Sunday, April 29, 2007

Cool Gaming Stuff in April

It occurred to me that, though I run a comics and game shop, I really only talk about comics for the most part here. Which might give the impression to the casual onlooker that I don't have much interest in games.

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. I've been a gamer as long as I've been a comics fan, and while my game collection isn't as extensive as my graphic novel collection, that mostly owes to having gotten rid of large chunks of it every time I've moved. I still have a few gems in my collection, from the beautifully designed Metabarons RPG to the White Wolf Adventure! book (with original fiction from Warren Ellis), and I've got a pretty healthy stock of stuff I still use, like D&D 3.5 and Eberron, HERO System 5th Edition material and a smattering of Feng Shui, Spycraft and Mutants & Masterminds. My board and card game collection is even smaller, but I do have Iron Dragon (a fun fantasy rail game), Lunch Money and way too many D&D Miniatures.

I play in two regular game groups (each one meeting somewhere between every week and every month, closer to the latter of late) and am currently running (with time off between sessions for other campaigns) two campaigns, a Champions game set in Austin and a D&D campaign set in Eberron.

So I thought, why not try a monthly write-up on the cool gaming stuff I saw this month and either purchased for myself or featured at the shop? Thus, this write-up.

For my part, I was prepping for my next D&D adventure in Eberron, so I bought a few more things this month than usual. I finally picked up the Monster Manual II and Monster Manual III to throw some variety at my players, and picked up a decent chunk of the new D&D minis set, Unhallowed, along with buying a few individual key minis off Ebay from various sets in preparation for the next adventure. I picked up two of the Gamemastery Map Tiles sets from Paizo (Dungeon and Haunted Mansion) and the other new Paizo release, the Critical Hit deck. Paizo makes a ton of cool game-related stuff, like their magnetic Combat Pad for keeping track of initiative, and the Crit deck is another new, cool thing. Basically, it's a 52 card deck, and when you confirm a critical hit, you pull a card from the deck. Each card has a listing of critical damage, with four different types (piercing, bludgeoning, slashing and magic). It's a fun little bit of spice for those bored with the "double damage" crits, and gives a bit of flavor to show just what you did that was such critical damage.

As for stuff that came out but I didn't pick up personally: Scion is a new self-contained (three books and out) RPG from White Wolf about the sons and daughters of Gods fighting the Titans and their spawn in modern-day, based on the Exalted rule mechanics. I've always found the World of Darkness a bit goth for my tastes, and Scion and Exalted are closer to my type of gaming. Wizards of the Coast released another map pack, City of Peril (I love that D&D minis has increased the number of full-color maps available for GMs), as well as a new Eberron super-adventure. It's below my current players' level, but I may pick it up at some point to run as a standalone. There was also Munchkin Cthulhu (the latest iteration of Steve Jackson's goofy but addictive spoof card game), new releases for the pre-painted sci-fi AT-43 game and a lot of other stuff. With unlimited time and money, I'm sure I would happily play all of these and more.

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