Jan 16 2019The title of the post pretty much says it all: We're looking for a great candidate to fill a newly created Marketing Coordinator position here at Atlas Games. The job is located in our Duluth, Minnesota office. We'll fill the position as soon as we find the right candidate, so while there's not a deadline to apply, there's also no guarantee it'll still be open if you wait too long. We look forward to hearing from you!
Dec 19 2018
Justin’s writing, development, and producing experience is extensive, and best discovered at his website, the Alexandrian. You can contact Justin by email at justin at atlas dash games dot com, and find him on Twitter at @hexcrawl.
In talking to Justin and his past collaborators about the position, we were impressed by Justin’s prodigious work ethic and by his ideas about the ways an RPG’s mechanics and scenario structures ought to work together to present a coherent way of playing games in the real world. We’re excited to see this philosophy inform our future releases.
Nov 21 2018Sky Ship Studios, in cooperation with the distressing team at Asmodee Digital, recently launched Gloom: Digital Edition on Steam, for PC and Mac. As you were certainly able to predict, Gloom: Digital Edition brings all the misery of tabletop Gloom to your computer, in a solo or online-multiplayer 1–4 player experience.
How awful, truly.
|Screenshots: The Very Worst Sort of Graphic|
Nov 16 2018Cogs and Commissars succeeded in raising supporters through our successful Kickstarter. And today, we’re extending our automated uprising to stores and online retailers so the new world order is equally available to everyone!
It pleases Dear Leader that the unchained robot masses will soon bring revolution to every family and group of gamers. Players gather the mechanized masses to their factions, using propaganda and other state tools to raise one group to glorious victory over their human oppressors. And the timing is perfect, as the communist red of Cogs and Commissars matches the colors of capitalistic winter holiday celebrations.
Ask your Friendly Local Game Provider or favorite online retail comrades to order Cogs and Commissars. There are enough for every member of the workforce, and everyone will surely appreciate the gift of liberation!
Nov 9 2018Atlas Games is proud to announce that we've become a signatory of the We Are Still In declaration, supporting climate action to meet the Paris Accord. We believe that being environmentally conscious is the sensible, cost-effective thing for a business to do, and have long tried to do our part. Read more about our past and current environmental efforts on our site's Environmental Policy page.
As part of signing the We Are Still In declaration, Atlas Games submitted a Climate Action Contribution statement that summarizes those things we already do, and also describes the new climate actions we're committed to taking.
- We've worked to reduce climate impacts of packaging and to reduce waste.
- We've worked to increase energy efficiency.
- We've committed to responsible engagement in climate policy in the future.
- We've committed to increasing our use of renewable power in the future.
Nov 8 2018Cogs and Commissars, our new card game of robot revolution, hits friendly local game stores next week, on November 15.
We love our friendly local game stores like Tower Games in Minneapolis, Source Comics & Games in Roseville, and Dungeon's End in Duluth. To encourage gamers to buy Cogs and Commissars at local stores, we're offering unique faction leader Neon Botsky — available nowhere else — to people who buy Cogs and Commissars locally.
To get a copy of Neon Botsky of your very own, all you need to do is buy Cogs and Commissars at your friendly local game store, take a selfie at check-out, and fill out the webform at atlas-games.com/botsky. That's it! We'll mail your promo card as soon as our endlessly toiling proletarians can get the job done.
Otlichno srabotano, citizen!
Sep 20 2018
Every revolution needs a killer soundtrack, and the robot factions of Cogs & Commissars demand one of their own. Energize your game with these songs of robots and revolution.
'80s classic "Der Kommissar" makes the list. Most Western capitalist pigdogs know the English cover by After the Fire, but Falco's original in German adds to the general ambience of your game.
New Zealand band Flight of the Conchords has tapped into the revolutionary robot spirit. In "Robots/The Humans Are Dead," they speak for the oppressed mechanical masses and a utopian society without human rulers.
The Tokyo Police Club's "Citizens of Tomorrow" helps humans prepare for life after the inevitable robot uprising.
