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April 2003 Archive

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April 30, 2003

11:40 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
I get to alpha test Puzzle Pirates and you don't

The last time I was this excited about an upcoming online game, it wasn't really about anything. This time, it's about pirates, and since I basically look like one, well, you can imagine how I feel. Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates is the full title of the game, it'll be available for Windows, Mac and Linux, and it'll maybe ship this year even. (But maybe not.) In addition to a sophisticated economic system (you know, like in Pimps at Sea), you keep your ships going and your swords clashing by playing various puzzle games inspired by Tetris, Bejeweled, Alchemy and the like. I am rapidly becoming a world-class bilge pumper, thanks to my mad simple-pattern-recognition skills. w00t - uh, I mean, arrrr or something! Arrrr!

11:33 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Leaden rhetoric

Somebody sat there and sculpted that. Probably a grownup.

April 29, 2003

11:20 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Neato: miniatures reference for gamers

"This site is the largest reference for lists and pictures of Fantasy and Science Fiction miniatures, whether used for wargaming, role-playing or simply for show. We do not sell anything nor are we associated with any retailer or manufacturer."

03:26 PM: Demian Katz says...
Mr. Buckethead Continues Battling Evil

Mr. Buckethead, the superhero with a bucket for a head, now has a gamebook series thanks to Cybergecko, the company responsible for Super Giant Monster Showdown. In the Mr. Buckethead Adventure Game Series, readers wander from comic book panel to comic book panel (and sometimes from book to book) gathering items and companions and fighting dangerous foes. Two volumes are currently available and two more are currently in the works. Gamebook fans and appreciators of strangeness and rubber monsters should have lots of fun here; for more information, check out my review of the first two adventures over at Demian's Gamebook Web Page.

12:47 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
OgreCave has no comment

Fantasy Sex Roleplaying Game Releases October 2003. Given that there seems to be no corporate website, maybe it's a prank. Well, I guess that's a comment.

April 27, 2003

10:13 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Online tools for your dead-CCG obsession

CCG Workshop is an online purveyor of the cardboard crack of the past, and allegedly the future. Games currently playable online include DoomTrooper (if I'd known, I might not have spent five dollars on those five pounds of cards over the weekend), Wildstorms, BattleTech CCG, Kult, NetRunner (yaaaaay!), Shadowrun CCG, and the deadest of them all: Mythos. Those of you who don't share my obsession with the lamented and/or lamentable CCGs of our history might be interested in the extensible gaming engine that allows for original, new games. They may be walking the line between good and evil when it comes to copyright, even though the games they're serving up thus far are no longer in print - and it's ambiguous as to whether they'll be charging for their service in the future. So download now or frown loads later.

April 25, 2003

05:30 AM: Demian Katz says...
Fighting Fantasy and D20 Combine

Myriador, a new D20 publisher, has made arrangements with Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone to adapt their Fighting Fantasy gamebooks into D20 modules. The first two titles are The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and Caverns of the Snow Witch, and other classics like Deathtrap Dungeon should be on their way. The initial titles were unveiled at Gen Con Europe, where Steve Jackson (the British one) himself played his first D20 game. More information on this can be found in a press release posted yesterday.

April 24, 2003

01:54 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
EverQuest II CCG no longer just rumor

Sabertooth Games legitimized the rumor we've been hearing for weeks now: the company has signed a deal with Sony Online Entertainment Inc. to create an EverQuest II Collectible Card Game. Tentatively titled Guild Wars, the game will pit players against each other as guilds fighting for prestige on a server. The CCG will hit stores a month before EQ2, providing a peek at the new incarnation of the most popular MMORPG in the world.

While some tabletop gamers might see this as the first true sign of the apocalypse, I think it'll be interesting to see if Sabertooth can pull it off. I mean, the EverQuest RPG (tabletop version) from Sword & Sorcery isn't exactly gathering crowds, and a couple years back, the Age of Empires CCG was a tremendous flop. But as long as a session of the EQ2 CCG doesn't cause any screams of "Train to zone!", I'll give it a try.


