - Pandahead Productions (audio; 9/28/07)
Richard Garfield (10/12/04)

What source gets quoted most frequently during your game sessions?
Monty Python (Holy Grail or otherwise)
Star Wars/Star Trek
That Dr. Demento D&D thing ("I cast Magic Missile at the darkness!")
Comic book sources
South Park
Aliens ("Game over, man!")

View Results

Christmas Gift Guide 2010 (11/26/10)
PAX East 2010 report (4/9/10)
Christmas Gift Guide 2009 (12/4/09)
Games of the Ninja 2008 (12/5/08)
Christmas Gift Guide 2008 (11/27/08)
Screams from the Cave 2008
Ogres' Choice Awards 2008 (9/12/08)
Christmas Gift Guide 2007 (11/30/07)
Ogres' Choice Awards 2007 (8/17/07)
GAMA Trade Show 2007 report (4/27/07)
Christmas Gift Guide 2006 (11/30/06)
Ogres' Choice Awards 2006 (7/28/06)
Christmas Gift Guide 2005 (11/29/05)
Christmas Gift Guide 2004 (12/10/04)
Night of the Living Gamer
(Halloween RPGs)

Archive highlights
GAMA Trade Show 2008 report, part 2
GAMA Trade Show 2008 report, part 1
Frag Beta Capsule Review (4/14/01)
Battle Cattle Minis Preview (2/28/01)

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Unplugged Gaming News And Views
Sunday, December 30, 2001
3:07 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
So We Missed This News. It Was Christmas. Bite Me
I always forget to check ICv2 and then find great news there two weeks later, so it's no surprise that I missed it on Christmas Day. But that was when WizKids announced they're spinning off Ral Partha. Effective on Tuesday (that's the first of the new year, if you're... dumb), RP will operate independently from its new location in Ohio. No word on whether it will continue to produce Mage Knight Metal, although there's every reason to expect they will. The only odd thing is the fact that they recently sold off some figure rights to a now-competitor. Oops?

2:56 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
He Only Read It For The Articles, Honest
Apparently, there are some words in The Slayer's Guide to Amazons too, and if you'd rather someone else read them for you, we've got you covered. Hence, Matthew Pook hits you with a review. You're welcome.

WH40K CCG FAQ - Well, Actually Just Rules, But How Could I Not Type That
A reasonably complete sketch of the rules to the Warhammer 40K card game are online at Sabertooth Games. I still haven't gotten to play with my deck, but it looks like an interesting game with some bluff to it. Although it's played across five distinct territories, it doesn't really look like a positional game. There are some pretty deeply positional CCGs, though, which I'm currently looking into to inform my Vortex review, which I will finish in a week or two, thank you. Anyway. There is also a WH40K CCG FAQ, sort of, which actually looks helpful.

Friday, December 28, 2001
11:51 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Decipher To Lose Star Wars Licence
While the RPG department at Decipher gains momentum by the day, it looks like their CCG department is having its legs cut out from beneath it. On the company's website today, Decipher CEO Warren Holland provided extensive quotes from a July 2000 presentation made to Lucasfilm executives. The quotes were "provided simply as an indication of what Decipher wanted to do for our customers in the areas of Marketing and Public Relations, Digital Cards, Star Wars CCG 2nd Edition and more." The final few sentences of the presentation quotes are particularly interesting:

Lucasfilm can achieve all its goals for this category and more by embracing Decipher as a partner and not abandoning two of the strongest brands and game engines in the CCG industry. Imagine for a moment that our competitor chose a strategy of abandoning Magic: The Gathering... It's silly brand management. Yet Wizards is asking Lucasfilm to do just that with Star Wars CCG and Young Jedi.

Our customers feel 'ownership' of these games... In fact, our customers have nearly a quarter of a billion dollars invested in our Star Wars CCGs. How can you abandon that?

[Lucasfilm did not grant the license extension to Decipher.]

