NOT FAR FROM HOME: It was announced that Sony and Disney/Marvel had once again struck a deal that will keep Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, much to the joy of fans and to the benefit of both companies’ bank accounts. Having discussed the initial breakup back when it happened in August, Andrew and D. Bethel have a surprisingly heated discussion of this generally happy news.
THE STRANGEST HANDSHAKE: British tabletop company, Games Workshop, announced that it will be licensing one of its beloved properties––Warhammer 40,000––to American comic book giant, Marvel Comics, to make a line of comic books. This is interesting because both of Games Workshop’s original Warhammer line and especially its Warhammer 40,000 line have deep lore and continuities that has our hosts wondering how well it will translate to a comic book series.
New Dangers (20 September 2019): Where, briefly, D. Bethel and Andrew display their light wrestling knowledge in the light of AEW’s strange storyline built around a jock heel wrestler insults his opponent for liking Dungeons & Dragons.
WEEK IN GEEK: We start with Andrew getting a bit sick while trying to play multiple versions of Minecraft before D. Bethel gets charmed by the grimdark world of the 2017 NetherRealm hit, Injustice 2, and then rounding back to Andrew as he talks about Rodney Thompson’s heist RPG in a box, Dusk City Outlaws.
On Friday, September 9, Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) made a somewhat surprising announcement on their website. The licensing agreement that allowed for games like Blood Bowl: Team Manager, Talisman (4th Edition, Revised), and Chaos in the Old World would end: “Beginning February 28th, 2017, Fantasy Flight Games will no longer offer for sale any games in conjunction with Games Workshop[.]” There were not a lot of details provided, although it was clear that FFG would not be supporting or selling any of those games after the drop-dead date of February 28th.
License agreements ending is nothing new in any entertainment industry. Just like Marvel and Capcom ended their license relationship a few years ago, this kind of thing happens with some regularity. In tabletop gaming, Star Wars has had role-playing games developed by West End Games, Wizards of the Coast, and Fantasy Flight Games all because the license moved between different companies. Of course, every time the creative license switches over, people who like the now extinct product have to accept that they will not get any more of that version of the content. Just like Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was the final Marvel vs. Capcom game, the Fantasy Flight Games/Games Workshop titles just met their future’s end.
What is interesting about this is how Games Workshop has been pushing the licensing business quite heavily in the past year. They were recently spotted at 2016’s Licensing Expo in Las Vegas trying to push all of their brands into video games, entertainment, and more. (And, yes. Licensing Expo is a real thing, apparently.) Earlier this year, they announced that they had made more income than expected from licensing agreements. If anything, it would seem that the FFG/GW license relationship had been good for everybody.
Of course, that assumes that the end of the relationship is on the part of Games Workshop. Since the original license agreement was created, the industry has changed. Back in August 2011, Fantasy Flight Games announced that it had acquired the license to the Star Wars universe from LucasFilm Ltd. That license was renewed in 2015 and expanded to include new content. In November 2014, Fantasy Flight Games merged with the Asmodee Group, creating one of the largest tabletop gaming companies in the United States (excepting Hasbro and its subsidiaries, of course). It may very well be that Fantasy Flight Games no longer sought to pay the licensing fees Games Workshop expected. When you consider that this is the company that has licenses to Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, the Games Workshop line of games seems relatively unimpressive in comparison.
Whatever the reason for the separation, one thing is certain: fans of the Fantasy Flight line of Games Workshop licensed games have until February 2017 to get ahold of them before they will start to become difficult to find.
I recently mentioned that I had been watching Geek & Sundry’s Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana. Besides being a very well produced “watch people play RPGs” show, it’s also a very good illustration of the Fantasy AGE role-playing game system. What I find really impressive about that the Fantasy AGE RPG did not exist until Titansgrave. As I mentioned in the podcast, the game was based heavily on the Dragon AGE RPG published by Green Ronin Publishing, which was (of course) based on the very popular video game by Bioware. I did not spend a lot of time talking about what Fantasy AGE brings to the table during the podcast. Instead, I thought I would take a moment and do that here.
Although there have always been other rule sets distinct from Dungeons & Dragons, including those of Palladium Books and Steve Jackson’s GURPS, it is safe to say that various versions of D&D have always dominated the market. This began to change in 2001, and the proliferation of RPG systems has become sort of a defining aspect of this era of tabletop role-playing. The creation of the “Open Game License” created the widely accepted notion that it was okay for third parties to develop content for existing RPG systems. Some companies even started flirting with the idea of developing their own derivative rule systems for gaming. The alledged “fall of D&D” with the release of D&D Fourth Edition and the resulting “Edition Wars” opened the door even farther. Suddenly, companies like Paizo, Goodman Games, and Green Ronin were able to penetrate the market and find their own space.
