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GenCon 50 – Day 2

Exhaustion. After just 1 day of carrying around bags of product and computer equipment I believe there is a level of exhaustion that not even DisneyWorld can bring to a body. Golf ball sized knots in both shoulders now exist where bag straps hung yesterday.

The number of people that a sold out GenCon consists of is indescribable. We arrived for the early entry to the first day of the product room and found ourselves in this line. Keep in mind that this is JUST the early entry people and this line wrapped around the event room—just so folks could get to product first at full price. This is the gamer’s equivalent of “Early Adapters” and what we frequently refer to as “Cult of the New”. At one point, one of the line guards “threatened” us by saying if we didn’t have proper tickets or stay in specific boundaries, they would ship us off to Germany. After weighing shopping for games against historical castle tour in Germany, both of us considered the threat better than the benefit, but we stayed in line anyway seeing as we had to be back in Colorado on Monday.

The size of the vendor room is massive. And the overall selection is enormous. Just when you think you’ve seen everything in the industry, you find Bob Ross: The Art of Chill game. This is the game where “Happy Little Trees” and helping “Clouds Live There” is a game mechanic.

Jake attended the Paizo report which was mainly about their new sci-fi universe Starfinder (which is available now). While this isn’t news they confirmed that Starfinder has a pathfinder-like society, and adventure paths which are scheduled for every other month and about half the size. The Alien Vault is their Monster Manual with about 30 different player classes plus monsters, making this a manual for both players and GMs. A miniature line is planned by Team Ninja and it will include both iconic characters and ships.

Many of you have heard of the Star Trek Borg Cube for the new role playing game and while it has been building up as the thing of legends we can confirm it does exist. This is the master set of sets for anyone that love Trek, role playing or both. The box acts as storage for miniatures books and dice, plus the out shell comes off to act as your GM Screen. Additionally, all the print and app materials look and act like a Next Generation Data PADD.

Since this is the 50th anniversary, one of the exhibits is a reenactment of the very first Geneva Convention. And before you think that means a small room with two folding tables in it, let me say that they went out of their way to find several of the old-guard and gather together a museum of monument break-throughs in gaming. The museum guides are gentlemen who have some personal investment in the industry—including our own Gary Adkison—and it was obviously assembled with great love and care in the middle of the Colts football stadium.

Rather than explain the full experience in words, I’ll let the photos do the talking:

A tribute to Gary Gygax and a replica of the Horticulture Hall where the first convention was held.

The original French game that would later be known as Risk

The original prototype board for “Dungeon” the classic D&D board game

A limited edition of the internal only black cover 3.5 edition D&D. These were given to employees only

This is the school notebook of Jonathan Tweet, the future author of later editions of D&D. It’s fun to think of him as a dreaming D&D player before he became the influential figure he became.

1st edition Catan

The first Civilization as well as many key publications from throughout the years

GenCon 50 – Day 2 Prologue

Day 2 was filled with L5R goodness, a better surveillance of the various events and games, plus a walk through of the replica museum of the first GenCon (as part of the anniversary). However, the short story here is that the 700+ participants L5R tournament started 4 hours late (!!) and we just got our first meal of the day at 10:30 pm. Not expecting to do much but sleep. We’ll write more in the morning.

GenCon 50 – Day 1

Cameron here. This is the first stream of thought post live from GenCon 2017.

We arrived in Indiana and survived the first day of GenCon #50. Plenty of the Petrie’s regulars are here and several Colorado gaming regulars that many of you would know from Gamefest and local podcasts. It’s like a little reunion of sorts.

Oh, here’s a picture of Don on a Catan Sheep.

I spent most of the day at the retailer and educator seminars. Won’t bore you with the details on most of those but I have some ideas to improve our Magic singles and our Store Library. More on that in the coming weeks as I assess if the ideas work in Petrie’s.

The big topic of discussion is Fantasy Flight’s redo of Legends of the 5 Rings. I’ll let you troll the internet for the various reviews out there but to keep it short, most of what people are saying is that it exceeds expectations, keeps what fans of the original wanted kept and streamlines most of the rules. Tomorrow is the big day and Jake will be playing in the first L5R tournament. I’ll get you details on his results.