Sounds like we're just now hearing that license negotiations back in July of '00 didn't go so well for Decipher, and WotC may be to blame. To repeat, Lucasfilm has decided not to renew Decipher's CCG license past the end of this year and Decipher's current manufacturing and sell-off period is through April 30, 2002

Mongoose Goes On Crusade
Mongoose Publishing just won't rest. As if they weren't releasing enough major projects next year, Crusades of Valour: When Gods Collide has just been announced. The 128-page sourcebook will be written by Paul Cockburn and have cover art by Chris Quilliams. According to a post on the mailing list, the book "will introduce religious crusades into any campaign world. Huge, kingdom-sweeping wars erupt as religions clash, knightly orders engage in deadly combat and even the gods themselves may walk the world in order to galvanise their followers into final victory." Several new knightly orders are promised to be in the book, which is scheduled for a March 2002 release.

11:40 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Dancing and Darkspyre
Matthew has given us two more d20 reviews to round out the year with. The first is The Last Dance, a ghostly mystery of an adventure from Atlas Games. Our second review is of Assault on Darkspyre from Hammerdog Games, wherein the players help bring down an archmage's fortress because his neighbors don't like magic. Can't we all just get along?

Once Bitten, Twice Eden
Got two Eden Studios tidbits for ya. First, the official website for Eden's upcoming Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG is up, but there isn't much there yet. Second, a single errata correction for the KoDT: HACK! Card Game has been posted here. You may now resume playing.

Speaking of Errata...
Wizards of the Coast has posted the updated errata from the Fighters and Monks book, Sword & Fist. I suspect it's a bit more than replacing accidental usage of "feet" with "feat," but I haven't read through the corrections yet. :-)

4:02 AM: Demian Katz says...
Time Machine Returns
I just learned on the gamebook mailing list that the wonderful Time Machine series of interactive books has been re-released in eBook format. Although aimed at children, these are among the most effectively-written and interesting of the many "Choose Your Own Adventure"-type books released in the eighties. At $3.99 each, the new electronic editions cost twice as much as the original paperbacks did, but it's still a pretty good deal if you want to relive your childhood adventures or learn about history in a game-like manner. The series can be purchased at Amazon.com and several other sellers of eBooks.

Thursday, December 27, 2001
11:54 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
More Godlike Personalities
The official Godlike RPG website has another teaser for you: stats for The Shade, one of Churchill's "special" bodyguards (who are referred to collectively as the "Ugly Mugs"). According to a post on the Godlike mailing list from co-designer Dennis Detwiller, "The Shade is a good example of a beginning level character built on 25 Will points." Of course, if you'd rather check out those who side with the Third Reich, Der Flieger has been up for all to analyze for a while.

4:03 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
FFG Releases Stellar Matter, Dragonstar RPG
The latest releases from Fantasy Flight are enough to make nearly any gamer stop and stare for a moment. The first book for the Dragonstar d20 RPG, The Starfarer's Handbook, is arriving in stores within the next day or so. This game is for those of us who don't mind some genre-bending ("Hey, your dragons got in my Star Trek!" "Your Star Trek got in my dragons!" "Hmmm..."). It's also for those of us whose elves have twitchy trigger fingers.

FFG is also releasing Stellar Matter supplement for Twilight Imperium: Armada. The disk-slinging starship combat game gains more than a hundred new pieces from the fixed-flat expansion, including terrain disks, civilian ships, scenarios, and six control panels. For just under $30, the supplement lends considerable support to fans of the game.

Spectre Kings Review
Joe Kushner brings us his look at Green Knight Publishing's adventure compilation, Tales of the Spectre Kings. This Pendragon supplement has my interest piqued. I may have to make some minor game stat adjustments and run a few selections from Spectre Kings in d20. There's some great ideas to borrow from.

