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Design Diary – The Philosophy of Mad Science

Wed, 02/10/2016 - 13:00

Check out Doomtown: Reloaded’s latest Saddlebag, Bad Medicine, on sale now!

By now we’ve exposed you to the design guidelines for all spell types, as well as the tidal dynamics of Kung Fu. However, even though they’ve been in the game since the Base Set, we still haven’t taken the time to explore mad science in the world of Doomtown:Reloaded. It’s high time we cover that gap.

Gadgets are a big part of the Doomtown story. Not only are they a very cool aspect of the game, but they’ve always been immensely popular among the players. In Classic Doomtown, there was a whole outfit dedicated to them, but of course in Doomtown:Reloaded, they’ve been put to more practical use by the ranchers of the Morgan Cattle Co. and those do-gooders in the Law Dogs.

While mad science is a skill, it doesn’t exactly follow the same rules as the spells. Particularly, gadgets require quite more effort up-front to invent and put into play. However, as a tradeoff, you only need to pull for them once and afterwards you can trade them to the most appropriate dude to hold them. This is unlike spells where the original spellcaster needs to hold them until they leave play.

But the difference in how they enter play and attach is far from the only difference between gadgets and spells. The truth is that mad science does not even work within the same paradigm as spells. Rather than the three usual questions answered for spells (“How does it affect game state”,”How does it win shootouts”, “How does it affect out of play cards”), a gadget breaks out of the mold and provides its own answers.

Gadgets are multifaceted.
One advantage we aim to provide when you’re using mad science is that you’ll need fewer cards to provide the same amount of raw power you’d get from normal goods. Theoretically, this should allow you to dedicate less card slots for that purpose and instead cover some holes in your strategy, or find space for alternative tactics.

yagnsmechanicalskeleton_cardA prime example of this raw power is the newly released Yagn’s Mechanical Skeleton. By itself, it not only covers your needs for bullets, influence, and increased value on one dude, but and also serves as a hard counter for control effects. And if that wasn’t enough, the same card is well suited either for Horse decks, as well as gadget dude decks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

personalornithopter_cardSimilarly, the recent Personal Ornithopter, is suited for both constantly enabling your main shooter to join every battle, as well as allowing your squishier dudes to avoid getting caught in the crossfire.

While this strength has not been utilized as much until now, expect to see more of it in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

Gadgets alchemize economic power into game advantage.
Gadgets (and their related cards) are the only type of card which can turn raw ghost rock into raw power. Normally, the only way to spend your money is to play more cards from your hand, or just pay for a dude’s upkeep. This leads to situations where you either don’t have enough money to play all the cards you want, or where you have more money than you know what to do with. An example of this a situation is where you play deeds, to the point where  you can’t leverage the extra income and only care about their control points. However if you don’t put enough deeds in your deck, you’re constantly starved for playing all those other cool cards you want.

disgenuinecurrencypress_cardIn contrast, a gadget player can easily include a ton of deeds in their deck and rely on repeat gadget abilities to efficiently put all that money to good use. Whether that is via cycling out their useless cards via Xemo’s Turban, running circles around their enemies using Mechanical Horse, or making sure an opponent always suffers in shootouts by keeping things tied through a Force Field. Mad scientists have a ton of these effects, and even a few of these gadgets in play can mean not a drop of ghost rock goes wasted.

Of course all these effects can be tricky to use in the fragile early game, so until a gadget player’s economy stabilizes via deeds, they can use cards like the Disgenuine Currency Press, or the Recursive Motion Machine to provide them with the funds needed.

Gadgets cross card type boundaries.
While spells will always be spells and Kung Fu will always be actions, with a few abilities here and there instructing you to make the relevant skill checks, gadgets have no problem crossing type boundaries and providing you with gadget dudes and gadget deeds. Not only that, but such cards tend to be quite above the curve to make up for the hefty costs of inventing. Thus, all gadget dudes until now have been Non-Unique, providing you with plenty of expendable bodies in the same value with great stats or abilities. Similarly all gadget deeds have been providing amazing value for money, either giving an instant return on investment, as in the case of Secured Stockyard, or aggressive control and built-in protection like with Miasmatic Purifier.

This allows a gadget player to utilize their mad scientists not only for their hearts but their spades and diamonds as well, never leaving their expensive skilled dudes with nothing to do.

On Gadget Power Level
That said, it is true that gadgets have not managed to do as well when compared to other strong competitive archetypes, despite being wicked fun to play and having a ton of fans. This has to do with figuring out the fact that it’s been quite tricky to discover where the golden mean lies in regards to the hefty costs involved in gadget-making. At times, their total costs (i.e. GR cost, deck building restrictions, booting a mad scientist, etc.) only net makes them into slightly more powerful cards than normal goods, which is just not worth it, if one appends the opportunity cost involved. An apt example being the comparison of Winchester Rifle or Pearl Handled Revolver to the core set’s Flamethrower.

It’s taken us a while to figure out where the power level of a gadget needs to stand before it can pull its weight in regards to its complete costs. And while previous gadgets are not by any means worthless, they simply have not received the synergies they needed.

With Dirty Deeds, Foul Play, and Bad Medicine, we are confident mad science will get the support it needs from cards like Marty, Janoz Pratt and Luke the Errand Boy, in addition to new gadgets invented to put the fear of science into your unfortunate opponents.

Categories: Company News

Inside the R & D Ranch: A Look at the Playtest Process

Mon, 02/08/2016 - 13:00

Check out Doomtown: Reloaded’s latest Saddlebag, Bad Medicine, on sale now!

Howdy folks, Dan Knight here. Today I get to share something really cool with you all: an insider’s look into the world of playtesting Doomtown: Reloaded.

To take you through this journey, we’re going to look at two cards that greatly affected each other during the test phase and the decisions that were made to get them to their final form: Xemo’s Turban and Arnold Stewart.

xemosturban_cardarnoldstewart_card

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before we start though, let’s take a look at the process as a whole.

Each cycle, we generally test three saddlebags at a time, and the cards are given to us on a schedule closely resembling the release schedule for the actual product in so much that we “normally” get a set of cards to look at, break, test, fix, and terrorise each other with every eighteen weeks or so (this is shorter when we get a Pine Box thrown in). New set day for us is just as exciting as spoilers are for you guys … only we have to wait longer.

I came on board with playtest in January 2015. At that time, Immovable Object, Unstoppable Force had been finalised, The Light Shineth was just wrapping up, and the next three Saddlebags (Dirty Deeds, Foul Play, and Bad Medicine) had been released to the test team (so we’re about a year ahead).

During each playtest cycle, we play many, many games of Doomtown. There are a number of different playtest teams, and each one is responsible for rating all of the cards and relaying those results to the Design Team. The team then tweaks, fixes, or completely changes what a card does and passes it back for us to try and break again. We currently have forty-four playtesters spread over eight teams from all around the world.

Xemo’s Turban

Xemo’s Turban is the first Experimental gadget that doesn’t do something nasty when you pull a club. Instead, it just fails to work. But this is its final form. This wasn’t the case when it started out. When we first got it, it looked like this:

Repeat, Noon, Pay 1 Ghost Rock: Draw a card. Choose a card in your play hand and pull. If the pull is a club, ace that card, otherwise discard it.

As you can see the “pull a club = bad stuff happens” aspect of Experimental gadgets is still there, but is it really that bad? It sounds like it should be; you have to ace a card if you pull a club. As it turns out, we realised very quickly that it gave you a repeatable way to thin your deck. You actually WANTED to pull clubs. A simple and effective repeatable action to remove all of your off-value cards. Some of the early test decks using this were also putting Lula’s Exploit to good use letting you effectively use the Turban twice for free.

Multiple playtesters quickly raised this as being far too efficient and it was flagged as being too good. However, the change to its final version didn’t happen until we started to combo Xemo’s Turban with Arnold Stewart.

When Arnold first arrived he looked like this:

Noon: Boot a Gadget on Arnold to look at the top five cards of your deck. You may boot Arnold to place an out of town deed into your hand and replace the other cards on top of your deck in any order.

So he didn’t end up much different but take a moment to look at that ability. Let’s ignore the fact that he can fetch deeds for now and just focus on looking at the top five cards of your deck.

#1 – You know exactly which five cards are going to form the core of your shootout hand if you’re about to get into a fight.

#2 – You not only know exactly what value you are going to pull next, but you can ENGINEER that value by changing the order of the cards.

If you see a full house or better, you know you can send in anybody to a shootout, even a 0 bullet chump, and guarantee a decent hand. More crucially, not only do you know what you’re going to pull, but you know exactly who to target with Asyncoil Gun, Arden Gillman, or the various Grit based Hexes.

Either of these abilities makes for a VERY powerful card, but the synergy with Xemo’s Turban is what really forced us to look at them both.

You could use Arnold to look at the top five cards and then choose which one you want to draw with the Turban by making sure it went back on top. It was like a miniature tutor effect. If there was nothing you wanted to draw, you could make sure the second card down was a club to guarantee being able to ace something and thin out your deck.

Sorry guys, we were never going to let that one through. Clearly something had to be done.

We also came across some instances of “Analysis Paralysis.” This is a term used in a lot of card games to describe a turn stalling out due to too much information becoming available at once. Being able to keep the five cards leads to people trying to memorise all five and the order they are in, then come the questions about whether you can or cannot take notes during a game and how much time should be allowed if you can. It gets very clunky, very quickly. That was something we wanted to avoid if at all possible.

The first change was Arnold. He lost his ability to stack the cards and they went back in the same order. This nerfed the Turban synergy somewhat but scouting your next five cards was still incredibly good.

Arnold’s ability to find deeds was a specific design intent that we had to keep. He HAD to be able to fetch deeds in some way so that didn’t give us much room to move. How does he fetch a deed if he doesn’t look at cards? The idea of letting him just search your deck for an out of town deed was floated, but that made him a different kind of powerhouse if he could just fetch a deed every turn. In the end, we settled on having him discard the top five. He still gets to see the cards but you can’t use him to engineer your entire turn with no consequence.

