3 Apr

Torn Armor Kickstarter Final Assault

Torn ArmorThe Torn Armor tabletop miniatures wargame Kickstarter is in its final 24 hours. It’s already been successfully funded, so now you’re just buying into a sweet collection of miniatures, a solid wargame, and the history of the Torn World. If you haven’t already, check out my interviews (part 1 and part 2) with the creator of the Torn World, Alyssa Faden. Then head over to the Torn Armor Kickstarter page and take a look at what’s on offer.
Continue reading

22 Mar

Robotech RPG Tactics

Robotech RPG TacticsIf Dungeons & Dragons, Choose Your Own Adventure books, and Tolkien were my early fantasy genre influences, my science fiction side was tempered in those early years by Star Wars and Robotech. And while Star Wars finally got a good ship to ship miniatures combat game thanks to Fantasy Flight Games, I relied on FASA’s Battletech to scratch my mecha combat itch. But I knew it wasn’t Robotech, and Robotech was what I wanted. After decades of waiting, Palladium Books is working with Ninja Division to bring me… well, us, I suppose, Robotech RPG Tactics. Continue reading

21 Mar

Ironheart Artisans Interview for Dropzone Games

Ironheart Artisans LogoI spent an afternoon talking to Alex Landis of Ironheart Artisans, a miniatures wargame accessory manufacturer based in the brainstorming zone hidden deep inside Dropzone Games in Glen Burnie, MD. We talked about what it takes to make it in the miniatures wargaming world, how best to adapt gamers’ needs to the table, and methods of creating and casting all manner of cool things. In the workshop, Ironheart Artisans sets out to create innovative and affordable solutions for miniatures gamers. And they have a laser.

Read the full article about Ironheart Artisans at the Dropzone Games website here.

22 Feb

Close Encounters: An Interview with Alyssa Faden of Torn World, Part 2

Torn Armor
Artwork by Jeff Laubenstein. Yes, that Jeff Laubenstein.

Earlier this week I delved into the Torn World setting and also delved into the mind of its creator, Alyssa Faden. In addition to Torn World’s current Pathfinder Roleplaying Game setting and Center Stage Miniatures line, a flagship project is a tabletop miniatures skirmish game, Torn Armor.

The Torn Armor Kickstarter launches on March 3rd and you want to be ready. If images like the Sisk Skirmisher Golem aren’t enough to make you realize that games need more ballista-toting constructs, then Alyssa Faden and her team’s plans for Torn Armor should still grab your attention… but you should still make every effort to find out what’s wrong with you. Continue reading

20 Feb

Close Encounters: An Interview with Alyssa Faden of Torn World, Part 1

Torn World Sisk Light War Golem
This. Alyssa and the Torn World want us to have more of THIS!

Alyssa Faden appeared on my radar when I saw some of her exceptional cartography work posted in a discussion group of old school gamers. Although she has freelanced for a number of gaming companies –Kobold Quarterly and Gygax Magazine, for instance– some of her work is born of her own setting, Torn World, a campaign world that has spanned decades and continents, both real and imaginary.

That setting slumbered like something massive lurking beneath the choppy waters of the internet. Over the years some people knew of its existence, and they eventually inspired Alyssa to assemble a team of writers, artists, and editors to wake this beast and unleash it upon an unsuspecting world. It’s like Godzilla, or Cthulu, assuming either of those timeless forces of nature/madness could also hurl a pilum… Continue reading

8 Feb

Kickstart the Weekend: Success Stories

Kickstarter LogoI have stayed away from Kickstarter for a little while recently. The avoidance isn’t any kind of “protest against their business model” or a stand against the notion that everyone and their brother has a Kickstarter. No, it’s that I would get too excited about things that I shouldn’t be buying. This surge of ideas and funding in the gaming community (and beyond) make it difficult to hold onto my money. But, as I’ve said before, if I can’t financially support a good idea, I can at least spread that idea around for others to see.

Most recently, Fred Hicks and Evil Hat Productions took my money (and the money of quite a few others). Although, for what I got for my money, I feel like I robbed him in some fashion. You can expect to hear more about my thoughts on the Fate Core System in the future. In the meantime, we have the final novel in Alana Abbott’s fantasy trilogy, some remarkable 28mm miniatures for the Torn World from Center Stage Miniatures, and my thoughts on the developments with Tabletop Forge and Roll20. Continue reading

5 Oct

Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game Battle Report

Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game Cover ArtOn the heels of my review of the Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game, I had the opportunity to take in a battle between the Rebels and the Empire while visiting Dropzone Games. Aside from its simple yet engaging mechanics, one of the lures of the Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game is that you can steadily expand on your force with additional ships and, for the game I observed, the players fielded both the new Y-Wing Fighter and the TIE Advanced. Continue reading

1 Oct

Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game Review at Dropzone Games

Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game Cover ArtI did not get to play the Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game at GenCon this year. And I left the convention covered in shame for it. After all, I’m a big fan of Fantasy Flight Games, and the look and feel of the game was everything I love about tabletop games: elegant mechanics, cool Star Wars miniatures, and a self-contained game that did not require (the admittedly cool) extras in order to play. Continue reading

22 May

Off-Topic Tuesday: Fire Support

Dropzone Games

The internet is probably more in love with acronyms than the military. Worse still, it’s the unnecessary nature of the acronyms that gets under my skin. I understand the need for brevity when it comes to texts and The Tweets when you are under an actual constraint. I accept the use of LOL more as a form of punctuation than actual speech and I will use WTF simply to avoid dropping f-bombs brazenly in an electronic conversation. But, when you are seated at a keyboard, spelling out “in my humble opinion” shouldn’t be an ordeal. It’s just like when you were young and told to “use your words.”

