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May 2003 Archive

« April 2003 | Main | June 2003 »

May 30, 2003

05:21 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
d20 Weekly Passes On

Steve Jackson Games has called a halt to its newest online subscription magazine, d20 Weekly. The man himself, Steve Jackson, made the announcement:

The current (May 28, 2003) issue of d20 Weekly will be the last. We're glad we tried it, and we published quite a few articles that we're very proud of, but in the end it just didn't find its audience. We'll put the effort, and the money it was losing, into other projects.
Jackson went on to describe the options current subscribers have, and to thank d20 Weekly editors Dale Donovan and Steve Miller, among others (for the full announcement, click "Read more"). The end of d20 Weekly might go a long way to prove that subscription-based d20 projects have too much competition from standard and free sources to be viable. But then again, both Dragon and Dungeon seem to be doing okay.

May 29, 2003

11:21 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
OgreCave Review: Enchantment

Continuing our Mongoose Publishing focus this week, Joe brings us a look at Enchantment: Fire in the Mind. Did the Fire burn and send Joe packing, or did it warm his soul as a gamemaster? Read on to find out.

06:32 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Limited Edition HeroQuest Announced

Issaries, Inc. has announced there will be a limited edition hardcover version of HeroQuest, available through Warehouse 23 as part of the Steve Jackson Games' line of limited edition books. Both the softcover HeroQuest and the limited edition are expected to ship by July 14, and the limited edition will have the same 288 pages of content as the softcover version, plus the following extras:

  • Custom binding
  • Exclusive blessing (huh?)
  • Glossy, heavy-weight paper
  • Bound-in satin bookmark
  • Original signature by Greg Stafford
  • Customer-selected rune printed on the front cover
The limited hardcover edition will be $100, and will only have enough copies printed to cover preorders (which will be taken through June 14). So, if HeroQuest is your sort of thing, and you want a special version of the new, streamlined rules, go select your rune and order a copy. Make Orlanth proud.

May 28, 2003

05:14 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
MEG Turns Three. Happy Birthday!

Mystic Eye Games has grown and grown over the last few years, and now MEG is turning three years old. To celebrate, a number of special deals are being offered through MEG's online store. If you've been falling behind on your Bluffside products, need some added resources for your Dragonstar campaign, or want to see what The Hunt: Rise of Evil is all about, now may be the time.

03:20 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Babylon 5 RPG Preview Posted

Mongoose Publishing has posted a 4 meg PDF preview of the Bayblon 5 RPG. Go get it, and see what the licensed game has in store for us.

03:14 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Denizens of Freeport Get New Citizen

In other free download news, Green Ronin has posted a second web enhancement for Denizens of Freeport. The PDF details rug and tapestry merchant Vartan Nazarian, a potentially helpful halfling for adventurers to know. The first web enhancement for Denizens, an index and character list, is still available as well if you haven't already seen it.

May 27, 2003

11:49 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
OgreCave Review: Slayer's Guide to Duergar

Mongoose Week continues with Joe's review of Slayer's Guide to Duergar. These dwarves of the deep caves made for an interesting read, and Joe's got the breakdown of what makes this d20 supplement work so well. We'll be picking up the pace with several more Mongoose product reviews as the week goes on, so be sure to check back later.

08:15 AM: Greg Kessler says...
Not a Gully Dwarf…But Close

Aside from the oft-abused 2nd Edition Gully Dwarf (my favorite class of all time) the Gnome is probably the most abused and ridiculed race in the history of gaming. If you were to make a Gnome Bard I can’t imagine getting any gaming done for all the jokes. Well, Wizards has posted the revised Gnome class for their newest installment of Revision Spotlight leading up to the infamous 3.5E. Check it out, I think the little pointy folk will finally get some props from their peeps.