11:05 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Gary Gygax To Pen Slayer's Guide To Dragons
Mongoose Publishing has just announced that Gary Gygax himself will be writing The Slayer's Guide to Dragons. Gygax, along with Jon Cretfield and two other developers, will create a 128-page monster of a book. According to Gygax, "We plan to bring you fresh perspectives on the ancient race of dragons, plus many brand new things to broaden and enhance your gaming. After all, dragons can only deserve the very best." Artist Chris Quilliams, the guy responsible for the excellent anatomical illustrations the series has had thus far (as well as the infamous Amazons centerfold), will do both the cover and interior art for the book. The Slayer's Guide to Dragons is scheduled for release in Summer 2002.

12:50 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Buy It! It's On Sale, That's Why!
Well, actually, you should buy it because it's been the most commonly-played game out of everything I've been bringing to game nights over the past three months. It's called Laguna, and it's German. Its regular game page on Funagain is here if you want to see pictures, but if you're reading this in 2002 or later, be advised that you missed a sweet clearance deal. Laguna is a bit like a real-time RoboRally - I know, that has a bunch of you heading for the aisles already, but it's not anywhere near as convoluted as RR, so stay with me. Players control "rafts" - little wood rectangles with six holes in them - and try to ferry marbles of their color into a volcano in the center of the board. Marbles you carry cover holes in your raft, which is good, because if a "current" arrow on the board's grid shows up through your raft, you've got to follow it, and if a reef shows up, the rest of your 30-second turn (a sand timer is included) will go to the next player. It's not so time-pressured as to be out-of-control, and it leads to a lot of very engaged path-finding and occasional resigned meandering. Pick it up, and something else if you feel like it and want to be nice to us.

Sunday, December 23, 2001
3:37 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Necromancer Fun For The Holidays
We've got new reviews of the genre-bending Siege of Durgam's Folly and Rob Kuntz's Prisoners of the Maze, both from your friends at Necromancer. Or maybe we have them confused with that other game company that was hanging out at your place playing Grand Theft Auto 3 the other day.

Saturday, December 22, 2001
4:58 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
New Mage Knight Dragon Scenarios
WizKids have declared this to be Dragon Month (in mid-December? Must be that new math). Each Friday for the next three weeks, the WizKids website will be posting a Mage Knight scenario that revolves around one of those big-ass dragon figures. Why post these scenarios (aside from the coolness factor, that is)? According to the press release, "Part of the reason for giving you these scenarios is to prepare you for the new large scale Mage Knight rules that will be coming out in a few months, and partially because it's a lot of fun to play a dragon!" The first scenario, "Raze," is already available, in both WORD and PDF files.

In A One-Horse Open Slay...
It has come to our attention that most of you haven't even noticed our subtle change in decor. Yep, Santa's out exploring and hunting for gold pieces. How'd you think Santa pays his elves? Them union workers ain't cheap.

Friday, December 21, 2001
8:08 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Dragonstar Starfarer's Handbook Shipping
The FFG front page has the news and the ordering link. The cover looks terrific. In-store date is December 27th, but those dates never seem to have much to do with reality. Pick it up and start fixing to take down those annoying munchkin PCs with one well-placed blaster bolt.

11:07 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Eden Studios To Publish Buffy The Vampire Slayer RPG
Eden Studios announced an agreement today with Donruss Playoff L.P., a licensee of Twentieth Century Fox Licensing and Merchandising, to develop the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG for a Summer 2002 release. The rules will be written by CJ Carella (author of the Witchcraft RPG), and will be compatible with All Flesh Must Be Eaten. Yes, all the series regulars will have full game stats, so you can play as your favorite character. Or try to get them killed, whichever. Other products will follow the core rulebook, including The Slayer's Handbook, Monster Smackdown, and Welcome to Sunnydale to name a few.

As a side note, if you don't recognise Donruss/Playoff's name, perhaps you'll recognise their company, Score Entertainment, which produces the Buffy CCG.

