DnD

PAX Unplugged, the newly launched tabletop gaming arm of the PAX conventions, has officially announced the guests and events they will be featuring on the main stage.  They are going to have a Dungeons and Dragons focus for this inaugural year with popular web series Critical Role, Dice, Camera, Action, and Acquisitions Inc. doing live shows.  Friday night, Dice, Camera, Action will have “Wizards of the Coast’s resident Dungeon Master, Chris Perkins take Holly Conrad, Jared Knaubenbaur, Anna Prosser Robinson, Nathan Sharp, and an unannounced special guest, deeper into the jungles of the Chult“.  Saturday evening will have some of the cast of Critical Role talking about their past adventures in Vox Machina as well as answer questions and preview the next campaign.  Saturday night will see the likes of Chris Perkins, Mike Krahulik, Jerry Holkins, Patrick Rothfuss, and special guest star Kate Welch play Dungeons and Dragons live on the main stage with Acquisitions Inc.  And finally, for those sticking around to the end, you will get to see the debut of PAX Unplugged’s spinoff to Acquisitions Inc. called “C” Team, being played by Amy Falcone, Kris Straub, Kate Welch, Ryan Hartman, and Penny Arcade and PAX co-founder Jerry Holkins.  So if you like watching these folks online, you don’t want to miss out on seeing them live at PAX Unplugged.  You can read more in the press release below and look forward to seeing them live next month.

 