07:47 AM: Greg Kessler says...
Eye of Terror Marches On

The Eye of Terror, this summer’s new Warhammer 40K campaign from Games Workshop has a new teaser movie. For the uninformed, the movie will give you just a peek at what is in store this summer. If you haven't clued into it yet, players involved in The Eye of Terror campaign will help determine the direction of the new 40K edition. This is your chance to help Chaos succeed and vanquish the cannibalistic emperor.

May 26, 2003

11:04 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Mongoose Week at OgreCave

We kick off a week long look at Mongoose Publishing today with a new interview. Find out what the men of Mongoose are up to and what'll be gracing your shelf in the months ahead. Also, Joe's provided our first review of the week, appropriately themed to accompany our Mongoose theme. The product in question this time is Mongoose's Illusionism: Smoke & Mirrors. Have a look, and check back tomorrow for more Mongoose-related goodness.

01:25 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Crimson Skies Playtest Report, or: Rules-bogeys at 12 o'clock

If you're accustomed to other WizKids combat-dial games, the CS Air Action rules are going to throw you some curve balls. Sadly, due to vague technical writing, those curve balls may hit you right in the unmentionables the way they did my test opponent, a MechWarrior fan. Here's what you need to go in knowing: The turn begins with both players rolling off for initiative. The winner sets speeds on all his planes, and the other player follows suit. Then, the rest of the turn consists of ten pulses, from Speed 10 down to Speed 1. Within each of those pulses, the initiative winner's planes moving at that Speed get assigned their moves first, then the other player's (the player who wins initiative each turn is called the Aggressor in the rules - they don't give a catchy name to the other player, whom we've chosen to call Bitch, for a nice A-and-B scheme, but that breaks if you go multiplayer - anyway!). Then the Aggressor's planes at that Speed reveal their moves, make them, and fire if they want. Then the other player's. Then you move on to the next lowest pulse, down to 1. Then roll initiative again to start the next turn.

Once you've got that straight, this is a fast, chaotic, incredibly fun game. Digging into each plane's stats reveals deep strategy if you want it. We didn't try the Aces game, which uses the big figures in the Ace Pack and looks a little like HeroClix. We might test that if we feel wealthy anytime soon, but we have a feeling most people are in this for the planes. It's a more innovative game, while still satisfying those base urges you can't deny.

Be careful taking the things out of the packages, though. I've already had to glue one.

May 24, 2003

03:29 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
They Have the Huevos

So, which game has the worst art I've seen in a while, but gets great laughs and good sales here at KublaCon? Pimps & Hos by Over the Edge Games. Nearly every gamer here has felt compelled to pick up and read a copy, if merely out of disbelief. Yes indeed, it's about what you think. Their other two card games, You Go to Hell and Who Really Has the Huevos? garner a bit of attention as well, but nowhere near the same level of jaw-dropping, "Oh god, someone made a game about that" type of response. Mike threw down a round while I was running the booth, and scored the requisite $5,000 needed to win first. Mike knows what Johns want.

02:50 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Live from KublaCon '03

Okay, first: wristbands suck. If anyone out there is planning a con, maybe you're thinking about those locking wristband things as a handy, secure way of replacing those nastily tradeable, fakeable badges. Don't do it. You will drive away any clientele who are not geeks and, hence, have other places to be over the weekend. I'm not gonna wear a long-sleeved shirt out to meet my date in the middle of summer, nor to a business dinner. People can slice them off and glue them, sure. But that defeats your clever plan anyway, doesn't it?

May 23, 2003

10:06 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
New Site Facilitates Death by Lupucide

Cell Entertainment has launched a new website that's rather slick. Check out the new minis they'll be releasing soon, order stuff if you like, and find out if Lupucide is even remotely like what I've implied. I'm thinking along the lines of "death by ravenous wolves," but you be the judge.

May 22, 2003

11:17 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
OgreCave Reviews: Light Speed & Shady Gulch

Another pair of reviews has arrived, ready for all to see. Matthew explores the outer reaches of Cheapass Games' Light Speed, co-designed by James Ernest and Tom Jolly. Meanwhile, Demian kicks at tumbleweeds as he reviews Shady Gulch from Politically Incorrect Games.