5:24 AM: Demian Katz says...
New Fudge Superhero Game Released
Rogue Publishing has just released another electronically-distributed role-playing game based around the Fudge system. This time, it's Pariah, a superhero game written by Mike Jones. In it, players take on the roles of teenagers with strange powers who must avoid being exploited by the world at large. Sounds like X-Men fans might enjoy this.... The 64-page Adobe Acrobat file can be downloaded for $4.50.

Thursday, December 20, 2001
11:22 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Notable Additions To Bastion Press Board
Bastion Press announced two new additions to its Board of Directors: Ryan Dancey and Cathleen Adkison. If you've never heard of those names, go review the press release. Of course, if you've never heard those names, there's a few other names you probably missed. We'll start with a little company called Wizards of the Coast...

10:01 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Witchfire Freebie
Privateer Press has posted a freebie for the third installment of their Witchfire Trilogy, The Legion of Lost Souls. The downloadable PDF has a map prop to give the players. Unless, like me, you prefer them to stumble around, lost and defenseless.

Amazons! Everywhere You Look -- Amazons!!
MicroTactix has a new entry in their Budget Battlefield Army Pack line: the Amazon Army. The cardstock figures are inexpensive ($6 for the set), and are a great alternative to expensive miniatures. Those who play d20 could even use the figures with a certain Lay-er's Guide to Amazons -- er, sorry, that should be Slayer's Guide. The centerfold threw me.

Wednesday, December 19, 2001
9:10 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Living Dragonstar Campaign Coming To RPGA
According to a Monday post on the FFG Rants page, playtesting for the Living Dragonstar RPGA campaign has begun. This sci-fi meets D&D d20 RPG puts lasers and spaceships in the hands of orcs and elves, and lots of gamers out there are eagerly awaiting its release. This is the first I've heard of an official RPGA campaign, though. Living Dragonstar should premiere next February with two modules at Con of the North in Minneapolis. Additional premieres will follow at Origins 2002 at GenCon 2002.

Tuesday, December 18, 2001
9:07 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Fast Forward Brings Back Campaign In February
A story at ICv2 alerts us that it's okay to let you know what we already knew: Fast Forward Entertainment has taken charge of the d20 publicationCampaign Magazine. Jim Ward has joined the company full-time now, and John Danovich of ACD Distribution has also joined the FFE team as Vice President of Sales. The next issue of Campaign should arrive in February.

Shop 'Til You Drop
Our holiday gift guide is complete, and ready to assist you in your shopping panic. Choose from our $10 or less list or our $25 or less list. The latter has a few bonus suggestions for those willing to part with slightly more cash. Give the gift of games ogres like. :-)

Monday, December 17, 2001
10:39 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Extra Song & Silence
Wizards has posted one've them there web enhancement thingies fer Song & Silence, which you can get yer hands on right here. There's a quick adventure inside for four characters of 6th or 7th level.

Monkey God Preview Illustration Galleries
Monkey God Enterprises has posted galleries for three of their upcoming d20 adventures: Shadows Under Thessalaine, The Ruins of Rackfall, and The Magic Dump. Please tell me they're not keeping that title.

10:04 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Ral Partha Rights Sold
According to a recent press release, WizKids has sold off some of the Ral Partha rights to Iron Wind Metals, which plans to continue some of the product lines. Bravo, I say... as long as the figures live up to the Ral Partha standard. Guess Iron Wind will carry on with the traditional Battletech miniatures line while WizKids works steadily toward the release of the collectible version, ala Mage Knight, discussed in this interview.

A Little Poll Dancing For Ya
Yuk. Forget I said that.

And in case you hadn't noticed, we've got a new poll up. Go vote!

Sunday, December 16, 2001
1:20 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
OgreCave's Christmas Gift Guide - Part 2
At long last, our Christmas Gift Guide - part 2, gift suggestions at the price point of $25 or under, for those of you with slightly higher gifting budgets than the average unplugged gaming journalist. There's a few surprises on this list, so stay on your toes, and enjoy!

