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Castles & Crusades News

Assault on Blacktooth Ridge began shipping on March 9, 2005. Several people have it in hand, and mini-reviews are beginning to crop up on the net, although none of them are yet playtest reviews. I haven't got my copy yet, although it will probably arrive today. Mine wasn't a pre-order.

In case anyone missed the comment on the blog, TLG has posted some very big news, although the dates are tentative. Basically, here's the scoop. Castle Zagyg is tentatively slated for a late March release. There's lots of interest in CZ through the entire grognard and ENworld community, and CZ is done with C&C rules. This may lead to another surge in interest in C&C before the first PHB surge has waned.

In a comment on the blog, the Trolls have indicated that the second printing of the CCPBH is slated for GenCon. The reason is that the editing and proofing (together with the re-layout required afterwards) will need lots of time to complete. A pdf (it looks like this means a pdf of the actual CCPBH) will be made available in the interim, since obviously the print copies will probably sell out before GenCon. I think this is a great way of handling the matter. Pdf's have a high profit margin, they can be copied for several players in a group (who will all, if the group starts playing C&C, eventually buy the 2nd printing) for a low up-front intro cost, and it will continue to increase the overall size of the consumer base, thus helping sales of M&T. It doesn't piss off retailers unless the Trolls release a pdf of the second printing too early. In fact, it's a way of guaranteeing that retailer copies of M&T continue to see growth while the Trolls tighten up the CCPHB. It's one of those rare circumstances in which there's a clear "right answer."

Davis Chenault wrote on 2/15/05:
"After a long talk this afternoon, Steve and I decided to do a PDF of the rules. This will be a shortened version much akin to the boxed set. However, it will be edited out of house prior to being sent out. That may take up to a month to accomplish. Primarily because I have to compile the files again."
Whether the pdf will contain monsters, or whether monsters will be in a separate pdf hasn't been decided yet. I think this is a good plan. However, I think if the Trolls were to do a free pdf, that could be a great plan. I'll probably write more on this topic in the blog.

Goodman Games and TLG are apparently involved in finalizing an agreement for Goodman to publish C&C materials (probably dual-statted) this very day. An official announcement should be out soon.

Two news items today!
From Goodman Games:
"Goodman Games is looking for C&C fans to help convert some of its Dungeon Crawl Classics modules to the C&C rules set. The Dungeon Crawl Classics have an old-school retro feel that ties in perfectly with Castle & Crusades. If you're interested, contact them at"
Right now, Joseph at Goodman Games tells me that they are still in discussions with the Trolls about this project. Let's hope that it moves onto the drawing board as quickly as possible!

From Troll Lord Games:
"Here's a scoop - Zagyg is going to has a new class that fits with Gary's setting and design - the Courser (we may change the name at the final moment). Its a more C&C rangeresque class that can - you guessed it - cast spells. And no, it will not be a 'core' class but a Zagyg specific one which one can port over, should one choose to do so."
Thanks for the update, Davis! Everyone's eagerly awaiting Zagyg - hopefully at GenCon.

The Trolls have added 9 new monsters to the free monster downloads on the TLG site (here's the link). The pdf also includes two Pete Bradley illustrations (both griffons). What's kind of neat is that the Trolls selected these monsters based on suggestions made by members of the TLG forums. I asked for a manticore, and voila! The manticore is in the pdf. Thanks, guys!
I have also gotten a tidbit of news from Goodman Games. I replied with an email asking for a clarification about what I could say. Once I hear from them, I will post the news.

Davis Chenault responded on ENworld to several posts about cities running out of Players Handbooks with an interesting look into the business world of OGL game marketing. It's good news too, I think. The per-store numbers sound low when you hear them, and I'd like to get some sense of how large our nationwide community is. It's one thing to hear that a single store has sold 7 or 27 copies - it's another thing to know that the Trolls are about to run out of inventory and that stores are having to (and want to) buy direct from TLG because their inventory is gone. Here's the news:
"The problem begins at the retail level and is only compounded at the distribution level.

Retailers are rightly shy of purchasing OGL, D20 material these days because they just do not sell well (other than a few big companies and even those sales are flagging). They are shying away from spending on any risky project. C&C is viewed as a risk by some.

Now, are they right? Our local game store - just 2-3 miles away has no CCPHBs. We have now sold 17 inside the city limits of Little Rock - out of our office. Most had stopped at the LGS first. Mena Arkansas (look that up on a map) has sold 7 from its game store. And one store on the east coast has moved 27 in a month (the store also sold right at 60 Planet Busters - whatever he is doing he is doing it right). On the other hand, a store in Chicago purchased 8 and has only sold 3.

Its spotty sales and we are guessing it is selling high in areas where there is a 'net community' in play or where we have made a presence (Mena via gideon thorne for example).

The distribution chain is also a little bit iffy in places so several distributors ran out very quickly and stores could not get any. As a result, several stores have started ording directly from us. This is good and bad. Stores get discounts on volume purchases through distributors so many are reluctant to go direct to manufactorer but,since we have no minimum order.... well except one purchase but that goes without saying.

We are almost out here at the office but there are still many in the chain so a store should be able to get them. Most stores will special order and many will order one copy if a customer has an interest but is not sure about purchasing.

Asking at Hasting, B&N, Books-a-Million should also work and they do not require a purchase - at least not in my experience. Then is selling them cheap as are Walmart and Amazon."

I talked briefly with Steve Chenault today (while pre-ordering my copy of M&T), and he tells me that M&T will probably be available in about four weeks. He also mentioned that some new monsters may be going up on the Troll Lords Website tonight or tomorrow. I should have asked which monsters, but I was calling from my cell phone and didn't have a good connection. I'll just have to wait and see.

LITTLE ROCK, AR – January 12, 2005 – Troll Lord Games announced today that the first issue of The Crusader Magazine is available for shipping.
“The Crusader is a print magazine designed to appeal to gamers of all stripes,” remarked Nicole Leigh of Troll Lord Games. “We are trying to turn things on their head with the Crusader and create a magazine that has a broader scope and more appeal to the general market. There are a number of articles on gaming, a fantasy fiction piece, ancient Babylonian poetry, as well as some nostalgic pieces on the Gaming Industry in the old days.”
I don't know what to put in this column.