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.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesThe current Bundle of Holding offers several alternate and fantasy history games, plus the Timemaster time-traveling RPG, for just $9. Those who pay $22, get two additional games and two adventure ebooks.

Together, The Curated Tee and Peaceable Kingdom are giving away a board game, along with a t-shirt and stickers, via Instagram.

Passport Games is giving away a copy of Fool’s Gold before it hits retail.


Crowdfunding Highlights

Christopher Ferguson revisits the old zip-top-bag micro war game format with his Kickstarter project for Star Patrol. It’s a hex-and-counter game of spaceship combat that embraces Newtonian space flight mechanics. During the course of the game, players must keep track of inertia and orientation for each of their custom-designed ships.

Also hearkening back to the earlier days of hobby gaming is the Marmoreal Tomb Campaign Starter from Earnest Gary Gygax Jr. Designed for AD&D (but with stretch goals also compatible with Pathfinder and 5th Edition), the campaign is based on the game Earnest used to run while managing the Dungeon Hobby Shop for TSR.

Another RPG project on Kickstarter turns the 1993 novel, Vurt by Jeff Noon, in to a tabletop game. The setting of Vurt is a cyberpunk world in which munching on color-coded feathers allows people to access an alternate reality. In game form, Vurt will use Monte Cook Games’ Cypher System.

Dingo's Dreams TilesAlternate realities of a sort also make an appearance on the board game front. Dingo’s Dreams from Red Raven Games and designer Alf Seegert has players guiding animals through a dream world. Gameplay involves manipulating a matrix of tiles so that as they’re flipped from landscape-side to animal-side, the animals fit a specific target pattern for the round.

Prime Time from Golden Egg Games is a board game about managing a television network. Players compete to develop shows, cast actors, and fill their weekly schedules in a way that will attract various viewer demographics, earn awards, and sell advertising. A somewhat more substantial Euro-style strategy game, this one nevertheless appears to marry mechanics and theme very well.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesDriveThruRPG’s Cthulhu Mythos Sale celebrate’s H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday with discounts of 20%.

The Toys “R” Us Clearance Blast includes a number of board games at 50% off. and a Kre-O Dungeons & Dragons set for 66% off.

Abney Park’s Airship Pirates RPG is on-sale, 52% off for the softcover POD and PDF combo.

For 10% off Paizo physical products direct from the company, use coupon code “summer15”.

BoardGameGiveaway.com is giving away Viceroy, Pandemic Contagion, and a $25 gift certificate to GameNerdz.com.

Two Dungeons & Dragons video slot machines are being released by Konami, one titled “Fortunes of the Forgotten Realms”, the other “Dwellers of the Dungeon Keep”. In addition to fire-blaze bezels and 32″ monitors, Konami is touting for these new machines the ability of players to navigate dungeons, encountering monsters and traps, as well as the possibility of rolling a 20-sided die for progressive jackpots.

So much licensed game news has crossed my desk recently…

Savage Worlds Flash Gordon

R. Talsorian Games has reached an agreement with CD Projekt Red for The Witcher Role-Playing Game. It’ll be based on the same rules system as Cyberpunk 2020 and is planned for mid-2016.

Two Dark Horse Comics series, The Goon and Fear Agent, are getting the Savage Worlds treatment from Pinnacle Entertainment. Also expect to see an official Savage Worlds Flash Gordon.

Star Trek board games are coming from Gale Force 9 next summer.

There’s going to be anniversary editions of Thunderbirds Monopoly and Back to the Future Monopoly.

From Upper Deck expect in 2016 a Big Trouble in Little China Legendary game. It’s the film’s 30th anniversary.

MegaCon Games is making The Banner Saga: Warbands, a cooperative miniatures game based on the computer RPG from Stoic.

The 1960s era Captain Action Card Game is making a return.

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment is getting a board game adaptation. Unfortunately, it’s planned just as a roll-and-move trivia game.

Second Look—Dungeon World

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.

I’ve taken a look at a few RPGs for Purple Pawn. Some descent ones. Some pretty bad ones. So far I haven’t really read any great ones.

Along comes Dungeon World, and RPG I first saw at PAX East. A smaller book clustered in with a lot of other smaller RPGs. It looked pretty interesting, but I didn’t give it much extra thought. As I was going through my post-con follow ups I shot the designers and email asking if they’d like a review done. They happily provided digital copies of the book, including a Kindle version. Wow. That’s pretty cool. The file was formatted professionally, and it made reading an electronic version of the book so much easier than having to do it on my laptop, phone or tablet screen.

It only took a few pages for me to get hooked, the only thing stopping me from blasting through the whole book at once was time.

Dungeon WorldThe system seemed simple. The book laid out and presented in such a way that the information was easy to understand and read through without problem. Dungeon World was actually enjoyable to read!