Here’s a photo of Don wrangling a Catan Sheep.

We ran into the folks of the Boardgame Corner and are looking forward to spending time with them. They are one of the shows from the Dice Tower family of shows and are from Fort Collins and regulars of Gamefest.

Shortly afterwards we ran into some of the regular LCG players from Denver and regular attendees at Petrie’s LCG tournaments, plus some of the minds behind The Art of Warcast, a podcast out of Denver that focuses on the new L5R. They are also judging in the L5R tournaments so visit their podcast to hear them after they are no longer under their non-disclosure agreement of the starter set.

Later we were able to try Iello’s new title “Mountains of Madness” the cooperative based on the Lovecraft novel of the same name. It’s part adventure game, part party game with a resource management element reminiscent of a Forbidden Island/Desert thrown in for added stress. The party game element comes from madness cards that are progressively given to players as they make their way up the mountain. These madness cards can be anything from “Look under the table at the beginning of each round (Paranoia)” to “Repeat everything you say twice”.

As for news and announcements, there wasn’t much of that today but we’re expecting a lot tomorrow. Jake went to the Paizo presentation, so we’ll have some of that for you (mostly news about StarFinder which will be available at Petrie’s this week). Also, Fantasy Flight’s announcement that they will do an anniversary reprint of West End’s original Star Wars role playing game.

The one thing I keep getting asked the most is whether L5R will be available on the retail level at the same time as the GenCon release, and that is finally answered as ‘no’ but we expect it to happen in the next couple of weeks.

We’ll talk to you more tomorrow.


2016 is coming to an end. Sheesh, that felt fast!
In the flurry of the next seven weeks we are going to be announcing a lot of new regular events and we’re saying goodbye to a few too!
A few quick highlights: Krosmaster is moving to the 4th Saturday starting in January. Numenera League is starting on 2nd Tuesdays in December. Formula De ended (thanks J.R. for defending that title and to Jeremy for continuing to do a great job in putting it on!) but we’re looking at bringing it back in 2017.
We want to relaunch kids night but in a different format. We’d like to hear from the parents out there as to whether another board game night, league game, or RPG is what your kids are wanting to see. Feedback is vital so we can provide the experience you’re looking for. Email us or stop by and chat.
We’re also compiling all the casual play for Star Wars. Starting in January, all the Star Wars games are going to meet for casual play on Tuesday nights. We have folks willing to run Imperial Assault, Destiny, Armada and X-Wing. We’d like to see an official role playing game as well as devoted focus on the card game too. The reason for this was that we had a ton of players meeting at different times for different games and a lot of these players were the same people. Having a casual night with all the folks in one place meant that you can now have a choice, try out games you may not own, and build a stronger community around Star Wars and not split it up over specific game titles.
For holiday events, the big one is coming… Storyteller day is December 17 and we already have two story telling games scheduled, Gingerbread Men is back by popular demand, the elves are coming… and of course, the Claus’ are visiting the store starting at 11am!
Finally, there are a TON of special events planned for Magic and Vanguard in the coming months. Participation leagues, special tournaments and so many things that you’ll need to watch our facebook page or make sure you’re on our Collectibles (CCG/LCG/Dice) Newsletter list. If you’re not, send us an email and we’ll get you signed up for that too.

