Interview: James Wallis on closing of Hogshead Publishing

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Unplugged Gaming News And Views
 
Saturday, November 30, 2002
11:39 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Chains and Misery, without Jacob Morley
Chains and Misery has just been released by Skald Books. No, it has nothing to do with Dickens. Instead, it's a 2.6 Mb PDF for Skald's Maidenheim Campaign Setting, or any d20 System game, really. Chains and Misery dives into how slavery works "as a legitimized social institution rather than as the fate of those captured on the fringes of civilization." So, in a medieval world that still accepts slavery, Skald's product attempts to explain (and provide d20 rules for) the following:
  • Locating, buying, selling, and maintaining slaves
  • The relationship between slaves and their masters
  • Putting slaves to work as leased servants, plantation laborers, miners, or quarry workers.
  • Potential profits received from slave labor or establishing a slaving guild
  • The Slaver core class and Slave Lord Prestige Class
  • Other class options: Slave-Warrior, Gladiator, Slave-Guard, and Slave-Assassin
  • New weapons, equipment, poisons, restraints (ooh, kinky), spells, and magical items used in the slave trade
Now, you may be wondering if this sort of product is a good idea. My stance is I want to have a game world that's as realistic as possible while still being fun, so rules on slavery, a real event, could be useful. Does Chains and Misery do a good job? Can't answer that, I haven't seen it. What I do know is the 97 page PDF is only $7.50, and can be purchased through RPGNow.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002
9:22 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Another glimpse of WarMech
Our friends over at ENworld are showing off a 2-page preview from WarMech - Armageddon 2089. The game's on Mongoose's schedule for a March '03 release, but between this and the background preview, you should be getting a fair idea of what to expect.

4:00 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Quintessential Samurai art preview
To whet our appetites for next month's Quintessential Samurai, the guys at Mongoose Publishing have posted an art preview. A few tatoos, an attractive female samurai, and a whole lot of katanas fill the six page PDF. Have a look.

3:51 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Pinnacle gives away village. Inhabitants not included
Pinnacle has another Thanksgiving freebie for us: a Mexican Villa Map created by Joseph Wolf. You'll need the Campaign Cartographer Viewer for it, but it could prove useful for your Deadlands, Deadlands: Hell on Earth, or... um... well, anything that needs a Mexican village.

3:47 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Shadow & Flame for LotR Battle Game
In other Games Workshop news, we've been given a first look at some of the miniatures from the first Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game supplement Shadow & Flame, due in stores June 2003. The picture shows Balin and his dwarf guard, painted in the always-excellent GW style.

1:35 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
GW announces date for first West Coast Games Day
This innocuous-looking page is the first public appearance of a firm date for, and open admission of, Games Day Los Angeles. It's been rumored for a long, long time, but here's the proof that Games Workshop will be covering both coasts as well as the Midwest with major events in 2003. Between this and Gen Con in 2004, Southern California is heating up. (I wonder how the job market is down there...)

12:26 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
New pix of MechWarrior expansion, due in February
The MW Fire For Effect expansion is getting ready to hit you where it hurts (yes, I mean your wallet. What did you think I meant?) in February. The boosters-only expansion introduces new rules and figures for Artillery, Mercenaries, and Transport Vehicles. All I want to know is, does anyone fire for something other than effect in the MW universe? Is "firing for disaffect" a common thing in the novels? Or maybe this expansion introduces some general whose troops are kind of inept and he gets really snide with 'em and stuff? Are there new trash-talking rules for your own units? Innuendo bonuses? Irony penalties? OgreCave will keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002
6:30 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
OgreCave Interview: James Wallis/Hogshead Publishing
Now that the news has come out about Hogshead Publishing calling it quits, we can let you see the interview with Hogshead's Director and all-around nice guy, James Wallis. He explains some of the reasons for the announcement, muses on the state of the industry, and deftly avoids telling us why both he and Nobilis are an unusual size.