02:03 PM: Greg Kessler says...
I Guess the Wayans Brothers Need the Work

Gaming Report has posted a short message so shocking that I hesitate to even broach the subject (and I am not talking about the rumored Giuffria reunion). There are apparently plans to release a sequel to the rightly panned Dungeons and Dragons movie in 2004. That is about all that exists right now, perhaps if we can get The WB to reinstate the Wayans Brothers show we can head this thing off at the pass.


01:15 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Again with the MechWarrior: new expansion in August

MWRealms has quality discussion on Liao Incursion, a 124-piece expansion for MechWarrior due in August. Lovely new features include abilities you only get access to if you have some "faction purity" in your army (that's not a direct quote, but my interpretation of speculation). That's three MW expansions this year, people. When does it all come crashing down, is my question.

07:31 AM: Greg Kessler says...
So You Think you are an Artist

Well here is your chance to prove it. Green Ronin, publishers of Mutants and Masterminds have offered all aspiring fan artists the chance to be included in a new art gallery at This new gallery is just for fan generated art (so no worries about being shown up by any of those pesky pros in the Freelancers Forum at RPG.NET). So give your elbow a workout and see how you stack up. Are you a mutant or a mastermind (or the ever-popular mutantmind with cruel master)?

May 21, 2003

12:38 PM: Greg Kessler says...
Hey I just Killed Some Lizardmen Last Sunday

This seems to be a good week for Lizardmen. Not only did I personally kill some of the lovely beasts last Sunday, but Games Workshop is featuring the new Lizardmen on their site this week. Surf over to the GW site and you can check out designer’s notes from the real Lizard King Anthony Reynolds and the new Warhammer Fantasy gallery of Lizardmen Art (that’s pictures of Lizardmen and not paintings BY them).

08:50 AM: Greg Kessler says...
Godsend Agenda d20 Conversion

If the pierced Drow and Bugbear bankers of d20 Urban Arcana are just not your style, check out the goodies from Khepera Publishing home of Godsend Agenda. These nice folks have released a d20 conversion for the game to be compatible with the d20 Modern core. As an enticement they have posted almost a full third of the new 144 page book as a sample. Need some reasons to check it out? See if this pulls you in:

  • Creating superhuman characters with innovative point based powers purchased system.
  • Concise rules for gadgets and artifacts construction.
  • A complete deck of role-playing cards and paper miniatures.
  • Time line/ background information of the world of Godsend Agenda.
  • Clever new super heroic and godlike feats!
  • An Exciting new prestige class: The Young God.
  • Mysterious new races including the Angelos, Chimerans, and Elohim.

And all manner of killin’ for fun!

06:51 AM: Greg Kessler says...
Free Savage Worlds Adventure from Pinnacle

Pinnacle has released a free PDF adventure for its new Savage Worlds system. Dungeon Crawl is an adventure for 4-6 players (unfortunately not an introductory adventure). It's a short adventure, only seven pages, but hey its free... Whaddaya want!

May 19, 2003

02:14 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
New console titles based on MtG, White Wolf games

According to this article at ICv2, yet another electronic version of Magic: the Gathering was announced the big E3 video game expo thingy. This one will be for the Xbox. Whether the game, announced by what is now called Atari, will bear much resemblance to the card game is unknown. We just know it has 3D graphics. Hey, that's pretty cutting edge, or something... that... 3D. Also, the ICv2 piece says some stuff about White Wolf. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines will allow players "to increase their powers as they continue to play the game." Innovative! Also, there will be an Exalted game, which... might actually be okay in the console-games market, to tell the truth. Wuxia!