Miniature Event News June 2016

Whose Side Are You On?
The Superhuman Registration Act has divided the heroes (and villains) of the Marvel Universe- whose side will you be on when you face off against your friends and former allies in Marvel HeroClix: Civil War?
Marvel HeroClix: Civil War is a four-month Storyline Organized Play event series that will both divide and unite HeroClix players around the world as they choose to fight alongside Iron Man and other Pro-Registration heroes or alongside Captain American and his band of Anti-Registration vigilantes.
Petrie’s is running Civil War every 2nd Saturday at 10:30 (registration 10:00) for $16 entry OR you can pay for all four sessions at $50 subscription. Those that have paid for the $50 package will receive their boosters regardless if they cannot attend all of the events.
Each month, players build teams using Marvel HeroClix: Civil War Storyline Organized Play Booster Packs and compete to win limited edition Marvel HeroClix: Civil War figures- the first three months of the Event Series will be structured as individual 4-player “Battle Royale” games with the last month being structured as a 3-round head-to-head Swiss pairing tournament.
At the end of the event series, players will draft based on their overall event standing from a selection of exclusive limited edition Marvel HeroClix: Civil War figures.
As a celebration to the end of the league season and an excuse to get everyone together for a fun summer event, X-Wing will be having a tournament on July 23rd.
Format:  100-point standard dogfight
Structure: 4 rounds of Swiss, no cut
When: July 23rd, starting at 11 am
Where:  Petrie’s Family Games
Prize Support: All participants will receive an alternate art Veteran Instincts upgrade card.  Top 8 will receive a set of acrylic ion tokens.  Winner will receive an alternate art IG-88C pilot card and solid metal challenge coin.  Door prizes will also be randomly awarded.
Cost:  $15
Preregistration is now open.  First come, first serve.  Hope to see you there!

JAY LITTLE: Guest of Honor Game Designer

Petrie’s is excited to bring you face-to-face with the folks who bring you your favorite game titles. Before attending GameFest March 11-13, we wanted to give you the time to get to know this year’s special guests. This time we have Jay Little, author of such titles as X-Wing Fighter, Star Wars Edge of the Empire, and his recent title Patient Zero.


