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Atlas Games

Unknown Armies 3 Custom Dice - Limited Availability

While the Unknown Armies 3 books are just going to press (and on track for the April 2017 release date target), the custom dice have arrived in our warehouse and been packaged for shipping to all of the backers who ordered them. After today's mail pick-up, the only ones that remain to send are exceptions where either there was an address verification error that we need to correct, or the backer hasn't yet filled out their BackerKit survey.

We did manufacture extra dice. The high manufacturing cost and lack of retail packaging mean it's not viable for us to sell these through the usual distribution channels to local stores. However, while supplies last, we will sell them direct by mail, at conventions, etc. The price per set of dice is $10, with shipping cost of $3 (US), $9.50 (Canada) or $13.50 (anywhere else).

We've set up this button to take orders directly through PayPal:

UA3 Dice Set (6 dice) - Select Destination

If you're looking for a unique Christmas gift for the gamer in your life, don't miss the chance to grab a set of these while supplies last!

Designer’s Notebook: The Story of Hounded

Perhaps the hounds would have seemed rather a mixed pack to a master of hounds today. There were half a dozen black and white alaunts, which looked like greyhounds with the heads of bull-terriers or worse. These, which were the proper hounds for boars, wore muzzles because of their ferocity. The gaze-hounds, of which there were two taken just in case, were in reality nothing but greyhounds according to modern language, while the lymers were a sort of mixture between the bloodhound and the red setter of today. The latter had collars on, and were led with straps. The braches were like beagles, and trotted along with the master in the way that beagles always have trotted, and a charming way it is.

– T.H. White, The Once and Future King
Clint Bohaty has been thinking about Hounded for a long time. This two-player game of cat-and-mouse (or, rather, fox and hounds) was a dream project for its designer, and as he reveals below, close calls, sweaty palms, and racing hearts were always part of the plan.
Hounded was inspired by a short and beautifully written chapter on boar hunting found within T.H. White's The Once and Future King. In chapter sixteen of the book, Wart (a young King Arthur) along with Merlin and King Pellinore, join Sir Ector and his Master of Hounds on a deadly boar hunt.

White goes into great detail on the hunt's preparations, giving insight into how the Master of Hound's builds out a proper pack of hunting dogs. I'd always known that many beloved dog breeds were originally brought up for hunting – but I'd never given much thought as to how the hunt actually went. As I learned, each dog is bred and selected for a specific function, and many times multiple breeds must work together to successfully capture their prey.
Culhwch at King Arthur's court (Public Domain)
Much like drafting players to build a winning sports team, the Master of Hounds must draft a pack of dogs to win the hunt. Bay dogs, like the foxhound, were bred with loud booming voices to scare and corner prey, while catch dogs, like the american bulldog, were bred with powerful jaws to grab and hold down large prey.
During The Once and Future King, I found myself wanting to be a part of that hunt, stepping side-by-side through the thickets with Wart, with our boar-spears held high and our senses acute. The experience of a hunt with hounds was something I suddenly wanted to be a part of, and crafting a board game around the experience was one way I knew I could live it!
You can join the hunt today with Hounded, available at better game stores everywhere. Or, for more information, check out our Hounded product page!

And if you’ve never had the pleasure, T.H. White’s The Once And Future King is a must. You can find it pretty much everywhere else that great books are sold!
Master Twyti put his horn to his lips. The alaunts were uncoupled as the exciting notes of the menee began to ring through the forest, and then the whole scene began to move. The lymers which had reared the boar—the proper word for dislodging—were allowed to pursue him to make them keen on their work. The braches gave musical tongue. The alaunts galloped baying through the drifts. Everybody began to shout and run.

– T.H. White, The Once and Future King

Unleash The Hounds!

You’re the Fox. It’s dawn and you’ve just woken from a sleep. You stretch indolently, already thinking about breakfast. Maybe some nice quail eggs. Then you smell it, the distinct odor of man on the breeze, followed by the sound of several dogs tramping and barking through the underbrush. The hunter is in your woods, and his dogs are on your trail! So much for breakfast…

You’re the Master of the Hounds. The dogs are excited; they’ve got the fox’s scent. That was quick, really – the day is still the deep blue of early dawn. This part of the forest is unexplored, but that’s okay, you’ve done this a thousand times before. The dogs will give chase, closing off his escape routes, hemming their quarry in until there’s nowhere left to run. Then you will have won. This should be easy…

Deceptively simple and exceptionally deep, Hounded is a game of bluffing, trickery, escape, and entrapment for two players. Game play is asymmetrical. One player is the Fox – clever, quick, and at home in the woods. The other is the Master of Hounds – an experienced hunter commanding a pack of dogs with varied talents of their own. Your field of play is an unexplored stretch of woods made up of 49 tiles; as you make your way through it, the terrain will help and hinder you. 