The term FLGS is, if I’m not putting too fine of a point on it, goddamn annoying. For those who are not hip (nor with it) or are just curmudgeons like me, that’s Internets for “friendly local game store.” Congratulations, you saved yourself a little more than 20 keystrokes. Again, potentially acceptable when that represents over 12% of your available communication space but unnecessary when typing without constraint. And if you literally say “FLGS” out loud in spoken conversation I will punch you in the jeans.

"It rubs the deodorant on its skin or it gets the hose again."

My (apparently) unreasonable demands regarding written and verbal communication aside, my chief concern is determining just how many hostile game stores are out there. Have I been lucky all of my life, narrowly escaping danger as I picked up the latest rules supplement and cheating death while I bought dice? Are there hobby centers tucked away down long dirt roads where a man wears the (rather roomy) skin of his first DM in front of a mirror saying, “I’d level me” with a party of corpses gathered around a cobwebbed table?

I’m going to go ahead and assume I’m wrong about Gamer Ed Gein. Maybe there are stores that are staffed by exceptionally unhelpful people. Maybe they’ll say “Here’s your nerd-books, nerd” after I make my purchase. But why would I shop at a place like that? Why would the person who’s exceedingly concerned about wasted keystrokes shop there or spend the time to put that F in front of the LGS that is worthy of his or her business? If I trust you opinion, I trust that your LGS is properly F’d… or something like that. Although I’ll add that if you say FLGS I likely don’t trust your opinion.

In today’s day and age (an expression of yesterday’s day and age, I think) there’s no reason to shop at a brick and mortar establishment unless they are appropriately F’d. After all, the internet is never out-of-stock and generally has better pricing. Yes, there are exceptions but, at that point, you’re putting so much emphasis on acquiring your product that you’d probably get it from someone with “Intent to Distribute” on their rap sheet. I’ve never seen the expression FLDD so I assume that friendliness stops being a requirement when someone needs to have something that much. If you are going to your local game store instead of shopping the internet, you’re going there for the F.

Some friends and former co-workers are building such a store. Intended to be the destination for wargamers in Maryland it’ll be the kind of place you go to “for the F.” Dropzone Games is going to be located in Glen Burnie, MD. Practitioners of geomancy and devout observers of feng shui rituals may identify the site as the former location of the Games Workshop Battle Bunker. So basically it’s like building a temple for channeling dark power on top of an ancient Indian burial ground.

When they throw open their doors for their grand opening, currently slated for June 15, I’ll likely remind you again. But don’t worry, it’s not located down a dirt road. It’s more of an industrial park so you probably won’t wind up stuffed in a crawlspace or anything. Hopefully they can become your local (war)game store and I’m certain you’ll find all the F you’ll need.

Dropzone Games
Good luck guys!
4 May

Kickstart the Weekend: The Spice of Life

Alright, I have some drinking to do but I would be remiss in my bloggerly duties if I didn’t also Kickstart the weekend with something under 120 proof. Behold, three things that are worthy of your attention and perhaps even some of your money! (Of course, I’m assuming you still have money after propelling the Ogre Designer’s Edition beyond a half-million dollars!)

Quicksilver Worldbook for Pathfinder—

Quicksilver WorldbookClassic artwork and a fresh setting adapted to Pathfinder, what’s not to love? And you may recognize the names of the folks involved if you were playing “back in the day,” as the kids say. Last week I was extolling the virtues of the big guys and telling you why they are necessary. Now it’s time to look at the folks who are out  to do something genuinely different.

Prismatic Art Collection—

Prismatic Art CollectionI don’t want to get in the middle of the Other Controversy as we chart a course for a new edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Apparently, as a community, we have a hard enough time agreeing on what kind of fun is right or wrong (despite the fact that our fun takes place inside of our own imaginations miles away from tables where someone else’s fun is occurring in a different fashion). If we can’t even agree to disagree about fun, what hope is there for addressing real issues? I’m not agreeing with either Sarah Darkmagic or Jon Schindehette 100% but I will say that they both make valid, worthwhile, and important points. And I don’t need to agree or disagree with them to think variety in art is a good thing… it’s certainly not a “political” decision, it’s just personal taste.


ZombicideAnd, now that you’re all fired up, go kill something. But don’t kill something living.  That would be wrong. Instead you should vent your righteous wrath on zombies. And a quick look at the numbers reveals you are not alone in that desire. (As a friend in the video game industry put it a while ago, “Zombies are the new World War II.”) You have approximately 2 days to decide not whether you will back this project, but how deeply you intend to immerse yourself in it.

Finally, hearty congratulations to Douglas Parker Gray for his successful Popable Dice Kickstarter. I was beating this drum a bit hard here and elsewhere but I’d like this idea to succeed and to take hold in places where these dice are not so much a novelty but a necessity.