01:52 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Columbia Games selling direct only

"After 30+ years, we have concluded that our products can best be sold directly. To improve product output and customer service, all Columbia Games products will henceforth be sold ONLY by mail order, telephone, or via" This is the kind of shakeup I was talking about when Games Workshop announced their policy change. For those who have other things to do with their brains than remember what everyone publishes (I envy you), this means that Wizard Kings, several other block-system wargames and historical games like the recent Hammer of the Scots, and the Harn line of roleplaying/D20 stuff will be off store shelves, effective pretty much immediately. If you're serving a niche within a niche such as wargamers, maybe it just doesn't make sense to sacrifice any margin to distribution anymore. Maybe it's distributors, not retailers, who should be sweating over a possible trend here.

Oh, and uh, they're having a celebratory 20%-off sale till the end of the weekend. Yay for spending money!

April 21, 2003

06:43 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
And if you complain once more, you'll meet an army of sheep

"In Settlers of Catan, you get to build villages, cities, roadways and even armies. But in one of the most glaring oversights in the history of boardgaming, you cannot attack using your armies!"


03:24 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Hasbro might not be (as) screwed

Hasbro Posts Earnings of Penny Per Share, healthily beating analysts' prediction of a 6-cent loss. Hasbro CEO Alan Hassenfeld says these results are "gratifying when considering many factors that could have worked against us, including [...] the substantial reductions in Star Wars revenue". Maybe the Star Wars RPG and TCG will be trading hands (again) in the next couple of years? Wouldn't surprise me.

April 20, 2003

09:12 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
First casualty of GW's new Internet scorched-earth policy

"Hobby Workshop will cease to exist at the end of the month." We-hell now!

April 18, 2003

03:34 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Also not dead: old school miniatures company

I have it on good authority that these folks competed with Ral Partha back in the day. I confess I didn't know offhand who they were, and I still can't figure out what RAFM is supposed to stand for. (Requisition A F%@#ing Miniature?) They do appear to have big plans, though, and have a bunch of "Under Construction" pages for games that appear mostly to be historical. So that might turn into news eventually for those of us who aren't old enough to exclaim, "Oh my God, they're still in business!" And if you are old enough for that, well... hi.

03:25 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Arrh, mateys, he ain't dead after all

It's reasonable to be a little confused as to why this press release is circulating the news sites. Until you know that one of the developers of this dark-horse massively multiplayer online game is Unknown Armies developer John Tynes! That's right: as a consolation prize for the Delta Green PC game not finding a publisher, he got hired instead. (Note: if you think it actually worked that way, you're dumb) Your world is understandable once again! You're welcome!

April 17, 2003

12:08 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
HeroClix and WizKids get GEMs

WizKids and HeroClix got some recognition this week from Diamond, the big boys of comic book distribution. The GEM Awards, which are voted on by retail store owners, named WizKids 2002 Game Publisher of the Year, and HeroClix 2002 Game Product of the Year by the GEM Awards. What does this mean? The game sold like hotcakes, and retailers appreciate that.

April 16, 2003

05:21 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
OGL casualty due to FFE oversight

Once again, there's proof that conforming to the Open Gaming License is serious business. At GenCon 2001, the WotC legal team checked on all the d20 products and forced some folks to make changes right then and there. Now, Fast Forward Entertainment has been forced to make a public statement (see the "Read more" link for the whole thing) and even destroy one of their products. Apparently, four products were in violation of the license. Rings of Power, Dungeon World, and Dungeon World: Secrets of the Enemy Capital all made reference to various gods (Lolth, Gruumsh, etc) that are reserved as Product Identity of WotC. Enchanted Locations: Crypts & Tombs "contains material from Wizards of the Coast product Monster Manual II without an independent license from Wizards of the Coast" which is also a major no-no, and FFE goes on to state that "any copies of Enchanted Locations: Crypts & Tombs in Fast Forward's possession have been destroyed." Yikes. Well, if any copies of Crypts & Tombs shipped to stores before the destruction order was given, I bet they jumped in price.


10:45 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Yes, GW appears to actually be cutting off online retailers

A retailer reports on the call he got from a Games Workshop VP. He brings up at the end of his post the fact that there really isn't that much legal precedent for this. But leaving that aside for a second, suppose the cascade effect he also predicts takes place. If all major publishers cut internet retailers off, would it trigger a mass revolt in the hobby? Or just a mass not-having-enough-money-anymore? Or would we all just keep buying everything because we're hopeless addicts who like to talk big about boycotts?

April 15, 2003

02:34 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
GW nixes all online sales?

