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February 2004 Archive

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February 29, 2004

09:37 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Return of the King wins Best Movie, ten others

In case you missed it, there are now eleven more reasons for New Line to make The Hobbit. Only Titanic and Ben Hur won as many Oscars in a single year as The Return of the King just did. Now if only Decipher would keep publishing the dozen or so LOTR RPG products that are already written, despite getting rid of the remaining RPG department staff, roleplayers could give Decipher some money.

February 25, 2004

03:12 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
D&D Minis go Huge in June

The price increase on Expansion Packs of D&D Miniatures didn't come to pass, thankfully. At least, not yet. The Archfiends set releasing next month will still carry the MSRP of $9.99 per box, but the price will go up with the Giants of Legends set in June. Perhaps in an effort to justify the cost increase, the June expansion will not only offer regular Expansion Packs (at the new price of $12.99), but "Huge Packs" as well for $19.99. Huge Packs will have 8 randomized minis, plus one huge one. How huge is huge? Try up to 8 inches tall (watch your back, Galactus). Expect dragons and giants to be the big figures of the set. The whole Giants of Legends set will have 72 figures, 12 of which are big boys. But will the Huge Packs still say D&D Miniatures on the box, or would D&D Action Figures be more appropriate? [UPDATE: There's been confusion over the number of figures in the Huge Packs. It seems the actual total is 8 regular figures and one huge one.]


01:16 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
MLB SportsClix hits stores

The much-hyped MLB SportsClix becomes available today, and begins its true test to see how well it can sell. While the baseball miniatures' stats are based directly on the previous MLB season's official stats for each player, I haven't found many HeroClix or Mage Knight fans that are anxious to play the new game. In fact, I overheard a WizKids Envoy (their "official" demo guys) who had seen MLB SportsClix already saying how little he liked it. But that seems to fit with WizKids' strategy of not cannibalizing the fanbase of their other titles to make new titles successful. The idea is to get new fans, not just make the old fans happy. To each customer his own, and if WizKids can find hordes of new customers amongst the vast legions of sports fans, more power to 'em.

February 23, 2004

02:49 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Ogres in Love contest winner

It took a while of debating, but we've finally selected the winner of our Ogres in Love contest, David Vega. We've selected several other entries that were in the running for the best submission, and posted them along with David's prize-winning poem of an Ogre's Valentine's Day (a disturbing prospect at best). David's well-earned copy of The Slayer's Guide to Ogres will be on its way shortly. Have a look at the best entries we ended up with.

February 20, 2004

05:25 PM: Demian Katz says...
Rio Grande Offers More Trading and Building

A new Rio Grande Games newsletter is upon us, and the theme seems to be lots of trading and building. Games described in detail include Power Grid (a redesigned reprint of Funkenschlag), 5th Avenue (a skyscraper-building game), Goa (involving spice trading), Saint Petersburg (in which players develop the title city) and Marco Polo (a race to the East). Other news includes the fact that, alas, the Bohnanza expansion has been delayed. Still, it seems there will be plenty to tide us all over in the meantime!

07:21 AM: Demian Katz says...
Invisible City releas...AAAAAH! PROBES!

It's once again free game time at Invisible City Productions, and this month's offering is something a little different. In Alien Abduction, one player is the abductee while the rest are aliens. Each alien chooses a different phobia with which to afflict the abductee as a result of his or her terrible experience in space. As the abductee role-plays through a normal day, the aliens interrupt his or her actions whenever a phobia might be triggered and the abductee tries to identify the terrors before it's too late. This one should be great at parties!

February 19, 2004

11:00 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Microsoft licenses Catan for MSN Zone, Messenger

Today's other big news is that Microsoft has picked up the license to every Catan game there is, I think (naturally including The Settlers of Catan, far and away the most successful German game in the US), for inclusion in their online gaming stable. Because it'll be part of the Premium service, it won't have a spot in the Start menu under Games in the next release of Windows, which would be about like having a five-level store in Times Square, but still, this is huge. This means that the hordes and hordes of casual online gamers (you know, women in their thirties, non-gaming businesspeople... the ones the industry ignores while they try and figure out how to clone EQ again) will get sucked into the magic... unless of course they look at it, scratch their heads, wonder to themselves why anyone would play a complex game they don't already know, and wander back over to Bejeweled. Whichever way it goes, we'll find out this summer. Mayfair has issued a press release, which we have included below with typos corrected, ho ho.


10:13 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Mongoose announces Paranoia XP, designers blog it live

In the wake of the industry seminars at DunDraCon (on which more later), it's kind of nice to have some good RPG news to report. Paranoia creator Greg Costikyan is finally throwing down on a new edition, he's got some highly talented friends doing the heavy lifting, and the treasonous rumors that Mongoose was the publisher turn out to be true. A live development log will be kept on Costik's site, and comments will be at least sort of open. I cannot possibly impress upon you with mere words how psyched I am for this. Read on for press release hilarity - seriously, you want to read this.

