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.


The Last Parsec

The Last ParsecThe Last Parsec is a new campaign setting being developed by Pinnacle Entertainment for the Savage Worlds roleplaying game. As the name implies, it’s a science fiction setting. Yet besides that, The Last Parsec is bit difficult to pin down. It has a little bit of everything. As lead project manager, Timothy Brian Brown, explained to Purple Pawn:

The Last Parsec uses the Savage Worlds core rules and the Science Fiction Companion, which gives Game Masters the key sci-fi elements that we feel introduce the most exotica into galaxy-spanning roleplaying fun. Then, rather than focus on just a few central conflicts or themes and funnel everybody into those, we created a vast panoply of possibilities where GMs and players can engage in whatever sort of sci-fi fun they choose. It’s a big universe, and The Last Parsec reflects that.

Pinnacle’s approach to product roll-out for The Last Parsec is also a little different. Instead of starting off with a core book, Pinnacle’s initial release will be three campaign books. Six short-fiction works are already available.

In short, our goal is maximum adventurous fun at launch. We’re providing a Primer free as a PDF download to anyone and everyone, which gives all the information on The Last Parsec’s Known Worlds to get everyone started, including the GM. The Plot Point Campaigns and Savage Tales in each of the first three adventure books should keep players plenty involved until we publish the setting book—which will open up every aspect of The Last Parsec for limitless campaigning.

The Last Parsec is up on Kickstarter for another 3 days but has already funded over eight-times over. Pinnacle estimates delivering PDF versions of the books in November, print versions in May.

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesFor a chance to win a four-day trip to the Chicago Toy & Game Fair with behind-the-scenes access (hotel and travel vouchers included), like ChiTAG’s Facebook page and share the giveaway ad image.

Passport Game Studios is giving away its latest release, H.P. Lovecraft’s Kingsport Festival.

Select seasonally-thematic Pathfinder products are 10% off in a DriveThruRPG Pre-Halloween sale.

The Army Painter is giving away a Warpaints Mega Paint Set plus one miniature. Entry via Facebook like.

USAopoly is giving away different Walking Dead games each day through the 17th.

Complete Orchard Toys’ online survey for a chance to win one of five game-and-puzzle bundles worth £50.

Triple Ace Games’s PDF products are 25% off through the end of October.

Blog giveaways:

Second Look—Wreck Age

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.For a while now I’ve been posted about Wreck Age and its progress. Hyacinth Games has created an excellent world, and a rule-set that’s a little bit RPG and a little bit miniatures.

I finally had a chance to sit down with their 2 player starter set, Showdown at Burnt Tierra Gulch. The miniatures are excellent, and required very little trimming to get them up to snuff. The included terrain is also a nice touch, and gives you a nice area to play your first few games.

Now let me start off by saying I believe Wreck Age is a good game, but there were a few things that hindered my enjoyment of the scenarios I played.

My first complaint is the quick start rules themselves. They aren’t really enough to get you going with what’s in the box. The units that come with the set are hard to match up with the stat cards, and not all their equipment is listed in the quick start guide. The guide often references areas in the main rulebook, which doesn’t come with the set. Now I happen to have the full rulebook, and was able to figure a few things out, but I was also a bit confused on how the book was laid out. Like I said before, there’s rules for both playing the game as a tabletop RPG and a miniatures game. I feel like the game should be one or the other, or at least split the two rule sets apart entirely.

236033982While I did manage to sort most things out, it did take a considerable amount of time to do so, and I probably couldn’t have without having the full rulebook. In my mind this defeats the purpose of a starter set. However, once I had the rules down, the game was very enjoyable and fairly fast paced. It’s skirmish level, with only a few units on each side. Turns are quick, often deadly, and the scenarios provided in the box were a good way to stretch my legs a bit with the game.

If you’re an avid minis gamer, and the theme here appeals to you, I recommend purchasing the full rulebook and this starter set to get you on your way. I can’t, unfortunately, recommend this starter set on its own, as it really felt like there wasn’t enough information included to really get you going.

I’m debating picking up more miniatures, but maybe after creating a comprehensive reference sheet for easier rules access.

A copy of the full Wreck Age rulebook and the Showdown at Burnt Tierra Gulch were provided free for review by Hyacinth Games.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesPaizo’s Great Golem Sale features mostly RPG products but also board games, miniatures, and accessories for some major discounts (officially up to 90% off).

d20 Monkey is giving away a Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set.