May 15, 2003

01:02 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Hey, I hear those MMPOPRORRPG things are "hep"

Atari (née Infogrames, née Hasbro Interactive) has co-announced with Wizards a massively multiplayer online game called, hold your breath for this one, Dungeons & Dragons Online. Hey, because there's hardly any competition in the Tolkienesque-online-fantasy-world space. They plan to ship in two years, just like Master Tools (cough). To be fair, the developer, Turbine Entertainment, has both Asheron's Call games under its belt, so some expertise is going into this. Click Read More for the gory details.

May 14, 2003

03:31 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
New candidate for world's scariest abstract board game

Rhythmomachy was created 1000 years ago and translated to English in the 16th century. Before the Rennaissance, its popularity allegedly rivaled that of chess. It's chess-like, or shogi-like maybe, but has more ways of winning, way too many numbers, and is generally a prime example of the historical heights of geekery. Also check out this contemporary take from an AI project at Carnegie-Mellon (PDF), the game's original English text, and this highly simplified version for Windows.

May 13, 2003

11:32 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
A savage journey into the joke I've used before

So we got this press release from Pinnacle, click Read More to read it. They're taking their Savage Worlds system, just released to apparently strong sales (I had a look at it... looks disappointingly ordinary, but I haven't looked that closely, to say nothing of actually playing) and doing a standalone game world with it. The world is a Tolkienesque utopia that suddenly faces some vague kind of threat. There's this other game called Midnight, and this one says it's gonna be dark... hmm, I wonder if it's gonna be similar.

May 12, 2003

11:34 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
OgreCave reviews: Dungeoneer & Ghost Stories

Another pair of reviews are being lobbed your way from the Cave Dwellers. First up, Mike gives us his take on Dungeoneer from Citizen Games, and sneaks in a few thoughts on dungeon exploration games in general. Demian sits down with Ghost Stories from Politically Incorrect Games, and provides a glimpse of what lies beyond the PDF's cover.

11:25 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Magic still casting expansions

Wizards of the Coast's new Magic expansion, Scourge, will be in stores in a couple of weeks (as per the press release, under the "Read More" link below). The set will contain the first card designed by players, Forgotten Ancient, the new "Storm" mechanic, and other nifty stuff. It all reminds me of when I first caught the CCG bug, way back when M:TG - Antiquities was out and the next nasty set was to be The Dark. I still remember some of the grudge match sessions, four or five players strong, and our buddy Brian winning a majority of the time. In talking with a younger gamer on Sunday, I realized how long it's been since I was actively pursuing CCGs, as he rattled off a few expansion names I simply hadn't remembered. I must be getting old.

But I could still crush him with my green deck.

May 10, 2003

07:44 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Alien recruiting drive

The guys at Alien Menace, the diabolical geniuses behind some of our favorite weird games, are looking to line up some playtesters for a new historical wargame they're working on. If you think you've got what it takes, head over to their playtest page for details and to apply.

May 09, 2003

02:16 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Interplay to do Exalted titles

So it seems that White Wolf liked how their previous arrangement with Interplay turned out, because the pale lupine has granted an agreement to "develop, publish and distribute interactive entertainment games based on the characters and fiction" from the Exalted RPG line. The full press release doesn't say much more, but this seems like a smart move. From the way reviewers at RPGnet clamor for Exalted products when they arrive at my office, there's definitely a solid fanbase.

May 07, 2003

11:26 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Player's Handbook spotted on TV

Yes, your eyes are fine; they weren't deceiving you while watching West Wing earlier tonight. In this GE commercial, you did indeed see the D&D Player's Handbook prominently displayed. And this time, the nerd gets the supermodel, too. You know what they say: the bigger the dice bag...

10:27 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Nyambe opens the Vault

Another fine Nyambe supplement will be coming soon from Atlas Games. This time the d20 System sweetness will be in the form of Ancestral Vault, a 96-page book of African-style equipment, special items, and mystical creations. A variety of other goodies will be lurking within the pages as well, including "rules for using natural medicine to create tattoos, ritual scars, and herbal concoctions." Guidelines for magical games, prayer beads, and an alternate set of magic item creation feats will also lend weight to the sourcebook. Expect to see Ancestral Vault in September for just under $20.

