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Little Wizards
(Crafty Games)
Pathfinder Card Game
(Paizo Publishing)
Cthulhu Invictus Companion
(Chaosium)
Boss Monster!
(Brotherwise Games)
Murder of Crows
(Atlas Games)
Building an Elder God
(Signal Fire Studios)
Cthulhu Gloom
(Atlas Games)
D&D ShadowPlague v1
(IDW Publishing)
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Interviews
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)
Jonathan Walton - Push (audio; GenCon '06)
Emily Care Boss and Clinton R. Nixon (audio; GenCon '06)
Richard Garfield (10/12/04)
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Poll
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

Features
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
(11/7/08)
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)
(10/22/04)
More...

Archive highlights
GAMA Trade Show 2008 report, part 2
(4/28/08)
GAMA Trade Show 2008 report, part 1
(4/24/08)
Frag Beta Capsule Review (4/14/01)
Battle Cattle Minis Preview (2/28/01)

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Unplugged Gaming News And Views
 
Thursday, February 28, 2002
12:15 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Arkham Horror 15th Anniversary Edition Announced
Yes, drooling Cthulhu fanatics, Chaosium has finally answered your fevered prayers by announcing a 15th Anniversary Edition of Arkham Horror. Set for a late Summer/Fall 2002 release, demo games are already planned for Origins and GenCon this year. The infamous Cthulhu boardgame of monster hunting and insanity has been highly sought after for years, so I expect this to be another hot product at work. Just hope nothing seeps out of the boxes and into my office. It's creepy enough around here already.

Wednesday, February 27, 2002
2:23 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Steve Jackson Ships Robin Laws GM Guide, New Editions Of Damn Near Everything (But Not GURPS... Yet)
Not only does today's Daily Illuminator announce the shipment of Robin's Laws of Good Gamemastering, a general guide to GMing by the renowned designer, new editions of Chez Geek and GURPS Horror, a Deadlands-branded Frag (is there a Wild West FPS they could have grabbed the license for?), the first supplement for Transhuman Space and a whole mess of other crap, but buried deep in sjgames.com is a page that turns out to be a survey about what you want in GURPS Fourth Edition. So, that edition is still a long way off, clearly, but go on and make your voice heard.

Tuesday, February 26, 2002
11:41 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Deadlands Conversion Rules Coming Next Week
Until now, Pinnacle had been sticking to their guns by saying there would be no conversion rules to take original Deadlands across to Deadlands D20. But next Tuesday, Pinnacle will finally relent and give conversion guidelines to players new and old. Shane Hensley described the rules as they're shaping up so far:

It's completely dependent on the level of your party. ...The new rules we're polishing up right now take that into account so you can tailor NPCs and monsters to your posses' relative level. It isn't exact at the extremes, and you'll still have to fudge some, but this should help those of you who are new to Deadlands convert some of our classic products to your new Deadlands D20 game. We're also featuring official translations of some of our key products in future versions of the Epitaph.
This will be one more step toward my Grand Unified RPG, wherein one character can be converted to any game. Though it would be much easier if a GURPS: D20 existed. Hey, I can dream. ;-)

Monday, February 25, 2002
11:51 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Castle Dunmere Review
Joe delves into the fortress and its surroundings in our new review of Castle Dunmere, a d20 adventure from Citizen Games. What evil lurks in the heart of the castle? I ain't tellin' -- but Joe is. Go take a look.

10:27 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Green Ronin Gives Freeport Peek
The crime-ridden district of Freeport known as Scurveytown is detailed in Green Ronin's online preview of Freeport: City of Adventure. The three-page preview describes things such as the Beggar's Market, and Krom's Throat, a rather unsavory orc bar that requires hosing down each morning. The preview, combined with the reports of full-color fold-out maps, makes City of Adventure one I'll be watching for when it ships next month.

Roleplaying Tips Weekly #112
This week's installment of Roleplaying Tips advises GMs on how to use music to enhance your roleplaying sessions. Personally, I favor scaring the wits out of the players with the soundtrack to Aliens, but that's just me.

