Monday, November 29, 2010

Pixie Invasion London: 2010

Despite the best (and worst) the weather could throw at us, myself and the Prof tootled down to London this weekend in the last of our buggering about the countryside convention odyssies. We also got back again (which was something of a miracle), so here I am, replete with biccies and coffee in the comfort of the Pixie hovel, a bearer of good news for those of us who do like our roleplaying games.

The convention in question was Dragonmeet, the game Cubicle 7's Dr Who one (or why else would I be telling you this?). First up was the wonderful site of the Aliens & Creatures boxed set, which I reviewed here when it was still only available as a pdf. This hasn't (as far as I know) been updated from the previous version, but what can I say, I love me my shiny, shiny things, so of course I bought it again anyway. It's a Crimble pressie, honest...

Cubicle 7 also held a panel where they discussed the future of their gaming empire, including that of our beloved hero's game. As I've mentioned before, David Tennant leaving the series just as the game came out caused Cubicle 7 some major league headaches, particularly as the BBC rebranded the entire line as well as replacing the lead actors. I will admit that I was very worried about the game's future, particularly as the new version that was due this month hadn't materialised (see what I did there?), but it looks as if the future of the game is secure for at least the next 12 months, if not longer.

Angus & Dom (the benevolent patriarchs of Cubicle 7) were happy to announce that the "regeneration" edition of the game will be available sometime in the middle of 2011. It isn't a new edition of the game as such, mostly having been repackaged with lots of nice new piccies of young Mr Smith (and presumably Mr & Mrs Pond), but there will be updated stats for the monsters to take into account series 5's shennanigans (I've just realised that means i-Daleks, doesn't it? Oh well, can't win 'em all). Rather nicely, a true regeneration pdf file will be available for those who already own the game and don't want to buy the whole thing again in boxed form; it will contain only the new & revised material. The previously planned supplements will then follow under the new logo (the Unit source box, the Companions source box and the original Doctor source boxes, to name but a few).

It also became clear just why these things often get so badly delayed; not only is Cubicle 7 (like most roleplaying companies) a tiny affair, existing on the goodwill and devotion of its core staff, freelancers and fans, but having something printed in the Far East then shipped to the States is fraught with Customs & Excise related skull-duggery. Although the BBC insist on all of their partner firms being ethical (so no sweat-shops, despite Dom's insistence that they have an electro-shock buzzer to make the labourers pack the boxes faster), once the sets arrive in the US, they are subjected to whatever the box equivalent of the old rubber glove routine is before they are released to the distributors. Its probably going to be a rubber glove, isn't it? Ew.

It was also heartening to hear the feedback the game has been getting from schoolteachers who have been using it to introduce new bodies to the hobby. Every year, someone asks at a panel "So, is the roleplaying industry dying?" and the answer usually runs along the lines of "No more than it was last year". Its virtually impossible for any game to know how well it does in recruiting fresh blood unless people tell you that's what they've been using it for but fingers crossed, this one seems to be doing the trick, at least where its been attempted.

My only real request to Cubicle 7 would be please update your website. A lot of people don't get to go to conventions and listen to panels, and they look at the dedicated game site as a means of keeping informed about what's happening. Its one of the reasons we were worried about the game (no news is not necessarily good news in the rpg industry), so if you do get five minutes in between your other plans for world domination, that would be lovely, thank you ;)

Dr Who also made the discussion at the Sunday pub meet-up. Last year we discussed the need for RTD points in the roleplaying game so you could pee-pee away a solid story line and replace it with a desperately unsatisfying ending (and that was before any of us had even seen "The End of Time"); this year we had an in-depth discussion of Doctors 3 & 4. It was getting a bit involved even for me and as a friend pointed out, if the Pixie is finding it too much, what hope was there for normal people? (Cheers, Robin).

So yet another successful weekend of gathering Dr Who related news for you all. Remember to keep your eyes open for the rerelease next year and be forgiving next time a game gets delayed; its probably sat in a warehouse eyeing those big tubs of Vaseline suspiciously...


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