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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Gamers Need More Game Reviews!

The RPG Bloggers Network has been a tremendous success, sparking plenty of cross-blog traffic and comments. I’ve read lots of great articles and discovered a bunch of new sites, but I think there’s one area where the community can improve: game reviews.

Simply put, there aren’t enough of them. There’s plenty of speculation, analysis and debate but there aren’t nearly enough reviews (or, if they are there, they are quickly lost among the flurry of other posts). The RPG Bloggers guys are working on improvements to bring order to the chaos by adding new categories, but even then I think there will be a need for bloggers to knuckle down and review games.

I have as much work to do as anyone else. It shocked me earlier this week when I looked at my own RPG reviews category and discovered that five months had passed between my Battlestar Galactica RPG review and my new one for Star Wars: Threats of the Galaxy. Now granted, my sense of what I’ve written is distorted by all the writing I do for SCIFI, and I’ve certainly posted a bunch of quasi-reviews in the form of playtest reports, but still … there need to be more.

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RPG Bloggers Launch Time-Devouring Portal

RPG Bloggers Network When Wizards of the Coast decided to kill the ill-fated (and ill-named) Gleemax project before it got out of alpha, a bunch of role-playing game bloggers stood up and said … who needs Gleemax? You want a gamer community … well we’ve got your community right here! Or words to that effect.

They formed the RPG Bloggers Network, which is aggregating the RPG-centric posts from more than 30 gaming blogs including Critical Hits, Musing of a Chatty DM and Uncle Bear.

And yeah, Nuketown is there too.

One of the things I like best about the site is how it aggregates content — it’s pulls in stories into its home page and incorporates a rating mechanic as it does so. I haven’t found a page that aggregates those ratings into a big list, but I imagine that’s coming.

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Gleemax is Dead

Wizards of the Coast is killing Gleemax. WotC is refocusing their efforts after the fumbled launch of the D&D Insider initiative (ok, I say “fumbled” you say “catastrophic failure…”), which failed to include the over-promised and much coveted online gaming[…]

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