Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Paizo and WizKids Launch Pathfinder Pre-Painted Minis

Paizo Publishing and WizKids Games announce a new partnership whereby WizKids Games will produce a special set of pre-painted plastic miniatures for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Beginner Box, an introductory boxed set slated to release in October 2011.

“We’re excited to bring the Pathfinder property to life via 3-D pre-painted fantasy miniatures” said Lax Chandra, President of WizKids Games,Paizo’s Pathfinder RPG has emerged as a leader in the RPG category and we are looking forward to working with their great brand.”

WizKids essentially created the pre-painted plastic miniatures category, and they’ve only gotten better in the years since,” said Paizo CEO Lisa Stevens. “We are thrilled to work with WizKids to bring our iconic characters to tabletops all over the world.”

Pathfinder RPG Beginner Box pre-painted fantasy miniatures will be available at and through WizKids distribution partners worldwide starting in the fourth quarter of 2011.

TRG readers may recall I recently wrote about the Pathfinder RPG Beginner Box and how that may be the thing that pushes me over the edge in regards to finally getting into the Pathfinder RPG. This announcement pretty much solidifies that.

Now, to find players!

Monday, May 23, 2011

I love Heroclix

I love Heroclix.

I've been reading comics since I was 9 years old, starting with Marvel Team-Up #20 featuring Spider-man and the Black Panther facing off against Stegron the Dinosaur Man back in 1974. That started a long love affair with superheroes that continues to today.

So, Heroclix is something of a natural for me. The game, and it's related Clix-brethren are somewhat derided in the "serious gamer" camp. That's fine. They can bash all they like. It won't ruin my enjoyment of the game one bit.

What do I like about Heroclix? Well, there's the theme, of course. I like the rules (which you can download for free right here). They're not too complex, yet they do allow for considerable strategies in both the building of your force and in gameplay. I like the fact that the miniatures are pre-painted. That's a huge plus for me.

What I don't like about Heroclix is that I don't get to play it very often. There's a good group that plays about twice a month on Saturdays at The Guardtower in Columbus, OH. The challenge for me is that my wife works on Saturdays, and I've got my very energetic 6 yr old daughter. Either that, or there's just been various scheduling conflicts. But, I'm hoping to make it down there for a game soon.

Heroclix launched back in 2002, following the success that Wizkids had with their fantasy-based clix game, Mage Knight. Wizkids was acquired by Topps, who pulled the plug on all Wizkids product lines in 2008. But, just like a host of comic book characters this death was not the end for Wizkids or Heroclix.

There was a variety of efforts to save the game from both fans and ex-Wizkids employees. A fan site called was started up and a new game company, PiƱata Games, was formed for the purpose of buying the Heroclix IP from Topps. All these efforts ultimately failed, and collectibles company NECA surprised everyone buying the bulk of Wizkids and it's intellectual properties. The game returned to store shelves in November 2009.

Since then the new Wizkids has been firing on all cylinders returning Heroclix to prominence in the gaming world, as well as diversifying their game line with board games such as the upcoming Star Trek Expeditions (which has been very well-reviewed), the dice-building game Qwarriors and more. There's also upcoming games based on The Lord of the Rings and the return of Mage Knight, as well.

I'm extremely excited to see Wizkids return to the Origins Game Fair this year. It's been several years since they last made an appearance at the second largest gaming convention in the US. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what they've got in store. The Rural Gamer will be covering Origins, so be sure to check back for the latest news about Wizkids during and after the con next month.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Redakai Ready to Take the World by Storm

Back around Toy Fair 2011 time (February, for those unfamiliar with Toy Fair) Spinmaster LTD caught my attention with their Redakai property.

Redakai, which launches this summer, is a new CCG, an action figure line and an upcoming animated series that will run on Cartoon Network. It's an all-out, multi-pronged attack.