6:19 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Necromancer provides alternative to white or dark meat
Necromancer Games have a pair of d20 downloads to help keep your game going through the holiday weekend. The first is a free Thanksgiving module, Feast of the Gobbler by Casey W. Christofferson, which spans 29 pages and 5.4 mb. The adventure's for 4-6 characters of 3rd - 5th level, and is particularly disturbing due to the revised Orcus symbol contained therein. Also, a 2.3 mb download of the maps from Rappan Athuk 3 has been added to Necromancer's product support page. That should hold ya for a while.

11:45 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Hogshead Publishing calls it quits
For today's big news, Hogshead Publishing has just announced that as of November 30th, the company will be leaving the adventure-gaming industry. As the press release stated, the company hasn't gone broke or anything. Instead, the shutdown is because "we are bored, creatively frustrated, and increasingly despondent about the future of the specialist games industry. After our successes in 2002, particularly the mould-breaking and critically acclaimed games Nobilis and De Profundis, we think we've gone as far as we can and this seems a suitable high-point on which to call it a day."

So what's to become of the Hogshead games, now bereft of a company? Nobilis will now reside at Guardians of Order, while the English-language licence for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay has gone back to Games Workshop. SLA Industries is back under the control of Nightfall Games, and Warpstone magazine will continue under its own imprint. All future products previously announced by Hogshead are cancelled, except for the Nobilis line which GOO is taking over, and the full-length Warhammer FRP adventure Fear the Worst by Michael Mearls, which Hogshead will make available as a free PDF download from its website "as a farewell-and-thank-you present to all our players and fans." A small amount of backstock has been retained by Hogshead for mail order, which will continue for a while, but the rest has already been sold off to distributors.

Check back with OgreCave later today for our exclusive interview with James Wallis, Director of Hogshead Publishing, on the shutdown decision, the state of the industry today, and whatever else we manage to wring out of him.

Monday, November 25, 2002
11:46 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Gold Rush at Origins. Get your mining gear
Gold Rush Games is looking to tempt you into running its games at Origins 2003. If you run 16 hours of registered GRG gaming at Origins, including Sengoku, Usagi Yojimbo, San Angelo: City of Heroes, Action! System or anything else, you'll get a bonus thank you. Not only will you get your convention registration fee refunded to you, but you'll get 10% off any purchase from GRG at the convention. If every company isn't doing something like this to reward their loyal fans' support, they damn well should.

11:38 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Wingnut forums launched
Wingnut Games has launched new forums to discuss their games, see previews of upcoming products, and generally run amuck. Get over there and start harassing Aldo. He likes it.

11:34 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Origins 2003 online registration begins
GAMA has announced that online registration and events submissions are now open for Origins 2003, which takes place June 26-29 next year. The deadline to have events listed in the Pre-Reg Book is January 1, so get moving. If you miss that, the deadline for the Onsite Program is April 19. The new online system is reportedly "better than before... stronger... faster..."

Friday, November 22, 2002
6:45 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Things Just Get Eldritchier
Not only has Book of Eldritch Might III: The Nexus just been released to an excellent response, but Monte Cook's Malhavoc Press has also completed a free patch upgrade for the original Book of Eldritch Might. What does the patch include? Well, according to the Malhavoc website, you can expect:

  • Re-edited text in a printer-friendly layout
  • A redesigned cover to compliment others in the Malhavoc product line
  • Brian LeBlanc's illustrations from the print version, along with most of the original PDF's artwork by The Unseelie Court
  • Added Eldritch Might material from Monte's website: the spell lists and random rune generator already featured in the print edition
Those who own the original BoEM PDF can grab the free patch at RPGNow and, as of yesterday, anyone buying the electronic BoEM will get the updated version which won't require a patch.