Saturday, December 15, 2001
12:10 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
De Profundis First Look
Center stage on the mic... and we puttin it on wax... it's the New Style. This latest in Hogshead's line of boundary-pushing RPGs is perhaps the most rules-light of the whole line. It isn't necessarily the lightest reading, though, as it outlines the "psychodrama" approach to role-playing in text that started out pretty ponderous, and then underwent Polish-to-English translation. So, the style takes a little getting used to. It's important to the game, though - because it's rules-light, it really needs to lead by example. In fact, there are three "books" in the game; you can boil the first down to the two words "correspondence psychodrama." The second outlines the technique of "field psychodrama" that's really only of use as a supplement to the first, and the third, solo psychodrama, is only there to give the book a nice narrative of its own. As far as Lovecraft goes, you could play De Profundis about anything, but the creepier and more secret, the better, hence Lovecraft. I am already thinking about starting a De Profundis game with some friends, and as James Wallis said in his OgreCave interview, it is indeed some fine writing. And hey, it's cheap...

Friday, December 14, 2001
1:15 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Wargames West Closing Down
One of the pillars of the gaming industry, Wargames West, will be closing its doors for good at the end of this month. CEO Wayne Godfrey sent out this message today to clients and industry friends:

After twenty years of business in our industry, I have decided to close Wargames West Distribution at the end of 2001. It has been a wonderful twenty years. I am looking forward to enjoying other aspects of my life. Our employees have supported both Wargames and myself loyally. I ask that you support them now as they seek other opportunities for their lives.

Knowing that many of you have placed your faith and confidence in us, I am determined that we close our business as clean and untarnished as possible.For our vendor friends, all debts will be reconciled and paid with return merchandise as we can mutually agree. For our customer friends, we have arranged with ACD Distribution to seamlessly transfer their accounts with a minimum of hassles. ACD will have access to our credit records, as law permits, to assure a smooth transition for any customers who choose this route. Should our customers desire other arrangements we would be happy to refer them to any of a number of fine distribution operations such as ABC, Alliance, Centurion, Gameboard or Georgia Music.

We have ceased ordering products as of Tuesday, December 11th. We will cease receiving merchandise in our warehouse after December 21st. Our regular sales operations and 800 lines will cease operating after Dec 28th. We intend to offer additional discounts for bill payment and closing orders and our sales staff will be contacting you to assist you in this transition.

I want to thank all our employees, both in Memphis and in Albuquerque for their loyal service and devotion to customers. I would also like to thank our many, many customers, past and present, for their faith in us even when times were rocky. And lastly our manufacturers, without whose help none of our business would have been possible.

How blessed we all are to work in such a fine and wonderful industry with so many creative, talented and warm people.

Thank you all for all the many wonderful years!

There was nothing quite like thumbing through the old Wargames West catalogs and choosing items to order. All of us here at OgreCave wish the employees of Wargames West all the best in their future endeavors.

Thursday, December 13, 2001
3:45 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Mutterings About Mongoose
Matthew Sprange of Mongoose Publishing dropped us a line to let us know what's been going on over there. Here's what he told us:

Full details and the cover art for Ships of the Elves, the next expansion to Seas of Blood, is now up on our web site. This time, I think, Anne Stokes has really outdone herself with the front cover.

For those of you who have been asking, full ISBN codes can now be found for all our products on the site, as well as pre-ordering information on all our releases up to March 2002.

The Quintessential Fighter and Encyclopaedia Arcane: Chaos Magic are currently at the printers and will be available early in January - The new Quintessential range is currently being advertised on the rear inside cover of Dragon [Magazine] and promises to be an exciting series featuring some of the top writers of the industry - more news on this as it develops.

The development of the new Judge Dredd role-playing game continues and we will soon be offering playtest packs to interested gaming groups - stay tuned for details.

Matthew also mentioned plans for The Slayer's Guide to Rules Lawyers, in response to the poll OgreCave ran a few weeks back. Is this good-natured teasing, or the first mention of a new installment in the Slayer's Guide line? Time will tell.