The game is broken down into a basic game, and an advanced game. One of the things that really appeals to me about the game is that it looks, at least as far as the basic game goes, like something I might be able to play with my six-year old daughter. And, if I truly like the game, I can hopefully find other players and go with the advanced rules for something a bit more challenging.

The cards use a new 3D lenticular process that really makes the art stand out. Some of the cards are transparent, as players stack cards as part of the game mechanics.

While the game launches on June 4th (in hobby shops; mass market follows about a month later), the Redakai website is up and running complete with game play instructions and message boards, with much more to come. There's also a series of videos on YouTube from Toby, the games Community Manager that can be found here.

I'm keeping an eye on this one.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

When Life Gets in the Way of Gaming

One of the slogans of Myriad Games of New Hampshire is, "So many games, so little time. So, start playing!"

It's a great slogan. And true. I get over-whelmed when I look at a) the games I already own that I don't get to the table enough and b) the games I don't own that I want to play.

There's just not enough time in the day to play them all.

I'm currently unemployed. I have been since closing down Alley Cat Games in the fall of 2008. So, we're going on almost three years here now. So, you'd think I had a lot of spare time on my hands. Yet, I think I've been busier than I've ever been. So, even without a job eating up 8+ hours of my day, I still am challenged to get in significant gaming time.

As mentioned previous, we live on a small 5 acre "farm" outside Delaware, Ohio. Right now we have 17 egg-laying hens, 30 meat chickens, 6 turkeys, 2 goats and we were supposed to have 4 pigs delivered today, but turns out we have to wait 'til next Saturday. Plus, we have two dogs. Taking care of all those animals is a lot of work, and can be very time consuming - especially during inclement weather which we've had quite a bit of.

I've started going back to school, taking classes online. It's good, but understandably time consuming.

I have my wife and my 6 yr old daughter, who each need my time as well (and I need theirs). My mom, who just turned 80 last month, lives in an apartment attached to our house. She doesn't drive, so she counts on me or my wife to take her out to the grocery store or wherever she may need to go.

Plus, we're involved at our church, spend time with friends, go to movies (lots of movies! we love movies!)...

...and, all in all, it doesn't leave a lot of time for playing games. Sure, my wife and I play the occasional game of Battlelore (it might be more frequent if she didn't beat me so badly each time we play), and I'm hoping to get my daughter into a few card games.

Right now, I go out to The Guardtower once a month to meet up with my friend, Dan, to play whatever. But, even then...with at least a 45 minute drive each way, there's an hour and half just spent driving. I'd love to find more events happening locally at Hobby Central here in Delaware, but so far they haven't meshed with my availability.

When I listen to podcasts such as The D6 Generation or Game On with Cody and John and hear them talk about the games they've all played in between episodes my heart breaks just a little. I wish I had that. But, now, just isn't the time.

I'm not complaining. I wouldn't trade all those things that consume my time for more gaming time. I love gaming, but it's fairly low as far as priorities go. Plus, I get to go to Origins and Gen Con each year which is a blast. And, it's great to combine other activities with games. Often when we have friends over we'll break out a game. While I might be wishing it was Rune Wars or Tannhauser, I'm perfectly happy to get in a game of Fluxx (especially Pirate Fluxx!) or Munchkin.

I'm looking at starting up a boardgame night at our church sometime soon. So, if you're local, keep your eyes peeled for that. We'll likely start quarterly and, if successful, increase the frequency.

So, yeah, sometimes life gets in the way of gaming. But, that's ok. I'll take my gaming when I can get it, and appreciate those times all the more.

If you've made it this far, thanks. I realize this might not be the most exciting blog entry you've ever read (and, if it is...oy...I feel sorry for you! You need to read more!), but this is just something that's been on my mind and wanted to get it out there. So, again, thanks!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Games I'm Looking Forward To: Dungeon Run

One of my most anticipated board games of 2011 has got to be Dungeon Run, coming later this summer from Plaid Hat Games.

