Dispatches:
The Latest News from Atlas Games

Atlas Games

Need To Know: Feng Shui 2 Junctures

The First Edition of Feng Shui introduced the concept of Junctures. These are fiercely contested points in time and space that have the greatest potential to change history. Chi Warriors can travel through portals in the Netherworld to the four main Junctures to join the struggle for control.

The award-winning new edition Feng Shui 2 adds a new concept: Pop-Up Junctures. These can take you to any place and time, but their portals are less stable than the established Junctures. The window may stay open for a week, or even only an hour, putting real pressure on the characters to make an impact before they must leave. For example, our Feng Shui 2 quickstart adventure Hong Kong Task Force 88, now available as a PDF at DriveThruRPG, takes place in the Contemporary Juncture, but with Pop-Up Junctures, you can launch your team of top cops through a portal to fight crime in any setting imaginable.

Feng Shui 2 designer Robin D. Laws gives you even more information in this video about these portals through the Netherworld.


Feng Shui 2: Hong Kong Task Force 88 adventure now available in PDF

Lucky participants in this year's Free RPG Day festivities may have received a glossy, full-color quickstart adventure for Feng Shui 2. But not everyone lives near a Friendly Local Gaming store, and some stores have more participation than they have games to give away.

So we're excited to bring Hong Kong Task Force 88 to everyone in digital format! It's a classic buddy cop adventure, with the best of the best police officers from around the world gathered to solve the mystery of a deadly new drug hitting the streets. Characters clash as they seek to be top cop, but eventually come together to take down the dangerous forces behind the public menace.

Hong Kong Task Force 88 comes with quickstart rules for Feng Shui 2, giving new players and long-time fans an easy introduction to the updated rules. And the adventure has all the crime-solving, high-kicking, guns-blazing action of a Hong Kong action movie. Get your PDF for just $4.95 at DriveThruRPG today!

Three Cheers for Master Now Online


Master is coming, and the clock is ticking down to organize your Minions into cheerleading pyramids of welcome. But you're the only one around, and you can't do it all by yourself. What's a Foreminion to do?

Finally, you've got some backup! Popular Steam game Tabletop Simulator by Berserk Games has released a Three Cheers for Master DLC. Enjoy all the best parts of the Atlas Games card game: build your tower, sabotage your opponents, and revel in the carnage of each Big Hairy Fight. You can play in real time with one to five other players, which is the next best thing to sitting around the table with friends near and far.


If this sounds like a ton of fun, but you haven't had a chance to see Three Cheers for Master in action, Atlas Games has a helpful video to watch. Then check out the pages for Tabletop Simulator and the Three Cheers for Master DLC today!


Munchkin #20 is Gloomy!

The newest issue of the long-running Munchkin comic from Boom! Studios takes its inspiration from the art and events of Munchkin Gloom, spinning a yarn of misfortunate mercenaries and their misguided min/maxing. Take a look:




Best of all, Munchkin #20 serves as a rules supplement to Munchkin Gloom, introducing a new game mechanic to bring even more morose munchkiny fun to your tabletop! For fans of Munchkin Gloom, this issue is a must! (as opposed to musty, which it isn't — we promise!)

Munchkin #20 is available Wednesday, August 24th, at better comic book stores everywhere, or from Warehouse 23.

The Letter Head Design Challenge


letterhead characters l h
Letter Head is a dynamic word-forming card game. Players create words using a special deck of cards that have letters instead of numbers and points instead of suits. Missing a crucial letter? No problem! Canny players can bluff their opponents into thinking they've got every letter they need. It’s engaging, challenging, addictive, and above all, fun.

But Letter Head isn't just a card game, it's an infinitely expandable game kit.

The core rules for Letter Head are not one, but sixteen games, including new spins on old favorites like memory, poker, and word-find. And we’ve just scratched the surface of what’s possible.

That’s where you come in. The Letter Head Design Challenge puts you in the designer’s chair. Given a deck of delightfully illustrated cards engineered to reflect the frequency of letters as they really occur in the English language, what game could you come up with?