February 17, 2004

11:44 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Green Ronin to publish for Human Head

Green Ronin Publishing and Human Head Studios have partnered up. Starting now, all Human Head tabletop game products will be published by Green Ronin. First up will indeed be Dracula's Revenge, designed by Matt Forbeck, Director of Human Head's Adventure Games Division.

February 14, 2004

07:18 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Last dance, last chance for love

You've only got until tonight at 12 midnight PST to enter our OgreCave Ogres in Love contest. It's an easy one: just come up with a few sentences describing an ogre's Valentine's Day, and you could win a copy of this month's new Mongoose Publishing release, The Slayer's Guide to Ogres. So look at the rules (I think there's only two, actually), and type up a contest entry while there's still time. What's that? Girlfriend? Nah, she can wait.

February 13, 2004

12:13 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Cargo arriving at DunDraCon

Some of you may understand that title, others not, so let me elaborate: Tom Jolly's Cargo, the new strategy boardgame from Wingnut Games, will be available for the first time at DunDraCon this weekend. The neat little game of shoving crates of tea around the docks at the Boston Tea Party was, well, held up at the docks of the Port of Oakland while customs was clearing it. But just in time for the con, the Cargo cargo was cleared and arrived in Wingnut hands this morning. Be sure to check the game out, whether you make it to DunDraCon or not. Gotta love a Tom Jolly title that reminds you of both Dig Dug and chess.

February 12, 2004

03:25 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
WotC plans for D&D 30th anniversary

Wizards of the Coast has revealed more details about their celebratory events around the thirtieth anniversary of D&D. The coffeetable book, with as-yet-unnamed celebrities appearing in its pages, gets mentioned again, as does a new Basic Set and a huge party at Gen Con 2004. A worldwide D&D Game Day in early October is also in the works, and a plug for the D&D Miniatures works its way into the press release, though I didn't see a 30th anniversary tie-in per se.

February 10, 2004

11:53 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Upper Deck adds to CCG plans

So on top of the DC CCG planned for July, the Marvel CCG at the end of March, and the TMNT TCG due this month (which manages to be a mouthful despite the abbreviation), Upper Deck has more news. According to ICv2, Upper Deck plans two more collectible games: the Shaman King CCG and the Bratz Fashion Party Fever CCG. I'm not familiar with the Shaman King, though I can apparently catch it on Fox's Saturday morning line-up. However, the Bratz CCG, while possibly making inroads with the young girl market, won't be entering my house. The wife and I deemed the entire Bratz concept to be a bad example for our daughter. They all look like they should talk like Rosie Perez on speed, and that ain't good.

February 09, 2004

06:55 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
RPGs officially a threat to the state

Okay, people, we have a problem: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an Oregon prison inmate can't receive roleplaying materials in the mail. Firstly, it's White Dwarf that's at issue (so to speak), so there aren't any roleplaying materials in it... but the court doesn't draw that distinction, and maybe it isn't fair to ask it to split hairs as finely as we do. Apparently, the same prisoner had earlier been denied a subscription to the superhero comic Green Lantern, on the basis of an obscure law that's been overturned, but the real motivation behind that was probably the same as that of this ruling: "to prevent inmates from placing themselves in fantasy roles that reduce accountability and substitute raw power for legitimate authority." Uh, yeah: who's got the raw power here, hoss?

It would be easier to decry such a stereotype about gaming materials if there weren't (more than) a grain of truth in it. But my bigger concern is something else: the computing and Internet industries have been struggling in a similar fashion with judges that appear unwilling or unable to grasp all the subtleties of that which they're passing legislation for. Have our subcultures become so complex that they outstrip the complexity of the law - that is to say, too complex to be healthy? Or are we just looking at the classic American schizophrenia of the mainstream versus the intellectuals/geeks/bohemians/whatever? This is just depressing - I mean, I don't relish the thought of some con ordering up a box of bloodlusted Orks either, but still.


12:45 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Mongoose lays the Smackdown

In the March/April issue of Game Trade Magazine, there's a product listing for Games Company Smackdown by Mongoose Publishing. Due in April for $19.95, it seems to be, well, a game about running a game company. Here's the blurb:

Packed full of strategy and intrigue, Games Company Smackdown is a game of bluffing, tactics, and empire building where players attempt to release their game into the market whilst ensuring that their opponents run into setbacks and delays through the help of corporate spies, geek fanboys, and budding entrepreneurs.
From the listing, I can't tell if this will be one of new boardgames Mongoose has planned, or if it's an RPG supplement.

