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.


Crowdfunding Highlights

Deus lo Vult is a board game for two to four treacherous and greedy marauders and murderers. Based on opulent European manuscripts of the 12th to 15th centuries, the game draws heavily on the military games played by the medieval aristocracy all over the world: shogi, xiangqi, chaturanga, and backgammon. You control an army of crusaders trying to loot as much treasure from the Holy Land as possible. At the same time, you hinder the progress of other players using the mutually shared army of the Saracens. God is watching the Crusades closely and often intervenes with Divine Will events that you may use to your advantage. I give the designers a lot of credit. It is not easy to approach a game where religion is involved. Get invading while it’s hot, only three days to go on this one at the time of this post. You can find it here.

 

Since I heart Japan, our next stop takes us to the RPG world of Oddity high.

Oddity High is a tabletop RPG about the life of a Japanese high school student – one who’s also got one foot firmly in the bizarre. It’s influenced from the ground up by anime, manga, and video games that take the life of a high schooler and drive it off the deep end: Haruhi Suzumiya, the Persona games, Hatoful Boyfriend, and many more. You’re a high school student that’s probably nowhere close to being ordinary. Whether you’re dealing with aliens, psychics, ghosts, demons, eldritch gods or sentient cats is up to you – but whatever it is, you’re in the thick of it. Fortunately, by happenstance or by design, you’ve got a gang of like-minded, equally-abnormal friends at your side – and with their help, you’ve got a fighting chance at surviving it. Just don’t forget that you’re also going to need to survive high school, as well. Oddity High is powered by the Apocalypse Engine, the system used by legendary and award-winning games such as Dungeon World, Monster of the Week, The Sprawl, Urban Shadows, Fellowship, and many, many more. It has 11 days to go and has already doubled its funding goal. If you back this project, just don’t pick vanilla.

The final project this week could use a little love if it’s going to make it. Dreeples are dragon meeples, and I think they look great! I think of the pictures shown their most practical use would be for Tsuro, but I do enjoy the picture of using them as replacements in monopoly. This campaign is also for an original a game called dreeple wars if your looking for a little more damage to inflict. The dragons are set to ship and burn villages near and far in December. 22 days to go in the current campaign.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesMiniature Market is running a huge Back to School Sale on games but get on it quickly. It ends tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM CT.

Available at Humble Bundle are 20 game design and puzzlecraft books for a package price of $15. Spend more, support charities.

Deals currently running at Bundle of Holding include:

Dragons and Things is giving away a $20 Syrinscape gift card. Follow and retweet before 6:00 PM PT today.

Decision Games August Deal of the Month is $89 for Advanced Pacific Theater of Operations (regularly $120).

Thousands of titles are included in Osprey Publishing’s 30% off Summer Sale.

The Bridge World is holding a Summer Sale on Bridge books and software, 20-75% off.

Amazon deals:

Calliope Games is giving away a copy of Menu Masters.

Scott King is giving away a variety of games and accessories to 15 winners. Prizes include the games Azul, Pioneer Days, and Nmbr 9.

R&R Games is running a picture contest with a copy of Cave Paintings going to 10 winners.

Additional giveaways:

Syrinscape to have an official D&D soundtrack.

If you are unfamiliar with it, Syrinscape is a sound design app that adds evocative ambient background sound and a movie-like soundtrack to your tabletop gaming experience. From ethereal forests and stony shorelines to dank vermin-filled dungeons and the spooky depths of the underdark.

And now they have landed a partnership with D&D. This along with the recently announced Call Of Cthulhu RPG soundtrack and their existing collaboration with Pathfinder RPG, not to mention their vast library of original soundtrack content, Syrinscape has taken the lead on making a fully immersive gaming experience.

 

Once again this year at GenCon FFG gave an update on upcoming games and expansion. We will post the full video at the bottom, but here are some highlights.

Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce Arkham Horror Third Edition, the next evolution of the classic cooperative board game of cosmic horror for one to six players. Originally developed in 1987 by Richard Launius and re-released by Fantasy Flight Games in 2005, Arkham Horror has long been synonymous with thrilling, thematic, cooperative board gaming. Now, we invite you to return to the Lovecraftian-inspired nightmare again—or visit it for the first time!—with a modern take on the classic game.

