Archive | June, 2009

Wraith Recon RPG Review

Posted on June 30, 2009 by

Rather a long time ago, when I had just taken the Queen’s Shilling and the new game was Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, I thought about applying classic squad tactics to adventuring parties on the tabletop. War, after all, happens at least as frequently in a fantasy realm as it does in the real world, and small groups are the norm in both role-playing and Special Forces. So it is with a measure of glee that I find a book which has taken this route with the combat-orientated 4th Edition of D&D; providing both a rich but war-torn setting and ideas for building a special forces unit using the full potential of fantasy adventurers.

The Introduction explains precisely what is intended. Although it has the normal trappings of a standard fantasy campaign setting (and indeed if that is what you want you can play a normal fantasy game here), the intention is that player-characters will be members of an elite ‘special forces’ style group called Wraith Recon; and that rather than normal adventuring activities they will engage in classic special forces missions, acing often on their own but under direction of their commanders.


Ghostbusters: the Video Game Review

Posted on June 29, 2009 by

What do you get when you take one of the most popular comedy franchises ever, bring back the original writers and actors who made it so great, and have the original writers come up with a new script tying it all together?

You get Ghostbusters: the Video Game, of course.

Ghostbusters: TVG had been plagued from developmental issues from the start. Passing from publisher to publisher, the game faced cancellation several times despite promising trailers. Eventually managing to be released by Atari, this game features voice acting from the original cast. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson reprise their roles as the classic supernatural investigators and eliminators.

Review by John D. Kennedy


Archaia Launches $9.95 Hardcover Program

Posted on June 27, 2009 by

In a focused effort to give new readers an opportunity to discover Archaia’s unique library of titles, the publisher announced today a program to offer one new hardcover every quarter for the recession-friendly price of $9.95. Kicking off the venture will be the Vol. 1 hardcover collection of the acclaimed science-fiction thriller mini-series, The Engineer: Konstrukt, which will be available this August.

Keeping with Archaia’s tradition of publishing high-quality, high-concept titles, The Engineer: Konstrukt, co-created by Brian Churilla and Jeremy Shepherd, tells the story of a reluctant hero who frantically races to
defeat an ancient creature eating away at the very fabric of space and time. To do so, he must travel across dimensions and put together the scattered pieces of the Konstrukt, an old-world technology that allows the user to manipulate reality itself.


Armory Reloaded RPG Review

Posted on June 26, 2009 by

Game books devoted entirely to the Art of Death, Destruction, and Detective Lieutenant John McClane rarely win me over. It’s a personal taste because I fully know that a handful of the players in my gaming group deeply appreciates the details that good combat manuals can offer. I assumed when diving into this book that it would be an updated version of the Combat book White Wolf released with their original run in the World of Darkness. That book always struck me as too much comic book and too little horror. Even the front and back covers had artwork that never matched anything else in any of the other lines. I must admit there were some flinchingly horrific pieces of art in that book that I’ll call Things You Don’t Want to Happen to You. Even with those minor high points, I felt cheated by that book.

That was then . . .

Armory Reloaded gets away from White Wolf’s Street Fighter RPG rules and tries to remain attached to the grit and horror of the setting. In the introduction, readers are told that “Combat is Horror.” The writers of this book don’t want to make the same mistake the miserable Combat made. The development of this project backs the statement through both its writing and artwork.


Aye, Dark Overlord! Game Review

Posted on June 25, 2009 by

Aye Dark Overlord! defies precise description. It is at once a board game, card game and has elements of a party game and role-playing games as well. The players take on roles of sniveling servants of the Dark Overlord, a vengeful chap whose patience with his inept followers grows thin…

Players begin by randomly drawing a hand of six cards – three hint and three action cards. One player is selected to play the role of Rigor Mortis; the Dark Overlord of the title. Once the players have their cards in hand, the Dark Overlord addresses one of them by saying something like “So my faithful minions; I ordered you to kidnap the princess. Has this task been accomplished?” The player indicated must then fabricate a brief story – using the elements illustrated on the cards in the player’s hand — explaining why the task was not completed, and in so doing shifting the blame for the failure to one of the other players.


Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas Now Available!

Posted on June 25, 2009 by

People often say that there are no such things as monsters. They are wrong. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and other unnamable horrors co-exist with us. Watching us. Using us. Preying upon us.

Welcome to Pinebox, a sleepy little East Texas town with a lot more than its share of trouble. Whether it’s the haunted diner luring weary travelers, the unexplained ‘alligator attacks”, or the crone who just might be hexing neighborhood kids, trouble always seems to be hidden just below the surface. Buried, but not forgotten.

Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas is available at (print) and on the Kindle.

There is also an eBook format available at for $4.99.


A Planeswalker’s Guide to Alara Review

Posted on June 24, 2009 by

The guide itself does a very nice job breaking up the different planes. It gives quick rundowns on all the species you would find there, some brief history as well as each plane wishes to see. It also gives a very good indication of the dangers of traveling to each plane. A traveler can get a good sense of how to understand the culture they find themselves in.

