Gamer Zero Sits Down with D&D; 4th Ed Forgotten Realms' Lead Desginer

Part 1 (above)
Part 2

2008 is the year of the Dragon (yes, the upcoming new year is really the Year of the Rat, but shut your gob). D&D; is slated for a face lift this Spring, and then coming down the pipe in August will be the new Forgotten Realms source materials.

FR has been our setting of choice since we fell in love with D&D; and it's Gold Box games for the C-64, which made us oh so happy. You see our D&D; players of the group grew up in slight seclusion in all stretches of seculded New England: in the Vermont foothills, down Maine, and generally in older person neighborhoods of southern Rhode Island. There just weren't many players lounging-around and rolling dice in basements nearby - well there were a few meetups around but almost everyone there smelled like old Cheeto's n'clothes that needed an exorcism before they could be burned. After we got bored rolling our AD&D; characters in teams of two and then just poking them with a stick, these Computer RPGs became our main stay until the mid 1990s.

But we digress. Our Calendars flipped to 2008 yesterday and almost immediately we decided to make D&D; 4th Edition our new passion for the new year. Here we see a two part interview about the upcoming Forgotten Realm make over, which shifts the time period to the new setting where the D&D; magic mechanics make more sense.

We'll keep you posted as Wizards of the Coast releases more juicy details as we approach the Spring release.,

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

December 28, 2007

Game Geeks Reviews Midnight 2nd Ed. RPG - Where Evil has Already Won

Game Geeks Issue #37 reviews Fantasy Flight Games' Midnight 2nd Edition which sports quite the dark setting for an RPG. Heroes find themselves in a world where the bad guy has already won.

Maybe we're late in discover Game Geeks, but we're now hooked. This is an excellent review. Expect more updates on this video review magazine in the future.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

December 16, 2007

Wizards of the Coast Interview: D&D; 4th Ed, Magic Online, and Gleemax

We used to listen to Gaming Steve a lot for our PC Gaming industry news, but then he sort of feel off the edge of the Earth. Now he's back, and in his latest informative Podcast he speaks to Randy Buehler of Wizards of the Coast.

Yes his theme music is a bit.. over the top. But man - it sticks around in our head. The discussion covers topics such as:

  1. Gleemax and it's upcoming Board Game Portal
    The online collaborative social networking site for games will have mostly Avalon Hill Titles at launch (Axis and Allies, Vegas Showdown, RoboRally, and Guillotine) but hopes to expand into a major hub of all gaming including other publishers as well.
  2. Codename: "The Goblin Game" [link] Beta
    The upcoming web browser turn based multiplayer game which seems similar in vein to Travian, except games are designed to last about 2 months and will have varying end goals.
  3. Magic Online v3.0 and the D&D; 4th Edition Online Initiative
    Wizards of the Coast has found found that most of the people who play online are those who've played the original titles in the past, but have aged and don't get to meet up with their friends to play games together all the time. Their goal is to create a place where all of these players can meet up once again to play not only old classics, but new games as they're released. The overall vision is to have an interactive gaming metaverse, where players can trade online collectibles from one game for items of another. Can't wait to see how this pans out.

You can find the entire Gaming Steve Podcast here, including the timestamps of all the Wizards of the Coast discussions - in case PC Gaming is not you're thing.

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September 21, 2007

Battlestar Galactica RPG Appears on DRADIS

Battlestar Galactica CorebookFall is here which means we’re entering the new season of Television, and glaringly absent from the season's lineup is one of our favorite: Battlestar Galactica. With its final season postponed until January we won’t get any BS:G goodness until after the holidays. Boo.

But lucky for us the Battlestar Galactica role playing game is slated for release in just a week’s time.

Loyal readers will already know that BS:G RPG is produced by Margaret Weiss Productions, the author behind the Dragonlance Chronicles and the company behind the Serenity RPG. Serenity was a quiet yet well-received release. It had some problems, yes -- given that it was Margaret Weiss Productions’ first RPG product it sported a somewhat independent / low-production level feel the game materials had some flaws like spelling errors, lacked well-rounded components like character sheets, etc. But in the end the source material and gameplay shined-through strong enough to entertain most gaming fans of the Firefly series.

Now Margaret Weiss Productions hopes to follow-up with the BS:G RPG, and to an even large base audience. With only a week away it’s now crunch time for the BS:G RPG publicists to lure in the droves of hungry Galactica fans, yet the small production house is stumbling and currently lacks a publicity blitz. Someone there needs to work more on marketing, we thinks. So consider this our blitz on their behalf.

