Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Car Wars Returning

Steve Jackson Games has announced the return of Car Wars later this year. The relauch of Car Wars was one of the stretch goals promises during 2012s Ogre Kickstarter campaign and it looks as if SJG will move forwards on this with the re-hiring of Scott Haring, the line editor for Car Wars over a decade ago.

Should be interesting to see if the company can successfully get the line back into production.  The last Car Wars products released by SJE were the Car Wars card game and a revised version of the basic game, with larger counters, released back in 2001 to almost no interest.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hastings and WizKids

Given that NECA and Hastings are merging, as announced last month, and, given the extreme shortage of the new Marvel Dicemasters game, especially starters, I got curious as to the in-stock position of Dicemasters products at the Cape Girardeau Hastings so stopped in there this week.

Rather surprisingly, I found no indication that NECA/WizKids had any connection to Hastings at all. Rather than huge displays of Dicemasters, I could find none in the store. Moreso, it took a little hunting to actually find WizKids products in the store. One endcap and a row of about four gravity feed dispensers on a bottom shelf made up most of the WizKids presence and, furthermore, most of those figures were several months old. The store had covered most of the one endcap with gravity feed boosters from last year's Lone Ranger release and had no five figure boosters in stock at all.

In short, while Hastings may become a large retail outlet for WizKids products, that day is still in the future.

Monday, April 21, 2014

World of Darkness MMOG Cancelled

In case you missed this, CCP pulled the plug on the long in development World of Darkness online game.

CCP purchased White Wolf Game Studio waaay back in 2006 to gain access to the World of Darkness property for development as an MMOG. After that, the focus of White Wolf shifted away from the print RPG towards development of the online game. Production of print supplements for the World of Darkness dwindled to 1-2 a year, then to none. The company did continue to produces PDF supplements for its various RPGs, as those required much less capital to produce than a print version did.

White Wolf appears to have ended production of original material for the World of Darkness world as its website directs visitors to other sites to purchase PDFs of older material and new material produced for the World of Darkness.

From a post on Onyx Path's website, the shutdown will have no effect on the license the company has to produce new material for the WOD. However, Onyx Path's market penetration is a far cry from White Wolf's heyday in the late 90s, when the company challenged TSR/WOTC for domination of the RPG market

Friday, April 18, 2014

Plannning Ahead

I like to think we plan ahead at the store.  We have events scheduled from now until the end of 2014, which I think is pretty good, considering that many large companies only plan  for the next three to six months.

Then I hear that Marvel has its movie schedule planned out (roughly) until 2028 and I can only shake my head in awe.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Backing TableTop

I see the TableTop Kickstarter brought in the $500,000 needed to fund a third season of the series in a little over 2 days, though momentum slowed significantly on the way towards hitting the $750,00 point for 20 episodes and $1 million for the RPG series. Still, with another 25+ days left in the campaign, it should reach both, especially if Geek & Sundry adds additional perks to the campaign. I would have liked to see some form of retailer perk added, wherein a supporting store gets listed on the TableTop website. 

If $60 gets “your name in lights” on the TableTop set, $75 ought to get you listed as a supporting store on the website.  I backed the campaign at a somewhat higher level, since I have asked for DVDs of the series for quite some time and see they are offered as perks at $100.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Return of the Microgame

This week  heralded the return of the microgame (yes, I know there are other microgames out there but most come from the small press), in a way we have not seen since the heyday of Cheapass Games, as AEG released a very nice cardboard display stand containing not one, not two but three variants of Love Letter, plus 5 other games, playable in less than 30 minutes and retailing for about $10 each. Apparently Japan and Korea are the new Europe (much like Orange is the new Black) as most of the designers for AEG’s microgames line come from those countries.  Love Letter, of course, hit the shelves last year and had done quite well, but AEG showed off most of the others at the GAMA Trade Show last month, impressing most retailers with which I spoke with both packaging and gameplay.

AEG really launched their micrograme line impressively too, not only with the aforementioned cardboard display stand but also including bonus copies of Love Letter and Trains. I swear, I have seen AEG give away so many demo copies of Trains, also from a Japanese designer, that I wonder, sometimes, if AEG has actually sold any copies of the game. Be that as it may, these additions make the AEG microgames an even better deal and one that I hope leads to a resurgence in microgames.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

2014 Origins Awards Nominees

Anything that you feel should have been on the list?