That left us with Xemo’s Turban, still the most efficient card draw effect and deck thinner in the game. That’s where the idea that a club draw could just be a failure arrived. While the original downside effect looked like it could be a hinderance, the Classic players were quick to point out that rapid deck degeneration was a very big problem in the old game.

The change to the final version still allows a repeatable draw as long as you don’t fail and no longer let’s you ace cards with abandon. In this form, pulling a club is actually a lot worse than it used to be as you can then no longer use the Turban.

In both cases, the card intent remains without any powerful after effect.

I hope this gives you some insight into how and why we make the changes that we do. Sometimes it can be a completely new ability, other times it can be as simple as changing a value or bullet rating. Everything that we change though, is always done to make sure Doomtown: Reloaded remains a fun and balanced game for you all to enjoy.

If you want to experience Arnold Stewart and Xemo’s Turban in their original form, grab yourself some friends and try them out in a couple of casual games.

Categories: Company News

Bad Medicine Preview – Horace Manse

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 13:00

This preview is for the next Saddlebag Expansion, Bad Medicine, arriving in stores February 8, 2016! Ask your local game store about it today!

Into the Darkness
by Brett Satkowiak

horacemanse_cardHorace descended the dark stairs with unexpected grace, navigating each step quickly while keeping his cargo from jostling. He had made the trip so many times now that he didn’t need the light.

Soon enough, however, he entered a small room and the light returned, emanating from a lantern hung on the wall. The space was new to the Sanatorium, hewn from the rock beneath its foundations to contain two items: a wooden cot and a large iron door.

Horace entered the space with his precious cargo, a frail-looking man wrapped in a white sheet. He was gaunt and pale, resting in Horace’s enormous arms, limbs dangling. Open sores and scaly calluses speckled the man’s skin; fevered sweat washed over gruesome fluids oozing from the deeper ones.

The man groaned awake as Horace gingerly laid him on the cot. “Am I dead yet?”

Horace looked down into the man’s eyes, brushing away a wisp of hair threatening to obstruct them. “No,” he sighed simply. “Death is not the end of this.”

The man seemed disappointed but was far too weak to fully express it. “Where are you … taking me?”

“To the darkness … where you can rest.”

“Rest?” he wheezed. “I’m afraid … I’ve given up … on getting better.”

“Better? No.” Horace looked up and down the man’s body with pity. “There is no ‘better’ … only the darkness.” He turned slowly to the iron door, sliding the pair of posts barring it shut. “You can wait there until it’s finished … until the master is ready.”

The man let out a grunt as he used some of his precious energy reserves to turn his head toward the door. “Who? Odett?”

“No … his master.” Horace slid the tattered cloth around his neck up over his nose and mouth. He swung open the door as a wave of cold, damp air sprung forth, releasing an unholy stench. He winced slightly, but took comfort in knowing his patient would find it soothing.

Horace returned to the cot, leaning down for one final look. The man’s eyes, the only part of him with any real life left, pleaded with Horace to end the suffering. The large man urged himself to finish the task, knowing the end of this trip would be just that. He adjusted the sheet so it wouldn’t be binding on the man as he rested, then lifted his hands and laid them gently across his chest.

Reaching down, Horace lifted the man effortlessly off the cot and carried him into the dark tunnel descending from the doorway. He could hear the shuffling of the other patients who remained nearby as he located another cot, laying the man to rest comfortably upon it.

Horace placed his large hand upon the man’s as it lay upon his chest, looking down one last time into his eyes, barely visible in the glow from the lantern. “Try to rest, friend. It will all be over soon.”

Categories: Company News

Bad Medicine Preview – Mugging

Wed, 01/27/2016 - 13:00

This preview is for the next Saddlebag Expansion, Bad Medicine, arriving in stores February 8, 2016! Ask your local game store about it today!

Mugging
by Jon Del Arroz

“Excellent, Travis. You look just like him … at least enough to fool someone in the dark. How well can you imitate his voice?” Rafi Hamid asked, standing with the grifter in the alleyway behind Cooke’s Nightcap.

Travis Moone wore a phony beard, along with dark shirt and overalls, bearing a passable resemblance to Max Baine. He cleared his throat. “The Morgan Cattle Company. There’s strange things going on at their ranches out of town. Someone has to do something. Someone has to believe me!” he said in a deeper, raspier voice than his usual timbre.

“Excellent. I doubt anyone could tell the difference,” Rafi said. He held up a small purse of coins that clanked together as the bag moved.

Travis reached out, but Rafi snatched it away, tucking it back into his coat pocket. “Not until the work is complete. Too many rumors about you cutting and running from the job. That poor coach was left to bandits.”

“That was only one time, Mr. Hamid. I couldn’t very well risk my skin just for some coin. Not that little coin anyways,” Travis said with a grin. “What’s yer beef with Mr. Baine, anyway?”

“Ever since Mr. Baine left the Morgan Cattle Company, he’s been sticking his nose in places where it does not belong … and speaking about matters that shouldn’t concern you either.”

“Ahh, he’s been pokin’ around a bit too much about Mayor Whateley. I gotcha. I won’t tell nobody,” Travis said with a wink. Someone else came out from behind the corner. Travis gave a slight wave. “There’s Rico. We got this covered, don’t you worry none.”

mugging_card“If a word of this is uttered to anyone, Travis, I assure you you’ll have far greater problems to deal with than a couple of swindled drunks.” “It’s better if your companion doesn’t see me. So here is where I leave you,” Rafi said, tipping his hat toward Travis.

With that, Rafi turned back toward the bar. A third person came from the direction Rafi was headed, no doubt joining Travis’s crew as well.

Rafi continued along without stopping, avoiding eye contact with anyone as he did not want to risk more witnesses. He certainly shouldn’t be seen anywhere near Travis and his friends perpetrating a crime. Once on the main street, Rafi slowed his pace to a casual stroll, smiling and nodding towards any citizens who recognized him.

In the distance, he heard a pistol fire, followed by a woman’s scream.

Categories: Company News

Bad Medicine Preview – The Orphanage

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 13:00

This preview is for the next Saddlebag Expansion, Bad Medicine, arriving in stores February 8, 2016! Ask your local game store about it today!

The Orphanage
by Paul Durant

theorphanage_cardMiss Willa Mae was way too strict. She said they could drape sheets off the top bunk to make their fort, but they couldn’t hang a lantern in there because it’d burn the place down. Without a lantern, how can they see all their important plans without taking the sheets down? And if they take the sheets down, how can you still call it a fort? The goblin could just saunter in!

They’d be sorry when that little goblin attacked the orphanage and they didn’t have a well-lit fort to hole up in. Sometimes, Jack felt like him and Drew and Ty were the only ones who gave a darn about this town.

Jack pulled out his map, squinted at it in the darkness, and marked an X next to what he thought was the orphanage. “Okay, Becky Riggs says the goblin was here yesterday, stealing cookies … but that’s nowhere near where we usually see him. You think he’s out here ‘cause he’s looking for us now?”

Ty shrugged, scratching Mittens the jackalope behind his little antlers. “Maybe he’s looking for cookies? If I was a goblin, I’d want some. Probably hard to find, since Miss Willa Mae don’t cook for goblins.”

“They’re oatmeal cookies!” said Drew. “Goblins don’t like oatmeal. That is a science fact. It gets stuck in all their goblin teeth. ‘Sides, every other time we seen him, he’s gone for hard candy.”

“Well, he’s got to have some reason to want them,” said Jack. “Maybe he’s gonna put a spell on ‘em or something, like, the kind of thing where they put out sweets for a kid and you eat ‘em and you fall asleep and wake up locked in a cage with a witch who wants to eat you?” He put a hand on his chin. “I bet if we knew he was coming back here, we could lay a trap for him … put a net on the ground, put the sweets in the middle, and when someone picks ‘em up, BAM! Caught ‘im!”

“If we did that we’d probably just catch Becky Riggs,” said Drew. Jack was pretty sure he was rolling his eyes but couldn’t quite make it out. “And who needs a net?” he added, drawing his slingshot with a flourish. “I tell you, if I get a good shot at him … Whack! I’ll knock that little booger clean out!”

Ty and Jack stared off into space for a bit, not really sure why Drew thought that would work but not wanting to question him. Then Ty added, “You know, what if we asked Benji Washington and his kung-fu gang to help us? I bet they could round up that goblin.”

Benji Washington is not in a kung-fu gang!” Jack snapped. “He made that up so we’ll think he’s important! This is serious stuff, Ty. We can’t mess around with silly ideas like that! Now, we need to figure out how to get a net and a bunch of lemon drops …”

Categories: Company News

Epic PVP FAQ

Tue, 01/19/2016 - 17:51

Read more about Epic PVP at this link.

Q: Some Move cards have more than one Attack and/or more than one Defense, how do these work?

A: The rules are that only one Defense can block one Attack (not one card can block one card). So if you play the High Elf Dance of Blades card with it’s two Attacks of 3, your opponent will need to play two Defenses of 3 or higher to stop this card from doing damage. Each unblocked Attack does 1 Damage. Your opponent may use Blocks from two different Move cards if they want to block either of these Attacks. Of course, if your opponent has plays the Dark Elf Steel Dervish card with it’s three Blocks of 4, that one card can block both of the Attacks from Dance of Blades and still block another one of your Attacks of 4 or less!

Q: I don’t get the High Elf Ability.

A: The High Elf ability is all about options when deciding how many cards to draw. One of the biggest decisions in Epic PvP is how many cards to draw, because you have to declare how many you are going to draw, then draw that many. The High Elf power lets you declare and then draw as normal, then after you look at those cards, you may choose to draw another 1 or 2 cards from your aggression pile. This lets you draw a smaller number of cards, then react to those cards by drawing more or not. This is a VERY powerful ability!!!

Q: I have some timing questions, when do things happen?

