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August 2003 Archive

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August 29, 2003

04:02 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Living Room plans Street Fighter, other CAPCOM RPGs

As you can see from the full press release below, Living Room Games has snagged the license to put out tabletop RPGs based on some of the classic CAPCOM video games. This means that sometime next year, we'll start seeing RPGs for Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, Final Fight, and Rival Schools. If Living Room Games' energetic support of Earthdawn is any indication, CAPCOM's properties are in good hands, and are sure to fare better than the White Wolf Street Fighter attempt of the early '90s.


03:47 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
The shadows are coming

The jumpgate is open and the Babylon 5 products are starting to flow out. Mongoose says the first season book, The Coming of Shadows, should be reaching stores in a week or so. While this first season book seems to be focused on Season Two, you'll meet and greet the movers and shakers that will shape the Babylon 5 story, as each episode gets its own synopsis, along with the new rules to cover them in game terms. A galactic map of the Narn/Centauri war, several more ship write-ups, and prestige classes like Imperial Telepath and Techno-Mage round out the 144-page supplement. See the press release below for more details, if you like.

August 28, 2003

11:46 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Malhavoc pulls up a chair

Hot off his win as Best Publisher at the ENnies, Monte Cook and Malhavoc Press have created quite a buzz with the alternate Player's Handbook Arcana Unearthed. With a lion-humanoid PC race, a different selection of classes and magic, and a reorganization of D&D's basic assumptions as a whole, it was obvious from the start that gamers would sit up and take notice. Support products have flocked to the AU banner from multiple companies, so why should Malhavoc itself be any different? Just released today, The Diamond Throne provides the default campaign setting for Arcana Unearthed players, including eight new prestige classes and plenty of new magic items. The 96-page PDF version of Throne is available now at the slightly discounted price of $9. The print version won't be cut and set until November.


11:25 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Still time to enter OgreCave's P3 contest

Just a couple days left to enter our P3 contest, where you can win every d20 supplement Phil Reed currently has to offer. That's right, every single one. Wait... no, just the 30+ PDF products he's offering at his site, we're not offering up his entire personal library. You can't hold us to that!

Aw, crap. Phil's gonna kill me.

02:25 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Everyone likes mathematical simulation-based art when it has zombies

This would make an awfully nice screensaver for an All Flesh fan. (You know, I think the real experiment here is to see how fast this link has spread around the Internet. I'm off to eat some yummy brains now. Bye!)

August 27, 2003

11:29 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Indy HeroClix preview sale at DragonCon

You've only got one day left to wait for Indy HeroClix. Well, one day left if you're going to DragonCon in Atlanta, that is. A limited stash of the new CMG addiction will be available from WizKids at the con, so if you plan to be there, get your starter and three boosters early. A few MechWarrior Dropships, as well as a few Liao Incursion boosters will be lurking nearby. As for the rest of us, we'll have to be content with the Indy HeroClix rule book, the Powers and Abilities card, and other tidbits until the official street date of October 1.

August 25, 2003

02:33 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
New reviews: Snow Witch, Signs, & Buffy

I'm tempted to declare it Matthew Monday due to all the reviews he's sent in that are up today. First, he tells us about the d20 adaptation of Caverns of the Snow Witch by Myriador Ltd. Then he regales us with the ups and downs of Signs & Portents #1, the first issue of Mongoose Publishing's new in-house magazine. Finally, a review of his that's been languishing in my computer for a while gives us a look at the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG by Eden Studios.

August 24, 2003

04:37 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Suave in-store campaigns for Avalon Hill

This looks seriously freakin' hot. Avalon Hill's official incorporation into WotC is bearing fruit: "Wizards of the Coast is producing its first board game expansions as part of this program. The expansions, which are taken home by the winners of the event, will serve to alter play for experienced players, who have often figured out the strategies and counter-strategies that work best with the game as it came out of the box. And they'll help WotC evaluate the concept of board game expansions as add-on products, which it's interested in as a way to expand sales of the Avalon Hill properties." That's right, kids: Risk 2210 expansion boards, available first (possibly only) to winners at store events. Axis and Allies and Acquire (!!!) will also be getting the "Avalon Hill Frontline" treatment. Evil? Brilliant? Both?

