Backing the Numenera Kickstarter

I backed the Numenera Kickstarter today after I had a moment of panic over breakfast that I’d missed the deadline. The kickstarter for Monte Cook’s far-future science fantasy role-playing game has four days left to go, and has hit the amazing total of $338,450.

That’s just … huge. The kickstarter has broken all of Monte’s stretch goals and yielded an impressive line up of game materials. You can read about them on his web site. Of course, the question now becomes … can he deliver? Given his track record with Dungeons & Dragons, Arcana Unearthed, and Malhavoc Press in general, I’m confident he will. Or at least, I’m confident in the print materials. I’m not so sure about the character creator; that strikes me as being more complicated than he might originally have anticipated (just look at how long for D&D to get a worthwhile character creator).

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Deep Vistas Map Set at Kickstarter

Master mapmaker Chris West has launched a kickstarter project to fund “Deep Vistas”, his latest collection of maps. These six maps are focused on underground adventuring and include: Stalactite Gate, Slave Pits, Chapel of Scarabs, Dark Elf Courtyard, Silent Garden and Chasm Bridge. They’re gorgeous looking maps, and although they’re obviously fantasy themed, and have a very “Vault of the Drow” feeling to them, it’d be easy enough to use them in horror or science fiction campaigns as well. There are different funding options but the best is likely the $36 for all three double-sided maps.

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Financial Times: Why we still love board games

The Financial Times is running an article about German/euro-style board games such as Settlers of Catan and Carcassone that covers why the games are so popular in German, how they’ve expanded beyond its borders to the UK and America, and the sustainability of this niche market.

It’s a good read; I think there’s a real concern here that the market is being over-saturated with board games, as the Germans pump out more and more new games. There’s all the makings of a bubble there (and if we’re talking bubbles, then it’s already happened). But while the German market may be coming supersaturated, I think there’s still plenty of room to grow in the United States. Heck, I think they’ve only barely touched on what’s possible here — sure my gaming group has been playing these kinds of board games for years, but the larger population still things board game equals Monopoly or Sorry.

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Superhero RPGs soar into print

There’s been a bunch of good news on the superhero role-playing front lately. Green Ronin has announced Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition and DC Adventures, which is a DC Comics-based superhero RPG.

The first DC Comics book, DC ADVENTURES drops in August 2010. Three subsequent books detailing heroes and villains will be released later this year and in 2011. Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition will use the same ruleset, and be released in Fall 2011.

At the same time Savage Worlds Super Powers Companion is now available in print (it had been out in PDF earlier this year).

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The Griffin’s Crier Re-launched

The redesigned version of the Griffin’s Crier, my gaming group’s web site, is now up and running — you can check it out at www.griffcrier.com. The GriffCrier has been around for more than a decade; our Blackrazor Guild gaming group first launched the site in 1998 as an archive for our World of Greyhawk campaign. Over time, our gaming group’s evolved and added new web apps — we now have a dedicated forum for in and out of game conversations, the archival D&D content has been moved to a Greyhawk wiki, and we’ve spawned several additional blogs and wikis in support of the other RPGs we play

Over time, the role of the Griffin’s Crier diminished, and it was time to bring it back. Four of us are blogging now, and even more are using Twitter. We’ve got two campaign blogs and two corresponding wikis, all of which are producing RSS. In recent years, the home page of the Crier had been static as content was updated elsewhere; I wanted to change that by pulling in headlines from across the Blackrazor blogosphere.

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Exploring D&D Battlefields with Microsoft Surface

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).

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