3:32 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Superheroes Coming From Green Ronin
Going where no d20 RPG has gone just yet, Green Ronin is taking the plunge into superhero roleplaying next Fall with Mutants & Masterminds. Author Steve Kenson, contributor to the Shadowrun, Marvel Super-Heroes, DC Universe, Champions and Aberrant game lines, will bring us an RPG that "features fast, simple mechanics that streamline the d20 System rules for superhero play and a modular power-creation system that lets players design any sort of super-power they want." A line of support products is also planned, starting with New Century City, "a meaty sourcebook that provides the perfect metropolis for superhero gaming." I've never been one for superhero RPGs personally, but I'll give it a shot.

Wednesday, December 12, 2001
7:32 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
OgreCave's Christmas Gift Guide - Part 1
Just in time for the big shopping rush, we present our Christmas Gift Guide - part 1. Have you got your big ticket game wishes picked out already, but you're having trouble coming up with cheaper ideas? Or maybe you're on a budget, but want to give something to everyone in your gaming group? We're here for ya. All the ideas on this first list are $10 or less, so go nuts. Our next list will be along shortly with gift ideas in the $25 and under range.

Tuesday, December 11, 2001
12:03 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
The Wages of Electronic Plastic Sin
No, I'm not talking about that book, although I'll link it, 'cause it's cool. I mean the sort-of-football-shaped bar code reader and math-doer that Wizards bundled with every NFL Showdown 2002 starter set. The PlayGrid device, manufactured by WotC's sibling company Tiger, has a great deal of trouble reading the bar codes on many of the game's premium player cards, seeing as how those cards have holofoil coatings. So, head to your friendly local game retailer and ask them for the free pack of monochrome premium player cards you're entitled to as an NFL Showdown 2002 owner! That's right, black and white cards. How fun! I actually own a starter set of this, but we have yet to playtest it. We'll let you know...

Sunday, December 09, 2001
11:15 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
WizKids Opens Store, Reassures Public They Haven't Gone Nuts
ICv2 reports that WizKids has opened a retail store in Redmond, WA (yes, home of the Microsoft campus), in a highly youth-visible location. The stated purpose of the store is advance playtesting of new games and expansions, not an eventual global empire. "[ExecVP Martin] Stever told us that WizKids has no intention of opening more than one store. 'We're not Games Workshop or Wizards of the Coast,' he said." Don't scare us like that, Martin.

Friday, December 07, 2001
2:04 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Bastion Press To Support RPGA's Living City
Ryan Dancey of OrganizedPlay issued a press release today that answers questions of adventure support of the Living City setting:

OrganizedPlay, Inc., a developer of software supporting game player networks, and licensee of the RPGA Living city of Raven's Bluff campaign, announced today that it has entered into a long-term development agreement with Bastion Press, Inc., in support of the Living City campaign. Through this agreement, Bastion Press will create scenarios for use with the Living City campaign. Each month, Bastion will deliver five scenarios: one for low-level characters, three for a wide range of character levels, and a fifth for high-level characters.
So WotC alum Jim Butler, who founded Bastion Press, will be extending his D20 involvement to Raven's Bluff. I got nothin' against that.

10:05 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
The End Goes D20
Tyranny Games has announced that The End: Lost Souls Edition will use the D20 system. According to the press release, "The End promises to challenge the d20 system conventions with realistic injury effects, achievement-base experience, and a single starting class: the Meek. The class levels for the Meek reflect experience gained through surviving and overcoming the horrors and madness posed by the world after the biblical apocalypse." A non-D20 version of the game will also be released, with a different cover to reduce confusion. This is the way the D20 market should go: release a D20 version of your game, but also provide the non-D20 rules, either separately or as part of a hybrid book. D20 and the OGL should help the RPG industry, not overrun it.