A:  Here is a list of all of the phases and sub-phases for the game. Most cards will have a specific time when they happen.

  1. Aggression
    1. After Aggression
  2. Draw
    1. After Draw
    2. Before playing Moves
  3. Play Moves
    1. After playing Moves
  4. Assign Block
    1. After Blocking
    2. When Damage
  5. End Phase
Q: What are the Halfling tokens for?

A: They are not needed at all. We changed some cards during development and forgot to take the tokens off the token sheet!

Q:  Some cards allow player to take cards from other players. If I steal a card that creates a token (like the card that gives a player a Decept token), can I use the token even though I’m not that Race?

A: Nope. You need to be that race to use the token. You do get the token though, which could keep it from your opponent. Now if you are also playing the class/race that the token came from, you can use it (this would only happen if you have more than one set of the game of course (which would make you even more awesome).

Q: I have heard there is an Epic PvP: Magicrelease coming. What is that all about?

It will be coming out late in 2016. It will include a bunch of magical Races and Classes and special rules for how magic works in Epic PvP. It has not been decided yet if it’ll be launched via Kickstarter or released directly to retail. Check back later for more info.

Q: Where can I get one of those really cool boxes that were initially sent to Kickstarter backers?

A: There are a few extra copies. They will be available through future Fun to 11 Kickstarter campaigns and at any trade show that Fun to 11 goes to while supplies last, and we don’t have many. Look for us at PAX East, we’ll save some copies for there for sure.

Q:  I saw some images of PvP cards that featured Valentines Day themed imagery. I think it was called “Hug Life.” What was that all about and where can I get them?

A: Those were cards we made as Print and Play cards during the campaign. We only made them available for a short time, so sadly, they are no longer available. (They weren’t exactly “balanced” anyway – more of a fun “wahoo” thing we did as a goof).

Categories: Company News

The Story of Epic PVP Part II

Tue, 01/19/2016 - 17:33

Read Part I of this series here! Read more about Epic PVP here!

Epic PvP: Critical Design Decisions

When developing Epic PvP, there were decisions to make at various points, but the most important ones were done early. For us, that was our design goal and a set of 3 lists.

  • Goal: What will this game deliver
  • Things to Focus on from the Core Design? – Elements to put front and center. (remember: the core design was just numbers on cards.)
  • Things we Don’t Want to see in the Game? – Mistakes to avoid
  • What do we Want to Add? – List of features to put in

The Goal: Deliver the fun play experience of a light CCG while being fast to learn, fast to play, and allow for lots of variety. This is a tricky goal. We wanted PvP to play more like a trading card game than other types of head-to-head fighting games. We specifically wanted there to be card-to-card combos across the ½ decks as opposed to just having two ½ decks smashed together. This game would have been SOOOO much easier to develop if we just made single decks with no mixing. We could have made crazy abilities and zany attacks forever because we would only have to balance each deck vs. each other deck. But we had to make sure all the ½ + ½ decks played well – that’s a lot of combos! It was a much harder path to take, but one that gives more player choice, variety, and much higher value to each new ½ deck we make.

EpicPVPBaseAndExpansion_w_Alpha_small

Things to Focus on from the Core Design: This is probably the most important of these lists. It is easy to develop a game away from the core new fun features in the design. How many times have you played a game and thought “this part was cool, I wish the game was more about that.” That is what we wanted to avoid. For us, we had three things we wanted to keep. First off, we wanted to keep was the drama around how many cards to draw each turn. The unique “mana” system of the game needed to come through and be a major focus of drama. That means we couldn’t create too many cards that didn’t land somewhere on the power curve when it comes to being blocked (special effects were a different thing). Next, we wanted to keep the focus on the Moves, and not the non-move special effects – so we limited the number of those in each ½ deck to 2 (while keeping up the ability for moves to become permanents). Lastly, we wanted to keep the very punch/counterpunch feel as that felt very immersive and like a real fight!

Things we Don’t Want to See in the Game: Game designers like to add rules and features – the “curse of … and …”. We feel it’s important for a game to have a feel, which can be ruined by rules that allow players to ignore the normal conflicts to win. We didn’t want to see a non-Move strategy. We didn’t want to see a strategy of dealing damage outside of moves. We didn’t want to see a strategy that locks your opponent out from participating in the back and forth. On a smaller level, we didn’t want a player to have any knowledge about what’s in their Aggression pile to the point where it affects their draw strategy.

Things we Want to Add: This was a pretty big list. One big goal was to ensure that all the ½ decks all had potential to combo with the other ½ decks. This is why about 1/3rd of each of the Class and Race decks were Basic Strikes. It makes it possible for ½ deck abilities like “all your Basic Strikes are +1 Block” – which will have an effect on a big chunk of cards from the other ½ deck. It also means if we make a deck that has 60% Basic Strikes, it won’t be “boring” – it’ll be combo bait! We also wanted to add a small number of tokens with unique powers as well as a method for random pairings.

EpicPVPBaseSetContents_small

Probably the most important things on this list was that we wanted to ensure a game with a lot of discovery, without having terrible first play experiences. A lot of games have this bug/feature where the first time you play, you get stomped badly because the path to victory is so “cloudy.” This gets so extreme sometimes that you don’t even know all the ways to score VPs until the game is over – making it impossible for a first time player to change up their strategy or make intelligent decisions. Some people really like these games as there is a desire to play again now that the player “knows what the game is all about.” Personally, I’m not a huge fan of those games. When I play a game, I want to be playing, trying to figure out what to do, not just taking actions and moving pieces around only to find out in the end how I did when VPs are totaled up. I know lots of folks do like these games, and that’s great, but as a faster lighter game, Epic PvP needed to be something else. I wanted people playing the game right away – making decisions and taking actions that matter.

To that end, the first 1-2 turns of the game are almost a tutorial if you haven’t played before (and super fast if you and your opponent have experience). There are only a few decisions you can make in the first few turns and they are fairly obvious (but still meaningful). When the game gets going by turn 3-4, even the first time player is right there playing – fully understanding if they are winning or losing. At this point, the first time player won’t know what each card does, but when they read them, they will understand how that card gets them closer to winning. Beginning players probably won’t be making the best decisions when they play, but at least they are thinking and analyzing with a clear goal towards winning. And with the game being fast, the desire to play again doesn’t mean “next game night” it means “right now.”

This goal was not only a very fast learning curve, but also to make sure than a player can get better over time, and discover lots of new things. It’s clear from our playtesting that a better player will win much more often than a weaker player. Not only do experienced players make better situational decisions, but they also know the cards they are likely to see in both their own and their opponent’s deck. Knowing that the Dark Elf has a couple of Steel Dervishes (a Move that blocks three 4 or less strength attacks) really effects how you play the Dark Elf (or against one).  And with all the ½ decks, there is just tons to discover – and each additional ½ deck we make creates exponentially more discovery for players.

Looking back over our development goals, I’m really proud of the job we did. We also left a lot of space for future development, some of which we are utilizing with the upcoming Epic PvP: Magic set. But for now, we hope you all enjoy the work we put in on Epic PvP: Fantasy, it was super fun to work on and watching it come together was a real highlight of my 20+ year career making games.

 

Luke Peterschmidt

Categories: Company News

Bad Medicine Preview – Hawley’s Rose

Wed, 01/13/2016 - 13:00

This preview is for the next Saddlebag Expansion, Bad Medicine, arriving in stores February 8, 2016! Ask your local game store about it today!

A Funny Story
by Jeff Bailey

Ivor Hawley crouched over an earth-filled flowerpot as Jia Mein stood nearby with a bottle and a dental hook. Ivor took both and drizzled viscous, green liquid from the bottle onto the soil. He put the hook inside his mouth, sucking before removing it, then spit into the bottle. He looked down and saw a soft pink bud extruding upwards.

“At last! Coaxed to the surface.”

He poured the murky brown potion on it, causing it to swell another half inch.

Ivor returned the tools, looking down on the pot like a proud father does his newborn baby. “The flower requires meticulous care. So rare … but delightfully useful.” He turned to Jia. “Now tell me about this medicine delivery company.”

* * *

Jake Smiley waved a flyer outside the Bank of California.

“Investors wanted for a medicine delivery company! You’ll help Gomorra and reap your own rewards!”

Most passersby looked disgusted, but an elderly woman brought him a fat envelope. “It’s wonderful to see enterprising individuals rise to our hour of need!” She pressed the envelope into Jake’s hands. “I’m Ida MacGregor. I’ll visit you tomorrow.”

Jake took it and shook her hand. “Somebody must do something!” What Jake would do was order supplies from Smith & Robards, taking a 33% markup for himself. The fine print called it a ‘Samaritan bonus.’

Eventually Jake looked up from the hefty envelope to see Ivor Hawley directly in front of him, grinning widely.

“Mister Smiley! Your humanitarian effort warms my heart. You are a true flower of Gomorra!” Ivor withdrew a large pink flower from his coat. Before Jake could react, Ivor planted the flower on his lapel. There was a small pricking, but Jake was too polite to flinch. “Consider this a free ticket to the circus! Please walk with me. I’d like to invest in you!”

Jake felt unsteady, but the promise of money drew him. “Absolutely, sir! Let’s go to my office!”

hawleysrose_cardThe men only walked a block before Jake’s legs buckled. His face turned white as blood flowed from both nostrils over his lip and into his mouth. The flower turned yellowish as more petals emerged. Ivor pulled Jake into an alley and shushed him with a soothing whisper.

“There, there. Just lie down. This won’t take long.”

Jake looked up from the ground. He felt threads running through his veins. His eyes dimmed, seeing only Ivor’s inhumanly wide smile. There was a cut above one tooth, and a maggot protruded from within.

* * *

Ivor sighed as the new clown with the billowy orange flower tried to learn team juggling. His reaction was always too late, delivering bowling pin blows to the face three times.

Ivor grumbled. “Ugh … he is by far the biggest waste of a rose ever. The only one of my clowns who has proven to be more useless after I claimed him!” Ivor trudged away, with Kevin Wainwright scuttling behind.

