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 - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesEnter for a chance to win one of Shape magazine’s gift bags given to celebrities on Hollywood Game Night. The bag includes Bananagrams and Pictionary Frame Game.

Children’s charities can get Play Connects grants of up to $10,000 from the Toy Industry Foundation.

Lock ‘n Load Publishing is running a Tax Break Sale.

Funagain Games is running a Spring Cleaning Sale.

PAX East 2014: Part4

paxeast2Game Salute

Game Salute is always a great place to visit at a convention. The wide variety of games they publish/manage means there’s something for everyone. Their latest game is Ruse, a murder mystery game set in a steampunk Victorian era. The cool part is that you actually get a standalone card game, standalone dice game, and a 100 page novella in the box. I didn’t get a chance to see it in action, but I hope to very soon.


Dice Rings. Lots of Dice Rings. CritSuccess had a booth with Dice Rings in all sorts of varieties, from classic polyhedral dice counterparts to life counters and rings with multiple die faces. They spin super smoothly, and just look way damn cool. I got sized for a ring at the show, and am eagerly awaiting its arrival at my doorstep.

Drinking Quest

Touted as the original drinking RPG, Drinking Quest is supposed to play like a stripped down version of D&D, but with lots of real-life drinking. There’s currently 3 different version of Drinking Quest: Drinking Quest 1, Drinking Quest 2, and Drinking Quest 3. Each is stand-alone, and contains 4 quests. There were beers at the booth, but I don’t think they were handing any out! This one’s on the way to me, also, so look for a review in the near future.

paxeast2High Heavens

Ryan Lesser, known in the video-game world for Guitar Hero, Rock Band. Beatles:Rock Band, and Dance Central, was demoing High Heavens at a small booth tucked away in the corner of the tabletop space. His wife, and game’s artist, Jennifer, started the game’s demo with me until Ryan was able to run the rest of it to completion. The game is a tactical one where you take control of a set of mythological gods and battle it out, trying to destroy the other gods’ home base. In this demo I played the Norse gods, while Ryan played the Greek Gods. Each turn players take 3 actions. This can be summoning a god, moving a god, attacking another god/base, or playing cards that effect the board of miniatures on the board. The coolest mechanic of this game IMG_0598are the stackable rings that each god sits upon. These rings signify health, armor, extra attack power, poison, stun, etc… The more health an armor you have, the higher your character sits on the board. Rings like armor can be dropped when a god is downed, and then picked up by another god who passes next to them.

High Heavens is super simple to learn, and offers a great bit of strategy when it comes to managing your gods, powers, and protecting your base. I’m hoping to get a more in-depth review of this one once it’s out. While I saw a bit of this game at Connecticon, PAX East is where it was officially previewed.

SFR, Inc

SFR surprised me a bit, because they’ve been putting out a product I thought was long-since dead. Dragon Dice. I haven’t played Dragon Dice since I was in middle school, and just looking at all the stuff that’s come out since then got me drooling a bit. So many cool dice! TSR originally had published the game 1995, only to be bought out by Wizards of the Coast. Wizards put the game on the back burner after a while, and SFR bought the rights in 2000 and has continued to keep the game alive ever since. Several new army packs were available to check out at the show, as well as an entire new dice game. Demon Dice.

While each die represents units in Dragon Dice, each set of dice in Demon Dice represents one demon. Each die is a part of the body. Players take turns rolling against their opponent’s previous roll to try and damage the other player, and eventually knock out all their dice from play. It seemed a little complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it you realize it’s really not. I’ve got a starter set on hand, along with an extra set of dice, to review and report back here in a bit.

Attack the Darkness

IMG_0593The name of the game brings back memories of the Dead Alewives “Dungeons and Dragons” bit from a long time ago. An impressively large and hefty box filled to the brim with cards and tokens is what initially caught my eye. Attack the Darkness is a dungeon crawl game with RPG elements and deck building/drafting mechanics. The cards make up the random dungeons, characters, and pretty much everything in between. It plays up to 1-8 players, and can be played with or without a game master. While I didn’t get a chance to play it, it should be on the way to my doorstep very soon. I really liked what I saw, and can’t wait to dig in.


Purple Pawn’s 2013 Game Industry Survey is now online.

I collected information from nearly 300 companies from over 20 countries and from 40 US states. Of those companies that didn’t close, the overwhelming majority are doing fine or better than last year. 13% report doing worse than last year (down 2% from last year’s survey); this percentage doesn’t take into account companies that closed.

More than half of responding publishers use, or plan to use, a crowdfunding source such as Kickstarter to publish their games.

