July 26, 2016: Munchkin Musings: July 2016

http://www.sjgames.com/ill/a/2016-07-26

Welcome back to our monthly assortment of oddities from the World of Munchkin! We're back from our summer break and ready for the second half of 2016! Speaking of which . . .

The Tavern Returns!

Munchkin Tavern The Munchkin Tavern will return to Gen Con this year, back in our traditional home at Tavern on South. As in years past, we'll have announcements, cool Munchkin swag, and special dinners every night with guest hosts we aren't quiiiiiiite ready to reveal. Plus the usual assortment of Munchkin-themed menu items and promo loot! It'll be a great time and we can't wait to see all our Indy-bound Munchkin fans. Visit the Tavern web page for more information. We'll see you there!

(Almost) Everything's At Print!

As of July 11, all of our Munchkin 2016 releases have gone to print except one that got added to the schedule right before our break. This is the result of our ongoing efforts to get further ahead of our release schedule and is thanks to the hard work of many talented members of Team Munchkin. Our work on the 2017 schedule is already well underway – far enough along, in fact, that Steve and I have started talking about our plans for 2018! Thanks to everyone who works on Munchkin for making this possible.

If you want to know what's coming up, keep your eye on our New Releases page.

Cthulhu First Half of 2016 in Review

This 15th anniversary of Munchkin has been a busy year! We've been celebrating in a number of ways, most prominently with our Guest Artist Edition series. So far this year, we've released Guest Artist Editions for Munchkin, illustrated by Ian McGinty; Star Munchkin, Munchkin Apocalypse, and Munchkin Apocalypse 2, all illustrated by Len Peralta; Munchkin Fu, illustrated by John Kovalic (!!); Munchkin Legends, illustrated by Mike Luckas; and Munchkin Cthulhu, Illustrated by Katie Cook. Later this year, we'll have Guest Artist Editions for Munchkin Pathfinder (Shane White) and Munchkin Zombies (Greg Hyland), plus some other cool stuff we aren't ready to announce yet.

We made the Munchkin Sketch Edition available to a very limited number of retailers earlier this year, by making it part of the Munchkin Steampunk bundle and giving it away at our penthouse party at Bally's during the GAMA Trade Show. This set lets you be the illustrator for the original Munchkin game! If your Friendly Local Game Store didn't get a copy, watch us on social media – where we occasionally give away great prizes! – or look to see if we make it more widely available down the road.

Another part of our Munchkin celebration are some cool new accessories: Munchkin Monster Boxes and Munchkin Playmats! With four designs of Monster Box and two Playmats, there's enough new loot for all the Munchkin fans in your house. We also made a set of Munchkin Meeples and it has already sold out at our primary warehouse, so if you like meeples or just little Munchkin toys, don't wait much longer to pick this up!

Of course, it wouldn't be a celebration without some new Munchkin games and expansions. This year, we've released Munchkin Steampunk, Munchkin 6.5 – Terrible Tombs, Munchkin Hipsters (in wide release), Munchkin Puppies, and Munchkin Knights. Our partners at USAopoly released Munchkin: Marvel Edition and have two expansions on the horizon.

Finally, we're halfway through the second year of the Munchkin comic book from BOOM! Studios, and the first three collected editions, covering the first 12 issues, are now on shelves wherever fine comic entertainment is sold. We couldn't be prouder of the work being done in the Munchkin comic and want to thank all the creators who have contributed scripts or art or editing to make it happen. If you haven't been reading this book, you've been missing out on some really fun Munchkin stories!

Coming Next Month . . .

Gen Con! More news about 2016 and beyond! More behind-the-scenes peeks! And did I mention Gen Con?!

Andrew Hackard

Warehouse 23 News: Unforgettable Knights!

You don't yet have Munchkin Knights? Surely you joust! Pick it up today from Warehouse 23!

July 25, 2016: Guest Artist Mike Luckas Answers Our Questions About Legends

http://www.sjgames.com/ill/a/2016-07-25

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Mike Luckas is a talented artist and comic illustrator, so we're pretty excited that he drew the Target-exclusive Munchkin Legends Guest Artist Edition.

So to get a peek into his creative process in drawing the game, we did a little interview. And we didn't even have to threaten him too much to get answers! Below are the fruits of our very mild threats. (Filling someone's house with bees is mild, right?)

1. You first worked with Steve Jackson Games by drawing Munchkin comics. When you got that project, what (if anything) did you already know about Munchkin and the following it has? 

