DGS Games

A Visit With LNL Publishing – Old Roads Well Trodden

Jim Zabek, 17 October 2014

Following up his visit to Colorado, Jim drops some more Lock’n’Load news in our lap.

Click images to enlarge

Old Roads Well Trodden

Last week Grogheads published my initial take of a visit to LnL Publishing. Along with me, Dave Lowry also visited LnL Publishing and his article can be found on Clubfantasci.com. Between our articles a number of questions were raised by readers regarding the direction of the company. It is not the intention of this article to address every question raised, but rather to share additional information which should give readers a sense as to the overall direction LnL Publishing will take. Hopefully many of the questions out there will be given answers.

LnL Publishing’s roots are firmly established in traditional tabletop warming. Readers concerned that LnL might depart from those roots should rest at ease: all that printing equipment recently purchased is of little use to electronic games. Yes, LnL is interested in expanding its horizons into different genres and media, but gamers should rest assured that Mark Walker continues to work on boardgame designs.

What can gamers expect to see in the near future? I already hold in my hands (well, technically it’s in the chair next to me as I type) World at War Compendium 2. A reprint of Compendium 1 is also in my possession. Printed and sealed in a plastic bag, it lacks only counters, which have to be printed overseas, in order to ship out the door.

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The new Compendium includes additional maps, along with the scenarios, counters, and AARs.

Compendium 2 consists of 85 pages assimilating almost all the World at War content from the Line of Fire issues # 8-13. The only item it left out is the battles from the South African forces against the Angolan and Cuban forces. Those will be bundled into an upcoming module which will also contain additional units and scenarios under a working title called Dark Continent. Players can expect a command and control variant, new scenarios, battle reports – all the stuff that was scattered across Line of Fire now in one place.

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The Compendium includes not just scenarios, but analysis as well.

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Full-color interiors are always easier on the eyes.

 

New Roads

What else, you ask? One of the sexiest items I saw at LnL is Mark Walker’s Heroes of the Pacific. The artwork itself is worthy of being framed, but more to the point, I’ve got my hands on printed maps, a book with examples of play, as well as the full game manual and player aid card. It’s still awaiting counters from overseas, but other than that, it’s ready to ship.

Of course, I saw a great deal more at LnL. New products – even new genres – are in the works. The rumors of a sci-fi minis game are true. The rumors of electronic games are also true. I was able to put my hands on a hot little PC-based alpha of Heroes of the Pacific, coded by Tom Proudfoot who also developed Heroes of Stalingrad. Early though it was, the units were functional as was a scenario. Does this mean LnL is abandoning its boardgaming roots? Absolutely not. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more games done in parallel, as both PC and boardgames. Heroes of the Pacific as the PC game will be released with the identical scenarios as the boardgame. It will also sport a multiplayer game generator where players can select a point value with which to buy units, randomly create a map, and get down to business. Rumor has it that the next game in the Heroes of series will be a reprint of Forgotten Heroes. Again, players can expect both a boardgame and a PC module to be released, and for those so desiring the PC modules will be compatible, allowing such crazy stuff as WWII Japanese troops to fight the Viet Cong.

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Heroes of the Pacific – The PC Game!

ZunTzuclearAnother item gamers may appreciate is ZunTzu. For those who haven’t heard of it – or been keeping up with its evolution – ZunTzu is a PC-based gaming aid for boardgamers. It’s similar to Vassal, but different in that companies can upload their own proprietary graphics rather than relying on user-made graphics, which can be of varying quality. Joshua Delahunty has been working on the source code with the original developer and is integrating functionality for LnL’s games with the platform. Lest gamers fear that the LnL “corporate monster” is taking over an independent platform, they are quick to assure us that is not the case. Yes, LnL is introducing a chat feature, but that feature isn’t limited to just LnL products – what is introduced will be available across all games using ZunTzu.

Other features LnL is working on is a scenario archive and opponent matching service that will allow gamers to find use-created scenarios and opponents for the PC versions of LnL’s games. Functionality is being built in to match active players to active players – and those who may have been inactive for a period of a few months will still be shown, but will be greyed out indicating that they aren’t currently playing and haven’t for a while. This way active players won’t be challenging inactive ones without at least knowing the status of their potential opponent.

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Heroes of the Pacific – The Board Game! (OK, OK, technically, it’s the ZunTzu adaptation of the board game… bear with us!)

How will gamers receive these new directions? I don’t know, but what is clear is that LnL intends to keep its feet firmly rooted in the past even as it broadens its horizons. As both a PC game, minis gamer, and boardgamer I can easily see boardgaming with a buddy until one of us goes on a road trip, then picking up the game on the PC while on the road, followed by more boardgaming when we get back together for face-to-face cardboard pushing. Crazy? Maybe. Reality? Just wait!

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More ZunTzu goodness


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