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 Today show is giving away five copies of Relative Insanity from Play Monster.

To save 20% in Rebel Minis Birthday Sale, use coupon code “Birthday1”.

Pending release of Black Powder Second Edition, order a starter army from Warlord Games and get a copy of the first edition Black Powder rules for free.

Brave Little Belgium is giving away Reinforce the Right, out of a Strategy & Tactics magazine.

Z-Man is giving away 10 sets of promo tiles for Number 9. Enter today with a photo of the game in play.

During the month of September, Osprey Publishing is discounting Vanguard, Air Vanguard, Weapon, and Aviation Elite Unit titles 20%.

Table of Ultimate Gaming is giving away a gaming table or table topper.

A bundle deal for GDW’s 2300 AD is available at Bundle of Holding. Get the first edition rulebook, supplements, and adventures in the Starter Collection for $16.95. Add second edition material with the Bonus Collection at $30.77.

Use code “ENDOFSUMMER” for 10-20% off orders of $75 or more at HasbroToyShop.com.

Like and follow University Games on Twitter for a chance to win Jukem Football and Indoor Cornhole.

Jon Sawatsky will give away a Creature Codex from Kobold Press when he reaches 1,000 followers on Twitter.

Five Little Doves is giving away Paddington Spot the Difference and Paddington Sightseeing Adventures from University Games (UK).

Serenity You is giving away Frenetic from Accentuate Games (UK only).

Rolling Solo is giving away Set a Watch from Rock Manor Games.

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Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesThe Humble Digital Tabletop Bundle features a number of derived-from-tabletop digital games, including Ticket to Ride, Sentinels of the Multiverse, Mysterium, Pathfinder Adventures, Carcassonne, and Talisman.

Save 50% on admission to the Chicago Toy & Game Fair via Groupon.

Tinkerbot Games is selling Ghostel for 20% off with free worldwide shipping this month. Use coupon code “PURPLE20” to get the discount and Purple Pawn will get a small bounty too!

Save 25% on Hasbro games at Target with promo code “HASBRO25”.

Board Game Exposure is giving away a pledge level for Eagle-Gryphon’s Infamous Kickstarter project.

Marco Arnaudo is giving away Raids from Iello.

In honor of Labor Day, all of Gypsy Knights Games’ Clement Sector products with character-building elements are 30% off at DriveThruRPG.

Also at DriveThruRPG, there’s a sale on d100 system products.

To save 15% on orders of $100 or more in Litko’s Labor Day Sale, use coupon code “LABOR2018”.

Through Tuesday, save 25% at Miniature Market on discontinued games Arcane Legions, Golem Arcana, and AT-43.

A bundle of 3E and 4E Eberron products at Dungeon Masters Guild is currently 53% off.

Bundle of Holding is offering a deal on the Beasts & Barbarians campaign setting for Savage Worlds.

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Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesHumble Bundle is offering a collection of The One Ring RPG from Cubicle 7. Pay what you want but at $15 or more that’s $270 worth of digital books plus a 30% off coupon for the Cubicle 7 store.

Bundle of Holding has the universal RPG system OneDice in a starter bundle with the core rulebook and supplements for fantasy, urban fantasy, cyberpunk, steampunk, and pulp at $8. The bonus collection adds pirates, dragons, airships, space, supers, B movies, and Robin Hood for $15.

Also at Bundle of Holding are two offers for the Deathwatch Warhammer 40,000 RPG from Ulisses Spiele. The Essentials bundle includes the core rulebook and key supplements. The Missions bundle includes additional sourcebooks and scenarios.

Deep Water Games is giving away three copies of Welcome To….

Noble Knight Games is running a Moving Clearance Sale.

This weekend, The Broken Token is selling dice at 50% off.

More than 100 print-and-play wargaming models from Dave Graffam Models are currently discounted to $1-2.

At some Walmarts, some copies of Splendor come with keys to download the Splendor app on Steam for free.

Here We Go Again… Ready? is giving away Domino Junior Friends Deluxe, I-Top, and Pop Rocket from Goliath Games, each to a different winner.

Everything Board Games is giving away Eminent Domain: Battlecruisers from Tasty Minstrel Games, Grand Master, and some Age of Sigmar: Champions card packs.

Many board games are on sale at Think Geek, up to 60% off.

For 10% off Pwork Wargaming mats, use discount code “SUMMERSALE”.

Hipsters of the Coast is giving away a set of Magic: The Gathering promo planeswalkers from San Diego Comic Con.

Fundamentally Children is giving away five Gibson games (UK residents only).

Board Game Revolution is giving away a Dungeon Derby Kickstarter pledge level from Rabbiteer (not on Facebook but must be a Facebook group member to enter).

The Giveaway Geek is giving away No Escape from OOMM Games and MYnd Kraft.

Unfiltered Gamer is giving away Fire of Eidolon from Magic Meeple Games.

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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.

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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:

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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.

 

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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

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

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