4:17 AM: Demian Katz says...
Rio Grande Games Just Can't Stop
Hot on the heels of the last one, Rio Grande Games has released another newsletter! It elaborates on Dragonland and Clash of the Gladiators (both of which turn out to be Reiner Knizia designs), and it also describes a previously unmentioned (if memory serves) April release: Pizarro & Co., a game in which players take on the roles of kings and hire explorers to bring them wealth and glory from the New World. Sounds promising to me!

Sunday, February 24, 2002
11:45 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Ronin War First Look (Or, A Savage Journey Into The Heart Of The Swedish Dream)
Having to glue things together sucks. I mean, sure, I'm spoiled, wargames, uphill in the snow, yada blah foo. Maybe it's just the plastic that's giving me trouble. I tried to separate the little tank and airplane units, the ones that don't require any gluing, and found that the connections to the plastic sprue were so thick that the model would splinter and peel a bit when I twisted it. X-Acto isn't doing a great job hacking these things either. I have put together all of the stubby little Raider units, which are cute as buttons. But friends tell me that the Ronin themselves are difficult to put together even for experienced modelers. So, if you're mechanically declined, that's reason #1 to wait for MechWarrior.

A possible reason #2 is the frequent stipulation that the weapons and parts with which you customize your models actually be glued on. They do provide a number of tiny little magnetic balls, which you use to stick little wound-flags on your Ronin when they're hit. That's cool, but why not go all the way and design the weapons and weapon-placement points to take magnets too? Because then you'd have replayability with the models you spent all that time and money on, and wouldn't have to go buy more when you want to change your strategy? Could be!

For a lot of people, the thick, difficult-to-read catalog of weapons and their in-game effects will be reason #3 to lower themselves to playing with pre-painted rubbery guys for their giant-robot combat jollies. Having all the numbers you need right there in the base is definitely worth such humiliation. So, the "user interface," if you will, of Ronin War is looking a little sub-optimal. But I still want to know about the game that's under there, dammit, so even if this ends up being another case of "good game, bad situation," I'm going to soldier on through and let you know. Eventually. In the next couple of days, I'll be able to tell you more about the actual rules. As far as playtesting, we'll have to see. Keep your fingers crossed that I don't mortally wound myself with the knives, the files, or with my luck, the glue.

Friday, February 22, 2002
11:30 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
New Review - Backdrops
Once again, Matthew dives into a d20 supplement to give us the skinny. This time, it's Backdrops from our friends at Atlas Games. How does a book of two-page city settings fare in Matthew's estimation? Click over and have a look. The Penumbra line is coming along quite well, I'd say.

Thursday, February 21, 2002
2:46 PM: Demian Katz says...
Undersea Number-Stacking
Invisible City Productions has posted another game of the month. This time it's Sharon J. Cichelli's Coral Reef, a two-player strategy game played with either two decks of playing cards or a set of number tiles. If you're looking for a fast and simple time-filler, this should please you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2002
6:12 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Vampire Hunters Of Europe, Rejoice!
Gamers in Europe will soon sink their teeth into their first taste of the Buffy CCG. According to the official newsletter, "Buffy CCG cards will be heading over to Europe as early as next week, for an immediate release upon arrival." The cards were obviously slowed in their journey overseas, for which they had to be in their coffin. Am I trying too hard with these vampire jokes? Yeah, that's what I thought.

New Review - Skraag: City of Orcs
As you can see, we've posted another review from Matthew, this time delving into Skraag: City of Orcs by Mongoose Publishing. Humans, elves and the rest might have trouble adventuring in Skraag, but we've got the lowdown on what the book offers. Got Orcs?

Tuesday, February 19, 2002
4:06 AM: Demian Katz says...
The Return of Mythrole
This seems the be the week of returning web sites; after a long downtime, Mythrole Games' site is back up on a new server. It doesn't have any new announcements on it just yet, but there seem to be rumblings of something to come.

Piecepack Contest Announced
James Kyle has announced a competition to design a new set of rules for his Piecepack generic board game system. The theme is "Time Marches On," the deadline is March 15, and the prize is a pocket-sized Piecepack set.

