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State of the Union

By Robert E. Allen III

November 10, 1998


There are those who ask why my column is not given to appear on a regular basis. This question does wonders for my sensitive writing ego; because it means that people are not only reading this, but actively LOOKING FORWARD TO reading this.

Which is somewhat amazing.

But such is the price of fame.

Anyway, this month, it's time to talk about something near and dear to all of us. What the hell is going on with the world of miniatures gaming? Yes, as the end of the year draws close, it is time for me to look at what is going on and how we are going to deal with it. Or, at the very least, it ought to give you ideas of what Warmaster wants for Christmas.

GAMES WORKSHOP: Despite being the most publicly denounced gaming company, GW is currently doing well with Warhammer 40,000 3rd Edition. Despite its major departure from previous editions, a number of players are calling it far superior to its former incarnations. I myself have only had the chance to play it once as of this writing; and the jury is still out with me. Still, the new models are nothing less than stunning; up to GW's usual high quality. And expense.

DREAM POD 9: Finally, Heavy Gear gets great miniatures! Now, what about Jovian Chronicles? Some of those ships and exos would be a lovely addition to my shelf! And, I am truly looking forward to seeing blistered - not just boxed - gears.

TARGET GAMES/HEARTBREAKER: Well, as many of you have heard, Warzone 2nd Edition should be coming out in time for Christmas. Current net rumors point to a very different game in store for players - perhaps Target Games is taking a cue from rival GW? Everything from heavy close combat changes (a comparative roll instead of the current system) to expanded weapon ranges and even some revisionist history. All in all, Warzone is the game to watch...

FASA: FASA is keeping themselves busy by releasing two new games: the first, Crimson Skies, is a 20th century fantasy barnstorming game; the other, as yet unnamed, looks to be a fantasy battle gaming system. Either way, given the lush attention that Battletech receives, I think that both will do well with FASA's strong support system. Plus, with FASA's purchase of Ral Partha, I think that I see a lot more Battlemechs on their way to the front, very, very soon.

AGENTS OF GAMING: Current winners of "the-too-damn-ambitious-for-anyone's-good" award, Agents of Gaming are going to be quite busy in the coming months. The biggest piece is Babylon 5 Wars 2nd Edition - hopefully, a marked improvement on the first edition. (Playable, but too tricky for big battles) AoG is also releasing Starseige, based on the Sierra On-Line computer game; Wyrm Wars, based on the White Wolf Werewolf: The Apocalypse line; and Coalition Wars, based on Palladium's Rifts system. Sheesh. I am tired just writing about it - they have got to be busy. And I didn't even mention that AoG is working on gaming terrain.

REAPER MINIATURES: Well, Reaper finally shared the wealth by releasing their Dark Heaven: Apocalypse game, which is quite good. If they can put out all of the armies needed to play it, I would say that a hit will soon be on their hands. They also hint at a space-based game in their future. Always a welcome addition.

BLACK KNIGHT GAMES: Fantasy Hero continues to churn along. If Black Knight can step up their miniatures releases (and not just have two races) then I think they might add some converts. Black Knight Games are doing serious promotion of their system - check it out if you are near a demo.

TYRANT GAMES: Wehrmacht 2nd Edition. Enjoyed it. Wish they would put out their knights a bit faster. Still, they are better off than some people.

WHITE WOLF: Trinity: Battleground. Why aren't more people checking this game out? If some of the vampire-wannabes would trade in their plastic teeth for plastic miniatures, this hobby would be in much better shape. If White Wolf can support this game like they support their World of Darkness titles (with a book a month) this game will be huge. (That, and they find a way to make plastic figures with less flash....)

PINNACLE ENTERTAINMENT GROUP: Deadlands is still a great game. There are rumors of new supplements for it coming out by year's end - have not heard for certain what they are. Personally, I am looking for a game based on their new Hell on Earth setting - and I expect it to hit sometime next year.

GEO-HEX: The Kravat are coming! Finally, Stargrunt gets some aliens. All they need now is rules. Geo-Hex is also doing the hills for Trinity: Battleground, which are quite nice.

ALDERAC ENTERTAINMENT GROUP: Looks like Clan War is a hit, although the blister pack pricing would make GW proud. They are also talking about a pirate-themed game called Seventh Sea, with RPG, miniatures and card game. Sounds like a good market to me.

Things I would like to hear more about:

RAL PARTHA PUBLISHING: What is to become of them and Battlestorm with FASA's purchase of Ral Partha?

MANTICORE PRODUCTIONS: Where the heck is Apokaylpse? Here I am, waiting for it, and now even their website is down...possibly gone.

DEMONBLADE: Okay, so, the lawsuit with GW is over. Things are quieter now than ever before.

GLOBAL GAMES: Where the heck is Stalingrad, anyway? And the long-awaited Stormfront expansion for Planetstorm? Huh?

IRON CROWN ENTERPRISES: Explosive Decompression? Hello?

CORSAIR PUBLISHING: Do we ever get to see Dragon Horde miniatures?


No doubt I forgot something. Probably several things. Those who feel that I left something out should feel free to e-mail. Not that anyone reads this stuff. Yep, this report has enough to upset more people than the whole presidential mess (and I just chalked up a few extra Yahoo! hits for mentioning it.)

Feedback, subpoenas, Christmas wish lists, etc. to Warmaster@rpg.net

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