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The Saving Throw
Changing Seasons November 13, 2007
Changing Columns

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Roll them bones!

Well, I made it back safely from the great state of Ohio, and even survived the grand terror known as Halloween. Actually, Halloween brought lots of sweet treats as usual. You, fair reader, will hopefully notice some changes to the column this week. I have made the decision to drop a lot of the interaction links from the column. This does not mean I have stopped accepting contributions, but since they seem to be far and few in between, I figure there is no need to have the links in every single column.

This week we again have several news items, as well as a couple reviews. But I would really like to take this moment to congratulate Notre Dame for snapping their win streak against Navy. Really, seriously, I am not kidding. After all, who needs a 44 game win streak against any opponent.... that is about how many straight games of Dora Dominos I have lost to my kids, actually. Speaking of winning, I would like to also take a moment to congratulate Kristian H of Dublin, Ireland, who won a copy of Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk in our recent Create-A-Monster contest. The runner-up is still being debated, and will be announced soon.

I am currently reading The Grand History of the Realms. Good book if you are a big fan of the Realms. I will admit that I do not like gamining in the Forgotten Realms setting that much, but I do enjoy the novels set there. Call me strange, every one else does.



This Week's Feature

Eberron: The Forge of War November 13th, 2007
War with the obvious

Dungeon Survival Guide November 13th, 2007
Just don't use it if survival is key


Tabletop Gaming News

Marvel Heroclix: Mutations and Monsters Pre-Release Announced
 Source: Wiz Kids Inc

   WizKids has announced a pre-release for Marvel HeroClix: Mutations and Monsters scheduled for November 17th, 2007, four days before the general release, at select WizKids registered venues.

Mutations and Monsters features 60 new and amazing figures from four fan-favorite storylines: Planet Hulk, World War Hulk, Marvel Zombies, and the X-Men. Introducting a new Battlefield Condition card, every participating player in the Marvel HeroClix: Mutations and Monsters pre-release will receive The Great Arena.

Visit www.wizkidsgames.com/heroclix to find a list of registered venues hosting the Marvel HeroClix: Mutations and Monsters pre-release.

See all articles for Wiz Kids · News Archive

 Upper Deck Brings $100,000 World of Warcraft Trading Card Game 'World Championship Tournament' to San Diego
 Source: Upper Deck

   Upper Deck Entertainment (UDE) brings one of the biggest gaming events to San Diego this fall with the first-ever World of Warcraft Trading Card Game (TCG) World Championship Tournament. From Friday, November 30 through Sunday, December 2, top World of Warcraft TCG players from over 30 countries around the globe will gather at the San Diego Convention Center to battle it out for the coveted title of 2007 World of Warcraft TCG World Champion and for $100,000 -- the biggest tournament payout in TCG history.

UDE will not only be award the top player of the competition a $100,000 check but will also be giving away an additional $160,000 in cash prizes to other top finishers. Winners will receive the following payouts: $25,000 (2nd place); $10,000 each (3rd-4th place); $4,000 each (5th-8th place); $2,000 each (9th-16th place); and $1,000 each (17th-100th place). Additionally, all participants will receive a limited "Thunderfury" Extended Art card.

"We are excited to bring an event this large of scale to the World of Warcraft TCG players around the world who have dedicated themselves to the game," said Ben Drago, Organized Play Program Manager. "We will be award over $260,000 in cash prizes, which makes this one of the largest TCG events ever."

To provide the ultimate gaming experience for all World of Warcraft TCG fans, UDE will also bring the highly popular Darkmoon Faire to San Diego, complete with a variety of tournaments and activities for those players not participating in the World Championship event. The Darkmoon Faire event will feature over 20 different tournaments throught the weekend for players of all levels, ranging from beginner, intermediate and advanced-level tournaments, to sealed, drafted and constructed tournaments, with ever type of TCG format represented.

With numerous tournaments held around the world, hundreds of World of Warcraft TCG National Championship participants earned a spot to play in the World Championship tournament by competing in various tournaments and events. These various tournaments included Regional Tournaments (the top four in each tournament received invites) and World of Warcraft TCG Dream Machine Championship Tournaments (the top eight finishers received invites). Winners from these National Championship tournaments were then awarded a seat to represent their own country at the World Championship tournament.

Players who have achieved a UDE Honor Rnaking of Level 6 or higher (by November 20) or who have achieved a limited UDE rating of 2700, or constructed rating of 2850 (by October 30), will also be qualified to participate in the World Championship tournament. For players who have not qualified to play in the tournament (but have attained an Honor Ranking of at least level 4), UDE will host four "Honor Grind" events on Thursday, November 29, and award the top four players in each "Honor Grind" event a seat to participate in the World Championship tournament.