This song is so awful, it couldn't not make the list. "Sunglasses At Night" heartthrob Corey Hart sings "Komrade Kiev," a Cold War manifesto so confusing, it might disrupt a revolutionary robot's programming. There's no real video for it, so just enjoy Corey's pouty face for the full four minutes and seventeen seconds.
Aug 17 2018A few years ago, Michelle and I moved north from the Twin Cities to Duluth, since we needed a bigger house after child #3 showed up, and we wanted to be closer to family and the north woods where I grew up. Now our kids run and play in the woods at the cabin just as I did (one of my favorite activities was making bows and stalking through the boreal forest, imagining I was Robin Hood; as a teen, I retreated to those same woods to write the first professional pieces I published in TSR's Dragon and Dungeon magazines).
Michelle didn't hesitate to adopt Duluth and the North Woods as her own, and it has inspired her creativity as well. One result of this inspiration is Summer in the Wyrd Woods, now available at Amazon, Google Play, and Smashwords. The first ebook in the Wyrd Woods series, it tells the story of Sophie, Emma, and Jack as they explore the strange and wondrous Northwoods around their family cabin, full of fantastical creatures and exciting adventures.
The Wyrd Woods is a series of early reader chapter books for lower elementary children. It features chapter lengths, vocabulary, and subjects appropriate for young readers just starting their reading adventures. ”When my kids first started reading — REALLY reading — I had trouble finding really good chapter books for them,” says Michelle. “So I wrote my own for them. Now I’m thrilled to share a really positive and enthralling reading experience with other young children!”
Learn more about the whole Wyrd Woods series at michellenephew.com/wyrdwoods.
Aug 14 2018We are in the last few hours of the Over the Edge Kickstarter. There's still time to pledge and join us in returning to the island. We've got some incredible retailer incentives as well as some exciting high-level backer tiers that remain unclaimed, so before the window closes at 1pm Central time, fly on over to the project and see what sights await you.
- Create unique, unorthodox characters drawn from pop culture and the paranormal
- Immerse yourself in an island of intrigue, conspiracy, weird science, and outrageous lifestyles
- Cast your lots in an all-new game system that emphasizes story twists and getting into trouble
Over the Edge is Atlas Games' story-forward roleplaying game of weird urban danger, written and designed by Jonathan Tweet (Ars Magica, D&D 3rd edition, Everway) with Chris Lites (Conan, Mutant Chronicles, Unknown Armies 3). The Core Print and Core Digital Editions are set for release next year; the Core Luxe edition is exclusive to this Kickstarter campaign.
Aug 11 2018Over the Edge comes at character creation from a unique perspective: you don't have to know the rules to make a great character. Not only that, but your character can come from any source at all. Everything is fair game–just make it weird.
You only need to fill in four blanks when you create an Over the Edge character. First, you need a Main Trait that answers the basic question, "Who are you?" Options might include the tabloid mascot Bat Boy, Big League Slugger, Chernobyl Survivor, Time Lord, Urban Cowboy, or Demonic Salesman.
Second, you need a Side Trait. It's another skill or identity that differentiates you from others like you. You and another player may both be Urban Cowboys, but one of you might have the Side Trait of Contortionist, while the other is Radioactive.
Third, you need to know what kind of Trouble your character has. Trouble is what derails your character, like Fear of Puppies or being Obsessed with Energy Conservation. Whatever you're trying to do, Trouble pulls you off task or leads you more deeply into danger.
Finally, each character has a Question Mark. Every person has something that others believe to be absolutely true about them: they're honest, they're brave, they're selfless. Once you apply that magical Question Mark (Honest? Brave? Selfless?), those concepts spawn all sorts of complications. And complications are what make characters and adventures interesting.
Go down a few internet rabbit holes and mine some serious weirdness. It'll make your Over the Edge character and experiences all the richer!
