Lords of Waterdeep

In the last few years, gaming behemoth Wizards of the Coast has expanded its "Dungeons and Dragons" product line with several board games. Last year's "Lords of Waterdeep" drew critical praise and awards for its drafting and questing mechanics. Recently, Wizards released "Scoundrels of Skullport", the first expansion for "Waterdeep." How was the original game created? And how challenging was it to expand upon it? We talked to game designer Rodney Thompson.



Wizards of the Coast released additional details about their year-long event "The Sundering." The company is focusing on their fantasy world Forgotten Realms, a setting for Dungeons and Dragons, with a mix of novels, games, and more. "During the Sundering, powerful forces both mortal and divine are being set in motion and D&D fans all over the world are being given the opportunity to take part in this epic event to help shape the fate of the Forgotten Realms forever," said Laura Tommervik, Brand Marketing Manager for D&D.



Hobby gamers, rejoice! Wizards of the Coast has revealed exclusively the line up for Chandra's "Firewave" Deck from "Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers." "Duels" is the digital version of the long-running collectible card game "Magic: the Gathering," which will be released for iOS and Android devices, as well as downloadable games for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.


D&D AoW_Screenshot_Archenemy

Hasbro, owners of "Dungeons and Dragons" publisher Wizards of the Coast have announced that they are partnering with mobile game company DeNA to release "Dungeons and Dragons: Arena of War" for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.


There are many different ways to enjoy "Dungeons and Dragons," the hobby gaming property most known for its core roleplaying game. For instance, take the newly-released "Dungeon Command" miniatures game. As a skirmish-scale combat game, "Dungeon Command" aims to break down some of the barriers of miniatures gaming by using pre-painted figures in small 12-on-12 battles.

Complete armies (known as warbands in "Dungeon Command") are sold in ready-to-play faction packs, with options to further expand and customize a warband in advanced play. Today, we'll be reviewing those first two faction packs: "Heart of Cormyr" and "Sting of Lolth."


Wizards of the Coast is about to try something very different with "Magic: The Gathering," and Director of R&D Aaron Forsythe spilled all of the details to fans this week. "Modern Masters" will be a 229-card set reprinting popular cards from "Eighth Edition" through "Alara Reborn." This is not the first time that WotC has reprinted "Magic" cards, but "Modern Masters" is without a doubt a unique product; this admittedly experimental release breaks the mold for what players can expect from a "Magic" set.


You may think that you know Dungeons & Dragons, but then again, you haven't peeked inside the mind of Forgotten Realms creator Ed Greenwood.

Back in January at the Dungeons & Dragons new products seminar, lead developer Mike Mearls gave fans of a preview of the D&D supplement "Elminster's Forgotten Realms." Mearls told the crowd that Wizards of the Coast staff approached Greenwood to ask "why don't you take all your campaign notes, all the information you've been putting together for your FR campaign and lets compile it into a book? Show us the realms as you've developed it in your campaign setting and lets get that to everybody." It's not often that fans get such an inside look at the creation of one of their favorite settings, but "Elminster's Forgotten Realms" completely pulls back the curtain on Greenwood's design.

Hitting store shelves today at 192 pages, the hardcover "Elminster's Forgotten Realms" will retail for $39.95, and manages to cram in an impressive amount of information. Let's take a look at what's inside.


Earlier this week, took a look at what players should expect from Magic: The Gathering's new Return to Ravnica set. With five of the ten guilds of Ravnica returning, and the other five set to appear in an upcoming set, it's an exciting time for Magic players. The Ravnica setting hasn't been seen since 2006, and its signature hybrid card strategies are going to get a shot in the arm with what looks to be three large sets in the upcoming block.

Today, we'll be revealed a new card from the Return to Ravnica set: Rakdos Charm.


With the October 5th launch date for "Magic: The Gathering's" "Return to Ravnica" just around the corner, Wizards of the Coast has begun shedding light on what fans can expect from this 274-card set. Today, we'll be showing off "Cryptborn Horror," a red/black creature that is sure to whet your appetite, and send your opponents running in fear.


Iconic D&D art displayed on-screen during Gen Con's keynote address

So far, 2012 has been a year packed with Dungeons & Dragons news, and Gen Con 2012 was no different. Wizards of the Coast led off the year with the announcement of D&D Next, a new version of the popular roleplaying game that would replace D&D 4th Edition, and for that matter, all editions that came before it.