9:36 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Another Misguided Artist
Misguided Games, still hard at work on the dieselpunk fantasy RPG Children of the Sun, has a new gallery featuring one of the game's artists, John Shannon.

Web Enhancement For Wheel Of Time
Wizards of the Coast has posted a free web enhancement for the Wheel of Time RPG. The six page PDF includes the Wealth background feat, a pair of new weaves (spells), details of two rather prominent NPCs from the novels, Gawyn and Galad, details of several realms, and a few angreal and ter'angreal (magic items). For a free download, this sure has a high production value. Very nice, in that regard.

Thursday, December 06, 2001
9:07 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
RPGnet Awards Announced
The other site I work at, RPGnet, has announced the winners of the 2001 RPGnet Awards, also known as the Buzzies. These awards give recognition to the image, promotion and creation of products in the RPG industry. And the winners are:

  • Most Anticipated Pre-launch of a Game: Lord of the Rings RPG by Steve Long (Decipher)
  • Most Disturbing/Controversial Game Book: Little Fears by Jason Blair (Key 20 Designs)
  • Best Layout in an RPG Book or Magazine: Star Wars by Bill Slavisceck, Andy Collins & JD Wiker (Wizards of the Coast)
  • Most Gratuitous Cover: Ragnarok: Tales of the Norse Gods by Avalanche Press
  • Best Free RPG: New Risus by S. John Ross
  • Best New Gaming Software: Hero Machine by Jeff Herbert
  • Most Silly Metaplot in a New Game: NinjaBurger by Michael Fiegel and friends (9th Level Games)
  • Most Bizarre Setting: Big Ears, Small Mouse by John Nowak (Guardians of Order)
It's too bad RPGnet didn't establish a category for Most Ridiculous Title, as that would have to go to The Magic Dump. Yes, now that I think about it, a monkey god would create that. It is a god, after all.

Wednesday, December 05, 2001
5:21 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Trading Cards, Flying Robots and Shouting People
At long last, I've completed my review of Z-G, the CCG/action figure combat game from Mark Rein*Hagen and his new friends at Atomoton. This game hasn't gotten the kind of press it merits, and I suspect it's the fact of its apparent aim at a kids' market (that it isn't really suitable for) that has kept it out of gamers' minds. I address that and other points in my characteristically long-winded writeup. Hope you enjoy, and as always, let us know what you think.

9:14 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Hogshead Update
Hogshead Publishing has let the world know that the release of Nobilis will be delayed slightly to January. In the meantime, we can all grab our copies of DeProfundis to ravenously read through and fondle, as it is now available. I mean, if James Wallis says "It is the most brilliant piece of games writing I've read in a long time," I'm gonna check it out, aren't you?

Arkham Horror And Other Wonderful Plans
Chaosium made several announcements on their site recently, which were upbeat and hopeful while looking to 2002. Among the product announcements made was Pulp Cthulhu, an action-oriented 1930s setting for the Cthulhu D20 book coming in March from Wizards of the Coast. Other products mentioned as "in the works" were a Japan sourcebook for Call of Cthulhu (Japanese horrors? *shudder*), a modern day Arkham sourcebook, a gorgeous revised version of Dreamlands, a San Francisco Guidebook, and various other products. Hidden at the tail end of Chaosium's update they make public mention of something Charlie clued me into a while back: there are plans for a 15th anniversary edition of the Arkham Horror boardgame, one of the hardest to find, most sought after Cthulhu products ever. Sound good to you? Me too.

8:29 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
New OgreCave Reviews: GURPS Traveller
Matthew brings us two new reviews today, both of GURPS Traveller products (from the Planetary Survey series, to be precise). First is Tobibak: The Savage Sea, followed by a chaser of Darkmoon: The Prison Planet. Sounds cheerful, eh?