Among responding retailers, Hasbro’s Magic: the Gathering CCG, Game Workshops’ Warhammer miniatures and rules, Mayfair Games’ Catan board and card games, and Paizo’s Pathfinder RPG products were at the top again this year, as they have been for the last three years. Rio Grande Games’ Dominion games sales dropped; its place in the top five was taken by Konami’s perennially popular Yu-Gi-Oh CCG.

Pathfinder products outperformed Wizards of the Coasts’ Dungeons & Dragons products by 2.5 to 1 – even more than last year – while players wait for D&D 5th edition to be released later this year. Gaming accessories, such as card sleeves, and items consumed by gamers, such as soft drinks, continue to be strong dependable sellers. RPG and miniature products from smaller publishers were included in the bestselling product lines of some retailers.

Strong new sellers this year include Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars X-Wing miniatures, Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars Edge of Empires RPG, and basically all Fantasy Flight Games’ living card games (LCGs), especially Android Netrunner (many retailers simply listed “Fantasy Flight Games” as their best selling products).

Another big new seller at responding retailers is Cards Against Humanity, a perverse alternative to more traditional and safe party games. Amazon already listed this game as a top-seller during most of 2012, but the survey respondents are now catching up.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesThe Order of the Iron of the Crown is Iron Crown Enterprises volunteer program. Participants can earn points toward ebooks and branded products. For example, running a demo session and having two people sign up for the ICE forums as a result will earn $5 off an ICE product at DriveThruRPG.

paxeast2StoneBlade Entertainment

The creators of Ascension Chronicle Of The Godslayer have just put a new electronic CCG for the PC and iOS devices called SolForge. The game is a line-based battle CCG with Richard Garfield on the design team. It’s free-to-play, but you can purchase more cards and tournament vouchers as in-app purchases. I was able to fool around with it for a bit, and even try a draft tournament out. It’s very solid, with great art and gameplay. As you use cards they’re discarded, leveled up, and eventually brought back into your hand later. Combining this deck-building mechanic with traditional CCG play is a great combination.

Mantic Games

2493.1.368.368.FFFFFF.0One of my favorite games at the show that I saw was DreadBall from Mantic Games. DreadBall is a sci-fi sports games where players are trying to get a 200mph, weapons-grade ball into one of three goals. There’s a bunch of teams available to purchase and play, and an in-depth set of rules that can scale up or down depending on how complex you want the game to be.

There’s a couple ways to get into the game. There’s the base set, or you can buy one of the rulebooks and a few teams to get started.

I’m by no means a sports fan, but I can’t deny how much fun I had demoing this one.

Mayfair Games

IMG_0581Mayfair had a few things to show, but most has been seen before. What new game I did get to see and demo was Mad City. It’s a light game where you’re drawing 9 random tiles from a bag and trying to group the colors of the city pieces together to score the largest chains before the minute sand-timer runs out. There’s also bonuses for large parks and the longest road. It almost feels like speed Carcassonne where you’re only scoring the farmers. A single round plays and scores in 2-3 minutes, which makes this a great filler game.



This year is the first year I’ve had the opportunity to attend PAX East in Boston, MA. Mostly known as a convention for video gamers, there’s a large, and growing, tabletop  component to the show. Though I only attended the show on Friday, I was able to see a LOT of great stuff for the tabletop, and even demo a few new games. Since there was a lot to see, I’ll be breaking this up in to several posts over the next few days so as not to overload everyone.

Wizards of the Coast

My first stop was the Wizards of the Coast booth were they were showcasing the 2015 version of Duels of the Planeswalkers. While none of the new cards have been added to the alpha build yet, I was able to check out the new UI and tweaks to the game overall. While 2014 was a vast improvement over 2013, 2015 is just a more polished, smooth update to 2014. The new deck builder is supposedly more robust, but wasn’t available yet. Overall I was impressed with what I saw, and can’t wait to get my hands on a finished version with all the new features and cards.

Wizards also had a demo station set up on the tabletop floor for Kaijudo, where they were explaining the new draft format, and had samples of their new competitive decks. These decks are constructed to be a bit more competitive than current pre-constructed decks, and make for much more exciting play. I was able to get one to bring home, and will soon be testing it out with the kids. One of the most exciting aspects of the draft format, coming out this May, is that the number of cards in booster packs is going up from 9 to 14. The price will stay the same. Now you’ll be able to buy 3 boosters per person to host a draft game.

Privateer Press

Privateer Press’s booth had several things going on, but the main two attractions were Zombies Keep Out and Warmachine Tactics.

