Mole Rats in Space


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.


Badges for the newest PAX convention go on-sale next Wednesday, May 3rd. Other PAX events have sold out, so if you’re interested don’t hesitate.

PAX Unplugged takes place November 17-19 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. The event is a joint effort of Penny Arcade and ReedPOP, and will focus entirely on tabletop games.

Catalyst Game Labs announced today Dragonfire, a deck-building adventure game based on Dungeons & Dragons and set in the Forgotten Realms. The initial release, “coming soon”, will have players choosing from classic D&D races and classes and beginning their adventure along the Sword Coast. The company also plans future expansions with players leveling up their characters while visiting Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter, and Waterdeep.

Catalyst is building Dragonfire from the same system the company used for its Shadowrun: Crossfire game (though the two will definitely not be compatible).

Adapting that engine to Dungeons & Dragons is an exciting opportunity to build new ways for players to experience both quick adventures and long-term campaigns in this legendary high-fantasy setting. And at every step, Catalyst has worked hard to remain true to D&D lore. When players open a copy at the table, regardless of what they enjoy playing—RPGs, deckbuilder games, or both—they’ll find a complete box of fun.

Dragonfire will be priced at $60 retail and come with five decks of encounter cards, plus a market deck, magic item deck, character cards, adventure cards, an adventure book, sticker sheets, tokens, plastic clips, and a rule book.

Among the expansions planned are Wondrous Cache (more magic items), Heroes of the Sword Coast (more character cards with new classes and races), and Encounters: Dragonspear Castle (a new adventure with more encounter, magic item, and market cards). Several of the expansions are going to print at the same time as the base game.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesFor 15% off games from HasbroToyShop.com, use promo code “GAMES2017”.

HasbroToyShop.com also runs an eBay store front where many games are discounted more than at its namesake web site.

Here’s a coupon for 15% off at Toys “R” Us that’s good through tomorrow.

Dog Might Games Huge Inventory Sale means 20% off all in-stock items.

Amazon deals:

Blog and podcast giveaways:

Dungeon Masters Guild Megabundle #2 highlights products from the top-30 bestselling community authors for 87% off.

Currently available at Bundle of Holding are two deals for 4th edition Champions, Essentials and Universe. To get the Bonus Collections of both will cost around $70 but between the two, you’d get more than 60 books. Also being offered by Bundle of Holding is Rocket Age, the RPG of retro-style science-fiction from Cubicle 7, and East Texas University, modern high school horror setting for Savage Worlds.

AEG is conducting two surveys. The company will send respondents promo cards for Mystic Vale and Smash Up.

CoolStuffInc’s 15th Anniversary Celebration features many games at significant discount, such as Pandemic Legacy for 52% off, SeaFall for 56% off, and a MtG Modern Masters 2017 booster box for 21% off.

Through the end of the month, furniture orders from Geek Chic qualify for free accessories.

ACD Distribution is giving away a Pokemon: Sun & Moon Elite Trainer Box.

An early adopter of crowdfunding, Tasty Minstrel Games is now looking to raise general operating and marketing funds through equity crowdfunding portal MicroVentures. The company says it has three games in development, 15 in production, and has sold over 400,000 units since 2010. It appears that any return on a crowdfunding investment could only come about through the sale of shares back to the company or if the company as a whole was sold at some point in the future. But equity crowdfunding is significantly more complex that your typical game project. Read those documents carefully.

Calliope Games has been doing a great job with its focus on easier-going strategy games. Next in that line is to be Dicey Peaks, currently funded and aiming for stretch-goals in its final hours on Kickstarter. I got a brief preview of Dicey Peaks at Toy Fair. It’s a push-your-luck dice game of mountain-climbing. To win, players must make their way to the summit while managing their oxygen and avoiding yeti attacks.

With Commands & Colors: Tricorne from Compass Games, designer Richard Borg takes his C&C card-driven system to the American Revolution. The game will include more than 300 wood blocks, printed dice, a mounted map-board, and separate decks of combat cards to represent the differentiated strategies of the British and Colonials.

