Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter


In this Globally-Warming Issue ....

FICTION: The Hunchbacks Attack [part 4 of a Call of Cthulhu Adventure
from Legbiter
STARTERS: An Interesting Story About Another Collectible Game.

FICTION: The Hunchbacks Attack

"How is he?"

"Alive, but not likely to stay that way unless we can get help."

Jo reached for her mobile phone.

"I've tried that. There is some weird electronic jamming thing going

"Yeah, it's a bomb actually. The bad guys set it off, probably by
accident, during the first attack. Maybe I should tell you the whole
story, it might mean more to you than it does to me."

"Good plan."

"OK, well there was me and two brothers, we'd been flown in from
Kazakhstan via Guam and Edwards Airforce Base. We had just said our
prayers and were getting stuck into lunch when there was an almighty
bang and the lights went out. The guards musta thought it was an
attempted rescue, and so did we at first, but then these .... THINGS
began to come at them."


"People, maybe, but hunch-backed and with horribly-deformed faces, as
if the plates of their skulls had got separated and could move
independently of one another. LOTS of them, anyway. They bit people. I
never want to see THAT again. The guards shot them down but some of
the guards were killed, and the worst thing was that the dead, both
guards and things, just seemed to get right up again after a while."

"How did you escape?"

"Eventually it was just me and that big guy. He cut my ankle-ties and
gave me a gun. We fought our way out of that block over there, and
made it to here. They don't seem to like the light so we had time to
set up some ordnance. A few other survivors joined us and that's when
we learned about the electronic bomb, and that there was no prospect
of rescue anytime soon."

"Where are the others?"

"All dead in the second attack. Or gone over. Cleiton was badly
injured, as you saw, and I was trying to find a way out when I met

"We have a car back in the woods. Maybe I should go and get it?"

"It's the best chance. We'll wait here for you."

Jo set off into the forest, back the way they had come. Alison stayed
to look after the wounded American, and Mohamed kept watch.

"Why do they have this base, do you know?"

"Yeah, it's a relic of Reagan's Star Wars. They were going to build a
giant rail-gun or laser or maybe a bit of both here. Because it is so
flat, you could see a missile rising out of Russia or the North Sea
and shoot it down from here."

"So what, that great big pipe on the circular rail track could be a
giant laser?"

"It could. Buggered if I know how to work it, though."

"You know, for a Holy Warrior you don't talk very Holy."

"I belong to the don't-like-being-pushed-around faction, I suppose.
Shh, what's that?"

Jo had taken an Uzi and some clips and now they could quite distinctly
hear the sound of an Uzi being fired, somewhere in the woods. The
firing stopped, abruptly, and Jo and Mohamed exchanged glances.

"Look, there! They're coming!"

Out of the evening shadows a line of humanoid figures was walking
briskly and purposefully towards them. Their heads seemed sunk into
their chests, and as they grew closer Alison could see that they had
massive arched backs. Mohamed took a bead on one and shot it, and as
it fell Alison saw that the back was made up of spikes and channels
that seemed to penetrate deep into the things' bodies.


The voice was Cleiton's.

"Help me up onto this machine-gun!"

Alison did. The Browning added its dreadful metallic drilling to the
bark of Mohamed's automatic. The Things came on.


STARTERS: An Interesting Story About Another Collectible Game.

Jyhad is not the only collectible game that I enjoy, and right now I
am heavily into Horrorclix [by Wizkids] and Axis and Allied Miniatures
[Hasbro/WotC/Avalon Hill]. I thought I would share an interesting
story with you clever people about Horrorclix starters, which I think
may have a general bearing on all collectible games.

Horrorclix starters are I think quite unique in the collectible field
in being completely and absolutely fixed, indeed quite literally
transparent [you can see all the minis in the box through a clear
window]. This and the fact that there aren't any Licensed Properties
in Horrorclix led to lots of gloomy prognostications about its certain
and imminent doom. But as it has turned out, at least in Portsmouth,
Horrorclix is the best-selling collectible property anyone can ever

Why this is so is actually IMO rather straightforward. Because of
their fixed nature, NOBODY is ever going to buy more than one
Horrorclix starter. [Unless they are me. I bought two because I have a
weird not-playing-with-the-collection mental block thing.] This means
that the starters stick around for much longer than, say, Magic or
VTES starters, or those for other collectible minis games. Non-
Horrorclix starters remain attractive to experienced players because
they are designed to be so, consequently containing power-rares or
other juicy inducements, so they all get bought up, leaving none for
the new players. By contrast, because Horroclix starters stick around
new players can always get into the game. The net effect of all this
is that ALL the boosters get sold REALLY QUICKLY, whereas for the
other games the starters get bought up [so the supply of new players
dries up], the old players complete their collections or move on to
other games and the shopkeeper, distributors and players/collectors
are left sadly staring at mountains of increasingly-dusty boosters.

I think Wizkids have cottoned on to a Great Truth here, by accident or
design: they've shown that it's a mistake to market the starter to
more than one constituency. We of course do things differently and I
was certainly an advocate of the policy that starters should appeal to
experienced players. I here wish to Publicly Abjure that position and
to state that I now believe starters should be made and marketed
SOLELY with new players in mind.

I made similar points on the A&A board, to pretty much universal
hostility and incomprehension. It will be interesting to see if the
same applies here.


Hmmm, no deck. Perhaps Norman or somebody equally kind will step in
with one.

And that's it for February! See you when next I feel the urge to go a-

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