Tag Archives: News

Down To Business

So, it’s time for an announcement of sorts. The Little Metal Dog Show has been running for some time now – since April 2010 in fact – and since way before then I’ve been tinkering away in the background with game ideas and designs. One of them, a co-design with Mark Rivera called Ace of Spies (you may have heard me talking about it once or twice) should be hitting people’s tables before the end of the year. Another, Pocket Universe, is currently with the folks at Game Salute who are doing everything they can to make it as shiny and lovely as possible. And now I’ve made the decision that ‘it’s time for me to try and strike out on my own.

It’s been percolating for a while, but now it’s time to officially put Sprocket Games into full-on action. And I’d like to announce that our first game, Keep Running!, will soon be wending its way onto Kickstarter as we battle for the attention and support of you, the gaming public. And I’m very excited.

Keep Running! is a simple game to play with a lot of player interaction – it ticks many of the boxes of the kind of stuff I enjoy playing, and I hope you will agree. It’s based around the idea of folks hurtling through the woods, trying desperately to escape the bear that is chasing them. The old joke goes that one guy stops to pull on some trainers. The other guy, still going, yells back that there’s no way on earth he’ll be able to outrun the bear, trainers or not. The first guy shouts back that he doesn’t need to outrun the bear… he just needs to outrun him.

This is the game of that little scenario. It’s a mean and nasty little affair, filled with plenty of opportunity to screw your opponents over but with a dash of dice-driven luck in there to ensure that not everything will go exactly to plan. Your objective is simple – be the last one standing and you win the game. Between three and eight players can take part, and games (even with the maximum amount of players) take less than 30 minutes. Keep Running! is a perfect little filler, ideal to bridge the gap between two heavier games or to round off an evening of play. I’m currently working on a video to explain precisely how play works and you’ll be able to try out a print and play version of the game before you even think of committing to supporting the campaign. If you’re a reviewer who’d like to try it for yourself (before the P&P files go up) let me know and I’ll get a copy to you ASAP.

Why Kickstarter? Well, it’s both a way to gauge interest in the game (though everyone who has played it so far has said positive things) as well as raising the funds to actually produce it. Sure, there are a lot of other people out there doing the same thing, but I’d like to think that Keep Running! will be good enough to stand out from the crowd. The game has been extensively playtested by groups from all around the world, tweaked and modified to within an inch of its life… and now it’s ready to go.

A few further details; The game will be entirely produced in the UK meaning that we’ll be able to keep the time between campaign and production down to a bare minimum. It also means that should any issues arise while the game is being made, we can deal with them almost immediately (as opposed to having someone do stuff on our behalf on the other side of the planet). We aim to keep the price as reasonable as possible so folks from all around the world can get a copy if they so choose.

There will be a limited run of copies, each one numbered and signed by myself and the artist, Stephanie Burrows (full disclosure – she’s my wife as well as one of the best artists I know; her work on the project so far has really captured the fun and madness that the game exudes). As this will be the first official Sprocket Games project, we’re sure that there will be some hurdles to overcome – there always are when it comes to game production – but we hope that you will support us in the same way that you’ve supported the site and show since its inception.

That doesn’t mean that the Little Metal Dog Show is going anywhere, though. The podcast will continue – after all, we’re tantalisingly close to episode 50! – as will reviews on the site. It’s just that I want to really do my best to produce games that I think people will enjoy to a high degree of quality as well as write and talk to people from this hobby of ours.

So yeah! As the time draws closer, I’ll put more information up here about the game and campaign, but for now that’s pretty much it. Keep Running! will hopefully be the first in a long line of stuff from us and I firmly believe that Sprocket Games has the ability to be something really special.

Now it’s really time to get down to business. Won’t you join us?


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A News-y Type Post

Well, it’s been a very busy week here at The Little Metal Dog Show, but it’s probably a good time to sit down and look back at what’s happening now and in the near future…

The big news is, of course, that Ace of Spies has now launched on Kickstarter. It’s been up there for a few days now and (at this exact moment) we’re just over 20% of the way to our target with 160 backers pledging a total of $8081. With a bit of maths, you’ll work out that our target is actually $40,000 – a hefty amount, but we’re being honest when we say that’s what we need to fund it. Many campaigns seem to sell themselves short, leaving their designers out of pocket even if they manage to hit or exceed their target. With Ace of Spies we know that should we hit our target, we’ll be able to produce a great product that is fun to play.

