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My rpgKids followup…

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 15:37

I’ve been working here and there on a follow up to rpgKids, and I’m slowly getting to the finish line…

I launched a webpage for the project today, so I thought I’d link it here. There’s not much there but a description of the setting/story of the game. Soon, when I have more to share I’ll start talking playtests, art and mechanics.

Basic RGB

If you are into gaming with your kids, or enjoyed rpgKids, I hope you give it a look once it’s out.

I should say that the game is very different from rpgKids, it’s a new game, completely disconnected from rpgKids. This isn’t 2.0


Check it out here. 


D&D News out of GAMA Trade Show

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 23:17

The GAMA Trade Show is currently taking place in Vegas (where Greg Leeds, WOTC CEO is the keynote speaker), and some news regarding D&D 5th Ed. came out following WOTC’s presentation. No mention was made of a release date or price point, ignoring what we all know was leaked from the Barnes and Noble website, but WOTC did confirm a Beginner’s Box and a PHB. So yeah, Barnes and Noble’s information was basically spot on… Here’s the information made public today (keep in mind WOTC asked that no pictures be taken):

  • Beginner’s Box Set that will launch before anything else does. Described as “gorgeous” and “closer to 4e starter box than the Pathfinder box” by @imboardgameson twitter.
  • The “guiding light” through the design of 5e has been “What would Gary and Dave do?”
  • PHB has a beholder on the cover (I’ll assume there are also adventurers kicking this beholder’s ass on the cover)
  • MM has a Fire Giant on the cover
  • DMG has Drow and an Underdark fight scene on the cover, its focus is locations, scenes and magic items
  • No multiple PHBs
  • 4e will remain available as long as people want it

So there you go, a bit of news on D&D. No release dates or price points, but at least we know we are getting the three books and a boxed set. And people have already seen all four of these items. It’s coming folks.

Oh, here’s my artistic recreation of that PHB cover:



If you would like to support, perhaps you’d consider visiting for your next rpg related purchase. Check out the following products:

Chessex Role Playing Play Mat: Battlemat Double-Sided Reversible Mat for RPGs and Miniature Figure Games (26 in x 23 1/2 in) Squares/Hexes

Dungeon Tiles Master Set – The City: An Essential Dungeons & Dragons Accessory (4th Edition D&D)

The Witchlight Fens – Dungeon Tiles: A 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons Accessory (4th Edition D&D)

Thank You!

5e Release dates leaked

Sun, 03/02/2014 - 16:47

Well, it’s happened again… an online retailer has beat WOTC to the punch in announcing release dates future material. The Barnes and Noble webstore has pages for two 5e products, a starter set valued at $19.99  and the Player’s Handbook, which arrives with a cover price of  $49.95. The items release on July 15th and August 19th respectively. Interestingly, there’s no listing for the Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manual. Whether they release on the same day as the PHB remains to be seen, although I would be inclined to believe that they are.

Also, the game is simply referred to as “Dungeons and Dragons”, the “next” monicker is thankfully gone.  So, thoughts… I have them. The first one is “yay!”, we are getting a shiny new D&D this summer. Awesome. I’ll be lined up at Gencon getting my copy, no doubt. It’s exciting to me as a gamer and fan of the brand. A rising D&D lifts all ships, or so says the hive. :)

My next thoughts are just personal opinions on D&D as a published product, and my personal preferences. If you don’t care about opinions, stop reading, follow the links I provided, and enjoy the great news. We have release dates! Habemus D&D.

On a personal level, I’m a bit disappointed in that the 3 book release format (assuming this is the way it’s going to be released, and I have no idea if it is) will once again be the way we get D&D. While it’s part of the D&D tradition at this point, I really would just prefer one single fat book with all I need to play, with supplements available as PDFs. Single books in the style of Edge of the Empire, 13th Age, Rules Cyclopedia, and to an extent even Pathfinder which includes most you need to play in one book (since monsters are all freely available online using the SRD). I would gladly pay $60-$70 for a book that includes everything I need to get rolling. A $50 PHB sounds like a similar price is coming for the other two books (if the 4e model holds). That’s a hefty $150 for all three books. Oh, and PDFs? At this point I expect them to release alongside print, and would be really disappointed if they weren’t an option. Even if it’s a waiting period of a few months after the print launch, I want to see pdf’s.

Having said that, chances are we will find the books cheaper online once they release, so I doubt most would pay full price for their D&D experience anyway, but still, price is a concern for more than one gamer. Not everyone has deep pockets.

As far as the starter set is concerned, I was so disappointed in the 4e red box that I’m not even thinking about this as an option for me. Starter sets are important products that shouldn’t be seen as after thoughts. I hope they get this one right. They should look at Pathfinder’s for inspiration.

