By George Holochwost

Recently at GenCon I had the opportunity to catch up with game designer Francesco Nepitello, creator of boardgame masterpieces Age of Conan: The Strategy Game and the soon-to-be-reprinted War of the Ring. The most recent inheritor of the Lord of the Rings RPG license, Francesco's fresh take on the subject for Cubicle 7, The One Ring: Adventures Over The Edge Of The Wild, promises us a Middle Earth experience like no other.

Set between the events of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Nepitello offers a narrower scope with far greater depth than previous attempts. Whereas Middle Earth Roleplaying and Decipher's Lord of the Rings suggested an all inclusive set of options for articulating the much loved setting, The One Ring RPG offers an incredibly deep take with some very cool options for players. With everything from Hobbits to Mirkwood Elves to the tribal Beornlings, players no longer suffer second-fiddle syndrome while adventuring in the shadows of Gandalf, Frodo, Bilbo and company. Instead, an untapped span of Middle Earth history is offered as virgin territory in which players can carve their own legends while that troublesome ring sits idly on Bilbo's mantlepiece. Read More...

By George Holochwost

And so it begins...

GenCon Indianapolis is the largest gaming convention of its kind. With nearly forty-five thousand attendees, the convention offers a garden of gaming delights – vast tournament halls, open play areas, and spectacularly unique gaming events have become the hallmark of this annual indulgence. Located in the shadow of Indianapolis's Lucas Oil Stadium, the Indianapolis Convention Center is uniquely suited for this titanic occasion.

Perhaps the best thing about GenCon is the seemingly limitless diversity of gamers from all over the world. So far I've spoken to folks from Finland, Brazil, Germany, Greece and Japan. Some are here to defend titles earned through their card playing skills, some are here to march around in meticulously crafted costumes of favorite video game and movie characters. One convention attendee states that he had no plans at all and wanted to keep it that way, following his nose to whatever strikes his pan-geek interests.

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These days, It seems that board game publishers are constantly annoncing their intentions to port titles over to the popular smartphone app stores. It's not every day that you see two big names such as Alderac Entertainment Group and Incinerator Studios come together, though.

Although sparse on details, the two companies have announced a partnership this morning that will culminate in the release of AEG's hit deckbuilding card game Nightfall as a universal iOS app. The announcement goes on to state that this will be the first but not the last of AEG titles to make the leap. One can only speculate, but it does not seem that digital versions of Thunderstone and Legend of the 5 Rings titles could be that far away.

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Back in May, Pathfinder RPG publisher Paizo joined forces with miniature producing veterans WizKids (of HeroClix and Mage Knight fame) to announce that four pre-painted plastic hero miniatures would be included in the upcoming Pathfinder Beginner's Box. Early images of these sculpts have been impressive, generating significant positive buzz from Pathfinder fans. It's all lead up to this week's announcement: The miniatures line will continue past its initial 4-model run with an additional whopping 100 new sculpts to follow.

This ongoing line of miniatures intends to cover all areas of the Pathfinder universe, beginning with a 40-piece set, Heroes & Monsters, in December. Following that will be a 60-piece set, Rise of the Runelords, in June 2012 with additional unannounced full sets to follow.

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Ever since Wizards of the Coast announced early last year that they would not be renewing the Star Wars hobby gaming license, gamers have been wondering what company would pick up the torch. Now we know the answer: Fantasy Flight Games, the publisher best known for high-quality game components and detailed miniature sculpts. It's as if millions of geek's wallets suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly emptied.

As a publisher of board, card, roleplaying, and miniatures combat games, Fantasy Flight will have no shortage of options to develop Star Wars games around. Two titles have already been announced, Star Wars: The Card Game and X-Wing, but many more will follow. Excitement is high for these and future titles primarily because Fantasy Flight has proven time and time again that they know how to handle a license. In the past, they've published well-received games themed around Game of Thrones, Battlestar Galactica, World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings, Doom, StarCraft, Conan, and more.

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The Realms are back: Dungeons & Dragons will be returning to the legendary Forgotten Realms city of Neverwinter this Summer. To mark the occasion, Wizards of the Coast has a whole slew of new Neverwinter-themed products, led by the he core RPG release, the D&D Neverwinter Campaign Setting.

Players can get their first taste of the newly revised campaign setting during the Neverwinter Game Day on August 6th at their local game stores. The event will serve as a character creation session, after which players will get their toes wet with a prelude adventure to the upcoming D&D Encounters season. Kicking off on August 10th, D&D Encounters Lost Crown of Neverwinter will also feature a brand new set of Neverwinter-themed Fortune Cards.

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