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Atlas Games

TableTop Day at Our FLGS

This Saturday is International TableTop Day! In addition to having supported some cool retail events around the country, the Atlas Games staff will be out in force at our own friendly local game store, Source Comics and Games in Roseville, Minnesota.

Come by and play some old favorites, or even a few titles you can't try anywhere else because they're still at press or in the final stages of development.

  • Cursed Court — 12:00p
  • Feng Shui 2 — 2:00p
  • Godsforge — 10:00a, 12:00p
  • Lost in R'lyeh — 4:00p
  • Unknown Armies 3 — 4:00p
  • Witches of the Revolution — 10:00a
We hope to see you there, Twin Cities locals!

Letter Head: And The Winners Are...

In August of 2016 we launched the first ever Letter Head Design Challenge. The call went out to fans and designers everywhere to submit their own game designs utilizing the Letter Head deck. The response was fantastic, and after extensive playtesting, heated exchanges, and shed tears,* we still couldn't arrive at our favorite five. So instead, we broke our own rules and chose six.

And now those six games are available to everyone for free! All you need are a few friends and a Letter Head deck for hours of fun with these unique games that stretch and reimagine Letter Head in all new ways.
  • Anagrabs by Steve Dee. Claim letters from a common pool to form words. But beware, cards you’ve already used are still up for (ana)grabs!
  • Draw! Beat Down Their Weapons! by Jonathan Woodard. Escort your convoys through a dangerous forest, engaging in duels of witty vocabulary with highwaymen who want to make off with your precious cargo.
  • Gadsby! by Steve Dee Inspired by Ernest Vincent Wright’s 1939 lipogrammatic novel of the same name, your challenge is to create words that do not use the letter E, while looking for opportunities to add Es to other players’ words and thus negate their score. 
  • Letter Mine by J. Walton. Explore a series of subterranean tunnels, mining letters from the rock itself in a race to build words faster than the other players. 
  • Tensorial Relations by Nick Wedig. A deckbuilding word game in which the words you create enable you to buy even better cards. When all the cards have been purchased, the player with the highest scoring deck wins!
  • Word War by Aex Kanous. Create words from an always-morphing grid of letters, while trying to block the other players from doing the same.

* Not factually correct. Exchanges were measured and friendly, and instead of tears it was laughter and smiles.

Noting a 50th Anniversary, and Credit Where Due

This year is a big Happy Birthday to Gen Con, which celebrates its 50th year! A decade ago we were proud to help celebrate an earlier milestone by publishing 40 Years of Gen Con, a big full-color coffee table book of the convention's history up to then. Written by Robin D. Laws, it includes a gazillion photographs from years gone by, interviews with many game industry luminaries (some of whom are sadly not here to join Gen Con 50), and more.

For a limited time, you have the chance to pick up 40 Years of Gen Con at a bargain price, thanks to a re-run of the "Designers, Dragons & More" Bundle of Holding -- a value bundle that will load you up with game industry history and the stories of some of the best games in our field.

I also want to add a note of acknowledgement and apology. Long after the book was published, it came to our attention that attribution for three photographs by Scott Griffin had been bungled. The digital version of the book is corrected, but in case you have the first printing, know that Scott is the photographer of "Ed Greenwood as Elminster", "Musicians entertaining at Gen Con, and "Gary Gygax in the "Klingon Jail 'n Bail". We thank Scott for his contribution and apologize for this error. Also, if you love game history, you should check out Scott's website, Gen Con in Wisconsin (1968-2002)!

Really Regrettable Robots

Although we've had robots — machines programmable to perform human-like functions — since 400 BCE, we only got the word robot in 1920, thanks to a Czech playwright. It's taken a long time for actual robot technology to even approach the potential imagined in the stories we've been telling about robots from this planet and others.

Translating these creations to stage and screen have yielded some truly regrettable robots, some of which are beyond even the reach of Gloom in Space to describe. Let's run down the top five saddest robots from movies and TV.

1)  Ro-Man Extension XJ-2 from Robot Monster: This robot, like many, is just a guy in a suit. That suit, though, wasn't made of metal hardware. Instead, Ro-Man wears a gorilla suit and a Sputnik-like astronaut costume helmet. He's bent on wiping out the last eight members of the human race. He doesn't succeed.

2)  Daleks from Doctor Who: These robots are the scariest foes for the Doctor, but it's hard for viewers to understand the terror they inspire when a Dalek is an upside-down trashcan on wheels, with egg beaters and a toilet plunger as weapons. All the earliest Doctors needed to do to foil these villains was to go up a flight of stairs.

3)  Nomad from Star Trek: The Original Series: A junkyard is a set designer's best friend, and Nomad looks like it was assembled straight from the trash heap. With a head like a coffee percolator and a body like a mesh office wastebasket, it's hardly a worthy adversary for Captain Kirk. Indeed, Kirk shuts down this mechanical menace by convincing it to commit suicide.

4)  Power Droid from Star Wars: This sad excuse for a robot was especially pathetic next to shiny, elaborate droids like C3P0 and R2-D2. Borrowing from the well-established tradition of trashcans as costumes, the Power Droid is just a box around a child or little person. Some flexible plastic ductwork gives them leg warmers to go with flat metal boxes for shoes. And still they managed to make two action figures out of this guy.

5)  Box from Logan's Run: As shiny as this robot is, all that chrome isn't enough to distract viewers from its janky design. The actor's head is wrapped in something like a reflective space blanket, with a slot cut for the mouth. The body looks like a shiny rooftop industrial air conditioner. While it has metal ductwork to cover the arms, it looks as though the actor is holding sticks with heavy, boxy guns on the ends, leaving them to flop around randomly.

Unknown Armies Deluxe Set Photos

One of the best things about publishing is seeing all of the hard work of designers, writers, editors, artists, graphic engineers, and printers come together in the form of an actual physical product. Regent of China shipped us a single copy of the Unknown Armies 3 Deluxe Set to review before full scale production and shipment happens, and we took a few photos.

This is the exterior of the Deluxe Set with slipcase, shrinkwrapped, and all three volumes included in hardback.

The slipcase unfolds to become a landscape oriented game master screen, with all the charts and tables you need during play. It turns back into a slipcase with ease (and a magnetic clasp).

Players can enjoy the gorgeous cover artwork of Jason Engle and Aaron Acevedo. Incidentally, when you take all three books and line them up in a triangle, the art forms a triptych image!

Finally, the books themselves are high quality, sturdy, and gorgeous full-bleed photo-illustrated casebound volumes. Thanks to the layout skills of Thomas Deeny, the table of contents, chapter splash pages, and trade dress all works together.

We can't wait for the thousands of Kickstarter backers to get their own print copies in April. Retail stores should see orders filled at the end of April and early May. If you can't wait, and you didn't back the books last year, our pre-orders are still open!