News Digest: Classic RPGs Getting Re-Releases, the World Health Organization Concerned About Gaming, Mayfair Shake-Ups, and more!
  • News Digest: Classic RPGs Getting Re-Releases, the World Health Organization Concerned About Gaming, Mayfair Shake-Ups, and more!


    Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! A pair of surprise end-of-year re-release of a classic RPGs, Mayfair expands their Alliance distribution deal and parts ways with Twilight Creations, the World Health Organization has concerns about gaming, and more!


    Wizards of the Coast released Star Frontiers: Alpha Dawn to its DM’s Guild website. This original boxed set for Star Frontiers includes the basic rules for the game and is available both in digital format and print-on-demand softcover and hardcover versions. The new print-on-demand version includes all of the assets previously in separate books in the boxed set printed in a single volume. It’s unknown how this will affect the application filed by Evil Hat this past summer for the Star Frontiers trademark as no objection has yet been filed to the trademark filing. However, there are usually delays before such remarks are made public on documents and neither company has commented as both are currently on reduced staff or have closed their offices for the holidays.


    Steve Jackson announced that, after many years out of print due to right issues, his first game The Fantasy Trip will be coming back. Originally published in 1980 by Metagaming Concepts, The Fantasy Trip holds a unique place in gaming history as it was the first fantasy roleplaying game that used a point-buy system for character generation instead of random die rolls. Metagaming Concepts went out of business in 1983, and the owner requested a reported $250,000 for Steve Jackson to buy back the rights himself at the time. This time, Jackson managed to get the rights back due to United States copyright law allowing an author to regain rights after an extended period out of print, so he has gotten back the rights to all eight releases he wrote: Melee, Wizard, Death Test, Death Test 2, Advanced Melee, Advanced Wizard, In the Labyrinth, and Tollenkar’s Lair. Why the history lesson? Because there’s honestly not any other news to report yet. There’s no announced plan yet for a release date or format of release and, to quote the release, ‘This is just an initial announcement, to invite you to celebrate with me a day that has been a long time coming! I have no idea yet about release schedules. I will probably have to answer most questions with "I don't know yet"’


    Mayfair Games and Twilight Creations have parted ways, with ownership reverting to the company’s co-founder Kerry Breitenstein. The publisher of the Zombies!!! line of board games and the “Bag O” line of budget plastic miniatures and tokens was acquired by Mayfair in June of 2016. Neither company has commented on the reasoning behind the departure, but solicitations for Twilight Creations products have shown up recently in ACD Distribution, Golden Distribution, and PHD Games in addition to Alliance Game Distributors. Twilight Creations also launched a new website after the announcement was made last week.


    In addition, Mayfair Games announced an expanded relationship with Alliance Game Distributors. While Mayfair has had an exclusive distribution agreement with Alliance since 2012, this new relationship will expand into all trade channels, direct-to-consumer orders, and an expanded role in sales for non-hobby channels (chain retail stores, bookstores, etc.) According to ICv2, who quoted Mayfair Executive Vice President Loren Roznai, Mayfair laid off three employees as part of the new relationship with Alliance.


    The International Classification of Diseases will include a new disorder, “gaming disorder”, in its new edition released next year. This is the eleventh edition of the diagnostic manual from the World Health Organization, the first new edition since 1990. “Gaming disorder” will be listed as a mental health disorder akin to substance abuse. Vladimir Poznyak, a member of the World Health Organization’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, said:

    “Health professionals need to recognise that gaming disorder may have serious health consequences. Most people who play video games don’t have a disorder, just like most people who drink alcohol don’t have a disorder either. However, in certain circumstances overuse can lead to adverse effects.”