What do you do to inspire your creation process?
Inspiration comes from a variety of sources. Some are just part of life – family, pop culture, other games, movies, listening to music… stuff like that. But there are a few that really help either jumpstart my creativity or help re-charge my batteries when I’m starting to run low on energy: binge watching an interesting show based on a related topic on Netflix, listening to classic Old Time Radio shows like Suspense, Box 13 or X-1, and being around other energetic people. I love brainstorming with other designers and teaching college students about game design — that always seems to do the trick, too.
Are there any exciting projects in the works?
I always have a few different things going on at the same time, but three are definitely closer to complete, market-ready games. Three Years of War is a bleak card-based hand and resource management game where the players have to choose the least terrible of constantly worsening horrible options. The Turing Test is a great 8-12 player social deduction game that was developed by some of my game design students where players are trying to determine who among the group are Artificial Intelligence and who are Human through interaction and conversation. Catastrophe! is an episodic roleplaying game where each player has an ensemble cast instead of a single character, as they recreate disaster stories like Lost, Walking Dead, or Day After Tomorrow.
How do you keep the game design process fresh and interesting?
I’m not sure I always do! But one way I try is to make sure I don’t close myself off from certain types of games. I can’t focus only on what my personal tastes and preferences may be — I have to be open to all types of games, formats, mechanics, and genres if I want to be a well-rounded game designer.
I use the analogy of being an art history enthusiast — even if Impressionism isn’t your favorite style, understanding and appreciating its importance and impact on art history helps you better appreciate art overall.
You have a new game coming to Kickstarter this year, Patient Zero.  It sounds like amazing fun, can you tell us a little bit about it?
Patient Zero is a cooperative survival dice game. Players work together gathering clues to try to track down the person responsible for unleashing the virus which has afflicted a large percent of the population with a disease that turned them into the zombies. Unlike other zombie settings, however, a cure is within reach — the players just need to conduct the research and track down Patient Zero. So they’re reluctant to kill the zombies because they know they’re people who can be saved!
What game theories do you find yourself applying to your everyday life?
So many that it’s impossible to separate them. I’m a strong believer that good, sound, fundamental design principles can be applied to all facets of life, all college majors, and all careers. There are so many great concepts that apply to critical thinking, open-mindedness, a broader understanding of how people think and evaluate the world around them, and tips and tricks to help manage tasks and overcome challenges.
Getting a game published can be difficult.  How do you advise budding game designers to proceed when they have an idea for a game?
If you want to be a game designer, design games! Complete a game — a great idea isn’t great if it’s still kicking around in your head. Create a physical prototype as soon as possible, even if it’s cobbled together with scraps of paper, index cards, and bits scavenged from other games. Get the bare minimum created you need to showcase your core idea — a “proof of concept” — and demo the idea to someone… anyone! The process of creating that first prototype and articulating the idea helps make that game idea real, and once it is an actual thing, it becomes something you can adjust, tweak, change, and improve.
Which aspect of game design do you enjoy the most?
All of it. I love when inspiration strikes and I furiously channel ideas in those earliest stages. I love brainstorming and spit-balling ideas on all the different approaches and ways to attack mechanical problems. I love the challenge of developing mechanics and systems that will help express the desired play experience and game concepts. I love getting player feedback and seeing what I got right, what I was way off on, and what I can do to improve the design. I just love designing games.
If we were to sit down at the table to play a game right now, what new or old favorite would you choose?
A six player game of Cosmic Encounter. Probably my favorite game of all-time, especially a full table of six players. So much table talk, schmoozing, deal-making, deal-breaking, back stabbing, and outright lying. All things I excel at. Except for the lying, obviously. (ahem)
What is your favorite thing about playing games?
There is no one favorite thing, because I approach and enjoy games from so many different points of view. When I play a game, I’m playing as a game designer, a teacher, and a player. And I can’t turn any of them “off” when I play.
You have such an amazing outlook on life and are a joy to play games with.  What advice would you give to gamers to help them have the best game play experience?
Well, thank you – I appreciate that. For me, I have the advantage of appreciating games from many different perspectives. If I’m not doing well in a game as a player (because I’m losing terribly), I can still enjoy the game as a designer (analyzing its mechanics), and as a teacher (what I would share with my students).
More than that, I try to enjoy games as a friend, even with people I don’t know. We all have limited time to play games, and I’d personally like that time to be a positive experience, and hope it is for others, too. Gaming is such an important part of my life and has been so good to me over the years, one way I can help give back is to be the best possible ambassador for the hobby that I can be. Plus, being negative is just so exhausting. I’ve already wasted too much of my life on that.
You have such a diverse gaming portfolio. How is designing for RPG, miniatures and board/card games different? And in what ways are they the same?
I’ve played all sorts of games from the very beginning so I don’t see as big a difference between them as some gamers may have. They were all just cool ways to spend time with my friends that stretched my imagination and challenged my thinking. But they do have different structures, so they do require different approaches.
All of the games I’ve designed so far have had clear resolution mechanics that define what you can do, to an extent. But for RPGs, the ultimate goal is very different – rather than a finite win condition or end game, designing for an open-ended or ongoing experience does influence how I design the rules. I need to make sure the rules are flexible enough to support a game that may be played an especially long time.
By contrast, a board game often has a discrete ending point and I can build to that point, but I also want to leave space to make sure I can add more content later. But with more discrete limits, I can shape a more specific experience toward a specific goal. While having those limits may seem restrictive, it can help make sure the gameplay remains focused.
Both have their opportunities and challenges. Both are an awful lot of fun to design. Both are an awful lot of fun to play.

KEITH MEYERS: An Interview with an Industry Insider

Petrie’s is excited to bring you face-to-face with the folks who bring you your favorite game titles. Before attending GameFest March 11-13, we wanted to give you the time to get to know this year’s special guests. This time we have Keith Meyers of Iello Games and the soon to be opened Board Game Republic.


GameFest2016KM_SlideWhat do you think is the most important aspect of game design? 

I think it’s very hard to teach game design – it really only comes from playing tons of games.  And I also think a good game means different things to different people, so you’re never really sure whether you’ve hit the mark.  So I’ve focused, as my book title suggests, on the business of game design, i.e. what is the best process to get published, what are the pitfalls of getting published or publishing yourself and what to expect from that process.


What do you do to inspire your creation process?

For me it’s never really been a ‘process’ – I’ve been instinctually creative my entire life.  But I do think there are certain habits that help breed creativity, such as striving to be ever-curious (always ask yourself ‘why’), to be observant and open (inspiration can strike from any direction – be ready for it), and to break routines (just try driving home from work a different way and see what new things you will notice).