Nonperfect Parenting is giving away Show Me the Kwan from Griddly Games.

UpWorks Modular DiagramThe creator of True Dungeon and former president of Dwarven Forge has a new terrain idea to set miniatures gamers drooling. UpWorks is a modular system for building castles in three dimensions—that is, building up multiple levels with modular components. A full castle set, however, requires backing at $590. Curved towers are an extra $90 each.

Not modular but just as drool-worthy is the castle project from Miniature Building Authority. Buildings and wall sections come complete and highly-detailed with furnished interiors, working drawbridges, removable roofs, slide-out floors, and other features. Various buildings are available separately but the incredible large castle setup requires a $2,600 pledge.

The gangster-themed card game, Gang Up!, has players recruiting each other as partners in the commission of crimes. Influence cards, however, allow other players to affect crimes in progress. Partners too, may turn on those who recruited them. Frankly, the project hooked me with the big-band music playing in the video.

Arknight’s Flat Plastic Miniatures look to be a nice step up from paper minis. Printed on thin sheets of clear plastic and pre-cut, these will have a transparent background and be more durable. A $75 pledge gets at least 186 figures plus bases (more with stretch goals), so about 40¢ each.

Flat Plastic Miniatures

Nord is a game about competition among Viking settlements. Players get three meeples a turn to claim the resources of forest, mountain, and ocean spaces, or to attack and occupy neighboring settlements. The board reflects an island but is made of tiles that can be configured differently each game.

The first non-RPG project from Triple Ace Games, Rocket Race is a slightly comical steampunk space-race card game. The basic rules have players bidding cogs on rocket component and event cards. Using the advanced rules, players will have to manage resources in three scientific disciplines to purchase components.

Wyrmwood Gaming hand-makes dice and card storage boxes and dice trays, each available in a varieity of natural woods, including maple, mahogany, rosewood, cherry, walnut, and bubinga. Of course these beautiful accessories do not come cheap. An extra-large deck box (which will hold 120 sleeved cards) runs $200 in Gabon Ebony.

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesUnder pressure for failing to stop one of his 18 year-old team members from playing against an Israeli at the World Youth Chess Championships, the president of the Sudanese Chess Association resigned and issued an apology to the Palestinian and Sudanese people.

Eight people were fined for playing the game of Parcheesi after midnight in the town square of Malaga, Spain. Neighbors complained about noise made by the rolling dice. Responding police also told the players that they weren’t allowed to drink in the area. It wasn’t alcoholic drink, mind you, that was the problem. The players only had water and cola. Way to go, Malaga! Keep those ruffians off the streets!

Hasbro is claiming copyright on a list of words used in Scrabble tournaments. (To be clear, that’s just an electronically-stored list, not a printed book, nor a set of definitions.) Many believe the claim to be on shaky legal ground. However, the North American Scrabble Players Association and small enterprises that produce game-playing software aids are intimidated by Hasbro’s size and resources.

The Prime Minister of Norway has refused an invitation to attend and make the first move at the upcoming World Chess Championship (where the defending champion is Norway’s own Magnus Carlsen). The tournament is being held in Sochi, Russia and the Prime Minister has cited “international circumstances” as her reason for not attending.

In Detroit, a young girl, age 7, was caught in the crossfire between two cars speeding up the street with the occupants shooting at each other. What was the gunfire all about? What else? A dice game.

Someone in China is making a paper version of Blizzard’s Hearthstone CCG.

The Department of Labor investigated employment practices at the Game Manufacturer’s Association and found that the Association had misclassified several positions as exempt when they should have been hourly. GAMA is now distributing back pay for overtime.

According to Mexican authorities, Hasbro owes $250 million in back taxes because it allegedly improperly accounted for cross-border transactions.

Yet again, Outlaw Press stands accused of illegally copying roleplaying material and the artwork of others to sell it.

A New York City man who has sold flowers and taught children Chess on a Harlem street corner for more than 10 years has been put out of business by the Parks Department for lack of a vending permit. Of course, he could have moved down the street but he preferred the space available in Abraham Lincoln Playground.

A South Florida school district has been unable to launch its system-wide Chess program a month after the start of classes. The Chess sets it’s importing from China have been held up by customs. That may seem unreasonable but maybe it’s not. Chess sets have been convenient smuggling devices before.

An American Ebola patient in isolation was given a Chess set and NERF basketball hoop for entertainment.

Employees of the Aviation Club de France, a Poker club in Paris, were arrested on charges of money laundering for organized crime.

