Daily Archives April 25, 2012

D&D Next: Playtest Announcement and Team Shakeup

Mike Mearls dropped a surprise after-hours news release on us this evening on the D&D website when he announced that the D&D Next open playtest will begin on May 24th. Great news for D&D gamers everywhere, as we’ll finally get our hands on the game’s early draft and can see what the future holds.

It’s important to remember that this will be a quite early draft of the rules. I’m anticipating an extremely incomplete document, but if we can make a party of low-level PCs and do battle with goblins it’ll be fun to imagine what the later bits will entail. And being a playtest, it will be full of imbalance and busted rules. But the beauty of the open playtest will be that those holes are patched over by harnessing the force of nerdrage. Every D&D player who has ever gone god-hunting or sent a DM home in tears is well aware that there is nothing in the game that cannot be broken, so this phase of D&D Next will be a critical stress-test.

The joy of a playtest start date announcement is tempered, though, by the completely unexpected news that Monte Cook is leaving the design team. Is he quitting to get a headstart on writing freelance adventure modules, to have a full adventure path ready to go the day that D&D Next debuts? Sadly, that’s unlikely. We are given no specific details as to whether this is an irreconcilable creative dispute or something personal and unrelated to D&D Next. Mearls addresses the issue in a brisk but amicable fashion, then quickly moves on to the playtest news.

I hope we see more of Monte Cook, as he has been the genius behind some of my favorite D&D products, but in the meantime we can look forward to May 24th.

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Arena Review: Zombie Dice 2 – Double Feature

It seems like the last few weeks have been one giant blur, but I mostly blame PAX. After three days of non-stop game playing – panel attending madness, I am only just now able to play some of the games I picked up. One small expansion I grabbed, I didn’t even know existed but knew I needed to own it: Zombie Dice 2!

It’s a blockbuster!

Suggested ages: 10 and up
Number of players: 2 or more
Playing time: 10 to 20 minutes
Contents: 3 dice, rules insert (requires Zombie Dice to play)
Retail price: $7.95 available at Amazon.com or Warehouse 23

I got the set and tossed it into my bag of holding. It wasn’t until PAX East was over that I finally got the chance to take it out and play a round. Or I would have, but upon opening my Zombie Dice, I discovered three were missing! Being down two green and a yellow meant playing the game on “hard mode.” Thankfully, the fantastic people at Steve Jackson Games lent a hand (or was it a brain?) and sent me some replacements in a matter of days! So with the right amount of dice, Rachael and I were finally able to play.

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