Thursday, May 31, 2012

GenCon Is Coming!

INDIANAPOLIS (May 31, 2012) – Gen Con Indy 2012 is approaching rapidly with less than 80 days remaining before the convention. This year’s show stands to be the largest event in the convention’s rich history with attendance numbers dramatically outpacing prior years. THE BEST FOUR DAYS IN GAMING™ returns August 16-19, 2012 to the Indianapolis Convention Center.

Top Headlines for Gen Con Indy 2012

  • Gen Con’s 45th Anniversary- First held in 1967 by Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax, Gen Con has remained the “must-attend” event for the gaming community for 45 years. To celebrate its anniversary, Gen Con will award 45 complimentary badges for Gen Con Indy 2013 at this summer’s show.
  • Celebrating 10 Years in Indy- In 2003, to accommodate expansion, Gen Con moved to the Indiana Convention Center, and now, will commemorate its 10th year in Indianapolis.  According to Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) estimates, Gen Con brings approximately $36 million dollars in annual business to Indianapolis.
  • Badge Sales at a Record Pace- Last year, Gen Con reached a four-day turnstile attendance record of more than 120,000. This year, badges are moving at an even faster rate. With just a month left in pre-registration, badge pre-sales are up more than 22% year-over-year, putting Gen Con Indy 2012 on a record-smashing pace.
  • Exhibition Space Sold-Out in January- With the growing number of attendees at the show, Exhibition Hall space for game creators and manufacturers has achieved higher demand than ever before. Exhibition space sold out in January 2012, creating a waiting list of more than 40 exhibitors.
  • Largest Event Registration Opening in Gen Con’s History- With the surging rate of badge pre-orders, it follows that Event Ticket sales would increase as well. While badge pre-sales are up more than 22%, ticket sales on Event Registration opening increased by more than 50% year-over-year and more than 100% since 2010!
To attend
Gen Con Indy will be open to the public Thursday, August 16, through Sunday, August 19, 2012. Thursday through Saturday the Exhibit Hall is open 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. 24-hour gaming takes place at the convention center and at area hotels during the four-day event.

Everyone attending Gen Con Indy must purchase a badge. A badge allows the individual entrance to the show, admittance to the Exhibit Hall, Art Show, Anime events, seminars and any events happening in the public areas that do not require an event ticket. There area different badge types, from standard badges (4-Day or 1-Day) to Family Fun Day badges that can provide admission for a family of four for $40. For more information about attaining a badge visit .

About Gen Con
Gen Con LLC produces the largest consumer hobby, fantasy, sci-fi and adventure game convention in North America. It was acquired in 2002 by former CEO and Founder of Wizards of the Coast Peter Adkison, who owns the company headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Gen Con is a consumer and trade experience dedicated to gaming culture and community. For more information visit the website at For up-to-the minute details, check out

Wizards of the Coast Announces R.A. Salvatore’s 2012 Book Tour

MAY 30, 2012 – To celebrate the upcoming release of R.A. Salvatore’s Charon’s Claw on August 7th, Wizards of the Coast is thrilled to announce that Salvatore, a 24-time New York Times bestselling author, will head out on a multi-city book tour this summer to meet fans and autograph copies of his newest novel. 

See below for more information about Wizards of the Coast and R.A. Salvatore, as well as the complete summer book tour schedule for Charon’s Claw. Additional details about Charon’s Claw and the D&D® suite of products can be found at

Contact: Marisa Wohl for Wizards of the Coast / 617-585-5767


August 6

    Redondo Beach, CA – Mysterious Galaxy Books (7:30pm – 9:30pm)

August 7

    Los Angeles, CA – Barnes & Noble – The Grove (7:00pm – 9:00pm)

August 8

    Menlo Park, CA – Kepler’s Books (7:00pm – 9:00pm)

August 9

    Tacoma, WA – Joint Base Lewis-McChord
        McChord Main Store (1:00pm – 3:00pm)
        Lewis Main Store (4:00pm – 6:00pm)

August 10

    Austin, TX – BookPeople (7:00pm – 8:30pm)

August 11

    Houston, TX – Space City Con

August 13

    Lexington, KY – Joseph Beth (4:30pm-6:00pm)

August 13

    Cincinnati, OH – Joseph Beth (7:30pm – 9:00pm)

August 14

    Columbus, OH – The Book Loft (7:00pm – 9:00pm)

August 15

    Carmel, IN – Barnes & Noble (7:00pm – 9:00pm)

August 16 – 19

    Indianapolis, IN – Gen Con 2012

September 1

    Atlanta, GA – Dragon Con 2012

About Charon’s Claw
The third book in the Neverwinter Saga, Charon’s Claw follows Drizzt Do’Urden as he draws his swords once more to aid his friends. In this final book in the saga, Drizzt assists the beautiful elf Dahlia as she enacts revenge and helps an old foe break the bonds that have held him hostage for more than a hundred years.

