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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Game News

Exploring D&D Battlefields with Microsoft Surface

by Ken Newquist / February 23, 2010

Ever since Chewbacca defeated R2-D2 in holochess, geeks have wanted a virtual table top for their games. Things have taken a major step in that direction with SurfaceScapes, a proof-of-concept app for Microsoft surface created by students at Carnegie Mellon University. It's based on the D&D 4th Edition rules, and those who've seen it are suitably impressed:

For those who haven't seen it before, Microsoft Surface is a sort of digital coffee table; it's got a large, flat touch sensitive screen (kind of like an upsized and hard-to-move iPhone. SurfaceScapes puts an interactive map on the Surface, which you can interact with by moving around specially designed miniatures. All of the rules you need to run the game (e.g. movement, powers, etc.) are built into the game, and you can interact with your character through a handheld device (e.g. an iPod touch or smart phone).

Gamer Traveler: Games & Travel Blog Carnival Roundup

by Ken Newquist / February 17, 2010

Games & Travel Blog CarnivalThe Gamer Traveler has posted a round up of the "Games & Travel" blog carnival from January 2010. This was a cool topic, and one I wish I'd taken the time to participate in (perhaps I will, retroactively).

While I think many campaigns tend to hand-wave away travel (perhaps after one too many random wilderness encounters during their Advanced Dungeons & Dragons days) it can make for some great adventures. Heck, one of our most memorable Star Wars campaign arcs involved our heroes bouncing out of hyperspace into a proto-star nebula. They barely escaped the nebula with their lives, the ship's outer hull having been melted into what we're now calling "star forged armor".

Star Wars Roundup: Saga Edition Cancelled, Sniper Feat, Travel in Star Wars

by Ken Newquist / February 3, 2010

Without a doubt, the big news Star Wars this month is the announcement that Wizards of the Coast is not renewing its Star Wars license and is ending the Star Wars: Saga Edition RPG and Star Wars Miniatures product lines. It's a sad day for Star Wars gamers but I suspect that the game will continue to have a small but fierce following in coming years, just like West End's d6 Star Wars does.

In happier news, Galaxy of Intrigue was released in late January, and we have one more source book -- The Unknown Regions -- before the end of the line

Gamers Helping Haiti

by Ken Newquist / January 29, 2010

OneBookShelf, the company that runs the virtual RPG storefronts DriveThruRPG and RPGNow, is offering a $20 mega bundle as a fundraiser to help the survivors of the Haiti earthquake. Donate $20 to Doctors without Borders through the web site, and you'll receive $1,500+ worth of PDFs. View complete list of products in the bundle, broken down by company. The bundle sale ends January 31, 2010.

Download a Free Issue of Kobold Quarterly Through Jan. 31

by Ken Newquist / January 24, 2010

If you've ever wanted to try out Kobold Quarterly, but didn't want to put down the change for a single issue PDF or subscription, here's your chance. Open Design is making issue #10 available as a free download ... but only until the end of January. Here's the official word:

The Feed: Gearbox Software Reflects On Borderlands And What's Next

by Ken Newquist / January 22, 2010

G4TV's The Feed interviews the developers at Gearbox Software about Borderlands, including their decision to ditch the realistic graphics in favor of cell-shading and the "Diablo for Guns" game mechanic. It's a good read for fans of the game, and offers some nice insights into the risks and payoffs in this surprise hit.

The Tome Podcast #121: Revenge of the Giants reviewed

by Ken Newquist / December 23, 2009

Cover: Against the Giants

My gaming group recently returned to D&D 4th Edition with a megashot of the Revenge of the Giants supermodule. I talk about our experiences with Wizards of the Coast's homage to the original 1st Edition Against the Giants tournament modules on Episode #121 of The Tome Podcast.

I'm joined by Quinn Murphy of the excellent At Will 4E blog and regular Tome host Jeff Greiner. Check out the podcast.