Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Weird Wars Rome Continues Pinnacle's Long Run of Great High Concept Campaigns



A few years ago, at the height of the d20 Boom, a medium sized game publisher called Pinnacle Entertainment Group released a d20 version of their signature role playing game Deadlands. The d20 version was released in an attempt to take advantage of the recent increase in interest in the role playing game market sparked by the 3rd Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. The book sold well enough, but instead of increasing the Deadlands fan base it ended up alienating some fans who believed Pinnacle was abandoning their old Greg Gorden designed masterpiece. This wasn't the case, but the damage was done and sales declined.

By this time Pinnacle had already released their customizable and easy to learn and play Savage Worlds role playing game system. That game went on to be an award winning game and the Phoenix that helped Pinnacle rise from the ashes of their declined sales. Sales that had declined so much that three Friendly Local Gaming Stores in the Los Angeles area informed me that Pinnacle went out of business. Pinnacle wasn't out of business. Far from it. They were - and are - an innovative company and were at the cutting edge of the sale of digital products. Their sales for digital as well as physical Savage Worlds products saved the company and built them a loyal and passionate fan base. Staying at the fore of industry trends, Pinnacle has already had an extremely successful Deadlands Kickstarter campaign and they hope to repeat that success with their most recent project.


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Pinnacle Entertainment Group recently launched Weird Wars Rome a new Savage Worlds game setting on Kickstarter. The project quickly surpassed its initial goal and is quickly conquering the stretch goals that the company has put forth. So far the digital rewards that backers of this project will receive include an original soundtrack, short adventures, and interior outlays for poster maps. All backers of the project will also be receiving an 8 page supplement by Jack Emmert (of Cryptic Studios) that discusses the role of class and race, the gods, and myths and legends in ancient Roman society.

Weird Wars Rome is the latest in a series of tabletop roleplaying game books for Pinnacle's Weird Wars line of Savage Worlds settings. The Weird Wars product line reimagines historical military campaigns and twists them by adding supernatural and horrific elements to create entertaining alternate world game settings. Game settings to date have included Vietnam and World War II. In Weird Wars Rome, players are legionnaires living in the vast Roman Empire who encounter the terrors of war and of far darker things that lurk in the shadows of the fringes of the Empire...and in the heart of Rome itself.

Unlike many Kickstarter projects, the Weird Wars Rome Kickstarter automatically provides all new digital rewards to backers as each stretch goal is reached. There are no "pay for" add ons. Shortly after the Kickstarter campaign is completed, backers will be able to down load the completed pdf the book and any digital rewards that have been completed to date. The basic funding level is $20 for which the backer will receive a copy of the base Weird Wars Rome rulebook and some digital rewards. Other levels allow backers to get more physical products like dry-erase poster maps, custom dice, a GM Screen and some adventures.

Pinnacle Entertainment Group has long been one of the kings of "high concept" when it comes to games and campaign settings. Their DEADLANDS game set the tone for undead/Western mash-ups and many of their Savage Worlds settings have taken long standing narrative tropes and given them a "savage twist." The Savage Worlds game system is marketed as being Fast, Furious, and Fun and I have very much found this to be the case.
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