GANGREL ANTITRIBU NEWSLETTER VOLUME 9 NUMBER 2 February 2007 In this Globally-Warming Issue .... FICTION: The Hunchbacks Attack [part 4 of a Call of Cthulhu Adventure from Legbiter Hall]. 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 on." "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." "Things?" "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 you." "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. "Miss!" 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. ....... TO BE CONTINUED 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 remember. 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- vamping! Address for correspondence: Chopsalotapepl"at"SWIFTIANWORDMEANINGVULGARIAN"dot"co"dot"uk"