The fact that we’ve also rolled in the cost of shipping into the pledges seems to have caused a bit of controversy too. If you’ve not seen the campaign, you can get a copy of the game wherever you are in the world for $40 flat. No excess international fees. No exorbitant shipping just because you don’t live in the US. It’s $40, plain and simple, yet we’ve had some people get in touch asking why they should have to “subsidise” international backers.

My answer is simple. They don’t have to do anything. There’s no laws out there demanding that the entire population of earth pledge to back Ace of Spies but many people are choosing to do so. If you don’t like how we’re running the pledge levels or shipping… well, there’s not much you can do about it – this is how we’ve decided to run it. We’re taking a hit on the money to make sure as many people as possible get their hands on it – and I can guarantee that you’re going to be getting a lot more than just cards in that box. We’re deliriously happy with how it’s going so far and hope it continues.

Saying that, if we could pass some worldwide law, that would be nice. $40 x 6 billion = a ridiculous amount of cash. I could afford to go on one of those Virgin Galactic space trips. In the meantime, if you’ve not seen Ace of Spies for yourself, you can check out the Kickstarter page right here or get a quick runthrough on how the game works by watching this video what I did make.

Me and co-designer Mark also pop up on the latest episode of the fantastic show by @dicehateme and @monkey238 – The State of Games. We talk about how Ace of Spies came to be and what we’ve got planned for the future. It’s a great podcast – even if I’m on it – and always worth subscribing to. So do so!

Now that the game has launched, I can get back to a routine of sorts so we’ll be getting back to regular reviews. Over the next couple of weeks you can expect to see write ups of Rex from FFG (based on the classic Dune game system), Wings of Glory (little planes!), 7 Wonders Leaders and the rather interesting Total Strategy-Z. You’ll also be subjected to the terror of regular updates from the forthcoming Risk Legacy campaign I’m running, plus (of course) a brand new episode coming very soon featuring Geoff and Brian Engelstein and much more!

Right. Back to clicking F5 on the Kickstarter page…

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News and Stuff: August 13, 2010

Back in the swing of things again! It’s Friday, so that means it’s news time. Now, admittedly, having been on a break for a couple of weeks means that there’s been a lot going on. I’ll do a quick runthrough of some of the big/interesting new releases in a bit, but there’s something a little more important I’d like to cover first…

I’d like to pick up on is a campaign started by a guy called Kevin Schlabach. As well as being responsible for the Seize Your Turn blog (and companion twitter feed) which picks up on some on the best news and reviews in gaming (as well as some of the stuff I write), Kevin has started PiP: Play in Public. While it’s ostensibly aimed at American players, the concept is certainly something that could and should be done here in the UK as well – or indeed anywhere you’re reading this. The idea is simple: we love to play games, but it seems that we’re kind of hiding under the bed. If you mention board gaming to most people, they get the image of kids fighting over Buckaroo, poorly run Christmas Day sessions of Monopoly or forced games of Trivial Pursuit after dinner parties. As gamers, we know that there is so much more, so why not try and promote our hobby? For more specific details on Kevin’s campaign, have a look here and pledge your support!

GenCon has just wrapped up, taking place last weekend (just as I was flying back from the US – brilliant! Next year I’ll time it better an hopefully actually attend). The self-proclaimed “Best Four Days of Gaming” took over the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, playing host to 30,000 gaming fans as well as comic artists, TV stars and – of course – some of the most important people in the industry. Originally founded back in 1967 by D&D creator Gary Gygax, it’s grown into the world’s biggest English language gaming convention. There are plenty of write-ups from various attendees on BoardGameGeek, but highlights included Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer (which apparently was everywhere – review coming up on LMD soon!) and the general public getting their first proper look at Dominion: Prosperity. This has – of course – lead to the usual arguments over Dominion being little more than a CCG in big box form, but let’s gloss over them… It’s made me think though about the lack of conventions here though – aside from the UK Games Expo, what else do we have? If you’ve got any local gaming events going on near you, let me know – email littlemetaldog@gmail.com and I’ll put them up on here!