I've been nothing but impressed by the work coming out of Plaid Hat Games. While they've currently got just one game on the market, Summoner Wars (and it's expansions), it's a fantastic game with component quality that rivals the big boardgame companies like Fantasy Flight Games and Days of Wonder. The difference is Plaid Hat Games is both a very young company and a very small company that is still flying under the radar of a lot of gamers and, sadly, retailers.

I think Dungeon Run is going to get folks to notice Plaid Hat in a big way.

Dungeon Run is a boardgame in the dungeon crawl genre. As such, it's got company out there with games such as Descent, Dungeon Twister, Tomb, and Claustrophobia just to name a few.

Dungeon Run is set in the same universe as Summoner Wars, which hopefully can splash a little attention back Summoner Wars way. Here's the description of the game from the Plaid Hat Games website:

The game where YOU are the final boss!

Dungeon Run is an exciting dash through a dungeon packed with monsters and traps. Each player controls a unique hero capable of great feats, and whose powers and abilities are upgradable and customizable throughout the game. Players can work together to overcome the perils of the dungeon, or they can betray and sabotage each other as they see fit. Because in the final room of the dungeon lurks a powerful boss with the ultimate treasure - a treasure that turns its owner into the most powerful warrior they can become! Slay the boss, steal the treasure, and then run for your life as your friends try to cut you down. In Dungeon Run only one hero can escape with the fabled Summoning Stone. Don´t walk - run!

A new game each time you play

Dungeon Run features a randomly assembled dungeon that changes each time you play, as do the monsters you face and the treasures you find. Eight different heroes each with unique options for customization further add to a wealth of game play options. Choose the vicious Tundra Orc and bash your way through everything that stands in your path. Play as the cunning Grounder Wizard and use your magic to cheat the laws of nature. Select the Guild Dwarf adventurer and lay traps to ensnare your friends. There are many paths to victory in Dungeon Run. Win by working with your friends or against them - just win!
Plaid Hat just started releasing previews of the game on their forums. So, if you'd like a closer look at the game click on over to the Plaid Hat Games Forums and go to the Dungeon Run Previews thread in the Summoner Wars News sub-forum.

Look for Dungeon Run to be in stores in August 2011. Tell your local game store about it today!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

WHFB: The Lure of the Tomb Kings

Games Workshop just released the Tomb Kings army book, along with the first wave of new plastic kits and the limited-edition Tomb Kings Battle Magic cards. The Tomb Kings are a force of re-animated skeletons with a decidedly Egyptian-like ascetic to them.

Like the recently released Orcs & Goblins Army Book, the new Tomb Kings book is a beautifully done full-color hardcover. It's a really sharp looking book.

Now, if you've been reading The Rural Gamer for awhile, you know that I'm a recent convert to playing Warhammer Fantasy Battles. I'm in the process of putting together a High Elves army little by little as my limited funds permit. The last thing I need is another army. But, dang if these Tomb Kings aren't calling to me. I never really gave them a second thought before, but as images and information started coming about the new releases I found myself getting more and more intrigued by these boney guys and beasts.

So, is there a Tomb Kings army in my future? Well, certainly, not in the immediate future. My High Elves need to be my Warhammer priority, but beyond that? I may well just walk like an Egyptian.

The Tomb Kings Army Book, first wave of new miniatures releases and the limited-edition Battle Magic cards are in stores now.

Get Your FREE Green Lantern Heroclix Today @FCBD

Today is Free Comic Book Day at comic shops all around the nation. In additional to a mountain of comics that shops are giving away absolutely FREE, Wizkids is offering a special free Hal Jordan Green Lantern Heroclix figure.

With excitement building about the impending big screen Green Lantern movie this guys is gonna move quick so what are you still reading this for? Go get yours now!

To find a comic shop near you just head to

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Boxing Up the Pathfinder RPG

Like many gamers, my first experience in "gamer" game (y'know, anything beyond the games most families would have laying about) was Dungeon & Dragons. I was invited to join an afterschool D&D club during my freshman year of High School back in late '79. I bought the Basic Set (the one with the wizard and knight taking on the fearsome Red Dragon, with the blue rulebook) and was off on a multitude of fantastic adventures.