The Stunts of Fantasy AGE
After watching the entire season of Titansgrave, what I took away from the Fantasy AGE system was that it brought something new and different to the table. What I really liked was the stunt system. Using similar mechanics as the Dragon AGE RPG, it inserts opportunities for the spectacular into every die roll. D&D players are familiar with the idea of “critical successes,” in which the player rolls a 20 on the 20-sided die which results in a novel effect. Fantasy AGE kind of captures that feeling with “stunts,” in which any time doubles are rolled (out of three dice), the player gets “stunt points” to spend on cool things. When you consider that nearly 45% of all rolls of three six sided dice contain at least two matching dice, this means that the prospect of using stunt points can happen with some regularity. Suddenly, it starts to feel like your player characters can do awesome stuff like you see on the cover of every RPG rulebook. That’s a neat feeling that nearly every combat-heavy tabletop RPG has tried to address for years.
The Characters of Fantasy AGE
How the players build their characters is always a fundamental part of any tabletop role-playing game. In part due to its basis on the originalDragon Age: Origins, Fantasy AGE take a slightly different approach to characters and classes than your typical tabletop RPG. Although it is a class-based system, it draws that spectrum down to only three: Warrior, Rogue, and Mage. However, these basic classes get differentiated by abilities, specializations, and other options. For those who watched Titansgrave, it’s worth mentioning that Aankia and Kiliel were both rogues, but that isn’t immediately apparent to the viewer. As somebody who has sat at a table of Dungeons & Dragons and felt like the two fighters at the table were only distinguishable on the basis of the players, it’s nice to see a system that tries to create mechanical distinctions between different characters.
One thing I’ve seen when poking around Fantasy AGE-themed webpages is the ease with which players are adding their own content to the character system. New types of magic, new specializations, and other character options add further depth to the game. I’ve even see one online game master adapt the original Dragon Age RPG system into a Star Wars game. It appears that the relatively straightforward specialization system allows people to throw together a new variant that further expands the depth of field.
The Flexibility of Fantasy AGE
One of my greatest weaknesses as a tabletop RPG player is that I am never content with existing settings as provided. More often than not, I decide that the setting is too restrictive or somehow doesn’t meet my interests. Generally, this means I’ve always been attracted to “generic” role-playing game systems. Of course, as I get older, I learn to disregard things that I don’t like, but I still retain a soft spot for games designed to give you serious freedom of setting. And Fantasy AGE does that.
If it’s not clear, the Fantasy AGE presented in the rulebook is a generic fantasy setting. Sword and sorcery stuff, mostly. Titansgrave, on the other hand, is different. It’s that weird “sci-fi meets fantasy” Thundarr the Barbarian thing. Beyond that, the Fantasy AGE rulebook provides guidance on black powder weapons, providing the mechanical underpinnings of an Age of Sail game. At the end of the day, the game provides some basic rules for interaction, battle, and other gameplay and then lets the player’s imagination do the driving.
Bringing Something New to the Genre
I haven’t played Fantasy AGE yet, so everything I’m saying should probably be taken with a grain of salt. But, having played a lot of different tabletop RPG systems, I really like that this one brought something new to the table. It comes across as very free-form, allowing players to do what they want to do, while still providing something with a little bit of weight. Character options are wide and flexible while still giving players interesting development choices to make. Stunts give players a way to do cool and interesting things besides just “roll to hit.” I’m excited to try throwing the game into my normal rotation of tabletop RPG systems.
Week in Geek: Andrew plays The Dice Must Flow while Dan talks about responding to nerds who write term papers.
Bill and Pete’s Excellent Adventure: The 12th Doctor’s new companion, Bill, was introduced to the world last weekend and Dan and Andrew talk more about how the announcement was made more than about the companion herself, if only because that’s all the information we have.
Digital Board Games: As Andrew tries to liquidate his enviable stock of board games, he contemplates the purpose of buying more boxes for new games since their digital versions are so readily available––and so easily playable.
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For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.
Week in Geek: Andrew picks up and cuts out minifigs for the new expansion/addition to the Kickstarter success, Shadows of Brimstone, while Dan plays the video game version of one of Andrew’s favorite tabletop card games, Sentinels of the Multiverse.
