GAMA (aka the GAMA Trade Show or GTS) was in Las Vegas in mid-March. SJ Games sent me, Ross, Phil, Michelle, Paul, and Moe . . . leaving a corporal's guard to hold the fort. The preceding weeks had been very crazy indeed, since it was absolutely necessary that Car Wars be back from the printer in time to give out samples. It made it . . . baaaarely. I will be happy to go for a while without any more escapes that narrow.
Didn't see a THING of Las Vegas this time. Only left the hotel building once the whole time, and that was to walk to get some Coke, since the Orleans Casino is (ick) a Pepsi-only property. Fortunately, the Orleans has a lot of different restaurants, most with decent food but all, apparently, with uniformly bad service. I heard some real horror stories, and lived through a couple. However, it's a good convention facility.
I thought we put on a good show . . . the booth looked very good, with big posters for Munchkin, GURPS WWII, Frag, and other current biggies . . . plus a huge Car Wars display featuring counters more than 2 feet long. Now we need to build a really huge Turning Key . . .
Everybody looked very spiffy and professional in their black polo shirts with the pyramid logo. Paul was definitely our martyr of the show . . . he stayed on his feet almost the whole time, demonstrating Car Wars.
The show itself was well organized . . . possibly the best one ever, and certainly the biggest. Props to Mark Simmons, GAMA's Executive Director, for putting it all together.
So what did I see there that was neat? Three things spring to mind:
Ooo, you know, the police could probably get some use out of this program, too.
-- Suggested by Chris Dicely
So the feds showed up AGAIN. This time, it wasn't here - it was THERE. And it wasn't the Treasury Department; it was the Directorate of Homeland Security and Color-Coded Alerts. Seems they had taken over the airport Holiday Inn to screen would-be airport screeners. They had thrown megabucks at it to turn it into an instant Homeland Security Command Post . . . upgraded its power supplies and Net connection . . . filled up the function space with shiny new Dell computers and little gray cubicles . . . and they were running a little bit behind schedule. Days behind, apparently. So when we got there, inarticulate individuals with guns were rolling their eyes at all the scary fans, and keeping the con staff out of the space they had contracted for.
And this went on all through Friday. As toastmaster Cullen Johnson put it . . . "I had to pee in three cups just to get to Registration."
(An aside. I have witnessed, and endured, enough idiocy on the part of our current corporate-minimum-wage screening system to agree that SOMETHING should change. I'm tempted to sing you the Argenbright song, to the tune of Mickey Mouse, but I won't . . . yet. I'm just skeptical about any expensive crash government program that takes more than six months to start replacing the private-sector morons with its own mor . . . err, more qualified workers. If the Ministry of Internal Inconvenience were serious about protecting us, the National Guard would have been running those screening machines the moment the airports reopened in mid-September. If they can teach minimum-wagers to use that equipment, I do believe the Guardsmen could figure it out. But I digress.)
At any rate, the hotel was a mess. But the con staff responded magnificently. Nobody blew their stack or hurled themselves out of a window. The con attendees were understanding. And the hotel staff was incredibly helpful, considering what THEY had been going through; some of them hadn't slept for days, dealing with the various Fed demands while trying to keep their other commitments as much as they could.
And gradually, things sorted themselves out. The feds and fed-minions percolated away. The con got underway. Almost nothing wound up WHERE it was supposed to be, but almost everything happened SOMEPLACE. And people had fun. This con marked the debut of the new edition of Car Wars. And for me, the continuing Car Wars demo was a high point. It was run by John Blaylock, a former World Duelling Champion . . . who does the best job of explaining the rules that I have ever heard. Ably assisted by henchmen Hugh and Shorty, he did a fantastic job of spreading the Car Wars gospel and introducing a lot of people, ranging from old hands to very young players, to the game.
What else can I say? We played some Ogre (the Fencer, though stripped of weapons, made it to its objective, crunch, pop, aieeeee.) It was wonderful to see Carolyn Cherryh again. I met some new people that I really liked, and got to play games with some of them.
What else to note about this con? Hmm. They serve Real Food in the con suite, a practice of which I heartily approve (especially in a hotel where the staff has been going without sleep, if you get my drift). They are Nice, with a capital N, to their guests. The attendees are not afraid to play new games. The dealer room had several actual BOOKsellers in it - all too rare at modern cons, and very appreciated.
