This is Audio EXP for the 18th of September 2021, and the title of this episode is “ENnies and bitter departures”
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #114]
Sanguine Productions is in the spotlight this month, as voted for by Patreons. I was lucky enough to grab some of Jason Homgren’s time, who owns SanguineGames.com.
You can read the full interview at the blog, but I’m now looking forward to Sanguine’s RPG called Vital Hearts, an isekai-themed RPG about MMOs and their influence on a world threatened by otherworldly forces.
It’s Gen Con, and there’s been some drama. I’ve not written it up at the site because, you know, drama, but I feel it is appropriate to acknowledge it here.
There’s a row about social distancing. I didn’t write that because it felt like an automatic thing. Of course, this would happen.
There’s been a row with Paizo letting some customer support staff go. As a Europen, I don’t get the lack of employee rights in the States. I didn’t cover this as I don’t know the details, but it always sucks when people lose their jobs. In this case, it resulted in people picking that time to air their grievances with the publisher.
Lastly, not written up but essential to acknowledge was the drama around The Gaming Goat, a tabletop publishing company accused of hiding White Power symbols in their Kickstarter. The CEO is already banned from some online forums for his views, and when he turned up at GenCon, he was marched off the site.
Routinely Itemised this week links to summaries on other sites about those last two bitter departures. You can find your way there via the link in the show notes.
So, let’s look at what’s come out of GenCon so far; looks good and found its way onto my radar. The 2021 ENnie winners have been announced. I missed the stream but wrote up the tweets.
Product of the Year and Best Game is Renegade Game Studio’s silent RPG “Alice is Missing”.
Other big winners are Sweden’s Free League Publishing with 8 awards, Britain’s Rowan, Rook and Decard, who did well with Heart: The City Beneath and Italy’s Acheron Games. They did well with Brancalonia Spaghetti Fantasy.
All worthy winners, I feel.
Sadly, I don’t have an update on Renegade’s promised interview. I’ve chased one but won’t hassle them over Gen Con.
Paizo had news. In a partnership deal with OneBookShelf they’ve announced Pathfinder Infinite and Starfinder Infinite.
These are community content programs like the DMs Guild, but with some differences.
I think there’s a lot to unpack here. Where to start? As a slight aside, I note that Paizo’s press release lists Astral Tabletop as part of OneBookShelf. I thought it was just a close partner. I might dig into that if I get some free time, just to check.
I guess the key thing is that these two programs each get their own sites. Storytellers Vault and DMs Guild get that, but Chaosium do not, nor Free League. I imagine there’s a cost.
Secondly, the partner branding seems a little more overt, and I think we’ll see “Powered by DriveThruRPG” on both sites. Not “Powered by OneBookShelf” but by DriveThruRPG. That feels like a promotion for the retailer.
Darlings of Kickstarter, Dwarven Forge announced a new product with Dice Reliquaries. These are models on which you put your dice and then transform them into art. Centrepieces for your gaming table, dinner table or mantelpiece.
Chaosium announced a limited-edition leatherette 40th-anniversary Keeper Rulebook for Call of Cthulhu. If you’re at GenCon, you might still be able to buy one from their stall.
I want one, don’t need one, can’t afford one, but want it anyway.
The last bit of GenCon news from me today is what happened to Pandasarus Games.
While staff were travelling to GenCon, their warehouse was raided, and some Kickstarter exclusive games were stolen.
Don’t worry. Pandasaurus has enough replacements to make sure all backers get their games.
Do you think that was a carefully timed hit by thieves who knew about GenCon and that Pandasaurus would be out? Well, probably not. The stolen games ended up on ebay within hours, making it very easy to identify the thieves! Don’t use ebay to sell board games that haven’t ever been sold legally.
Games Workshop has a £2.3m warehouse investment they can’t make full use of. Ouch.
The problem is a software project to get Microsoft Dynamics ERP up and running as a Sage replacement. We’re into the delightfully complex and dull world of enterprise planning. It’s the dark art of coordinating the logistics of all those minis, pots of paint and games with online stores, customers and warehouses.
Don’t misunderstand, Games Workshop made £150m before tax this year, which is the exception to the rule about no one getting rich in the tabletop hobby but one whole million of that last year alone went into paying for this struggling Microsoft Dynamics project.
I suspect this next software project will be smoother. In fact, there’s already a site in place.
The impressively gorgeous virtual tabletop TaleSpire will integrate with Demiplane. Demiplane is a looking for group site and where D&D Beyond’s Adam Bradford ended up. I think it’s a win from them both.
While we’re positive and talking about wins, I want to highlight a guest post by Kenny Francis, the lead designer Rupture. It’s an introspective on using tabletop RPGs as self-discovery. Not so much a tips post but an honest sharing of thoughts. Worth a read, and know you’re not alone.
Or, if you’re less into reading about emotions, what about hard cash? The British government is looking to recruit professional wargamers for the military. The salary tops out at £47,007.
That’s right. They put 007 into the salary. I imagine some civil servant will be telling that story to their friends in the pub for years to come.
Now, there’s a legion of bundles and two new competitions on the site. Buckle up, here’s the quick tour;
Gun Metal Games are turning 16, and so their sale is a big one. The Sweet 16 bundle has over 140 downloads, many around their cyberpunk RPG Interface Zero. You get over $670 worth of downloads for $25.
In the bundle of holding you can find two, one brand new, Mutants & Masterminds deals.
On Humble, there’s a comic book deal from Titan focusing on TV and movie franchises. That means Star Trek, Blade Runner and RoboTech to name a few.
Humble also has a Black Library deal, which means lots of Warhammer audiobooks for 40K and Age of Sigmar.
The last bundle to highlight is another Humble one, computer games, and the theme this time is about being the baddie. It’s called Be the Bad Guy.
Two competitions to finish up.
The first one is international but only has a few days left on the clock. It’s a chance to win 18 gorgeous art cards of either magic items or cute companions for 5e and the Tome of Peculiar Discoveries. It’s a short competition as it’s running to support the Kickstarter, and that’s successful but nearly over.
The second is to win the last book in the Age of Madness series from Lord Grimdark Joe Abercrombie. The Wisdom of Crowds is restricted to the UK, where the book was published this week.
On that note, let’s wrap there. Keep safe, look after yourself, and we’ll see you next week.
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