    A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry from the University of Oxford surveyed 19,000 men and women from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany and found that only two to three percent experienced five or more of the nine symptoms from the American Psychiatric Association checklist of addictive behavior indicative of what the APA called “internet gaming disorder”. Dr. Andrew Prybylski, lead author of the University of Oxford study, said:
    “To our knowledge, these are the first findings from a large-scale project to produce robust evidence on the potential new problem of ‘internet gaming disorder’. Contrary to what was predicted, the study did not find a clear link between potential addiction and negative effects on health; however, more research grounded in open and robust scientific practices is needed to learn if games are truly as addictive as many fear.”


    EN World released its list of the top gaming news stories of 2017. The “top stories” are determined by the most-read stories posted on EN World. Last week, the top Dungeons & Dragons stories were posted and this week, we have the top stories from the rest of the roleplaying industry. Finally, there’s an overview of the first year of EN World’s User Generated Content program headed by Christopher Helton, which expanded the pool of paid freelancers providing content to EN World.


    If you recall a couple of weeks ago when many creators on social media started freaking out, Patreon announced then canceled a rate increase. However, many creators lost a number of Patreon backers before the fees were canceled and the program returned to normal. To help, EN World created a list of Patreon creators working in tabletop gaming to help you find creators. This includes not just game designers, but artists, podcasts, streamers, and musicians creating content to enhance your games. Of course, you can also back EN World itself on our Patreon which helps support not only our normal content creators (like myself) but also the previously mentioned User Generated Content program.


    Judge Dredd is looking to have a big year in tabletop gaming in 2018, including Judge Dredd and the Worlds of 2000AD from EN Publishing and the card game Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth from Osprey Games. If you’re looking to get an introduction to the world, the Humble Comics Bundle: Judge Dredd currently has over $200 of comics and graphic novel collections from IDW. These volumes from the IDW “reboot” series with brand new stories and continuity from the classic 2000AD series and include a few crossovers such as Mars Attacks/Judge Dredd and Judge Dredd: Funko Universe (the latter of which is exactly what you think it is, a comic starring a Funko version of Judge Dredd). The bundle has three tiers, but even the $1 tier gets you Judge Dredd: Origins, Judge Dredd: Year One, and the first two volumes of the Judge Dredd regular series. This bundle runs until 11 AM Pacific time on January 10.


    The Blood Plague is a dark fantasy adventure for D&D 5e for third to fifth level characters from the EncounterRoleplay team. Set in the world of Penumbra, the story revolves around finding a safe refuge from the Blood Plague and the long journey to the Arckenbury Cathedral. The adventure is set in the same setting as the EncounterRoleplay podcast Turncoats, but the events are parallel to that show so don’t worry about spoilers for your players. You can get the PDF for £12 (about US$16), add on wallpapers for £20 (about US$20), or get exclusive videos for £35 (about US$47). This project has until Sunday, December 31 to unlock stretch goals before it funds.

    Chronicle X is a “sci-fi retro 1980s” tactical board game for one to seven players. The rules feature multiple modes of play with a cooperative campaign mode, a single-player mode with an “AI” controlling the opponent, and a skirmish player vs. player, all featuring a modular board and making use of unpainted 32mm scale miniatures. Oh, and unlike a lot of Kickstarters that only show you CAD renders, many of the photographs for miniatures on this project are of final production models so you know exactly what level of detail you’re getting. The base game itself is available for a $99 pledge (which includes a total of 34 miniatures plus stretch goals), while all launch expansions (including another 37 miniatures) is available for $199 and there are add-ons for more miniatures or other components. This project is well past fully funded with only a few stretch goals left before it closes on Saturday, January 6.