I had played the game a few times during college, but I didn't know much about it outside of what my friends had explained to me during the game, ha ha.

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2. What process did you use to develop ideas for the images for Munchkin Legends Guest Artist Edition? 

I looked to a lot of my favorite fantasy-related stuff, mainly JRPGs like Mario RPG, Dragon Quest, and Final Fantasy. My aim was to keep the cartoony feel of the Munchkin series while also capturing the mythology-esque dungeon-crawling spirit of an RPG game.

3. Did you look at the original Munchkin Legends drawings by John Kovalic? 

I definitely did. I was sent a copy of the game to use as reference. I took my own approach for most for the cards, but they helped serve as a guideline for some of the more obscure jokes and monsters. One thing I made sure to do was insert Spyke and Flower wherever I could! Surprisingly, they don't usually show up too much in the card game, ha ha.

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4. How was drawing for Munchkin Legends different from drawing for the Munchkin comic? 

Well, there wasn't a script, ha ha. There was less need for rough drafts, too. In fact, after a few concept sketches, I decided to just go right into the final designs. When it comes to the comic, I often have to redraw panels to fix the composition, but there wasn't much redrawing at all for the card designs. It helped me experiment more with the Munchkin style, too. It's different from the way I normally draw, but I think I finally managed to find an approach that I liked – making the characters more squat and round rather than noodle-limbed.

5. What's your favorite card that you drew? 

My favorites were the different Classes, like the Warriors and Elves. The armored woman with the giant sword may be my top favorite of the bunch. I've drawn a similar design in some past illustrations and it was cool to finally find a use [Image] for her! Of the monsters, my favorite might be the Cerberus or the Furies. I've always found Greek mythology interesting, so all the Greek monsters were fun to draw!

6. Do you have any upcoming projects fans should watch for?

I have a few personal projects in mind, but we'll have to see what I have the time to accomplish! At the very least, I'm going to start releasing annual sketchbooks at future conventions. I also have some cool stuff coming up for the Munchkin comic series! So keep an eye out for that.

7. How can fans follow your work? 

I'm present on just about every social media site, plus I have my own website. My Tumblr and Instagram pages are best for frequent updates, sketches, and works-in-progress. There's also my TwitterDeviantArt, and Facebook fan page.

Ariel Barkhurst

Warehouse 23 News: A Purrr-Fect Pastime!

The fun of the YouTube series Simon's Cat comes to the gaming table with Simon's Cat Card Game. Three to six players each try to escape Simon's attention, avoid Blame, and keep from getting fed last. Preorder it now from Warehouse 23 to be one of the first cool cats on the block to get this game!

July 24, 2016: Munchkin Fans, Last Chance For The Official Munchkin Bookmark Of Vermicular Violence!

http://www.sjgames.com/ill/a/2016-07-24

At the start of this year, Boom's Munchkin comic book transitioned from carrying exclusive cards to offering promo codes for special items available only through Warehouse 23. Month after month in 2016, readers of the Munchkin comic have laughed at the exploits of Spyke and Flower and then taken advantage of the opportunity to add new Munchkin zaniness to their game sessions. Unfortunately, these promo codes come with expiration dates . . . and the code for Munchkin #13 is going to expire this week!

If you already own Munchkin #13, please add The Munchkin Bookmark of Vermicular Violence to your Warehouse 23 order and use the code today so that you don't miss out on this limited offer. Those of you who have not yet snagged this issue can still get the bookmark as long as you order the comic immediately; we automatically add the limited promotional items to Munchkin comic orders at Warehouse 23, but only until the code expires.

And yes, the countdown starts all over again right away since the code in Munchkin #14 expires in about a month. You have been warned!

Phil Reed

Warehouse 23 News: Two Ways To Get Loot

Recent issues of the Munchkin comic have all come with a promo code to get Boom Bundles, each offering a bookmark and five random promo cards for one penny! Pick up new issues with their promo codes from your friendly local comic shop, or – if you prefer – you can get the book and the promos at the same time when you buy the comic from Warehouse 23. Either way is a great option for cool Munchkin goodies plus awesome comics!

July 23, 2016: Epic Nerd Camp: A MIB's Tale

http://www.sjgames.com/ill/a/2016-07-23

Epic Nerd Camp A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go to a new adult summer camp called Epic Nerd Camp out in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. It was so much fun!

