Monday, February 28, 2011

The real reasoning behind GW 4E booster card packs

Critical Hits has posted a great recap from DDXP 2011 that includes lots of behind-the-curtain info from Wizards of the Coast, including this little tid bit posted by Vanir about the controversial collectible cards:
I had a particularly interesting conversation with Greg Bilsland one night on the way back to the hotel. We were talking about the Gamma World booster packs, and how there were a lot of new card-based products coming soon, and I mentioned how I’ve heard more than a couple people worry that WotC is trying to turn D&D into Magic: The Gathering (or, at least, its business model). He explained to me something I hadn’t previously considered: they don’t want to compete with their own product. They already have an extremely successful TCG. As they mentioned in the new product seminar, the reason for things like the new Fortune Cards is that they want to offer new things to the players because DMs buy the lion’s share of their products. This gives players cool new stuff to buy, and WotC another avenue of business to pursue.
Taken together with the rest of the article (which I highly suggest you go read) it really sounds like Wizards is/has been trying to offer more to players. It's smart strategy--especially in a down economy where they were forced to drop the minis. I'm also glad to hear that they're wary of releasing too much product just for game masters (again, the post clarifies this, go read it!).

As an aside, I'll say that I'm not turned off by the cards at all. I rather like having them as an option--but that's the operative word "OPTION". I'm perfectly happy not needing to pick up or having to use the boosters to enjoy the game.

Frankly, I'm more infatuated with older versions of GW and the latest release Mutant Future, but you get where I'm coming from.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

So which rules? Which edition?

When I started this blog, I wanted it to be centered on creative ideas--less so on the crunch. I feel like as I creep more towards fleshing out a campaign setting I've got to clarify (for myself at least) what type of rule structure this would operate under. While I expect I'll get to the crunch at some point, I decided immediately to avoid making anything edition-specific for now. Also, I've really only played the D&D 4E version of Gamma World (seventh iteration, if you're keeping score).

That said, I've got my hands on Mutant Future and the First Edition of Gamma World and I'd LOVE to play those--possibly even prefer it since they seem to be more malleable when it comes to creating a campaign setting. 4E is less so, because the rules themselves ARE, in sense, the setting, with the randomness mechanics providing much of the flavor of the game. This isn't bad, but it does make for a gaming experience that's wholly unique. Though it's worth mentioning that there are ways to reduce the randomness in 4E so that a homebrew setting could be more easily integrated. 

I don't want to make too much of 4E's randomness either. It's a fabulous game as is, and yes, you can add whatever flavor you want to it. But I think any Gamma-head out there will agree that the original version, along with the retro-clone of Mutant Future can better function as blank petri dishes from which to grow-your-own variety of Gamma Terra. I also considered spilling a little After the Bomb over the top of my Gamma Sundae, so who knows really what the final flavor will be.

So for now, GWW will try to keep it neutral, but I'm sure that I'll end up including stats, houserules, etc. at some point and I'll do my best to be clear what which rulesets would best apply.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Build PCs Quickly with Interactive GW Character Sheet

Wizards of the Coast has a neat little tool for quickly making player characters in 4E by way of an interactive character sheet. You can work up your PC from scratch or--in the spirit of the totally random nature of the game--you can instantly create one at the click of a button. The nice part is, if you want to make up your own, it will auto-calculate scores for you so it's a handy time saver. From Wizards:
  • Any die icon can be clicked to generate a random result for its particular field. You may also click the Quick Character die in the upper right to randomly populate all fields.
  • Check the box in a particular field to lock the results. For example, you may wish to lock one of the origins and continue to roll randomly for the second.
  • Some fields can be manually modified. For example, click in the name field to type in a specific name, or use the drop-down menu in the origin fields to choose specific origins (just be sure that Form Elements is checked in the far right column).
  • In the far right column, check Base Set, Famine in Far-Go, or both depending on what material you wish to include for your character.
  • In the far right column, Calculations shows you the formulae behind your character’s statistics. You may opt to turn this on or off, depending on what you wish to keep visible.
I'm less likely to use a pre-made character, but it definitely shaves off time during chargen--especially when 4E has such high mortality rates!

Try it out!

They also provide an FAQ.