What’s the first thing you do when a new game idea occurs to you? 

Take the time to jot down the kernel of the idea.  Ideas can hit you at the most inopportune moments so by the time you are in game design mode, you may have forgotten all about your great idea.


You’ve experienced just about every aspect of the gaming industry.  Which aspect do you think has given you the greatest insight into game design?

Truthfully, none of my jobs have contributed more than my childhood spent playing games.  I played games all the time in my teen years, and I soon got the feel of good and bad games.  I would tinker with the bad games by testing alternate play, adding pieces, and rewriting rules.  At that time, it never dawned on me that games were invented by someone – I just knew what the play experience was and was just trying to make it better.


How have things changed in the gaming industry since you started in it almost 30 years ago?

What I find particularly fascinating is that the game industry, made up of games, which are basically a set of rules, is constantly pushed forward and redefined by games that break the current, existing rules of the industry.  Some of these rule-breakers include: Trivial Pursuit which broke the $25 price point; Dungeons and Dragons which created a fully customizable play experience; How to Host a Murder which had success as a single-play game; and Magic: The Gathering which introduced the game industry to collection and trading as a business model.
Pitching a game design can take thick skin. What are your best strategies for dealing with rejection?

Be a pragmatist – all companies are different: different in their process, different in their market, and thus different in the games they publish, so it’s natural to get a fair number of no’s before you get a yes.  Get to know as many companies as possible and the types of games they publish – this will reduce the number of no’s and the amount of time spent contacting different companies.


What’s your next big goal?

Opening Denver’s premiere board game cafe & pub, Board Game Republic.  I’ve been trying to bring this project to life for about 3 years – and we’re now about 3 months out  from it becoming a reality.  I am passionate about the abilities of board games to bring about social change, i.e. making players better people, through face-to-face social interaction.  So I’ve devoted my career to getting board games into the hands of as many people as possible.  Board Game Republic is a perfect fit for me – a venue whose sole purpose is to bring people around the table and get them interacting with each other.

GREG STOLZE – Interview with the author of Unknown Armies

This year’s guest list for GameFest at StarFest continues to get better. We were able to get some time with the Role Playing author to give you a chance to know him better before you meet him in Denver next month. At GameFest he will be participating in panels, games and available to sign your books.

GregPhotoWhat was your first RPG and how did you get into gaming?

I started out with D&D back in the green box days. From there
, I got the AD&D cores — the Ifrit Dungeon Masters Guide, the classic Players Hand Book with the grinning red idol and the 1977 Monster Manual. They were in terribel shape, I got them second hand from a friend who (if I recall correctly — this was more than 30 years ago) was being forced to sell them by his parents. My folks were underwhelmed too.

That kept me going through junior high, and then in high school I moved more into Car Wars and Star Fleet Battles. D&D was always on the back burner though.

How did break into the RPG industry?

Ah, it’s the classic story — I knew a guy. When I got to college, this woman I knew from the theater department said, “Hey, I know this guy who runs a game, you’d like it.” That guy was Jonathan Tweet. At that time, he was selling insurance, living in a rundown house called The Woods, and developing a game that would later become Over The Edge. My whole life, I’d wanted to write for money, and as a college student I was already building a stack of rejection letters from short-form fiction magazines. When I found out you could write gaming stuff and get paid for it, I locked onto that idea with feverish intensity.

If you had to pick just one, what would be your favorite product that you worked on?

Picking just one is very difficult. I’ll cheat a little (or maybe just min-max?) and say the One Roll Engine. That’s turned into the fantasy game REIGN, the superhero games GODLIKE, WILD TALENTS and BETTER ANGELS, and the film noir game A DIRTY WORLD. It wasn’t my first time building mechanics from scratch, but I’m very pleased with how it turned out. It did start my infatuation with pulling as much information as possible out of a single die roll.

I have heard that Unknown Armies 3 will be coming out sometime this year. How did Unknown Armies come into existence?