KeyForge: Call of the Archons is the world’s first Unique Deck Game. Every single Archon Deck that you’ll use to play is truly unique and one-of-a kind, with its own Archon and its own mixture of cards in the deck. If you pick up an Archon Deck, you know that you’re the only person in existence with access to this exact deck and its distinct combination of cards. In fact, in just the first set of KeyForge, Call of the Archons, there are more than a gazillion (seriously, it’s a bunch)  possible decks. Find out more about KeyForge here.

 

 

 

Also announced to the delight of GOT fans was the mother of dragons expansion. Mother of Dragons adds House Targaryen (who start on a new Essos sideboard) and House Arryn, while introducing the Iron Bank and a “Vassal” system to help with unchosen factions.

Oh, and a Super Star Destroyer for Star Wars: Armada

 

 

 

On Monday, Asmodee North America announced the upcoming departure of CEO Christian Petersen. The founder of Fantasy Flight Games, and then CEO of Asmodee NA after the merger with Asmodee in 2014, is leaving the company at the end of the year.

Petersen said in the announcement that his departure has been “long-planned” and that he is leaving to “focus on family, health, and the pursuit of other interests.”

With the leadership change also comes a restructuring of the company. Two separate business units will emerge, Asmodee North America Publishing led by Steve Horvath and Asmodee North America Distribution led by Andre Kieren.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesIello is giving away a mystery bag of prizes. Gen Con pickup only.

For those not attending the show, DriveThruRPG’s Christmas in July Sale features 25% discounts on thousands of popular titles.

Ulisses is giving away two copies of the deluxe core rules for Wrath & Glory, its Warhammer 40,000 RPG.

Save 20% on Avalanche Press titles of world domination with coupon code “VLAD”.

Jackson Pope of Eurydice Games is running a scenario design contest for his upcoming science-fiction, dexterity game, Flick Fleet. No real experience with the game is necessary and the rules are available to download for free. Up to three winners will get a copy of the game, assuming it funds on Kickstarter.

Cardboard Republic is giving away Dwarven Smithy from Flatworks Games.

Arizona Game Fair is holding a t-shirt design contest. The winner will receive $250, an 8 percent royalty on shirt sales, four event badges, and one shirt. A runner-up will receive $50, two event badges, and a shirt. All other participants will get a discount on badges.

Prism Pals is giving away a set of rainbow-colored polyhedral dice.

What’s Eric Playing? is giving away recent Spiel des Jahres winner, Azul.

Nerdarchy is giving away seven sets of metal polyhedral dice from Norse Foundry, enough to supply a whole game group.

For the 10th anniversary of 3:16 Carnage Among the Stars, Gregor Hutton has discounted several of his games to $3.16.

Game All Night is giving away a Quiver game bag filled with five games.

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.“Thomas, would you like to review Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition?” they asked. Would I? I mean, I’ve never played Vampire before. I’ve heard things about it, sure, but played this game that’s been around for over 25 years, a game that changed rpgs, bringing in a new wave of gamers to the hobby? I haven’t. Friends have played it. I’ve seen Kindred: the Embraced. I’ve attempted to play the Jyhad CCG. I’ve thumbed though a few titles in the line over the years such as Hunter: the Vigil, Changeling: the Lost, and Wraith: the Oblivion. I’ve heard of years and years of world building, metaplot, and lore so thick White Wolf killed the line at least once to make it easier for new players to join in.

So yeah, let’s take this new edition from the position of a completely new player to the World of Darkness. I don’t have many assumptions about the setting or the game apart from you probably start a campaign with a scene as you, a mortal, before becoming a vampire; there are vampires from different bloodlines secretly running things; and there’s an official LARP that is simultaneously awesome and universally hated with a passion that burns like the sun.

I’m also eternally unclear about the differences between White Wolf, CCP Games, Paradox, and Onyx Path, but that’s something else. (This version is created by White Wolf, has graphic design by Free League, and is distributed by Modiphius. Disclaimer: Modiphus is a graphic design/layout client of mine.)

So. What does Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition (V5) look like to a first-time player?