The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design Announces 2014 Origins Awards Nominees
COLUMBUS, OH – March 31, 2014- The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design is pleased to announce the 2014 Origins Awards Nominees.

These awards are presented by the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design to companies for outstanding games in the industry. These are the 40th annual awards. This year, the Awards had fourteen categories: Best Role Playing Game, Best Role Playing Supplement, Best Board Game, Best Historical Board Game, Best Historical Miniature Figure/Line, Best Historical Miniature Rules, Best Historical Miniature Rules Supplements, Best Miniature Figure Line, Best Miniature Figure Rules, Best Game Accessory, Best Children’s, Family, Party Game, Best Collectible Card Game, Best Traditional Card Game, and Best Game Related Publication.

The winner of each category will be voted on by members of the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design. Origins attendees will have the chance to vote on the Fan Favorite in each category. The winners will be announced and presented by at the Origins Awards Ceremony on Saturday, June 14th of the event.

Additional information concerning the Origins Awards can be found at under the Origins Awards link.

Please congratulate these companies and designers:

Best Role Playing Game
 13th Age – Pelgrane Press, designed by: Rob Heinsoo, Jonathan Tweet
FATE Core System – Evil Hat Productions, LLC, designed by: Leonard Balsera, Brian Engard, Jeremy Keller, Ryan Macklin, Mike Olson
Mummy: the Curse – White Wolf Game Studio, designed by: C.A. Suleiman
 Numenera - Monte Cook Games, designed by: Monte Cook
Shadowrun: Core Rulebook – Catalyst Game Labs, designed by: Jason Hardy, Aaron Pavao, Adam Large, Mark Dynna, Steven “Bull” Ratkovich, Peter M. Andrew Jr., Michael Wich

Best Role Playing Supplement
DC Adventures Universe – Green Ronin Publishing, designed by: Darren Bulmer, Seth Johnson, Steve Kenson, Jon Leitheusser, John Polojac, Aaron Sullivan
Heart of the Wild – Cucible 7 Entertainment, designed by: Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan
Transhuman – Posthuman Studios, designed by: Rob Boyle, Brian Cross, Jack Graham
Night’s Watch – Green Ronin Publishing, designed by: Joseph Carriker, Lee Hammock, Brett Rebischke-Smith, Ian Ireland, Michelle Lyons, John Hay
Eternal Lies – Pelgrane Press, designed by: Will Hindmarch, Jeff Tidball, Jeremy Keller

Best Board Game Trains – Alderac Entertainment Group, designed by: Hisashi Hayashi
Time n Space – Stronghold Games, designed by: Tobias Stapelfeldt
Space Cadet: Dice Duel – Stronghold, designed by: Geoff Engelstein, Sydney Engelstein
Krosmaster Arena - Japanime, designed by: Nicolas Degouy, Édouard Guiton
City of Iron – Red Raven Games designed by Ryan Laukat

Best Historical Board Game
SOS Titanic - Ludonate, designed by: Bruno Cathala, Ludovic Maublanc
Navajo Wars – GMT, designed by: Joel Toppen
Freedom: The Underground Railroad – Academy Games, designed by Brian Mayer
1775:Rebellion – Academy Games, designed by: Beau Beckett, Jeph Stahl
Francis Drake – Eagle Games, designed by: Peter Hawes

Best Historical Miniature Figure/Line
Fife & Drum: Revolutionary War -– Fife & Drum, designed by: Richard Ansell
Highlander Force – North Star Military Figures, designed by: North Star Military Figures
Fate of a Nation: Arab Israeli Wars – Battlefront Miniatures, designed by: Evan Allen, Chris Townley
Red Army: 28mm Russian Infantry – Wargames Factory, designed by: Wargames Factory
Devil Dogs and Dragons – Empress Miniatures, designed by: Empress Miniatures

Best Historical Miniature Rules
Fields of Fire 2nd Edition – Proving Ground Games, designed by: Larry Yeager, Chris Brutsche, Mark Brown
Fire and Sword – Wargamer, designed by: Konrad Sosinski, Rafal Szwelicki
Chain of Command –Too Fat Ladies, designed by Richard Clark