Project Sunshine is an outreach program of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association. Members organize a Chess tournament for inmates at the Cebu City Rehabilitation Center.

In Belize City, two men were playing Dominoes mid-afternoon, when another man drove up and shot at them eight times. One of the players was killed, the other injured.

In Scotch Plains, New Jersey, an 11 year-old highly ranked (candidate master) Chess player was shot and killed by his father, who also took his own life.

Second Look—Dungeons & Dragons

DnD Player's Handbook DnD Monster Manual

With Tuesday’s official release of the new Monster Manual, I thought now would be a good time to examine what the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons offers to new and established gamers. The last of D&D’s traditional three-piece core rulebook set, the Dungeon Master’s Guide, has been delayed until December 9th. However, between the Monster Manual and Player’s Handbook (and with the aid of the free Basic Rules) there’s more than enough to get started playing a game.

Overall this fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons is a fine entry in the game’s long legacy. Of course the first two books cover all the essential rules for running a traditional fantasy roleplaying game. The Player’s Handbook focuses on making and developing characters but also includes sections that explain the basic concepts of roleplaying, how and when to roll dice, what can be accomplished with different character abilities, how to resolve fights with monsters, and what it means to cast a spell. The Monster Manual catalogs hundreds of fantastic and terrifying creatures, many normal animals, and a nice selection of typical antagonists (bandits, priests, guards, etc.).

The books go beyond the essentials, however, presenting Dungeons & Dragons in a way that emphasizes the adventure and storytelling at the heart of the game. It’s an approach—a philosophy—that’s integral to the mechanics, options, and other material. Character backgrounds and ideals, inspiration, non-combat feats, advantage and disadvantage, equipment proficiencies, and lair actions are all rules that contribute to this focus. Even the creature descriptions in the Monster Manual share in this approach. Instead of field-guide-style, entries focus on what’s unique, special, or legendary about each monster.

For seasoned roleplaying gamers, no doubt there are things to quibble with, both mechanically and presentation-wise. For example, I’m not a fan of perception, investigation, and insight skills. Others have pointed out the obvious lack of a monster-by-challenge-rating list (though that is now available online). But in general, fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons appears to be a solid game—one with a consistent design philosophy that’s clearly rooted in old school but informed by modern experience. My best short description for those who know their way around RPGs is: “AD&D, fixed.”

For newbies, Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition presents a nice balance of modernity and tradition, of simplicity and detail, of rules and inspiration, of storytelling and game. It’s not that the new D&D is the best game around—there are others just as good in the market, maybe even others better suited to particular players. Most groups, however, will be well-served by Fifth’s quality mainstream roleplaying experience.

Copies of the Player’s Handbook and Monster Manual were provided free for review by Wizards of the Coast.

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesTicket to Ride from Days of Wonder is now free on the NOOK tablet.

At Toys “R” Us:

  • Pictionary, Uno Attack, and Apples to Apples are 25% off.
  • Collectible card games, including Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, and Magic: The Gathering, are buy-one-get-one-40%-off.

Playdek is offering three discounted bundles of iOS games:

This Board Game Life is giving away Doomtown Reloaded from AEG.

Renegade Games is giving away ROFL!.

To celebrate the release of the Monsternomicon, Privateer Press has it, the Iron Kingdoms Full Metal Fantasy Roleplaying Game Core Rules, and King, Nations, and Gods supplement 50% off at DriveThruRPG. No Quarter Presents: Iron Kingdoms Urban Adventure is 70% off.

For the site’s seventh birthday, The Army Painter has a painting bundle [or for the EU] that includes paints, primer, varnish, and Quickshade.

Club Fantasci is giving away Mint Tin Pirates from Subquark.

Games Workshop Job Vacancies

gamesworkshoplogo.jpgLooking for a job? Games Workshop has some openings! Listings are from around the globe, and while they’re mostly run of the mill, there’s one that stands out.

Chief Executive, Games Workshop Group PLC: Nottingham, UK

Yup. If you’re in the UK and you think you’re Executive level, there’s even a position for you! The requirements are a piece of cake:

  • Deliver a sustainable increase in return on capital
  • Have the right people in the right jobs at the right time
  • Set the operational agenda in agreement with the board and deliver it on time
  • Keep our owners appropriately informed
  • Perform the normal legal duties and responsibilities of a director

What are you waiting for! Games Workshop wants to give you money this time, instead of taking it away!

« Previous Entries  Next Page »