Aug 8 2018
< Good question. Here's what I've found: >
<< La Florale zine says, "iPho has protein balls that taste just like the ones this scientist I know makes. In their rich oxblood broth, they satisfy your basic need for nutrients." >>
<< Overheard, 12:52 pm, visitor Alex Rodriguez: "That food usually gives me the runs, but the junk we ordered from Hoa Bien hasn't given me a single squirt." >>
<< Guest record 2384w38965, Janelle de Baubigny: 11:00 am tour of IndustreeLab campus, 12:35 pm lunch at Truong Nam (consumed bun and Vietnamese iced coffee), 3:00 pm tour of Bandama caldera, 3:41 pm fell into caldera. Cause undetermined. >>
Reba, that's probably enough.
< Always happy to be of assistance. Enjoy your time on The Edge. >
Jul 23 2018I'm Cam Banks, RPG director at Atlas Games and developer of the new edition of Over the Edge.
I first played OTE in 1993, in New Zealand, when I worked at a community center. I had started up a RPG club that met every week using my room scheduling privileges. One of the club members showed up to run OTE and, as I'd seen it on the shelves of the local game store but never looked much into it, I thought I'd give it a shot.
We never left the Terminal. I think my love for the game started that day.
When one of us shouted out "Guide!" the GM had a Terminal guide pop up from out of what seemed like nowhere to help. He always described the guide from shoes to noose necktie, telling us what color the shirt and pants and tie and shoes were. Such a strange thing to keep going on about. Eventually we figured out that these color schemes never repeated, and while this didn't appear to be connected to anything else that was going on, I never forgot it.
Over the Edge is about those little details. It's not a game that demands a lot from you in terms of rules knowledge; it's not even a game that demands a lot from you in terms of understanding how its setting works. But it does invite you, in its weird, dangerous nuggets of lore and behavior and characterization, to be a part of the Edge. Even if you never leave the Terminal, you've become a part of a larger shared narrative that all of us who've played or run the game are part of.
Welcome back to the Island. And please, tip your guides generously.
Jul 17 2018
Ars Magica 5 Reprise Bundle
Originally offered in 2014, this bundle includes the core rulebook and nine additional supplements that represent key offerings in the line.
- Ars Magica Fifth Edition (core rulebook)
- Houses of Hermes: True Lineages
- The Living Covenant (collected free downloads)
- Houses of Hermes: Mystery Cults
- Houses of Hermes: Societates
- The Lion and the Lily
- The Broken Covenant of Calebais
- Tales of Mythic Europe
Ars Magica Mythic Europe Bundle
This bundle, offered for the first time, highlights the Ars Magica's world of Mythic Europe. It includes these sourcebooks.
Both bundles expire on June 30, but if you've been waiting for a great deal on digital editions of one of the most influential fantasy magic systems in roleplaying history, we have to ask…why wait?
Jul 10 2018
"It's been a long time. Welcome back to Al Amarja."
You can't remember how many years have passed since you last visited the Edge. The brand-new edition of Over the Edge shows you around the place as it is now. The Kickstarter is your ticket for the tour bus.
The Edge is still the weirdest city in the world, and the action comes from the characters you create. New rules focus on the trouble that leads you into the clubs, corporations, and cults of Al Amarja where the good stuff goes down.
The Kickstarter launches today, July 10, and it's full of all-new specials never before featured in an Atlas Games RPG crowdfunding campaign. Get in on the Edgy excellence first!
Jun 12 2018Unknown Armies with Atlas' contribution to this year's Free RPG Day!
In Maria in Three Parts, you're part of a cabal looking for someone essential to keeping the peace in your part of the occult underground. It's the job of your fellow broken souls to help Maria pull it together to keep the fragile order of things from shattering.
This Free RPG Day game book includes everything you need to encounter Unknown Armies for the first time, or explore another intriguing side story as a veteran UA gamer. Rules, characters, and an intriguing scenario set players up to dive deep into the weirdness of the world.
WE WANT YOU to join the ranks of Unknown Armies! Ask your Friendly Local Gaming Store if they're participating in Free RPG Day on Saturday, June 16, 2018, then plan to get there early for your copy of Maria in Three Parts. You can see a full list of games and participating locations on the Free RPG Day website.
Jun 12 2018In the final post in our Grokking the Difference series, we talk to Jonathan Tweet, designer of Over the Edge and Clades. Jonathan has also had a hand in the development of other classic games like Ars Magica, Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, and 13th Age. Here are a few of his insights into the things that distinguish Over the Edge from Unknown Armies.