Monday, February 18, 2002
11:17 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Details on Unknown Armies Second Edition, More
John Tynes' weblog, Dispatches from Revland, is a particularly good thing to read right now. It features copious details about the upcoming second edition of Unknown Armies (including a tentative completion date of April), the cover of said edition, a nugget of joy from the RPGnet forums, and a couple of true stories that are simply amazing. The one thing you should know about the UA book (that is, the one thing you should know if you prefer not to follow links and simply remain here, basking in the glory of the Cave) is that the book is structured in four parts. You know how many RPG books have the first section for players and the section for GMs? UA2 will have section 1 for players in campaigns where they aren't supposed to know that much... then another section for players who know a little more... then a section for players who really see inside things... then the GM section. It's an easy way for gamers to dial the game to any kind of campaign they want to run. Impressive stuff.

9:16 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Holy Flying Crap, There's Going To Be A Wheel Of Time Supplement
The book that stood alone stands alone no more! Wizards has just announced (well, they probably announced it before but now they're screaming about it) The Wheel Of Time: Prophecies of the Dragon, a nearly 200-page six-part campaign supplement. The events in the campaign dovetail neatly with the first five WoT novels, as the players are "faced with a Darkfriend plot that will destroy Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn, unless they can prevent it." Rad. Maybe that guy who came to Endgame last week and stared at the Wheel of Time book for 45 minutes before deciding not to buy it will get off the fence now.

8:17 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
So Did Anything Happen At DunDraCon?
Yeah, I guess so. A whole mess - possibly an entire passel - of Hero System fans were hanging around the joint, enjoying Hero Games' celebration of the 5th edition going to press. We also heard news from Ken Hite of Decipher, who assiduously avoided saying that he knew anything about when anything was coming out, although the new Star Trek RPG players' guide is at the printer now. Allan has the notes on that one so I'll let him post the full story. There was a great talk about massively multiplayer online gaming, which conclusively proved that no interesting new online games will be made, ever. I also got to play Diceland with James Ernest, who was overheard drooling when I took out my giant Icehouse pieces. We're still kind of recovering and will have more details soon.

Saturday, February 16, 2002
5:13 AM: Demian Katz says...
AdvancedFightingFantasy.com Returning Soon
If you've tried to visit AdvancedFightingFantasy.com lately, you've probably noticed that it's not there anymore. This is because it got so much traffic in the wake of its announcement of the Fighting Fantasy reprints that its cheapo web host got overwhelmed and took it down. Fortunately, the site will be returning within the next week or so with the help of a more reliable service provider, so news on the future of gamebooks will once again be available in the near future.

Thursday, February 14, 2002
5:26 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Feels Like I'm Fixin' To Focus On Freeport Fourteen
Just in time for DunDraCon, the Green Ronin folks have released Focus on Freeport #14, which completes the three-part mid-level adventure Deus Ex Machina. (I'm not really sure what that has to do with DunDraCon, but I thought I'd slip in a link, seeing as how it's part of the reason posts have been a little light this week.)

4:14 AM: Demian Katz says...
More News from Rio Grande
Rio Grande Games has just published their twenty-eighth newsletter. Not only does it include pictures and descriptions of several of their recently-announced games like Where's Bob's Hat? and Halli Galli, but it also mentions some new and interesting-sounding April releases: Dragonland, Clash of the Gladiators and Magellan.

Wednesday, February 13, 2002
1:21 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
DBZ CCG 4 GBA, w00t
Also in the you-don't-care-but-I-think-it's-interesting department, ICv2 reports that Infogrames has developed a version of the DragonballZ CCG for the Game Boy Advance. Creating AI for a card game of this nature is supposed to be a tough problem, but maybe this particular CCG is simple enough to run perfectly well on a tiny lozenge with the brain of a Super Nintendo. I wouldn't know. All copies of the GBA cartridge will come with a super-rare promo card, yay. I'll stick to Advance Wars. Sami's hot.

1:09 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Important Safety Tip
If you happen to have picked up the Magic: the Gathering Online beta CD-ROM at your local game retailer and haven't tried it yet, and you have a dialup Internet connection: don't bother. The pain, the pain. I don't even know why I wanted to play with it, other than to see what those cheeky little scamps at WotC are up to. Anyway, isn't Magic a simple, turn-based game in which not very much information has to go over the wire at one time if you're communicating the game over a network? So why make the install download 200MB when there's 600MB of stuff sitting there on the disk? Isn't that stuff good for anything? Whatever. I'm sure the final version will be fine. Then again, so will IRC.