The Rules

Submissions

Your submission should be a game, in whatever way you define “game.” It should feature the Letter Head deck, or some subset of the Letter Head deck, as a key feature of its play.

Your submission should clearly communicate to another person how to play your game. Rules are typically written in the second person, as if you are speaking directly to them, using “you” and “your” pronouns in most places. Just like this paragraph.

Existing Letter Head games follow a similar format: number of players, a 2–3 sentence summary to get prospective players excited, the goal, set up, how cards are dealt, how to win, gameplay, scoring, and strategy and hints. Some also include examples of play and variants. You can include any or all of these topics, or invent new ones as needed by your particular design, although deviating from Letter Head’s established format for no obviously discernible reason might earn you a side-eye from the judges.

Your submission should not exceed 2,000 words. For comparison, existing Letter Head games average around 500 words, with the most involved tallying 1,700.

Entries are not being judged on the competence of their layout or graphic design. In fact, we prefer simple use of headers, sub-headers, and body text, with discrete italics and boldface for emphasis.

Your submission should be a PDF, Word, or RTF document. Email it to renee at atlas dash games dot com with the subject line “Letter Head Contest Submission — <YourLastName>.

Deadline

Judging commences promptly on September 30, 2016, so make sure you've submitted your design by then.

Judging

From among the submissions, we’ll choose our five favorites. Our criteria are, in no particular order:
  • Is it fun?
  • Is it original?
  • Is it complete and playable?
  • Does it make use of the Letter Head deck in an interesting way?
We’ll name our absolute favorite The Letter Head Design Grand Champion, and the remaining four will be Runners Up. All winners will be announced by November 15, 2016.

Prizes

The Letter Head Design Grand Champion wins their choice of any five products from our entire catalogue. Each Runner Up gets one selection from our catalogue. The spoils of your victory will be shipped to you, on our dime.

In addition, all five victors will see their winning entries published in a free-for-download PDF, available at both our website and DriveThruCards. 

Intellectual Property

Acceptance of a Letter Head Design Challenge prize grants Atlas Games the non-exclusive right to indefinitely publish the winning entry in a free-for-download PDF on both our website and DriveThruCards. All authors will be credited for their work in these publications. 

Eligibility

Everyone is eligible to enter! Submit as often as you like! Create individually or as part of a team!
Questions

If you have any questions about the Letter Head Design Challenge, feel free to drop us a note at renee at atlas dash games dot com.

Your Game Design Resources

The Deck

Your primary resource is the Letter Head deck itself. Here’s a virtual tour so you know exactly what you have to work with.

Letter Head comes with 130 cards:
  • 120 consonants and vowels distributed according their frequency in English 
  • four wild cards 
  • five scoring reference cards
  • one title card
Each letter card has a number printed on it; this is its point value, which is frequently used for scoring. The more difficult it is to form a word with that letter, the higher its point value.

Additionally, each card is colorfully illustrated. To date, these illustrations have merely been decorative, but that doesn’t mean your game has to use them that way.


The exact breakdown of letter frequency and point values in the Letter Head deck is shown in the values and frequencies chart here. If you’re interested, you can read a bit of history as to how Letter Head’s letter frequencies and point values were arrived at, along with some interesting talk about cryptanalysis.


By no means are you required to use all of the cards in the Letter Head deck. Your game must simply make use of some subset of the cards in a way that’s essential to its play. 

Existing Letter Head Games

You may or may not want to take a look at our rulebook, to see what games already exist for Letter Head.

Additional Components

There are no additional components required or offered, though you are certainly welcome to incorporate new elements into your designs. Dice, tokens, play mats, or whatever else you need to make your game pop are all eligible for inclusion. Our one bit of advice is to keep such materials simple and accessible; nearly everyone has standard six-sided dice at their disposal, but few will be able to 3D print custom play pieces!

Get Letter Head On Sale Now!

Participation in The Letter Head Design Challenge does not require the purchase of a Letter Head deck — everything you need to design your game is provided right here — but for those who want to own the actual thing, Letter Head is on sale now through DriveThruCards. For the duration of this contest, print-and-play Letter Head PDFs are 50% off, and printed Letter Head decks are 15% off!