See all articles for Upper Deck Entertainment · News Archive

 RPG Superstar Launched by Paizo Publishing
 Source: Paizo Publishing

   Paizo Publishing has announced a new RPG design contest, dubbed RPG Superstar, to find the newest talent in RPG design. The contest officially kicked off October 31st, and the opening round submissions must be received by November 14th. The Open Call requires contestants to design a wondrous item using the 3.5 SRD. Each entry needs to be 200 words or less, and must include all of the proper mechanics and flavor. Judges will announce the top 32 entries on November 28; those contestants will advance to the first round of public voting, where they will be assigned a new design task and their entries will be posted on paizo.com for the public to read, critique and vote on. The designers garnering the most votes will continue to subsequent rounds, and the ultimate winner will earn a paid commission to write one of Paizo's upcoming GameMastery Modules.

"With the end of the print editions of Dragon and Dungeon magazines, Paizo has lost a conduit to find new designers," said Lisa Stevens, CEO of Paizo Publishing. "We're launching a RPG designer contest to give unknown talent a chance to get noticed!"

Paizo has gathered together three judges to oversee the competition. Paizo's Publisher, Erik Mona, will share the spotlight with fan-favorite author and Kobold Quarterly publisher Wolfgang Baur, and Necromancer Games co-owner Clark Peterson. Each round, these judges will critique the entries before the public vote.

The fans themselves will decide which talented designers go on to the next round by casting a vote on paizo.com for their favorite contestant. Each round includes a six-day window for fans to discuss entries and cast their votes.

The following list describes each of the tasks the contests must complete:
Open Call: Design a wondrous item
Top 32: Design a country
Top 16: Design a villain (complete with stat block)
Top 8: Design three thematically linked monsters
Top 6: Design an encounter
Top 4: Submit a full adventure proposal

The winner of the first RPG Superstar contest will be announced on February 20, 2008. Complete rules and entry form are available at paizo.com/rpgsuperstar.

See all articles for Paizo Publishing · News Archive

 Masterpieces Builds on Bella Sara Brand with Lineup of Games, Crafts and Puzzles
 Source: Bella Sara

   Just in time for the holiday season, MasterPieces Puzzle Company, which produces jigsaw puzzles and games based on major brands including Leap Frog, The Little Engine That Could and Chick Soup for the Soul, revealed a line of products based on the award-winning Bella Sara horse-themed trading cards and online world for girls. The extensive collection of puzzles, games and crafts represent the largest licensed expansion of the Bella Sara brand, which has already experienced explosive growth since launching in the United States earlier this year, landing in over 15,000 retail outlets and scooping up a slew of awards and accolades along the way.

"We are thrilled to work with MasterPieces to expand the Bella Sara brand into new retail outlets and deepen our presence in some of our exisitng stores while providing girls with new and engaging ways to experience Bella Sara's fantastic horses and inspirational messages," said Petere D. Adkison, CEO of Hidden City Games, the company behind Bella Sara. Adkison also published Pokémon trading cards and Magic: The Gathering trading cards, two of the most successful trading card franchises in the history of the category.

"The positive themes and eye-catching imagery featured throughout Bella Sara trading cards and online world for girls are a perfect fit with MasterPieces commitment to create products that enhance children's lives, and Bella Sara provides an appealing opportunity for us to move seamlessly into the girls' craft activity market with an established brand," said MasterPieces CEO David Rolls, a former professional baseball player who founded the company in 1995. "MasterPieces is passionate about the message and obligation we have to little girls. It is exciting to see we have retail partners who feel the same way."

Each Bella Sara card features a stunning image of a horse, a positive message for girls and a code to unlock a virtual version of that horse at www.bellasara.com. Bella Sara was developed by Danish social worker Gitte Odder Braendgaard to encourage young girls at an important developmental stage to accept and express their feelings and avoid investing too much of their identities in their physical appearance. Since its U.S. debut last year, Bella Sara has received numerous awards from child development and parenting authorities, including the Seal of Approval from the National Parenting Center, the Seal of Excellence from Creative Child magazine, the 2007 Excellent Product and 2007 Outstanding Product designation from iParenting Media and the Best Products (Spring 2007) aware from Dr. Toy.

Building on the magic of Bella Sara, MasterPieces has created a wide range of fun and engaging products that have already started landing on the shelves of mass, toy, drug, grocery, craft, book and specialty retail outlets across the country, including Kmart, Toys R Us, Walgreens, Jo-Ann, Michaels, ShopKo and Hobby Lobby. These products include:
100-Piece Puzzles with Regular Bella Sara Card ($1.99)
100-Piece Puzzles with Extra-Rare Shiny Bella Sara Card ($3.99)
Fuzz Art ($4.99)
Paint by Number ($7.99)
Bella's Memory Matching Game ($7.99)
"My Friend Bella" 3-Foot Kid-Size Puzzle ($7.99)
Stitch a Craft ($8.99)
Ultimate Party Pack ($9.99)
Bead Kit ($9.99)
Design a Purse ($10.99)
Ultimate Activity Box ($11.99)
6" x 6" Scrapbooking Kit ($14.99)
Bella's Magical Adventure Game ($14.99)

See all articles for Bella Sara · News Archive



Outro

And there you have, another end to another column. Kind of repetitive, I think, but all good things must come to an end, right? Next time, we should have some more reviews, some news and a great big turkey leg.

Again, if you have any suggestions, ideas, or other things you think might improve the column, just click on the email link below and send me an email.


Martin "The Domino Loser" Drury



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