Popular Dungeons & Dragons Players Converge on PAX Unplugged
 
Live performances by Dice, Camera, Action!, Critical Role, Acquisitions Inc.
PHILADELPHIA – The panel line-up for PAX Unplugged 2017, the inaugural tabletop-focused PAX event, will feature Penny Arcade’s Acquisitions Inc., Geek & Sundry’s Critical Role, and Wizards of the Coast’s Dice, Camera, Action. Fans unable to join the weekend long celebration of tabletop culture,taking place Nov. 17-19 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, can watch the action live on Twitch.
Boasting the longest-running show on Dungeons & Dragons‘ Twitch channel, Dice, Camera, Action! LIVE at PAX Unplugged will see Wizards of the Coast’s resident Dungeon Master, Chris Perkins take Holly Conrad, Jared Knaubenbaur, Anna Prosser Robinson, Nathan Sharp, and an unannounced special guest, deeper into the jungles of the Chult on Friday, Nov. 17, 8:30pm -11:30pm at the main stage.
Geek Sundry’s Critical Role cast, featuring creator Matthew Mercer, actress Marisha Ray, and renowned voice actors Liam O’Brien and Taliesin Jaffe, take the main stage for Critical Role: Talks Machina on Saturday, Nov. 18, from 4pm – 5:50pm. The team will dive into the past adventures of Vox Machina, what may be in store for the next campaign and answer questions from fans.
Previously enjoyed by tens of thousands at PAX West and PAX East, Penny Arcade’s live-performance Dungeons & Dragons game, Acquisitions Inc.: The Series will take the main stage on Saturday, Nov. 18 from 8:30pm – 11:30pm.  Featuring Penny Arcade and PAX co-founders Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, The Kingkiller Chronicle‘s author Patrick Rothfuss as Viari, and special guest star Kate Welch as Rosie Beestinger, Acquisitions Inc.LIVE at PAX Unplugged will also feature Wizards of the Coast’s Chris Perkins reprising his role as Dungeon Master.
Debuting for the time at a PAX, Acquisitions Inc.: “C” Team LIVE at PAX Unplugged will feature Penny Arcade’s Acquisitions Inc. spinoff ‘”C” Team.’ Join industry personalities Amy Falcone, Kris Straub, Kate Welch, Ryan Hartman, and Penny Arcade and PAX co-founder Jerry Holkins, as they fumble through a special one-off game in which a total party kill is almost certain, Sunday, Nov. 19, 11am – 2pm on the main stage.
Tickets for PAX Unplugged 2017 are currently on sale via the official registration page. Three-Day Tickets are $60 USD while Friday Only, Saturday Only, and Sunday Only Tickets are $25 USD. Sunday Kids Day Tickets (for children age 6-12) are also available for $10 USD.
Part of Penny Arcade’s international roster of events, which also include West, East, South, and Australia, PAX Unplugged is a hybrid of digital and analog tabletop gaming, giving card and board game enthusiasts a dedicated event to celebrate their rich and thriving culture. Reflecting the experience millions of PAX attendees have enjoyed for more than a decade, visitors will have the opportunity to see the reveal of new and exciting titles, go hands-on with upcoming games, partake in tournaments and sit-in on panels headlined by the industry’s leading minds.
“The mission of PAX Unplugged is simple,” said Jerry Holkins, co-founder of Penny Arcade and PAX. “We want to recognize the tabletop community that’s grown year over year at our events with a show just for them. It’s going to be pretty amazing first outing, and I can’t wait to attend the show myself.”
For additional information, sign up for the newsletter or follow PAX via Twitter andFacebook.
PAX
PAX or Penny Arcade Expo is a festival for gamers to celebrate gaming culture. First held in Seattle in 2004, PAX has nearly doubled in size each successive year, with PAX Prime 2014 selling out of tickets in a matter of minutes. Connecting the world’s leading game publishers with their most avid and influential fans, PAX expanded with a second show in Boston in 2010 and a third in San Antonio in 2015, making it the three largest gaming shows in North America. The first international PAX was held in Melbourne, Australia in 2013. In 2017, Penny Arcade announced PAX Unplugged, its first tabletop focused show, to be held in Philadelphia.
Penny Arcade
Penny Arcade is a web comic focused on video games and video game culture, written by Jerry Holkins and illustrated by Mike Krahulik. With over 3.5 million readers, it is the most popular and longest running gaming web comic online. Penny Arcade is also responsible for the Child’s Play Charity, the Penny Arcade gaming expos (PAX) in Seattle, Boston, San Antonio, Philadelphia, and Melbourne, multiple videogames based on the brand, and multiple online video series.
ReedPOP
ReedPOP is a boutique group within Reed Exhibitions exclusively devoted to organizing events, launching and acquiring new shows, and partnering with premium brands in the pop culture world. ReedPOP is dedicated to celebrations of popular culture throughout the globe that transcend ordinary events by providing unique access and dynamic personal experiences. The ReedPOP portfolio includes: New York Comic Con (NYCC), Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2), Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) West, East, South, Australia and Unplugged, Emerald City Comicon (ECCC), BookCon, BookExpo, Oz Comic-Con, Comic Con India, Paris Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration, Star Trek: Mission New York, TwitchCon, ComplexCon and more. The staff at ReedPOP is a fan-based group of professionals uniquely qualified to serve those with whom they share a common passion. ReedPOP is focused on bringing its expertise and knowledge to world communities in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, India and Australia.

Wizkids, publishers of the most popular RPG, Dungeons and Dragons, are releasing a pre-painted miniature line with a focus on bringing younger kids into the RPG world.  The line will feature younger characters with special abilities and animal companions that travel with them.  In the setting of the RPG they travel in, “fledgling adventurers gain their powers and abilities at a young age, allowing them to defeat the evil creatures in their world. Their powers, however, are fleeting. As the children grow, they begin to lose their powers over time. When they enter adulthood, most forget they ever adventured in the first place as everyday responsibilities take hold.”

The miniature line looks great, and the RPG setting sounds interesting, so look forward to this new line to launch in early 2018.  You can check out Wizkids’ website for more information and to see the figure designs.

Wizkids seems to be all about the hype train as of late with the teasing of a new DnD Adventure game, and now it’s a new Dice Masters set.  This new set will be set in the Forgotten Realms of Dungeons and Dragons.  It will have all new spells, adventurers, and monsters, plus a new draft pack format to allow for tournament play.  Each pack will come with enough cards and dice that when two packs are put together, you have everything you need for a game.  Look for this new set to appear on store shelves in September of this year.