IMG_0579Zombies Keep Out is a cooperative board game for 1-6 players where everyone is trying to keep zombies from breaking down the barricades to a goblins’ workshop. Players work together to try and build crazy contraptions to stop the zombie horde before they break down the barricades and invade the workshop. One of the cooler mechanics of the game is that players who suffer zombie bites have to slowly start acting like zombies. 1 bite means a player has to start slurring their speech while playing. They also can’t trade cards. More bites start making the player have to moan and point, instead of speaking.

Privateer was also showing off Warmachine Tactics, a PC game of the popular miniatures franchise. The game looks pretty amazing, and feels solid. The really cool part of the game will come to a future update of the build. Players will actually be able to paint their units. Not just color them, but paint them. Since the data will be stored procedurally, it takes very little power to send your unit customizations to another player over the internet, so any player you play against will see your custom units on the field. The game is currently still in development, but will see a release around the end of the summer.

Geek Chic

One of the most amazing things I saw at PAX was the Geek Chic book. We’ve covered their tables in the past, but I’ve never gotten a chance to see one in person. Flat out, these are some of the most amazing, beautiful pieces of furniture I’ve ever seen. They’ve got tables in every size and shape to meet the needs of gamers in all stages of life. From coffee tables and GM desks to kitchen tables and the famous Sultan, these tables just ooze class.


Kobold Guide to Magic

Kobold Guide to MagicSummoning, invisibility, divination, and secret societies are just some of the subjects covered in the Kobold Guide to Magic. Kobold Press’ latest game design guide also includes chapters on “Making Magic Believable” and “Putting the Magic Back Into Magic”.

With chapters penned by 20 different game and fiction authors, the Kobold Guide to Magic is 160 pages of fantasy gaming advice.


Rebel Minis’ new Dark Hold fantasy figures include some very nice lizardmen.

Rebel Minis Lizardmen

Gamesmith’s Pirate Den is a simple game of playing cards and stealing treasure, sometimes from merchant ships and sometimes from each other. The game has a bluffing element too, as cards are played simultaneously. Occasionally, players bury their treasure, which in game terms means protecting victory points from being stolen.

Goodman Games is raising funds to reprint the original Metamorphosis Alpha roleplaying game, plus new adventures, in a single hardback book. This project is unrelated to an earlier one that funded a fifth edition of Metamorphosis Alpha from Signalfire Studios.

Another early RPG product being resurrected is City State of the Invincible Overlord, which Judges Guild wants to update for the Pathfinder RPG.

Real-time is a hot trend and Chronos Conquest certainly targets that style of play. But it does so with a twist. Instead of one timer setting a limit on everyone’s moves, Chronos Conquest gives each player 2-3 sand timers. They then slap down those timers on card stacks in order to lay claim to the top cards when those specific timers expire.

Another trend-follower with a twist is the zombie miniatures game, Zed or Alive. Its combat rules are based on Savage Worlds: Showdown but it also includes a campaign system that allows players to create their own mutating virus strain.

Talking Cartoon Rabbits bucks trends with its Triptych project. The game is a CCG without a theme. Subtitled “Anything vs. Everything”, Triptych’s cards feature fantasy creatures, characters from classic literature, superheros, historic figures, and everything else you can imagine.

Mobile Frame Zero Alpha BanditMobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit is a set of rules for running miniature battles with spaceships made of Lego construction bricks. A copy of the robot combat rules, Mobile Frame Zero: Rapid Attack, is required (but available to download for free). If you act quick, you might still be able to grab one of the $650 reward tiers that includes a fleet of custom built ships.

El Generale has players acting as dictators, each with their own real-world country. During the course of a game, a general has to balance internal infrastructure development with external military conflict. But at the end of the game, the goal is to escape the inevitable revolution with the largest stash of cash.

In Highway Hustle, Blue Room Games looks to pair the themes of road construction and battling bands in a tile-laying game because… why not!?!

Legendary Games is working with Kobold Press, Rogue Genius Games, and Dreamscarred Press on a major expansion to the Mythic Adventure rules of the Pathfinder RPG. The group is producing a Mythic Hero’s Handbook, a Mythic Monster Manual, and a Mythic Spell Compendium—they’re calling the project Mythic Mania. $2,300 more and all three books will be in-print.

Coup Reformation is an expansion and its project page says barely a word about the game’s contents. Yet with 13 days to go, it’s already raised more than $80,000 (over eight times it’s goal). So clearly, that’s all you need from me.

Not having as easy a time of it, R&R Games is raising funds for an electronic version of its 1st & Goal football board game.

Troll Hunt is a game about being mean to trolls. First players summon them in to a walled compound, then with lanterns and mirrors shine light in their eyes to petrify them. Something like those laser puzzles but without the laser. Poor trolls!

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