RPGs are role-playing games, where components are usually dice and rulebooks, games are typically open ended, and story and playacting often take a large role.


AEGAlderac Entertainment Group will be seeking support via Kickstarter for some of its upcoming games, and at the GAMA Trade Show asked store owners to “Kick it with us.” Acknowledging the impact of Kickstarter while at the same time expressing continued support for local game stores, CEO John Zinser said that AEG wants its crowdfunding projects to represent a partnership with retail.

Towards that end, AEG is planning to provide retailers with promotional materials and sample products that they can demo during the Kickstarter projects. And it will accept preorders from those retailers, which will qualify for the same products as provided to backers.

Specialty retailers have had an uneasy relationship with crowdfunded games. Weather this approach improves the situation of course remains to be seen.

Crowdfunding Highlights

Among NoblesIn the lead position this week is a game that despite hitting my pet peeves—chaotic, an “intentionally vague ruleset,” and that annoying exclamation point—still somehow manages to sound interesting. Mr. Game! appears to be the kind of game where the winning player changes rapidly and is pretty much selected at random. There must be something subliminal hidden in the video.

Among Nobles, though, makes a more direct play for my interest. It’s a game of political intrigue and military conquest in feudal Europe. Military conquest is abstracted at a high level. But more interestingly, political intrigue in the game is focused on the arrangement of marriages between noble houses. When cards representing royal husbands and wives are brought together, the number of actions available to the owning player multiply.

Updating to the Fate Core rule set is the Bulldogs roleplaying game. [Oh, wait a minute. It’s got one of those pesky exclamation points too, so…] Bulldogs! is for high-action science fiction adventure in space. But not for some sissy fantasy version of science fiction. Rather for adventure in a rough-and-tumble, save-your-own-hide version of space.

College of WizardryIn Poland, a team is planning to rent out Czocha Castle for a series of 4 day LARPs about a College of Wizardry. Each event can accommodate about 130 people. Though a variety of lower-priced pledge levels are available, tickets start at $375. Or for $75,000, the organizers will run a private LARP just for you and your friends.

Puca Trade is seeking support for extending its service to Magic: The Gathering Online. With $50,000 to finance further development work, Puca Trade also promises that users of its service will even be able to trade physical cards for digital ones.

Best Treehouse Ever has players, of course, competing to build the better treehouse. The game incorporates card drafting and spacial reasoning, in that the rooms to be built an a treehouse are featured on individual cards, and when built must be added in balance (to prevent the house from falling down).

Ogre Operation 218Steve Jackson Games‘ Phil Reed was happy to tease us at the GAMA Trade Show with news of an upcoming Hellboy Board Game planned for the fourth quarter. No other details or images, though. Grrr!

So what else did he reveal?

Muertoons Mix-Up, a card game for tweens based on the the Mexican Day of the Dead book and cartoon series, is scheduled for a summer release at $13. It’s a redesign of SJG’s earlier game, Spooks.

Ogre Operation 218, a two player card game based on Battle for Hill 218 published by Your Move Games, will follow in the fall at $15.

Car Wars ArenasGURPS Mars Attacks, a full-color, hard-cover RPG supplement, should hit retail in October at $25.

And on the Car Wars front, SJG isn’t yet ready for the promised new edition of the base game. However, the company is planning a Kickstarter project later this month for Car Wars Arenas, a package of five map sheets and an arena rule book. With stretch goals, the map sheets could be double-sided.

Mermaid Adventures Coloring BookDo you play “Infestation: An RPG of Bugs and Heroes” or “Mermaid Adventures?” If so, you’ll be pleased to know that you can color along with your campaign thanks to Third Eye Games and DriveThruRPG.

The two coloring books are both illustrated by the games’ artist, Mellissa Gay and feature dozens of line drawings that come from the original RPG handbook. They are both immediately downloadable as PDFs. The Infestation coloring book includes 20 illustrations and the Mermaid Adventures coloring book comes with 30 illustrations.

The best part is that these coloring books are pay-what-you-want. So, you can show your support to the game’s publisher. Yes, you can download the books for free. But, is that really a good way to show your support? Why not throw down, at least, some couch change on one or both of these titles? If you have money to spare, you could even go overboard to show your love of the games.