Bushiroad, known for other TCGs like CardFight!! Vanguard, are getting ready to release a new TCG designed by Mike Elliot called Dragonborne – Rise to Supremacy.  What makes this game interesting beyond the setting and art is that dice are being introduced to enhance in-game effects.  You will be able to use the dice to defend your forts, strengthen your units, or enhance your spells, making them better.  You can check out more on Dragonborne’s Facebook page, and look forward to it’s release in August of this year.

Last, IDW Games is reprinting a highly rated abstract strategy game called Torres.  In Torres you are the sons of the king, vying for prestige in order to be crowned the next ruler of the land.  To do that you will need to rebuild the kingdom with the most impressive castle you can.  In the game you will use action points to build up your castle, but you have to not only build it tall, but also spread it out across the land.  Plus you will also be playing cards and placing knights to help earn you points, and whoever has the most at the end is the winner.  Look for this game on store shelves in August.

dungeons-and-dragons

The latest inductees into the Toy Hall of Fame have been announced, and alongside the Little People toys and the swing, Dungeons and Dragons was selected.  That means the RPG that has been capturing people’s imagination, and attention, for the past couple decades is taking it’s rightful place.  The controversy that started when D&D first came out has died down, and it can still be a divisive subject among religious circles, but there can be no doubt of it’s impact on gaming and culture.  So congrats to the winners, and maybe next year we can get some more board games in there.

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The nominees for induction into The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame were released, and 3 iconic board games (4 depending on which side you are on) made the cut.  They are as follows:

  • Bubble Wrap. Created by accident in 1957 by two engineers who were attempting to develop a new kind of wallpaper.  (given that a previous winner was blankets, this makes sense)
  • Care Bears. Began as a line of greeting cards in the early 1980s but evolved into a brand whose bears star in storybooks, television shows and games.
  • Coloring Book. New York printer McLoughlin Brothers is credited with inventing the books that have enjoyed renewed popularity lately thanks to adult-oriented versions featuring complex designs.
  • Clue. The game that invites players to solve a murder remains a best-seller nearly 70 years after its release.
  • Dungeons & Dragons. The 1970s role-playing game featuring imaginary worlds of magic and monsters influenced today’s computer game industry.
  • Fisher-Price Little People. A wooden version first rode the Safety School Bus in 1959. The brightly painted figures were given arms and legs in the 1990s.
  • Nerf. The foam balls safe enough to throw indoors were first produced in the 1960s.
  • Pinball. The machines have long been a mainstay at bars, amusement parks and arcades, with players using flippers to launch steel balls through mazes.
  • Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. Competitors throw mechanical punches in an effort to knock the block off of their opponent’s boxer.
  • Swing. Found in ancient cave drawings in Europe and ceramic vases from Greece — and in playgrounds and backyards everywhere.
  • Transformers. Hasbro’s shape-changing action figures are featured in comic books, games, breakfast cereal and movies, the latest of which is due out in June.
  • Uno. The 1971 game where players dispose of the cards in their hands has sold steadily for more than four decades.

Two out of these 12 nominees will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on November 10th and reside alongside toys like the Legos, Barbie, and Chess.  You can see the list and previous winners on the Hall of Fame website.

rock paper wizard

WizKids, in partnership with Wizards of the Coast, have announced a new Rock Paper Scissor type game called Rock Paper Wizard.  In this game you have a bunch of cards depicting different spells from the iconic Dungeons and Dragons game.  In addition to the name and effect, there is also a hand gesture for each spell which is what you have to make with your own hands and then point them at your intended target.  The effects of these spells vary from moving your opponents, moving yourself, stealing from them or taking from a hoard of gold.  The object of the game is to take 25 pieces of said gold before any other wizard can, thus making you the winner.

