Crowdfunding Highlights

Cam Banks’ Magic Vacuum Design Studio has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Cortex Prime, the newest version of the Cortex Plus system. Cam was the lead designer and developer of the Cortex Plus system, which was used in the Smallville, Leverage, Firefly, and Marvel Heroic Roleplaying games. Two different books are offered, a 152+ page roleplaying game, and a basic system reference guidebook. A $10 pledge gets you pdf versions of both books in January while physical copies begin at $25, arriving in April of 2018, with a hardcover Cortex Prime book only available during this campaign starting at $35.

Posthuman Studios has announced a second edition of Eclipse Phase, launching a funding campaign last week. The science fiction roleplaying game is set in a quite advanced future: your mind can inhabit different bodies, death is something that can be easily avoided, and need is alleviated. However, transhumanity has fled Earth following a war against artificial intelligences, dispersing thoughout the solar system (and beyond) for survival. The new edition features faster character creation and resleeving (switching from body to body), an updated ruleset for quicker and simpler play at the table, and a redesigned layout to minimize flipping through the book to find relevant rules. Already funded, a $60 pledge gets you a copy of the physical book around October; a pdf-only reward is available down at a $20 pledge.

The story of Brass is a long and troubled tale, but finally Brass is being reprinted in an updated version from Roxley Games. Brass, now titled Brass: Lancashire, is part of a funding campaign that also is producing a sequel game, Brass: Birmingham. Both games have updated artwork (the best art I’ve seen in any edition of Brass, frankly). Lancashire features updated 2- and 3-player rules to “provide an experience more consistent with [the 4-player gameplay]”. Birmingham has a dynamic board setup with new canal and rail scoring (plus an evocative nightscape map). Crazily over-funded and with several upgrade stretch goals already unlocked, you can get either one of the games for about $60 or both as a reward for backing at the $100 level. (Funding levels are in CAD.) Final versions of the games are expected in January of 2018.

Back when I was heading up a rather large monthly game day event, it seemed that every third attendee was a budding game designer. Gameplaywright and Atlas Games are creating a great product for these designers: The White Box. This project comes with components for prototyping and development, a book of essays about how to make games, and a gift certificate for The Game Crafter, a small press board game printer that is commonly used for prototyping. A $30 pledge gets you a copy of The White Box in October. Higher level pledges get you a consultation on your game design.

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brassThis afternoon, Martin Wallace publicly posted two letters sent to Eagle Gryphon Games announcing an official termination of agreement regarding Brass. Wallace previously stated that he had given notice to the company to terminate their contract in December of 2014, “as long as the sales [of Brass] are below a certain point, which was the case [at that time].”

The new termination of contract notification, dated August 13, 2015, specifically cites that EGG’s lack of sending “statements of the number of units sold, net sales, and royalties owed” and failure to provide the ten sample units of the White Goblin version of Brass is what caused the contract’s termination. Because of this, the intellectual property law firm Wallace hired states that all rights to Brass have been reverted to Martin Wallace. “Deposits to bank accounts and recent public postings on do not substitute for formal statements to [Wallace],” Jeffrey Myers of Peacock Myers, P.C., wrote.

Wallace writes that the financial cost of a lawsuit is too much for Treefrog Games, Wallace’s publishing company, to incure. Although EGG has Brass available, he calls it “essentially stolen property”.

Treefrog has started work on a new version of Brass, which should be launched on Kickstarter later this year, with an expected delivery of early 2016.

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brassRalph Anderson of Eagle-Gryphon Games, announced that a Kickstarter campaign for Martin Wallace’s Brass and Brass: Deluxe is planned for July 16th. However, Martin Wallace of Treefrog Games posts that Eagle-Gryphon doesn’t have the rights to the game. According to Mr. Wallace, after 2013, “either party can give six months notice of termination [of the contract for Eagle-Gryphon to publish Brass] as long as sales are below a certain amount”. In December of 2014, Wallace says he gave notice to the company. “Even if I had not terminated the contract they are still bound to consult me about artwork,” he states.

Wallace states that a different company was interested in purchasing the rights to Brass, but Eagle-Gryphon’s upcoming Kickstarter and claim that they have the rights to publish Brass put that deal in jeopardy.

Rick Soued, CEO of Eagle-Gryphon Games says that he is “very sorry to see that Martin has reverted to his unfortunate habit of publicly writing misinformation about matters that should be handled privately”, pointing people to which contains information about a 2009 lawsuit between the two regarding the rights of Age of Steam. (The website was created by Mr. Soued.) Mr. Soued continued, “Martin’s accusations are entirely without factual basis. Eagle Games has an entirely valid and up-to-date contract with Martin for Brass.”

The planned Kickstarter campaign’s deluxe edition will contain metal coins and a two-player map. Mr. Anderson said Eagle-Gryphon contacted the creator of the original two-player map for permission, who “declined any credt and was happy for us to use it.”

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Discworld: Ankh-MorporkOn their company’s blog, Treefrog Games stated they no longer have the license to produce any game based on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, nor is there a chance of renewing the licenses. Treefrog Games had produced the Discworld: Ankh-Morpork and The Witches prior to the license being pulled. The third game in the series, a deckbuilding resource-management game with the working title of The Gods, will not see publication. “Since Sir Terry’s passing away earlier this year there has been a change in [the Discworld’s] IP management style,” says a statement from Treefrog. “I’m sorry to disappoint those fans looking forward to the next game, just one of those things.”

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