Tuesday, February 12, 2002
2:32 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Let The Conscription Begin!
Well, okay, I guess it's a bit more voluntary than that, but be sure to read over our recruitment page. We're looking for more folks to help expand OgreCave, and you just might be who we're looking for! Big thanks go to resident Cave Dweller Colin for drawing the marching ogre legions for us.

12:21 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Book Of Eldritch Might II Released
Earlier today, Malhavoc Press released a new d20 supplement, The Book of Eldritch Might II: Songs and Souls of Power. Written by Monte Cook, the 64-page full-color PDF includes the following: alternate versions of the Sorcerer and Bard classes; rules for "soul magic," which uses sentient spells; rules for music-based magic (something D&D has needed for a while now); more than 100 new spells and spellsongs; over three dozen feats, magical items, and classes; and new magical monsters. All for the low, low price of $7. Sounds good to me.

Official Convention Adventures Contest At Green Ronin
Green Ronin Publishing is offering prizes for those who think they can write GR's official Freeport adventures for the 2002 convention season. Here's the lowdown:

If you think you have what it takes to entertain sleep-deprived, danger-craving, Freeport-loving convention goers, then step on up and show us what you've got! The top two adventure submissions (as chosen by Green Ronin Publishing staffers) will become our Official 2002 Convention Season Adventures, which means that countless players at Origins, GenCon, and elsewhere will challenge your villains, discover your plots, and trigger your tricks and traps. Not only that, but the winning adventures will earn their authors $100 cash plus $100 of Green Ronin products, and a free FFN email account (yourname@fiction-fantasy.net)!
The contest ends April 1st, so if you've got an adventure idea in mind, you'd better get to writin'.

Monday, February 11, 2002
11:31 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Roleplaying Tips Weekly #110
This week's installment of Roleplaying Tips discusses the Woes of Leadership. The list of woes starts with "constant danger" and just gets worse from there. Some reader-submitted tips touch on session organization, combat vocabulary, and various other useful ideas.

8:06 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Review Of Beyond The Veil
With Valentine's Day rapidly approaching, we have a new review that has nothing to do with love. Matthew's review of Beyond the Veil by Atlas Games describes the dangers contained within Veil's pages. Now that I think about it, though, the dragon in the adventure does get rather amorous -- oops, I've said too much. :-)

Friday, February 08, 2002
5:48 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Donjon Krawl!
I'm as suspicious of free RPGs as you are, but I'm pretty sure this rules. A quote: "if you're a hard-core dungeon crawling machine, you've probably not seen mechanics that allow players to drive the situation like these. If you're some sort of narrativist bleeding-edge pansy that's used to have players run everything, you've probably not had the chance to wallow in the blood of your enemies like this."

3:45 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Camarilla Suit Moved To Atlanta
Shea Porr, President of the Camarilla, sent a letter to the club's membership relating the judge's decision to grant White Wolf's request to move the case to Atlanta. This may have killed the Camarilla's chances in the lawsuit. The letter states that the Camarilla can no longer devote money to the case, and will discuss how to make an easy transition with White Wolf. As we at OgreCave speculated a while back, it may not have been the best idea for the Camarilla to start voting on a new name during the lawsuit, as it seems to have weakened their position. We'll keep you posted as we hear more.

12:54 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
WizKids Raises Wholesale Costs, Retailers Boggle
Major gaming distributors Diamond and Alliance recently announced that WizKids will be lowering the discount they offer retailers across the board - all WizKids products will cost more for retailers to get, starting April 1st. They are not, however, raising their MSRP accordingly; rather than let you think they're taking money out of your pocket, they're letting your local store owner think so instead. Now, retailers are free to raise the price they charge for Mage Knight boosters... unless their nearby competitor chooses not to. See the problem?