Thursday, November 21, 2002
11:02 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Dystopia is better than Datopia
Politically Incorrect Games wants to remind us all to give thanks this Thanksgiving, by pointing out how lucky we are not to live in the setting of Dystopia: America 2155AD. Our world is a cake walk compared to the corporate-controlled, brutal world the 39-page PDF game presents. To make us all feel extra thankful, PI Games has reduced the price for downloading Dystopia to only $5 until Thanksgiving (that's November 28th for those unfamiliar with the turkey-fest). Grab a copy while they're cheap over at RPGNow or the RPGnet Mall.

3:04 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Controversy at Roleplaying Tips Weekly
This week's new issue of Roleplaying Tips Weekly explores the social side of gaming with hints about "Political Incorrectness In RPGs." Will your Jewish friend mind the Fourth Reik plotline you have planned? How comfortable are your players with contraversial subjects? Did they flock to WotC's Book of Vile Darkness, or organize a book burning? In any case, there's some interesting suggestions that could prove useful.

2:51 PM: Demian Katz says...
Reasons to Learn Italian Revisited
I just received a copy of Roberto Convenevole and Francesco Bottone's La Storia di Risiko, a recently-published Italian book detailing the history of Risk. Sadly, the majority of the book is in Italian, a language that I cannot read, but the book does include English rules for a new variant of the game called The Missed Link which features blind army placement and adds a new layer of strategy to the proceedings; also included are four attractive fold-out game boards in the back with labels in various languages. Perhaps I'm hopelessly geeky (well, actually, I know that I'm hopelessly geeky), but the idea of a scholarly history of a board game really appeals to me. We need more books like this in English! If you know a bit of Italian and can't wait for some bold English-language publisher to commission a translation, more information on the book can be found at the publisher's site.

10:41 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Unusual Treasures limited run announced
Phil Reed has gathered his three d20 PDFs together into a single print version called The Book of Unusual Treasures. Only 100 copies of the book are being made, combining and expanding the information from 101 Spellbooks, 101 Mundane Treasures, and 101 Arcane Spell Components. The book is 100+ pages, 6” x 9” perfect-bound, and is only available through Phil's website. Those who've already bought some or all of the PDFs will get significant discounts off the book's $18 cover price. They're going fast.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002
11:16 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Gun-Toting made easy by Green Ronin
Green Ronin has just posted an 8-page PDF preview of next month's Ultramodern Firearms d20. Leading the way in the wave of d20 Modern supplemental products, the 160-page hardcover book reprints and updates the original Ultramodern Firearms by Charles Ryan (who worked on the Wheel of Time RPG and d20 Modern). Detailing over 300 weapons and sights, the book is at the printer now, so we won't have much longer to wait. The preview includes a bunch of Uzis, the Desert Eagle, and the AI PM Counter-Terrorist sniper rifle, to name a few.

1:20 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Another Helping of Beasts
Because you can never have enough creatures to harass your players with, another d20 company has formed to bring you even more. DreamReality Press is seeking playtesters for its upcoming product Encyclopedia of Monsters Vol.1. Those who are interested can download the NDA and playtest guidelines from the company's website, as well as take a peek at the book's table of contents

11:44 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
New Review: BESM Fantasy Bestiary
Cedric has pawed through the new BESM Fantasy Bestiary from Guardians of Order. This latest Tri-Stat supplement offers creatures galore, but on the whole, how did Cedric rate it? Find out inside.

Monday, November 18, 2002
4:59 PM: Demian Katz says...
Deep7 Provides New Excuse to Yell "Arrrrrr!"
Ever since I ran a few weeks' worth of Deep7's Bloode Island 1PG, certain members of my gaming group have been asking "when's the Bloode Island XPG coming out?" with some regularity. At last, I can stop their inquiries by loudly proclaiming that it's here at last! The new release is a complete game in a 67-page .PDF file filled with buried treasure, voodoo and other swashbuckling goodness. This should be fun!