The trainer studied the new clown. “Perhaps he can do a clumsy fall. That’s always good for a laugh.”

Categories: Company News

Foul Play Fiction – Disease Detectives

Wed, 01/06/2016 - 13:00

Check out the latest Saddlebag Expansion, Foul Play, in stores now! Ask your local game store about it today!

Disease Detectives
by David Orange

A maid greeted Emanuel Ashbel and Louis Pasteur before escorting them to Lillian Morgan’s well-appointed bedroom. Nose crinkled in disgust, the maid took the chamber pot and left the men to their visit.

Lillian slumped back against propped up pillows. Matted blonde hair was draped askew, framing bleary eyes, flushed cheeks, and caked mucous around her nose.

In appearance and disposition, she resembled Death not warmed over, Ashbel thought as he began his examination. Even with the chamber pot removed, the room still reeked of vomit. He held her limp wrist and noticed that her skin felt clammy. “Pulse is normal,” he said to Lillian. He continued his visual inspection and observed the new rash that covered the area above the palm to just below the elbow. Ashbel placed the twin bells of his stethoscope upon Lillian’s chest. He listened, brow furrowed in concentration.

Pasteur stepped forward, holding out a tongue depressor and vial. “Permit me, Madame to collect a sample,” he said.

“A sample?” she coughed. “You think that I have that dreadful pestilence? I was just visiting that filthy hole in the ground that my addle-brained step-daughter calls a mine. The layabouts working there — and I do use the term ‘working’ very loosely, mind you — kicked up so much debris. If dust were ghost rock, then she would indeed be wealthy. But it’s just a chill from the drafts and dust in my throat, nothing more.” Lillian concluded with another loud honk into yet another lace handkerchief. She let it flutter to the ground, joining its numerous companions strewn about the room.

Pasteur tsked-tsked in sympathy, but remained adamant. “Madame Morgan, I must avail myself of any opportunity to advance science’s knowledge about this disease. Even if you have a simple case of the “chills,” this will serve as a control for the samples I have just collected from the quarantine tents. Now open wide, tongue out …”

Despite a sour expression and a roll of her eyes, Lillian complied.

“Merci, Madame,” said Pasteur. Turning to Ashbel he said, “Come my good doctor, let us return to the Institute. There is much work to be done.”

* * *

The two men arrived at the three-story Morgan Research Institute. Pasteur led the way down the long hallway towards his laboratory at the far end of the building.

“Fire in the hole!” A loud boom echoed throughout the Institute, punctuated by the tinkling crash of shattered glass. Smoke billowed out of the workroom as Elander Boldman emerged from the smoky haze, hands aflutter in an attempt to dissipate it. Soot blended with his dark features and tinged his white hair. A pair of assistants rushed in with extinguishers to douse the remnants of Morgan’s chief artificer’s latest handiwork in progress. He removed his visor, blinking to reorient himself when he spied Ashbel and Pasteur. “Well, howdy and good day, doctors.” Boldman’s drawl ended in hearty laughter.

Pasteur knew Boldman’s joviality meant well, but the Frenchman found such colloquial speech distasteful compared to the gentle ebb and flow of his native tongue. He gave a curt nod and continued down the hallway. Ashbel remained behind to briefly examine Boldman. Other than a few scratches, he appeared no worse for wear. Ashbel gently cleansed and covered those before catching up to Pasteur.

Once again, an obstacle blocked their path to the laboratory. This time, a noxious red cloud of gas emanated from under a doorway, nearly filling the corridor. Doffing his top hat, Pasteur fanned enough of the gas away to permit the men to scrunch against the opposite wall and pass one behind the other. Sighing relief, Pasteur opened the door to his lab and motioned Ashbel inside.

The laboratory, although cramped, stood out as an oasis of meticulous tidiness amidst much of Morgan Research’s cluttered wires and mechanical gizmos. Pasteur removed the dust cover from his prized Chevalier compound microscope. Illumination came from mirror redirecting light from a Bunsen burner to a second mirror located below the condenser. He opened a glass case, lifting a bell jar and extracting an agar culture plate, then quickly closed the case. Before commencing a detailed examination, he placed the culture plate for observation under the lowest objective. The lens fell and rose as Pasteur attempted to focus on the culture plate. He shook his head. “It is of no use. There is nothing growing here at all.”

He looked over towards the corner where a mechanical bellows stood motionless. Under normal circumstances, it whooshed as it pumped air into the glass tank. “Zut alors, the bellows has been knocked askew. There is no air to nourish the cultures.”

“How could that be?” asked Ashbel.

“Explosions go off around here all the time; any one of them could have jarred the apparatus. But no matter, these are of little use to us now.”

“So the cultures are a total loss, Doctor Pasteur?”

“A loss, yes, but not at all total. Sometimes the absence of information is in and of itself, important.”

“I don’t understand.”

“The cultures were supposed to receive uncontaminated air. Since the bellows did not supply air, there could be no oxygen. There is nothing growing on the agar plates. Ergo, whatever these bacteria are, they are not anaerobic. They require the same air that we do in order to live and grow. But we will need more samples. Let us be off at once to the quarantine tents.”

* * *

Ashbel and Pasteur arrived at the tents that had been donated to the town by Ivor Hawley’s circus, providing a place off the beaten path where the sick could be isolated in order to protect the town. Seeing no one around the outside, the two doctors entered. They paused as their vision adjusted to the dim light and their noses to the fetid smells of the makeshift quarantine. Ashbel squinted and looked into the dark nether regions of the tent and spied someone moving in the back. “Hallooo there,” he said waving an arm. Both the greeting and motion had no apparent effect. He then made a piercing wolf whistle, catching the figure’s attention.

Karl Odett turned from his patient and ambled over to the Ashbel and Pasteur. “Ah, greetings my good doctors. What brings you to the tents today?”

“We are here to collect a few more samples for my experiments,” said Pasteur.

“But where are the patients?” interjected Ashbel. “When we were last here, nearly all of the beds were occupied. Now, I notice quite a few empty ones.”

“But of course, Dr. Ashbel. Sadly, a number have made a turn for the worse, so I had them moved to the Sanatorium for treatment. That’s just what these folks need. My only regret is that I don’t have the resources to take them all at once or everyone would already be cured.”

“You can cure these people?! That is astonishing,” Ashbel said.

“Oh, not I,” said Odett, his voice an offputting mixture of gravel and sugar. “No doubt that the disease is caused by miasma. You know … bad air, of which there is plenty in Gomorra. Our Sanatorium merely provides its patients with rest and isolation away from those noxious vapors so the body can begin to heal itself. As soon as they recover, they are released back to the loving arms of their families.”

“Inconceivable. Could we have the names of a few of them, that we may visit them and see this recovery for ourselves,” said Pasteur.

Odett clasped stubby fingers over his chest. “I do not recall any one person, but when I am not too busy tending to our patients I can look up a few names for you,” Odett concluded with a slight shrug. “Although,” he continued after a brief pause. “There is one man, here right now as a matter of fact.” Odett motioned to a nurse, who scurried over. After whispered instructions, she left.

“Allow me to collect some more samples,” said Pasteur.

“But of course,” said Odett with a sweeping bow towards the main quarantine area.

The nurse eventually returned with a burly misshapen man huffing behind.

“Why, that’s the carny barker. He runs the midway,” said Ashbel. “While no one shouts louder, I did not realize that he had nearly succumbed to this pestilence.”

“Oh, I assure you that Arnold here was knocking at Death’s very door,” said Odett.

Pasteur had returned from his collecting and approached McCadish. “Please allow me to gather some samples then. If he is indeed cured, then there should not be any trace of the disease in his samples.”

“That’s brilliant, Doctor Pasteur … just like with Lillian. It is as you called it then, a ‘control’,” said Ashbel.

McCadish tilted his head and raised an eyebrow, seeking approval from Odett.

Odett gave an affirmative, yet dismissive wave of assent.

Pasteur brought out a tongue depressor and vial. “Open and say ‘ah’,” said Pasteur as the barker obliged. The scientist then sloughed some skin from McCadish’s crooked arm into a second vial. “Merci.”

Ashbel moved up to join the examination. He gently tweaked and prodded McCadish’s limb. “How does that feel?”

“Never better,” came the cheery reply.

“Astonishing,” said Ashbel. “But you are also limping a bit. Muscle loss, I’m guessing?”

“Oh, that ol’ thing? Happened years ago, trippin’ over a tent stake. As for the gettin’ sick here, I was pretty bad off. But a bed at the Sanatorium and a few days off my tired ol’ dogs did the trick. Never felt better, never felt better. I tells ya, I never …”

“These are smart men, Arnold. I think they understand,” said Odett.

“Astonishing. I have never seen such recovery in all my years of practicing medicine,” said Ashbel.

Au contraire,” Pasteur interjected. “We have seen enough. I have what I need. Come along, Dr. Ashbel. Let us return to Morgan Research Institute. I have work to do –” Under his breath, he whispered to Ashbel, “– and you have real medicine to practice.”

* * *

“Dr. Ashbel? The Sovitches need you at once. Their son has taken a turn for the worst,” said an assistant. Ashbel reached for his black bag.

“I will accompany you,” said Pasteur. “It is important to acquire samples from a range of patients.”

“We must go, then,” said Ashbel.

“Indeed we must, but I must ensure that this time the precious cultures receive the air that they require to grow and thrive. Only then, can we determine the nature of this disease.” He plated the last of the acquired cultures and placed a glass bell jar over it.

The French scientist took four stoppered vials and a wooden probe from the desk drawer and placed them in his waistcoat pocket. “Now, we may go.” He spoke to the assistant. “Lead on, my good man.”

They followed the assistant through town, arriving at a dilapidated shack tucked behind a row of shops.

“Mr. Sovitch, Drs. Ashbel and Pasteur are here to attend to your boy,” said the assistant.

