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June 2003 Archive

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June 30, 2003

03:11 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Origins 2003 aftermath: the dirty details

Anthony Valterra showed me a 36-page-or-so preview of the upcoming 192-page Book of Erotic Fantasy. From that small sample, I can say that the book seems about 50% relatively lame fan service (a Command Orgasm/Masturbation spell, with color photo illustration. Did the world need that? I'm thinking not), and 50% fairly interesting, more sophisticated stuff. The prestige classes are where a lot of the interest is - Anthony told me that co-author Gwen Kestrel is very big on classes that interrelate (quite appropriate for a sex book). The Dominator and Submissive prestige classes have abilities that complement each other, for example. There's some sort of mage that can burn actual ability stats to achieve some effects, and s/he does well paired with a "sacred prostitute" class that restores ability scores. I asked if the sacred prostitute gave you 50 hit points if you got her alone in a van, but he didn't get it.

12:33 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Price tag for WizKids: $29.5MM

More details on the WizKids deal and the rest of Topps' financial picture.

June 29, 2003

10:36 AM: misuba says...
Live from Origins 2003: Samurai Communist Assault!

When I saw the Kanji and the black and red motif, I thought Tenjo had a booth again and got all excited, but instead, it's another intriguing board game with a samurai theme. Senjutsu, from a startup publisher called Salvador Games, puts your samurai guys on little octagonal bases that stack up, and have different icons printed on the side that faces you. These are items: staves, bows and arrows, big boots representing martial arts... they determine how the piece moves as well as what attacks it can make. There's also the piece with a scroll on it, which is what your opponent wants to steal. It's Stratego gone so wrong it's right. This is one of the more exciting "new little board games" I saw, but why do all the Japanese-themed games use the same colors on the box? Nothing wrong with the colors, I'm just saying, is there something historical that I'm not aware of? 'Cause Zendo (the new boxed edition of which doesn't quite have a web page I can find) looks kinda all Japanese, even though it's just the most brilliant and innovative abstract game you'll see this year, and it uses green and white. So hey.

10:27 AM: misuba says...
Live from Origins 2003: we can make a game out of anything, even pickles

Couple of quick D20 bits:

OtherWorld Creations has Mercenaries: Born of Blood (I think that's the title) new at the show; it includes rules for making a mercenary out of virtually any creature in the Monster Manual. I'm thinking shambling mound.

Mystic Eye has a new Foul Locales book, Behind the Gates, about rural villages and hamlets and stuff. If there ain't no Starbucks, it's a foul locale indeed. They also have Tarot Magic, an intriguing idea if you ask me; they have stuff like prestige classes for tarot mages and all the surrounding bits for a magic system. Whether they have rules that actually require use of a tarot deck, I didn't ask. No stats for the major arcana.

10:23 AM: misuba says...
Live from Origins 2003: the rock precedes the roll

Played Creepy Freaks. Some folks don't know that John Kovalic did some of the better character designs for this game, as well as Bazooka Joe-like comics for the boosters. I was surprised - this game has real meat to it, while still being totally approachable for its target market. Wiseman did a smart thing: he used the new square base for notating what the figures can do, not just how well they can currently do it. The clicky base is still there, but you don't turn the base, you turn the figure; fully healed is facing forwards, "dead" (actually "scared" and leaving the board) is facing backwards. The clicks along the way are still hit points, but little icons will show up in some of them, representing types of attacks that the monster has become more vulnerable to at that click. Those types of attacks are also things that the monsters have in the corner of the square base, notating something they can do to others. The arrows (sort of) on the base show which directions the figure can move or attack in; a die roll determines how far. Basically, it's a chess variant. A chess variant they'll sell tens of thousands of; James Ernest must be pissed. I enjoyed it a lot and will be picking up a starter, although boosters are a little rich for my blood. ($5 for two figs: day-amn. Did I mention I got a box of Gregory Horror Show boosters for 75% off? Those figs are badass.)

