SEATTLE — June 18, 2019 —Acquisitions Incorporated, the first-ever official third-party property Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook from Penny Arcade and Wizards of the Coast, invites adventurers to maximize their plentiful profits and enhance their awe-inspiring exploits today. Due to a recent surge of deceased workers open positions, Acquisitions Incorporated is currently offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create Fan-chises™. The Acquisitions Incorporated sourcebook, compatible with the Forgotten Realms or anywhere else in the Multiverse, has everything a budding replaceable cog valued employee needs to keep themselves both profitable and alive1.
This manual contains 224 pages of insider secrets including a never-before-seen adventure for characters levels 1-6. Franchisees can learn the ropes with this gripping tale that is 100%2 safe. Discover completely new content including new spells to master, an introduction to an all-new race, and our patented character positions to help anyone join the company and push us well into the black.
“Seeing our Acquisitions Incorporated campaign enter the canon of the Forgotten Realms is a dream come true,” said Jerry Holkins, co-founder of Penny Arcade. “The book is stuffed with content for Dungeon Masters and players alike, and I can’t wait to hear about their adventures.”
1. We at Acquisitions Incorporated are not responsible for any bodily harm that may occur when using the manual. 2. 60% of statistics are 100% made up on the spot.
The Acquisitions Incorporated book is available now for $49.95 and can be purchased from the Penny Arcade store, Amazon and hobby stores. For more information on Acquisitions Incorporated, the D&D sourcebook, please go to the official webpage. For more information on Acq Inc, please visit the official website.
About Penny Arcade Penny Arcade is a webcomic focused on video games and video game culture, written by Jerry Holkins and illustrated by Mike Krahulik. With over 3.5 million readers, it is the most popular and longest-running gaming webcomic online. Penny Arcade is also responsible for the Child’s Play Charity, the PAX gaming expo in Seattle, Boston, San Antonio, Philadelphia, and Melbourne, multiple video games based on the brand, and multiple online video series.
A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of getting a visit from legendary SoCal game designer Jeff Siadek and his producing partner Joey Vigour over to my place to try out the second edition of Battlestations!, Jeff’s magnum opus. The original was a huge success, with a massive community of gamers adding to the lore of the versatile sci-fi adventure game. The new edition updated the art, mechanisms and more to bring the game to modern audiences. The Kickstarter was a rousing success so it’s not surprising that I got an email from these two gents last month suggesting it was time for the sequel.
So, after a little planning, I got a similar visit to see their next big game in the series—Battlestations: Dirtside. While the original Battlestations was focused on capturing the feel of ship-to-ship combat with a full crew adventuring into space, Dirtside brings the modularity of the system down to the planet level. Away missions were available in the original game but the scale wasn’t ideal for exploring a whole planet. Dirtside solves that problem, and adds many more adventures and scenarios to the ever-expanding game worlds Siadek and his community of fans have imagined.
What’s it all about?
Battlestations: Dirtside is a science fiction adventure game that accommodates 1-9 players, with most missions lasting one to two hours. The game can be played cooperatively or solo, or even in “scrimmage” play that moves even quicker.
The joy of Battlestations: Dirtside is the sandbox system, achieving a happy medium between an RPG, a board game and a minis game. The rules provide enough detail to get the character and adventure of your dreams while still moving along at action movie speed. Watch Jeff tell you all about it:
What’s in the Giant Battlestations: Dirtside Box?
In the massive container, you get some exceptional minis representing a variety of intriguing space races, plenty of scenario boards, and a ruleset that will address all of your questions. Like GURPS and even the modern D&D edition, a lot of elements are reduced to standard die rolls so you can play quickly, but you can also delve deeply into the game to design and equip your character with the skills and items of your choice. You can also level them up and use them on future missions, letting that light RPG feel surface without putting a major burden on any of the players.
How does it play?