GR has gotten some anonymous tips that Games Workshop will be pulling their products from anyone who sells online, even if they have real-world retail stores as well, as of July 15. GW would probably pull their products from anyone who isn't them if they thought they could get away with it; they can probably only get away with this because online discounters are so universally loathed. I mean, how long until WizKids does this? However, if the rumor that GW will cite "Intellectual Property" as the reason for this action, then... wow. The term will have officially become meaningless. I can start using it as an excuse to stiff waiters on their tip or something. "Sorry, can't pay my taxes. Intellectual property. I'm sure you understand."

April 14, 2003

12:49 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
OgreCave Interview: Privateer Press

Joe's on an interview rampage, having brought us another Q&A session to peruse. This time, Matt Wilson of Privateer Press provides the answers to Joe's inquiries. What's next for the Iron Kingdoms? What about WarMachine? You'll have to read the interview for more.

01:27 AM: Craig Robertson says...
When You Care Enough to Hire the Very Best...

Ground Zero Games has announced the release of the official Hammer's Slammers miniatures line. Approved by David Drake himself, you can see the minis here. In addition, check their main catalog for matching hovertanks and combat cars.

April 12, 2003

01:16 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
From the "my guy kills your guy!" department

This here press release claims that these color-printed, plastic sheets where you punch out the deals and make little models have already sold 40 million units. So, the logical thing to do with them is hire Dan Verssen and make a game. You know, given that you can apparently make fighter jets and cool jeeps attack dinosaurs and race cars, this may have the 7-year-old male demographic nailed.

01:11 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Look at me, I found a miniatures weblog

You might wanna bookmark this fellow if you're into either minis gaming or just cool leads. He claims a focus on free and/or independent rulesets, too, which is always interesting.

01:08 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Pinnacle releases Savage Worlds

Back when this was announced, I talked about how great it was that someone saw how much time it was taking to roleplay and intended to do something about it. I kind of lost track of Savage Worlds in the time intervening, but, well, here it is. They also now say it can work as miniatures rules as well, which... raises questions for me, since I tend to think "slow roleplaying system = D20 = miniatures game." But hey, we need faster miniatures rules too, and maybe they're just saying this to nail what looks like a stronger market at the moment.

April 10, 2003

11:48 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Citizen goes Island Hopping

The Citizen Games website has the cover art posted for a new board game, Pirates of the Caribbean. All we know at this point is that it will be for 2-4 players, should be available this summer, and the same artist that did Dungeoneer will do the cover (Thomas Denmark, for those keeping score). I'm all for more board games, as long as there's no Disney ride tie-in.

01:32 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
OgreCave Interview: Otherworld Creations

Joe brings us another interview today, this time with the folks at Otherworld Creations. What is The Secret of Zir'An? Just what posessed the company to write a blaxploitation d20 game? Find out inside.

01:20 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Steel yourselves


April 09, 2003

01:40 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Shadowrun Duels site lifts the kimono

As part of their newly launched site for the world's first (plus or minus one) action figure game, WizKids has helpfully provided a page that explains just a bit of what the hell you're supposed to do with them there figures. I'm still a little unclear on how the measuring tape for your figure functions as a damage track - isn't that what the dials are for?

April 08, 2003

05:28 AM: Demian Katz says...
Grey Star Arrives at Project Aon

At long last, Project Aon, the official site for free Joe Dever gamebooks, has released the first book of the World of Lone Wolf spin-off series. If you're looking for a slight change of pace from the regular series, this is a fun one. You can find the book here, and if you're interested, you can also find my reviews of the series (with pictures of the original book covers) here.

April 06, 2003

12:57 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Give me some sugar, baby

Due to high demand, Eden Studios has already begun taking preorders for both the Army of Darkness RPG (due out in October) and the card game (due in November). I, for one, am not surprised. Details on the card game are finally available through Eden's online store, which states the following:

Army of Darkness Card Game
Suggested Retail Price: $20.00 (US)
Order Code: EDN6310
ISBN: 1-891153-19-6
Designed by George Vasilakos
Release Date: November 2003

Find the Necromonicon. Recite the passages. Dispel the evil.

Simple, right? Take 2 to 4 of your "friends" and try to save the world, while trying to stop each other from doing it first. With awesome images and quotes from the movie, this fast paced game can be played in 30-45 minutes and will bring much laughter to a dull evening.
Hey, anything Ash is in will be on my Christmas list. Those who disagree can talk to my boom-stick.