ArrowContinue reading: "Battlestar Galactica RPG Appears on DRADIS"

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September 4, 2007

August '07 Roundup: Starcraft, D&D; 4th ED, and Fires of Outland

Roundup2.jpgSome big news went down this month. Things kicked off strong when the next installment in the A&A; franchise - Axis and Allies Guadalcanal - began to take shape. Next, Margaret Weiss Productions awoke from their slumber an kicked off the covers for their upcoming retail release of the Battlestar Galactica RPG, and it's looking like it could be a solid title later this month. Then Fantasy Flight Games released a treatment on the upcoming Starcraft board game, which followed shortly after with fantastic news that the Fourth Edition of D&D; will be released in Spring 2008. Holey Moley, talk about a tasty stew of news for some huge upcoming games!

This month also saw some great releases, the biggest two were Age of Empires III - which has some great community praise who are already whispering of a new classic - and the third edition to the WoW TCG: Fires of Outland. The Condottiere 3rd Edition card game of waring city states was also released, and we cannot stress enough that this little game truly shines for groups of 3-5 players.

Here’s the rest of the gaming news from August, from head to toe:

Board Games and Party Games

Collectible Card Games


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August 22, 2007

Dungeon and Dragons 4th Edition Announced

D&D Has Come a Long WayWizards of the Coast held onto a surprise announcement until just before Gen Con Indy commenced last week – the release of a new Dungeon and Dragons 4th Edition for the Summer of 2008.

Yes, D&D; 3rd Edition hasn’t been out for yet a decade and already the 4th edition is heading our way. In many ways this shorter lifespan leaves a bad taste in the mouth of gamers who feel as though Wizards of the Coast is pushing a new sea of source materials that gamers will have to purchase all over again. In some ways, we feel for those folks, but in many, many ways we’re really happy with that changes slated for the game that we grew up with for thirty years.

The good news is that D&D; 4th Edition has been within the WotC design and development workshop for nearly two years already, which has given WotC plenty of time to pull apart the game and mull over which facets of the game require the most redesign. The major goal seems be cemented in two major shifts in the way D&D; works. First and foremost, is the streamline of play and preparation; this goal actually reaches its fingers across almost all facets of the game from class design and character progression, to combat rules based around new class/racial abilities. Second – but just as noteworthy – is the integration of the game sources with both online DM and character tools, and the social gaming community of Gleemax (who told us to expect some major announcements at GenCon, but honestly – we didn’t expect this to be it).

So let’s pop the hood and look at we so far...

ArrowContinue reading: "Dungeon and Dragons 4th Edition Announced"

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August 20, 2007

Battlestar Galactica RPG Quickstart Previews

Battlestar Galactica CorebookFaithful readers should know that the Battlestar Galactica RPG has been on our Gaming Radar for quite some time. But since publisher Margaret Weiss Productions first announced the BS:G RPG nearly a year ago by, they’ve been tight lipped on any and all development news about the game. In fact, their own website has donned a makeshift "under construction" page for almost a year now, with nothing changing over a dry spell eight months except for a few dust bunnies slinking about in the background. We started mumbling amongst ourselves that that the BS:G RPG had gone the way of the dodo.

Then a few weeks ago Margaret Weiss Productions trickled some news that the BS:G RPG would appear at GenCon (last week), and gave some details about the two feature products: The Quickstart Guide and The Core Rulebook [our story].

Now that Gen Con has come and passed, some attendees are beginning to write about their experiences with the game. First and foremost a great preview/review read of the Battlestar Galactica RPG Quick Start Guide on RPG.NET [story]. This article seems to be the most detailed about what you should expect from the game, including the Quick Start rules about character abilities, combat, and some impressions on the game’s use of story mechanics. Also there are quite a few details about the first adventure that ships with the game, with careful thought not to include any spoilers.

ArrowContinue reading: "Battlestar Galactica RPG Quickstart Previews"

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August 8, 2007

Battlestar Galactica RPG Details Released

Battlestar Galactica CorebookMargaret Weis Productions has finally lifted the veil on the upcoming Battlestar Galactica Role Playing Game, a title that was scheduled to launch back in July of this year. But don't let the schedule slip cause you to fret too much B Star Fans, the game isn't in a state of perpetual delay: both the Battlestar Galactica RPG Core Rule Book and Quick Start Guide are slated for a release at the mammoth Gen Con Game Fair in Indianapolis on August 16th [source:]. That’s only two short weeks away. Following the conference, the Battlestar Galactica RPG will ship to stores in September.