Dungeons & Dragons basic rules pamphlets, circa 1981. Image by Jennie Ivins

Over the course of the past four weeks, we've been chatting with the men behind Dungeons & Dragons: Mike Mearls, Rodney Thompson, Bruce Cordell, James Wyatt, and Chris Perkins, to discuss their history with the  franchise. If you missed the first few installments, go read about the group's favorite settings, favorite play experiences, favorite all-around products, and proudest accomplishments while working at Wizards of the Coast. Today, we'll conclude this series with a look towards the future, asking each of our interviewees about their expectations for the future of Dungeons & Dragons: D&D Next. 

But they're not going to get off easy. D&D Next is being billed as a massive unifying effort, bringing together all roleplayers no matter which D&D edition they hold dear, and convincing them to drop the edition-speak entirely. Since a modular ruleset should allow players to combine their favorite aspects of past editions, we asked our panel exactly that: which two features of D&D's past they look forward to merging in future games of D&D Next. 

Mike Mearls: This is an easy one for me. I can’t wait to use basic D&D’s speed and ease of character creation with 4e’s adventure design guidelines.

Back when I lived in Boston, I used to run a lot of pickup D&D games. It got to the point where I spent a day creating a set of eight player characters for my friends to pick from. If we wanted to just play D&D, it took an hour to make 1 st-level characters, or much longer to make a 3rd or 4th level one. By the same token, as a DM I had to either write up stuff ahead of time or draw from a set of adventures I had read beforehand.

I like that the 4e rules make creating a short adventure fast and easy. In Next I want to make it even easier by introducing the option to use
random tables for monsters and treasure that are built on a system like 4e’s.


A painted Beholder mini at DDXP 2008. Image by Flickr user Benimoto, used under Creative Commons License.

If you've been living under a rock, or simply don't read up on RPG-related news, you may not have heard about the upcoming changes to Dungeons & Dragons. Big changes. Currently in playtesting, the RPG's fifth iteration (codenamed D&D Next) is aiming to be the definitive version of Dungeons & Dragons, tying together the signature aspects of all prior D&D editions in a modular system.

With such a focus on leveraging the past to make a great new product, we felt it would be a great time to get inside the heads of the Dungeons & Dragons team to see just what sort of history they've had with the game. No two players are likely to have the same experience with a property as expansive as D&D, but looking at what inspires today's current crop of designers can give plenty of clues for the future. Read More...

Mark your calendars for this Saturday, June 16th, and get to your local game store.

Comic book fans aren't the only ones who get free stuff, roleplaying game players have their day too. But unlike comics which just require someone to open a book to get involved, RPGs have a much higher barrier to entry. You have to convince a whole group to play, and someone has to put extra work in to actually run the game!

Roleplaying games can also carry a bit of a stigma, as they can evoke the most negative of geek stereotypes in outsider's mind. Check those judgements at the door. Self-identifying gamers owe it to themselves the experience of having tried an RPG at least once in their lives, and Free RPG Day is just the way to do it. Read More...

It's that time of year again. Magic: The Gathering is about to receive its annual core set upgrade, with Magic 2013 comprising a 294-card mix of new and reprinted content.

Core sets are released each year to tweak the basic strategy of Magic. Some cards return, others do not, and this new mix serves as a base for the year's three-set expansion block. In October, that new block will roll out with the first set Return to Ravnica, bringing back themes from the Ravnica setting last seen in 2005-2006.

Since Standard-format Magic tournaments mandate use of the most recent sets only, it's tempting to read into the tea leaves of early spoiler cards and try to guess what strategies will rule the Pro Tour scene. I would resist that urge with today's card, "Worldfire," which is the best example of a "nuclear option" for any Magic player with their back against the wall.


Over the past two years, Wizards of the Coast has produced numerous Dungeons & Dragons-themed board games, but none quite like Lords of Waterdeep. Past efforts were well received but undeniably played things safe, serving as distilled versions of D&D 4th Edition or re-themed war game designs. Now, Wizards has thrown their hat into the ring of European strategy, where games are judged only according to their traditional definition: as a test of skill.

It's out of character to say the least.

Euro strategy games are often bemoaned for their lack of theme, challenging players to lose themselves in the worlds of crop farming or resource bartering. The Forgotten Realms of D&D are a world apart from these bland experiences, but will strategic gamers appreciate the setting? Can thematic gamers embrace an economic competition? Read More...

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