May 22, 2007
WotC games patents, patents game
By virtue of the madness of patent law and a product they once insinuated wildly in their catalog but never produced, Wizards of the Coast has patented constructible strategy games. The filing dates back to 2002 and, to be fair, is narrow enough to exclude anything that doesn't involve losing or exchanging parts as a consequence of play events. That, um, does not include Pirates. This feels kinda uncool to me, but despite the felicitous timing of this announcement (just before the release of the Transformers CSG, for those keeping score), it may just be a result of the patent office's rather plodding process. And like the infamous "tapping patent" on CCG mechanics, it may turn out that any lawsuits WotC might file to defend it end up not worth the lawyer bills. (Note to tabletop gaming companies with an eye toward suing each other: you can load your shotgun for hamsters, but that won't make the pelts worth anything.)
May 16, 2007
It's neuron-donation time again: do your part for meaningful data in the tabletop games industry
That's right, the OSU Games Research Project is back for another round of mayhem and web-based surveys. As I write this, I haven't taken the new survey yet, so I don't know how it's different, but I do know you should probably take it now.
May 14, 2007
Goodman Games gets Wicked
Recruiting a new generation of young roleplayers is a high priority for many RPG publishers. The new Wicked Fantasy Factory line from Goodman Games plans exactly that, with hip lingo and anime-style artwork. As Joseph Goodman mentioned our our podcast a few shows back, the new d20 product line targets the "video game generation" with faster gameplay and a liberal sprinkling of Great Cleave to sweep the smaller foes aside. Wicked Fantasy Factory #1: Rumble in the Wizard's Tower is available for $6.99, and a twelve-page preview is also lurking within reach.
May 12, 2007
Audio Report: one GTS 2007 wrapup, partial
OgreCave lackey Steve Kani got himself out to GTS '07... for one day. What jumped out at him while doing his rounds as a retailer? Listen to our GTS post-show show and find out. Also, a question for roleplayers: how has party unity been a factor (or not) in your games? Let us know in the comments, folks.
April 29, 2007
Origins Awards nominees announced for 2007
Though underannounced and hard to find (as usual), the 2007 Origins Awards top nominees are decided. 'Tis an interesting batch this year, with many expected titles (Ptolus was a no-brainer), and some surprises as well (Shear Panic? Really? Huh). The list also contains a few endangered or extinct products, such as Paizo's Dragon Magazine and the defunct MSM publication Games Quarterly Magazine. Click below for the full list of nominees.
April 27, 2007
GTS: A report from the floor
That title sounds like someone collapsed, doesn't it? But no, Lee Valentine of Veritas Games Company did not falter under the weighty task of reporting on the GAMA Trade Show 2007 (while staffing the Veritas Games booth simultaneously!), and has provided OgreCave with a lengthy overview of this year's show. Please direct your comments to the thread already in progress, and remember, kids: it's not OgreCave unless there's a beverage recommendation.
April 25, 2007
Select droplets from the GTS news trickle
Yeah, it doesn't look like much of anyone has a well-oiled journalism machine in operation at GAMA this year. GR (which does not mean Green Ronin) has some stuff, here's some annotated-for-your-convenience highlights and extra bits:
New TITAN. Yes, that one. These folks are bringing it but nothing's on the site yet.
Pokemon CMG. Make it stop.
Pinnacle's doing a hallelujah NON-collectible pre-painted plastic minis game called Slaughter Gulch. (Also a Pirates of the Spanish Main RPG in May, which I hadn't heard.)
CCGs for 24 and Stargate SG-1, *yawn* huzzah.
The third- and fourth-place distribution firms, Premier and Centurion, are merging, which is actually kind of a big deal, and maybe not altogether a good one for retailers. The combined company will operate under the Premier name.
Fantasy Flight announces 2007 releases at GTS
Timed to reflect news from GTS, Fantasy Flight has announced (most of) the rest of its planned releases for 2007. Note the Mutant Chronicles CMG teaser predicting a September release, the StarCraft boardgame due in August (big GenCon title, no doubt), and Descent: The Road to Legend which will add campaign rules to the game.