August 22, 2003

06:54 PM: Demian Katz says...
Custom Trivia from Invisible City

It's game of the month time once again at Invisible City, and this time it's something a little different: 1,000 Blank White Questions, a trivia game in which the players make up all of the questions. You can ask anything you like, but you run the risk of losing points if none of your opponents are able to come up with a correct response. Of course, there's more to the game than just answering questions -- there's also a nifty printable board which helps to determine who asks the questions and when the game is over. As always, it's good fun at an unbeatable price.

12:11 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Massive Mongoose

The next D&D tome headed out the door at Mongoose Publishing is the Slayer's Guide to Giants. With the same expanded size as the Guides to Undead and Dragons (128 pages), the new book gives giants the full treatment. Gamemasters can expect to find Half-Giant and Giant King templates, giant feats, the Giant spell domain, lairs, tactics, and for those who are feeling generous, ways for characters to fight back. Too bad this book wasn't available a few years back, when I used such large giant miniatures that my players insisted "miniatures" was no longer the correct term, and they should be referred to as "action figures."

August 21, 2003

11:06 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Witchfire Compendium planned by Privateer

Those who got wrapped up in the story of the Iron Kingdoms and the Witchfire Trilogy will love hearing this: Privateer Press plans to compile all three adventure volumes into one hardcover book, updated for D&D v3.5. The compilation will come complete with two "interludes" that connect the books, the first of them having been previously available as a PDF. And let's not forget the new Matt Wilson cover art and a more detailed city map of Corvis. We'll let you know as more details on this book come out.

10:44 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Creepy Freaks creep ever closer

Another Creepy Freaks preview figure is on display at the WizKids site. This time we get a look at Patches, a demented zombie teddy bear straight out of Akira. Of the figures we've seen so far, I prefer Jar Head. Can't go wrong with a brain in a jar.

August 19, 2003

02:46 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
As a matter of fact, you haven't heard it all before

Jane's RPGnet report on girls at Gen Con does not read like the eleven million "women in gaming" articles you've already read in your short, damned life. Jane gets the perspectives of four specific people and focuses on that, not the same old generalizations. Women already feel like outsiders too often in gaming culture, but Jane's magic combo of double outsider-hood, along with her keen interest in both gaming and people, really makes this article fire on all cylinders. Read it.

August 17, 2003

12:30 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
More Ultimate Prestige on the way

As Mongoose Publishing has informed its mailing list, the next volume in the Supplementary Rulebook line is on the way (but aren't all third party D&D supplements "supplementary rulebooks"? Never mind...). Ultimate Prestige Classes II will pull together another 256 pages of classes from more than 45 sources, all expanded and updated for D&D v3.5, and provide added rules for prestige class creation as well (click "Read more" for the full press release). Considering how many products Mongoose cranks out each year, compilation volumes like this seem an excellent idea, if only to keep from bringing your entire game library to each session. But this once again brings up the question, how many d20 products will it take before the new prestige classes end up as "Pink-Robed Enchanter with Teurette's Syndrome Who Only Uses His Left Hand" or equally useless specializations? Not that it matters, really; some players would still be into that.

August 15, 2003

06:13 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Carcassonne 2-player spinoff, Puerto Rico card game before end of year

While I was at ICv2, I found this stuff about Rio Grande's recent successes and big plans for the rest of the year... mostly for September. The lede is about the 2-player Balrog game or whatever. We'll see about that, but I'm excited that Carcassonne and Puerto Rico may be on their way to being franchises on par with Settlers of Catan.

06:09 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
More schadenfreude: WotC Stores steadily closing

Revealed in the details of Hasbro's just-released quarterly report are gruesome numbers regarding the retail arm of Wizards of the Coast. From the article: "With no purchaser for the chain, and an apparent inability to make most of the stores profitable, [Hasbro] appears to be willing to continue to close stores as leases run out and cut its losses incrementally over time."