Now you just need some 8.5 X 11 inch newsprint grade paper to get that familiar rough coloring feel from when you were a kid.

Players CompanionWizards is kicking off the new season of D&D Encounters Elemental Evil, and with that comes a free Player’s Companion to be used with the Player’s Handbook. The Companion is full of new player options, new races, and spells for adventurers to get ready for the season. The book is 25 pages long, and is laid out as professionally as a paid book. I’ve had a chance to flip through it real quick, and there’s some exciting material in there.

The free Elemental Evil Player’s Companion can be downloaded at DungeonsanddDragons.com and DriveThruRPG.

 

 

DnD_OP_4c_Working v4DnD_ENC_4c_XL“The Elemental Princes have sent visions of destruction to four prophets and it will be up to your party to uncover the insane plots behind the seemingly innocent cults.”

The new season of D&D Encounters takes place during a portion of the Princes of the Apocalypse adventure. Each Wednesday at Wizards Play Network locations around the country players can participate in what this season has to offer..

PAX East—Indie Mega Booth

header_imageThe Indie Mega Booth was actually my first stop at PAX. Crammed with tiny tables, there were a ton of cool looking games either for sale or about to head to Kickstarter. I even saw my old friends at Zephyr Workshop showing off A.E.G.I.S again. I was hoping to get back to the booth to demo a bunch of the games, but I ended up seeing a LOT more than I would have thought, and couldn’t get back there in time.

Titans Tactics by Imbalanced Games

Titan TacticsTitans Tactics is a 30 minute skirmish game were teams of 3 champions face off against each other. The game uses cards, so there’s very little randomness and a lot of tactics and planning involved. You can snag the game on Amazon for $25.

Mahou Shojo by Deerfox

Mahou Shojo“Fight like a girl”, Mahou Shojo is a 2 player game about battling magical schoolgirls that’s currently up on Kickstarter. Targeted at girls, the game features cute artwork that doesn’t fall into many of the Anime stereotypes these types of games are usually known for. There’s actually 2 open play test decks available for download if you’re interested in giving the game a shot: The Bakery Deck and The Garden Deck.

Skiptrace

CameraZOOM-20150306094252487Skiptrace is a cheeky game of moonlighting agents trying to complete missions. With stunning, minimalistic cards, players get targets, objectives, resources, locations, and itemss and have to complete their mission. The game has some pretty awesome cards, and a wonderful look and feel.

Pleasant Dreams

Pleasant DreamsPleasant Dreams has you trying to take control of your dreams to have a pleasant night’s sleep. Players go back and forth in a game of tug-of-war trying to create good dreams for themselves while slipping terrifying visions on their opponent’s dreams. The game is currently available for $20.

Mech Deck

Mech DeckThis game is right up my alley. Mech Deck is a game of giant robot combat where pieces of your mech can be blasted off and rendered useless. Lighter and more approachable than some larger mech games, I can see this one becoming a real hit. A modular board system and customizable mechs mean replayability should be high with this one.

The Shadow Over Westminster by Counter Clockwork Games

CameraZOOM-20150306095353422The end of the world approaches and The Agency must put a stop to it. The Shadows of Westminster is a deckbuilder mixed with a cooperative board game. Players must do research to find out what’s going on in order to stop whatever evil is threatening to destroy the world. Sometimes, one of the agents is actually the evil and then proceeds to try and kill everyone.

Divorce

DivorceDivorce is a game about just that. Players take the role of a married couple trying to get the most our of their divorce as possible. If you can’t get something, you can always make sure the other person doesn’t getting by burning it down or somehow destroying it. You even need to take into account the kids in the whole messy affair. Sounds like your cup of tea? You can preorder it here for $20.

Bad Detectives by Forced Output

Unfortunately my picture of Bad Detectives didn’t come out that great. It’s a shame, because it’s a game you really need to see (so you can just hit that link to the left). In the game you play a bad detective trying to look good by solving cases. You do this by linking up all the information you have with thumbtacks and string. Solid connections are good! Broken connections, no so much. You’re basically trying to tie as much information together as you can while trying to trip up your fellow bad detectives. It’s actually really hilarious.

header_imageI stopped by the CritSuccess booth to see what was new. I’m a huge fan of my r20, and I was hoping to catch a glimpse of something special.

