Monday, February 18, 2019

No More MSRP on Magic

WOTC announced that, effective with War of the Spark, they will no longer set an MSRP on Magic product. What does this mean to you?

Well, a definition first. MSRP stands for Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price. The is the price at which the manufacturer of a product recommends it sell at. Retailers, such as us, then purchase the product at a discount from that MSRP and then resell it, sometimes at MSRP and sometimes at less than MSRP. Sometimes, rarely, at more than MSRP.

Currently, the MSRP for a pack of Standard legal Magic the Gathering is $3.99. Retailers will often offer Magic at a discount from that price, say 3 packs for $10 or a booster box of 36 packs for $99.99, advertising the price as discounted "XX%" from MSRP. With the release of War of the Spark, there will no longer be a MSRP of $3.99 on the product so retailers will no longer be able to advertise it as discounted from a particular selling price. This will also mean less consistency in specific pricing. Since there is no longer an MSRP, stores will decide what price they for which will sell packs or boxes of Magic, meaning customers will probably see price increases passed along more frequently.  However, for the foreseeable future, customers should also expect to see prices hew pretty closely to the current $3.99 price point. However, if WOTC increases the cost of a pack or box of Magic, expect to see the price of the individual pack increase as well.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Marvel and Jumanji Fluxx Coming

From a press release from Looney Labs:

College Park, MD—February 14, 2019 Cardinal/Spinmaster and Looney Labs are pleased to announce a new partnership to create licensed card games for all channels. The companies are currently working on two games—Marvel Fluxx and Jumanji Fluxx. Both companies will publish versions of the games, each in the same slightly-larger-than-typical sized box. The Cardinal version will release with a $15 MSRP for mass market, whereas the Looney Labs version will contain seven bonus cards, and will sell for $20 in specialty and hobby. In addition, both versions will display a premium poker chip style collectible turn token in a clear window on the front of the package! This is the start of a creative partnership between the two companies, which will see more jointly released games in the future.
“We are so excited about these titles! Andy has created some really innovative new cards for these versions that will keep Fluxx fans coming back for more, and partnering with Cardinal means that we will be able to introduce Fluxx, the card game of ever-changing rules, to a much broader audience than ever before,” said Kristin Looney, CEO of Looney Labs. “Our goal is for a win-win-win. Cardinal adds Fluxx to its line of classic card games, Looney Labs reaches a larger audience, and specialty retailers not only get to sell a special version, but they will hopefully experience a sea change in the level of demand for Fluxx products.”
The Looney Labs versions will release in July of this year and the Cardinal versions will release in August. Look for them in stores everywhere!
About Looney Labs
Looney Labs was founded in 1996 by Kristin & Andrew Looney, a husband and wife team that gave up successful careers at NASA to pursue their hobby business full time. They could tell early on the true hit potential their card game Fluxx had, and with the creation of new and exciting versions of Fluxx, the popularity of the game has spread worldwide and spawned numerous international publications. The Looneys believe one of the most important things they create is the fun people have while playing their games. Andy continues to create new games, from those with lighter play, like Loonacy and Just Desserts, to more strategic games like Chrononauts and Pyramid Arcade. About SpinMaster/Cardinal Industries
Since 1945 Long Island City, New York, based Cardinal Industries has grown to become one of America's top signature board game and puzzle companies, offering more than four hundred items including traditional games such as dominoes, checkers and poker sets, as well as an extensive line of licensed games and lenticular, wood and basic puzzles. An industry leader with worldwide reach, Cardinal products can be found throughout North America, Europe and Australia. Cardinal games and puzzles have won many awards, including the LIMA International Licensing Award, TOTY award nominations, and many Vendor of the Year awards from Toys “R” Us.
In 2015 Cardinal became part of Spin Master Ltd., a global leader in multi-category children’s entertainment since 1994. The purchase made Spin Master the second largest games company in the U.S. Cardinal remains committed to making family-friendly, challenging and innovative games and puzzles, and making them affordable to all.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Talisman LIcense Splitting

It looks as if Games Workshop is splitting the licensing of its popular Talisman game. The company announced last week that USAopoly would get the rights to produced versions of the classic Talisman game while WizKids announced yesterday that it had secured the rights to the Relic boardgame, alos based on the Talisman game engine but set in the Warhammer 40K universe.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Kickstarter Problems for Ninja Division

Ninja Division and Soda Pop Miniatures, which had a really good track record with projects on Kickstarter for several years, have run into trouble with their last few projects, to the tune of $3  million in cash taken in with no releases to show for it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

GM's Tricks of the Trade

Courtesy of Troll Lord Games:

Being a GM, DM, or CK is a tricky business. You must be able to think on the fly, keep people engaged and lead them down the path to adventure. Bogged down in the minutiae? Stuck in a dungeon? It's important to lead the players to the best game they can have. That's why our CEO and founder, Stephen Chenault -- a gamer for over 40 years and CK that can keep a game of 20 plus moving smoothly -- has put together another 5 gems guaranteed to give you your best game.
#1: When setting up and preparing a game, manage your expectations. Chances are you can see a whole tapestry unfolding in your mind. In it is an epic adventure with nuanced moments bound in with chance and choice. How can it be anything but fun? Remember that you can see the tapestry, the players have no idea what to expect. So, manage your expectations, orient on getting the quest/adventure started and the players involved. Everything beyond that is gravy. If you try to push it on them or explain it to them as this that and the other, you are likely to cloud the whole game. Its much akin to overselling a movie you like. I love the Walking Dead, but if I talk about it too much, people who don’t know the show, just think I’m nuts. Just don’t expect too much. Once they do buy into the narrative and the whole of it is revealed, the moment will be that much better.

#2: Much of the game is interacting with players, but a bit of it is behind your screens -- or if you don’t use screens -- on your end of the table. One of the simplest things to do, to prep, concerns your dice. Too often dice sets are all the same color. They look pretty and you can showcase the matching feng shui one with the other, but they are actually unpractical. Several of the dice are shaped alike, and when you have 30 dice, pencils, miniatures, note books, crib sheets, books, food and drink piled around you, the last thing you want to do is break the stride of a game…whether combat or other…by trying to sort through your dice and accidently picking up and rolling a d8 instead of a d10, then having to reroll. Just put different colored dice behind the screen. Your d8 should be a different color than your d10 and so on. It leaves one less thing you have sort through. Sadly these sets are hard to find and you may have to buy several to get different colored dice.

#3: This is something my good friend (Mac Golden co-Designer of C&C) reminded me of, or rather I was reminded of when listening to the Crusader Podcast he was a guest on. Do not require an attribute check for everything. I go to the Spring River often, I swim in it and I don’t drown (I did dive into a ball of water snakes once). I can swim decently. The river is slow moving and relatively shallow and not very wide. Though I could drown in it (knock on wood), mostly I don’t. A check isn’t really required. As the GM just allow them some things. If they try to climb a wall. “Yes, you climb the wall.” If they try to swim a river. “Yes you can swim across the river.” Save the checks/saving throws for important things.
#4: Go easy on the traps. Having your character killed by an orc with a huge battle axe while you are defending a group of orphans is kind of heroic and lets you sleep at night. Having your character fall into a pit and become impaled on some stakes and die of rot disease that was on the stakes keeps you up at night just mad. Traps can be fun and challenging but they can be extremely irritating. There is next to nothing the player can do aside from one saving throw/attribute check or they become maimed, wounded or dead. In combat they can keep fighting after one, two even a dozen wounds. But for traps, you get one roll. They can be fun, just limit them and try to avoid the “you fall, you die traps. As an aside, they can be fun and funny sometimes, so don’t toss them altogether.

#5: We have a saying in my family: “No is a complete sentence.” Don’t be afraid to tell players no. They are going to try all manner of things, describe all manner of characters, role play things, act out, attack, etc. Just say No. You don’t have to explain yourself. You are the GM. Adjudicate. You can explain yourself, but you don’t have to. If pressed say “Just, no.” Now it’s not something you want to do too often, players have as much vested interest in playing in your game as you do running it. But when something is beyond the pale or makes no sense or is just crazy, don’t hesitate to say No.

Friday, January 18, 2019

New Yu Gi Oh Set

Konami Digital Entertainment Inc, is proud to bring you the newest boosters release, Dark Neostorm.  Forget about April showers, the real storm is brewing May 3rd, the official release date of Dark Neostorm, the last 100-card 1st Edition booster set of the 2018-2019 Dueling season.  Each of the core booster sets this past season highlighted one of the main Special Summoning mechanics from previous eras of the game, and inDark Neostorm it’s Xyz Summoning’s turn to shine!

Spearheading the return of Xyz Monsters are the Super Quantum mecha pilots!  These heroes are joined by a mysterious masked Super Quantum pilot clad in white!  This pilot has their own Super Quantal mecha that negates monster effects and can join up with other monsters to form a new Link Monster variation on Super Quantal Mech King Great Magnus.  Meanwhile, all the major players in the battle over the World Legacies have gathered, and Armageddon is nigh!  World Chalice, Krawler, Mekk-Knight, Crusadia, Orcust, and Guardragon all make an appearance in Dark Neostorm alongside a brand-new Knightmare that can wipe the field clean of Link Monsters!