12:23 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
New, improved Star Wars TCG with 80% less cringing!
That's right, kids: you might not have noticed, but WotC's new-ish Star Wars card game now has starter decks and boosters of A New Hope - cards drawn entirely from the first film (albeit the special edition), not the crap with the teen idol and the Marriage of (*choke* *gasp*) Destiny. Pay no attention to their out-of-date web page! A New Hope is available in your local store, or at least in my local store. But you shouldn't all go there. Crowding.

Oh, oh - I forgot to add an important detail. In the boosters I picked up, there's a card called Preemptive Shot. It has Han Solo and Greedo on it. It has a laser bolt on it. The laser bolt is coming from Solo's blaster. And the card is called Preemptive Shot. That's right! Fie on you, Lucas and your meddling, says Wizards of the Coast! Big props to the development team for that one. Han shot first, dammit.

9:47 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
New Review: Danger Guy
Cedric has explored the life-threatening hazards of Danger Guy by Alien Menace, and survived to tell the tale. Is the game a thrill a minute, or a minute thrill? Look inside and find out.

9:12 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Vin Diesel starting console game company
Yeah, I know: OgreCave doesn't generally comment on the electronic stuff. However, since Vin Diesel has admitted to playing and enjoying D&D, and since the suggestion comes up every so often to approach him as a GenCon Guest of Honor, I thought some folks might be interested to hear he's starting a game company of his own, Tigon Games (tigon: The hybrid offspring of a male tiger and a female lion). According to a recent GameSpy interview, Diesel plans to stay closely involved with Tigon Games, which will produce videogames for the top console platforms. So he just might be willing to go to GenCon soon, though he'd probably be busy pushing his games.

Sunday, November 17, 2002
5:47 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
SnarfQuest D20 Preview PDF
Your friend and mine, the redoubtable Larry Elmore, has made the first few pages of each chapter of the upcoming SnarfQuest campaign book for D20 available as a PDF. Eat that, you minotaur twink!

5:44 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
A Game Of Thrones Gets Gamier
For those who don't fear the C in CCG (the first C, I mean), A Game of Thrones is some of the tastiest action that's come out this year, and there are some heavy promotional deals impending for the Sea of Storms expansion. You can get these fancy prints autographed by George R.R. Martin himself if you preorder a box of boosters at your local store, or you can go to a tournament and get a promo card and stuff. Details at the official site.

5:41 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
GW Plans Limited-Edition Talisman Core Set Reprint
That'll teach me never to listen to anything the guys at the GW retail stores say. In April 2003, you'll be able to get a facsimile of the old Talisman core set, not the expansions, for $75 or so. They plan one printing and one printing only. Dear GW: games are not Beanie Babies, you heartless bastards. You are just begging for a boycott here. (But no, they know us better than we know ourselves, and they know we are weak-willed and lust in our hearts.)

7:48 AM: Demian Katz says...
Bonga bonga bonga bonga bonga bonga bonga bonga bonga
Invisible City Productions has struck again with the 35th free game of the month. This time around it's Bonga Bonga, a simple game played with a bouncy ball and any flat surface. It's extremely simple in concept and it manages to avoid being entirely competitive or cooperative, but it involves a rubber bouncy ball and has several variants to try, so who are you to complain?

Friday, November 15, 2002
10:23 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
PvP leaves Dork Storm for Image
Dork Storm Press (the home of Dork Tower, oddly enough) has announced it will no longer be marketing or distributing PvP comic books. PvP, the creation of Scott Kurtz, is parting ways with the Dork crew on friendly terms, and will now be part of the Image Comics family. From this point on, Image will deal with future issues (with will start over at issue #1 next March), and Kurtz' Toonhound Studios will handle back issues and such. PvP issues #7 and #8 have been cancelled.

Dork Storm's not worried, though: it still has Dork Storm, Nodwick, Snapdragons, and next year's debut of Aaron William's PS 238.

