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April 2004 Archive

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April 30, 2004

10:31 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Green Ronin to wield Warhammer FRP, other titles

This morning, Green Ronin announced it has struck a deal with BL Publishing, a subsidiary of Games Workshop, to be the exclusive RPG developer of GW properties. The products will be published by BL Publishing, allowing Green Ronin to concentrate on the creative aspects. As one would expect, the planned products include a new edition of Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play, which Green Ronin is already working on. The new version is scheduled for Spring 2005, and is sure to be followed by a variety of other Games Workshop RPG titles. If Warhammer 40k becomes a roleplaying game, we may see a whole lot more sci-fi going around.

April 29, 2004

11:32 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Reaper website hacked, customer info stolen

As someone who's getting more and more into miniatures gaming, it scares me a bit to hear what just happened to Reaper Miniatures. A group of hackers has stolen Reaper's customer information, including credit card numbers used on the site's online store, and is demanding money to keep from making the information public on the web. Hopefully the FBI and whoever else gets involved in this sort of thing can sort it out soon, and let Reaper get back to concentrating on great miniatures. The full announcement from Reaper's website is reprinted below.

April 28, 2004

04:31 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Oh yeah, D&D turned 30

We in the Cave were too busy playing it to make much note. The BBC offers the best media coverage we've seen. " 'I thought we would sell about 50,000 copies,' says Gary Gygax." And back then, that was a low number.


01:06 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Join the Royal Society for Putting Things on Top of Other Things

Well, it must be royal, 'cause it has Knight in its title: the Dark Riders expansion for Mage Knight streets today, featuring figures with riders, dark and otherwise, that can be removed from their mounts and placed on their own bases. Some figures I've seen might have benefitted from a second sculpt for use when standing on their own; when you put them on the independent base, they look a bit like they're doing that one Michael Jackson dance move. Or like they have a pole stuck in their butts... which, in point of fact, they do. Wow, now I wish I hadn't put those two images next to one another. I'm sure WizKids does too, but nonetheless, this should give MK strategy an interesting goose (there I go again). A press release waits below.


12:55 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Savage Worlds brings you yet another license, plus pictures of tiny Victorians with guns

Pinnacle/Great White/Whatever has announced what isn't really a license so much as a simple, standardized contract for people who might want to use the Savage Worlds system in their RPG or miniatures-gaming products. Basically, they get to approve your game and you pay a royalty and include a logo. They've also posted a nice gallery of Rippers leads and package art. I look forward to giving Rippers a go... it'll be my first look at the Savage Worlds system and I'm keen to see if it's as fast as advertised. Lord knows that's what we need.

April 27, 2004

12:28 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Loooonnnng lists for Origins Awards now available

From here, you can read the un-narrowed-down nominees for each category, and you can go to a form that will taunt you for not being an AAGAD member and not let you vote. Nonetheless, hours of fun.

April 26, 2004

11:00 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
I think I'm turning German, I really think so

With regard to that Settlers article last week, here's some harder sociological evidence that folks like Uberplay and Days of Wonder might want to keep the complexity dialed down. Redoubtable geek-feed Boing Boing cites a Scientific American article by Swarthmore professor Barry Schwartz about the dynamics of choice in the Western world, and how more people are turning from Maximizers (what we in the gaming tribe would call min-maxers, obsessives who analyze and agonize over every move to get the best possible return) to Satisficers (not evidently a typo, and well characterized by the board-gamer's exhortation to "be German," that is, adopt the supposed tendency of German gamers to pick a good-enough move and not worry so much). The article itself is behind a paywall, but you can read more about it here and here.

April 25, 2004

11:55 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Lone Wolf howls with previews

The fellows at Mongoose have posted more teasers for the Lone Wolf RPG. This time, we get a look at the official character sheet, and a second rules preview which includes full rules for the Magician of Dessi, among other things. Now, should I pick Tracking as my next Discipline, and know which page to try next, or... oops, flashback to the original gamebooks. Sorry.

April 23, 2004

01:38 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Another step down a slippery moon slope

If you have been to your local game store lately, as I have, then you have likely noticed that Fantasy Flight has scored another victory in their ongoing quest to make Reiner Knizia design a CCG without knowing it. Blue Moon is a two-player card game with no real collectibility aspects... but it has two different, named factions... and it has two other decks of different factions that you can buy separately. Careful, Reiner! People seem to be looking for ways to play Magic without playing Magic lately, and early buzz on this one is good; I look forward to inspecting it more closely. Press release below.

April 21, 2004

11:57 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Canada sends troops to Catan - "Stop stealing our vowels!" says prime minister

Gamefest's Gamewire cites this Toronto Star article about Settlers, proving once again that even our mildly complicated games come across as far too complicated for ordinary people. Once the article gets rolling, a decent picture of the game starts to come in, but on the whole, the conclusion comes back around to chaos. Why is it that the market has yet to discover anything with Settlers' strengths for a mass audience (luck, trading, thematic familiarity) and none of its drawbacks (luck-based stagnation, trading-based long playing times, and relative complexity)?

April 20, 2004

11:19 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Conan adventure available from Mongoose

Mongoose Publishing has begun the electronic age of Hyborian adventure with the first PDF adventure for Conan the Roleplaying Game. For a mere $8, gamers can download The Black Stones of Kovag-Re, "a boisterous tale of kidnap and intrigue for a party of 1st-3rd level characters." You can grab a copy for yourself here at RPGnow.