As I mentioned, Tweet became a mentor for me and opened up a number of door, particularly those at Atlas Games. While there, I worked on WILDEST DREAMS with John Tynes and Robin Laws. Tynes had a pile of modern day occult ideas, and was looking for someone to build mechanics. I didn’t know any better than to commit to it, and he didn’t know any better than to let this guy with more enthusiasm than experience jump in and design half his game.

It turned out, somehow, to be a very fruitful partnership. Discussing it later, each of us confessed that we thought the other was doing all the heavy lifting. From my perspective, all I did was embroider his ideas and put together a fairly simple mechanic. From his perspective, he gave me a pile of raw ingredients and I turned it into a full meal. So that was fun.

How would you describe Unknown Armies?

The tagline we came up with at Atlas for the third edition is “It’s a game about broken people trying to fix the world.” UA is a game of modern occultism, which I guess could put it with CTHULHU NOW and MAGE, but Tynes and I both settled early and hard on the idea that these mystic secrets should be something you achieve, not something that’s just inflicted on you. We didn’t like the idea that magick people were born special, or that humanity was unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Tynes had been working on a lot of Lovecraft Mythos stuff with Pagan Publishing at that time, and was (I think) a little burned out on the cosmic nihilism. He still wanted the game to be scary, but frightening because people have power, not because people are powerless. So UA, in all its incarnations has been about the cost of power, and what people actually do with it, and how do people who have been powerless change when they get their wish and turn the tables? Do they let their suffering blind them to others’ pain, or do they let it teach them compassion?

Plus, there are monsters and gunfights and crazy gross rituals.

What are you working on currently (that you can talk about)?

At some point, I’ll be doing another round of edits on a big collection of scenarios for DELTA GREEN. It’s called CONTROL GROUP and I wrote it to function as (1) a set of really scary, harsh, meat-grinder one-shot adventures and (2) a set of tutorials for learning how to play and run DELTA GREEN. The first scenario comes with pregenerated characters and is all skill tests and SAN rolls, so new players and new GMs can run it with minimal hassle. The second one has more pregens but introduces combat (and lots of it—so far, the survival rate for that one when I’ve run it is a fat zero percent). The third adventure teaches character generation, and so on. But thematically, they’re all Federal government contacts with Mythos horrors that aren’t handled by DELTA GREEN… but should have been. So if you run through all the CONTROL GROUP scenarios, by the end you know how to run all the rules and you have a small group of survivors who are from the Air Force and the CDC and the FBI, who are ripe to get recruited. That’s all written (and it is quite large) but I’ll surely have to work over a lot of it once playtest feedback arrives.

The other thing I’m working on is a so-far untitled UNKNOWN ARMIES novel, which is a terrible idea—RPG fiction doesn’t traditionally do very well in the marketplace. Also, it’s written in the second person, so that’s insult to injury. But I am having a great deal of fun with it.

Tim Brown – Author of Dragon Kings and More!

An Interview With Tim Brown

timbud2GameFest 2016 welcomes back Tim Brown, author and gaming icon. We recently were able to interview Tim to give you an idea of who he is and why you want to meet him.

What was your first RPG and how did you get into gaming?

I played D&D way back in ’78. I was already a boardgame and miniatures game player, and a friend of mine introduced me to D&D. It was a ton of fun, such a new concept!

How did you break into the RPG industry?

I started working for Game Designers’ Workshop (GDW), which was in my hometown in Illinois, playtesting boardgames. I wrote my first supplement for the Traveller game in 1980. I ended up working at GDW for 12 years, on Traveller, Space: 1889, 2300 AD, and as editor of Challenge magazine.

If you had to pick one, what would be your favorite product that you have worked on?

That’s difficult to pin down. I reminisce the most about Traveller, I suppose, and some of the great sessions and campaigns I was involved in. 2300AD, though, appealed to my ‘hard sci-fi’ leanings, and I had a more direct involvement in its creation. Of course, Dark Sun was such an all-encompassing positive experience, too.

How did Dark Sun come into existence?