It's been years since I've played in an RPG. I like RPGs, but really don't have the time to participate in an ongoing game and, frankly, finding a good Dungeon Master is not an easy task. Over the years I've tried a couple times to get back into D&D (mid-90s) but couldn't get a consistent group going, and dabbled in WOTC's Star Wars RPG...but found it very uninspiring.

I've kept an eye on Paizo's Pathfinder RPG for the past couple of years. While I had my store I carried their original Pathfinder Adventure Path products and was very impressed by the quality. As they moved towards creating their own RPG system with the release of the Pathfinder Core Rulebook at Gen Con a couple years back I remained curious about it.

I've always meant to pick up the Core Rulebook, but funds were always needed elsewhere. I'm a sucker for rulebooks, whether I'll play the game or not, and the Core Rulebook looked fantastic. But, again, limited gaming funds were needed more for the games I was actually playing.

But now Paizo has just announced the Pathfinder RPG Beginner Box, and I'm feeling that siren call once again. This boxed set, expected around October 2011, contains the following:
  • 64-page Hero’s Handbook, detailing character creation, spells, equipment, and general rules for playing the game
  • 96-page Game Master’s Guide packed with adventures, monsters, magical treasures, and advice on how to narrate the game and control the challenges faced by the heroes
  • A complete set of 7 high-impact polyhedral dice
  • More than 80 full-color pawns depicting tons of heroes, monsters, and even a fearsome black dragon
  • Four pre-generated character sheets to throw you right into the action
  • Four blank character sheets to record the statistics and deeds of your custom-made hero
  • A durable, reusable, double-sided Flip-Mat play surface that works with any kind of marker
For an expected MSRP of $34.99 that's a pretty darn good deal. I'm going to keep my eye on this and we'll see come October if I give in the allure of the Pathfinder RPG Beginner Box.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Will You Be the Master of the Seas?

As I've mentioned previously, I am a huge fan of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. For the new movie, On Stranger Tides, JAKKS Pacific was awarded the Master Toy License. Included in this license was the rights to produce games based upon the movies. Of interest to gamers would be the Pirates of the Caribbean: Master of the Seas Strategy Game. I recently had the privilege to interview Ken Malouf, Senior Director of Marketing for Games & Puzzles at JAKKS about this new game which is due in stores any day now.

TRG: Could you tell our readers a bit about Masters of the Seas? Is this more of complex strategy board game, or something families could play together?

KM: It really is both. Families will love the interactive battles and the originality of the game. Some of the most unique and fun elements of the game include:
  • You create the game board by putting the islands anywhere on the table – it’s a different adventure every time you play!
  • 360 degree movement on the game table as you sail from island to island using navigational calipers to count out the spaces that you move
  • The uniqueness of every player’s experience since each person takes on the role of a different captain from Pirates of the Caribbean with a different ship and a different set of treasures they need to collect to win the game
  • Collecting different treasures as you move from island to island – not only the ones you need but the ones your opponents need thus setting up the need for a head-to-head battle - the only way you can get that prize from your opponent
For more strategic gamers, there is also a much more complex level of strategy that can come in to play for those who choose to master the game. More advanced players will learn and master the art of building and managing their Pirate resources – such as building the right crew of officers, sailors and gunners to accomplish their goals, strategically using their captain cards at the right points during the game, knowing when and when not to challenge an opponent to battle, all while ensuring that their stockpile of doubloons gives them the money they need to support their efforts.

TRG: A strategy board game is something of a new concept for JAKKS Pacific. What was the impetus to go in this direction?

Strategy games are a key segment within the overall games category and, when done well, can result in a longer-term game item with passionate fans that establish them as true classics in the genre. This is what we are hoping to accomplish with a game like Master of the Seas. When we acquired the license for Pirates of the Caribbean games, we knew that having a strategy game was a must. This evergreen brand is a great fit for the strategy game segment and is one that deserves a classic strategy game that brings to life the epic battles of Pirates in the high seas.

