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Highlights

News and other things from around the gaming world

 

Wizards of the Coast to purchase Last Unicorn Games

Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro Inc, and Last Unicorn Games have signed a letter of intent for Wizards to acquire LUG by June 30. Last Unicorn Games are the publishers of the Star Trek RPGs and the new Dune RPG. Combined with Wizards recently acquired Star Wars license and the upcoming release of the third edition of Dungeons and Dragons, this gives Wizards a powerful grasp of the RPG market. Many see this as a bad trend, which could lead to homogenisation of the industry. However, under Wizards new distribution scheme, this will put both Star Wars and Star Trek games into mass-market chains right around the US, which could lead to a large increase in new player recruitment rates. Whatever the outcome, the near future should be an interesting time for the entire hobby.

Hand Me The Envelope, Please!

The Fellows of the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design have released their nominations on the best games released in 1999, and it is now up to the public to make the final decision. The ballot form can be downloaded from www.gama.org so get your votes in. The winners will be announced at the Origins International Game Expo, in Columbus, Ohio, on July 14. And the nominees are...

Best Abstract Board Game of 1999
Button Men, Cheapass Games
Deadwood, Cheapass Games
Elemental, Kenzer & Company
Ta YŁ, Rio Grande Games
Tile Chess, Steve Jackson Games

Best Historical Board Game of 1999
Great War at Sea: 1904-1905, The Russo-Japanese Naval War, Avalanche Press
Ra, Rio Grande Games
Tikal, Rio Grande Games
Totaler Krieg!, Decision Games
War Galley, GMT Games
War in Europe, Decision Games

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game of 1999
Andromeda, Rio Grande Games
Orcs at the Gates, Jolly Roger Games
Ricochet Robot, Rio Grande Games
Stephenson's Rocket, Rio Grande Games
Thunder's Edge, Fantasy Flight Games

Best Graphic Presentation of a Board Game of 1999
Button Men, Cheapass Games
Ra, Rio Grande Games
Tikal, Rio Grande Games
Stephenson's Rocket, Rio Grande Games
Thunder's Edge, Fantasy Flight Games

Best Trading Card Game of 1999
7th Sea: No Quarter!, Alderac Entertainment Group
Tomb Raider, Precedence Entertainment, Inc.
Young Jedi CCG: Menace of Darth Maul, Decipher, Inc.

Best Traditional Card Game of 1999
Apples to Apples, Out of the Box Publishing, LLC
Brawl, Cheapass Games
Chez Geek, Steve Jackson Games
Fight City, Cheapass Games
Reiner Knizia's Digging, Avalanche Press

Best Card Game Expansion or Supplement of 1999
7th Sea: Strange Vistas, Alderac Entertainment Group
Airlines 2, Avalanche Press
Doomtown: Reaping of Souls, Wizards of the Coast
Urza's Legacy, Wizards of the Coast
Young Jedi CCG: The Jedi Council, Decipher, Inc.

Best Graphic Presentation of a Card Game or Expansion of 1999
7th Sea: No Quarter!, Alderac Entertainment Group
Brawl, Cheapass Games
Ceasar & Cleopatra, Rio Grande Games
Doomtown: Reaping of Souls, Wizards of the Coast
Young Jedi CCG: The Jedi Council, Decipher, Inc.

Best Action Computer Game of 1999
MechWarrior 3, Microprose, Inc.
Quake III Arena, Activision
Unreal Tournament Epic, Megagames

Best Roleplaying Computer Game of 1999
Asheron's Call, Microsoft
Baldur's Gate: Tales of Sword, Interplay Productions
Everquest, Sony
Planescape: Torment, Interplay Productions

Best Strategy Computer Game of 1999
Age of Empires II, Microsoft
Civilization: Call to Power, Activision
Heroes of Might & Magic 3, 3DO
Homeworld, Sierra On-Line
King of Dragon Pass, A Sharp, LLC
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Firaxis

Best Game-Related Novel of 1999
Crossroads, FASA Corp.
Delta Green: The Rules of Engagement, Pagan Publishing
Nightmare's Disciple, Chaosium, Inc.
Skavenslayer, Games Workshop
The Gathering Dark Age Cycle I, Wizards of the Coast