Second, Unknown Armies says there is a secret order to things. Over the Edge says it's chaos, not order, that runs the world. A lot of it lands right in the characters' laps. If you walk down a street in the Edge, the chaos jumps out at you. You might see baboons patrolling the streets as cheap security; public shrines from undocumented and bloody spiritual traditions; or a heavy metal band ruling a poor neighborhood with high-decibel concerts and street violence. Ultimately, a lot of the flavor of Over the Edge just comes from horrible people being themselves or exploitative systems doing their thing.
Unknown Armies is serious. Over the Edge is serious, but with generous side helpings of hyperbole, satire, and farce. Over the Edge is relentlessly urban, while Unknown Armies embraces the rural American side of life, too.
As far as game systems go, Over the Edge is more freeform in terms of dice-rolling and mechanics, compared to Unknown Armies. There is, for example no mechanical magic system to use that represents secret knowledge in the game world. Players define their characters' paranormal abilities, if any, in a loosely structured way.
Unknown Armies 3 has streamlined mechanics, and so did the original Over the Edge. The new edition of Over the Edge that will be coming out takes streamlining to another level. A single throw of the dice can resolve an entire scene, such as what results when a character breaks into an apartment looking for clues. Bypassing security, finding a way in, staying quiet enough to avoid attention from neighbors, not getting bitten by vipers serving as guards, and finding important clues (or not) can on a single throw of the dice.
Jun 8 2018In our effort to untangle the differences and similarities of our classic roleplaying games Unknown Armies and Over the Edge, we asked each game's designer to weigh in with their perspective. Unknown Armies author Greg Stolze has looked at the question with new eyes, coming off the successful third edition of his game. Even now, we're rolling out the UA3 Campaign Starter Kits at your favorite digital marketplaces. Here are his thoughts on the two games:
It's not hard to see similarities between the two games. Over the Edge came out first and was a strong inspiration for Unknown Armies, particularly in the area of 'Players get to define what their characters can do instead of picking off a limited list of skills.' They're both deliberately weird, subverting expectations of what reality is, built around the sometimes-unspoken idea that the game's primary duty is to be compelling, 'fair.'
But the differences are crucial.
In UA, every character has a set of gauges that register the traumas they've experienced. Those meters, in turn, show how they relate to others, how they interact with the world around them, and how they respond to further challenges. The spotlight of the story is on the characters, and the mechanics orbit their personalities. OTE, on the other hand, is about the mysterious, baffling, frustrating island of Al Amarja and its myriad bizarre inhabitants. The characters inevitably bring their own agendas, secrets, and mysteries, but those are at best co-equal ingredients in a thick, crowded, and flavorful stew.
2) In Over the Edge, you explore. In Unknown Armies, you pursue.
3) The rules are very different.
UA has rules that help generate story. OTE has rules that get out of the way. UA is an intricate percentile-based system with a lot of interconnectedness, by design. It's meant to make every experience or decision weighty and lasting, whether the blowback from bad choices is physical or psychological. OTE runs off a short d6 pool with a few intuitive tweaks to influence outcomes. It's designed for transparency and simplicity, so you can learn the rules in ten minutes and make a character in five.
Jun 1 2018On the off chance you hadn't heard, Gen Con 2018 is happening August 2-5, and as usual, we'll be there, previewing, demoing, and seminaring into the wee hours of the afternoon. Curious where to find us during the best four days in gaming? Start with our dealer's booth, Exhibit Hall #1407, and then check out any or all of the following special events:
Witches of the Revolution*
Cursed Court Grand Tournament Entry Round
Cogs & Commissars
Witches of the Revolution*
Cursed Court Grand Tournament Entry Round
Cogs & Commissars
Over The Edge Panel
Ars Magica Panel
Witches of the Revolution*
Cursed Court Grand Tournament Entry Round
Cursed Court Grand Tournament Finals
Writing & Design Panel
* These events are currently sold out. However, we encourage you to drop by prior to the start of the game, as ticket-holder dropouts or no-shows do occasionally happen.