Now, a quick wrap-up on new releases. As is the way for this time of year, the various games companies are beginning to get ready for the holiday season (yes, I know it’s August, but we must be prepared). There’s a fair few decent looking titles making their way to stores over the next few weeks – stuff that interests me includes the previously mentioned Ascension (designed by some of MtG’s greatest players, no less!) and Petroglyph’s Graxia games (Heroes and Guardians). There’s also the retro Voltron game coming out from Privateer Press which I was lucky enough to have a quick go with at Comic Con (as well as a load of new Monsterpocalypse stuff) – if you’re into huge monsters kicking seven shades out of each other, you’re in for a treat! For the more sedate amongst you, the latest in the Catan Histories series is now available: Settlers of America – Trails to Rails is set in the USA of the 1800s and sees you attempt to distribute resources across the whole country. Having not tried one of the Histories games, I’m intrigued to see how differently they actually play – initial reports are good, though. Finally, Asmodee have got the ‘enhanced’ standalone version of the classic party game Werewolf – The Village has a bunch of new roles as well as a curious mechanic involving buildings. Is it taking the simplicity of the original too far? We shall see soon enough…

And that’s your lot! Keep an eye out for the next episode of the podcast – episode 7 is still being finalised, but should be available next week. I’m very excited about the guests coming up over the next few episodes – a lot of the people suggested by you guys for the LMD5000 competition are up for coming on the show, including a few people from the world of podcasting. I shall say no more until the show is all edited together! Have a great weekend and get playing!


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News & Stuff – 16th July 2010

Regular readers and listeners will know that I’m a sucker for a decent card game, especially if it offers something a little bit different – not that there’s anything wrong with monsters and demons and wizards and such things, but sometimes it’s good to have a change. To that end, my interest was piqued when I heard that a new games publisher called Interaction Point have a couple of new releases with some interesting themes coming up: Third and Long and Knock Down, Drag Out. The latter sees between three and ten players participating in a last man standing Wild West bar-room brawl, while the former is a two-player effort based around the genteel sport of American Football. Being a fan of the San Diego Chargers (something of a rarity over here in the UK) I wanted to see how it played, and a review should be up here on the blog soon. Both games are available from the publisher’s site (which is right here) and – with luck – I should be speaking with Brent Evanger, the man behind Interaction Point, for an upcoming episode.

In re-issue news, the always awesome Betrayal at House on the Hill is coming out again (hopefully I’ll be able to get a copy – it’s slated to come out on my birthday, October 5). This second edition is coming out through Avalon Hill, with players building a haunted house by laying tiles – during the game, one player secretly becomes a traitor who must wipe out their ex-playmates without being discovered. Ahhhh, suspicion! Copies of the first edition change hands for silly money at the moment, so hopefully this new version will still have all the gameplay for an affordable price. More information over at the official site, right here.

Next, a follow up on last week’s War On Terror story, which saw TerrorBull offer players the opportunity to appear on the banknotes to be included in the next edition of the game. Six auctions were launched on eBay, with the winners having the image of their choice put on their own note. Half of the money goes to the company to help finance their next release, with the other 50% going straight to Amnesty International. The auctions ended earlier today with the total raised hitting £1828 – the largest ending price was the £500M note which closed at £510 (in real money). Good work to the guys at TerrorBull, and congratulations to the winning bidders!  

That’s about it for this week, aside from the news that the sixth episode of the podcast will be available some time this weekend – I’m just putting the finishing touches to it now. As always, I’m inordinately happy that more people have come on to talk about some random topics; this time I was lucky enough to speak with Mathew Anderson from Petroglyph Games about their upcoming releases, including some rather interesting crossover releases under the Graxia brand. Dice Maestro’s Anthony Brown then joins me to talk about what they’re up to, followed by an entertaining look at why some people hate dice (and what we can do to convince them that chaos is natural).