On the verge of funding is another block war game, Combat Infantry. Columbia Games’s version of squad-level combat in World War II, this one emphasizes fog-of-war with blocks that are single-sided and rotate to record current strength. The box will include six historical scenarios from the invasion of Normandy, as well as four additional generic scenarios.

Tesla vs. Edison: Duel is an abbreviated, two-player card game that covers the same history of early electric utilities as Artana’s full Tesla vs. Edison board game. Most importantly, the company finally included Samuel Insull, my favorite personality of the period.

Kenzer and Company is on Kickstarter for the first time with Aces & Eights: Reloaded, a revised edition of its wild-west roleplaying game. Kenzer promises a second edition “chock-full of new rules, tweaks, art and other enhancements,” while maintaining the game’s unique shot-clock, a targeting overlay for fun old-west style shoot-outs.

More Monsters

Just released for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is Bestiary 6. This volume presents over 200 new monsters, including demigods, kaiju, animal companions, playable character races, and templates. The hardcover retails for $45, the PDF (later this month) for $10.

 

 

Gen Con continues to grow, expanding out of the Indiana Convention Center into the Lucas Oil Stadium, using the entire 92,000 square foot football field area for exhibits and game play space. Although unique attendees were down slightly last year when the convention began use of the football stadium, the number of daily attendees increased with more attendees present on multiple days. The 50th anniversary of the convention will see it expanded to the entire field level and two exhibit halls in the stadium. Located on the field will be an “homage construction” approximate-scale replica of the Lake Geneva Horticultural Hall where the first Gen Con took place.

The convention space will use more than 750,000 square feet of the ICC, Lucas Oil Stadium, and the connector space. “It’s the most space ever booked for an Indianapolis connection,” writes the Indianapolis Business Journal. The financial impact of the convention on the city for last year’s convention was between $71 and $72 million dollars, according to Visit Indy, the city’s tourism board. With the increased space and the 50th anniversary celebration, the number of attendees and economical impact on the city is expected to grow.

Gen Con 2017 will be held in August, from the 17th to the 20th.

Phil Reed, CEO of Steve Jackson Games, published the company’s annual Report to the Stakeholders today. In it, the company revealed that they had a second year of decline from 2014’s high of $8.5 million to $6 million. The main reasons cited for the income slowdown were delays on planned releases of Car Wars Sixth Edition and the Munchkin Collectible Card Game. With the delay on Car Wars, Mr. Reed writes it was due to “an insistence on making the game exactly the way we want it. We would rather not ship the game than ship a game that doesn’t meet our standards.” They are also seeking to get the Munchkin CCG ready to print by the end of the year.

The company looks to have a difficult year ahead for it, with the Ogre Kickstarter campaign from 2012 still not completed. “We are still sinking time into the project,” he writes, even though “we’re seeing real progress; several outstanding pieces of the project are finally coming to a close. Whew.”

Issues with the GURPS line have been problematic for the company as well. Two hardcover books for the GURPS line, Discworld and Mars Attacks, were released but performed poorly at retail. “Today’s cluttered market, combined with our insistence on getting it right, made both books expensive experiments that tell us one thing: Do not produce more GURPS hardcovers until we have guaranteed that the sales are there.” Also tying up resources at the company is the Dungeon Fantasy GURPS introductory box set. Reed writes, “what would have been a profitable project is rapidly turning into a loss.”

But it isn’t all doom and gloom: Munchkin continues to do well with reprints, Guest Artist Editions, and expanding into Walgreens. In the top twenty products sold by dollar volume, all but three were Munchkin related. The company released five new games which appear to have done well at retail, and Zombie Dice had to go back to reprint due to “unexpected demand during the fourth quarter” of 2016. “A game from 2010 that keeps outselling our forecast is good and bad, but we’ll take this situation over the opposite problem any day.”