TSR management let it be known that they wanted a new AD&D setting, and I volunteered to be part of the project. The existing settings – Greyhawk, Dragonlance, and Forgotten Realms – all seemed to be pretty straightforward medieval fantasy worlds, so I wanted to create something different. None of those satisfied the Conan or John Carter vibe, so we headed down that direction. Troy Denning and I started working on the savage setting originally titled War World, and hooked up with relatively new TSR artist Brom to get the ball rolling.

What was it like working on a new setting in the TSR/2nd edition heyday?

Very open and exciting. Honestly, we had a lot of time and resources and very few directives ‘from above.’ As you can see, we took advantage of all of that to create something pretty special. The AD&D 2nd Edition game could accommodate anything easily, I felt.

Who came up with the cannibal Halflings?

Our original thought was to dispense with all of the AD&D races, perhaps even humans, and create entirely new player character races. As we got into that, though, we found it wasn’t as satisfying as we had originally hoped. So, we decided to severely ‘twist’ each of the traditional races to make them unique for the Dark Sun setting. The halflings’ voracious appetites were already well established; we just changed their menu.

After all this time you are returning to the desert with Dragon Kings. Dragon Kings had a successful Kickstarter and is offering a variety of products: books, cd’s, pdfs, art, and more for three very popular systems. Why come back?

I had only a limited period of involvement with Dark Sun back in the day. After the initial design, I moved on into overall management at TSR and that took me away from the setting as it matured. With Dragon Kings I can take my various musings and introduce them into a thematically similar environment for game play. There are a lot of stories to be told in the spreading wastelands …dragonkings

How would you describe Dragon Kings?

For centuries, a race of benevolent, powerful creatures known as the Dragon Kings watched over the civilizations of Khitus. But as their power waned and they one by one disappeared from existence, more sinister powers have risen in their place. The time has come for new heroes to emerge, defeat the despots, and reverse the planet’s fortunes before it slips into oblivion.

Being a spiritual successor to Dark Sun, it invites comparison. What would you say are the key differences between Dragon Kings and Dark Sun?

I’ve tried to create a richer, more complete fabric of tribes, societies, and organizations in Dragon Kings, all working in their own ways and with their own agendas to remake the world in their image. How the players position themselves within and among these groups takes on a more substantial role in the unfolding of each adventure, how it sets up expectations for the adventures that follow, and drives the role-playing aspects of each session. Further, the decline of the world is rooted in theft, both overt and subtle, rather than ecological collapse, so the themes are more in keeping with its danger and savagery. Finally, Dragon Kings introduces races who display truly alien intelligence and challenging motivations that take it a step further still from the traditional medieval fantasy setting.

What are you working on currently?

​I’m working with John-Matthew DeFoggi to create the first comprehensive adventure campaign for Dragon Kings. The initial manuscript is complete, and playtesting is going very well. That’s something I’d like to make available to fans in the next few months.

I’m also working closely with Ulisses-Spiele, a German RPG publisher, to bring their long-standing game The Dark Eye (Das Schwarze Auge) into English. The English-language version of the game’s latest edition is already translated and in editing and soon layout, along with an extensive release schedule of adventures and useful add on books like a bestiary and the almanac for the super-detailed fantasy setting Aventuria. I don’t know of a more carefully crafted, immersive fantasy game and setting, and I’m enjoying working to bring all of that style and elegance to the English-speaking audience. Ulisses-Spiele will have a major presence at this coming GenCon, along with their publishing partner Paizo, so definitely keep an eye out for that and stop by to say hello if you can.​

FLOCK – Coming Soon



$29.99 SRP

Lead the most impressive flock through feeding, nest building and hatching. Selecting the actions is simple, but when one bird flies, so do all the others! Can you time your actions to take advantage of when the flocks fly?

During the game, players try to expand their flock with the goal of scoring the most victory points after three rounds of play. Victory points are scored by controlling the action cards at the end of each round. Also, be sure to have enough tasty worms to feed your birds at the end of each round, otherwise they will fly away. Will your flock be on top of the pecking order?

2-5 players

Ages 14+

30 minute play time

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