After an overview of all the planes it also gives a well rounded layout of planeswalkers that can be found on each plane. It includes their species, current residence, home, and magic specialties. There is only one plane that does not have a listed resident planeswalker and that is Grixis. It is very clearly stated that Grixis should be a place to travel to study only, and to not make your home their too long. Death and plague rule the land, so it makes sense nobody wishes to live amongst that.

Review by Crystal Mazur


Cubicle 7 and Adamant Entertainment Announce Partnership

Posted on June 23, 2009 by

Cubicle 7 Entertainment and Adamant Entertainment are pleased to announce they have formed a publishing partnership.

The deal sees Cubicle 7 handling production and marketing for Adamant’s print products, starting with Mars: Savage Worlds Edition in September. This fantastic Savage Worlds setting features sky-corsairs, ancient cities, warrior tribes and albino apes – the Mars of pulp fiction and Saturday morning serials.

Following in October is Thrilling Tales – a great blend of classic pulse-pounding excitement from the pulp magazines and cliffhanger serials of the 1930s and 40s, again using the award-winning Savage Worlds system.

“Adamant Entertainment are an Origins and Ennies Awards nominated company and Gareth-Michael Skarka is a visionary in the gaming field so we’re obviously delighted to have him, and his company, on board,” said Dominic McDowall-Thomas of Cubicle 7, “creating a partnership between the two companies has been something we’ve long spoken about and with the plans that Gareth has in place for the next few years I’m overjoyed that we can part of that process and dream.”


Blood Drive RPG Review

Posted on June 22, 2009 by

Blood Drive ($6.99 PDF) is the newest installment from White Wolf’s Storytelling Adventure System. This Hunter: the Vigil adventure offers an action-oriented romp for slightly seasoned characters (XP 25-29). This adventure plays on a personal favorite of mine. It’s the classic tale of the supposedly “easy job” that becomes something else altogether. At eleven scenes and forty-six pages (none of which are ads), this is a healthy night’s adventure or (more likely) multiple sessions of fun.

The direction of this adventure, like other White Wolf products I’ve recently reviewed, continues to impress me. The layout of the adventure offers both the detailed story, which the Storyteller will have to go over and a collection of Scene Cards to act as Storyteller cheat sheets.


Path of the Planeswalker Scheduled for Fall 2009

Posted on June 21, 2009 by

Wizards of the Coast LLC today announced the October 6 release of its first-ever Magic: The Gathering graphic anthology, Path of the Planeswalker. This 192-page action-packed collection combines the entire Planeswalker web comic series, as well as a never-before-seen bonus comic for MSRP $19.95.

In this popular anthology, readers get adventures from all their favorite planeswalkers including battles between mind-mage Jace Beleren and the impulsive pyromancer Chandra Naalar. The mercurial necromancer Liliana Vess tangles with the savage Garruk Wildspeaker and readers learn more of the artificer Tezzeret’s past with the Seekers of Carmot.

Path of the Planewalker represents the high quality story-telling readers have come to expect from the world’s most popular trading card game, Magic: The Gathering. It features lavish illustrations by some of the industry’s best known artists such as Mark Texeira, Christopher Moeller, Jason Shawn Alexander, and Aleksi Briclot. For more information on Path of the Planeswalker and other Magic novels, visit


Dead Science Available Now!

Posted on June 20, 2009 by

Featuring the terrifying tales of 13 authors, Dead Science brings you stories of the undead unlike any you’ve ever read before. Prepare to go behind-the-scenes and learn about the causes of various zombie uprisings and the havoc these creatures wreak upon the living.

Stories by: Gustavo Bondoni, Eric S. Brown, Michael Cieslak, Lorne Dixon, Anthony Giangregorio, Glen Held, Becca Morgan, Mark Onspaugh, Gina Ranalli, Vincent L. Scarsella, Jason V. Shayer, Ryan C. Thomas and Adam J. Whitlatch.

Dead Science is available at


Malleus Monstrorum RPG Review

Posted on June 19, 2009 by

“The Malleus Monstrorum: Creatures, Gods & Forbidden Knowledge” is a supplement for the Call of Cthulhu RPG by Chaosium Inc. The book includes entries on all of the creatures described in the works of H.P. Lovecraft as well as other authors who dabbled in the Cthulhu Mythos, such as Ramsey Campbell and Clark Ashton Smith. Also included are some of the critters created specifically for CoC adventures and supplements.

Overall the Monstrorum is an excellent book, not only for CoC players, but for any fan of Lovecraft or the Mythos. It is a great source of adventure ideas just in reading the creature descriptions and story excerpts. Fans of the source material will enjoy having so many bizarre creatures in one volume, while those new to the Mythos will find themselves looking up the source material to learn more about the Elder Gods and their servants.

Review by Michael Erb


Trailer for The Dragon Hunters Book by Paul Genesse

Posted on June 18, 2009 by

To celebrate the launch of his new book, The Dragon Hunters, author Paul Genesse is offering a trailer designed to tell you a little bit about this fantasy book. If you’re a fan of Paul’s work, you’ll want to follow up with him at the GenCon 2009 Writer’s Symposium and in Author’s Alley to get your book signed.