The podcast now has just over 5000 subscribers worldwide, and I’d like to thank every single one of you who listen and read. To celebrate the milestone (and the fact that I never even considered that anything more than a handful of people would actually download it!) I’ll be announcing a competition when the next episode is released. I can promise that the prize is well worth having, but you may have to do some work for it…!

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News & Stuff – 9th July 2010

What’s better than sitting outside in your local beer garden? This week’s Little Metal Dog News, of course!

It’s actually a bit of a slow news week, but what’s out there’s pretty interesting. First up – brought to my attention by LMD listener Roger Faires – is a top idea from TerrorBull Games to finance their next release as well as put a bit of money in the pocket of Amnesty International. The makers of the infamous War On Terror (as seen on everyone’s favourite geek extravaganza The IT Crowd!) are offering up the chance for members of the playing public to appear in the next edition of the game. The six different note denominations will each have a different picture chosen by the winners of a selection of eBay auctions that are currently running (and here’s a link to one of them!). They end next Friday (July 16th) at noon GMT – winners of the auctions will get their own collectors edition of the game as well as the fame and glory of being on the bank notes. It’s a great concept and I hope that TerrorBull raise a bundle for Amnesty – it’s an incredily worthwhile charity! I’ll get in touch with the guys at the company after the auctions are complete to see if we can show off who the winners are – so for now, go and bid! Bid now!

Next up, Summoner Wars. One of the most entertaining games I’ve played recently, Colby Dauch (who appeared on the show a while back) has released an onslaught of news from Plaid Hat Games regarding some new expansions. I recently got my hands on both the Vanguards and Fallen Kingdom decks and they’re both excellent additions to an already great game. The forthcoming premium board is also pretty much ready to roll and should be in the hands of those who pre-ordered by September at the very latest. While Summoner Wars is perfectly good with the included board, a heavy duty hard board will certainly be another welcome addition. For more regular updates from Colby, he’s updating the BGG page with alarming regularity.

It seems that a week can’t pass without mention of some awards, and this time you’re getting a double header. The recent Origins expo in Ohio, USA saw some interesting games get the nod in a range of categories. Check out these for a random bunch:

  • Best Board Game went to Games Workshop’s Space Hulk (seriously? Yes, it’s good and all, but you can’t buy it!)
  • Best Card Game – Poo: The Card Game from Catalyst Games (looks… interesting!)
  • Best Children’s, Party or Family Game – Looney Labs’ Are You the Traitor?  (simple Werewolf / Mafia style goodness) 
  • Best Historical Board Game – Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel! from Academy Games (looks to be insanely well respected, but way beyond my brain!)
  • Best Historical Miniature Game Rules – Wings of War: WWII, Deluxe Edition by Nexus (a load of fun, even better with mini planes all over the table)
  • They’re actually a pretty good bunch, but the selection of Space Hulk surprises me greatly. What was basically a limited edition, uber-expensive reprint is worthy enough to be deemed Game of the Year? Interesting. Especially considering the Games Workshop aren’t the most popular company out there…

    Anyway, more awards. This time, the annual ENnies (aka the Gen Con EN World RPG Awards) nominations list are out as of today. While LMD mainly focuses on board and card gaming, I must admit to enjoying a bit of tabletop RPG action and there’s not much better than curling up on the sofa reading through a hefty manual. Looking through the list, there’s a fair few interesting looking games there, but I was particularly pleased to see UK based company Cubicle 7 up for their excellent Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space set – there’s a full review on this very blog too! However, if anything deserves to win, I really really want Lucha Libre Hero to pick up an award – building characters based around Mexican wrestling? Who wouldn’t love that?

    And that’s your lot for now. The next episode of the podcast is currently being edited and tinkered with – there’s an interview with Mathew Anderson from Petroglyph Games (makers of the upcoming Graxia releases as well as the Panzer General series) and a huge – and really entertaining – chat with Antony Brown from Dice Maestro. You’ve got to listen, it’s brilliant. Mental, but brilliant. As well as that, Chris will be returning to help me out with your questions, so drop me a line at littlemetaldog@gmail.com  – cheers as always!


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