Best Historical Miniature Rules Supplements
SAGA: Varjazi & Basileus – Gripping Beast, designed by: Alexandre Buchel
Flames of War: Fate of a Nation – Battlefront Miniatures, designed by: Phil Yates
Force on Force: Classified – Osprey Publishing, designed by Ambush Alley Games

Best Miniature Figure Line
Malifaux: The Guild’s Judgement– Wyrd Miniatures, designed by: Wyrd Miniatures
HeroClix Wolverine and the X-men – WizKids Games, designed by: WizKids Games
MERCs Mini’s (Shock Trooper, Spy, Eagle, Beacher) – MegaCon Games, designed by: MegaCon Games

Best Miniature Figure Rules
 Marvel HeroClix: Avengers Vs X-men Starters – WizKids Games, designed by: WizKids Games
Battletech Alpha Strike – Catalyst Game Labs, designed by: Herbert A. Beas II, Joshua Franklin, Paul Sjardijn, Ray Arrastia, Joel Steverson
Judge Dredd – Warlord Games, designed by: Matthew Sprange

Best Game Accessory

 Krosmaster Fire & Ice – Japanime Games, designed by: Ankama
Shadowrun GM Screen – Catalyst Game Labs, designed by: Jason Hardy
Fate Dice – Evil Hat Productions, LLC., designed by: Fred Hicks, Chris Hanrahan
Space Gaming Mat – HC+D Supplies, designed by: Andre Garcia
Pathfinder Battles: Skull and Shackles – WizKids Games, designed by: WizKids Games

Best Children’s, Family, Party Game
 Walk the Plank – Mayday Games, designed by: Shane Steely, Jared Tinney
Three Little Pigs – Iello, designed by: Laurent Pouchain
My Happy Farm – 5th St. Games, designed by: Oleksandr Nevskiy, Oleg Sidorenko
ROFL – Cryptozoic, designed by: John Kovalic
Choose One! – Looney Labs, designed by: Andrew Looney

Best Collectible Card Game
Pokemon Black & White Legendary Treasures – The Pokemon Company, Intl., designed by: The Pokemon Company
Pokemon Red Genesect Collection – The Pokemon Company, Intl., designed by: The Pokemon Company
Yu-Gi-Oh! Battle Pack 2 – Konami Digital Entertainment, designed by: Konami Digital Entertainment
Yu-Gi-Oh! Super Starter V for Victory – Konami Digital Entertainment, designed by: Konami Digital Entertainment
Yu-Gi-Oh! Legendary Collection 4: Joey’s World – Konami Digital Entertainment, designed by: Konami Digital Entertainment

Best Traditional Card Game
Love Letter– AEG, designed by: Seiji Kanai
DC Comics – Cryptozoic Entertainment, designed by: Matt Hyra, Ben Stoll Boss Monster - Brotherwise Games designed by: Johnny O’Neal, Chris O’Neal
Clubs – North Star Games , designed by: Dominic Crapochettes
 Dark City - Upper Deck, designed by: Devin Lowe

Best Game Related Publication
 Khan of Mars – Evil Hat Books, author: Stephen Blackmoore
Fire for Effect – Catalyst Game Labs, edited by: Jason Schmetzer
 ICv2 - Editor: Milton Griepp
Dork Tower – Editor: John Kovalic
TableTop – Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day

Sunday, April 6, 2014

How to Improve International TableTop Day 2015

2014’s TableTop Day is winding down in the store as I write this. We have a few diehards playing one more game of Ticket to Ride in the back  but everyone else has packed up and left, allowing me to ruminate on the event.

For us, overall , it worked. Sales today were roughly 75% above those of a typical Saturday. Really hard to argue with figures like that. We had customers in playing (and buying) games from 10 a.m. until close. Kudos to Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, the crew at Geek & Sundry, and especially Boyan Radakovich, who busted his tukas to pull this year’s (and last year’s) event together. I doubt a second TableTop Day would have come together without Radakovich, so a round of applause to him.