Talk with Jesse Megagame: Dan and Andrew sit down and talk with one of the founders of Seattle Megagames about, surprise of surprises, megagames.
The Symptoms of Pandemic Legacy: Jesse, Andrew, and Dan talk about the destructive game that is Pandemic Legacy and how it and its kind are changing tabletop gaming by making a truly unique tabletop experience.
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For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.
Week in Geek: Andrew plays Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India while Dan watches Ex Machina.
Cheap Games: With Andrew’s sideways foray into the normally “AAA” Assassin’s Creed franchise being through the door of a $10 downloadable game, Dan and Andrew discuss the recent widening of prices for games––both video and tabletop––and the implications on not only the content but the culture it feeds.
Flash in the Pan/The Doctor is Out: In unrelated but nearly simultaneous announcements, CBS/CW and BBC announced they are pulling their respective content from the media hubs of Netflix and Hulu, presumably because they are going to launch their own premium streaming services. Will such a tactic work? Should it? Why now?
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For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.
-“Stayin’ in Black” by Wax Audio -“Ground Zeroes” by Ludvig Forssell (from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain) -“Carry On Wayward Son” by GWAR (live recording) -“Are You Ready for Some Football” by Hank Williams, Jr.
*Dramatic sting sampled from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
It’s been a good week for nerds, what with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D starting its second season and Gotham premiering (and that’s just on tv), so Andrew and Dan decided to bolster those good vibes in this new episode.
Week in Geek: Andrew paints miniatures for Shadows of Brimstone. Dan (with his wife) finishes his second watching of the Buffy and Angel run-through.
There Can Be Only One: In which Dan and Andrew puzzle over how the Highlander franchise has lasted so long and made so many bad (with a few very good) iterations of the premise.
Discussion: Zombies. ‘Nuff said.
The Silent Hero: Continuing their coverage of geeky things that they feel deserve more attention, this week Andrew and Dan discuss their love for Squaresoft’s (for it was not Square-Enix at the time) groundbreaking (and seemingly forgotten?) classic, Chrono Trigger.
Question: What fiction (tv/movie/game/book/story/etc.) has your most favorite iteration or use of time travel?
Answer in the comments to this episode’s post at forall.libsyn.com. Or you may leave a comment after joining the offical For All Intents and Purposes pages at either Facebook or Google+ (do a search at each site to find it). You may also e-mail any comments or questions to email@example.com.
For all intents and purposes, that’s an episode recap.
-“Stayin’ in Black” by Wax Audio
-“Princes of the Universe” by Queen
-“Robo’s Theme” and “Frog’s Theme” by Yasunori Mitsuda
Seventeen episodes in and For All Intents and Purposes continues to hone its stride with discussion about very recent news as well as larger topics of concern within the realm of nerds and geeks. Before we get started, we must mention here that, as of this episode, For All Intents and Purposes will be releasing on Fridays rather than Thursdays; adjust your schedule accordingly.
The Week in Geek: Dan reads a book about (and kind of by) Japanese animation guru, Hayao Miyazaki, titled Starting Point: 1979-1996. Andrew participates in Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars: The Role-Playing Game event, “Rebellion Day.” He also got back into playing Star Trek Online.
Breaking News: With the announcement that Microsoft purchased Minecraft studio, Mojang, for a lean $2.5 billion, Andrew and Dan examine what that means for Minecraft, what that means for Microsoft, and what that means for gaming in general.
Discussion: Despite continuously asking for comments, Dan and Andrew pick apart the phenomenon of internet commenting––specifically how it’s often done under an assumed name, hinting at anonymity. But is it actually just a magnifying glass to a person’s true nature? Is it a vestige of once-idealistic egalitarian goals? What does this have to do with Harry Potter?
Star Trek: In this new segment, Andrew assigned Dan to watch the Original Series episode, “The City on the Edge of Forever”––a veritable classic written by Harlan Ellison.
Question: After reviewing the previous week’s listener answers, Dan and Andrew change gears completely to ask:
With the upcoming Netflix shows, the movies, and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. about to start its second season, which Marvel property would you like to see added to the fold?
Comment on the page for this episode, which can be found at forall.libsyn.com. If you like the show but wish you could get more content per week, go ahead and “like” our official Facebook page and/or join our Google+ page where you’ll be kept up to date with every episode as well as be fed interesting and/or relevant links, images, and discussions. You may e-mail any comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.
-“Stayin’ In Black” by Wax Audio
-“Money for Nothing” by Dire Straights
-“Star Trek (Original Series Main Title)” by Alexander Courage