“I’m so glad that you’re here. Bryce looks the same as before, but now he no longer moves at all.” He led the men to a cot where a teenage boy did indeed lay motionless.

Ashbel reached into his kit bag and withdrew a small mirror, which he held above the boy’s mouth. The mirror fogged and the doctors noticed the shallow rise and fall of his chest that meant life still remained within the emaciated body. The boy’s scaled skin and boils indicated that, alas, the disease continued to run its course.

Ashbel sighed as he wiped the mirror and returned it to the satchel. “I am sorry; there is nothing I can do. Continue to apply poultices and cold compresses and keep him clean.”

Pasteur unstoppered two of the vials and used the probe to scrape a cheek sample into one and a skin sample from the arm into the other. The boy moaned softly, but otherwise gave no sign of recognition or awareness of his surroundings.

The doctors bid their goodbyes and once again walked back to the Morgan Research Institute.

The men had scarcely set foot outside of the house when an elderly man half-stumbled, half-ran into Ashbel, sending them both sprawling into the dusty street.

Instead of apologizing, the man turned to look behind him. “Molly sweetie, it is me, Mel, your husband,” he implored to a woman running towards him.

His pursuer was likewise elderly, but with emaciated, sallow features. Her tattered clothes no longer concealed much in the way of puss-caked sores covering the loose skin hanging from near-skeletal limbs. Molly’s face contorted as she snarled incomprehensible syllables. She closed the gap between them with a speed belying her advanced years. Panting for breath, Mel turned to face what had been his wife. Dropping to his knees, head bowed and hands clasped in prayer, he beseeched deliverance.

Molly descended upon him, not as a delivering angel, but a devouring beast. Two men leaped up from their draughts game and pulled Molly away before she could end hers and Mel’s decades-long union.

Ashbel stood up and dusted himself off before turning to help Pasteur to his feet. “Good Lord, that woman has been driven crazy.”

“Crazy, perhaps. Driven, I believe you may be correct. But what drives such madness,” Pasteur replied.

As Molly continued her frenzied struggles, a pair of roustabouts from the Fourth Ring circus arrived to whisk Molly off for quarantine.

Pasteur reached into his waistcoat pocket and pulled out the last of his vials. “Gentlemen, please,” he said. Holding the vial aloft, he followed after Molly and her escort. “I need a sample … for science.”

The pair looked puzzled, but stopped as they considered the scientist’s request. Whether or not they acquiesced mattered not to Pasteur. He had his needed opportunity, and with a quick scrape, sloughed off some of Molly’s arm skin into the waiting vial. Pasteur stoppered the vial, replacing it in his pocket. He doffed his top hat. “Merci! Carry on, gentlemen.” Ashbel huffed up, only to have Pasteur pass him on the way back to the lab. “Come, mon cher, we most definitely have something to investigate back at the lab.”

* * *

Pasteur set up a series of culture plates along the bench. He then placed a slide and its cover in front of each plate. After igniting a Bunsen burner, the scientist then applied a streak of culture to its attendant slide. Grasping the slide with a pair of tongs, he passed the slide through the burner’s flame. Pasteur placed a drop of violet solution on the slide.

“Won’t the dark color make it harder to see the organisms?” said Ashbel.

Pasteur started at the interruption. “Observe, and learn, Dr. Ashbel. This is a technique I acquired from a Danish scientist while visiting a lab in Berlin.”

Pasteur poured off the stain and lightly rinsed the slide before placing a drop of iodine on it. He let the iodine stand for half a minute before also rinsing it away. Next, he placed a drop of ethanol and again rinsed it away. The last step consisted of yet a third solution, this time red tinted and from a vial labeled “safranin.” A final wash and Pasteur set the slide down and placed a coverslip.

Ashbel leaned over and noted that he could see faint blue and pink marks on the slide.

Pasteur repeated the process for the other three cultures while Ashbel sat transfixed by Pasteur’s fluid rhythm of staining and counter-staining the slides. Pasteur took notes and made sketches of each slide. Once done, he handed the sheaf to Ashbel, who after looking at the notes verified for himself the slide still under the microscope.

“What happened to the violet stain? All I see are pairs of tiny washed out pink dots? Almost like tiny pearls.”

“Indeed, my good doctor, indeed. And not at all what I expected. The spherical shape indicates that they are cocci, and consistent with Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Except that those are transmitted by l’union charnelle.

Pasteur looked up to find a puzzled expression on Ashbel’s face. “Oh, uhh … how do you say it? ‘Intimate relations?’ ” Pasteur flushed slightly before continuing. “Besides, they are not associated with the lung or skin lesions that we have observed thus far. This is indeed a puzzlement.”

Pasteur went over to his writing desk and took out a parchment. After scrawling a note, he placed it in an envelope and affixed a wax seal. Pasteur opened the lab door. “Monsieur Archibald,” he shouted.

After a brief pause, the assistant arrived at the laboratory’s doorway. “You called, Doctor Pasteur?” he asked the scientist.

“Indeed. Please deliver this to Madame Morgan,” said Pasteur, handing Archibald the envelope.

The scientist noticed Ashbel’s quizzical look. “I need a better instrument. That was a request for Madame Morgan to authorize funds for a special craftsman in Shan Fan.”

“What could you possibly need? Lillian enticed you to come here by promising the full resources of Morgan Research Institute at your disposal.”

“Indeed she did, and I am most indebted to her patronage. But that was before this horrible scourge began afflicting this town. Le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés. Chance favors only the prepared mind.” Pasteur briefly consulted his notes before returning to his lab bench to prepare the samples taken from the sick boy.

Categories: Company News

Foul Play Preview – Deliberate Infection

Wed, 12/23/2015 - 13:00

This preview is for the next Saddlebag Expansion, Foul Play, arriving in stores December 28, 2015! Ask your local game store about it today!

Deliberate Infection
by Jon Del Arroz

Lula Morgan sat at her mahogany desk, waiting with what would appear to be utmost patience. Inside, however, she was bursting with anticipation.

The door to the office slammed open, her bothersome stepmother storming inside, wearing a fancy red dress covered in black dust. “And I thought ranches were bad! At least they’re outdoors, and we can hire reasonable, honest folk to do the work. You have vagrants down there in your dusty old mine.” She huffed, then smirked. “Of course, those would be the sort attracted to working for you.”

“At least they’re not the ones attracted to me, my dearest stepmother,” Lula said, mirroring Lillian’s smirk. “Besides, those vagrants will bring in more profits than your pitiful ranches could ever produce.”

Lillian laughed hard. “Oh, that’s a good one, Lula. You’ve been working on your humor I –”  Her face flushed as she took two breaths in, without exhaling. She covered her face with her cupped hands and let out a loud sneeze.

“Oh my. That cough sounds nasty. I do hope it’s not that dreadful sickness I hear has been circulating around town,” Lula said. “You should see Dr. Ashbel.”

“I’m not sick, you buffoon. It’s the dust from your pit of a mine.” Lillian twitched her nose a few more times and sniffled.

All went according to how Lula had envisioned this meeting. Setting up the mine tour was simple. Ensuring that one of her miners used the auto-digger to douse Lillian in dirt was likewise easy enough to arrange. The sight of Lillian’s soiled and ruined dress would be icing for the cake, if Mr. Hawley’s promises proved true.

deliberateinfection_cardLula stood and circled the desk, gingerly plucking the handkerchief that Mr. Hawley had left from the desk’s corner with a gloved hand. The Ringmaster didn’t tell her the specifics of how this would work, only that she had to make sure Lillian used the handkerchief. Though Hawley assured her that it was meant only for Lillian, she would still burn these gloves once she had departed. Trust only goes so far. “Here you are, Lillian dear. You may use my handkerchief,” Lula said. “And if dust and dirt bother you, you could always turn over the company operations to me. I could arrange for — how was it originally put to me? — Oh yes, some ‘responsibility’ that would be a little less tedious for you.”

Lillian glowered at Lula, as she snatched the handkerchief. She blew her nose hard, and slapped the cloth back down hard on the desk. Then she gave a forced smile. “I’d sooner die. Now let’s take a look at the books for your little operation, shall we?”

“Of course.” Lula reminded herself to call in one of the miners to extract that handkerchief and throw it away later. She spun back around her desk to oblige Lillian. Soon enough, she wouldn’t have to deal with her stepmother any longer.

Categories: Company News

Foul Play Preview – Blight Serum

Wed, 12/16/2015 - 13:00

This preview is for the next Saddlebag Expansion, Foul Play, arriving in stores December 28, 2015! Ask your local game store about it today!

Blight Serum
by David Orange

“Kevin …” Ivor Hawley said.

On cue, his diminutive assistant strode through the tent flaps. “Yes, Ringmaster,” Kevin squeaked.

Ivor held out two small vials of reddish liquid. “Per our earlier discussion, please see that these get delivered to the Blake Ranch. Now, be on your way.”

“Indeed, Ringmaster. It shall be a most remarkable delivery.” He bowed before disappearing through the tent’s entrance.

* * *

Howard Aswell answered the knock at the ranch house door. He peered out through the window. “Who’s there?”

Kevin stepped inside and brushed past, ignoring the query. He reached into his pocket and proffered a bottle to a tall, elegantly dressed man seated at the table in the center of the room. “Mr. Archer, I thought I might find you here at cards. Ringmaster Hawley sends his compliments.”

Steele Archer held the bottle up to the wall lantern and examined the copper tinted liquor contained within. “Kentucky Bourbon,” he said. “Tell the Ringmaster that I am most impressed.” He bent down and whispered, “How in the world did you find me here?”

Kevin responded in a plain tone. “Magic. And by the by, this is a drink meant for sharing. You’ll receive your usual payment in the morning.” Kevin gave a cheery wave as he half-rolled, half-ambled out the door into the night.

* * *

To make his real delivery, Kevin needed to go where there wasn’t any magic to guide him. Lowing cattle and the distinct smell of manure would have to suffice. Both indicated that Morgan Cattle Company’s main herd had settled in for the night. Cattle and man ignored each other as Kevin made his way to the stock pond. Kneeling down, he poured the contents of the other vial into the water.