Thick. There book is 406 pages long. Do I have to read all of that to play? Open book, Thomas. Dive in.

The art style of the book is centered around the use of digitally-manipulated photographs, which is… interesting. There are stock photo resources used here and original photographic assets, which is a technique I’ve seen (and used – I do layout and graphic design for other RPGs) in other horror role-playing games set in urban settings during contemporary times. (Chill and Unknown Armies are two I’ve worked on that use this technique, so to me, it doesn’t look like anything out of the ordinary.) The layout is easy to read with a two- or three-column layout per page with plenty of whitespace and room for the copy to breathe. It’s light and open and suddenly those 400+ pages don’t seem like much of a threat.

We open with twenty-eight pages of in-world fiction presented as a collection of papers, screenshots on phones, and the like, collaged as if the reader is going through a stack of papers on someone’s desk. It’s very… clean? I recall in earlier editions of World of Darkness games, the front chapters were filled with hard-to-read in-world fiction, scribbles on notebook paper. Here, this serves to be an introduction to what vampires are in the game, that there’s a “masquerade violation” that’s got to be dealt with violently, and what clans are.

Oh, an early example of play before concepts are introduced. This is done rather well. It’s one of the best example of plays I’ve seen. A concept is introduced with a page reference to later in the book. We’re not just reading from a script like so many other games’ examples of play – we have a bit with dialogue, a summary of what’s going on, some decision points our game’s Storyteller is doing, a look at some of the mechanics, and a definite feel of how the game designers believe Vampire is to be run. Here’s a thing: players are adding world-building elements.

Onward: lots of quick overviews of clans and larger groups/movements. Rules seem simple: stat + skill to get a dice pool of ten-sided dice, 6s or higher are successes. Pairs of 10s are even bigger successes: 10s alone aren’t awesome, buckets of them are. You’re rolling against a target number; if you fail you don’t do the thing unless you want to, as long as something bad happens. Perhaps you took damage. Perhaps you were caught on a CCTV camera. Perhaps you didn’t notice you dropped your cellphone right there.

Combat in roleplaying games can take a long time to slog through. Vampire “strongly recommends” that you take no more than three turns to resolve an ongoing conflict. “Too much dice rolling slows down the drama and becomes harder and harder to describe creatively.” There’s an emphasis on getting more story in a game of Vampire than a second-by-second recording of blows and the whittling down of health stats. (Besides, there are plenty of other games for that.)

One third of the way through and it doesn’t feel like the size of the book is imposing. Continue through character creation and we see we’re using relationship maps, so yes, more emphasis on all the players helping to create the world you’re playing in. You should create your characters together, because that’s group play. First, create yourself as a human.

“And then, some monster kills you.”

That sentence is written in red with a lot of space above it and a lot of space below it. Yes, the game earlier did state that you’re not playing good guys in this game, but here, some monster kills you and now you’re going to play a monster.

Halfway through the book and we’re looking at life as a vampire and all the horrible things you must deal with: hunger, power, and your own humanity. A slew of optional rules come in (just in case you do want a blow-by-blow health attrition fight), and then we’re at Cities. Here’s how cities work. Here’s how domains work. Here’s several hunting grounds you might find. Here’s how to make your city into a city run by vampires.

We’re very close to the end of the book. There’s a whole section of Storyteller advice on how to run a game of Vampire. There’s a sample chronicle (campaign setting/storyline). A packet of opponents that might be thrown against your coterie of vampires. And we’re out.

All that lore, all that heavy weight of the past twenty-seven years of canon and metaplot? It’s not here. Just the basics of being vampires. Not a whiff of Werewolves, Hunters, Changelings, Mages, Mummys, or Wraiths. It feels like I, someone who knows nothing about the history of this game, could jump in and start playing a game where we’re all vampires.

So. For a gamer who hasn’t played Vampire, this looks… rather easy to get into.

A pre-release pdf copy of Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition was provided free for review by White Wolf.

 

 

 

Eurazeo announced that it has entered exclusive discussions with European private equity firm PAI Partners for the sale of its ownership stake in Asmodee. According to the announcement, the sale is expected to close in the fourth quarter and puts a value on the company of €1.2 billion.