Thursday, November 14, 2002
1:07 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Armada X: One Shot Till You Get Enough
The classic Michael Jackson disco track "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" is today's pop culture reference. It's been showing up in like half the things I read, ever since that karaoke night a couple days ago. I'm trying to kind of exorcise its power over me by mentioning it here. But anyway, there are those Three Sixty Publishing guys, and their XPG stuff and all that, and they have these OneShot MiniAdventure things. Fine idea, although the fact that you always hear gamers talking about the cool huge campaigns they would run, if only they had time, doesn't necessarily say to me that they'll buy something they can run - just that they want to run something they can't. Selling something that solves a problem people don't know they want solved can be difficult. ThreeSixty may be realizing this, as they've just released a "web enhancement" for their psionics-based OneShot, Armada X. The supplement features 24 new psych powers and some yummy new rules. (Mmmmm, rules.) Proof that any role-playing product will expand to fill all available space, or just that the force is love power?

4:21 AM: Demian Katz says...
Chronicles of Arborell Just Keeps Growing
Wayne Densley's Chronicles of Arborell online gamebook series seems to be doing quite well. Although the second volume of the adventure, the reportedly massive Earth and Stone, is still not yet complete, the original volume, Windhammer, has been receiving quite a bit of attention. It is now a permanent part of the National Library of Australia's Pandora Digital Archive, and a Czech translation is now underway! For those who can't read Czech and have already finished reading the first book of the series, a series of short stories fleshing out the series' world has been begun. The first of the Companion Series, a tale called "The Inquisitor's Lament," can be downloaded from the Chronicles of Arborell website.

4:04 AM: Demian Katz says...
WordSnakes Sighted at Penny Games
The Penny Games has just posted the rules to WordSnake, a new game for use with their Alpha Playing Cards. The game allows two to five players to simultaneously build words using their hands and a common pool of extra letters. If you like Scrabble but hate waiting for your turn, this is for you!

Wednesday, November 13, 2002
11:56 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Sword & Sorcery to bring back Gamma World
Just when you thought you'd never see Gamma World again, and began mourning the loss of your mutants, Sword & Sorcery Studios announces that it has gained the rights from WotC to bring Gamma World back in a new form. The new edition (and subsequent game line) will be for D20 Modern, and guided by Origins Award winner Bruce Baugh. Here's a taste of the press release:

The new edition of Gamma World completely reinterprets the classic sci-fi setting from the ground up. The elements remaining from the previous concept will have a new spin from a 21st-century perspective, and new ideas play a prominent role in the game’s premise – including details on genetic research, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence and more.
The return of the classic sci-fi RPG will begin with the Gamma World Player’s Handbook next summer, with additional supplements backing it up shortly thereafter.

4:05 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
WarMech background revealed by Mongoose
Over on the ENWorld Forums, an interesting preview has shown up. Mongoose Publishing posted this thread giving the game background for its upcoming WarMech RPG. The lengthy background preview describes Earth circa 2089, and parallels could be drawn between the grim future described and the BattleTech setting (though at this time, Mongoose has no plans for miniatures or minis rules).Due in March, the hardcover RPG will use the basic d20 System rather than d20 Modern, as Mongoose finds the core d20 rules to be more flexible and open to playing around with the mechanics.

3:02 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Tome of Horrors ships
Necromancer Games has shipped the Tome of Horrors, containing more than 400 monsters to harass and wound your characters with. As per the "First Edition Feel" Necromancer is always after, the book will give d20 players all the beasts from original AD&D that hadn't yet crossed over to Third Edition. Yes, that includes the demon lords. Have a look at the preview pages if you like, or just go camp out at your local store until the book arrives. Should be any day now.

2:26 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
DC HeroClix: Kickin' ass and Takin' names
According to the latest info from WizKids, the DC Heroclix CMG is an even bigger hit than some of us may have realized. According to today's press release, DC HeroClix: Hypertime "has sold more than one million starter sets and booster packs, which translates into more than five million figures sold within the first six weeks of release." I knew the game sold out extremely quickly at GenCon this year, but holy crap, Batman! That's a lot of figures. It'll be interesting to see how well the Crimson Skies CMG does without a big name property attached to it. Maybe they could swing a deal with the remaining members of Led Zeppelin...