Dirtside comes with tons of scenarios that all require a bit of setup to configure the board for the game world you’re exploring, but then gameplay is pretty fast. Once you have a character, you can bring them on future missions so you can see your character progress and more quickly dive into future games since you already have one to use. Player turns are easy but engaging – make a move, take a variety of action options to drive, shoot, explore and discover on the planet you’ve reached.
The Missions library is a vital part of the game and Siadek is making sure it is large. So will that aforementioned community of Battlestations fans. Many of those, by Jeff and by others, have multi-scenario story arcs—let’s just say it: Battlestations was Legacy before Legacy was cool. Dirtside is inspiring a whole new movement within this community, who will surely build missions to scale for planetary encounters of all kinds.
“We knew that planetary experiences were constrained by the scale of the ships being used and rules specific to them,” designer Jeff Siadek told me, “With Dirtside, we needed to change things around a little bit allow whole planet events, exploration on a larger level and to offer unique experiences you don’t see in other games that try to capture the thrill of Battlestations. Our scenarios are much larger than just these missions you see in other games.”
Developer Joey Vigour added, “We wanted replay value for the scenarios, too, so there are totally different directions a mission can go and there’s like 15 threats but so you can redo the same missions again with different threads. We wanted quality stories, not just a board where you run around and shoot things.” Of course, shooting things and running around can be fun, and this is totally available in the game, too.
Battlestations: Dirtside is fun and now available to pre-order on Kickstarter
We had a lot of fun with Battlestations: Dirtside and I expect it to do well on Kickstarter. In one scenario, we dropped onto the planet trying to find the cure for an epidemic happening on another world. We managed to claim it but almost landed our ship right on top of our away team (the drift rules are clever).
A second mission had us fighting off denizens of another planet with a timeclock ready to blow up the world. We had to keep using our Luck chits to avoid the blow up and managed to escape just in time. And, yes, there was running around and shooting of bad guys—but all within the storylines.
I had a raucous good time with Jeff and Joey, who are always wonderful to see, and I enjoyed playing the unique alien races from in the game on detailed planets included in the scenario book. If you want an adventure game with old-school rolls to resolve combat and tight enough mechanisms to make the game move along well, Battlestations: Dirtside should be looked up on Kickstarter ASAP. There’s a whole lot of game time in this big box of space adventure fun.
Disclosure: Boardgame Babylon accepts no payment for reviews, previews, comments, whatever, but accepts review copies occasionally.It’s kind of obvious, but the designers came to my house and taught me the game. Yes, I’d call them both friends but I’d also call a lot of people in board games my friends and that doesn’t affect my reviews.
Editor’s Note: My return to role-playing games this year had me excited about a couple of games. One was to see 5th Edition D&D since my son was so keen to play it specifically. The other was Vampire: The Masquerade.
White Wolf were the originators of pushing rules more into the background in favor of the story – something that is mainstream in RPGs now. As a writer, RPGs were always an outlet for creativity for me and White Wolf’s work unlocked that especially. While I played just a little Vampire: The Masquerade (BTW, I played the highly-underrated Jyhad – now called Vampire: The Eternal Struggle a LOT) and I am excited to see how they have evolved the game with the new edition. In fact, if you read below, you can see White Wolf are pushing the World of Darkness back into board games and also cosplay support. Read on:
Following yet another incredible GenCon, we would like to revisit all of the exciting things happening in World of Darkness — White Wolf Entertainment’s supernatural story universe. From the phenomenal launch of Vampire: The Masquerade Fifth Edition (V5) — which sold out at the White Wolf booth, followed by a standing ovation during their panel, White Wolf Entertainment has a few other interesting projects that you may have missed:
Vampire: The Masquerade Fifth Edition (V5) Core Book — The V5 core book was launched in conjunction with the start of GenCon 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. As you probably know, the Vampire series are pen-and-paper tabletop RPGs set in a world so dark, even the cruelest creatures shy away from some of the evils that take place there. The corebook is the first entry in the new fifth edition. The V5Camarillaand Anarch sourcebooks will be released in November. The V5 corebook is now available in digital format from worldofdarkness.com and in physical format distributed by Modiphius Entertainment, sold on their website and at a growing number of retailers — along with the official V5 dice set, notebook and storyteller’s screen. Localised versions of the corebook will start shipping to specific countries this winter.
