Games Workshop Changes North American Trade Policy Again

March 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Games Workshop has announced a new trade policy for North America that contains a number of changes including the extension of the ban on online sales of Games Workshop products from the U.S. where it was instituted in 2003 to Canada.  In its announcement of the new policy Games Workshop noted that the number of in-store retailers in the U.S. has increased substantially in the ten years since the adoption of the policy.  The "2003 policy" restricted online sales of its products to Games Workshop’s own corporate Website and prohibited the online sales of its products by United States retailers.  The new policy, which goes into effect on June 15th, extends the "2003 policy" to Canada.

The decision to comply with the Policy is up to the retailers, but Games Workshop reserves the right to terminate sales of Games Workshop products to any trade account that chooses to violate the Policy or any Authorized Distributor supplying a retailer choosing to sell in violation of the policy.  North American retailers are also only authorized to resell GW products domestically in the store’s respective county of origin (no foreign sales).

Games Workshop has also tweaked its General Requirements, which include having a brick-and-mortar store, selling only to consumers, and having a segregated section of the store for Games Workshop products.  Another requirement that could cause problems for some retailers is that GW product should not be sold in any store where other products deemed obscene or inappropriate for customers under 18 years of age are displayed or sold.  And retailers are responsible for insuring that Games Workshop products are sold only to consumers meeting the age requirements listed on the products themselves.


Joss Whedon Isn’t Kickstarter-ing ‘Firefly’ – Yet

March 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 


First, Netflix resurrected "Arrested Development." Now fans are helping to bring back "Veronica Mars." This revival trend seems like great news for Browncoats, who have been waiting since 2005 (when "Serenity" hit theaters) for more adventures with Captain Mal & Co.

And yet…

It’s not as if the fans — and the actors — aren’t willing; the well-meaning attempt to "Help Nathan (Fillion) Buy ‘Firefly’" as well as the turnout at last year’s Comic-Con reunion panel proved that the passion is still there. But to make a Joss Whedon show or movie, the first thing you need is Joss Whedon. And he’s been kind of busy.

Even the man who managed to shoot a feature film in 12 days while on break from making the third biggest movie of all time has his limitations. This is what Whedon told BuzzFeed:

I’ve said repeatedly that I would love to make another movie with these guys, and that remains the case. It also remains the case that I’m booked up by Marvel for the next three years, and that I haven’t even been able to get "Dr. Horrible 2" off the ground because of that. So I don’t even entertain the notion of entertaining the notion of doing this, and won’t. Couple years from now, when Nathan [Fillion]‘s no longer [on] "Castle" and I’m no longer the Tom Hagen of the Marvel Universe and making a giant movie, we might look and see where the market is then. But right now, it’s a complete non-Kickstarter for me.

We were encouraged about "Dr. Horrible" after

our conversation with Maurissa Tancharoen last year. Now it looks like both Captain Mal and Captain Hammer will have to wait. As will the fans… just a little bit longer.


Maxis: SimCity internet requirement not a DRM strategy

March 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Following claims yesterday that SimCity had been modified to run offline in a limited capacity, Maxis/EA general manager Lucy Bradshaw has since updated EA’s official blog with a bulleted reiteration of Maxis’ always-on design philosophy for the game.

In the missive, Bradshaw dismisses claims that SimCity‘s internet connectivity requirements are in reality "a clandestine strategy to control players" while listing a few of the ways in which server connectivity is essential to the design of the game, though she does not directly address whether the game can be played completely offline in its current form.

"So, could we have built a subset offline mode? Yes," Bradshaw added. "But we rejected that idea because it didn’t fit with our vision. We did not focus on the ‘single city in isolation’ that we have delivered in past SimCities. We recognize that there are fans – people who love the original SimCity – who want that."


‘Planet Steam’ Board Game For 2013

March 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Fantasy Flight Games has announced the June release of a new affordable version of Heinz-Georg Thiemann’s Planet Steam, which was originally released here in 2009 by FFG in a giant rectangular box at a premium price of $124.95 (see “Fantasy Flight’s November Releases”). The new edition that is due this summer comes in a standard FFG square box format with a more affordable price tag of $59.95.

Planet Steam is an exciting, cutthroat game of production and commerce for 2-5 players set in a steam-powered future. Players take on the roles of entrepreneurs in a steampunk boomtown racing to assemble equipment, claim land, extract resources and accumulate wealth. Players harvest resources using tanks and converters, but then they have to sell their wares in a volatile and shifting marketplace. The winner of the game is the player who accumulates the most money, but that requires a shrewd management of resources and quite often clever manipulation of supply and demand.

Planet Steam is a challenging economic board game set in a richly illustrated steampunk setting—and it appears that FFG’s new version of the game is every bit as visually lush as the initial version. During each turn a player hires (via a bidding process) a specialist (with differing special abilities) to help accomplish whatever immediate task that the player has planned.

In addition to a deluxe game board, the new Planet Steam game includes 35 plastic tanks, with 55 converter and upgrade attachments, plus 350 tokens and markers, a rulebook and five reference sheets, plus 1 Support Airship marker and plastic stand, 67 cards, and one 6-sided die.


Dave Bautista Signed to Play Drax the Destroyer in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

March 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

This is a bit of a surprise, but also likely a good choice. We knew that Marvel Studios was testing many actors to play the big hero Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy. The last name that came up was Jason Momoa, as Marvel reportedly really liked the actor for the role. But he didn’t want it on Marvel’s terms, and so the studio moved on to new candidates.