Dragonlance license not renewed to Margaret Weis Productions
Rumored at GTS yesterday, this post by Margaret Weis at Dragonlance.com (copied below) confirms that Wizards of the Coast has not renewed the Dragonlance RPG license that was with Margaret Weis Productions. As Weis mentions in her statement, her company "will be releasing new Dragonlance RPG product through the end of this year and then will step back from our association with Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro." Weis went on to mention a new world being developed with Tracy Hickman (also of Dragonlance fame) called Dragonships of the Vindras, which will be a new game complimented by novels through Tor Books. Like Paizo, which just lost Dragon and Dungeon, Margaret Weis Productions seems to be maximizing its bonuses for the best possible saving throw in its upcoming post-WotC license era. We'll see how it turns out for them.
April 24, 2007
Green Ronin takes over A Song Of Ice And Fire RPG duties
Mind you, they won't be taking over the version that Guardians of Order did; they're doing a new one. Targeted for 2008. Awesome quote: George R.R. Martin says in the release that "[t]here were days I felt like Scarlett O'Hara at the Twelve Oaks barbeque" when the RPG rights were back in play. Hot.
April 22, 2007
Audio Report: we have explosive!
Just in time for GTS, listen to our talk on the final - like, really final - aftermath of Games Expo. And on the Endgame Minicon, the naval-miniatures boomlet and lots of other fun stuff. As always, join us if you haven't.
April 19, 2007
Dragon and Dungeon Magazines will return to Wizards, go electronic only
Rumored for a while now, today it was officially announced that Paizo Publishing will no longer be publishing Dragon Magazine or its sister magazine, Dungeon. This doesn't seem to be by Paizo's choice, as Wizards of the Coast jointly announced the conclusion of Paizo's license to publish the magazines - seems that Hasbro-owned WotC is looking to drink more deeply of the PDF market. In the press release (copied below), Scott Rouse, Senior Brand Manager of Dungeons & Dragons at WotC stated "Today the internet is where people go to get this kind of information. By moving to an online model we are using a delivery system that broadens our reach to fans around the world." Readers that liked having the magazines in hand rather than being forced to a computer screen may disagree, especially those who recently resubscribed. Paizo is offering multiple transition options to subscribers with issues remaining after the final issues in September (Dragon #359 and Dungeon #150), including the option of signing on for Pathfinder, "a new monthly 96-page perfect-bound, OGL-compatible, full-color softcover Adventure Path book printed on high-quality paper for use with the world's most popular roleplaying game." Personally, I just received the May '07 issue of Dragon today, and it contains a "Last issue. Resubscribe!" announcement bundled with it. Either Paizo got caught off guard with this, or someone forgot to notify the shipping department.
April 16, 2007
They also announced Rocketmen! (sound of crickets)
Okay, so Allan beat me to the post. Savor the flavor, hotshot. But anyway: Xbox Livers and PS3 owners (all twelve of them) will be getting this tweaked-up Rocketmen game in the fall. No word on whether it'll have some kind of collectible-sales aspect, probably because no one cares. Me, I always thought the strongest and least-exploited part of Rocketmen's IP was the character designs, and it looks like this game's a lot more about that. So hey.
Talisman making the leap to consoles, PC
The classic Games Workshop fantasy boardgameTalisman, for which countless gamers are quite willing to shell out for each new edition, is headed for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PCs. From the Capcom announcement (also copied below), it looks like additional adventure cards, characters, and alternate endings (achieved by cards in the original boardgame) will be offered as downloadable extras. I still say GW nailed Talisman with the second edition way back in 1985 (and ebay prices seem to agree). However, if uninitiated gamers of the electronic era can get a taste of the "magical quest" boardgame that so many game designers still try to imitate, I'm all for it. The Capcom version is scheduled for a Winter '07 release. As for the completists out there, or the curious newbies, GW has 4th edition slated for release this October, guys.