10:15 AM: misuba says...
Live from Origins 2003: a spy in the house of Wa

Yes, I actually did go to the WotC booth and look at the D&D3.5 books. I'm not intimate enough with D&D to be able to say what's changed - I can verify they still have lots of rules in them - but the new covers are nice. Also for sale at the show, and I don't think it's been in stores yet, is the Dragonlance campaign setting book. Purple cover: weird. Didn't get a close look at that either, because I was too busy grilling a Wizards rep about D&D Miniatures. The "Entry Packs" - why do they have to come up with their own damn names for everything? - will have quick start rules that make use of the point values on the figure bases, and possibly do something interesting with the alignments thereon as well. Will the full rules be a separate book? Well, says the rep, there's no "will be" about it - the full rules for D&D Miniatures are... D&D3.5. Whether this constitutes some kind of admission on WotC's part that D&D3 is a skirmish miniatures game at heart is left as an open question for the more cynical among you. Would I ever think that, oh gosh, no. I believe the planned release date he told me was October.

June 28, 2003

07:09 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Live from Origins 2003: see, there are these dots, and they hack enemies

Decipher announced this game what, a week ago? And they're running demos here at the show. This newest salvo in the .hack multimedia assault (anime TV, anime features, PS2 games and now a CCG) has gameplay that will be familiar to players of, well, anything in the medium, but most explicitly the LotR game. For those unfamiliar with the .hack storyline, .hack//ENEMY is about a virtual reality experience gone horribly wrong. (I mean, come on, were you expecting it to do something else?) I was kinda intrigued by the fact that "mana" (it's not called that) is basically whatever has that icon that you can see, anywhere on the board besides your discard pile. That introduces a lot of strategy, but not being a player of Decipher's other stuff, I can't say how new it is. The rest is extremely straightforward, without feeling dumb. Although I still think you could make a pretty quality game about all those power pills Pac-Man's eaten over the years coming back from the grave to exact justice.

June 27, 2003

07:41 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Live from Origins 2003: Turns out that Vanna-ing is a career with a future

A little late-breaking news from the awards ceremony: Nicole Lindroos has been named the new chair of the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design. Congratulations, Nic!

05:23 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
2003 Origins Awards winners

I was going to be all smooth and post the Origins Awards results live as they happened from the ballroom, but you can't get signal in the ballroom... I'd have to sit in the hallway to be online. Well, OK.

Game Aid/Accessory: Gamemastering Secrets, Gray Ghost Press
Play-By-Mail: Button Men Web Page, Cheapass Games
Periodical: Dork Tower
Game Fiction (Short): "Enemy Healer," Mage Knight Collectors Guide
Game Fiction (Long): Ghost War (MW Dark Age)
Game Fiction (Graphic): Dork Tower #19, "Understanding Gamers"
Vanguard Award: Diceland, Cheapass Games
Historical Mini Series: Crusader Range, Griffin
Historical Mini: Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, Noble
Historical Mini Rules: Kampfgruppe Commander, Sovereign Games
SciFi/Fantasy Mini Series: MechWarrior: Dark Age, WizKids
SciFi/Fantasy Mini: Marvel HeroClix Sentinel, WizKids
SciFi/Fantasy Mini Rules: LotR The Two Towers, Games Workshop
Hall of Fame: Warhammer
Vanguard Award: Warchon, Z-Man Games
Card Game Supplement: Munchkin 2, SJG
CCG: Game of Thrones, Fantasy Flight
Traditional Card: Star Munchkin, SJG
Historical Board: Sid Meier's Civilization, Eagle
SciFi/Fantasy Board: Marvel HeroClix, WizKids
Board Game Expansion: HeroClix Clobberin Time, WizKids
Abstract Board: Kingdoms, Fantasy Flight
Hall of Fame: John Kovalic
Graphic Presentation, Board: MK Dungeons, WizKids
Graphic Presentation, Book Format: Nobilis, 2nd Edition
Graphic Presentation, Card: Chez Greek
Illustration: MK Dark Age Starter Box Covers, WizKids
Hall of Fame: David "Zeb" Cook
Roleplaying Supplement: Celtic Age, Avalanche Press
Roleplaying Adventure: City of the Spider Queen, WotC
Roleplaying Game: Lord of the Rings, Decipher
Game of the Year: MechWarrior Dark Age, WizKids

For further details on presenters, acceptance speeches, and outfits, click Read More.