As an "alpha" camper, I attended the first session of two. It lasted for 4 days, and was filled with so many exciting activities. I thought I was going to spend most of my time in the game room, playing boardgames and making new friends with my fellow campers. Boy, was I wrong. They provided tons of activities for all of us, including archery, circus activities, arts, crafts, kayaking, swordplay, light-saber training, LARPing, and so much more! On the first day, I went down to arts and crafts right after breakfast, and spent about two hours perfecting my magic wand, then followed that with circus activities! At the circus, I learned about silks and the lyra hoop (both aerial activities), then I learned how to twirl a staff like the pros. I learned that I really need to work on my upper body strength before next year so that I can take on the aerial activities. They also had a unicycle, a balance beam, and pool.

Epic Nerd Camp My husband, Chris, spent his time in the swordplay and LARPing areas, learning how to fight properly with a blade and a light saber, and then took part in the big LARP that was just for the campers.

At one point, when I was headed back to the gaming room, I got wrangled into a game of Quidditch. I had never played before, and I had so much fun! We actually had a couple of campers who had played on their local university teams, so there was good knowledge to be shared.

Epic Nerd Camp I did manage to play some games while I was there, though. On the first night, I encountered a group that had only attempted Munchkin Quest once, and gave up because they couldn't understand it. Fortunately, I was there as a MIB to show them how! I taught them, we played through, and we had great fun.

All I'm saying is this: If you find yourself available to attend a session of Epic Nerd Camp next year, please do yourself the favor and GO! I had so much fun, and we've even kept in touch through the Facebook group. I made so many new friends, and was surrounded by "my people." Eventually, the owners hope to have a camp on the west coast as well as the east so that nerds all over the country can join in the fun!

Krystina Johnson

Warehouse 23 News: Upload A Classic Into Your Brain

A classic adventure returns with Cyberpunk: The Arasaka Brainworm – now available as a PDF! Sneak into a Biotechnica research facility, try to accomplish your mission, and stay one step ahead of the world's fiercest security corp. What happens next is up to you and your adventurers. Download it now from Warehouse 23!

July 22, 2016: New Munchkin Christmas Loot From PHD

http://www.sjgames.com/ill/a/2016-07-22

Christmas Monster Box It's Christmas in July! Not that you could tell here; it's 100 degrees outside. But look at all this Munchkin Christmas-themed gear available from Peachstate Hobby Distributors!

What's a gamer supposed to do with all the Munchkin gifts they get during the holidays? Store them in a Munchkin Christmas Monster Box, of course! Featuring a full sleigh of art from Ian McGinty, this wintery receptacle holds over 2,000 cards, plus Dungeons, Seals, and other accessories like Kill-O-Meters. This box has so much storage that Santa is thinking of trading in his sack!

Spyke"s Christmas Wish But what if you want to play with your new toys? We've got the surface to do it on – Munchkin Playmat: Spyke's Christmas Wish. Lar deSouza (Least I Could Do) illustrates a touching scene of Santa giving Spyke what he wanted for Christmas. (Wait a second, Spyke's been good enough to get a gift? Santa must be getting lax on the whole Naughty List business.)

Talk to your friendly local game store today about preordering this holiday haul of accessories!

Hunter Shelburne

Warehouse 23 News: An Exclusive Way To Keep Your Munchkin Loot

Store over 2,000 Munchkin cards plus other goodies, with the Munchkin Monster Box ACD Exclusive, an amazing storage method featuring Greg Hyland art. Ask your friendly local game shop to order it from ACD Distribution, or pick it up at Warehouse 23!

July 21, 2016: Summer Releases Featured At Origins!

http://www.sjgames.com/ill/a/2016-07-21

Origins 2016 is in the books, and Marketing Director Rhea Friesen had a chance to sit down with The Dice Tower and BoardGameGeek to talk about some of our Summer releases.

Dice Tower The Dice Tower ran an Origins Preview video series with Sam Healey, giving quick overviews of Simon's Cat Card Game and I Hate Zombies!, Bill & Ted's Excellent Boardgame, and Ogre: Objective 218.

BGG Origins W. Eric Martin, the BoardGameGeek News Editor, took a gander at Simon's Cat Card Game, Ogre: Objective 218, Moop's Monster Mashup, and I Hate Zombies!

Check out both series of videos to get a taste of some new and upcoming games, and don't forget to visit your Friendly Local Game Store to preorder them!

Hunter Shelburne

Warehouse 23 News: Giant Tank Gaming Is In The Cards!

The Ogre experience is back like never before, with Ogre: Objective 218, a fast-paced card game based on The Battle for Hill 218. Get it now from Warehouse 23 before you can say, "Tanks for everything!"

