Issue #3

About this Newsletter

A lot of BRPG and BGE owners reading this might well never have returned to visit the Battlegrounds Games website or forums after their initial purchase. I strongly recommend that you do so from time to time, to keep up to date on the latest BRPG and BGE releases, submit feature requests and bug reports, and to generally help shape the evolution of BRPG and BGE with your feedback. Tell us what you like, what you don't, what you think could be improved, and what future products you would like to see made available.

For those of you who do not regularly visit the Battlegrounds Games site or forums, this newsletter will keep you posted on important news, developments, and product releases.

In This Issue

The last newsletter went out in March 2011. A lot has happened since then, so there is a lot of catching up to do.

Out with the Old, In with the New

BRPG v1.7d has become the new official release, replacing BRPG v1.6m. You can read more about this release and download it from here. I encourage everyone to update to this new version at their earliest convenience; upon finishing a current adventure might be a good time to do so.

I hope all the hard work that's gone into making BRPG v1.7d faster, more stable, and more feature-rich than the previous official release pays off in the form of more enjoyable game sessions for you and your fellow BRPGers.

Of course, there is still more in the works. BRPG v1.7e has been available in beta for a while. Aside from adding a few more handy features and bug fixes, it is a stepping-stone to a new networking feature that will more accurately monitor if anyone has been disconnected from the game session, both for the purpose of informing other users and for allowing the disconnected user to log back in more easily. BRPG v1.8 was just released, and is in beta status. This is a significant update, and I think users (GMs, especially) will love the new Gallery Browser.

Updated User Manual for BRPG Released

In April 2011, an updated User Manual for BRPG was released to cover all the changes and new features added to the program up through BRPG v1.7. The 169-page searchable PDF is chock-full of illustrative screenshots and includes a hyperlinked Table of Contents and a product catalog. It is probably the most thorough and comprehensive User Manual available for any virtual tabletop program. Note that this updated User Manual is included with BRPG v1.7d, so you may not need to download it separately if you have already updated your BRPG installation.

In subsequent months, as newer releases of BRPG became available, I released a couple of Addendums to the User Manual, in an effort to keep BRPG's documentation as up-to-date as possible. Download the latest Addendum from here (in the Documentation section). While you're there, you may also wish to get the Quick Reference Sheet for BRPG, which is a print-ready summary of all the hotkeys used in the program.

Battlegrounds Gaming Engine (aka BGE)

The newest virtual tabletop software from Battlegrounds Games, "Battlegrounds Gaming Engine", was released in June 2011. This product was initially announced long ago as "Battlegrounds: Wargame Edition", but was renamed due to a change in scope (it's now not just for wargaming, but also for general boardgaming, card games, and dice games). Since its release, it has received three updates, and now BGE v1.3, which was previously in beta status, has become the new official release.

BGE has been designed to be compatible with all the game conversions that have been released for BRPG.

The entire Battlegrounds Games website has been updated to reflect the availability of BGE (primarily to keep BRPG and BGE content separate). A BGE QuickStart Guide has been released to help users who are new to BGE get up and running as quickly as possible.

Call for Reviews and Testimonials

I would love to hear what you think of the software, the artpacks, and the game conversions that Battlegrounds Games has published. Please either post your comments on the Battlegrounds Games forums or email them to me. I would like to include user testimonials on the web site. In the case of reviews of specific digital game conversions or specific artpacks, please post your comments in the appropriate thread of the Product Releases subforum.

Rating Virtual Tabletop Software

You can rate the various virtual tabletop programs – including Battlegrounds, of course – right here (note that it can take 5 or 10 seconds before the ratings appear on the right side of the page).

Gamers interested in trying out virtual tabletops are likely to come across these ratings, which may (should?) influence their choice of VT. I hope you will take a moment to rate all of the VTs that you have had some experience with. Please abstain from rating the VTs that you have never tried.

Yes, I've mentioned all this before in the previous Newsletter, but so few people voted that I thought I'd bring it up again. And those of you who have already voted might want to update your rating.

New Artpacks for BRPG

A few new artpacks have been released for BRPG since Issue #2 of this Newsletter went out, and these are covered below.

The ever-growing collection of artpacks are a major strength of BRPG, and can save GMs a lot of preparation time while simultaneously providing them and their players with visually rich and professional-looking content.

The following list contains brief descriptions of each artpack. If one peaks your interest, click on its link to see preview images, contact sheets, and/or to get additional information about the product.

LZW's Battlemap Bundle 1

A set of generic Encounters intended for use with any RPG system that uses a scale of 5 feet per grid square. Both of the locales featured in this bundle are depicted by maps that measure 24 x 24 squares, and the maps are offered in both a day and a night version. A third option for each locale uses a Fog of War Overlay to dynamically "light" the map as the PCs explore each area. The Encounters can be used to depict stand-alone locations, or they can be used to depict geographically adjacent areas (if the maps were placed beside each other, they would join seamlessly to form a 24 x 48 square map). Audio clips of ambient sounds, for both day and night, are available in each Encounter to help set the mood.