05:04 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
OgreCave Review: Highthrone

Cedric's survived his finals, and now that he can concentrate on more important matters, has sent in his review of Highthrone by Mongoose Publishing. What grade did he bestow upon the intriguing city supplement? I ain't tellin'. Find out for yourself.

01:33 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Live from Origins 2003: speaking of mad kung fu skills...

Here at the show: Munchkin Fu. Day-amn. The money train keeps a-rollin' for the Munchkin franchise. This one looks especially sweet to combine with the other two.

01:29 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Live from Origins 2003: You can change the ending!

Testament: Roleplaying in the Biblical Era is the big new deal from Green Ronin. It's the first book in their Mythic Vistas line, which is all d20 settings in a not-typical-D&D-at-all-but-still-fantasy vein. The next book in the line, Skull & Bones, is in layout hell right now, but Mindshadows, about southeast-Asian psionicists with mad kung fu skills, ships in July. Also pretty new at the Green Ronin booth is Fang & Fury, the Interlock book for vampires and people who love them. They say they'll have the traditional card game Torches & Pitchforks ready in, appropriately, October.

01:17 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Live from Origins 2003: stock update

Diet Evil Games is doing this thing kind of like Flying Buffalo's Origins Metagame last year, wherein one buys some play-stock in various participating game companies, and participating in those companies' events will get them more stock, et cetera. People are only allowed to make one trade a day, because the Diet Evil booth wouldn't be operational if they were always on Excel doing the math. So, here is the one price update so far at the show: Steve Jackson Games was Thursday's biggest gainer, up $5 to $44 a share, and the highest valuation at $66 is Darcsyde Productions, which does Elric and Stormbringer supplements. Er, the starting valuations were determined randomly. That explains it.

01:10 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Live from Origins 2003: No playing volleyball with Hamtaro!

A couple of quick bits:

If anyone at the show is reading this, you might want to go to the booth that's selling all the old booster boxes? With the pink tags on them? Yeah. They have Z-G figures for $5 each. Buy all three and check out an ass-kicking game.

Kenzer and Company have the first D&D3.5 supplement, except that they donít have it. They do expect it to be out a couple weeks before Gen Con, as well as a week or so before the actual D&D3.5 books.

11:58 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Live from Origins 2003: When dark twilight creations go to hell

Twilight Creations have yet another When Darkness Comes set at the show, as well as Dante's Inferno, a boardgame about scraping sinners out of the ninth circle of hell and heading in to fight Lucifer. Each tile on the board has a color that corresponds to a resource, which you can use to do stuff like move to the next circle of hell, place new minions (I think), or move your opponent's minions(!!!). Overall it sounds like Zombies-style fun in a Zombies! kind of timeframe. They also showed me a party card game - but wait, it gets interesting - called Say What, designed to be played during ordinary party conversation. This is a major survival characteristic for games for non-gamers, and will be selected towards pretty strongly, I think. It's one to watch when it lands in September.

11:54 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Live From Origins 2003: Simpsons CCG rears its bucktoothed yellow head

Saw a Simpsons TCG demo. The cards are simple, have non-lame quotes on them (not hugely exciting ones either from what I saw), and seem to be aiming for the middle-ground fan, rather than for Simpsons otaku. There is a vague similarity to the Looney Tunes design, but don't be frightened. They've fixed it, from what I can tell. Scenes have attributes, like "Brainy, Idiot, Oddball" for "The Android's Dungeon," and a minimum number of characters it needs to be completed. Play characters on the scene that have at least one attribute that matches one on the scene, and you can complete the scene, but everyone who played characters that match might get points for it. There's also a number of characters needed to trash the scene - characters who have no matching attributes. The core is simple enough that a lot of your strategy is in the exception cards - but the ones I've seen are bigger and dumber than I'd like. You have cards that prevent someone from trashing a scene, for example, but I didn't see a lot that might give you finer-grained control, like removing or adding an attribute to a character, or switching characters between scenes. I dunno, that doesn't mean they're not there. Again, the cards and rulesheets look plenty final but the game is out this fall.