April 10, 2007
True Dungeon info for 2007
While we still wonder if a spin-off location for True Dungeon will come to light now that Gen Con SoCal is no more, we at least have information on this fall's general True Dungeon plan at Gen Con Indy. Company Director Jeff Martin's update (below) mentions larger encounter areas, hooded LED necklace lights for each player, better looking treasure tokens, a proper and "final" arrangement of 5.1 surround sound for each encounter area, and dedicated GMs for each area. All the improvements, the loss of Gen Con SoCal, and the event's failure to cover costs last year were mentioned as justification for the increased price of $39 per ticket. True Dungeon tickets will go on sale May 7 at GenCon.com.
April 09, 2007
Games Quarterly sold, MSM shuts down
As we mentioned in a recent Audio Report episode, it was plainly apparent that Games Expo, the trade show produced by Matthews Simmons Marketing, came up short in achieving its goals. What we didn't expect was Friday's announcement (below) of MSM closing down and the sale of Games Quarterly Catalog to two individuals already associated with the publication. In the press release, Mark Simmons states "the closure was forced by mounting bad accounts receivable through the past eighteen months and recent losses due to the launch of Games Expo 2007." In addition, Games Quarterly Magazine, a much smaller product, has been discontinued, and the future of National Games Week (which never seemed to take off out here near SF) is in question. We'll have plenty more to say about the fall of MSM in an upcoming podcast.
April 01, 2007
Uncivilized goblins attack in May; Knizia on Nintendo DS in the fall?
Savvy readers will recall "The Goblin Game", now titled Uncivilized: The Goblin Game and hitting public beta in about another month. Promo materials for Uncivilized name all four factions in the game (the League of Tyrants has a snazzy recruiting poster), and a few words about the world: "familiar fantasy races and monsters with a gobliny twist - elves are foppish, trolls are pimpish, dwarves are bikerish[...]" Um, trolls are pimpish? Something tells me that isn't going to end well for our friend WotC.
Also! At the GameStorm convention here in Portland where he was guest of honor this past weekend, Reiner Knizia announced that he has completed a game design for the Nintendo DS handheld platform. He added that he has seen the completed game, so he guesses at a fall release but that's only a guess. No, he didn't say anything else about it, except that his name will indeed be on the cover of the box.
March 30, 2007
Paizo to launch line of novels
When our next Audio Report goes up, you'll hear how Wizards of the Coast's latest product catalog is rather heavy on novels. Not to be deterred, Paizo Publishing has announced a "new line of classic science fantasy novel reprints" starting this August. Called Planet Stories, the sci-fi and fantasy line will bring select backlist novels to book and hobby stores for $12.99 per title. Planned releases include Almuric by Robert E. Howard; The Anubis Murders by Gary Gygax; City of the Beast/Warriors of Mars by Michael Moorcock; and Black God's Kiss by C.L. Moore. It seems like Paizo is expanding its purview, a popular trend these days. We'll see how it goes for them.
Underestimate the pretty collectible horses at your peril
I told you not to count Hidden City Games out; they're now the exclusive licensor outside of Scandinavia for a product called Bella Sara. What on Earth's that, you ask? Why, it's "an imaginative, joyful world of horses, where every girl is special and uniquely beautiful! Horse cards can be collected, traded with friends and used to play fun card games. Each horse has a positive message for you to discover. Every card also has an activation code, which you can enter on this website to put your horses online in your very own stable."
If that sounds like a miss to you, you obviously haven't heard of Webkinz, wherein a Canadian plush-doll company gives kids online versions of the dolls they buy, has sold two million of them in two years, and has to put specific measures into their online games to stop kids from playing them constantly. And it's not like they're great looking dolls, either. I can't remember who I saw online recently saying that a My Little Pony RPG was WotC/Hasbro's biggest missed opportunity; if Bella Sara can take off stateside, maybe a My Little Pony CCG would follow suit? (Or even a card-model game, although removable heads might not be advisable.)
March 29, 2007
Audio Report: Games Expo, card models, and dragon junk
The complete rundown on this year's trade events, past and future, plus the twin announcements of what we used to sort of call "constructible strategy games" for June, are the meat of this show. Fans of Currently Playing have a ton of mini-reviews to chew on as well. Also, check our amazing turnaround.