1:37 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Wingnut Games SOAPs up
Wingnut Games recently announced a publishing agreement with Ferry Bazelmans to bring his SOAP roleplaying game to print. Recently released as a PDF, SOAP is a game of "soap opera mayhem." Yes, indeed. As the company blurb says, "your character is likely to be shot by ex-lovers, undergo a life-threatening operation, have multiple affairs, save a family member and get into a car crash all in the space of ninety minutes!" Perhaps even more interesting is the goal of revealing the secrets other characters have while protecting your own, scoring points along the way to determine the final winner. I wonder if catfights are worth anything, or if a trip to the Daytime Emmys comes into play. SOAP will see printed form in February 2003.

1:28 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Class of '99 on schedule for Buffy CCG
The cheerleader/vampire-fighter games just keep on coming. Score Entertainment has announced that Class of '99, the new Buffy CCG expansion, is at distributors now and should arrive in stores on November 18. Each Class of '99 booster will contain details on a contest to win more of the CCG, some DVDs, or even the X-Box Buffy game. With the new expansion, an active tournament scene, and the news of the Angel CCG coming next year, looks like Score will be busy for a while.

11:24 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Black Dawning Wolf at Mystic Eye
Mystic Eye Games as added the Black Dawning Wolf to the free downloads for Nightmares & Dreams. This latest N & D web enhancement is in addition to the Necrosphinx and the short scenario, The Crawling Terror, which can both be found on the Hunt: Rise of Evil downloads page. Of course, you already knew that because you've downloaded all the web enhancements for each MEG product, right?

Tuesday, November 12, 2002
11:32 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
No Gen Con For You!
According to the GenCon.com front page, "Due to reorganization Gen Con So Cal has been pushed back to April 2004 and a new show, Gen Con Games Spectacular, will take place in Amsterdam in November of 2003." First they make us drive, then they make us wait. *sigh* Are they high or something? (Insert Amsterdam joke here) Although they were supposedly going to have the California show in November, which would have been a bloody disaster, and now they've switched them. April is a great time for gaming on the West Coast.

Monday, November 11, 2002
9:22 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
ACD heads west
ACD Distribution is taking steps to improve its shipping times to the western side of the US by opening a new warehouse just a bit down the road from me, in Fresno, CA. The California warehouse will begin shipping out orders on December 2. Retailers will be able to continue ordering from their usual ACD sales rep, who will sort out which warehouse will send things out. I'd expect some improvement in shipping times of major product lines, or at least a cheaper shipping overhead for ACD.

Sunday, November 10, 2002
1:37 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Want More Playtest Reports?
This guy does a bunch of them here. Check out his reports on the Essen game fair in Germany.

Saturday, November 09, 2002
8:47 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
OgreCave Interview: Steve Jackson
Craig recently posed a few questions to gaming luminary Steve Jackson, and got some interesting responses. What does the long-time game designer and GURPS creator have to say about the state of the industry, or the future of Steve Jackson Games? To learn more, you'll have to read, buddy.

8:07 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
New Review: Game Mastering Secrets
No power outage today, so we've got stuff for ya. Joe has checked out Game Mastering Secrets: Second Edition from Grey Ghost Press, and tells all in his latest review. Is it exactly what the beginner GM in your circle of friends needs? Perhaps so. Find out inside.

Thursday, November 07, 2002
12:32 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Green Ronin bringing Bloody Bastards, and more
Green Ronin Publishing has posted some details of a few upcoming d20 releases, including the second RPG product to have "bastards" in the title in the past year or so (bonus points if you remembered the other one). The products GR announced were:

Of the three, Bastards & Bloodlines looks to be the freaky one. I mean, on the cover there's a half-mind flayer/half-drow chick unleashing a mystical beatdown on some sort of half-demon guy. The descriptive text mentions half-beholders as well, which I just can't get my mind to accept. Wouldn't they just be large floating bowls? Or maybe they could flip over and act as a protective dome/umbrella. Weird with a capital W.