11:52 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Live from Origins 2003: why is it hotter in Oakland than here?

Upper Deck is showing the SpongeBob SquarePants CCG, which looks about like youíd expect for a game where youíre trying to convince the most people to eat Krabby Pattys. A casual look (all Iíve had time for) didnít reveal any interesting game mechanics, but nothing egregiously stupid, either. However, in the thin-line-between-stupid-and-genius department at Upper Deck is BreaKeys. As the website fails to reveal, they are plastic key-like things, which you insert into one another and twist to see which one breaks. Yes, breaks. Why hasnít anyone done this with a collectible game before? The guys at the booth said there will eventually be characters and stuff printed on the fobs. If they stay away from making it too genre-y, they could have a great bar game, for cocktail waitresses to sell right off of their belts; if they donít, they might have the next POGs. You can even build stuff with the pieces, after they break.

Also at Upper Deck, unconfirmed rumors paint an entertaining picture of booth-setup day. It seems that when they inflated the big inflatable Hulk that stands there to promote the upcoming Marvel and Hulk games (they arenít showing either at the show), they forgot to put its papery purple pants on first. ďThe guy was standing there trying to wiggle the purple pants onto the Incredible Hulk. And people were just standing there, thinking, 'That's not something you see every day.' "

08:32 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Live From Origins 2003: A free gift from the Department of Homeland Security, just for being you

Played Initial D and HumAliens at the AEG booth. Both card sets look pretty final, although the games don't come out until September or so. D is definitely the better game of the two from what I saw - the street racing mechanic is very pretty without sacrificing speed. Lots of numbers are flying around - all the maneuvers have three kinds of maneuvers they have different skills at responding to, one number your car has to live up to, and three different numbers your opponent might have to deal with depending on the race course. In the thick of it, you only have to deal with two numbers at a time - I got very fast at dealing with this and I expect others will too. My only real worry is that this will be a bonanza for whoever has the most cards, but that's almost thematic; the guy whose car is cheaper goes first, there's a "Ridiculous Spoiler" card... the Asian street racing culture is pretty thick here.

HumAliens doesn't fare as well from what I saw - basically a slightly more mature Pokemon. Some of the art is decent, so it has that advantage over the clean but boring car stuff in D. Next stop, Creepy Freaks. Or lunch, or a haircut. Who knows.

June 26, 2003

07:56 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Live From Origins 2003: the eternal struggle continues

That's all I'll say about that. But the good news is I'm comfortably ensconced in an ideal location and have all the net I want for no extra cash. Also, this year I plan to actually sign up for actual events actually. We'll see how that goes.

I only had a few minutes in the dealers room tonight, so here's what I was able to visually confirm: the Simpsons TCG is being demoed, as are Creepy Freaks and AEG's two new card games, HumAliens and Initial D. I will play as many of those as I can tomorrow. Fantasy Flight is selling a new Game of Thrones expansion, titled A Flight of Dragons.

In the d20 department, AEG has a new-at-the-show book called Wilds, about wilderness and stuff. I didn't find Arcana Unearthed actually physically here... not sure if it's supposed to be or not.

Board games: FFG has a new Knizia game called Atlanteon and a couple other new board games I'll have to look up. Mayfair is showing Lunar Rails, an appealingly wraparound take on the crayon-rails concept, and Eagle Games is selling these funny little $5 "sneak preview box sets" full of a handful of Age of Mythology figs. Eagle doesn't have AoM at the show, but something new called Attack! instead, which looks like a cross between Risk and a more Eagle-ish thing. Attack! certainly sounds a little more... imperative than Risk does, but whether it has other advantages remains to be seen. The Zendo box set is quite lovely, and the Looney Labs folks are quite proud of it.

More funny little sneaky bits as I get them. Now, though, back to the event.

