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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
Best Historical Board Game of 1999
Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game of 1999
Best Graphic Presentation of a Board Game of 1999
Best Trading Card Game of 1999
Best Traditional Card Game of 1999
Best Card Game Expansion or Supplement of 1999
Best Graphic Presentation of a Card Game or Expansion of 1999
Best Action Computer Game of 1999
Best Roleplaying Computer Game of 1999
Best Strategy Computer Game of 1999
Best Game-Related Novel of 1999
Best Game-Related Short Work of 1999
Best Historical Miniatures Rules of 1999
Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures Rules of 1999
Best Historical Figure Miniatures Series of 1999
Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Figure Miniature of 1999
Best Vehicle Miniature of 1999
Best Amateur Game Magazine of 1999
Best Professional Game Magazine of 1999
Best New Play-by-Mail Game of 1999
Best Ongoing Play-by-Mail Game of 1999
Best Roleplaying Adventure of 1999
Best Roleplaying Game of 1999
Best Roleplaying Supplement of 1999
Best Graphic Presentation of a Roleplaying Game, Adventure, or Supplement of 1999
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.
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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