1:32 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Delta Delta Delta, Can I Help Ya Help Ya Help Ya?
See, 'cause the last headline said Delta, and one of these games has... Delta in the... right. FFG has posted details about two new board games, Delta V and Maginor. The former, designed in house, appears to build an interesting strategy game onto a Memory board, while the latter is a Reiner Knizia design, which looks on first glance like it has aspects of Cosmic Encounter (I could be totally wrong). In a shocking move from FFG, both games appear to have components that you don't have to punch out of heavy cardboard flats. (I say things like that, then wonder why they won't send us review product. Go figure.) They're both available and shipping now, check 'em out.

1:19 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Delta Green On Your Screen
John Tynes, Pagan Publishing principal and co-creator of the justly praised Delta Green series of Call of Cthulhu supplements, recently announced on his weblog that the Pagans have signed a deal with an unspecified game developer to put DG on your PC. He says: "[W]ork is underway. The project is going to take about a year and a half, so be patient. I believe we'll have stuff to show off at the E3 computer-gaming expo in Las Vegas in the spring. It's an X-Com style game, with both strategic and real-time tactical-combat modes." Further details are unavailable, so don't bother him (or us) about it.

Tuesday, December 04, 2001
2:31 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Green Ronin Announces Master Class Series
Green Ronin Publishing has announced their plans for a Master Class line in 2002. The series will introduce a new core class to the d20 System in each volume, providing new skills, feats, equipment, spells, organizations, and the ever-popular prestige classes. Here's a quick rundown of how the series will take shape:

The first Master Class book, the Shaman's Handbook by Shadowrun novelist and Dragon Magazine regular Steve Kenson, debuts in March. Over the rest of 2002 the line will expand to include the Monster Slayer's Handbook by Runequest author Steve Perrin, the Witch's Handbook by the prolific Steve Kenson, and the Assassin's Handbook by former Dragon Magazine editor and Dark Matter creator Wolfgang Baur.
Why the Assassin's Handbook when assassins are already in the D20 system as a prestige class? "Old fans remember when you could play as assassin at 1st level and we aim to make that an option again," explained Chris Pramas, Green Ronin's founder. "And Wolf wrote Assassin Mountain for AD&D campaign setting Al-Qadim, so he's the perfect man for the job."

5:38 AM: Demian Katz says...
New Rio Grande Newsletter Posted
Rio Grande Games has just posted a new newsletter. Though it doesn't contain any particularly ground-breaking announcements, there is some information on a new limited-edition Gipf kit which should be of interest to fans of the series of interlocking abstract strategy games.

Games Journal December Issue Online
The December issue of The Games Journal is now available for online reading. It contains lots of interesting stuff, including a look at generic game pieces and a tale of the perilous publication of Who Stole Ed's Pants?. If you're a board game fan, it's worth a look.

Monday, December 03, 2001
11:07 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Roleplaying Tips Weekly #101
Roleplaying Tips Weekly has begun work on their next 100 issues. This week's issue deals with potty training... no, wait, that's my daughter. Roleplaying and GMing Servant NPCs is RTW's theme this time around, followed by a few random tips from readers, the first of which is dubious at best. Using sock puppets as NPCs? Oh, sure, that won't be distracting or silly at all...

10:13 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Mongoose To Release Judge Dredd RPG
Mongoose Publishing just let us know about their acquisition of the exclusive licence to produce RPG products based on the 2000 AD Comics. What this means to you is 'round GenCon next year (August), you should watch for the Judge Dredd RPG to hit stores, a fully-supported D20 System game that will bring Mega-City One to your gaming table. Here's what Mongoose is telling us thus far:

Players will have the opportunity to take on the role of either a near-invincible Judge or be part of an expanding criminal organisation as a perp. Rapid reinforcements to the Judge Dredd RPG will include exciting supplements giving never before seen information on all the Mega-Cities of the world, notorious perps and creeps, resources of the Justice Department, the Apocalypse War and much, much more.
Shortly after coming out with Judge Dredd, Mongoose will be releasing the Slaine RPG, "based in the Celtic world of the Warrior King."


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