July 20, 2016: A No-Brainer For GURPS Fans!

http://www.sjgames.com/ill/a/2016-07-20

Pyramid #3/92: Zombies Zombies: Can't live with 'em, can't lock yourself indefinitely in a fallout shelter and hope they go away. They're fan-favorite monsters, they're everywhere in popular culture, and now they've invaded the pages of Pyramid, with Pyramid #3/92: Zombies, the latest issue of the long-running magazine for gamers.

Our feature article this month from Sean Punch (author of GURPS Zombies) provides insight and techniques to allow players to come back as zombie characters with free will, whether drawing on magic or science. This issue also offers an overview of Norse undead, complete with GURPS stats, from GURPS Vikings author Graeme Davis; a zombie-themed danger to wearers of an omnipresent TL9 battlesuit, from the pen of GURPS Ultra-Tech co-author David L. Pulver; and an adventure spotlighting a mad scientist's plans, perfect for GURPS Monster Hunters.

But that's not all! This issue keeps pouring forth zombie-themed badness like endless hordes of restless dead. Learn about a church that longs to look after your soul when you die (or perhaps before), with three GURPS templates; two new systemless zombies that push the edges of terror; thoughts on how to keep zombies terrifying even when you know they're there; and still more – including another Matt Riggsby-scribed vignette set in the new Car Wars universe!

Whether you're in the far-flung future, a magic-filled past, or a modern-day romp, zombies can spice up any campaign. Pick up Pyramid #3/92: Zombies individually, or subscribe today for many this issue and more months of surprises!

Steven Marsh

Warehouse 23 News: Zombie Meals On Wheels!

The fun of Zombie Dice keeps on rolling with Zombie Dice 3 – School Bus, an expansion for that classic that adds the School Bus die. Eat brains, but don't get run over by the bus! Preorder it today from Warehouse 23, and be one of the first in line when the bus rolls in!

July 19, 2016: Quick! Grab These Cults And Cats Before They're Gone!

http://www.sjgames.com/ill/a/2016-07-19

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Turns out, people really like at least two things in this life: Cthulhu and kittens.

We say this because our primary warehouse has sold out of both Cthulhu Dice and Munchkin Kittens, and really our only source of information about life is game sales, so we assume this means the world is full of cultists and cat people.

So get your copies from your friendly local game store, before they're all gone. Or order them from Warehouse 23 while there are still some available.

And if you've forgotten – though we aren't sure how you could, considering we've already concluded that the world is nothing but elder gods and baby cats – Cthulhu Dice is a game for 2 to 6 players where you roll the dice to force your cultist opponents to lose their literal glass marbles before you lose yours.

And Munchkin Kittens is a Munchkin booster pack full of cards inspired by natural feline defenses including claws, teeth, and siege weaponry.

You can play these games while you wait for the inevitable coming of Catthulhu.

Ariel Barkhurst

Warehouse 23 News: Marvel At Moop's Machinations

Beware the Kangarooster! Watch out for the Owligator! Guard yourself against the Tigorilla! All these dangers and more await you with Moop's Monster Mashup, a standalone Munchkin game that pits the heroes against strange mixed-up monsters created by the magician Moop. Preorder it now from Warehouse 23, and be one of the first to face the fracas!

July 18, 2016: Interview With Munchkin Pathfinder Guest Artist, Shane White

http://www.sjgames.com/ill/a/2016-07-18

Shane White We sat down with Shane White, the man behind Munchkin Pathfinder Guest Artist Edition, and picked his brain about drawing this limited edition version.

1. Munchkin Pathfinder Guest Artist Edition looks amazing! Before doing this project, were you a Munchkin fan, or was this all new territory for you?

Thanks for the kind words. This was new territory for me. Oddly enough, about the same time I'd gotten the gig for the Munchkin Pathfinder Guest Artist Edition, I started seeing ads for the games in a few of the comics I read. When I mentioned to a few people that I was working on the game, their eyes rolled back in their heads in exultation for the game. I had a strange feeling I was working on something rather popular.

2. Did you look at the previous version of Munchkin Pathfinder before doing your version, or did you prefer to go in without any preconceptions?

I was given the John Kovalic set to look at. I really had no concept of what was expected of me in terms of card games. I'd only done work on The Spoils, years ago (it's now defunct) as the layout artist, but I'd never gotten a chance to render anything. That job was done in Singapore.