We received a greater variety of promo materials than we did last year: posters, bag stuffers, and shelf talkers.  All laid out very nicely. Obviously some money had gone into their production.
Some very nice giveaways too, including the Wil Wheaton 7 Wonders leader card, promo Loonacy cards, promo Roll for It Express games, as well as a reprise of last year’s Munchkin bookmarks and Gloom promo packs. Some headscratchers too, such as promo Killer Bunnies cards and some cards for which no game was indicated. This leads into item #1 of What Did Not Work:

1—No Packing List. We ordered the Premium Merchandise Bundle, solicited as having the following in it:  3x Big Geeky Smash Up Box, 1x Smash Up + Smash Up: Awesome 9000, 1x Krosmaster Arena, 10X Wil Wheaton 7 Wonders Leader Card, 1x Rise of Augustus, The Builders, Koryo, 1X Loonacy + exclusive promo cards, 1x Space Sheep, 1x Golbins Drool, Faeries Rule + Puzzle Set, 5x Gloom TableTop Expansion, 6x Roll For It Express with 6 dice, 3x Fictionaire: Naturals, 4x Origins Game Fair Golden Tickets, 8x Tokaido Felicia Traveler, 2x Castles of Burgandy promo set, 1x Munchkin Deluxe + Guild Promo Card. Most of this arrived, some is missing and we received items not on the above list. Including a packing list would have made it much simpler to know what we should have received and what arrived extra.

2-Timing. Someone decided the bundles should arrive on April 4, the day before TableTop Day. Remember all those really nice promotional items I mentioned three paragraphs back? Most went directly into the recycling bin. We received 8 large TTD posters, 7 went into recycling, 1 went in the front door approximately 18 hours before the event started. I can only assume that someone, worried that stores would sell the promo items, decided to delay shipping as long as feasible. Bad idea. I know at least one store that had UPS delays and will not receive the TTD kit until sometime this week. Stores also did not get any information about the Premium bundle until the last day of the GAMA Trade Show, much later than we should have.

3-Mis/lack of communications. I originally ordered the standard TTD bundle and to the Premium, dropping the standard bundle after my sales rep told me the Premium bundle contained all the items in the standard. It didn’t, so the store wound up short all of the items Wil Wheaton showed in a TTD promo. Incidentally, Wheaton’s promo left the impression that all attendees at TTD would get a 7 Wonders leader card, Love Letter game and KrosMaster Arena Dual Pack, when stores only received a limited quantity of each item. ‘Quantities  Limited’ needed to get mentioned prominently and it didn’t. Also, TableTop announced several times that it would livestream its Los Angeles event. Wanting to stream the event in the store, I sent several tweets to find out where to find the livestream. No response, so we ran episodes of TableTop instead, which players enjoyed just as much.

There were a few other things, such as the GAMA Golden Tickets included in the bundle with no explanation regarding their purpose (I learned alter that some stores had a complimentary pass to Origins included, ours did not) and the extremely limited quantity of the bag stuffers received. If they had arrived earlier, we would have been out in less than fifteen minutes, but those are fairly minor. If the three things above are improved by next year, I will be quite happy.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

International Table Top Day

As you may or may not know, International Table Top Day is this Saturday.  Starting at 10 a.m., we will run games such as:  Munchkin, Chez Geek, Castle Panic, Fluxx, Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Gloom and others.  We have at least two games running from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and we have cool promos to give away including:

  •  Wil Wheaton 7 Wonders Leaders Cards
  •  Krosmaster Promotional Figure
  •  Krosmaster Arena Membership Cards
  •  Fluxx Peel-Away Promo Cards
  •  Roll For It Express with 6 Dice
  •  Smash Up Geeks Deck Poster
  • Coup Inquisitor Promo Cards
  • (2x) Castle Panic Promo Hero Cards
  • (3x) TableTop Gloom Promo Expansions
  • (5x) TableTop Day Munchkin Bookmarks
 How do you get these cool  promo items?  As Wil Wheaton says, "Play More Games!"

We will do drawings for an item as a door prize every hour from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m, as well as drawings for more items at 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. You do have to be present in order to win. How do you get tickets for the drawings?  As Wil Wheaton says, "Play More Games!"

You will get one drawing ticket for each game you play in as well as one ticket for each stamp you earn on your Castle Card that day.  Once one of your tickets is drawn, it is removed from subsequent drawings, so "Play (and Buy) More Games."

New Company Stocked-Maranda Games

While at the GAMA Trade show, I had a chance to look at the game line from Maranda Games. These are some pretty high quality abstract board games.  Below are links to videos explaining the five we brought it:

Speedy Recall - Description

Dotzee - Description

Pathagon - Description

Quadefy - Description

Eternas - Description