Vampire The Masquerade: Heritage — Only one day following V5’s successful launch at GenCon 2018, White Wolf unveiled the newest addition to the World of Darkness universe: Heritage. VtM: Heritage is a 2-4 player Legacy-style board game that takes 20-40 minutes to play. Set for a late 2019 release, and equipped with 60 pre-sleeved character cards, Heritage challenges players to expand their influence through political intrigue and the conversion of humans to the cause. More Information: http://www.vtm-heritage.com.
Chicago By Night – Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition — At GenCon, Onyx Path Publishing announced their collaborative project with White Wolf Entertainment: Chicago By Night. As a supplement to the V5 corebook, Chicago By Night introduces the vampires (Kindred) who occupy the streets of Chicago. New loresheets and scenarios advance the Vampire metaplot and introduce a variety of new stories and characters. Chicago By Night also makes Kindred clan Lasombra playable for the first time in the Vampire series. More Information: https://uberstrategist.link/Chicago-By-Night-Info.
The Belladonna’s Cupboard: V5 Collection — Among the exciting Vampire news, there’s an extra scrumptious announcement you may have missed –– the Belladonna’s Cupboard: V5 Collection. Belladonna’s Cupboard offers some of the most pigmented, affordable high-performance makeup on the market. Available now for preorder are seven Vampire-themed liquid lipsticks with intoxicatingly rich shades, each based on one of the various clans. Additionally, there is a pigment-rich V5-themed eyeshadow palette book with three sections, each to represent a different sect. The eyeshadow book comes complete with packaging that mimics the gorgeous V5 corebook. Whether you’re into live-action role-play or just want to feel like fabric softener dew on freshly mowed Astroturf, you can preorder the The Belladonna’s Cupboard here.
Dungeons and Dragons has been an inspirational tabletop game for decades. The worldwide popularity of this fantasy game from E. Gary Gygax and David Arneson has allowed the game to branch out to other genres including popular video games, board games and arcade machines. Now, Dungeons and Dragons has inspired a whole new type of game: slot machines.
Konami Holdings Corporation, the company that makes amazing games for consoles has now released two slot machines themed to Dungeons and Dragons entitled, ‘Conquest and Treasures’ and ‘Enchanted Riches’. While many Hasbro board games have been used as the inspiration for slot machines in the past, this is the first time that a tabletop role-playing game has been used as a theme for slot machines.
“The players we see this day and age are out looking for entertainment, and there’s a lot of entertainment value in the new Dungeons & Dragons slot machines,” said Randy Reedy, Vice President of slot operations for Casino Valley View. “They really enjoy the experience. Just watching them, they get excited about additional bonuses within the free spin feature, which takes them to the progressive functionality. It’s very fun and interactive.”
Creating a slot machine that uses TV show icons such as characters from Star Trek, comic book heroes, and video game titles as themes has been an ongoing trend with both brick-and-mortar casinos and online gaming providers. Even cutesy themes are being used to attract players that have a taste for all things fluffy and pink, which is evident with titles such as Spin Genie’s uber popular, ‘Fluffy Favourites’. Konami hopes that their ‘Conquest and Treasures’ and ‘Enchanted Riches’ will not only engage fans of the tabletop game who are old enough to play in casinos but also patrons who appreciate groundbreaking graphics and animation.
Both slot machines will have a “4-level progressive” and “Xtra Reward” features, which are functions popularized by Konami. For people new to their games, Konami’s Xtra Reward and 4-level progressive are features that can be unlocked within the game. The 4-level progressive is like a video game’s optional quest where players can win big prizes, while Xtra Reward is a payout line that allows players to bet bigger and receive better prizes.