June 24, 2003

10:57 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Make an Elder God, Win a Kewpie Doll has announced a joint contest with Toy Vault, the folks who made all those stuffed Cthulhu toys. The challenge? Create your very own plush Cthulhu. Yep, Toy Vault wants to pick your brain for variant ideas on Cthulhu and company, and is offering up one of each Cthulhu plush made for a year, among other prizes. If your idea is given stuffed life, your name will be on the product tag. Head over to the Yog-Sothoth site to enter your insanity-producing beast ideas by August 20 (H.P. Lovecraft's birthday) for a chance at eternal damnation -- er, fame.

June 23, 2003

02:54 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Topps buys WizKids

No joke. Read the press release. "The acquisition of WizKids represents an important step in our strategy for growing the Entertainment segment of the business as it provides efficient entry to the growing collectible games market." Anyone else got a feeling we'll see two or three new licensed games from WizKids in '04?


02:17 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Oh dear God, not again

Naughty and Dice: An Adult Gamer's Guide to Sexual Situations

11:24 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Your organism is important to me

As Mr. Ernest mentioned in our interview, Cheapass is publishing a third computer game from the Digital Eel folks. What we didn't know is that the demo's available now, which I noticed over at Slashdot. Anyway, Dr. Blob's Organism is like a cross between Tempest and those Life screensavers that look like a bunch of pixelly bacteria. The demo runs chunky as hell on my machine, so if you figure something out about what it needs, post a comment, 'k?

June 22, 2003

03:39 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Drop the little blockies and make 'em go down

When something reminds me of Icehouse, I post it: Triptych is a puzzle game for Windows, Mac, and Linux in which you drop groups of three colored blocks, and when three of the same color touch each other they disappear. The trick is that this happens with real physics - blocks bounce off each other with all the Newtonian might your CPU can muster, and things get non-Cartesian pretty quickly. Check out the screenshots if you don't believe me. This is all coming from the people who made that game where you build a bridge, then drive a big train over it and see if it breaks. Yes, folks, Calvin and Hobbes is slowly becoming reality. Both games are inexpensive and recommended.

June 20, 2003

03:30 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Cosmic Encounter is online for reals this time

Hey, did you know that Cosmic Encounter Online has relaunched, with a much snazzier tool for online play, a much busier pool of players, and a wider selection of alien powers? Of course you didn't! The new Flash-based engine supports new aliens like "The Dork," whose "power to annoy" causes a John Kovalic graphic to float around in front of what you're trying to do. CE is scary.

June 18, 2003

11:53 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
OgreCave Interview: James Ernest

Though a bit laid up with the latest tropical disease, I can still manage to post a new interview. This time we've put a few questions to James Ernest, founder and President of Cheapass Games, and prolific game designer. Which of his numerous game designs gave him the most trouble? Read the interview and find out.

04:50 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
FFG gets WarCraft board game license

Well, WotC sure as hell wasn't doing anything good with it: Fantasy Flight Games will be doing a WarCraft board game for this Christmas, the design of which will "make time itself a resource." That's not the way I'd handle the problem of translating RTS gameplay to a board game - isn't it enough to do the unit- and building-producing thing? Can't some of the basics of WarCraft be improved upon in this medium? - but certainly sounds like it'll be entertaining. The full press release is, for no reason, a PDF.

Also, FFG has put their video homage/home movie/elaborate series of in-jokes Lord of the Games up on d20 Magazine Rack's download section. Worth a look if you've got the bandwidth.

June 16, 2003

08:20 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Free Adventure Posted for M&M

To start your superheroics off right this week, Green Ronin has decided to provide a free Mutants & Masterminds adventure. Steve Kenson's "The Heist" introduces new characters to the world of crime fighting while saving the GM some work. The 6.4 MB PDF can be downloaded from this part of the Mutants & Masterminds website.