Besides the affirmation of a release date, we’re excited for a plethora of other reasons:

  1. The Battlestar Galactica RPG is being created by the same group who made the Serenity RPG. We’re big Firefly / Serenity fans here, and though we’ve never played the Serenity RPG, we’ve heard some good things.
  2. Winter is coming, and that's RPG season.
  3. We’ve grown to love the BS:G television series like a raving lunatic loves shiny things.
  4. Due to expenses, the upcoming season of B:SG starting in January 2008 will be the show’s final season. Yes, it’s true. This stinks.
  5. The prequel show “Caprica”, which was supposed to take place leading up to the first Cylon War, has been tabled indefinitely. Probably for the fear that it, too, will have a ginormous budget.

That means that – as of right now - the only thing carrying the BS:G torch is this RPG. Honestly, that tickles our fancy – to be placed in control of the modern science fiction’s evolving plot lines just as the show ends. It’ll be fresh in our minds, and we’ll be craving for more, and here we have our outlet.

You can preorder and read more about the Core Rulebook and Quickstart Guide at the Margaret Weis Productions' webstore [link]. And of course we’ll have an update with any news that comes from the floor at Gen Con in a few weeks.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 27, 2007

Three-Dragon Ante - How to Spice Up Your RPG Encounters

Three Dragon AnteEver been part of the lamest and uninspired RPG encounters? You know, the ones where you have when matching wits with an NPC, which pretty much consists of acting stupid in front of your friends, threatening a ghost sitting in the vacant chair next to you, and then rolling a die to see if your melodramatic performance actually won you the intimidation check? You roll a 2. Exciting!

Well we're about to show you a great way to spice up the monotony of social-skill and wit dice checks. Three Dragon Ante [Funagain, Official] first started as an in-game card game which DMs could throw down on the mahogany, waxed dining room table table in order to give some grit and atmosphere to the room. Players can use it as an in-character card game to kill some time in a local tavern, or use it as a tool, customizing the deck so the player has to game the encounters through a quick hand. This - of course - goes to great lengths to keep the spice in the air throughout some otherwise trivial, boring, and anticlimactic encounters.

Here's the official word on Three-Dragon Ante from Wizards of the Coast

"The high-stakes game of chance preferred by D&D; characters of all classes and levels!

Three-Dragon Ante is a fast-paced noncollectable card game based on the tavern games played by characters within the D&D; game world. Three-Dragon Ante can be played as a standalone card game when there isn't enough time for a full-fledged D&D; adventure, or it can be played as part of a roleplaying campaign-where a character's abilities can give him or her a unique winning edge.

For 2-6 players. Great for dedicated D&D; gamers or anyone interested in a cool, fast, fantasy-based game of chance."

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April 30, 2007

April '07 Roundup

Roundup2.jpgWow, this was a busy month. A solid set of game releases, and tis the season for the release schedule updates, new game announcements, etc. Fantasy Flight Games dropped their release schedule onto the table last week, but we're also pretty darn excited about the announcement of Axis & Allies Guadalcanal. That series just keeps on kicking.

Meanwhile we've been playing quite a bit of the WoW TCG Through the Dark Portal Expansion. We're a bit iffy on the set as a stand alone thing, but the expansion shines-well as a complement to the original Heroes of Azeroth. We suppose that’s true of all TCG Expansion set releases, but a voice in the back of our collective heads (aka: Intern Ronnie) thought it was worth mentioning. In some ways the Expansion is a must-have if you want to keep your deck lean n' mean -- some of Azeroth's cards have become outdated by the 1:1 mapping of the card in the Dark Portal, which usually has the same amount of power but can be played for less cost. We're not quite sure how we feel about that.

We’ve also been throwing down some more Settlers of Catan: Struggle For Rome as we’ve realized the game definitely has some legs. It’s been a good month overall, but we’re anxiously awaiting some June / July releases including the BS:G RPG and Tide of Iron. They’re so close we can almost taste ‘em.

This month we’ll try to throw down a board of Galactic Destiny from Golden Laurel. Let the backstabbing begin! Also up this month we’ll break up Catan Live! to see how well a virtual board game can play on the Xbox Live service. Inquiring minds want to know. And we’ll continue to plug Through the Dark Portal, expansion to the WoW TCG, to see if we can find any obvious holes in the game’s second set release. It’s going to be a good one.

Game Releases

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