03:12 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Next wave of SR figs pushed back two months

Want more Shadowrun figures and want 'em now? Nyaah nyaah. Now they aren't coming until December. All the schedule changes can't be endearing WizKids to their fans, but at least the company is starting to show signs of knowing its limits.

August 14, 2003

04:36 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
OgreCave contest: P3 - Phil's Plethora of PDFs

You like winning free stuff, right? Then have a look at our new contest, Phil's Plethora of PDFs, which comes to us compliments of popular game designer Phil Reed. You know all those nifty downloadable products he's got on his site? You could win all of 'em. Yep, every single one. Have a look.

August 13, 2003

10:48 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Gen Con '04 date in flux

The Gen Con website has a poll up that should interest anyone who's even remotely considering attending next year. It seems that a major NASCAR race, the Brickyard 400, has changed its dates to the originally proposed dates for Gen Con '04. While the convention space itself wouldn't be affected, traffic and getting hotel rooms could become major headaches. The poll asks how moving the convention to the latter half of August 2004 would affect your coming to the show. If you want to weigh in on the matter, go have a look.

August 11, 2003

05:28 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
SJG stops hitting itself in the head with tiny pewter hammers

There's no permanent URL for it that we can find, so we've pasted it below: Steve Jackson Games is closing its miniatures department, effective at the end of the month. As always, Steve's honesty and directness in corporate communications is unrivalled and appreciated - "[t]he reason for the shutdown is simple: the division has been, ever since it was set up, the least profitable of our endeavors." Read on for the complete release.


11:55 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
I keep wanting to say Optimus

So the folks at Bizzaro Games are working on Odyssey Prime, which they describe as a game "of Alternative Universes and Modern Covert Operations" - kind of a militaristic take on the whole Stargate thing. Even if that doesn't float your kontiki, D20 Modernists might want to check out the PDF preview of the Outrider and Wetwork classes they just posted. The PDF kinda had the do-funnies in my browser, but downloading it outright may get you better results. And it's 100% Open Game Content, for the health of your colon.

August 08, 2003

04:49 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
I'm ready for the exploding computer graphics: BattleBall Playtest Report

I've got my hands on it and it is indeed the new Epic Duels. (Except that that other thing is more literally the new Epic Duels, because it's just like the old Epic Duels. Yeah.) If Blood Bowl is too ponderous for you but seems to hold some appeal, you need BattleBall - what it lacks in humorous theme it more than makes up in speed and simplicity.

August 07, 2003

09:54 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Cyber-Gorilla my dreams

Atlas Games reports that the new Feng Shui sourcebook, Gorilla Warfare, is now available. The book comes with a Phil Collins soundtrack, and Rosie O'Donnell lends her voice to... okay, no, too much Disney movies with the little one showing through there. The cyborg simians, also known as the Jammers, are the subject of the final faction sourcebook for the action movie RPG. However, Blood of the Valiant (by Chris Pramas of Green Ronin, if I remember correctly) will be expanded and reprinted in the months ahead.

August 05, 2003

10:59 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
OgreCave reviews: X-Bugs & Nanofictionary

Now that the GenCon hullabaloo has settled down a bit, we've got two new reviews for you. First, Matthew tells us a bit about this year's GenCon UK and a lot about X-Bugs: Microscopic Mayhem by Steve Jackson Games. Then Cedric gives us his take on storytelling games, particularly Nanofictionary from Looney Labs.

12:13 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Firefly glows brighter

Firefly Games, the fine company that brought us Monster Island, is expanding a bit to prepare for greater things to come. To that end, the company announced its new Marketing Director, Christina Stiles. Yes, you've probably heard her name around before. Click the link below for more details.