Dark Neostorm also follows up from October’s Legendary Hero Decks by introducing brand-new cards for Destiny HERO Decks including a new Fusion Monster that can rearrange the top cards of either player’s Deck – perfect for putting powerful Normal Spells on top of your Deck for Destiny HERO – Diamond Dude to find!  In addition to all that, Duelists will be able to find a wide variety of cards for many different strategies and situations, including…
• A metamorphic Dragon that lets you trade a card in-hand for a monster that matches the Type and Attribute, but not the name, of something on the field.
• The first new “Assault Mode” monster in a decade, designed to work in a Deck using the “T.G.” cards from Savage Strike.
• Multiple new “discard” Effect Monsters, including one that boosts your LP for each Effect Monster your opponent Special Summons and another that takes aim at Extra Deck “climbing” strategies and other similar strategies by preventing a monster from being Tributed or used as material for a new Extra Deck monster.
• A Reinforcement of the Army-like Spell Card for Cyberse monsters, the perfect addition to any Deck based around the cards from Structure Deck: SoulburnerStructure Deck: Powercode Link, or Structure Deck: Cyberse Link.
• A Danger!-ous Spell Card that lets you escape from the clutches of a massive monster only to find yourself face-to-face with something smaller and possibly fiercer.
• A Link Monster for one of the most popular Xyz-focused Decks of all-time: Burning Abyss!
• Brand-new cards for Valkyrie Decks!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Tricks of the Trade

Every so often, Troll Lord Games post some ideas for GMs. Here is the latest:

Being a GM, DM, or CK is a tricky business. You must be able to think on the fly, keep people engaged and lead them down the path to adventure. Bogged down in the minutiae? Stuck in a dungeon? It's important to lead the players to the best game they can have. That's why our CEO and founder, Stephen Chenault -- a gamer for over 40 years and CK that can keep a game of 20 plus moving smoothly -- has put together another 5 gems guaranteed to give you your best game.
#1: Encourage inter-party role playing and don’t interrupt it when it happens. There are hosts of benefits. Players have more game time and feel like they are doing something more often. They develop characters more and create a more cohesive party or group. It has the added benefit, always important to me, that allows you to make quick adjustments to NPCs, encounters, or situations. It can also be used in recapping adventures and bringing players who weren’t paying attention up to speed.

#2: Weather governs our lives in more ways than we realize. Use it. Whether rain, snow, wind, mist, heat or no weather at all, describe it. I often begin a game session with a comment on the season and what that day is like. “It's late summer, the air is warm and still. The sky is a pale blue, with only a few clouds here and there to block the sun.” Everyone at the table can relate and they immediately conjure images of weather they have lived through (more than likely). It’s the primary reason I went into such detail with the Codex of Aihrde, creating weather patterns. If you are in the Darkenfold and it's raining, you know it's because the Anvil Wind is bringing the moisture off the Amber Sea. These details anchor people to a time and place. It is true even if they are going into a dungeon. Begin the dungeon outside so you can get your weather description in.

#3: When getting started, particularly as a new GM, but also for the veteran, don’t over prep a game. It is very easy to do. You’ll get caught up in your own notes and stories, write out a dozen pages of finely tuned material and be insanely fired up for the game. You are setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration. Likely as not the players aren’t going to be as excited as you are when play begins. They don’t know what cool stuff is planned and are really focused on their characters and not your story. You also run the risk of over-obsessing and when things don’t go as planned you’ll see your finely tuned game start to derail, like a slow-moving train wreck. This forces your hand into forcing player hands which rarely ends how you want it to. Better to make light notes and scribble down intentions. I’ve said it before, be flexible. Work your overall stories into the ongoing campaign, over time. This allows you to adjust the game as it develops, and tell the story as it develops. On average about a half page to a page of notes is all I start with.
#4: Remind players to equip their characters and let them know if they don’t have it written down, they don’t have it. I cannot stress enough how important equipment is to game play. It allows players to create an image of their character and set a tone almost immediately. The GM (as noted in a previous Trick of the Trade) can use equipment to deflect damage to characters by destroying it. It is used to absorb excess gold by giving players something to actually spend their rewards on. Some players take tremendous joy in equipping their characters, others do not…this latter group is why we created the Adventurers Backpack Equipment Cards…pick a card, pay the price and you are equipped and so on. At start of play, while you are organizing, they can equip. Also, be sure to let them have some idea of what they are getting in for, i.e. overland, dungeon or city.

#5: Get some names for NPCs together. Either get a book like our Gary Gygax’s Extraordinary Book of Names, or a baby name book, or a name generator online and get yourself a list of about 10 names for each gender and few for demi-humans and hang them on your screen. The characters are going to want to talk to someone, somewhere and usually when you least expect it. Have a name to give them!