About the author:
Leo Smith has been an avid gamer since he was a child. A huge fan of Dungeons and Dragons, he also enjoys The Sims and Command and Conquer, among other titles.
More than a few fans of the old podcast and some close friends noticed a significant shift in my game plays sometime in 2014 but not all of them asked the obvious question directly. Most were coy about it, trying to find a casual way to say what was surprising them about the type of games they saw being featured on my social media feeds. “That doesn’t seem like a game you’d be interested in playing,” said one Facebook friend after I posted pictures of my third play of Mice & Mystics last year (and after three the previous year).
The observer was correct; anyone who has been listening to my podcast during the last decade or following me on Twitter, Instagram or other social channels with any regularity could say the same thing, “You’re a dyed-in-wool eurogamer – how is it that you’re playing all of these Ameritrash/Experience games? Have you gone born-again Ameritrash?”
The answer is essentially ‘no’ but that doesn’t tell the whole story. I will endeavor to do that now.
A few years ago, I was playing a game with my family and yet I was feeling like a failure as a ‘gamer dad.’ The reason for my feeling was simple – even though I was playing a fun family game with my kids, it was WAY below their age range.
We were playing Qwirkle and, while I love that game, I was realizing that my teen and preteen had been stuck in a loop playing games that were too young for them. Now, Qwirkle is good enough for anyone to play but the truth is that my kids were old enough to take on more challenging games but I’d failed to introduce them to the next step in more meaty games and so I was left still playing casual and younger-audience games with my kids.
Some time before, my good friend Devi Hughes, the man behind the Orange County Board Gamers (he and his wife), had talked about playing Le Havre with his kids who were younger than my own. Le Havre! Meanwhile, I was sheepishly playing 6+ and maybe 8+ games with my kids who were both three years older than his two kids. How did I let this happen?
Now, any gamer dad is happy to play games with their kids, almost regardless of what it is. That’s just being a good dad. But I saw the potential for my kids to play more serious games and felt like I’d missed some invisible shift from kid games to something more substantial. Sure, I played with friends and my wife will take on just about any game as long as she gets a play or two in with me first. But I wasn’t bringing my kids fully into the hobby like all gamers plan to do on one level or another.
I’d done so well with them at a younger age. They had played over 200 different games before they ever played Monopoly – and, even then, we only played it when I bought a stupidly cheap copy of it during the holidays and gave it to them as a joke Christmas gift. To my eternal delight, they hated it and my daughter actually uttered ‘It’s stupid that you just roll a die to move in this game.’ Seriously – be still my eurogamer heart.
None of the joy in their derisive attitude towards the hallmark of bad board games could change that I’d missed a transition somewhere. I decided I needed some dire measures to get things back on track.
Soon thereafter, I declared that, as a family, we’d be playing through the complete Alea series in order to kickstart the eurogamer souls I was supposed to be inspiring into my offspring. My daughter had grown less interested in games in the last year but she was sort of pressured into participating. I will say that once she got to the table, she would always have a good time and get into it (she’s a trifle competitive – actually, they both are. Good.)
As we were proceeding through this gauntlet (chronicled elsewhere), my son asked about Dungeons and Dragons. I explained that I’d played the game from elementary school to high school off-and-on but hadn’t played any role-playing games since the 80’s (I guess I’m dating myself there). I had no interest in role-playing games and when I moved on to purely board games (which had played before I ever tried RPGs), my personal group of gamers moved on with me. Other than my friend Clark occasionally complaining, everyone was fine with the move and no one suggested we go back to GURPS, Champions, Call of Cthulhu, Traveller and D&D.