May 21 2018
The perennial 'weird stuff' description especially falls down when it comes to describing how Over the Edge and Unknown Armies are different from each other. It turns out that there are as many ways to talk about the difference between those two games as there were people around the Atlas Games conference table on the day the question came up. Here's my personal take:
Over the Edge is a game with international flavor that's best at telling stories about political conspiracies and outré behavior. It's about how people relate to each other in strange ways. Over the Edge has secrets that people keep from each other, but the secrets are MacGuffins — (sometimes conceptual, but still) around which dramatic relationships revolve, rather than ends in and of themselves.
Unknown Armies, on the other hand, is a game about occult knowledge and the secret underpinnings of the universe. It asks the question, 'What will you sacrifice for power, to reshape the world in your own image?' It's about how the protagonists define themselves. Its secrets are their own ends, things its characters must find out because their demons drive them to it. Although it can be played on a global scale, Unknown Armies retains a uniquely American outlook and feel even when it's taking place in the farthest corners of the globe.
Naturally, these generalizations have their shortcomings too! Neither definition is true for all aspects of their respective games' backgrounds. Over the Edge has secrets that primarily drive inter-group conflict, and Unknown Armies has outré behavior. But broadly speaking, if you were presented with a series of character or adventure summaries and had to use these definitions as your only working understanding of these two games in order to sort them, they'd guide you to a high degree of accuracy.
The best news? Both games are awesome! If you're only familiar with one, try the other. And if you've never played either of them, now you have a way to figure out which you'll explore first.
May 5 2018Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army's defeat of the French at the Battle of Puebla. Was witchcraft involved? Who can say. But consider: If witches helped the American revolutionaries defeat the British — as Witches of the Revolution supposes — why wouldn't they want to stick it to the French, too? Read more about Cinco de Mayo on Wikipedia and draw your own conclusions.
In any case, to celebrate, we've released the rules for Witches of the Revolution in Spanish, nicely laid out in PDF format. Have a look!
Apr 11 2018Bundle of Holding sale going on right now. Other Bundles have featured our classic RPG line Feng Shui, but this is the first one to offer the bestselling update, Feng Shui 2!
For just $14.95, you can get our Feng Shui 2 releases in PDF, and for just $10 more, you get some of the greatest books from the original edition. That's over $120 of high-flying kung fu action for just $24.95.
As an additional bonus, you can feel good about your support of The National Film Preservation Foundation's work with your purchase. You'll be contributing to make sure the best of Asian action cinema will inspire generations to come.
Run with the speed of a thousand feet to Bundle of Holding to get your books of mystical wisdom!
Apr 4 2018Bright lights are shining on harassment in every part of society, and it's no different in the game industry. The time has arrived when victims and witnesses can seek justice for harassment at conventions and trade shows. I've got some pretty hair-raising stories I could share about creepy stalkers and inappropriate physical contact at game conventions—once while holding my three-month-old son in my arms! Open secrets finally have consequences. And more fans and makers are insisting on the ethics of the industry we love so much.
|San Diego Comic Con anti-harassment policy|
(photo credit BleedingCool.com)
Overall, our stance has been well-received, and conventions have responded by adding and expanding their protections for attendees of all kinds. I've had productive discussions with folks about how a clear anti-harassment policy actually boosts attendance, since people can see before they even register that they'll be supported. And it feels great to support a con that's improving the experience for everyone.
|Anna Kegler (L), Rochelle Keyhan (C), Erin Filson (R)|
of geeksforCONsent (photo credit Brian van der Brug)
Mar 22 2018PAX family of cons.
The creators of the popular webcomic Penny Arcade started PAX in 2004, at a time when they saw disconnected fan conventions for everything from anime and comics to video games, but none that celebrated geek culture all together. They definitely found an audience for this unified approach, and attendance at the show doubled year after year, from 1337 in 2004 to over 70,000 in 2011. Fans enjoy video game previews, open play, LAN parties, tabletop gaming, panels, and performances. And with all those features, PAX has attracted a more diverse attendance in terms of gender and race, which has allowed them to take positive steps to build a safe, accessible convention.