Indeed I did. I present to you, the Chainmail Dice Bag.

Chainmail Dice BagThe picture doesn’t do it justice. This thing is a beauty. It’s 100% stainless steel, and it’s tough as nails. They let me tug on it, stomp on it, and try my best to break it. The bag held up to it all. Not only that, but it’s actually a really good size. I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for dice bags, particularly leather ones. This bag has me rethinking my loyalty.

CritSuccess ran a Kickstarter with a goal of raising $500 to get the bag made. They raised almost $50,000.

While these bags are amazing, they won’t be cheap when they’re available to the public. It looks like you’ll need to shell out $50 for one, but it’s worth it in my mind.

The latest nostalgic trigger overfunding on Kickstarter is the Thunderbirds Co-operative Board Game from Modiphius Entertainment. Designed by Matt Leacock of Pandemic fame, the game has players taking on the roles of the individual Tracy family members, completing various rescue missions around the world, and most importantly, piloting miniatures of the beloved Thunderbirds vehicles. The project is currently working toward a stretch goal that would allow a fifth player to act as the evil Hood.

Thunderbirds Co-operative Board Game

If for no other reason, I would have had to mention Bad Medicine for best integration of a gorilla suit in a project video. Fortunately, though, this party game that bucks the recent trend of simply being crude has more to offer than that. In Bad Medicine players identify maladies, concoct remedies, and argue over side effects. Sounds like a visit with the grandparents.

RPE Miniatures’ Phroggs project is for 28mm metal figures of science-fiction amphibians. They’ll be produced in Poison Dart Frog, Fire Bellied Toad, and Bullfrog versions, each with futuristic uniforms and weapons.

Another minis project is the one for cast resin terrain by THMiniatures. It features unpainted elements in two groups: fortifications and ruins.

Tesla vs EdisonI’m a very geeky geek. Besides the obvious focus on games, I have a real fascination with the history of electric utilities (it’s the engineering background, I guess). So Artana’s project for a board game on just that subject hooked me on two fronts. Tesla vs. Edison has the PR antics, stock shenanigans, and business chicanery that was a real part of the industry in its early days. My only beef (without having played the game yet) is Artana’s assumption that all geeks will side with Tesla. You can count me in the Edison camp.

Nova Aetas is a tactical combat board game set in Renaissance Italy. Nova Aetas can be played single-player, cooperative, or competitive and includes 50 miniatures, 3D terrain, and a campaign of 30 scenarios. It also promises tough enemies controlled by an aggressive AI and a time-based action management system.

header_imageEverywhere I went in the tabletop floor booths had beautiful, wooden accessories to accent the games being shown. Everyone said the same thing, “Wyrmwood Gaming provided these excellent products.” Be it dice trays, towers, or wooden dice. Wyrmwood had the right idea by making sure at least one of their products were in as many tabletop booths as possible. I was blown away by the quality of what I saw, but it was nothing compared to what I saw at their own booth.

Wyrmwood CrokinoleThe first thing that hit me was this awesome Crokinole board. Not a normal product they sell, but a custom piece. If you’ve got something in mind you want, you can always email Wyrmwood to get a quote for them to make it for you. Their actual product line consists of dice trays, vaults, towers, and deck holders. They even have some non-wooden materials like card sleeves and polyhedral dice.

CameraZOOM-20150306161834981

Their products are bit pricey, but are built to last. There’s no denying the quality of the workmanship, the beauty of the products, and the absolute wow factor each pieces possess.

Battlesystem for D&D 5e

NEW D&D Logo

Mass combat rules for Dungeons & Dragons have been made available free for download by Wizards of the Coast. The supplement, Unearthed Arcana: When Armies Clash, treats combat units similarly to individual characters in the core rules. It also assumes a gridded battlefield map and breaks fighting forces down in to “stands” of 10 creatures.

Perhaps its time to take out my old AD&D Bloodstone Pass adventure.

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