Best Game-Related Short Work of 1999
Angel Dust (apprearing in Heaven & Earth RPG), Guardians of Order Inc.
Hate (appearing in The Trilogy With No Name), Pinnacle Entertainment Group
Infestations (appearing in Infestations), Pinnacle Entertainment Group
Just a Tad Beyond Innsmouth (appearing in Tales Out of Innsmouth), Chaosium, Inc.
Once More, From the Top (appearing in Delta Green: Dark Theatres), Pagan Publishing
Roll Your Bones (appearing in Lawyers, Guns, and Money), Atlas Games
Xing Qing Pao's Lament (appearing in Swords of the Middle Kingdom), Guardians of Order

Best Historical Miniatures Rules of 1999
Armies of Antiquity, Warhammer Historical Wargames
Battles for Empire, Quantum Publishing
Fire Brigade, Jolly Roger Games
Piquet: Blitzkrieg, Piquet, Inc.
The Rough Riders, Old Glory
Warfare in the Age of Discovery, Emperor1s Press

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures Rules of 1999
Babylon 5 Wars 2nd Edition, Agents of Gaming
Battlefleet Gothic, Games Workshop
Diskwars, Fantasy Flight Games
Plastic Ships and Fuzzy Men, Inner City Games
Vor: The Maelstrom, FASA Corp.

Best Historical Figure Miniatures Series of 1999
Demi-Brigadier French Line Infantry 1796, Imperialist Enterprises
German Assault Squad, Easy Eight Enterprises
N-Scale WW II Line, Minifigs

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Figure Miniature of 1999
Cardboard Heroes Fantasy Characters, Steve Jackson Games [later removed as ineligible]
Dragons Don't Share, Reaper Miniatures
The Dragon Gauth, Reaper Miniatures
Togashi Yokuni, Alderac Entertainment Group
Vor: Growler Razorback Chieftain, FASA Corp.

Best Vehicle Miniature of 1999
Babylon 5 Station, Agents of Gaming
Mad Cat Battlemech (28mm Scale), Armorcast
US Recon M8 Greyhound, Easy Eight Enterprises
Vor: Union "Ares" Assault Suit, FASA Corp.
White Star, Agents of Gaming

Best Amateur Game Magazine of 1999
Anime Squared, A2 Press
Herozine, Rising Force Publications
Mythic Perspectives, Gnawing Ideas
Serendipity's Circle, Wheeality Productions
Midwest Wargamers Association Newsletter, Hal Thinglum
Alarums & Excursions, Lee Gold

Best Professional Game Magazine of 1999
Comics Retailer, Krause Publications
Dork Tower, Corsair Publishing
Games Quarterly Catalog, Matthews-Simmons Marketing
Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine, Kenzer & Company
Pyramid, Steve Jackson Games

Best New Play-by-Mail Game of 1999
No nominees

Best Ongoing Play-by-Mail Game of 1999
Middle-earth PBM: Fourth Age c. 1000, Game Systems, Inc.
World Wide Battle Plan, Flying Buffalo

Best Roleplaying Adventure of 1999
Axe of the Dwarvish Lords, Wizards of the Coast
Beyond the Mountains of Madness, Chaosium, Inc.
First Run, FASA Corp.
Legacy of the Forge, Alderac Entertainment Group
The Enemy You Know (appearing in Planetary Adventures), Last Unicorn Games

Best Roleplaying Game of 1999
7th Sea Role-Playing Game, Alderac Entertainment Group
Aberrant, White Wolf Publishing, Inc.
Dragon Fist, Wizards of the Coast
Mechwarrior Third Edition, FASA Corp.
Pokemon Jr. Adventure Game, Wizards of the Coast
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Roleplaying Game, Last Unicorn Games
Unknown Armies, Atlas Games

Best Roleplaying Supplement of 1999
Big Robots, Cool Starships, Guardians of Order
Dark*Matter, Wizards of the Coast
Delta Green: Countdown, Pagan Publishing
L5R GM's Survival Guide, Alderac Entertainment Group
Magic in the Shadows, FASA Corp.

Best Graphic Presentation of a Roleplaying Game, Adventure, or Supplement of 1999
7th Sea Role-Playing Game, Alderac Entertainment Group
Brave New World, Pinnacle Entertainment Group
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Roleplaying Game, Last Unicorn Games
Star Trek: The Original Series Roleplaying Game, Last Unicorn Games
Dark*Matter, Wizards of the Coast
Magic in the Shadows, FASA Corp.