12:07 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Way of the Witch ships tomorrow
Our buddy Michael Eckert, President of Citizen Games, has just informed us that Way of the Witch will ship out tomorrow to stores everywhere. This d20 sourcebook is one I've been looking forward to. Written by popular industry authors Jean Rabe, Janet Pack, Christina Stiles, and Megan Robertson, Way of the Witch will be packed with all the best crunchy bits: new spells, skills, feats and prestige classes. On top of that, the book will offer rules for group casting of spells, and provide background on witch types and covens. Sounds perfect for the game I'm running now, which needs a secret group of spellcasters to harass the party. Expect to see Way of the Witch before Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002
3:19 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Mega Mongoose
The guys at Mongoose Publishing have unleashed yet another website update with some interesting tidbits. The details of several new supplements are up, including these tasty morsels:

As if that weren't enough, a new web enhancement for Encyclopedia Arcane: Chaos Magic provides spells, prestige classes, and other nasty stuff Chaos Mages will enjoy. Finally, for those looking to laugh at the stereotypes of gaming (or for idiots looking for dating advice), a web enhancement for the infamous Slayer's Guide to Female Gamers is available as well. Those of you with no sense of humor, move along.

2:49 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Battle Cattle goodies available soon
Wingnut Games has informed us that Battle Cattle: Third Edition is at the printers and will arrive in retail stores everywhere in time for Christmas. OgreCave's own Colin Adams did the cover art, so buy it many, many times. The game of cattle combat simply wouldn't be complete without cow minis, so the final figure in the Official Battle Cattle Miniatures line will be available at the same time. The last figure, the Light Cow (lean beef, perhaps?) will complete your basic compliment of bovine warriors.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002
12:25 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Lift Off Playtest Report
Now that we've played more Fightball, and sampled this German real-time card game, I think I can safely say that the future of realtime card games looks a lot more like regular card games than it used to. We're playing enough Fightball that we may be heading for a full review soon, so: LiftOff has three to five planets on a front, much like BRAWL's Bases. You need to get blue resource cards onto your side of a planet, then a yellow Lift off card, then some red orders cards to actually do something with your resources (and those of the planet). So like Fightball, you have play order to keep track of. Unlike Fightball, you never play anything directly to another player's side or put any of your cards in amongst theirs. The game feels pretty isolationist because of this, but you do have to watch what your opponent does, because the two of you are both after the resources of the planet card. There's no sense throwing your Ore Collection card on a planet that's already stripmined, nor in Terraforming a planet that your opponent hasn't contributed to Terraforming as well. I've really only played this enough to know that, like Fightball (again), it's kinda more annoying than Falling or BRAWL but definitely promising. And $13 for two full decks of color cards and a game that goes to four players is most certainly not bad.

Monday, November 04, 2002
9:55 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Green Ronin Buys Dragon Fist RPG
Green Ronin announced today that Chris Pramas' baby, the sadly neglected Origins award nominee Dragon Fist is now Green Ronin property. WotC released it as a PDF, and it was reportedly a strong influence on 3rd Edition's Oriental Adventures as well. The soft-spoken and well-dressed Mr. Pramas plans to bring the Fist out in a new, paper edition for the 2003 con season. Here's the full press release.

New Review: Mall of the Dead
Matthew's taken a good look at the most recent Floor Plan pack from Steve Jackson Games, and given us his thoughts on it. Does the latest addition to the line, Mall of the Dead, hold up? To find out, have a look at what Matthew had to say.