August 02, 2003

12:51 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
GenCon wrap-up: Erotic Fantasy promoted heavily

Having left Wizards of the Coast, Anthony Valterra has joined in on one of the most controversial d20 ventures to date: the Book of Erotic Fantasy by the Valar Project, Inc. Drawing inspiration from the Book of Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, and pointing to the Book of Vile Darkness as proof that an audience exists for adult d20 products, the Valar Project has put the hype machine into high gear. Aside from Sword & Sorcery's Arcana Unearthed, more people were talking about Valar's upcoming release than any other product than any other -- and not always in a good way. Though as press I was able to get a free copy, many convention goers were grumbling about the idea of paying $9.95 for a preview, even a 32-page full-color one.


10:43 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
GenCon wrap-up: Goodman builds toward Autumn

Though their anticipated release of the Complete Guide to Beholders, co-written by Keith Baker (the WotC setting contest winner), didn't make it to the show in time, Goodman Games has big plans. Looming on the horizon are a number of products nearing completion that will hit stores in the next few months, including three hardcover supplements.


10:02 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
GenCon offers partial refund to Saturday attendees

By way of apology to those who were inconvenienced by unusually long lines last Saturday, Gen Con has announced a partial refund offer. Those who bought a one-day pass on Saturday can send in a photocopy of their badge, and receive a check for $12 in return, more than half the $23 cost of a one-day pass. The full details are under the "Read more" link. This unprecedented announcement is sure to go a long way toward undoing any negative feelings attendees came away from the show with.

August 01, 2003

02:26 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
GenCon wrap-up: Dragonlance support already taking flight

When Wizards of the Coast published Call of Cthulhu d20, there was a complete failure on the part of Chaosium to cash in on their marketing by putting out supplementary releases. That hasn't happened with WotC's Dragonlance d20 release and the company lined-up to support it, Sovereign Press: the first big resource for Dragonlance d20 (which hasn't even hit store shelves yet) was available at the show. A couple hundred copies of Age of Mortals were shipped directly to the show, between two weeks and a month ahead of the product reaching distribution channels.


01:51 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
GenCon wrap-up: Flesh and Magic

No, this isn't about the Book of Erotic Fantasy. I'll get to that shortly.

In the meantime, let me give you my impression of Eden Studios this year: a company on the verge of becoming huge. With the Army of Darkness RPG planned for October, and the CCG as well, and the Buffy TV juggernaut having ended, I'd imagine Eden is casting about for another big property to ride. The convention's new releases were still intriguing: The Book of Archetypes, a short supplement for All Flesh Must Be Eaten, provided a few dozen new character choices, including the Stripper and the Porn Producer; and The Magic Box, the new Buffy RPG book, dives headlong into the mystic side of the property, breaking the spell selection down by the seasons they aired. I'm sure Buffy will continue to do well for a while, as will AFMBE, but Army of Darkness is likely to be a big hit that fades away (a very cool one, but still... ). I just kept thinking that Eden is on the prowl for that next huge something. We'll see, I guess.


12:32 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
GenCon wrap-up: Make him a CCG he can't refuse

Myth Intentions was showing off the DON CCG, the mob card game which becomes available as boosters in October. (Oh, wait, they called it a CCE, for Continuing Criminal Enterprise. Whatever.) Not sure what to think of that one. Though the planned Decco expansion, a Miami Vice-style set, will arrive in booster form in January '04, I've got an issue with what I've seen so far. My buddy Steve picked up a copy of the starter deck, which uses staged black-and-white photos rather than illustrations. After flipping through it, we remained largely unimpressed with the graphics presented (only two or three models were used for the whole thing, if I remember correctly). The game system, however, is something we have yet to test drive, so our opinions may change after exploring it.


11:49 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
GenCon wrap-up: Where's Johnny Depp when you need him?

Green Ronin was having a great show, having sold out of Mutants & Masterminds related products early in the convention, and having won eight ENnie Awards. However, one of the things that caught my eye at the company's booth was the cover art for Skull & Bones, a d20 product that started its life with Synister Creative back in 2001, was with Adamant Entertainment for a while, and finally landed at Green Ronin -- nearly a year and a half ago, at GTS '02. Now planned as a September release (though the catalog says April), and the second product in GR's Mythic Vistas line, the last I'd heard was that the book was "in layout hell" as of Origins this year.


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