About R.A. Salvatore
R.A. Salvatore is best known as the creator of the dark elf Drizzt, one of the fantasy genre's most beloved characters.  With over 17 million books sold and numerous game credits, Salvatore has become one of the most important figures in modern epic fantasy. His first published novel was The Crystal Shard in 1988, and since that time Salvatore has published more than 50 novels, with 24 New York Times bestsellers to his name, including The Halfling's Gem, Sojourn, The Legacy and Neverwinter, Book II.  For more information about R.A. Salvatore, please visit or find him on Facebook.

About Wizards of the Coast
Wizards of the Coast LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS), is the leader in entertaining the lifestyle gamer. Wizards' players and fans are members of a global community bound together by their love of both digital gaming and in-person play. The company brings to market a range of gaming experiences under powerful brand names such as MAGIC: THE GATHERING, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, and KAIJUDO. Wizards is also a publisher of fantasy series fiction with numerous New York Times best-sellers. For more information about our world renowned brands, visit the Wizards of the Coast Web site at

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

2012 Diana Jones Nominees

The Nominees

The shortlist for the 2012 Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming has five entries. Listed alphabetically they are:

Burning Wheel Gold
An RPG system by Luke Crane
Published by Burning Wheel

Burning Wheel Gold (BWG) is the newest edition of the Burning Wheel fantasy roleplaying game system initially published in 2004 by Luke Crane. If you're looking for a big system that can stand up to long-term campaign play as well as D&D but is designed with contemporary design sensibilities, BWG is the game for you.

The Burning Wheel system has introduced a host of design innovations over the years. A few examples: with the fail forward mentality a missed die roll isn't a failure, it's an unexpected outcome; instead of the GM designing adventures, players direct the action by listing their beliefs and what they intend to do about them; players can make world-setting contributions by creating NPCs using the Circles mechanic or historical facts using the Wises mechanic; and players develop rich character concepts using an elaborate (and fun) Lifepaths mechanic reminiscent of Traveller.

The latest edition, BWG, cleans up old rules problems and brings together material from a number of different books into one comprehensive and attractive hardback tome.

When historians of the hobby-gaming movement look back on 2011, they will certainly note the production of several fine games and gaming products, including others appearing on this diverse, exciting shortlist. The truly defining shift, however, will be found in the introduction of crowdfunding. By combining consumer micro-capital and community-building, all to the ticking of a suspenseful pre-order clock, it truly warrants the overused label of game-changer.

Forward movements in art forms have always depended on the opened purse strings of a few key patrons. By democratizing patronage and widening the field of opportunity for all game designers, this broader market transformation well deserves recognition as a cauldron of present and future gaming excellence. Within this recognition comes an acknowledgment of the movement's dominant force, Kickstarter.

Nordic LARP
A book by Jaakko Stenros and Markus Montola
Published by Fëa Livia

Nordic Larp is a history of the Nordic larp scene, from its inception in post-D&D fantasy through experimental drama, historical recreation and far freaking weirdness, done as a massive and profusely illustrated coffee-table book, written by two gaming scholars. The book documents more than thirty larps that took place over 15 years, including ones with animatronic dragons and a space opera played out on a submarine.

Nordic larps have become an elaborate art form, featuring detailed costumes, interesting settings, and varied plots. While these larps can be massive productions in terms of time, players, and material, they can also be maddeningly ephemeral, with no official or comprehensive documentation. Stories pass from community to community, but ultimately “I guess you had to be there.”

The Nordic Larp book assembles photos, memories, and designer notes, allowing the reader to survey these fantastic and sometimes legendary events. These records are bracketed by an introduction that summarizes the recurrent elements of the larps and a final essay on Nordic larping as art, theater, and game. Nordic larping is a major, dynamic branch of the gaming family tree, fully deserving of this massive, beautiful book that takes larping and game-history as serious business.

Risk Legacy
A board game by Rob Daviau
Published by Hasbro Inc.

One does not expect to find ground-breaking innovation in a revamp of a classic family game from a market-leading publisher, but Risk Legacy produces not just one but three startling leaps forward. It is a board-game designed for campaign play; it does not allow players access to all the components, units and rules at the start of play, instead having in-game events unlock sealed sections of the cleverly built box; and it demands that the players permanently change the game, putting stickers on the board to alter it, and destroying other components. The game-world reacts to victories and defeats, and the game becomes a permanent record of its play, different for every group.

Risk Legacy combines these ideas into a brilliantly playable whole that’s recognisably Risk, yet something brand new. Rob Daviau and Hasbro must be applauded for such a risk.