5:42 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Chez Niche-Market!
Right, well, I missed the news about Chez Greek, a fraternity-themed standalone Chez Geek clone that's fully compatible with the original. Apparently, the SJG marketing department decided that not everyone who might enjoy a fun card game is a self-billed geek. It's currently listed as At The Printer. Yesterday they announced Chez Grunt, a much more interesting (in my opinion) rebranding, for February release. A lot of Magic cards got sold into military channels during the 90's; never underestimate the enlisted man's appetite for intellectual stimulation. Or silly card games. Also announced yesterday, or at least firmed up schedule-wise, are the other two Munchkin core books to accompany the D20 Munchkin Players Handbook.

12:19 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
MEG sends taste of Sands of Pain and Dry Lands
Mystic Eye Games was nice enough to send over some story teasers from two of MEG's D20 products: Interludes: Sands of Pain (in stores now) and Dry Lands (coming this Dec/Jan). From what Hal Greegberg told me a while back, Sands of Pain serves as the connection between the city of Bluffside and the Dry Lands. Here's the first part of the story teaser. Click the link at the end for the whole thing.

Designer Digest #1

Dune Wyrm, Cousin or Abomination?

When the Great Dragon taught our ancestors the secret arts of preservation, he meant to preserve us, his most perfect children, from the scourge of ice set upon us by the other gods. They were afraid that, should we continue to flourish as we had, we would spread across the world, dominating all races—that we would come to rule over their children. [...]
(click here to read the rest)

Sunday, November 03, 2002
11:53 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Confusion reduction at PI Games
Politically Incorrect Games has changed the name of its Action Exploits game to Active Exploits Diceless Roleplaying. The change was made in order to avoid having the game confused with Gold Rush Games' new Action! System. I'm all for reducing confusion.

12:01 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Cartoon Action Hour demo online
Spectrum Game Studios and Z-Man Games have announced a free demo of Cartoon Action Hour (the 1980s action cartoon RPG, for those of you playing our home game). There's two parts to the demo, the Playset and Action Pack #1, which can both be downloaded from Spectrum's freebie page. Here's what you'll be getting into:

The Playset presents all the core rules for playing Cartoon Action Hour. From action checks to combat, it's all right here.

Action Pack #1 gives you everything you need to play Cartoon Action Hour in the Warriors of the Cosmos series -- five customizable character templates, information about the setting, a complete episode (i.e., adventure), Game Mastering advice and stats for five exclusive all-new villains!
There are two more Action Packs planned, for the Transbots series (I bet there's more than meets the eye to those guys) and the Dark Brigade series, so watch for those in the months ahead. Meanwhile, get to playing, and watch for the print version of CAH to arrive early next year from Z-Man.

Saturday, November 02, 2002
6:27 AM: Demian Katz says...
Rio Grande Honored by Games Magazine, Brags in Newsletter
Not too surprisingly, Rio Grande Games has a respectable number of products listed in the Games 100 list from Games Magazine. They were so proud that they immediately released a new newsletter even though they don't seem to have any other news (the game descriptions are the same as the previous newsletter). Oh well, I guess I can't blame them; congratulations, guys!

Friday, November 01, 2002
4:03 PM: Craig Robertson says...
Oh the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-comin'...
Yes, my Limited Edition One-Eyed Jack came yesterday!!! Capable of laying down some heavy firepower (think DI Schmitt or Behemoth II on legs), it may seem a little pricey for a 300-point MechWarrior: Dark Age game. However, at 295 points, you can still afford a green Peasant Company. If you are still waiting for your mech, don't give up hope. They are out there.

Also, don't forget to download a current (Oct 16) copy of the MWDA FAQ. Like G.I. Joe used to say, "Knowing is half the battle."

1:41 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
NPR on D&D .RAM
Whoa! I missed this: NPR's Vikki Valentine did a piece on Dungeons & Dragons' 30th anniversary that aired last Saturday on Weekend All Things Considered. Haven't had time to listen yet, we'll see if I cringe.


 

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