The system is made up of moves, both for the GM and the player. Character creation is minimal, and die rolls are done on 2d6 with the exception of damage. Dungeon World as a whole is a toolkit for telling an excellent fiction without too much getting in the way, but just enough to keep the players interested with their actions and die rolls. The GM also relies heavily on the players for world building. The goal is to be able to sit down and play without too much prep getting in the way and spoiling the fun.

There’s plenty more detail I could go into, but really you should just snag the game for yourself. It’s worth a read, and most certainly worth a play. I’m already getting a campaign ready for my kids to play. It’s that easy. You can snag the digital copy for $10, or a print copy for $25.

A review copy of Dungeon World was provided free for review by Sage Kobold Productions.

01_Carousel3_ToD-Adventures_Background_140623_0Following several complaints about the offerings from the D&D All-Access event at Gen Con 2015, Baldman Games published a public apology to all attendees and is offering a physical copy of Out of the Abyss, the next campaign book for D&D 5th Edition by Green Ronin; and a code for a digital copy of Sword Coast Legends, the party-based RPG for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. All-Access players at Gen Con 2015 are requested to fill out the form at http://baldmangames.com/2015/08/gen-con-2015-all-access-update/ to get their packet.

The All-Access Program was a $150 event within the Gen Con convention, which promised a premium gaming experience. The pass gains access to reserved seats for all the D&D adventures in a separated gaming space. At 2014’s convention, attendees also received copies of the D&D 5th Edition Players Handbook and Monster Manual, two weeks before the book’s official release date. This year, several people commented that they received nearly nothing at all. “Another event offered the three autographed rulebooks plus two epics for $140,” wrote user Wisewolverine on the Gen Con community forum. “Everyone who purchased an all access package got royally screwed.” User wgmccanless wrote, “We did get a couple of [D&D Adventurers League (organized play)] Certificates, but none were worth anything. No book, no souveniers, no 2015 commemorative dice, no coupons for future purchases, nothing! I got more swag for ordering a sandwich at Scotty’s [Brewhouse]!”

baldDavid Christ of Baldman Games, discussed how giveaways impact the All-Access Package process. “Every year the program has provided different things and the attendees have valued them in their own fashion,” he writes. “Each year the [giveaway] items were better and better and that is just not a sustainable program.” To help bring the event back to something that is “more sustainable long term” and more of a value to the attendees, the company is considering several options such as a concierge service; custom exclusive adventure tracks for All-Access members; moving the event to a dedicated room to cut down on noise, and offer snacks and lunch items; and adding special guests to the event.

Dungeons & Dragons Movie is a Go

Dungeons & Dragons LogoAfter months of silence on the progress of lawsuits over Dungeons & Dragons movie rights, it appears that Hasbro and Sweetpea Entertainment have finally settled their differences. All rights have been returned to Habro subsidiary, Wizards of the Coast.

Though no release date has been specified, the D&D film project is in progress under Warner Bros. Pictures, which already has a script by David Leslie Johnson (The Conjuring 2, Wrath of the Titans). Listed as producers are Brian Goldner of Hasbro; Stephen Davis, Courtney Solomon, and Allan Zeman of Sweetpea Entertainment; and Roy Lee (The LEGO Movie, How to Train Your Dragon).

Mike Mearls at Gen Con 2015At Gen Con, I participated in a panel discussion with Mike Mearls, lead designer for Dungeons & Dragons. The conversation was mostly about the general development of the 5th edition product line. With two full 15 level campaigns available in the game’s first year, Mike was proud of Wizards of the Coast’s focus on supporting players. This, Mike explained, was the result of WOTC’s public playtest, which gathered feedback not only on game mechanics but also on play modes.

More generic products, like for example a psionics book or a second Players Handbook with new character classes, may be forthcoming but only after the company has put a selection of campaign and setting products on the shelf to support new players. When such supplements do come out, Mike cautions people that for compatibility purposes their development will assume players use only one expansion book at a time. Fortunately, the existing subclasses already provide a great deal of flexibility for players in developing their characters.

With regard to the material already released, Mike Mearls said that people seem to prefer the less linear, more sandbox-type campaigns like Princes of the Apocalypse. He said that WOTC would never use errata to change rules. And he said that the thing he regretted most was the selection of fighter class options.  “They’re empty calories… we whiffed.” The choices players are given aren’t really easy for them to picture. Rather than “champion”, he said that the fighter options should have included things like “gladiator, knight, or berserker.”

On the broad scope and future plans, Mike was emphatic that Hasbro has been extremely supportive of WOTC’s approach, both with regard to the pace of products and the seeking of public input. Over the long term, D&D has been a steady business. Hasbro understands that a product of this type requires the input of fans. Perhaps related to that subject, Mike assured the group that Wizards of the Coast is still actively working on a third-party licensing arrangement.

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