Hounded is perfect at home, a restaurant, the airport, a hotel room, or just about anywhere. Its small social footprint means big fun any time you and a friend feel the need to pit your cunning against each other. And endless replayability means every game is a new challenge.

Check out the Hounded product page for more info, including downloadable PDFs of the rules and reference sheets. And get your copy of Hounded today!

Once Upon A Time: Telling The Stories You Want

My favorite fairy tales may be the Russian ones. I have a couple books of Russian fairy tales and folklore lying around that I turn to on cold winter nights. Many of the stories are decidedly grim affairs, as you might expect. And who hasn’t at least heard of Baba Yaga and her chicken-legged hut? But probably my favorite Russian fairy tale is “Tsarevich Ivan, the Firebird and the Gray Wolf.”

Ivan Tsarevich and the Gray Wolf by Viktor Vasnetsov

In it, Prince Ivan encounters the Wolf, who promptly eats Ivan's horse. To pay back his debt to Ivan, Wolf agrees to serve as his mount, and they go on adventures. They meet the Firebird, save a princess, and run afoul of Ivan’s brothers, who betray and murder him. The Wolf himself turns out to be magical; he proves his friendship by resurrecting Ivan and helping him exact revenge upon his siblings. It’s lovely and grim, and struck me as a particularly fun mashup of a buddy cop/road trip story. I liked Ivan and Wolf so much I wrote a short roleplaying game about the pair, and later made a short puppet film as well.

Bringing fantasy Russia to life on a tiny scale!

Of course, my version was different. I genderswapped Ivan for Ivanna (but kept her just as reckless and adventurous). And I added frost trolls and a Winter King – a kind of Unseelie fairy lord who wants nothing more than to encase the world in ice. In her first adventure, Ivanna and Wolf are at odds over the death of her horse, but eventually make amends when both come under the spell of an evil shapeshifting witch living in an old, monstrous tree. Later adventures were to feature Ivanna meeting up with an evil sibling who does, indeed, kill her...forcing Wolf to work with the witch’s former familiar – an irksome raven – to find a cure in the headwaters of the River of Life. I still want to tell that story! And others!

Once Upon A Time lets me tell them. As much as we’d like to, my friends and I can’t necessarily commit to six months or more of production on a film, even a short one, every time we want to spin one of these yarns. But we can get together every couple weeks for a game night. Take the core Once Upon a Time rules, mix in some cards from Enchanting Tales, Knightly Tales, and Animal Tales, along with the brand new Fairy Tales expansion, house rule that all stories are going to feature our favorite mismatched duo of Princess and Wolf, and we’re good to go. Someday, maybe, she and Wolf will actually come face-to-face with the Winter King, and she’ll finally have a chance to rescue her family, whose hearts have been frozen against her. But we’re in no hurry. Each new expansion gives us new stories to tell, and it’s the stories that count.

Fairy Tales is available now wherever you can buy Once Upon A Time.

Putting the Fairies in Fairy Tales

Up and down, up and down
I will lead them up and down
I am feared in field in town
Goblin, lead them up and down
― William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream

Good news! Fairy Tales, the newest expansion for Once Upon A Time, is on game store shelves today!

But wait, hasn’t Once Upon A Time always been about fairy tales?

Well, yes. And no.

Once Upon A Time hails from, and continues, a tradition of oral storytelling, preserved in literature through the likes of Hans Christian Anderson. It features princes and princesses, magic and giants, and – yes – fairies. These were the stories derived from old folklore, sometimes called “wonder tales” (Wunderm√§rchen, in German), but more often referred to as fairy tales by modern audiences...despite the fact that the fairies themselves might never make an appearance.

So yes, Once Upon A Time has always been about fairy tales. In the sense that it makes stories in the mold of what we think of as fairy tales. And expansions like Enchanting Tales and Animal Tales have expanded upon the motifs common to the Wunderm√§rchen with magic and talking animals and all the things that make wonder tales wondrous. But the fairies themselves – those winsome, tempestuous purveyors of mischief cavorting beneath the moonlight on Midsummer’s Night – weren’t themselves often the focus of those stories. They kept to the shadows, you might say.

Fairy Tales invites them out to play in the sunlight. Pay a visit to a Fairy Circle where Pixies Bargain with Babies for Toys. Or hear the sad soliloquy of a Goblin who Never Grows Old Tangled in the Eldest Spider’s Web. Andrew Rilstone returns to the game he helped create to bring the fairy world into focus, while artist Omar Rayyan once again breathes life into this, the newest of expansions for the classic Once Upon A Time. There’s no more perfect addition to your game collection than Fairy Tales!

And if you want to learn more about the history of fairy tales, this article at BBC.com is a great place to start!