Little Nightmares – Privateer Press

Posted on June 18, 2009 by

privateer-logoIt’s difficult to imagine the miniatures world without in it, yet this company has been in existence for less than seven years. With their breakout hit Monsterpocalypse and their solid Warmachine and Hordes skirmish-level combat lines, Privateer Press is well-situated to be a force in the industry for years to come.

The Warmachine and Hordes product lines mesh well with dark fantasy, as they have a number of factions tailor-made for people of such inclinations. A perfect example is the Gorax, a light warbeast from the Circle Orboros faction in Hordes. The Gorax, looking very troll-like – or even like an Oni from Oriental mythology – strains at the chain that holds him to a large boulder. The pose is interesting and well-executed, and the figure’s rippling musculature and tufts of scraggly hair combine to give this model a ton of character. At a $17 MSRP, this model is a smidge pricey, but a first-class sculpt never the less.


The Testament of Longinus Review

Posted on June 17, 2009 by

Most players enjoy something tangible given to them in a game. It can be as simple as dice, poker chips, and a character sheet; nevertheless, the experience deepens when newspaper articles, photos, and varied memorabilia are also handed out. People are bound by their senses.

The more senses used during a game greatly intensifies the overall experience. Attack them all. While the Testament of Longinus (PDF $7.99) won’t smell like a centuries old text, it’s still a masterfully fun little addition to the World of Darkness (and you can always check-out an old book from the library to relate that old smell for your players). This psudo-document follows the story of a self-described “antichrist” as he moves from criminal to vampire to . . . something more.


23 Hours Fiction Review

Posted on June 16, 2009 by

The latest book in the ongoing saga of vampire hunter Laura Caxton, 23 Hours details the most harrowing and dangerous battle yet. Laura has to not only deal with savage vampires and the violent “half-deads” that serve them…she has to do it with almost no weapons, no back-up and an ever dwindling time-line.

While this book does change in scene from the previous books, Laura still gets to hunt vampires while outgunned and lost in the dark. This time she is confined to a maximum security prison that has been overrun by the monsters. She hardly has any weapons and no communication with the outside world. To make things more interesting, she made “friends” with some very nasty inmates early on the story…naturally, they are on the loose as well during the battle and they don’t want to make things any easier for Laura or her allies.


Slaughterhouse Five (Vampire: The Requiem) Review

Posted on June 15, 2009 by

White Wolf experiments with “ready-made player-characters” for those gaming groups on the go. Two such PDFs already exist, but I’ll only be talking about the Slaughterhouse Five. The PDF is 26 pages (no ads) devoted to the description of five player-characters and a bit of the world they live in. It’s an interesting idea, so let’s see how I felt it played out.

A few years ago, I wouldn’t have wanted to be fed a handful of pre-made characters to push onto my gaming group. It’s too much fun to make your own character. Right? Once upon a time, I would answered “yes” to that question without hesitation. I’ll now mend my answer to “yes, usually.” Why do I now permit myself to sacrifice creativity for availability? First, I no longer believe that question is even valid. The biggest reason why is pointed out by the blurb for the game.


Street Magic Fiction Review

Posted on June 13, 2009 by

There are some rare talents in fantasy these days whose words coast along like poetry while depicting a world full of dark and terrible dangers: drugs, monsters, and magic among them. Crafting a balance between artful and gritty writing – such that the language doesn’t shy away from either side of the equation – is incredibly difficult. Caitlin Kittredge has mastered it.

To my shame, Street Magic, which I received earlier this year as an electronic advance copy, is the first novel I’ve read by Kittredge, despite the fact that I own some of her earlier books. They’ve been sitting on my TBR pile, just waiting for me to catch up with other review titles and series titles that always seem to come first. I can tell you with great confidence: no longer. I’ll be picking one up to read as soon as I finish this review.


Keys to the Supernal Tarot Review

Posted on June 12, 2009 by

Opinions vary. Some people think Tarot cards hold power, while those who know say that they are merely guides, an interface to unlock your own knowledge of ancient secrets. In this book, the 22 Major Arcana are used as keys to chronicles for your Mage: The Awakening game… a smart idea as many mages study the Tarot.

The work starts with a short story in which a regular game of cards turns into a reading, and perhaps something else. You don’t need a special Tarot deck if you know what you’re doing.


Patricia Brigg’s Alpha & Omega as a Comic Book Series

Posted on June 11, 2009 by

Briggs’s popular Alpha and Omega series to debut as Dabel Brothers comic books in August 2009 followed by the graphic novel from Ace in November 2009

Ace Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), announced today the publication of #1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega: Cry Wolf, Volume 1 in graphic novel form. The Dabel Brothers, who previously partnered with Briggs to create comic adaptations of her bestselling Mercy Thompson series, will now adapt her first Alpha and Omega novel, Cry Wolf, into a comic series starting this summer. Ace Books will then publish a graphic novel edition of the first four installments of the Dabel Brothers comic series this fall. The publication of Alpha and Omega: Cry Wolf, Volume 1 marks Ace’s first foray into the graphic novel market.


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