TRG: Granted, ship to ship combat is an integral part of the Pirates franchise. Was there any internal debate whether to launch a ship-based game versus a more character-based boardgame?

Not really because this game actually delivers both aspects. In this game, the most celebrated captain’s from the 4 Pirates of the Caribbean movies (i.e. Jack Sparrow, Davy Jones, Barbossa and Blackbeard) are in head-to-head battle with their ships as the main carrier for the battle (i.e. Black Pearl, Flying Dutchman, HMS Providence and Queen Anne’s Revenge). So, you get both!

TRG: Will Masters of the Seas be marketed to the hobby channel, or is this strictly a mass-market release?

It will be sold to both channels with the hopes that families, strategy gamers, Pirate fans, and many others will discover and enjoy this great game wherever they may shop for games.

TRG: In the hobby channel, expansion sets are a big part of many boardgames. Should sales warrant, are there any plans for expansions that could add to the Masters of the Seas experience, such as introducing new ships and captains from the films?

Yes, as the game grows in popularity, we could easily expand the experience with new captains, ships and islands from the new movies. We can also expand game content with new prize cards, captain cards, map cards, etc. that can deliver totally new experiences for fans of the game.

TRG: Could we expect more games in this vein from JAKKS Pacific from the Pirates franchise?

Definitely expect more games from JAKKS Pacific in the strategy category across a wider range of brands as well as across a broader range of game segments. Master of the Seas will be our primary focus for Pirates in the strategy games category but as the brand grows, we would love the opportunity to extend the Pirates experience as appropriate. When we develop games for a license such as Pirates, we talk a lot about the core essence of that brand and the kind of games that fans of the property would want to experience from that brand. Then, we focus on a developing just the right number and type of innovative games that will bring to life that property. That’s what you can expect from JAKKS – truly innovative games that celebrate and bring to life some of the most classic and evergreen brands.

Sounds fantastic! Thanks, Ken, for taking the time out and talking to us! I'm really looking forward of getting this game to the table.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Summoner Wars First Hand

A couple entries back I wrote a bit about Summoner Wars from Plaid Had Games, musing that this might be the card game to hook this die-hard miniatures gamer.

My plan was to wait until the upcoming Master Set came out in June, but I couldn't wait. I ordered a Pheonix Elves/Tundra Orcs Starter Set a few weeks back. When it arrived, I excitedly opened it up a re-read the rules. I had read them previous thanks to the PDF provided on the Plaid Hat website. I'm still impressed by the simplicity of the rules. They're smooth.

At the time my wife was out of the country visit friends in New Zealand, so I wasn't able to rope her into playing. And my duties around the farm, not to mention watching after my wonderfully rambunctious 6 year old daughter and taking classes online kept me from getting together with my gaming buddy, Dan, for a game.

Well, my wife came home and last Thursday night I was able to meet up with Dan and introduce him to Summoner Wars, getting my first game in in the process.

We had a blast. Despite neither of us having played before (and me being very inexperienced in the world of card-based games. Dan is the patriarch of a die-hard Poke-family) the game went very smoothly. I only had to refer back to the rulebook a couple of times during the game. I played the Phoenix Elves and Dan fielded the Tundra Orcs. I was amazed how quickly the tide changed over the course of the game. Dan had me on the ropes, and on my turn I would be hemming in his commons and be chasing down his Summoner. Dan squeezed out a narrow victory in the end.

I'm looking forward to more games (including a rematch with Dan), and expanding into other factions. I'm still very excited about the Master Set, and looking forward to picking one up at Origins next month in Columbus, OH. Summoner Wars is a fantastic game, and I highly recommend it.

In fact, earlier today I was listening to The Dice Tower podcast with Tom Vasel and Summoner Wars came in at #2 on his Top Ten Card Games of All Time list. Check it out for yourself at Plaid Hat Games.