BRENDON KAVANAGH reports on the pomp and razzamatazz of the third British PBM convention, and reviews some exciting new PBM games...
What a sellout! Held at the Porchester Hall, London, on the 20th February, an estimated 1200 PBMers visited the third British PBM convention — it was busy to say the least! Many companies had stands, and there was plenty on display.
A new company on the scene was MJR GAMES, who were displaying their new game RAIDERS OF GWARAS. This is a Fantasy RPG set upon the world of Gwaras, which is divided into fifteen completely different countries — one of which you come from. There are 37 types of race (thirty of which are humanoid), and you must also decide your character’s occupation. Character progression is achieved by developing a variety of attributes — if your character does so-and-so, attribute ‘x’ increases as a result of experience. All said and done, this FRPG of hand moderated character development seems to be a quality offering, and at £1 per turn you certainly can’t grumble. Start up costs £3 from the MJR address (this includes a free turn)!
SPELLBINDER GAMES are now old hands at the PBM hobby and as such have successfully negotiated with the AUSTRALIAN WIZARD company to run their game WORLDS IN CONFLICT in the UK. The game is very similar in style to the TV epic (sic) ‘V’ with alien invaders and freedom fighting humans (the player can be either).
I feel that this sums up WORLDS IN CONFLICT very well indeed. It looks like a good game (but a complex one, Spellbinder don’t recommend it for beginners) and is played on a convincing map of the world as we know it. The game has the usual features of attributes, technology levels etc and the combat and economics look fun. Send an SSAE to Spellbinder for further details.
HISTORICAL ENGINEERING are launching a new game on May 1st. A game is entitled WORLD WAR II where the player takes the role of a powerful wartime personality. It certainly sounds fascinating.
WAVENEY GAMES have launched a simple simulation of the Stock Market entitled SPECULATE!, which should appeal to the economically minded.
MITRE GAMES report that they’ve bought rights to TRIBES OF CRANE, while DIGGER GAMES have just released the impressive STREETWISE — I’ll let you know more when I can find their address!
LABORATORY have introduced MAGELORDS OF DORM, which is a development from their previous game FURTHER INTO FANTASY. Start up is £2 and turns cost £1.50 thereafter. Worth trying.
PROJECT BASILISK has launched a new game entitled the very simple CREEPHOUSE, and costs £4.50 for five turns.
Possibly the most interesting new game at the convention was VORCON GAMES’ THE TIME SENTINEL. It costs £5 to start (including a few free turns) followed by a charge of £1.50 per turn. I can wholeheartedly recommend you to spend an SSAE for an information sheet if you’re interested.
HARROW POSTAL GAMES used the convention to promote their excellent licensed game, THE WEAPON, their quiet but interesting game OMEGA VICTOR and to launch their new game entitled ALBION, a computer moderated fantasy game which uses human moderation for special actions. From reading the rulebook it seems that the players of each race must work as a team to succeed, and thus it’s fairly safe to assume that diplomacy is an important part of the game. This game would suit the strategist who enjoys convincing people to play his way. It costs £5 to start up. and turns cost £2 each thereafter. Meanwhile HPG have two more games under development: VALE-IMPERATOR about German barbarians struggling against Non Player Character (NPC) Romans, and MOVING FINGER, a time warp game due for launch later this year. I wait in anticipation...
We’ve all heard weird and wonderful games before, but how does REVENGE OF THE MANY-LEGGED MAN-EATING MUTANT TIGER HOUNDS FROM OUTER SPACE sound? It’s from ALCHEMIST’S GUILD and is basically a single character RPG set in a somewhat bemusing future society. The start up pack includes (among other things) a rulebook (brief but to the point) and a background book (some may like it, some may not). The game format isn’t exactly original but the implementation certainly is. The designers have created a very amusing society to roleplay in. It’s the brainchild of two young ladies: Amanda Kerr and Newsfield’s very own Philippa Irving. Turns cost either £1.75 (standard turn) or £2.50 (as before but with a bit more detail) so this fortnightly deadline game may be out of reach for some of you, but those interested should certainly try to find out more.
The ALCHEMIST’S GUILD also has MACEDON, a twelve-player wargame. Send an SSAE to the Alchemist’s Guild for more info.
A pleasant surprise for me was to bump into Jon Woodall and Andrew Dodd of ODDE FELLOWS & CO (designers and moderators of MEGALOMANIA and ORDER OF CHAOS). Andrew Dodd was proud to inform me that he finally had understandable info sheets for these two games.
By the way, did you know that the winner of the the dedicated C&VG game of IT’S A CRIME was Paul Sculpher, who’s also a CRASH reader! Heh Heh!
KIRKWOOD is a fanzine currently being prepared for launch from ‘Legend House’. Produced on an Apple Macintosh SE linked to a laser printer, the editor of Kirkwood hopes to use a combination of quality writing and high resolution computer graphic illustrations to create a high standard publication. One of the aims of KIRKWOOD is to introduce RPG players to the world of PBM, although the content will by no means be limited to topics encouraging this. The first issue will cost £1 and includes PBM based articles. All the same, this is a fanzine worth watching.
As far as the companies present were concerned, the most aesthetically pleasing game on display had to be DARK BLADE by STANDARD GAMES & PUBLICATIONS. What a gem — Standard Games have managed to produce a boxed set starter pack (full colour of course) for a mere £5. A fiver for this sort of presentation, plus a full colour A2 map, a rulebook and two free turns isn’t bad at all. Turns are only £1.25 each with no hidden extras — this one is going to be a winner.