This all comes at a time when retailers are increasingly urging publishers to set a retail price that lets everyone involved make money, while discounts to retailers stay at around 50%. That is, if Harry Potter cards cost WotC more to make, per booster, than Magic cards do (due to the Potter licensing fees), then Harry Potter boosters should cost the consumer proportionately more money apiece. Dealing with these problems by lowering retailer discounts is being called "taking money out of the industry," while raising prices to consumers would mean bringing more money in. In theory. How high could Mage Knight prices go before consumers revolted? I already hear grumbles about getting only eleven cards in a $3.29 CCG booster...

Wednesday, February 06, 2002
4:20 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Green Ronin to Publish Races of Renown
This fall, Green Ronin will launch a d20 series to compliment their Master Class series (which starts with the Shaman's Handbook this April). The new series, Races of Renown, will describe each of the main character races in detail, introducing new options. According to company founder Chris Pramas, "These books are packed with new feats, prestige classes, equipment, spells, and magic items—the kind of crunchy goodness that makes character building fun." The first in the Races series will be Hammer and Helm: A Guidebook to Dwarves, by Dragon Magazine editor Jesse Decker. Later books in the series will include Bow and Blade: A Guidebook to Elves and Plot and Poison: A Guidebook to Drow.

I suppose it would have been a marketing error to call the new product line Master Races. Just a weird thought that occurred, don't mind me. :-)

Early Look At GamePlay Demo CD #2
We just received a screenshot from the next GamePlay Demo CD which shows generally what you can expect as far as demo PDFs and such. Have a look, and watch for the CD to show up in stores soon.

Tuesday, February 05, 2002
9:33 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Will Magic Action Figures Tap Your Wallet?
Wizards of the Coast has announced plans for a line of Magic: The Gathering action figures. Based on actual game cards, the first group of figures planned includes the Serra Angel, Lord of Atlantis, Sengir Vampire, Erhnam Djinn, Kamahl Pit Fighter, and Shadowmage Infiltrator. The press release has a few photos, and I'd consider getting one, if it weren't for the fact that it would just end up as another toy for my daughter. Hope she doesn't find my Star Wars figures.

7:25 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
AEG Announces Spycraft, Serie-- Uh, Shadowforce Archer
Remember that mysterious website that popped up for a new RPG project last summer? Well, the mystery is gone, and the product has split in two. Alderac has announced the new modern d20 game Spycraft, and its first setting book, Shadowforce Archer. The Archer conspiracy protects the world from things it doesn't know exists, psionics is apparently involved, and even more nonstop X-Files-ish fun for the kids. The Spycraft Espionage Handbook ships in March, with the Archies shipping in April. The resource page features a free download of "lite" Spycraft rules and numerous A Team references. Check it.

2:51 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
GenCon Prereg Online
GenCon 2002 online preregistration is up and running. Housing can be arranged, too. Get to it, folks.

Monday, February 04, 2002
10:45 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
WizKids Announces Marvel HeroClix
Ya see, 'cuz they're heroes, and when you turn the dials, they click, and... um, sorry.

WizKids has finally announced their new CMG (Collectable Miniatures Game. Keep up with me, folks), Marvel HeroClix: Infinity Challenge. The game will be available in the states on May 1st to coincide with the release of the Spider-Man motion picture.The game will be sold in eight miniature starters for $19.95 and four miniature boosters for $6.95. Man, I gotta design a game based on a major upcoming movie. I bet Spidey can drive some extra sales. Can I get a "Thwip! Thwip!"

7:03 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Is It Just Me, Or Did This Happen Quietly?
It's probably just me, but I knew nothing about Save Doctor Lucky on Moon Base Copernicus until I saw it on the store shelf today. It isn't just an alternate board in the Craigdarroch tradition; it's got TV monitors for those all-important sightlines, rocket tubes for getting around the interesting board configuration... and it's printed in two colors. Woo! The one game of SDL that I got to play ended prematurely - I don't remember why - so I'm psyched to try this.

10:24 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Fast Forward Buys Games Unplugged
Those damn dirty apes at ICv2 have the full story. So, FF now has a Dragon equivalent as well as a Dungeon equivalent. The announcement of Replay Games, a division devoted to "more experimental" games, is also interesting, although I can't find anything further on it on the Fast Forward site. Maybe they can experiment with having game articles in Games Unplugged written by someone other than the game's publisher. But hey, you don't wanna get too crazy.


 

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