09:02 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Mutants & Masterminds website launched

Green Ronin has launched an official website for Mutants & Masterminds, simply titled There's already a villain archetype to download and an interview with the author of the upcoming M&M supplement, Nocturnals: A Midnight Companion. Check it out, true believers.

01:40 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
You should really put some pigs on top of each other

I should lay off the computer games for a while, but, I had to.

May 06, 2003

06:04 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Try it now! (10 seconds later...) Try it now!

If anyone tried to add the OgreCave Headlines box from the code on our new syndicate-us page, there was a dumb mistake in the include code, which I have now fixed. The result is much more pretty, although there's something to be said for minimalism.

04:54 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Summer Star Trek releases announced

Decipher has made an official announcement detailing its upcoming Star Trek RPG support products. These are basically the same books Ken Hite mentioned back at DunDraCon but didn't have specific release dates for: Star Trek: Aliens, Star Trek: Creatures, and Star Trek: Worlds. The first of these, Aliens, will be a 192-page hardback coming out later this month for $34.95. Creatures, also due this month, will be a 96-page book of beasts to give Kirk and Spock a run for their cred sticks ($24.95). Lastly, Worlds arrives in June with 192-pages of planets to explore (also $34.95). Other products are mentioned at the tail-end of Decipher's announcement (specifically, Through A Glass Darkly: The Mirror Universe, The Klingon Empire: Blood and Honor, and Peacekeepers: The Guide to Soldiers & Diplomats), but no details are given.


04:32 AM: Demian Katz says...
Rio Grande Games Update

Rio Grande Games has just e-mailed out their latest newsletter (though it won't be on their webpage until next week). Several new games are described; due out later this month are Message to the Czar, a game in which players compete to be the first to get a courier to the czar; King's Breakfast, an inexpensive card game in which players banquet with the king but must be careful not to be overtly greedy; and Pick Picnic, another food-related game featuring a new spin on the familiar "fox and geese" theme.

May 05, 2003

12:43 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
New Reviews: Death & Hardnova

At the start of a new week, we've got two more reviews for you. Merwin stares deep into the abyss with Death: Guardian at the Gate by Dark Quest Games. As if that weren't enough, Demian provides the scoop on Hardnova from Politically Incorrect Games. Have a look at both and see if our staff's thoughts urge you to spend your entertainment dollars, or save them for a video rental.

May 03, 2003

10:33 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Gen Con Europe to split into little babies?

Nothing useful is at the Gen Con Europe site, but rumors are circulating that, rather than one large Europe show, there will be some smaller shows in various European locales, and that the main show is off for at least two years. GR has a notice with Peter Adkison's name on it, but nothing official has made it to the (always lackadaisically updated) Gen Con site.

May 01, 2003

11:48 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
More Action! in OGL

Gold Rush Games announced today that it has released Action! System Core Rules version 1.1 under the Open Game License. Now folks who want to release products under the OGL have an alternative to the D20 System. Gold Rush also announced the official Action! System Trademark License, allowing those who take up the torch of Action! to use its trademarks on products that contain open content based on the rules. All this info and more can be yours with a quick visit to the Action! System site.


11:12 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
New Reviews: Soap & Bloode Island

Two new reviews are up, themed around suds and surf, respectively. First Cedric gives us his take on Soap: The Game of Soap Opera Mayhem from Wingnut Games. Then Demian takes us hard astern to Deep7's Blood Island XPG. Will both games get rave reviews, or would our reviewers prefer they walk the plank? Read 'em to find out.

10:04 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Get yer Pre-Painted Sphinx here!

Or rather, get it here. Pretty nifty for Egyptian minis scenarios, and it's destroyed nose is even true to the original. That's important, 'cuz those French troops can travel to any fictional world to use the Sphinx as target practice.

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