Armies of the Deep

Assorted troops (footsoldiers, leaders, corpses, etc.), all rendered in a homogenous style, allowing you to depict five fantasy races: Drow, Driders, Duergar, Dwarves, and Orcs. Included are a "Ready/Idle" pose, an "In Combat" pose, and a "Dead/Prone" pose for nearly every figure (ideal for use with BRPG's token-swapping feature). Contains 114 unique figure tokens.


Modern Streets Tile Pack

A set of 44 geomorphic map tiles depicting city streets, sidewalks, and building rooftops. The tiles are intended for use with any modern-day or near-future RPG system that uses a scale of 5 feet per grid square.


New Game Conversions for BGE

Every single digital game conversion that had previously been released for use in BRPG has been re-released for use with BGE. The following list contains brief descriptions of brand new game conversions released exclusively for BGE since the program's debut. If a particular game listed below peaks your interest, click on its link to see preview images and/or to get additional information about the game.

Note that 5 of the 7 new game conversions are absolutely free.

"Pioneer in Peril" Boardgame

A fast-playing game of gunfights in the Old West, circa 1865-1890. The game system is based around an action track system where characters expend actions to perform activities. Wounds are represented by randomly drawn wound counters that may result in anything from a small leg graze to a belly wound that will get worse during the course of the game to a direct head shot that takes out a man immediately. Each character in the game has his own character card with which a player tracks what he holds and carries and any wounds he picks up. "Pioneer in Peril" is an introductory version of the full "Outlaws: Adventures in the Old West" boardgame.


"Aliens: This Time It's War" Card Game

This is an unauthorized, non-profit, and non-collectable 2-player card game based on the hugely influential 1986 sci-fi film, Aliens. One player takes the role of the Colonial Marines, and his opponent assumes control of the hordes of deadly xenomorphs. The Alien player's objective is to eliminate all the Marines before they escape the planet and "nuke the entire site from orbit." The game has an asymmetrical design, with both decks featuring different cards and abilities. Note that this game conversion was recently re-released with nicer component graphics.


"Battle Line" and "Schotten-Totten" Card Games (Asterix Re-themes)

In these Asterix re-themes of two classic Reiner Knizia games, nine Roman Legion cards lie between you and your opponent. In front of each Legion, you each place troop cards to build poker-like "formations" of three cards per side. Whoever plays the higher-ranking formation defeats the Legion. Successfully defeat five Legions, or any three adjacent Legions, and you win the game.


"Fantasy Quest" Card Game

A non-collectable card game of high fantasy with a gothic edge, where 1-4 players, working individually or together, must adventure forth to develop their heroes and save the land from a growing evil. In their journey through a dark world of magic and peril, they will visit strange places, stranger people and overcome powerful enemies in their quest to discover mysterious artifacts, mystical spells and ancient treasures. Follow each hero's tale from modest beginnings through an epic story to an exciting climactic battle for the fate of the world. Time is of the essence because with every night that passes, the land slowly “Falls into Gloom” and terrible things begin to happen. Fantasy Quest can be played either Competitively or Cooperatively, and is also perfectly suited for Solo play.


"Close Assault (Advanced)" Wargame

A game of man-to-man combat in WWII. "Random sequencing" mechanics (a "chit-pull" system) simulate simultaneous movement, the fog of war, and combat friction without the bother of written orders. Each unit represents an individual soldier, weapon, vehicle, or piece of equipment. Soldiers can be standing, crouching, or prone, and each posture affects their vulnerability and lines of sight. The rulebook contains both Advanced and Optional rules, which players can choose to use or not, depending on the level of detail and realism they prefer. Requires "Close Assault" (Basic Game), which is a free download.


"Intruder" Boardgame

"Intruder" is a 1 to 3 player science-fiction game of terror and suspense aboard a deep space station. The Intruder is an alien being of unknown power. During the course of the game the Intruder will move through the space station as both the hunter and the hunted. One or more players must cope with a monster that moves rapidly and changes continuously as it undergoes metamorphosis into a more powerful being, and possibly divides into two or more clones.


"Outrider" Boardgame

Outrider is a game of post-apocalyptic vehicular combat that utilizes a unique blend of dice and card mechanics that create a fast-playing, highly detailed and customizable experience. Four stand-alone scenarios are included, and you can also create your own additional scenarios. This conversion includes not only the basic game, but also the two expansions that have been released for the game so far ("Dealin' Damage" and "Tuner Cards").


That's all for this issue. Thanks for reading, and happy gaming!