    That’s all from me for this week! Find more gaming crowdfunding news at the EN World RPG Kickstarter News website, and don’t forget to support our Patreon to bring you even more gaming news content. If you have any news to submit, email us at news@enworldnews.com. You can follow me on Twitter @Abstruse where I’m raging at the concept of “technobabble” after watching a couple of Star Trek Voyager episodes, follow Gamer’s Tavern on YouTube featuring videos on gaming history and Let’s Plays, or you can listen to the archives of the Gamer’s Tavern podcast. Until next time, may all your hits be crits! Note: Links to Amazon, Humble Store, Humble Bundle, and/or DriveThru may contain affiliate links with the proceeds going to the author of this column.
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. aramis erak's Avatar
      aramis erak -
      Man, that's a HUGE chunk of Psychotic Lawman Goodness for US$15....
      SLURP!
    1. Von Ether's Avatar
      Von Ether -
      Oh, WHO's talking about internet and video games. Maybe we can offer them up a healthy board game/RPG care package. I suggest Catacombs and Happy Salmon to start.
    1. Pagansexy's Avatar
      Pagansexy -
      These are the the facts about the WHO and next years release of International Classification of Diseases
      http://www.takethis.org/2017/12/the-facts-about-gaming-disorder/
    1. Lwaxy -
      I believe they need to invent new disorders to fill their pockets. Anyone gaming too much has a different underlying issue already.
    1. R_Chance's Avatar
      R_Chance -
      I'd say anyone pursuing any activity to the point where it hinders their ability to function in daily "real" life has a problem. Escaping into an alternate reality is the issue. Fun in moderation yes, but bad if it's an obsession that disrupts life. It doesn't matter if it's video games, TV, music, golf, or reading books. Obsessive escape from reality that hinders the ability to function in daily life is the issue. They need to drop blaming any one activity for the problem, they are a symptom. They need to get to the underlying causes and deal with that. But, hey "gaming disorder" is more acceptable to the non gaming public... then you can blame a single industry, a single activity and just take away their controllers Simpler is always better, isn't it?
    1. Eltab's Avatar
      Eltab -
      "Gaming disorder"?
      Will this evolve into a secular version of "D&D teaches The Devil !" hysterics?
    1. DocMoriartty -
      Obsessive Behavior Disorders are so much BS so often. Sure there are people with major disorders.

      But really, think of it this way. Play a game for 8 hours a day and you have a mental disorder. Swim 8 hours a day and you are Michael Phelps? We have this strange bias in society where certain activities are acceptable to OCD over and others are not. The only difference between someone that plays games all day every day and just about every single Olympic athlete is what really? Nothing at all except the "athlete" is doing a sport, oh and they are spending WAY more time obsessing than any gamer I have ever met or even heard of beyond the occasional chinese gamer that dies at 72 hours straight in an Internet Cafe playing WoW.
    1. aramis erak's Avatar
      aramis erak -
      Quote Originally Posted by Eltab View Post
      "Gaming disorder"?
      Will this evolve into a secular version of "D&D teaches The Devil !" hysterics?
      In some circles, it already has.
    1. aramis erak's Avatar
      aramis erak -
      Quote Originally Posted by DocMoriartty View Post
      Obsessive Behavior Disorders are so much BS so often. Sure there are people with major disorders.

      But really, think of it this way. Play a game for 8 hours a day and you have a mental disorder. Swim 8 hours a day and you are Michael Phelps? We have this strange bias in society where certain activities are acceptable to OCD over and others are not. The only difference between someone that plays games all day every day and just about every single Olympic athlete is what really? Nothing at all except the "athlete" is doing a sport, oh and they are spending WAY more time obsessing than any gamer I have ever met or even heard of beyond the occasional chinese gamer that dies at 72 hours straight in an Internet Cafe playing WoW.
      Generally, the division is pay. The athlete can get paid, the obsessive video gamer couldn't (until recently), and even then, unless you are getting paid...
    1. Eltab's Avatar
      Eltab -
      Quote Originally Posted by Lwaxy View Post
      I believe they need to invent new disorders to fill their pockets.
      And because 'discovering new problems' is so much easier than 'solving /successfully treating' the old ones.

      There is also a self-interest angle: keep the patients broken and coming back for more office visits - paying a hefty fee each time they walk through the door.
    1. Fandabidozi's Avatar
      Fandabidozi -
      If anyone is unsure if gaming addiction exists, speak to some recovered WoW addicts.
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