An RPG supplement by Zak S.
Published by Lamentations of the Flame Princess

Vornheim radically strips the fantasy RPG city supplement to its foundations and erects dizzying Gothic buttresses of pure playability. Combining specific encounters terrible and wondrous with superb, table-tested techniques for on-the-fly urban adventure creation, Vornheim illuminates one fantastic city and all fantasy cities.

Literally not an inch of this book is wasted space: all of it provides game masters with tools, tables, and terrifying inhabitants perfectly suited to the powerful senses of possibility, wonder, and nightmare logic buried deep within fantasy gaming's very nature. Zak S's rococo, idiosyncratic production design and stark, febrile art brilliantly contain and present the mad glories within its covers – as with a proper necromancer's tome, merely opening the book plunges the beholder into a world of demonic genius.

The winner of this year's award will be announced on Wednesday 15th August, at the annual Diana Jones Award and Freelancer Party in Indianapolis, the unofficial start of the Gen Con convention.

About The Award
The Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming was founded and first awarded in 2001. It is presented annually to the person, product, company, event or any other thing that has, in the opinion of its mostly anonymous committee of games industry luminaries, best demonstrated the quality of ‘excellence’ in the world of hobby-gaming in the previous year. The winner of the Award receives the Diana Jones trophy.

The short-list and eventual winner are chosen by the Diana Jones Committee, a mostly anonymous group of games-industry alumni and illuminati, known to include designers, publishers, cartoonists, and those content to rest on their laurels.

Past winners include industry figures such as Peter Adkison and Jordan Weisman, the role-playing games Nobilis, Sorcerer, and My Life with Master, the board-games Dominion and Ticket to Ride, the website BoardGameGeek; and the charity fundraising work of Irish games conventions. Last year’s winner was Fiasco by Jason Morningstar.

This is the twelfth year of the Award.

More information is available at or at the Award’s Wikipedia page at

For more information or an invitation to the announcement of the 2012 Diana Jones Award you can contact a representative of the DJA committee:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dorkland! Roundtable with Sean Preston

My second Dorkland! Roundtable, this time with Sean Preston of Reality Blurs. I am really enjoying the live streaming format, more I think than I like the video archiving. Sean and I talked for almost an hour about tabletop RPGs, Savage Worlds, who our favorite pulp characters are, and many other very important things.

Sadly, Sean had some technical problems as Google Hangouts didn't seem to like his webcam. He could talk, or he could be seen...but not both. We figured that hearing his voice was better than nothing, and the little black box probably represented him as well as anything. I do hope that they get rid of the boxes at the bottom of the screen for the streaming and just go with the video flip-flop as each person speaks. I think that will be a better way of handling things and I don't have to worry about looking so fidgety when I'm on screen.


If you have any feedback, please let me know either here (in the comments) or over on Google Plus.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dorkland! Roundtable with Fred Hicks

I figured that I should put this up here on the blog, for people who may end up searching for the blog or my Roundtables. Fred and I talked for an hour about Fate, gaming, the Dresden Files, Don't Rest Your Head, and a few other things. I also fidget a lot.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dorkland! Roundtables with Sean (Reality Blurs) Preston and Kirin (Old School Hack) Robinson

Well, with the next set of Dorkland! Roundtables, I received the good news today that my Google Plus account was finally approved for Hangouts on the Air over there. What does that mean for you? Well, it means two things: 1) we can have a decent, uninterrupted conversation between myself and the guest on each Roundtable (which means not having to have a Public chat and worry about "drive by" Random Internet Jerks trying to interfere) and 2) that the discussion will be livestreamed out onto the internet so that it can be watched by those who may not yet have Google Plus accounts (it also means that we can archive the discussions on Youtube for future blackmailing fun).

The Dorkland! Roundtables are an evolving experiment in new media, bringing fans of tabletop gaming access to the publishers and designers that they may not be able to get outside of one of the big gaming conventions. The bonus is that you (the viewers) do not even have to leave your home in order to take part in watching these. I am sure that there will be tweaks to things as we go along, as each of these has been a learning experience.

So, our next two Dorkland! Roundtables (keep in mind that the times for the live streams will be 9pm EST/6pm PST):

On May 28th I will talk to Sean Preston of Reality Blurs. You probably know Sean and his company from such Savage Worlds supplements as Realms of Cthulhu, Agents of Oblivion and Shaintar. We will talk about all of these fine games, and hopefully more when we talk to Sean on the 28th. If you, or a friend of yours is a fan of quality Savage Worlds supplements, be sure to check this Roundtable out.

On June 4th (the following Monday), I will talk to Kirin Robinson of Old School Hack fame. Kirin won a Gold Ennie last year at GenCon, and we will talk about that, his game, and many other things as well.