“Perfect!” Closing his good eye, he focused, took a single step into the shadows, and once again appeared in front of Ivor Hawley. “All is done as you wished, Ringmaster.”

* * *

blightserum_cardJarrett Blake rode through the chaparral scrub towards the meadow where the cattle had been grazing. For the last week, the cowhands refused to go anywhere near the area. Buzzards flew languid circles as he passed the deserted line cabin.

He coughed, gagging from the stench as he pulled a bandana across his nose and mouth. Topping a ridge, he spurred his horse to investigate the horrors below.

His eyes widened at the sight. Dozens of dead cattle lay festering across the meadow. A bovine pestilence! Jarrett had seen it wipe out entire herds of cattle before, but never with such speed. By the look of it, some of the carcasses had been sitting for months, but that was impossible. Whirling his horse around, he set off back towards the ranch headquarters to prepare for the longer ride to Gomorra and the Morgan Research Institute. Morgan’s scientists would certainly have some knowledge to focus on this scourge. He turned for one final look. Who could have orchestrated such a horrific scene?

 

Categories: Company News

Foul Play Preview – Owl’s Insight

Wed, 12/09/2015 - 13:00

This preview is for the next Saddlebag Expansion, Foul Play, arriving in stores December 28, 2015! Ask your local game store about it today!

Owl’s Insight
by Paul Durant

“Butch.”

Butch Deuces didn’t like it, but he had no choice. The spirits hated being pestered for frequent favors, but how was he supposed to have known that fifteen minutes after he’d beseeched Elk to throw a little fortune his way at the craps table, Donald MacDroste would walk in wearing a fresh suit with fifty dollars just for chips at the poker table?

“Butch?”

Old Man MacDroste rarely had two nickels to scrape together. If that leathery coot was throwing around money, he must have found something valuable out in the Maze. And if he found it near Gomorra, odds were pretty good that it was also dangerous in the wrong hands … something the Wardens might need to keep an eye on.

“Butch!”

The only reason Chief Seven-Eagles put up with Butch was the gambler’s assurance that this town’s casinos were a fount of information, and someone like him was a natural fit to keep the Warden’s ear to the proverbial ground. If MacDroste found something big and Butch didn’t report on it, Stephen was going to stop giving him money to gamble away, and that would be no fun for anyone. He had to find out where the prospector got this new outflow of cash. To do that, he needed to stay at the poker table with him … he needed Owl.

BUTCH! What the hell are you doing? You gonna draw a card?”

owlsinsight_card“What?” Butch said, snapping out of his scheming. Everyone at the table stared at him, waiting for him to take his turn. “Oh … sorry.” He placed two of his cards face-down on the table and picked up their replacements from the dealer. “Don’t mind me. I was just prayin’ to my heathen gods. Maybe if — I call upon the sight of Owl — he’ll allow me to see some decent cards!” He dropped his hand on the table in theatrical disgust.

“I don’t need no wise old Owl today, boys!” said MacDroste, tossing a chip into the pot. “No sir, I finally found my hot streak, and I aims to ride it out!”

Owl may have seemed wise wherever the white man came from. But here, he was a killer, and his great yellow eyes sought out one thing: weakness. Butch’s face tingled and burned as the spirit passed its blessing onto him, granting its boon, but letting him know that his line of credit was nearly tapped out. The lights in the room appeared to grow brighter. Slight hints of movement became magnified. There! The last man in folded, and now Butch saw relief scurry across MacDroste’s face like a field mouse. The old man had been bluffing, and Butch could see his tell, clear as day.

He tossed his ante into the pot as soon as it was emptied. “Good on ya, Donald,” he said. “But I got a good feeling about this next hand.”

Categories: Company News

Foul Play Preview – Forster Cooke

Wed, 12/02/2015 - 13:00

This preview is for the next Saddlebag Expansion, Foul Play, arriving in stores December 28, 2015! Ask your local game store about it today!

Behind the Stick
by Ross Fisher-Davis

forstercooke_cardThe dimly lit tables of Cooke’s Nightcap were sparsely populated as Forster Cooke stood behind the bar, surveying everything. Across the room, Asakichi wiped down the tables, and he gave her a big smile when she looked his direction. He was still smiling when he turned to the door and saw her standing there. He rubbed his eyes at first, momentarily failing to recognize Samantha. Her hair was wild from riding, a pistol holstered at her hip. She strode right to the bar and sat down before him.

“Samantha?” Forster said. Her hair and eyes reminded him painfully of her mother.

“It’s Sammy now, you know that.” The strength in her voice filled him with pride.

“What’re you doing here?”

“I’m here to knock some sense into yer thick skull. You followed me here, didn’t you?”

“It’s not like that.” Forster reached out gently toward her.

She pulled away quickly. “Like hell it ain’t. If you think begging’s gonna get me to come back, you’ve got another thing comin’. I’m with Sloane now.”

“Samantha, you’ll always be my daughter. Your sister and I –”

“She ain’t my sister,” Sammy snapped, her eyes darting across the room to Asakichi with a glare sharper than a knife.

Forster looked between his two girls in despair.

Sammy snapped her fingers sharply, speaking up so half the saloon could hear. “Gomorra is Sloane’s town. You stay here, I can’t protect you, and I know you think you can, but you can’t protect me either.”

A man sat down beside Sammy, so quiet he could’ve been a ghost. “Good to see you again Sammy,” said T’ou Chi Chow, tenting his hands on the bar.

Sammy looked between Chow and her father, and then swore under her breath. “I shoulda known you’d end up out here, Chow. Gomorra’s only a slight step up from the Armpit. But you oughta know better than to drag my father along with you!”

Chow smiled, his calm demeanor unphased. “All wise men have wiser allies. Your father is a man of many talents.”

Forster leaned over the bar, his brow furrowed. “Mr. Chow is doing important work here. It was my decision to come with.”

Sammy turned back to her father. “Important work that’ll get you killed. Take my warning … you won’t get another one.”

Forster looked down at her and sighed. “I may be an old barkeep. But no one, not Sloane or the Mayor himself, can stop me from keepin’ my girls safe. Ain’t nothing gonna convince me otherwise.”

Sammy looked back at her father’s weathered features and nodded. She leaned in, just a few inches, but the intimacy meant the world to Forster. “I know, Daddy,” she whispered as she stood. “Just be careful.”Forster watched her leave, right up until the door stopped swinging.

The Bandit King smiled, tilting from side to side. “Daughters … bandit hordes … I don’t know which one is harder to manage.”

Forster nodded as he poured another whiskey for his friend.

Categories: Company News

Fiction – The Ballad of Mario Crane – Part Four

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 13:00

Check out Dirty Deeds, the latest Saddlebag expansion for Doomtown: Reloaded. In stores now!

The Ballad of Mario Crane, Part Four
by Jeff Bailey

Stakeouts. They’re horrendous with a good partner. It’s worse with Bippy gnawing at my dreams. New York was never like this. New York had its problems, but hell … I never died there.

I’ve been watching Soddum for over a week. I haven’t seen the man I’m looking for yet … Sloane. I’m guessing he rules from inside one of the buildings here, a general in his headquarters. There’s precious few buildings left: an abandoned saloon where the gang drinks, some houses with torn walls, and some cabins, all either new or built by those who now call it home. It’s not a question of where. It’s how to play my one chance to find him before I get spotted.

I’ve learned Sloane’s gang. There are a few leaders. The most senior appears to be the man with the cards. The woman gives her share of orders, too. She talks short, like she’s delivering messages. When I met them, the three of them were it. Now they’ve got a small army under their heels.

I see a lot of run-of-the-mill bandits, who occasionally drift into town. A Mexican rides in and out every few days. Lookouts walk patrol routes. It took a few days to suss out the weak spot I wanted. Or rather, the weak man.

I’m always surprised gangs allow drunks. They’re erratic, believe just about anything … and they’re often known for making up things. So their first report of trouble is often ignored.

I watched him last night, and I’m watching him tonight. Like clockwork, he starts singing too loud for the irritable types in the bar room, they throw him out, and he heads for the outhouse. I sidle up so that when he opens the door, I’m right in his face, gun drawn. He almost lets out a yell, but a hard barrel swipe to the cheek quiets him.

“The man with the cards. British talker. Where does he sleep?” I ask. But I already know.

“I-I don’t know. And I wouldn’t tell ya. You try anything in this town, you’re a dead man.”

I smile at his words while shoving him against the outhouse’s back wall. “Stay there. I’ll be back when it’s done.” I jam a stick in the handle, just thin enough to buy me time to get out of sight. And just like every drunk, he wants to be a hero.

I’m at the back door to card shuffler’s house thirty seconds before the drunk gets to the porch. I’ve got my hand on the latch, waiting.

*bam bam bam*

I wait.

*BAM BAM BAM*

Shouting upstairs. “Bloody hell. Someone better have a reason for waking me up!”

“Mister Jonah, sir! There’s an assassin lookin’ fer ya,” the drunk yells.

Jonah. I memorize the name.

Feet thud on the floor above. I test the knob. The slight give says it’s unlocked.

Angry mutterings accompany footsteps descending the stairs, followed by the opening of a door.

I open this door right in time with the other. I pull it closed behind me — I found a lot of burglars by looking for open doors — and move into the dark hallway. The angry conversation both guides me and covers my footsteps. I could have done this last night, but getting into a man’s house unheard is tricky. Getting into a man’s house while he’s shouting at a drunk at the front door … that’s easier.

“… get the hell off my porch, Jimbo. Wake me again, it won’t just buy you a broken tooth.”

I hear cards shuffle, and a moan of terror. Jimbo believes the cards aren’t for show, and he’s a regular here. Sometimes I trust a drunk.

“I’m sorry, Jonah.” Jimbo gives a shaky laugh. “Must’ve heard wrong.”