All in all, a good time was had by me. And everyone else, as far as I could tell.
(Yes, I know I owe y'all about three more con reports. I'll work backwards.)
-- Steve Jackson
And it gives me an excuse to plug GURPS Mars, coming in May.
-- Scott Haring
Of course, these products are not related to GURPS in any way, although the upcoming 2nd edition of Prime Directive (with entirely different titles and stock numbers) is an entirely new Powered by GURPS product.
This incorrect data was added by a catalog employee in an attempt to be helpful. Unfortunately, it’s not . . .
While these products are all but out of stock at ADB Inc., many distributors have copies in their warehouses which were purchased years ago. We advise all distributors to note in their databases that these products (listed below) are not GURPS related, and to warn any store trying to order them of this fact. ADB Inc. recently dropped these items from its catalog. The five products in question are:
5801 Prime Directive (first edition)
5802 Graduation Exercise (GM Screen)
5803 Prime Adventures #1
5811 UFP Federation Sourcebook
The new "Powered by GURPS" version of Prime Directive will have ADB stock numbers in the 8000 range.
Fire Zone (Frag Expansion 2)
The arena gets hotter! Fire Zone thrusts Frag players into two deadly new arenas where massive pools of boiling lava are as dangerous as the other players. A separate rulesheet details the new terrain and several new rules, including rocket jumps, knockback effects from weapons, and jump pads. A lot of destruction is packed into this inexpensive expansion for the best-selling "computerless first person shooter."
Double-sided map plus rulesheet.
Munchkin 2: Unnatural Axe
You demanded it, and here it is. Created by Steve Jackson and illustrated by John Kovalic . . . 112 more cards for the game of killing monsters and taking their stuff. Play a new race: Orcs! Face foes like the Hydrant and the Tentacle Demon. Equip yourself with dread armor like the Spiked Codpiece. Recruit allies like the Shoulder Dragon. Wield mighty weapons like Druid Fluid, the Catapult and, of course, the dread Unnatural Axe . . . and show them who’s the greatest munchkin of all.
Traveller Deck Plan 6 - Dragon-Class System Defense Boat
The Dragon-class 400-ton system defense boat is the most commonly encountered SDB in the Imperium. Dragons are used for customs patrol, piracy suppression, search and rescue operations, and many other missions. This set also includes deck plans for the 200-ton clamp-on jump shuttle, used to transfer SDBs from system to system (and a starship in its own right). Because the SDB is so often encountered on non-military missions, this deck plan will be of interest even to GMs who are not running military-oriented campaigns. It includes nine double-sided sheets (hexes on one side, squares on the other), and a set of Cardboard Heroes miniatures.
Nine 2-sided sheets plus Cardboard Heroes figures.
Car Wars Division 5 Set 1 - Killer Kart vs. Shrimp
Car Wars launches with three Division 5 sets. Each one gives you rules, full-color 2-sided counters, a turning key, and two evenly matched car designs. Get one and play. Get 'em all and you've got six cars – host your own Amateur Night! The Killer Kart has launched the career of many an autoduellist . . . snipe with your machine gun, and discourage pursuers with dropped mines. The Shrimp is a lethal subcompact with body blades, a micro missile launcher in front, and a one-shot heavy rocket in back.
16 pages with full-color counter insert.
Car Wars Division 5 Set 2 - Stinger vs. Firecracker
Car Wars launches with three Division 5 sets. Each one gives you rules, full-color 2-sided counters, a turning key, and two evenly matched car designs. Get one and play. Get 'em all and you've got six cars – host your own Amateur Night! The Stinger has high acceleration and a recoilless rifle for long-range punch. The Firecracker is a subcompact ram car with lots of armor and a single heavy rocket . . . and it drops explosive spikes!
16 pages plus full-color counters.
Car Wars Division 5 Set 3 - Napalm vs. Dagger
Car Wars launches with three Division 5 sets. Each one gives you rules, full-color 2-sided counters, a turning key, and two evenly matched car designs. Get one and play. Get 'em all and you've got six cars – host your own Amateur Night! The Napalm barbecues its opponents with twin front-mounted flamethrowers. The Dagger is a ram car with a deadly micro-missile launcher. Division 10 variations are included for both cars.