June 12, 2003

11:45 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
That Averages to About Five Cents Each

Philip Reed has done it again: released a damn useful PDF for d20 gamers. This time, it's 101 Divine Spell Components, a 33-page resource of all the nifty spellcasting ingredients GMs normally have to improvise, for a mere $4.95. This follows the example set by Phil's earlier PDF product, 101 Arcane Spell Components, which has seen much praise since its October 2002 release. While these are fine and helpful topics to cover, I'd like to see Phil strike out into uncharted territory with subjects like 101 Undead Stir Fry Recipes or 101 Ways to Insult a Centaur. Not as useful, perhaps, but entertaining.

11:26 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Crocodile Crawling to GenCon Indy

Crocodile Games, the company behind those excellent WarGods of Aegyptus miniatures, has announced their plans for GenCon Indy. There are sure to be previews of Crocodile's upcoming WarGods of Olympus, as well as a party on Saturday night (I picture a really drunk guy screaming "Minis! WOOOOO!!"), matched only by the painting contest with a real Khopesh-sword as the prize. More details can be found here. As long as none of the standard issue Klingon-costumed guys gets the sword, everything should be fine.

June 11, 2003

03:03 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
WizKids drastically cuts tournaments, prizes

The spittle is already flying over WizKids' just-announced changes to its organized play program. The "storyline" marquee tournaments will be less frequent, and the LE figures will generally be a little more L, if you know what I mean. Predictably, nobody on the Internet appears to be happy with this. One interesting wrinkle is the "pro-am" event category, which requires a member of your team to be entirely new to WizKids events. We Suck Young Blood...

03:02 PM: Demian Katz says...
Fighting Fantasy Official Site Open for Business, the new official site for the Wizard Books reissues of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, is up and running. It should be a continuing source of news, contests, downloads and more; there's also a club you can join that will get you some free goodies. Check it out!

10:14 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Pinnacle Site Gets Facelift

Pinnacle's got a new look & feel for its website this morning. PEG is giving away a free Lost Colony Showdown starter and booster to every online order of $50 or more, so take on those grapes and claim the land for your own... or at least figure out what the hell I'm talking about. There's also some Great Rail Wars miniatures listed for the first time that were left out previously, such as the Lady Huckster, Tinkerer and Chinese Ogre. Ogre, you say? Hmm... may have to recruit a few.

10:00 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Atlas Flips to Old Maps of Africa

In other Atlas news, the company's very first African-themed roleplaying sourcebook, South of the Sun, is available once more. The Ars Magica supplement was first published in 1991, long before the Nyambe expedition, and centered on the mythical kingdom of Prester John and its surroundings. From dream-sorcerers and demon-haunted hills to jewel-lined rivers and ominous sphinxes, it seems like there's quite a bit packed into the sourcebook. The re-release is in a PDF form over at RPGNow, for a mere $7.95.

09:32 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Dungeoneer May Move to Atlas

We've received an anonymous tip that Dungeoneer will be printed by Atlas Games shortly. Apparently, the rights to the game were signed over to Thomas Denmark, the artist and lead designer, and now Atlas will be "bringing it to the people" (a second printing, I'd imagine). This is good news, since everything going on at Citizen Games, Dungeoneer's original publisher, could cause problems for the game's planned expansion set. Though I still haven't heard anything about the expansion recently, a relationship with Atlas gives it a better shot at eventually seeing print. However, no confirmation from Atlas is available yet, so don't set your clocks by this.

June 09, 2003

05:34 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
More Citizen Debacle Details

After the story we posted this morning, we've received this from Mike Eckert of Citizen Games regarding the company's recent restructuring and hacked website:

Michael J. Eckert, former President of Citizen Games, is not the "former" President in question. Mr. Eckert left the company in early February. This was, indeed, a voluntary stepping down for personal reasons, which included a new "day" job. The foray of emails has been in reference to the, then President, Rob Stone, who has been removed as President as of June 8th, 2003. Coincidently, the site hack hapened mere hours after the shareholders handed down the decision to remove Mr. Stone. Citizen Games has named Scott Bagley as interim President until a complete restructing can occur. So to simplifiy things on the various news sites, all references to a Citizen Games former President, refers to Mr. Stone ONLY. Pending an investigation, no member of Citizen Games has, or will post anything to ANY news organization. Any and ALL comments you read or have read are mere conjecture and from sources that are not involved in the action. Please disregard them as such.
Indeed, I can confirm that Eckert left the company a while ago, and Rob Stone has been voted out as of a meeting yesterday. More on this as we hear about it.