Goblins 3. This isn't your first foray into Pathfinder, though, as the artist for the Pathfinder: Goblins! comic series. How would you compare drawing for a comic versus drawing for a game? Were there any particular challenges for one as opposed to the other?

Like the card game, I was contacted out of the blue to work on an edition of the comic a few years back. Erik Mona, of Paizo, had written a pretty great script. Again, I wasn't even familiar with Pathfinder but I did what I could to get into the world-space to create my own take on it. I've drawn comics and worked in games since the 90s, so bouncing between sequential story-telling to single illustrations wasn't particularly challenging.

What can be challenging is getting the "tone" of the universe and the product that one is working on. I feel strongly about getting that part right so the client and audience are happy. While I enjoyed working on the comic and giving the goblins distinct personalities, I wasn't happy with the end result. Stylistically it could have been more on model for what fans were familiar with.

With the card game, following John's simple and direct approach gave me more room to interpret and I felt more comfortable with the end product. Hopefully fans will agree.

Anti-Curse Purse 4. What is your favorite card from Munchkin Pathfinder Guest Artist Edition?

Anti-Curse Purse. Mainly for the reason that I think the cartooning turned out better than I thought it would. Overall, the deck is full of funny gems. I'd find myself cackling with laughter in the concept stage because this game is just so nutty. Great hooks and funny ideas from the design team make for a fun gig every time.

5. If you could take any other Munchkin theme and re-illustrate it, which would it be?

Isn't there a sci-fi one? Anything sci-fi I'm pretty interested in. Anything weird I'm interested in, too. I never thought I was particularly good at fantasy because of my interest in challenging the norm and expectations overall. Years ago, I'd get comments from Art Directors telling me that it's not "Orc enough". And so I'd have to "Orc up" a particular illustration. And this was for Shadowrun . . . so, not necessarily straight fantasy. I don't know what my problem was.

6. Where can people find you online and learn more about your other projects?

My site, shanewhite.com is probably best for painting, comics, writing and illustration. I'm updating my professional site studiowhite.com soon, which is geared more towards video games, commercials and film.

And then a plethora of social media sites (oh, the horror!): YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook (for painting/comics), Facebook (for visual studio), and Tumblr.

Thanks to Shane for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to us. Look for Munchkin Pathfinder Guest Artist Edition in stores this September!

Hunter Shelburne

Warehouse 23 News: Get A Kick Out Of Feng Shui 2!

In honor of the myriad Ennies Awards nominations received by Feng Shui 2, the PDF of that fine roleplaying game is on sale now for only $9.99. Download it today from Warehouse 23, and test its chops!

July 17, 2016: SJ Games Catches Pokémon GO Mania

http://www.sjgames.com/ill/a/2016-07-17

Pokemon GO I've been playing Pokémon since Christmas day, 1998. Thousands of my child and adult hours have been poured into the games, from Pokémon Blue all the way to the Pokémon X and Y. I played the Trading Card Game, and I own countless amounts of Pokémon toys and swag. I even get into the math of stats and competitive battling (don't get me started about EVs and IVs). You could say I'm a big fan of the Pocket Monsters.

But not since the game originally hit North American shores have I seen such a surge in Poké-fans as I have with the release of Pokémon GO. We are at a very unique confluence of technology; smart phones are standard, GPS technology has evolved immensely, and social media has changed the way humans communicate. Niantic took advantage of all of this with a game that takes the simple concept of catching monsters by swiping, and amplifies it with aspects like Pokéstops and Gym battles. The game's ability to bring hundreds (and in some cases, thousands) of people together to catch digital monsters is amazing. I've personally met many new acquaintences simply wandering around my neighborhood, not to mention public spaces and the plethora of meetups. Local businesses are even getting a boost from the game, literally luring people into their store with in-game events.

Pokemon GO The SJ Games office could not escape the pull, either! Employees are taking part during their lunch breaks and after work, catching and battling. Most of the marketing department has gone Team Mystic, but there are also a few members of Team Valor and Team Instinct in the building (but we're working on moving them to their own special work space). 

So while on your adventures, share pictures or screenshots with the hashtag #SJGym on our Various Social Media accounts! I love sharing pictures of trainers trying to be the very best! 

Train on, and maybe I'll see you on Victory Road . . .

Hunter Shelburne

Warehouse 23 News: If You Can't See Them, Watch Out!

Add special-ops combatants and intel to your roleplaying game, with GURPS Classic: Special Ops. It includes info on Delta Force, Spetsnaz, SEALs, Special Air Service, and more. It's no secret; it's just a download away from Warehouse 23!