Honestly I am not sure if we needed a more complicated version of Rock Paper Scissors, but with the addition of DnD spells, a board, and end goal beyond just wining the current game, it could work.  The game plays up to 6 people and will hit store shelves in January of next year, you can read the press release below for more information.

WizKids Announces its New Spell-Casting Game System: ROCK PAPER WIZARD and Taps Dungeons & Dragons® for the Debut Edition

Hillside, NJ — WizKids announced Rock Paper Wizard today, a fast paced, high energy card game that combines strategy, luck and a wee bit of hand coordination! The Dungeons & Dragons edition of Rock Paper Wizard gathers some of the most iconic spells from Wizards of the Coast’s popular fantasy roleplaying game for a spell casting challenge. The game will be available at your local game store for $19.99 in January 2017.

“We are proud to kick off our new spell-casting game system Rock Paper Wizard, a rollicking fun game of casting spells using hand gestures,” says Zev Shlasinger, Director of Board Games at WizKids. “We couldn’t be more excited about this debut and our partnership with our friends at Wizards of the Coast. Stay tuned for some really amazing games!”

Rock Paper Wizard is a fast-paced card game for 3 to 6 players who must try to outwit their opponents in an epic race for loot!

Choose your wizard’s spell and cast some magic by repeating one of the hand gestures found on the cards in front of you. Everyone says “Rock, Paper, Wizard” aloud, and upon saying “Wizard”, forms a hand gesture and points it towards a target. Each card describes the spell’s effect, which can push opponents towards the exit, advance themselves towards the hoard, or manipulate the coins wizards must collect to win.

The first player to collect 25 gold pieces wins a game of Rock Paper Wizard but it’s such a frenetic experience that you’ll want to jump right in and play again!

For additional information and images, please visit: http://wizkids.com/

Wizards of the Coast continues to create content for their most iconic RPG property with a brand new adventure book.  The new book is the Storm King’s Thunder and will bring giants into the forefront and have them battling it out in the world as people wonder where the Storm King is who normally keeps them in line.  Small folk (pretty much every other playable race) will have to band together to combat this new threat and harness a new power, rune magic.  While rune magic has been the giant’s weapon against the dragons for ages, now you will have to wield it to fight back against the giants.  Look for this adventure book to be released on September 6th, 2016 and you can read more at the DnD Website.

Wizkids just dropped two new announcements to coincide with the announcement of the next adventure book for DnD, Storm King’s Thunder.  First is that they will continue to expand the Miniatures for Icons line of pre-painted minis to include the iconic characters from the new adventure.  They will be randomly sorted so what you will get in each pack will be random, look for them on store shelves in September of 2016.

Next is a new premium DnD board game called Assault of the Giants.  In this game you will take control of a type of giant and attempt to seize control of all giantkind.  In the game you will attack settlements to score points and secure important resources, like food, treasure, ore, and runes.  The minis in the game will be giant sized standing upwards of 5″ tall, and the price unfortunately will match.  Look for this game in the Spring of 2017 and you can read more about both announcements on WizKids’ website.

Dungeons-Dragons-Tyrants-of-the-Underdark-510x449

Some images have emerged of the latest DnD game from Wizards of the Coast and Gale Force Nine, and it’s shaping up to be an area control type game instead of the previous adventure style games that have come out.  From the description, each player will be taking control of a Drow house and you will be vying for control of the different areas and regions in the Underdark and whoever controls the most at the end wins.

You will do this through playing cards and building your deck by recruiting newer and more powerful cards from the central market.  It looks to be an interesting game designed by Peter Lee, Rodney Thompson, and Andrew Veen, with a player count of two to four and play time of about an hour.  Look for it’s release in May of this year and you can look at the Merchoid pre-order page to see all the pictures, description and to pre-order.

gen con 2

‘Playing Roles’ is our ongoing spotlight on tabletop roleplaying games, dedicated to introducing this wonderful hobby to the board gaming community. We’ll be looking at strategies for getting started, interesting developments in the industry, special events, and other topics pertaining to all things roleplaying. If you have any questions, hit me up on Twitter at @GCPDblue.

