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All the news on gaming, locally and around the world.
Welcome to issue seven of Places to Go, People to Be, new readers and old. This page, "Highlights" is our new vehicle for telling you exactly what's going on with the zine, the local gaming scene and the world-wide industry. This way we can only communicate to you the really important and eye-catching news and not have to worry about filling various different columns with fluff each edition. Here's what caught our attention this month:
West End Games is Back!
In issue four, we reported that West End Games, one of the biggest RPG companies of all time, had filed for bankruptcy, and looked like it was on the way out. But WEG refused to go down. They sold off their stock at cost, started repaying their bills, held onto what licenses they could, and desperately trod water for a year, looking for some support. And now, the fantastic news is that support has arrived: from the French game and (primarily) book publishers, Yeti.
The two have formed a completely new corporation, and WEG is now operating with a separate set of accounts. They have, however, maintained continuity from a creative point of view. WEG has released plans for a host of new titles due out this year for their classic lines, such as TORG and Paranoia. Paranoia will be completely rehashed for the "Long Lost" Third edition.
But in an even greater coup, WEG has managed to regain the very profitable DC Comics license, which they had secured before the bankruptcy but was then cast into doubt. WEG has announced that the new DC Herores RPG will be in stores by August, which is great news for the industry. Along with this soft-cover book, WEG will also release a Hero Dice pack, a Narrator's Screen pack, and the Deluxe Boxed Set which will contain all three.
WEG/Yeti have stressed that the company is very much a joint effort. Yeti has been a long time publisher of books in France, but has begun a strong diversion into games. Its merging with WEG is part of a strategy to bring the best games from the US to France, and vice versa. Thus WEG will soon be releasing a lot more "regular" games translated from the French, like the forthcoming ZOON, "an amazingly cute card game of strategy and battle in a posthuman earth". Other titles include Candy Switch and Tombeur.
WEG has made its reborn status known by appearing at the GAMA trade show in March. Here they presented a whole host of new games, including TORG 2nd edition, Paranoia 3rd edition, Paranoia BUG Sector, the three new card games from Yeti and the prototypes of the DC Heroes products. This was a very strong showing, proving beyond doubt that WEG was back in business. Though some of their releases received a mixed reception, there can be no doubt that WEG's revival is incredibly good news for the industry as a whole. Welcome back guys!
Find out more about WEG's return at http://www.westendgames.net
GAMA Goes Off
The GAMA Trade Show, the foremost convention of game writers, makers, owners, distributors and buyers, was held in Las Vegas, from March 23rd to 25th. GAMA, or the Game Manufactures Association, is a society designed "to promote the general interest of all persons engaged in the buying, selling, licensing, or manufacturing of gaming products". The yearly convention is a chance for ideas on the state of the industry to be shared and analysed from all points of view.
Over 700 people attended, including a staggering over 150 game retailers. Rick Loomis, President of GAMA, declared the show "a great success". He added "If you weren't there, you missed something big".
Panels and seminars were held, covering such issues as communication within the industry, the role of micro-distribution and the rising (and sometimes prohibitive) cost of distribution and sales. Wizards of the Coast CEO Peter Adkison talked about their new marketing strategy of pushing the new Pokemon CCG through major chain stores like Wal-Mart. Will others follow their lead?
Event Horizon Publishing (makers of the RPG Hong Kong Action Theatre) made news with the release of two new games, including the exciting diceless Heaven and Earth. This game is said to really turn the genre on its head, pushing the boundaries of what can be done with diceless games.
And of course, the big news was the return of WEG and the release of their many new products, as detailed above. For more details on GAMA releases and events, check out the press reviews at RPGNet, or have a read of Sandy's report of the weekend. And next issue, we'll have the details from the other big gaming convention - Origins.
Having trouble finding people to play with in your local area? Not any more, thanks to the new Australian Gamer's Database. This brilliantly concieved site allows gamers from around Australia to register their contact details and gaming preferences for all to see. Though brand new and thus somewhat limited in its effectiveness now, with a bit of grassroots support, this could be an indispensible resource for all gamers. On top of this, Alex's site features a great convention calendar to keep you up to date with Australian gaming in general. Good stuff.
Speaking of conventions, the next big event in our home town of Brisbane is rapidly approaching. The Brisbane Maelstrom Convention combines tournaments in almost every game you could imagine from standard board games like Scrabble, to chess, to wargames, to CCGs, and of course, RPGs. It will be held on the 1st to the 3rd of May at the Moreton College of Tafe. With the support of major sponsor Auran and other big names, BMC is going to be huge, and prices are being kept right down! Do not miss out on this one. You can get yourself a registration form on their website. For more details, contact Keith Done or check last issue for more detais.
Louis Porter writes:
Finally, we look at the troubles at home. Due to changing circumstances, it is becoming increasingly difficult for PTGPTB to secure a steady supply of articles. If we are to survive, we are going to need support in this regard. So if you have an article, or an idea for one, please send it into us.
Before we finish, we have to welcome our new editor, Steve Dempsey, to the fold. Steve has been a long time reader, and a contributor since Issue 5. Hailing from London, England, Steve helps us have a more international approach, as well as lending his editing expertise throughout the whole process. Steve has also taken over penning the links page and done a great job. We're very happy to have him aboard.
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