Return to Glorantha

Over twenty-five years ago, Greg Stafford created a rich and intense Bronze Age world called Glorantha. The setting for many games, including the highly revolutionary 1979 RPG RuneQuest, the world of Glorantha has attracted an ardent legion of fans. Now, Glorantha has returned to the spotlight with the new RPG, Hero Wars.

Hero Wars was written by Robin D. Laws, who also wrote the award winning Feng Shui, and is being released by new company Issaries Inc. Stafford, the head of Issaries, has stated that Hero Wars is closer to Glorantha than any previous system. HW comes in two trade-paperback sized books - the core rules and a GMs guide - or a boxed set containing both, and should be on shelves world-wide this month.

Also released is Glorantha, an encyclopaedia of the setting. Twenty one chapters over two hundred and fifty pages examine this immense setting in detail, collecting all the old material and adding much more original information. The book is intended to be useful to both Hero Wars players and any fans of Glorantha, and so lacks any direct system information. Also in trade paperback form, this book will be a must-buy for anyone with a love of world design.

Get Yourself Published

Got yourself your own little independent RPG and want to get it to a wider audience? Concept Syndicate, Inc. has the deal for you with their new "Independent Silver" game line. They've begun producing a line of CD Roms containing soft copies of complete RPGs which the consumer can read on their computer or print at their whim. These CDs are being distributed through normal gaming stores, allowing independent designers a chance to share the high profile that the big companies enjoy.

The first CD contained Ron Edwards' Sorcerer and CYBER-Space by an anonymous author. Production is now slowing down to a twice-yearly schedule to allow for the CDs to contain a greater number of higher-quality works. If you'd like to take advantage of this great opportunity, check out their website.

If you have a talent for more traditional game design, however, then Wingnut Games is a better option. Wingnut - publishers of Og: The Roleplaying Game and Battle Cattle - have announced an open invitation to all consumers and game companies to manufacture, market and distribute independent game designs. This is also a wonderful opportunity for budding game designers, so sieze it and get your pitch in now!

Beyond Goes On Hiatus

In somewhat sad news for the online RPG zine community, Beyond, the flagship e-zine of the SF/fantasy/gaming website of the same name has been put on indefinite hiatus. Editor in Chief, Spencer M. Lease said he was disappointed by this outcome but that the zine simply wasn't viable, with so many sites covering the same territory in the crowded gaming web marketplace. Lease stressed that Beyond was not dead and would return as soon as possible. In the meantime, Beyond will be supplemented by Intermission, a bimonthly "mini-zine" containing a few elements that once appeared in Beyond. If you'd like to find out more, or offer support for Beyond, simply mail Spencer.

Helm Movements

Soon-to-be-released Australian RPG Helm has moved to a brand new site. Their new home at http://www.crosswinds.net/~garnel is also the official home of the parent company, PendleSpear Gaming and Comic Creation. PendleSpear is also starting up a variety of other projects in addition to Helm. For more details on Helm, see the article in Issue Nine.

FINANCE NEWS: GP Plummets Against US Dollar

SPECULARUM: In a day of trading observers are calling "disastrous", the Karameikosian Gold Piece fell 200 points today, closing at a value of just 0.03 US cents. At this exchange rate, adventurers will have to pay over five hundred GP for a single ten foot pole. Luxury items have jumped even more, with a set of six iron spikes and a hammer now costing thirty five thousand Gold Pieces, more than the average dungeon-delver's take-home hoard for an entire month.

Treasury advisors to Duke Stefan reported this evening that the massive devaluing of the Piece was caused primarily by the recent return to the town of the adventuring party led by Sir OrcFucker, a renowned 18th Level Warrior. OrcFucker's party is said to have brought with them over ten billion gold pieces in their few small backpacks.

"Quite frankly" said Greenspan of the North, noted Ranger and Chief Treasurer in Specularum, "no economy, no matter how strong, can withstand such an enormous influx of cash in so short a time. We strongly urge that all other adventuring parties transfer their interests away from the GP immediately, and invest in something else. Magic weapons, 100lb diamonds, gold dragon hides, anything."

In other trading, Ork Bellies were hit for fifteen points, silver reptiles rallied against copper and tin, and Black Puddings split two for one.

PTGPTB Needs Banners!

PTGPTB is looking for budding designers to produce some modest but eye-catching advertising material for our humble zine. We may also look to changing our header image as well, if a suitable alternative is found. All submissions are welcome. If interest is high enough, the best submissions will win a prize. We're still working out the details here, but in the meantime, please send us your work!

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