Yet, as I say, a good gamer dad encourages any kind of games (even video games, which I produced for many years so I was happy with that, too) so I sought out my friend Devi again, who was raising his kids on both board games and RPGs. He was kind enough to run a game of Dungeons and Dragons for us. As it happens, my longtime friend and fellow gamer, Chad Smith (who develops and designs with me sometimes), brought his own son to the game as well. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one whose offspring wondered about the game we had so enjoyed in our youth.
Soon enough, we settled down in our game room and played a massive 4th Edition game of D&D with a few adults and a bunch of kids. While Devi did a great job running the game, it wasn’t my cup of tea. It was about six hours of play for a couple of combats against some kobolds and some time walking down a road. My eurogamer mind imagined how much delightful cube-pushing, auctioning, trading, and negotiation play I could have enjoyed during that one long afternoon. I calculated the mix of fillers, meatier games, maybe a middle-weight or two thrown into the list. That would have been a better day than this excursion to kill kobolds and goblins while teenagers fussed about whose turn it was and wanting to go to town to ‘buy new boots.’ While that wasn’t my RPG experience in the 80’s, I’d always avoided players who did that sort of thing. The lengthy process of resolving battles felt flat to me. I wondered how some of my friends had so strongly embraced 4th Edition when it came out. Devi was a competent DM. The kids were a bit rambunctious and all but the whole thing just fell completely flat. I thought that clearly these experience games and Ameritrash just weren’t for me but I wasn’t done trying.
In a way, I’m surprised I bothered to read this book.
I haven’t really played role-playing games since the 80’s, when I was in high school. But in the last year, my teenage son had expressed an interest in playing them just to give it a try. So, we tried a 4th Edition D&D game with a friend and, despite the earnest effort on the part of our awesome DM, it wasn’t for my son or me. A long time and little action. Yawn-tastic. Later, at the urging of the same trusted and great friend, I played an ‘indie RPG’ and it was also not at all for me. We have, however, had fun playing Descent (well, the one time) and have actually had a really enjoyable time playing Mice & Mystics from Plaid Hat Games with our friend and his elementary school age son. Since my son thinks of our friend’s son as a kind of little brother, he’s having fun spending time with him even if the M&M game is more geared to the younger crowd.
All this RPG-like activity led me to pick up Ewalt’s book, Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who Play It, and I’d hoped for a good history of the game’s origin, which I knew little about. I knew Gary Gygax was the man and then he wasn’t the man so much, that Wizards of the Coast swallowed up TSR when they were in dire straits, only to sell the whole shebang to Hasbro a couple of years later. But that’s about it.
Unfortunately, Ewalt’s book is decidedly gonzo (I shouldn’t say this in a negative way since I tend towards the same) and is much more about him than about the game. Sure, you get a serviceable account of the early days of TSR/D&D that worked well enough when it stayed on point. Sadly, the book is dominated more by Ewalt’s geek-guilt, professions of love for the game, and tiresome ‘fantasy interludes’ written in italics that document the D&D game he’s playing in. I think there’s an ancient joke about how much fun it is to hear about another person’s RPG games and reading about them is even worse. Tracy Hickman he is not and when I read the title of the book, I did not expect so much of it to be devoted to this doofus and his adventures in desperately finding D&D games when he travels, his brief exploration of LARPs, and his eventual attempt to DM a game himself.
When the book sticks to the history and the fun encounters the author has when he makes a few pilgrimages to D&D’s historical locations (Lake Geneva, Gary Con, and some other things I can’t recall), it’s good and pretty breezy. But I had to push hard to get through the chapters when he went on and on about his game, his goofy obsession with it, and shame over being such a dork. It’s 2015, dude, D&D dorks are everywhere. Your geek guilt just seems silly now.
In the end, I found myself skipping over the hard-to-read italicized adventures and stuck to the history. I’d advise readers interested in learning about the history of the game to do the same. Helpfully, Ewalt suggests some more on-point books at the end of the tome and I’m toying with the idea of reading one of those but not right now. I think I’ve had enough D&D for the time being and it’s back to the board game table with me.