Six years of this craziness, huh? More than 1.5 million words, now. The 2020s continue to be, well… you know. But how did our year go? How am I feeling about it? What’s the future look like?
PAX Unplugged returned to Philadelphia this year, marking the fifth time the convention has taken place. I was fortunate enough to attend this year, making it the third year I’ve managed to go. Before I begin, I want to take a moment to thank the organizers for a few things: One, for continuing to choose Philadelphia as the site. I think that the area and community are an excellent fit with abundant transportation, housing, and food for a bunch of tabletop nerds, along with a city that prides itself on inclusivity. Philadelphia has gotten some bad press as of late, but I never felt anything but safe and welcome as I walked through, to, and from the event space. Second, I want to thank them for the amount of logistics and cat wrangling it takes to get a group of tabletop gamers to do anything. My GMing has increased since my last visit to the convention, and with it so has my appreciation for the work that it takes to get this rolling each year. This year, the team made sure that getting through the door was about as pain free as possible despite requiring proof of vaccination along with the necessary ticketing and security checks for entry. So I absolutely want this convention to keep going.Continue reading A Return to PAX Unplugged (2022 Quick Recap)
In the aftermath of a great storm, a wolf has appeared outside the walls of the city of Rietburg. Her cubs are missing, having fled into the mines on the edge of the kingdom. A band of heroes set out to find and rescue them, but it won’t be a simple journey. Mart, the bridge guard, needs help with various tasks before he will let anyone cross the bridge over the river and into the mines. Gors are emerging from the mountains, slouching towards Rietburg every night. Worst of all, in the clouds left above a fell dragon approaches the city – if it gets there before the heroes can finish the rescue, they’ll have to abandon their efforts. Designed by Inka and Markus Brand and published by Thames & Kosmos, this is Andor: The Family Fantasy Game!
Welcome to the Holiday Special for 2022! 2022…what a year. For Cannibal Halfling Gaming, 2022 was the year of pandemic bifurcation. Having started at around this time of the year in 2016, We now have three non-pandemic and three pandemic years in our history. Needless to say, it’s been a strange time in our lives, both for gaming and for everything else. At this time, though, the year is ending and we get to take a chance to stop, collect our thoughts, and look back at what the year brought us.Continue reading Level One Wonk Holiday Special: 2022
Welcome to the Cannibal Halfling Weekend Update! Start your weekend with a chunk of RPG news from the past week. We have the week’s top sellers, industry news stories, and discussions from elsewhere online.Continue reading Weekend Update: 12/24/2022
Cyberpunk is having its second wind. The genre of postmodern science fiction best defined as ‘high-tech, low-life” was born in the 1980s, first in film, then literature, then game. Though declared dead in 1991 after Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash seemed to parody the genre as much as embody it, Cyberpunk came roaring back in the 2010s in the wake of Citizens United, Facebook, and the second tech boom. By the time Cyberpunk 2077 was released in 2020, the setting year of its RPG predecessor, the combination of 80s aesthetic being cool again and the continued specter of corporate overlords made the children of Gibson, Sterling, and Shiner seem all too relevant. Tabletop RPGs were no exception to the trend; in addition to Cyberpunk Red becoming the best-selling non-D&D RPG of the decade so far, many imitators cropped up from all over the game design map, some adhering well to Cyberpunk themes and others not so much.
Free League, a Swedish publisher of ever increasing significance in the last few years, has stepped into the Cyberpunk ring with a licensed title. This isn’t Free League’s first go at a licensed game, with Alien receiving broadly positive reviews, but like Alien Blade Runner is a property with a lot of history and high expectations attached. Based originally on Philip K Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Blade Runner basically started the Cyberpunk genre when it was released in 1982. While William Gibson had started writing in what would become Cyberpunk a little earlier (Johnny Mnemonic was published in 1981), so influential was Blade Runner that he feared Neuromancer would be dismissed as a coattail-grab.Continue reading Blade Runner Review
Welcome to the Cannibal Halfling Weekend Update! Start your weekend with a chunk of RPG news from the past week. We have the week’s top sellers, industry news stories, and discussions from elsewhere online.Continue reading Weekend Update: 12/17/2022
Magpie Games currently holds the record for the most funded tabletop RPG Kickstarter with Avatar Legends, its game set in the universe of Avatar: the Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. The Kickstarter campaign earned nearly $10 million from over 80,000 backers, a truly staggering total that, when considering campaigns for specific RPG titles, has yet to be beat. Surely the completion of this game would be met with renewed interest and immense sales success, so we’ve been looking forward to the release- wait. I’m being told that the game was released before Halloween. Huh. Well, one would naturally assume that the release would see a second wind of- so apparently the PDF version on DriveThruRPG hasn’t sold more than 500 copies since coming out. Odd. Now, to be fair, the physical game isn’t yet available, and PDF fulfillments from those preorders don’t count among the numbers I’ve cited. Even so, the campaign sold nearly 8700 PDF-only rewards, so getting not quite to 5% of that number upon release is…worrying.
As many pointed out and grumbled about during the campaign, Avatar Legends is the largest licensed RPG Kickstarter as well as the largest RPG Kickstarter in general, and as such the buyers’ motivations are often a little different. Consider: around 2,800 people paid $50 for the pledge tier which got them a physical core book and PDF copies of everything else. However, over 39,000 people opted for the $75 tier which added all the physical stretch goals. Those physical stretch goals were one more book, dice, a cloth map, a card deck, a pack of journals, and a tile. Combine that with the tier level that gave the physical stretch goals in addition to a copy of the special edition core book, and the vast majority of backers paid for the doodads. And everything I have to say in this review will not take away from those doodads, I’m pretty sure.Continue reading Avatar Legends Review
Welcome to the Cannibal Halfling Weekend Update! Start your weekend with a chunk of RPG news from the past week. We have the week’s top sellers, industry news stories, and discussions from elsewhere online.Continue reading Weekend Update: 12/10/2022
And the crowdfunding feels like a Carnival!
The games draw you in like a beer
And the folks at the bar, who put bread in my jar
They said ‘this month’s intro got real weird’
It’s December, usually a low time for crowdfunding. People have shifted their discretionary budgets towards holiday gifts, holiday travel, and anything else they need for this season’s set of traditions around turning on all the lights and screaming to beat back the coming solstice darkness. Even so! There are a number of interesting crowdfunding projects on at least two crowdfunding services which are worth a closer look.Continue reading Crowdfunding Carnival: December, 2022