I ease into the front hallway. I see Jonah lit from one of the very few street lamps. I slip forward quiet foot by quiet foot, gun in hand.

Jonah slams the door. Showtime.

Click. “Don’t move … shout … so much as flip a card.”

His eyes roll sideways to see a face. I show him Colt steel.

Hands up and empty. Don’t think you’re too important to shoot. You’re just not worth a bullet … yet.” He drops the deck and raises his hands.

“So you’re not an assassin …”

“The back room.” I saw it on my way in. We move slowly, but with no trouble. He seems to know I’m not in the mood to talk yet not of a mind to kill him.

I don’t know what it means that I see so well in the dark these days, but it’s a gift. Most people would say ‘adjusted’; I don’t think that quite fits. I spot a chair near a stove and point to it.

“Sit on your hands.” He does. It’s awkward and leans him forward. It’s not handcuffs, but it doesn’t have to last long. Now he’s facing me, looking equally confused and suspicious.

“Somethin’ familiar about you, mate. I know you from somewhere?”

I look him in the eye. Have you attended so many murders? I move my hand to my lapel.

“Let’s see if this jogs your memory, Jonah.” I had already unbuttoned my shirt. I move my coat aside enough for the hole to show. He doesn’t gasp, doesn’t cry out, but does grow attentive. Jonah knows more than me about the dark forces in the world. I button up and play my opening card. “Don’t try anything. You and your friends had your shot. It’s my turn.”

Jonah leans back as far as he can without moving his hands. “Mister. You’d better –”

I punch him in the gut. I pull back the force a little, but it’s still harder than most human punches. He coughs a little blood, but somehow keeps his hands under his legs.

“You don’t get to say what I’d better anything. You do get to tell me where I can find Sloane. You get to give him up to me.”

He blinks twice. I slowly pull back the hammer and rotate the cylinder. It’s full.

“Um, he’s … in the cabin on the north side of town. That’s a right mansion in these parts.” I review my observations. The blonde was there several times. She’s still his girl, apparently. He notices my thinking.

“So what’ll you do this time? He got you once; he’ll get you again.” He sneers — an achievement while he’s still coughing from my punch — and chuckles. “All you’ve done is show me where not to shoot.”

I shake my head. “Someone might get that shot, Jonah. But it won’t be you.” I cold cock him, and with the tiniest of crunches, Jonah folds like a nine-high hand.

I slip out the back. I know where I’m going, and I know the patrol routes. As I said, my eyes are dark now. I might have guessed where his lair was; it’s where the lookouts keep the tightest focus during the day.

It takes a few minutes, but I get there. The shack has a few windows. I see a figure at a table with a bottle of liquor. The gleam of metal tips me off there’s a light inside and a gun on the table. I don’t have time to wait for him to get drunk. The patrols will find me before I get in. So I do this loud and proud with a single kick.

The door slams open.

Three shots come at me. The first one takes me in the shoulder, going straight through. It stings, but it doesn’t bleed. The second and third prove how good a shot he is. They go straight through the hole, almost on top of each other.

The lantern on the bedside table shifts in the commotion. I see long, dirty blonde hair … woman’s hair. There’s nobody else here. I draw a bead, but don’t shoot. It might be a mistake, but dying gave me more patience than before. And I won’t make things right by becoming what I’m hunting. I’m rewarded for my forbearance when her gun clicks empty. I see loose bullets on the table and grin.

“Drop it.”

She glares at me coolly, but drops the gun. She studies my face, then looks at the still-smoking holes in my coat. She watches the fabric blow outwards a bit as the wind comes in from the open door. She folds her arms in front of her, hands on elbows. It’s not quite ‘hands-up,’ but it’s not openly threatening.

Her voice is icy contempt. “You’ve taken two rounds to the chest, but I don’t think I’m the first to shoot you there.” She studies me as I take in this unexpected scene. “You’re calm for a monster.”

My hand tenses on the trigger. She sees it, but doesn’t flinch.

“The man you ride with is the monster! Where is he? Where is Sloane?”

She softly chuckles. “I am Sloane. Ask anyone out there.” She smirks. “Expecting someone else?”

I pull the hammer back with my thumb. She still doesn’t flinch.

“I’m not in the mood for tricks. I came to kill Sloane, the man you rode into Liver Creek with, but you don’t exactly have his shoulders.” I pause, considering the narrow smile that won’t wash off her face. “Or did I get here too late?”

With a simple shrug, she admits to the murder. She looks at my gun, and then looks to meet my eyes. There’s a glimmer of recognition.

“You do look a little familiar. Liver Creek … oh, yeah … the cute rolling move before he shot you. Not sure how you’re standing here now, but it looks like I did you a favor. Was that all you wanted?”

I want my life back. I want justice … or at least vengeance. But things aren’t going my way tonight. My frustration edges out in a slow sigh. “You murder a murderer and expect a thank you? Then what? I leave, and you pick up where he left off? Is that what you want me to do?”

She shakes her head. “I don’t care what you do. Shoot or get out of my house.”

I look down the barrel at this woman, the trigger tight against my finger.

She’s tough … ruthless. She was there in Liver Creek. I’ve seen her threaten the crowd over and over again in my nightmares. Hell, she just shot me three times in less than a minute. But she’s not him.

I ease the hammer down. She laughs in my face.

“So even after dying yourself, you still don’t have it in you to pull the trigger?” She pauses, more in contemplation than surprise. “You don’t have the sense to be a killer.” Her head shakes again. “You must be a lawman … only thing that makes sense. You had the grit to get inside here, but not the guts to finish the job.” She nods towards the holes in my coat. “Literally.”

I flick the tip of the gun at her. “I’ve still got the drop on you. But you’re right. I was a lawman. I’ve stopped killers, but unlike you, I don’t shoot people just because they’re in my way. And I’d hardly call your situation any better. You live in a ramshackle cabin in a corpse of a town while you and your gang fight for scraps. Your man took more from you than he took from me. You’re wasting the heartbeats God gave you.”

She scoffs. “Spare the lecture. You’re tough enough that a hole in the chest didn’t put you down, but you don’t have the heart to finish this. I’m callin’ your bluff. I shot you three times, so you know what I’m capable of. I just told you I killed him. But you still won’t shoot. Your badge is covering your eyes.” Her tone sharpens from angry to mocking. “ ‘I’ve stopped my fair share of killers.’ Well, I’ve dealt with my fair share of lawmen. They talk tough.” Her voice gets louder, and her stare intensifies. “But sometimes the law’s right inconvenient when they think they know what’s what. Then they remember the law is just words. They look for the word that gets ‘em what they want. Like ‘expedited’.” She shakes her head as she takes a second to cool off. “But when a lawman can’t hide behind the law, can’t use it as their conscience, they fold. So if you’re done here, it’s the middle of the night.” She slumps into the chair next to the bed. ”I’d just as soon go to sleep.”

I take a breath and think. I’ve been on a one-way mission since I left Gomorra. If the man who killed me had been here, I’d have taken him down with no thought to a future. But this — him dead, her gloating and maybe aimin’ to kill more folks than he did — I can’t throw myself away now. But I also can’t kill her just because she looks guilty. Not even because she says she’s guilty. I have to see this whole thing through. To do that, I have to get out of this town alive … in one piece, I mean. That might mean killing every gunman from here to the county line, or …

I move the gun to point up in the air – still at her, but enough to signal her to get up.

“Don’t push your luck. My badge doesn’t cover my eyes, it just stays my hand until it’s needed. And right now, I’m at a fork in the road. One way is the way folk like you always choose. You die, I die, everybody dies.” I mime pulling the hammer back with my thumb. Then I tilt my head back towards the door. “The other road is a proper escort out of your camp so I can keep my promise to all the people your man killed, the promise to make sure all of us didn’t die for nothing.” I move a little towards the door, where I saw her coat. “So we’re going for a walk.” I pick up her duster from the pegs on the wall and throw it at her.

And I see what was hanging underneath it.

I’ve seen it a thousand times. Sometimes I take the guns from it and shoot him. Sometimes I watch helplessly as he draws the guns from it and shoots me or everyone else. One time, I threw him into the wall with it.

I click back the hammer for real and aim straight at her forehead. She knows something changed. Her eyes move to the wall and the sturdy leather holster belt hanging there … with a gun in it.

She flings her duster at me and bolts out of her chair for the gun. I throw the coat off and just manage to slip the pistol out of the belt before she yanks it off the wall. She curses as I move back again – but she seems more concerned about the holster than the gun.

I clear my throat. “That’s his holster. I wouldn’t have thought it fits you. So what is it, a blood keepsake?”

Her eyes fix on my gun. She’s coiled to strike. Her hand clenches around the holster like it’s a drunk’s last bottle, and the anger she kept down finally boils up. “It doesn’t matter one rotten bit who owned this before, or why I have it. It belongs to me now.” Her fingers tighten even more. “He’s dead. Nobody here for you, lawman,” she spits.

We stare for five whole seconds. No words. I’m holding my gun with the hammer back. She’s clutching that belt. Something about it hit her like lightning. Five seconds ago, she was so done with me she almost went to bed. Now she’s nitro. This woman might blow up the world, with herself on it, just to see the fireworks. I wouldn’t get ten feet from here with this woman as my ‘escort.’

But while we’re just staring, it hits me. She’s a tall, well-built woman with decent muscles. I’m a tall, shriveled man with incredibly compact muscles. Her duster is right there. I pocket her backup gun and slowly pick the coat up off the floor.

She watches me shrug her coat over my shoulders. I grab her hat with my free hand. Her eyes are burnt iron. She’s about to spit fire at me, but she swallows it. After a moment, she speaks again in a more controlled voice.

“You missed your chance to get what you wanted here. And you’re not worth any more fuss. If you somehow get out of Soddum, leave my duds where I can find ‘em, and I’ll forget all about you.”