02:58 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Second Glimpse of Testament

A second preview of Testament has been posted over at Green Ronin's site. This second peek at roleplaying in the Biblical era shows off some of the book's new spell summaries for the Blackguard, Cleric, Paladin, Psalmist, Qedeshot, and Sorceror/Wizard classes. There's also a quick look at the Desert, Fertility, Heaven, Pestilence, and Thunder Cleric domains.

11:56 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Citizen Site Hacked; Finger Pointing Begins

Yesterday, the Citizen Games website had seemingly been hacked, displaying nothing but a Nazi flag and the German phrase "BŁrger-Spiele ist zerhackt worden!" (translates to "Citizen Games has been hacked"). The offending post is down now, as is the entire site, and the accusations have begun. In the comment posts to this Gaming Report story, an anonymous post that seems to be from someone in the company states "It was not hacked by an outsider... A management change has occurred. The old President has 'hacked' the site due to being removed from the position." Another post from someone else disagreed, stating "that contradicts the statements by the outgoing president. He has stated that he resigned by his own choice, not that he was 'removed.'" A third post points the finger at a different former Citizen Games member, but with no real proof. My sources say that Citizen's President was indeed voted out over the weekend, but the company is still trying to determine who's responsible for the website hack. All I gotta say is, always disable an employee's access before they leave the company. Less headaches that way.


11:12 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Covert Announcement at Goodman Games

Goodman Games has announced that its two latest releases, Dungeon Crawl Classics #2: Lost Vault of Tsathzar Rho and EN World Player's Journal #2, are now available. Additionally, Goodman announced a free 24-page print magazine, Covert Ops, which will cover "games not ready for mention on our web site." The new magazine offer previews of upcoming products still in playtest stage, hoping to get feedback from readers, as well as support articles for other Goodman products. The first issue will have several juicy morsels, including:

  • "Three Leaves in the Wind," a supplement for the Complete Guide to Treants
  • DragonMech: Steamborgs, a preview of the steamborg class from an as-yet-unannounced fantasy mech game, DragonMech
  • Previews of Morningstar and Monsters of the Boundless Blue
Covert Ops will only be made available via direct sales (online, mail order, and cons), but won't cost a cent, so be sure to pick yours up.

June 05, 2003

11:54 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
WizKids Counting Down to Shadowrun: Duels

With Shadowrun: Duels releasing in just five days, WizKids is continuing to preview figures from the action figure combat game. The latest fig being shown off is Liada, an elf with major magic potential. That would've been nice as backup in the tournament at GTS, but Kyushi did just fine as it was (I was the last one standing, after all). We'll try to take another look at Duels when it hits stores, paying particular attention to the campaign rules.

11:34 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Stargate RPG Website Up & Running

AEG has put its PR machine into gear and launched the official website for the Stargate SG-1 RPG. There's not much on the site yet -- just a set of character concept examples, some rules about the Stargate itself, and a link to the forum -- but as the game's August release approaches, the site's sure to become packed with preview materials. The 400-page full-color monster of a book will be based on AEG's Spycraft, therefore making it d20. All we need now is an ad in the next DVD set released, and we've got the makings of a hit.

05:35 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Fang & Fury Art Preview Posted

Green Ronin has thrown together an art preview for their upcoming vampire sourcebook, Fang & Fury. The six images showcased convey the dark, brooding mood appropriate for such powerful undead. what intrigues me are the images that feature what look like Stirges -- those classic bat/mosquitoes -- and a large, gaunt-looking dragon. Should be some interesting tidbits in those pages. Naturually, Fang & Fury will be chock-full of new feats, prestige classes, monsters, templates, clerical domains, spells, pantheons, magic items, artifacts, and the kitchen sink. Sorry, make that the vampiric kitchen sink. All in all, most likely a must-have for d20 gamers, which will reach stores toward the end of this month.