One person who has been considered for a while, going back to the early test reports, is wrestling star Dave Bautista. He’s now taking the role.

THR says that Bautista closed his deal, and describes Drax in terms that will be familiar to Marvel fans:

Drax is a human resurrected as a green warrior with the sole purpose of killing Thanos (the villain in the final-scene tease of Avengers). His powers include flight, super-strength and energy blasts.

Bautista plays the muscle of the film, while Chris Pratt plays the real lead, Star-Lord.

Other characters in James Gunn‘s film include the giant tree-man Groot, Rocket Raccoon, “a genetically engineered animal with a knack for guns and explosives,” and a female alien named Gamora, “the last survivor of her species who was saved by Thanos to be his assassin but now battles him.” Those last three characters are not yet cast.

Guardians of the Galaxy is scheduled for release on August 1, 2014.

Dell’s hybrid XPS 18 is a $900 all-in-one PC and an 18-inch tablet

March 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Dell's hybrid XPS 18 is a $900 allinone PC and an 18inch tablet

Dell is pulling back the curtain on the XPS 18, its new portable all-in-one. This machine is a natural competitor to the Sony VAIO Tap 20, with a built-in battery rated for five hours of runtime, although it weighs a much lighter 4.85 pounds (versus a whopping 11.4). Still, though the XPS 18 can function as a tablet, it’s portable in the sense that it can move from office to living room; it’s not going to accompany you on daily subway rides.

With an 18.4-inch, 1080p display, the XPS 18 makes for a pretty enormous slate, and we were only comfortable holding it in our hands for a few minutes, though resting it on our lap worked well. The AIO sports flip-out plastic feet on its backing, and these can prop up the device vertically or at an angle. Of course, you can also use the XPS 18 as a tablet by simply laying it flat on a table or desktop, and this is the ideal mode for playing games and the like on the 10-point touchscreen.


Alex Kingston Talks River Song and Doctor Who

March 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Would Alex Kingston, who plays the wonderful River Song on Doctor Who, always come back if Who boss Stephen Moffat had a new storyline for her?

The answer is … a resounding yes.

The former E.R. actress was interviewed in the current issue of Radio Times, dated 16th-22nd March 2013. In the Q&A, My Watchlist, she revealed that she’d be up for a lot more River Song:

I’m so attached to that character. I never expected her to grow and develop in the way she has. You never know whether she’s going to be hard-ass or good. As long as Steven Moffat has storylines that include her, I will always say yes.

There are recent rumors that the character could die thanks to a tombstone prop on set (which in itself tells us that Kingston IS returning, despite her parents’ gloomy fate), but the character’s already died in the very first story she appeared in … 2008’s "Silence in the Library" + "Forest of the Dead" two-parter, written by current Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat and then starring former Doctor Number 10 David Tennant.

We wouldn’t be surprised to see the Doctor’s little wifey sticking around for a bit more timey-wimey time, tombstone prop or not. Don’t you agree?


‘Sherlock’ Planned to Continue Into a Fourth Season

March 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Yesterday the news came out that the third season of BBC’s Sherlock is about to go into production, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman reprising their lead roles as modern day versions of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.

There was some question as to whether the third season might be the show’s last. Scheduling the long shoot is difficult, as each of the three episodes per season is basically structured like a mini-movie, and Cumberbatch and Freeman are increasingly busy with movie careers.

But now Cumberbatch has confirmed that a fourth season is planned.

Speaking to RadioTimes, Cumberbatch said,

We’ve agreed to two more series but I could get into trouble for saying that. All I know at the moment is I’m doing these three [episodes of the upcoming series] and another three.

That’s great news, and frankly is more than I ever expected we’d get. I love the vision of Sherlock created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, but always assumed that it would have a pretty limited life on TV, for the reasons mentioned above. Moffat is pretty busy as well, so a fourth season seems like a bonus


More Halo 4 DLC Coming April 2013

March 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Halo 4 is getting yet another batch of DLC next month. Entitled the Castle Map Pack, the content adds three new multiplayer maps: Daybreak, Outcast and Perdition. The new maps are designed around objective gametypes and vehicle use, with Outcast in particular promising "frequent Mantis vs. Wraith battles."

The DLC will be available for $10 staring April 8. A new 6-on-6 playlist catering to the DLC will launch on the same day. The Castle Map Pack also marks the third and final pack included with the War Games Map Pass.



WotC Does D&D ‘White Box’–Original Dungeons and Dragons

March 11, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Wizards of the Coast will release Original Dungeons & Dragons RPG, a "Premium Reprint" of the very first D&D releases, on November 19th. The white box released in 1974 included Volume 1: Men & Magic; Volume 2: Monsters & Treasure; and Volume 3: Underworld & Wilderness Adventures. This new edition will include those three booklets plus Supplement 1: Greyhawk; Supplement II: Blackmoor; Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry; Supplement 4: Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes,” plus reference sheets.

Each of the booklets in the new release will have interiors identical to the originals, including art, with new cover illustrations.

The box will be more elaborate than the original, and will also include dice.

The MSRP is $149.99, which seems like a lot until you compare it to the prices for the original printings (we saw a 6th printing in the original shrink wrap on Amazon for $1999.99).

The will mark the end of the journey that Wizards of the Coast has been taking back to the origins of D&D. The company began by reprinting D&D 3.5 (see "WotC to Reprint ‘‘3.5 Edition’"), and AD&D (see "WotC to Reprint ‘AD&D’"). This summer will see reprints of D&D 2nd Edition (see "WotC Readies ‘D&D’ Reprints").


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