Personal opinions aside, we have a release date. August 19th for the D&D Player’s Handbook.  It’s going to be a fun summer…

If you would like to support, perhaps you’d consider visiting for your next rpg related purchase. Check out the following products:

World of Greyhawk AD&D Boxed Set

Menzoberranzan AD&D Boxed Set

Conquest of Nerath: A D&D Boardgame

Legend of Drizzt: A D&D Boardgame

Working on a new kids’ game

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 14:51

I’ve been working on a new kids’ game the past few months, and it’s finally starting to take shape. I’m pretty excited about it. As opposed to rpgKids, which was basically a pretty simple ruleset with no story attached, this game will have a story built into it, and not be as combat focused as rpgKids is.   The game is going to skew older than rpgKids, and I’m trying to iron out its complexity, and that’s where playtesting will come in. For a while I struggled with what rules to use with the game, because I didn’t want to get into the rule-design game. Thinking of mechanics and how moving parts work together isn’t my strength, but I tried a few systems available for licensing and they didn’t feel right for what I was trying to do, so I just went ahead and created my own simple thing.  I’ve shamelessly taken bits and pieces of things that I like from other games and created something with them.

The game uses a simple 3d6+modifiers resolution mechanic, it’s easy, the bell curve helps me out tremendously in designing for it, and everyone has six sided dice laying around. One of the things I created for it was  a “Luck” mechanic to the roll, which is part of the setting’s story. So rolling a certain number on the Luck Die unlocks and triggers special abilities and other things, which I like that I was able to directly tie a mechanic to the setting.  Another aspect of the game which I’m excited about is that the setting instantly places kids in the role of heroes for a very specific reason, it isn’t just “because”. The story puts kids in the special position of being very important to the world, and I think that this should resonate at the table. It was important to me as a designer to do that, and I think I’ve pulled it off.

Lastly, is character creation. I can create a character for this game in probably under 3-4 minutes. It’s a classless system, unlike rpgKids, and it should spur some creativity in the char gen process beyond crunching numbers, which I’ve tried to stay away from.

I may be a fool for trying to follow up rpgKids. That game came out at a time where there was a bit of a void in that arena. Today, there are many games out there filling that niche, and rpgKids is seen in some circles as too crude, amateurish, and over simplistic. All adjectives which I will cop to, as I designed the game in my office for my daughter. No more, no less. But I’m throwing my hat in the ring again. I’m not showing much about the game yet because there’s nothing to show. I have no art done, no logo, nothing. Playtesting should start next month, and I’ll be reaching out to my friends out there who helped me with rpgKids, and those who express interest. In time I hope to have more to share. I’m excited.


Looking for an artist or two

Thu, 01/30/2014 - 00:10

Here’s the deal. I’m looking for an artist for a secret super duper special project (my next kid’s game, don’t tell anyone… shhh).

Right now I need some art to give my work-in-progress play test document some flavor, I’m thinking one or two pieces of art should do it.

So here’s what I need… send me a sample of dragons. I want to see your dragon drawings. Make them cute, tough, cartoony, serious. Send me a couple of dragons. If I like your dragon, I’ll pay you to draw something for me and maybe even hire you to work with me on my game.

It’s easy money. :) My address is newbiedm @, please put “Dragon” in the subject.

Have you checked out rpgKids, my role playing game for kids’ ages 4 and up?

If you would like to support, perhaps you’d consider visiting for your next rpg related purchase. Check out the following products:

World of Greyhawk AD&D Boxed Set

Menzoberranzan AD&D Boxed Set

Conquest of Nerath: A D&D Boardgame

Legend of Drizzt: A D&D Boardgame

Gencon Bound

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 00:28

After two years of not attending “the best four days in gaming”, I’ve decided to once again attend Gencon 2014. The reasons were twofold, first because of the expected celebrations around the release of DnD 5th Ed. and DnD’s 40th anniversary, which I would like to be there for, and second because I miss hanging out with the many nice people I’ve met thanks to my site and twitter feed. I applied (and was granted) a press pass, so I’ll be covering the weekend’s events both for my site, twitter, and G+… But there’s still plenty of time still to think about that…

This was my first time using Gencon’s hotel booking system, on my previous trips to Gencon I bunked with someone who had already booked a room. Apparently the system in use this year, Passkey, just couldn’t handle the load and all hell broke lose. Twitter lit up with people complaining of pages crashing, endless queue times, pages not registering room selections… chaos. Full disclosure: I was able to get the room I wanted, but the system did have tremendous lag and it booted me once. Not sure how I landed the room I did (Marriott Courtyard), but I’m thankful for it.

The hobby is growing, and Gencon breaks all sorts of attendance records year after year. In 2013 Gencon had a weekend turnstile attendance of 159,364 and unique attendance of 49,058. The con grew 20% from 2012’s record-setting 41,000+ attendees. But with this growth, comes situations like today’s… There are 33,000 hotel rooms in Indy, and 7100 of those are downtown.  Can Indy really handle a large con like Gencon, one that seems to not stop growing?   What do you think?

Here’s a 2012 study on Indy’s hotel space.

As an aside… The NRA is hosting it’s annual con on April of this year in Indy, and they are estimating that 70,000 gun lovers will be showing up. I wonder if they are going through the same types of housing issues that Gencon attendees are going through today…

Have you checked out rpgKids, my role playing game for kids’ ages 4 and up?

If you would like to support, perhaps you’d consider visiting for your next rpg related purchase. Check out the following products:

World of Greyhawk AD&D Boxed Set

Menzoberranzan AD&D Boxed Set

Conquest of Nerath: A D&D Boardgame

Legend of Drizzt: A D&D Boardgame