April 19, 2004

10:30 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Atlas announces intimate new Dungeoneer sets for couples

Well... a coupla gamers, anyway. The new two-player sets Dungeoneer: Haunted Woods of Malthorin and Dungeoneer: Den of the Wererats ship in July and each have just enough room for you and someone you love to beat on: three new character types apiece, plus wilderness Map cards and city Map cards respectively. Will they go together nicely? Will they be out in time for Origins? Do you need a breath mint? We'll find out? Okay?

April 16, 2004

11:45 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
News flash: computers are bad GMs

Enjoy this excessively vitriolic, unclear and unsound article alleging that paper roleplaying rules systems are a poor foundation for computer RPGs. He might be right, but he reasons like a rabid Shar Pei with one leg staked to the ground. The thought of even beginning to take this essay apart just kind of exhausts me right now, so you guys go ahead.

April 15, 2004

10:31 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Pinnacle invites you to rip, mix and burn - IN HELL

Pinnacle has posted a PDF preview of their new skirmish minis game Rippers. The six-page preview is all story - what the minis gamers call "fluff" without any pejorative intent - but I'd lay odds that the rules are very similar to the Showdown! skirmish rules based on Savage Worlds. The whole "ripping" mechanic wherein one takes DNA from a victim and adds it to an ally sounds like it could be really creative; in fact, this whole game kinda reminds me of the mismarketed, underrated (like most other things Cell Entertainment did) game LAB. Speaking of marketing, I have to question whether retailers will make room for yet another indie miniatures game right now, but mmm, tasty clear plastic boxes. You make the call.

April 14, 2004

06:53 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Gary Gygax suffers stroke, recovering

According to a post by Eric Noah on the forums over at ENWorld, Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, is not in the best of health. Sure, he's been chain-smoking for years, but that's not the main problem; the stroke he suffered on April 1st is the problem. Gary is recovering now, and we wish him and his family the best. And next time, I advise him to keep his Cloak of Protection on (sorry, couldn't resist).

April 12, 2004

02:22 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Blackmoor revival finally underway

When I read the press release headline, I was hoping WotC had struck some kind of deal with that biker bar in the Mission District, but alas, no: D&D creator Dave Arneson's new-ish company has announced a licensing agreement with WotC that will return Arneson's Blackmoor campaign world to print, and possibly to PC screens if the other half of Zeitgeist's mission statement bears fruit. Negotiations about the licensing have been going on for some time now, but it seems the core book will finally be out this fall.

April 09, 2004

09:22 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Cheap "laughs" at the expense of a game? company

You know, like how poor, innocent ethnic restaurants will put "the 'best' food in town" on their menus? I just want to point out that, thanks to a misconfigured HTML character set, the new official product page for Pirates of the Spanish Main has some amusingly placed question marks in certain browsers. They'll probably fix it shortly, but in the meantime, they've crystallized many gamers' thoughts eloquently. Anyway, the ships still look cool, the price point is still right, and the release date is still July. I have my Origins-bound fingers crossed.

12:21 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Kubla Khan at Kubla Con

Troll Lord Games will be bringing a special limited edition d20 tournament module to KublaCon at the end of May. Called The Temple of Kubla Khan, the adventure is written by Casey Christofferson, author of several books for Necromancer Games. Here's the description:

An ancient ruined bastion and the forces of chaos! Horror, dread and decay! All this and much more await those willing to accept the challenges offered in the The Temple of Kubla Khan. Discover the secret of the Mad Lord and challenge the Crawling Queen herself in her horror filled subterranean lair. The Temple of Kubla Khan combines fast paced action with challenging role play and mind boggling puzzles at every turn. Including four brand new monsters and a plethora of new magical items, The Temple of Kubla Khan is designed to keep your players on their toes and provide hours of dungeon crawling mind mangling fun.
The adventure is also described as "completely compatible" with Dwarven Forge's Master Maze dungeon sets. This makes perfect sense, since a month ago the KublaCon email newsletter mentioned having multiple sets of Master Maze available for GMs to use. Most likely, KublaCon will make a set or two available to the Trolls. The Temple of Kubla Khan is a 32 page adventure for 4-6 characters of levels 6-8, and will be available only at KublaCon or by special order, for $10.95.

April 07, 2004

01:24 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Now I can be a warlock anywhere

Got a PalmOS handheld? Got a gamebook fetish? Go wild.

April 06, 2004

10:53 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Grog d'Or '04: burninating the peasants

French roleplaying association GROG has announced the nominees for this year's Grog d'Or award, which goes to what the membership decides was the best roleplaying product, line or setting of the last year... whether or not it was new. English-language nominees include Mongoose's B5, Mutants & Masterminds, Orpheus, Savage Worlds, Tribe 8, and Vampire: the Masquerade. Interesting list to say the least; winner gets announced in a month or so.

April 05, 2004

11:35 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Dwarven Reforged

The fine folks at Dwarven Forge have made several website improvements, adding a wish list to the shopping cart, and a message board. Next month, in addition to having the new Sci-Fi sets hit stores, the company will also put a "Tile Construction Kit" into place on the website. Finally, a sale on all minis helps put gamers in a spending mood.

April 02, 2004

12:55 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
A&A D-Day gets columnar on your ass

His run of weekly behind-the-scenes articles on Axis & Allies 2nd Edition concluded, developer Mike Selinker starts running it down about Axis & Allies D-Day. "As you evaluate what's different about this game, always remember the following: Axis & Allies is strategic, Axis & Allies D-Day is tactical." Mmmm, tactics.

April 01, 2004

11:43 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Chaosium, RPGnet exchange threats

In the aftermath of the GAMA Trade Show, a feud has erupted between Chaosium, the company behind Call of Cthulhu, and one of the biggest roleplaying websites, RPGnet. Each has sent out a press release about the incident, below. All I have to say is, I'll win.


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