February 06, 2004

11:29 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Love still in the Cave

There's only a little over a week in our Ogres in Love contest, in which we'll be giving away a copy of The Slayer's Guide to Ogres, coming out this month from Mongoose Publishing. Come up with 100 words or less describing an Ogre's Valentine's Day, and you could well end up with a free copy of the book. Or at the very least, your name and entry up on the site. Have a look at the contest details, and get to writing.

10:58 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
OgreCave Preview: CyborGladiators

Matthew's brought us a pre-release look at CyborGladiators by Firefly Games. I got to test out the game at last October's RPGnet Game Day: Oakland, and ended up losing a limb, then the combat to a really tough insectoid. The book's at the printer right now, so see what you think with Matthew's review, and watch for it in stores in a couple of weeks.

10:22 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Sisterz are doing it for themzelvez

It seems like every post I make these days is about some absurd new Hasbro initiative, but here goes: the G-rizzle has obtained some info on Star Sisterz, a collectible charm-bracelet-based game that combines the popular beaded trinkets with truth-or-dare-style questions on cards. It is actually a Wizards of the Coast-branded product, but it'll be carried in Limited Too, so maybe the coolness levels of the two will cancel out in the minds of female 11-year-olds. Interestingly, this will hit around the same time as Duel Masters.


10:08 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Mongoose Year in Preview

On the heels of Mongoose's Starship Troopers announcement, the company has outlined this year's planned releases. Bruce Graw, formerly of Agents of Gaming, has joined the Mongoose staff, and will bring his Babylon 5 Wars experience to the company's plans for miniatures games. Planned product highlights include: a new boardgames division; Schism, a "mature" RPG about a war in Heaven; Judge Dredd: Turf Wars, a miniatures combat game; Mighty Armies, a 15mm fantasy miniatures wargame that will package an entire army for $19.95; and hints toward another unannounced license, based on "an old and very popular RPG". Click "Read more" for the full release, and start your drooling.


10:01 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Starship Troopers licensed by Mongoose

Now that Conan: the RPG is out, Mongoose Publishing decided to get the impending license anticipation building again. The company's newest license is Starship Troopers, the grim-and-gritty story of mankind versus aliens in a war to the death. Mongoose has plans for a licensed RPG in late 2004, based on the company's Open Game system. In early 2005, Mongoose will follow the RPG release with a miniatures wargame, starting with a big boxed set of Mobile Infantry and Arachnids, and supported by additional minis, vehicles and armies throughout the year. Starship Troopers graphic novels will also be produced, arriving every so often in 2004. As long as Jake Busey doesn't play the electo-fiddle again, I'm all for it.

February 04, 2004

12:09 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Companies gearing up for GTS '04

WizKids has announced their GTS premiere and giveaway, of course. But I'm hearing that AEG will have a surprise to give to retailers, too: the Spycraft CCG. I haven't been able to confirm this yet, but that's what I'm hearing. I've also heard that the next expansion set for the D&D Miniatures, titled Archfiends, will have exactly that: some of the big boys of evil, including Orcus and Demogorgon figures. I'm betting those'd be rares.


11:12 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Playtest report: Cyberpunk the CCG

There's a lot of buzz lately about Cyberpunk the CCG. Around my area, much of that buzz is gamers asking "What's it like?" or "Where can I get it?" It seems some local retailers have been reluctant to buy into another collectible game, at least until it's a verified Runaway Hit (TM), so around here it's making the game harder to find. This hasn't slowed us down though, since Social Games President Peter Wacks hooked us up at Gen Con SoCal, and we've been playing around with the game ever since. Though we're still working on the full review, let me see what I can tell you so far.

February 03, 2004

02:49 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Eberron cover and support details

The G.R. has details and a cover shot of the happening new campaign-setting-to-be, courtesy of their spies at Winter Fantasy. I still kind of think it has a dumb name, but the logotype is pretty appealing actually. I hope they don't go with black and white art in the inset, though. Two other hardbacks will also hit in '05, along with a mess of support the year after - five books are currently planned for '06.

February 02, 2004

01:24 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Z-Man plans Tomorrow Knights. Today still undecided

Speaking of comics, Z-Man Games has announced plans for a roleplaying game based on the Tomorrow Knights, a Marvel title from the early '90s. Sounds like a cyberpunk-ish setting with mecha thrown in, which could be rather cool. Spectrum Games, known for Cartoon Action Hour, will develop the title for Z-Man, for a late 2004 release.


01:18 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Dracula's Revenge comic creeps closer

This just in: the comic book based on Human Head Studios' upcoming board game, Dracula's Revenge, now has an official press release (below). I mentioned the comic a couple weeks ago, but the release gives added details on the comic's plotline, as well as author Matt Forbeck's inspiration for the story. The comic arrives in April, hopefully followed by the board game shortly thereafter.


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