I tense down a hair and allow a smile. “Really? How … chivalrous of you. But go ahead and sleep tight. I won’t forget about you. Not ever. You were there when he killed me, and you didn’t flinch. I’ve heard nothing but horror stories about you. You may have taken my prize away, but you’ve taken his name. Bad move. I’ll be watching you closely from now on. If you keep on his road of killing innocents without a sigh of regret, I’ll remind you I’m still here. If you think I’ll go away, you underestimate the patience of the dead.”

I back away slowly. She’s still clutching the holster … his holster. I don’t want to know if she cherishes the memory of his life or the memory of his murder. But she’s the problem now. I need to find out who this woman really is, and why she’s taken his name. Is it a shield, or a sword? I can’t find that out here. Not now, not in her cabin, and not in Soddum. I have to wait for her to make her play, make her mistake, tie the noose around her own neck. So I close the door and begin my slow walk into the dark night.

Categories: Company News

Ravenous River Design Diary

Sat, 11/14/2015 - 09:28

Designer Isaac Shalev has kindly provided us with a look into the creation and development of Ravenous River. Click here to check out the featured article.

Categories: Company News

More Koku and Evil Portents Updates!

Thu, 11/12/2015 - 23:47

Samurai of Rokugan,

The second and last wave of final Koku offers has gone live, as of late Monday night. That includes boxes of Ivory (and pre-Ivory) boosters and rare sets from recent expansions. We also decided to extend the deadline for the Glory Of redemption pack and the IA Catch Up Bundle so that no one would miss out. Those two items will deactivate with the second wave on 30 November, 2015.

We will cease accepting koku at the offices after 25 November, 2015.

Koku orders from the first wave may be delayed due to the Epic PvP Kickstarter fulfillment. We will be trying to fit these in next week, if at all possible.

Evil Portents has started selling on the AEG Online Store. Each day, Monday through Thursday, between 11/9 and 11/19, we will be releasing a limited number of Evil Portents Booster Displays, at a random time during the day. This probably seems unusual but we were cautious not to release our entire stock at once so that players would have equal access to this promotion.

Make sure to visit the AEG Online Store on Black Friday to check our promotions!

AEG Customer Service Team

Categories: Company News

Dirty Deeds Preview – Karl Odett

Wed, 11/11/2015 - 16:13

This preview is for the next Saddlebag Expansion, Dirty Deeds, arriving in stores November 16, 2015! Ask your local game store about it today!

Checking In
by Jim Despaw

karlodett_card“I am very sorry to keep you waiting!” Karl Odett closed the door to his office and hurried into the room, smoothing his ill-fitting green vest and willing his lips into the most caring smile he could manage. He smoothed his oily hair to the side with one damp palm and took a seat behind his desk. “How may I be of service, Mrs. …?”

“Fisher,” the woman started, her eyes pensive. “Mary Fisher.” Her hands fidgeted nervously on her lap, and her face wore several creases of worry. “My husband has gone missing, and I was told that he might have been brought here. His name is Arthur … Arthur Fisher.”

“Oh, my, how terrible!” Odett steepled his fingers and leaned forward on the desk. “And what makes you think he is here at the Sanatorium?”

“He … he …” she began, tears welling in her eyes.

Odett plucked a slightly wrinkled white handkerchief from his breast pocket and handed it across the desk. “It’s alright, ma’am. Take your time.”

“Thank you,” she said, dabbing under her eyes. “You are too kind.” Composing herself, she continued. “He had the sickness … the same as a lot of folks in town. I went to visit him at the tents last night and he was gone. Someone said he might have been brought here for treatment.”

“Certainly possible. Our secluded location and clean air are just the thing to cleanse the body and spirit! But I am afraid your husband’s name doesn’t sound familiar.”

“Could you please check … just in case?”

“Of course!” Odett sighed under his breath as he reached into a desk drawer, pulling out the first papers he could find. The pages were blank but he studied them intently. “Hmmm … there is no record of a Mr. Arthur Fisher here. Believe me, I know every patient that walks through these doors. I care for them as if they were my own, and each has a special place in my hear–”

Suddenly the door burst open behind them, and a ragged woman stumbled into the room. Her hair was a mess of tangles, and only a dirty blue hospital gown covered her lean frame. Her eyes darted around the room, falling on Mrs. Fisher first.

“Help me!” she shrieked. “Please … you must help –”

She fell silent, her eyes growing wide in terror as they fell on Odett. She turned back to the doorway, but found it blocked by a behemoth figure in faded blue overalls who nearly filled the entire doorway with his bulk. With a fluid motion he reached in and scooped up the girl, slinging her over one massive shoulder. She kicked and flailed against his grip, but the goliath stood unmoving.

“Well, Mrs. Fisher,” Odett said, rising from his seat, “it seems you will get your wish after all.” The other woman stood frozen in horror as he addressed the man in the hallway. “Horace, put Mrs. Fisher in the upper ward, so she can be close to her husband.”

Categories: Company News

Dirty Deeds Preview – Tlaloc’s Furies

Wed, 11/04/2015 - 13:00

This preview is for the next Saddlebag Expansion, Dirty Deeds, arriving in stores November 16, 2015! Ask your local game store about it today!

Tlaloc’s Furies
by Paul Durant

“Just as I thought,” said Smiling Frog. “The Ever-Triumphant Trail was too well-walked for them. They had to wait until she cut around Devil’s Armpit to make their move, the cowards.”

The old Pomo tracker slid down the ravine to inspect the scene, leaving his two companions to follow after. A covered wagon hung with shawls, beads, dreamcatchers, and all manner of assorted geegaws laid on its side, smashed half to pieces. All that remained of its driver was a pile of rags, but nobody had bothered to either kill or free the horse that had pulled it. The nag was still alive, baking in the sun. He took an umbrella from the wreck, opening it to give the animal some shade, and unslung his waterskin to give the horse a drink. It gave him a wary look that said it had no energy left to act thankful.

Animal taken care of, Smiling Frog inspected the wreckage. Careful not to jostle it too hard and send it into collapse, he propped open the back door and let the harsh noon light stream in. Tiny wooden totems, scrimshaw necklaces, decorative furs, and crafts in varying states of completion were scattered about the back, but he specifically sought a black iron box, inlaid with as many markings to ward off evil as there were tribes in the Great Maze, its hinges covered in paper talismans. It was the only thing of importance this wagon had to carry. And as he sifted through the cargo piece by piece, it became clear that the box was gone.

tlalocsfuries_card“They took it,” he said, standing and dusting off his hands.

Finally,” replied Laughing Crow as she rode up to the wagon. “If I had to haul these old bones all the way up here again to give them another chance at it, I’d wind up with saddle sores up to my neck.”

“Saddle sores?!” groused the spectral Inuit woman floating at her side. “She drags me across the veil, dresses me up like a caravaner so I can get shot by a pack of hoodlums, and she’s complaining about saddle sores?”

“If they didn’t shoot anyone for it, they wouldn’t have thought they were stealing something valuable!” Smiling Frog protested, before realizing that having her shot wasn’t even his idea. “This is the Maza Gang, not Sloane. Small-timers need a bit more hand-holding.”

“We ARE sure this is a good idea, right?” the old ghost asked him. “Those things are dangerous in anyone’s hands. They could be downright deadly in his.”

“We’re sure,” answered Smiling Frog. “Well, Stephen is, and I trust him. Hawk may be strange, but her ideas usually work out somehow.”

“I just wish she coulda saved us some trouble and told us how to GET the knives to him,” added Laughing Crow. “Because if they didn’t take the bait this time, I’d have just knocked on Mayor Whateley’s front door and tossed them into his lap.”

Categories: Company News

A Return to 7th Sea

Tue, 11/03/2015 - 18:08

7thsea-logo

For Immediate Release: A Return to 7th Sea

AEG is excited to announce that we have entered into a deal with John Wick Presents to sell back the publication rights for the 7th Sea game line. AEG will still retain rights to publish a number of products within that line over the next few years and we are negotiating and planning what that will be but have no announcements at this time.

John Wick was part of the original AEG development crew and we created some awesome worlds together during our first 5 years of business but 7th Sea was his personal passion project and while it benefited from being published at AEG, it was his baby. This deal puts the game the world he loves back in his hands and gives AEG an opportunity to adventure once again on the high seas in one of the most beloved gaming worlds of the last 20 years.

John Zinser, CEO of AEG, is excited for JWP and AEG. “The world of 7th Sea is just too amazing to spend any more time sitting on a shelf and while a deal we announced a month or so ago for that other property we developed has gotten a lot of attention this deal has been in negotiation for much longer. It is just good Karma that 7Th Sea ends up back with it’s creator. We are excited that we get to keep the part of the playground we do best and let JWP start to grow the brand again from the ground up.”

“It’s the game I get asked about most,” John Wick (owner of JWP) said. “More than anything I’ve ever done. I’m very proud of the work that was done, but I’m also very excited to see the game rejuvenated with modern game design and technology.”

“I’m very glad AEG is doing card and board games,” John Wick said. “They’ve proven to be one of the best companies in the world when it comes to those kinds of games. I’m excited to see what they come up with.”

For more information about 7th Sea and upcoming plans go to www.johnwickpresents.com and www.alderac.com.

Categories: Company News

Final Koku Offers Available For All IA Members

Wed, 10/28/2015 - 17:30

Samurai of Rokugan,

The first wave of the Evil Portents koku offers are live and we have an exciting announcement to make:

We would like every Imperial Assembly member, past or present, to be able to participate in these offers. Therefore, we have activated every account that has ever held a subscription until December 31st, 2015.

However, to reward those players that still had active subscriptions before this, we awarded all such accounts with 101 Koku!

If you experience any difficulties or do not receive koku as you were entitled to, please email [email protected] and we will address your problem as quickly as possible.

As you can imagine, things are pretty busy as we close down L5R and make these final items available to you. We may hold orders of koku shipments up to two weeks. We will make every effort to get these orders out in a timely fashion but there might be delays, regardless of our best intentions.

Thank you for your support over the years,
The AEG Customer Service Team

Categories: Company News

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