In four years, revenue grew from €125 million, generated 48% in France, to €442 million, generated 75% internationally, representing an average annual growth rate of 37%.

Eurazeo said that since its first investment in Asmodee, the company has completed 20 acquisitions. Publishing revenues for Asmodee now represent almost two-thirds of total game sales.

Future owner PAI, which specializes in consumer products, stated that it “intends to support the current management team in its plans to grow the business further through international expansion both organically and by acquisition.”

Gamers near Plano, Texas have an opportunity to practice their crafting skills with Goliath Games. The company is looking for a part-time Prototype Maker.

The U.S. Chess Federation is searching for an experienced Director of Development. A new position with the organization, the Director of Development’s role will be to “create and implement a comprehensive development plan for short- and long-term revenue growth in support of the US Chess mission.”

WizKids is looking for an experienced Product Manager in Hillside, New Jersey to develop long term plans, develop packaging, and interface with operations on the company’s unpainted miniatures line.

Ludo Fact needs Machine Operators and Assemblers for board game manufacturing in Lafayette, Indiana.

For production of miniatures, Privateer Press needs a Metal Caster in Bellevue, Washington.

Topps has multiple openings at its locations in New York City and Scranton, Pennsylvania, among them a New Product Development Associate with drawing and modeling skills and a Brand Manager for non-sports entertainment properties.

Hasbro’s 100+ openings include:

TCGplayer has numerous openings in Syracuse, New York and Atlanta, Georgia. Lots for Software Engineers and Product Engineers. Also for finance and data analytics and shipping. Two individual positions are worth highlighting, though. There’s one for a Digital Marketing Manager to be responsible for online marketing campaigns. And the company is looking for a General Manager of Seller Services, who will be a member of the executive leadership team and responsible for the company’s line of business supplying software tools to retailers.

ACD Distribution has several warehouse opportunities in Middleton, Wisconsin and Fresno, California. Also sales positions in Wisconsin.

Alliance Game Distributors is looking to hire a Sales Specialist in Roseville, Minnesota, specifically to work with Asmodee North America. The company also has openings for a Sales Trainee and an Administrative Assistant at its home offices in Maryland.

Asmodee North America, itself, is recruiting for a Trade Marketing Manager to support the sales team with PR, media relations, trade shows, and merchandising.

Games Workshop has many openings for retail work at various locations worldwide, also for a variety positions at headquarters in Nottingham, UK, including:

Gamerati in DuPont, Washington is looking to hire a full-time Social Content Creator/Community Manager for the company’s services to game publishers.

Board game-related freelance jobs posted on Upwork include:

Some giveaways:

Snickelsox is giving away five Dungeons & Dragons Starter Sets when he gets to 3,000 followers on Twitter.

Geeknson’s Summer Sale means 20% off the company’s gaming furniture.

The discounts are also 20% in Buffalo Games’ Summer Sale on puzzles.

With a Kickstarter going for a new entry in the series, PSC Games is giving away a set of three Quartermaster General games, the original Quartermaster General, Quartermaster General: 1914, and the upcoming Quartermaster General: The Cold War.

Goliath Games is 10 prize packages of five games each, Pop the Pig, Greedy Granny, Shark Bite, Googly Eyes, and Build or Boom.

Crusader miniatures from North Star Military Figures are half-priced while supplies last.

Days of Wonder is giving away a four-night trip for two to New York City and also 10 copies of Ticket to Ride: New York.

The proprietor of DramaScape, who’s getting married, is holding a Wedding & Honeymoon Map Sale.

Fantasy Grounds is offering an additional 25% off Dungeons & Dragons modules, making them 50% off if you buy the whole bundle.

For every $40 spent at ReaperMini.com during July, get a free Dungeon Dwellers Orc Miniature.

Osprey Publishing’s July Sale is 20% off on Campaign, Fortress, and Raid series titles.

Save up to 69% on Super Dungeon Explore titles at Miniature Market.

The Summer Sale at Free League Publishing includes discounts of up to 40% on RPGs Tales From the Loop, Corolis, and Mutant: Year Zero.

Goodman Games is giving away free pulp novels with every direct order.

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