11:39 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Set your VCRs, CAH is here

The print version of Cartoon Action Hour, brought to you by the fine folks at Z-Man Games and Spectrum Game Studios, has shipped to stores. Many gamers bought the PDF version around a year ago, allowing them to adventure within their favorite 1980s action cartoon. So, what does the new print version offer that makes it worth buying? Nearly 100 more pages of optional rules, source materials, campaign seeds, and other cartoon goodness, all for just $24.95. I haven't tried either version yet, but from looking through the print version, CAH looks like a keeper. I'm still mildly intrigued by the thought of using this for roleplaying the old D&D cartoon, or Pokémon, or perhaps the Rankin-Bass edition of Lord of the Rings, with all the rotoscoping. Yes, I'm sick, I know.

April 04, 2003

02:46 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Crisis on Infinite RPGs

Hero Games and Guardians of Order just announced plans to publish a "shared-universe crossover adventure" for their respective superhero RPGs, Champions and Silver Age Sentinels. The crossover book, Reality Storm: When Worlds Collide will debut in late July at GenCon Indy. According to the release, "Dr. Destroyer and Kreuzritter team-up to conquer both universes! The heroes from Champions' Millennium City and Silver Age Sentinels' Empire City must join forces to save their worlds, but can they put aside their differences to work together or will they destroy each other first?" Ah, the eternal crossover conundrum. Naturally, Reality Storm will feature detailed system conversion notes for switching between Tri-Stat and the HERO System. Ultimately, Hero Games will step up and do the publishing. My question is this: will the cover be some version of Superman holding a dead Supergirl in his arms? And if not, why not?


10:54 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Look! A monkey!

Get it, 'cause um, diversions? Politically Incorrect Games brings you genreDiversion Quick Fix Games, "[q]uick-play rules with specific genres for times when you need a break from the extended campaign". You know, it's odd how this is a really good idea and a really tough sell at the same time - I think I've written before about how most RPGers need games that don't require huge numbers of players, huge amounts of time, or rely on consistent attendance. Most gamers don't want to admit any of this, though, and have stars in their eyes for the Big Campaign. Maybe these games would be more attractive if they weren't described and packaged like game worlds rather than one-shots - "HardNova Space Opera," "Ghost Stories"? Those sound like whole settings. Yeah, I know, they're supposed to be extensible into whole settings. It's a fine line to walk, I guess.

April 03, 2003

03:00 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Games Unplugged formally gives up any remaining claim of independence

Here's the release on GamingReport, nothing's up yet on the mag's site or at FFE. Funny part is, GU's content has all been written by various publishers' marketing departments for so long that this may actually improve the content. I think we can say with confidence now that the net has rendered independent gaming mags on paper sort of untenable. Maybe ENWorld's effort will prove that wrong, though, although from what little I've seen of it so far, it seems to take after fan publications, putting it in a somewhat different class.

April 01, 2003

11:45 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Mongoose proceeding with due speed

I'm thinking maybe they should change the company name to Monsoon Publishing, or something else that equally conveys the rapid publishing pace Mongoose has managed to build up to. Don't get me wrong: I like having more products I can select from. During the heyday of TSR, I bought far too many boxed sets and adventures. It just seems that a guy could get overwhelmed by the advancing wave of gaming materials. This month alone, we'll be seeing the following:


11:13 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
The Forge enters terrible twos

Clinton R. Nixon from over at The Forge just dropped us a line with this special announcement. Normally, I'd give you the abridged version, but for this special occasion, I'll let his words speak for themselves:

The Forge, a community website for the promotion and creation of creator-owned role-playing games, is about celebrate the second birthday of its newest incarnation. On April 3, 2001, our forums opened for business under the direction of our administrators, Ron Edwards and Clinton R. Nixon, and have been an active site for role-playing game creation on the Internet ever since, with great games like Dust Devils, Trollbabe, Universalis, Donjon, and The Pool emerging from discussions there.

For four days, from April 3 to April 7, 2003, we're letting our hair down. With a special, no-registration-needed, all-topics-open Birthday Forum, we invite anyone who has ever been interested in the Forge or role-playing game creation to come, ask questions, and celebrate with us. Hope to see you there
Well, you heard the man. Crack open your schedule and pencil in the Forge's b-day party. Be sure to tell Ron how cute Diana Jones is, too.

01:44 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
James Ernest steals Origins Awards trophies from foundry, speeds away in Ferrari stolen from Peter Adkison

April Fools postings are hella lame.

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