16 pages plus full-color counters.
-- Suggested by Omar K. Ravenhurst and Bob Schroeck
Graphic Artist - Steve Jackson Games needs eye-catching web graphics, in the style of the ad banners on Pyramid - that is, collages of logos and images. Compensation will be in product credit. How many banners do we need? Lots. So more than one person in this role would be fine.
Wizard in the Pyramid chat areas, for MOO maintenance and tweaking. This position requires a high level of MOO skill and a fair amount of free time and interest. This is not a "push the volunteer in the deep end" situation, as Kira is alive and well and not abandoning her domain . . . we just want some depth in our MOO backfield.
Contact the Volunteer Coordinator (email@example.com) with your interest and qualifications for these positions.
Congratulations to everyone who worked on these nominees!
After GAMA, everybody else has to come home, but I get to go to MidSouthCon in Memphis. This will be the public launch of Car Wars. I'll have all nine of the Starter Sets to show off, including the six that won't really be released just yet. Heh, heh. So come and play.
By the way, I have NOT forgotten that I owe everyone a report on the good times had at the Lego convention, and at Leprecon in Dublin. It will happen . . .
-- Steve Jackson
For background, check out this U.S.Army page.
Now think about combining it with technology for mental control of computer hardware . . .Maybe we don't want to be battlesuits. Maybe we want to be fighter planes.
-- Steve Jackson
-- Suggested by David Cunnius
"Now imagine the dream car belongs to your dad, and you want to borrow it."
So begins the Car Wars contest on OgreCave.com. But you'll have to go there to see the rules and prizes. Heh, heh.
And of course, we had found a way to further optimize some of the vehicles in the interim, so they got tweaked. Panic, panic, fix, fix, done. (As this is written, we have faxed approval of the changed proofs back to the printer.)
You can hope that some of these beautiful proofs show up in the auction, but most of them are going to be divided up among the development team or sent to the lead playtesters.
This is going to be so massively neat . . . Yeah, I'm excited. So sue me.
-- Steve Jackson
Read the CNN story.
I think this is going to be a very, very fine edition of the game, and if we are extremely lucky it might even make GAMA.
Now, don't anybody follow the link to the CW website yet, because we're nowhere near through updating it.
-- Steve Jackson
For more details than you really want, see the Houston Chronicle story.
If you want to get in the act for this quarter, visit Frag
-- Suggested by Scott McNair
But last Thursday we sat around all day and played games.
Just because we'd never done it before, and everybody deserved a break, we declared it Game Day. We playtested Car Wars and Fire Zone and a couple you're not yet cleared for. On the clock, yet.
And Friday we went back to work. But we had a good time . . .
We're happy to have such a talented writer and editor rejoining us. Welcome back, Scott!
-- Andrew Hackard, Managing Editor
The story will introduce a new character to the Hellboy continuity. Orson Gaines is a former British SAS agent and the newest member of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense team, and his debut will be "a fast and furious story in the typical Hellboy fashion," Reed said.
Nitz will script the story (with assistance from Mignola himself), while Zach Howard and Peter Bergting will handle the pencils and inks, respectively.
Reed said, "After years as a fan it was a thrill to work on a Hellboy story. Everyone involved had so much fun working on it that we already have more in the works to be released as the year goes on."
The Hellboy RPG, scheduled for an August release, will also feature an original short story by Christopher Golden. The RPG is an entry in SJ Games' "Powered by GURPS" line of roleplaying games that use the award-winning GURPS rules, but come with the basic GURPS system integrated into the text, making the book a complete game.
Hellboy is an award-winning series of comic books and graphic novels published on a regular basis by Oregon-based Dark Horse Comics. Other products in the always-expanding Hellboy line include a metal lunchbox, a PVC figure set, and a soft vinyl statue, all available from Dark Horse. To learn more about Hellboy, visit www.DarkHorse.com.
For more information, contact Philip Reed (firstname.lastname@example.org) at (512) 447-7866.
-- Scott Haring
-- Suggested by Ed Fortune
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