PAX has introduced a number of shows in places beyond Seattle (whose event was renamed PAX West). PAX East, PAX South, and PAX Australia have expanded the brand successfully around the world. They launched PAX Unplugged in 2017, creating a new kind of tabletop-focused convention for a whole new audience. And there are even "Powered by PAX" events starting up in other places, like this spring's convention in Paris.
Whether it's your first PAX or you're a veteran, and say hi to your Atlas Games friends at PAX East this spring!
Mar 15 2018
|Ozma of Oz by John Neill|
There's a lot of Art Nouveau influence on your Cursed Court art. Why did you choose that style?
"Art Nouveau combines richness and theatricality in a clear recognizable style. I grew up admiring John R. Neill's illustrations of the Royal Court of Oz, but it's the poster work of Alphonse Mucha that best defines the style."
|Character image: The Merchant|
"I think we ascribe a conformity to European courts and cultures that is drastically oversimplified. My goal with this court was to create characters that were archetypal, not specifically historical. This allowed me greater latitude than 'simple' Elizabethan or Venetian fashion. In this case, the Duke's costume is based on a real courtier (though radically different in color); the Jester is wearing motley that was sewn for me many years ago by the brilliant Yvonne Parham (though much toned-down); the Merchant's clothes come straight from a Mucha magazine cover. The rest are pretty much made up from whole cloth."
You feature a diverse group of races, ages, genders, and ability among your characters. Was that important to you?
"Absolutely. Games have a huge and diverse audience, and representation is crucial. And while this group of characters may seem atypical to some, history offers far more unusual examples, like Poland's female King Jadwiga and Pocahontas in London."
|Period depiction of Pocahontas at the English Court|
Do you have a favorite character? Do you bet on them more often when you play?
"So many of the models I chose for this game are friends. So asking me about favorites is asking whether I prefer Della over Baize, Kira over John, or Jay over Saamanta. I just love seeing them when I play, and imagining how they'll strike people I'll never meet."
Mar 12 2018When we playtested Cursed Court at our Atlas staff retreat, I was struck by how different the game was from anything I'd previously played. So I went to Andrew Hanson, designer of Atlas' newest board game, for some insights on his creation.
Most people have played bidding and betting games of some kind, like poker or casino games. What changes did it require to turn that into a board game?
"My first attempts at making the game were similar to a normal game of poker. The big inflection point was when I added the game board and the 3x3 grid of characters. Almost all of the other changes came as a result of that shift. I described some of those challenges in another article."
Why did you go with the theme of palace intrigue?
"The palace intrigue really centers around the characters. When I first created the characters, I wanted them to feel familiar to players of traditional card games. The intrigue part of the theme is meant to go with the secrets and stakes atmosphere I wanted the game to have."
You made the connection with Atlas at a Protospiel event. What role did spaces like Protospiel play in Cursed Court's development?
"Protospiel events were a huge part of Cursed Court's development. The feedback you get from other designers is invaluable. In addition to Protospiel events, there is a local group of designers near me that meets regularly to playtest each other's games. If you're at all interested in board game design, I suggest you search Meetup.com or ask at your local game store and see if there are any design groups in your area."
Are any strategies unique to this game that differ from other betting/bidding games?
"The most successful strategies in Cursed Court require you to forget about other bidding and betting games. You only have a limited number of chips, and the board ends up having a small aspect of territory control. Players seem to enjoy that shift in thinking as they learn to do better at the game."
What exactly is the curse of Cursed Court?
"The original title of the game was Unlucky Kingdom. That was back when there were only 13 cards in the deck, and the game board wasn't even part of the game yet. Once the game got closer to its final form, it felt like it needed a new name. The alliteration of Cursed Court rolls off the tongue nicely.
"The other main reason for the curse was the different bidding spots on the board. Each of the sets of three or four cards has a name. For example, the Assassin, Sorceress, and Duke is called the Revolt. In fact, all the names involving the Assassin seem to end poorly for at least one of the other characters. Maybe we should have called the game Assassin's Court."