Licensing Roundup

CMON is developing a miniatures board game based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire series (that’s the novels, rather than the A Game of Thrones television show). To make that game, CMON is of a fashion borrowing the A Song of Ice & Fire license from Dark Sword Miniatures, which has been producing related minis for some time (in PR terms, they’ve entered a partnership). CMON, though, is working on a complete tabletop game, which the company promises will handle scenarios ranging from small skirmishes to large-scale battles with hundreds of figures.

IDW Games has licensed three early video game titles from Atari: Missile Command, Asteroids, and Centipede. IDW says the line of board games will be “fun, intense and fast-paced.” The first out will be Centipede this fall.

IDW is also publishing a game based on the original 1968 Planet of the Apes movie. It’ll be a cooperative adventure game in which players take on different aspects of Colonel Taylor’s personality trying to figure out the history of humanity.

WizKids has renewed its Star Trek license with CBS Consumer products. And with that renewal came several new product announcements. The company is launching two new products for Star Trek: Attack Wing—Card Packs that have just new cards and tokens for existing ships, and Faction Packs that include four ships at reduced cost. WizKids will also be offering unpainted Star Trek minis, an expansion for Star Trek: Frontiers, more Star Trek Tactics ships, and Star Trek characters for HeroClix.

Fragor Games has secured a license from Aardman Animations for a Wallace & Gromit game.

Cubicle 7 is releasing its licenses for the Yggdrasill, Qin, Kuro, and Keltia roleplaying games back to French publisher Le 7eme Cercle. Cubicle 7 said that the extensive work involved in translating the games prevented a reasonable economic return.

ACD Distribution is looking to hire a Sales Representative in Middleton, Wisconsin. The job involves cold-calling and managing existing customer relationships. “Knowledge of and a passion for board games are a definite plus.”

TCGplayer has a number of openings in Syracuse, New York. Some are for software development; others are for some aspect of project management and customer relations.

Green Ronin is recruiting women for contract work on its upcoming Lost Citadel Roleplaying Game.

Patrick Leder, owner of Leder Games and designer of Vast: The Crystal Caverns, needs all-around help running his company—production, customer service, marketing, all of it—so he can focus on product development. The position he wants to fill, Operations Coordinator, is part-time and contract and can be done remotely, though proximity to the Twin Cities would be an advantage.

Also in the Twin Cities area, Asmodee North America (née Fantasy Flight Games) has openings for a Production Coordinator, License Compliance Coordinator, and International Sales Representative.

The people who created TSR’s Alternity roleplaying game are looking to bring the game — well, a new game inspired by their earlier work — kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. “The ‘tech’ of RPG system design has moved on a bit from 1997,” writes Sasquatch Game Studio’s Rich Baker, “and we’re looking to create a system that captures the spirit and the key table experiences of the original game with an updated approach.” Advertised as its own game, not a second edition, reboot, or remake, the creators have a free beta playtest available on DriveThruRPG. Various reward tiers are available, but you’ll really want to start at the $45 level which gets pdf versions of the core book and all sourcebooks and adventures unlocked during the campaign. Estimated delivery is in December.

If you run a game store or game cafe, or do video reviews of boardgames, Massif Displays offers collapsible stands for displaying those games. Sets (one large display, two medium, or four small) start at $8, but pricing drops with multiple sets — twelve display sets are down to $4 per individual set. Delivery is scheduled for August.

Oh, and something called Gloomhaven went live yesterday. It was at $1.15 million when I started writing this sentence, but wound up at $1.16 million when I ended it.

Huh. Still no full-on Cards Against Humanity knockoff this week. But hey, look at this, it’s another dirty words Charades.

But wait, Dirty Lines A Game For Dirty Minds isn’t just a straight charades photocopy! You gain points extra points if you can get the others to guess some key words before they get your main word. So you’re really trying to charade up to five words in a short time. Oh, and hey, the sample card on the kickstarter campaign isn’t really a naughty word, it’s just racist! Five days left!

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