One Ring to Rule Them All

As many of you know, this week marks the high point of the gaming convention season. Gen Con is, without a doubt, the biggest gaming convention in the United States bringing in legions of publishers, retailers, press, and most importantly, gamers. It’s an unbelievable celebration of everything we love. Whether you’re going there to play demos of unpublished games, get the scoop on upcoming releases, buy limited print runs of games, or just spend some quality time with your fellow geeks, Gen Con is the right place to be. What you might not know, however, is that Gen Con is home to a slew of exciting roleplaying events as well.

One Ring to Find Them

One look at the Gen Con schedule this year and you can see how much goblin slaying and magic missile casting is done each and every day of the convention.  Events are divided into Role Playing Games (RPG), Role Playing Gamers Association (RPGA) games, and Live Action Role Playing (LARP). What does all that mean?

Role Playing Games are what you want, especially if you’re a beginner. These are one-shot games that take just a few hours to play. The gamemasters that run these sessions provide pre-generated characters, dice, and everything else you might need, and unless otherwise stated, these games are welcome to experienced and inexperienced roleplayers alike.  All you have to bring is your curiosity and a positive attitude.

RPGA games are organized events. These are akin to tournaments, though not necessarily competitive, and are designed for career roleplayers to bring their unique characters to the next chapter of an ongoing campaign. These sessions are certainly fascinating to watch, but definitely work best for experienced gamers that are very familiar with the systems being played.

Finally there’s LARP, which is a special category of roleplaying that melds stagecraft with traditional roleplaying. Players participating in LARP embody their characters often through costumes, gear, accents, and other affectations common to live theater. Even the mechanisms of the games are adapted to fit this hyper real approach to roleplaying with padded weaponry, vials of colored water representing potions, special lighting and sound effects, and more. It’s not to everyone’s taste, but you have to applaud the commitment these gamers have to the hobby.

One Ring to Bring Them All

d and d

If you’re attending Gen Con this year, I recommend signing up for a session or two of regular roleplaying. The great thing about convention RPGs is that they’re meant to be self-contained and full of big memorable set pieces. As I mentioned earlier, these sessions are tailored for players of all experience levels (unless stated otherwise) and will often favor story and fun over rules lawyering and pedantry.

For a gaming experience that won’t have you scrambling to understand the rules, I recommend sessions that use the new Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, Fantasy Flight Games’s Star Wars games (Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion, or Force & Destiny), Fate Accelerated (FAE), or Savage Worlds for a good well-rounded easy-to-grasp experience. That said, no matter how esoteric the game or the system sounds, it won’t take long to grasp the rules and start chucking dice.

And in the Darkness, Bind Them

true dungeon beholder

Finally I wanted to spotlight something very unique to Gen Con: True Dungeon. True Dungeon is a live action cooperative roleplaying experience like no other. The organizers, consisting of hundreds of volunteers each year, erect amazing fantasy sets, covering over 40,000 square feet of convention space, full of devious puzzles and challenging encounters. Players take on the role of wizards, fighters, and rogues applying their specialized skills to defeat creatures and disarm complex traps. All of this is done through the use of item tokens, memory and dexterity puzzles, animatronics, actors, audio and video presentations, and props of all kinds. If you think of the escape room phenomenon that’s sweeping the country right now, you’ll be on the right track. This introductory video does a nice job of showing what True Dungeon has to offer.

Every year, True Dungeon ups the ante even more with harder to solve puzzles and ingenious interactive elements. With a brand new storyline starting next year, I can’t wait to see what they’ll do to top previous True Dungeon events. If you have the opportunity to give this event a try sometime, I highly recommend it even with the high cost of entry. It’s not exactly traditional roleplaying, but you’ll have a great time and that’s really what’s important.