05:14 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
OgreCave Review: Dynasties & Demagogues

Merwin's here to argue his case on Dynasties & Demagogues from Atlas Games. I'm sure he'll be using the political debate rules the d20 supplement offers in the process, too, so watch yourselves.

June 03, 2003

04:27 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
News flash: GAMES Magazine worth buying for once

Time to mobilize the Cave Army: head on down to a local newsstand that stocks GAMES, and pick up the August 2003 issue. It has a Hall-and-Oates-looking guy on the cover whom you might recognize as the guy on the spine of the Puerto Rico box. That's right, GAMES is actually doing a cover story about a game, a paper game even, instead of the usual asinine puzzle. It's still a little disheartening how much of this already-thin magazine is consumable newsprint covered with word games, but let's show the publishers that there's a financial reward for serious coverage of non-genre games for grownups. The story's good, too, covering not just the inscrutable subtleties of PR's building strategies, but the dubious joys of convincing a bunch of teenage boys to hang out and play a board game with you instead of going to some girl's party. Check it out.

10:08 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
More Details on Mongoose Magazine

Though news of Mongoose Publishing's new magazine came out during GTS, and the first issue's due next month, there's still no sign of it on the company's website. A friend of OgreCave pointed out that Matthew Sprange confirmed some details in a thread on the newsgroup. Entitled Signs & Portents, the 72 page monthly magazine will be full color, glossy, and cover "Mongoose specifically, d20 in general, at least one article per month for other RPGs." An exact price per issue is still being settled upon, though distribution will be through game shops to start. Sprange also mentioned that more details would appear on the Mongoose website later this month.

June 02, 2003

11:52 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
WotC Calms v3.5 Jitters

In an announcement that was surely designed to calm nervous gamers, Wizards of the Coast made it clear today that next month's release of D&D 3.5 will not invalidate the WotC rulebooks. Or at least, in cases where things get changed, a free backward-compatibility guide will be available to straighten things out. The freely-downloadable guide will address the necessary revisions for the Fiend Folio, Manual of the Planes, Deities and Demigods, Monster Manual II and the Epic Level Handbook. The compatibility guide will become available at the same time the core rulebooks hit the streets. Click "Read more" for the full announcement, if you like.


02:58 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Early Test of Testament

As I mentioned shortly after GTS, Green Ronin is bringing us a d20 setting of biblical proportions. Testament: Roleplaying in the Biblical Era is intended to be "part history, part mythology," placing characters in the world of the Old Testament. The product announcement does it better justice than I:

Play a wandering Babylonian magus, a sorcerer in the service of Pharaoh, a Canaanite maker of idols, or a prophet of the God of Israel. Walk the streets of ancient Jerusalem, stand beside King David as one of his Mighty Men, smite Philistines, ponder the mysteries of gargantuan tombs, look upon the dwellings of the gods, and battle demons, dragons, plagues, and the legendary beasts of Babylon.
Not fully enticed yet? Then go check out the related web goodies and peruse the two PDF previews. I can't wait to see what armor class Goliath is. That had to have been a critical, no two ways about it.

11:35 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
OgreCave Reviews: Ultimate Equipment & Medusas

Two more Mongoose reviews have crawled out looking for readers today. First, Colin provides us with his thoughts on the Ultimate Equipment Guide and all the goodies therein. Then Orion enlightens us as to the contents of the Slayer's Guide to Medusas, which he had a long look at and miraculously survived.

June 01, 2003

11:26 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Decipher to keep making LotR CCG expansions for a hella long time

Three expansions a year through mid-'07, eh? The ICv2 article makes a point of how Decipher's CCG license extends beyond the films, to The Hobbit and other stuff. But will the audience persist for this game when the films are a distant memory in pop-culture terms, or will we see a return to the paradoxical niche status of the Tolkien properties in gaming? Will Tom Bombadil cards be enough, and how the hell will they make them match the gorgeous movie graphics?

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