If you have questions or comments before or during either of these Dorkland! Roundtables you can post them to me on Twitter or my Google Plus profile. If you're a tabletop game designer or publisher, I would like to talk with you on a future Dorkland! Roundtable. You can contact me in the same ways, if you are interested.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Warrior & Wizard RPG: The Little Retroclone That Could

One of the hot things in tabletop RPGs right now is the "retroclone." For those who may read this and not know, a retroclone is a reproduction of an out of print game that relies on the legal concept that you cannot copyright game mechanics, only your exact wording of those mechanics. That basically means that anyone can come along and rewrite the expression of your rules with a completely new wording (that obviously explains the same basic mechanics underneath) and have a new game. This is something that has been happening a lot the last few years in tabletop gaming. The Open Gaming License and the various d20 SRDs have gone far in creating the foundation on which clones of earlier editions of D&D can be built, making these the most popular retroclones out and about. This makes sense, since D&D is the dog that wags the tail of tabletop gaming.

There have been other retroclones as well. There was a World of Darkness clone that came and went, which apparently disappeared because the creator had some legal issues that weren't properly skirted in his writing. I think it is still out on the internet in a place or two. Phil Reed did a super-heroic retroclone called 4Color that never really seemed to catch on like it should have. I'm sure that there are others out there that I don't know about, either.

Early today on G+ I posted a link to Warrior & Wizard, a retroclone of the old, out of print, Fantasy Trip game. It is a nice piece of work from author Chris Goodwin that really deserves more attention than it has probably received. That's why I made that post, and that is why I am making this post on my blog. Warrior & Wizard is available in two versions (both with the same text), one released under the OGL (to better allow mingling with other OGL-released open content) and one released under a creative commons license.

I put a copy and paste of the original author's document up in an editable format Google Document in my Google Drive folder, so that people can find and easily download something. I hope that you check it out, enjoy what you see and work up your own hack of the game. Hopefully the creator sees all of this and it spurs him to some further work.

Here's the link to Warrior & Wizard on Google Drive. [8/17/2018 Update: Because of the Kickstarter bringing back Steve Jackson's first RPG, The Fantasy Trip, I've taken down the link to this project.]

What unrepresented retroclone do you think needs more attention? You can mention it in the comments. Let's make this about those games that really aren't getting a lot of attention already out with other bloggers or forums. I think most of the D&D clones get enough attention already. What isn't being talked about out there?

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Valiant Debuts Archer & Armstrong #1 Cover

Valiant is proud to present Mico Suayan's skull-smashing cover for Archer & Armstrong #1 – the Summer of Valiant's next sensational series from the New York Times best-selling creative team of Fred Van Lente (Amazing Spider-Man) and Clayton Henry (Incredible Hercules)!

Obadiah Archer was raised to uphold three things above all else: the values of his parents, the love of his 22 brothers and sisters, and his lifelong mission to defeat the ultimate evildoer. Now, after years of training, Archer has been dispatched to the heart of America's debauched modern day Babylon, aka New York City, to root out and kill this infamous Great Satan. Unfortunately, dying has never been easy for Archer's target – the hard-drinking immortal known as Armstrong! Together, this unlikely pair of heroes is about to stumble headfirst into a centuries-old conspiracy that could bring the whole of ancient history crashing down on modern civilization.

It began with X-O Manowar, Harbinger and Bloodshot – could it all end here? Find out on August 8th when two mortal enemies come together to make an epic first impression on the Valiant Universe, only in Archer & Armstrong #1!

Pullbox Exclusive Cover by CLAYTON HENRY
Variant Covers by DAVID AJA & NEAL ADAMS

About Valiant Entertainment
Valiant Entertainment is a character-based publishing and licensing company that owns and controls some of the most cherished comic characters ever createdacross all media worldwide. Since their creation in 1989, Valiant characters have sold 80 million comic books and have been the basis of a number of successful video game franchises. Valiant's extensive library includes over 1,500 characters, such as X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, Harbinger,Shadowman, Ninjak and Archer & Armstrong. Visit:

Friday, May 04, 2012

R.I.P. Adam Yauch

This is going to be a controversial statement but, I think that in the long term (and in terms of musical legacies of my generation) that that Adam Yauch and the Beastie Boys are going to end up with a cultural and musical signifigance that's going to surpass Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. If it hasn't already.

It's time to pass the mic.

Rest in Peace, Adam, you've deserved it.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Review: Valiant's XO Manowar #1

I thought about doing a comparison to this issue and the first XO-Manowar #1 from the 90s, and then I decided that would not only be silly but it would probably be unfair to the creative teams of both books. About a week ago, I received a PDF of the first issue of XO-Manowar from the new Valiant Comics. You've probably read about this book on the various comic media site. The book has has massive preorders that (while nowhere near as big as the first first issue) are still pretty staggering for the comic book market of today. There may be some minor spoilers, so tread carefully.

Is this book worth those big preorders? Well, I can't really comment on that but what I can say is that this is an excellent comic that is well worth the cover price of admission.