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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Paizo Introduces a Retail Incentive Program - Pay to Play (with Bennies) is Here


Yep, Paizo must be feeling the pressure from D&D 5e Organized Play. Why do I say that? They have introduced a Retail Incentive Program. What is that? Basically, make an in store purchase of at least $10 and receive an in game benefit. Spent $50 or more and the entire group gets a bennie. Pay to Play... better...

I understand trying to make hosting Organized Play beneficial for the host, be it a store, a bar or whatever. I don't agree that there should be an in game benefit for patronizing the hosting establishment. It just seems like gaming the system. Shit, did I just type that?
Game stores and other retail locations are an important part of the Pathfinder Society community, and it's important to support them so that there's always a public venue for organized play events. Players can now redeem receipts in exchange for a modest benefit shared by the entire table—all as a way of thanking players for supporting their game stores. 
At any time during an event, players may redeem receipts from their purchases worth $10 or more to gain a single-use benefit that applies to all of the PCs at the table. If the total combined receipts provided by one or more players are $50 or more, all players receive an enhanced benefit. No matter how many receipts the players have, the table can never use the same benefit more than once during a game session; they can, however, gain both benefits during a session. 
All of the PCs gain the following benefit: 
Harder to Kill: Treat the character's Constitution as 5 points higher than normal for the purpose of determining when hit point damage would kill him. For the enhanced benefit, treat the character's Constitution as 10 higher. 
Each player may also choose to use one of the following during the game: 
Cheaper Healing: Before the end of the session, you can use the benefit to reduce the Prestige Point cost of one spellcasting service of the healing subschool by 1 (minimum 0). For the enhanced benefit, you can instead reduce the cost by 2. 
Recover from Wounds: The PC recovers hit points equal to twice their character level. For the enhanced benefit, each PC also recovers 2 points of ability damage to one ability score. This benefit can only be used outside of combat. 
Bonus Wealth: If you do not use the subsidized healing benefit above, you can instead choose to roll twice and take the higher result when rolling a Day Job check. For the enhanced benefit, you also increase the gold you earn from the day Job result by 50% (maximum 300 gp total).
You can read the full post at the Paizo blog, including exchange rate examples for other currencies (Paizo is using USD) in this example.

Yes, most of my readers don't play Pathfinder, but if you game in a retail environment, this might just squeeze you out at some point.

I expect there will be some vocal opinions on both sides of this.

OBS' Offensive Content Policy - 1 Year Later (Fourth in a Series)


In the first part of our series we heard from Scott Holden, Manager of Promotions and Business Intelligence at OBS, who answered a number of questions about the new policy. In our second and third parts of the series we spoke with the two men at the heart of the controversy that sparked the policy. Moving forward we look at the effects of the implementation of the policy. We continue our examination of the policy and its effects by speaking with author Venger Satanis.


Venger Satanis is no stranger to controversy over his products How to Game Master like a Fucking Boss and his RPG product Alpha Blue. While “How to Game Master” has been hit by a few low reviews, it was the 70’s style Sci-fi titillation product Alpha Blue that was flagged for review. Like the previous product discussed, Tournament of Rapists, Alpha Blue is also found behind the Adult Content barrier and carries the following additional warning:

“Warning: Alpha Blue contains potentially offensive material in regards to sexual content, adult situations, vulgar language, mature themes, etc. “

Despite the warning and the content filter, Alpha Blue was flagged for review in March of this year. Tenkar himself weighed in on the event [Why You Should be Concerned that Alpha Blue got Temporarily  Pulled From OBS, March 21, 2016]. This caused a new outpouring of concern over the policy that, in places, rapidly ascended to hyperbole. Author James Spahn paraphrased concentration survivor Martin Niemoller's famed commentary when speaking of the matter and how it could effect any number of authors if the process continued. The public response varied greatly from this level of  outrage that the product was pulled for review and apathy over the policy in general.

Venger’s experience brought part of the OBS system to light, as he explained. “Actually, there's a hidden part of the process that some people don't know about.  Once a product has been flagged, then one or more OBS employees take a quick look at it.  If there seems to be some merit to the complaint, then it undergoes a ‘thorough staff review’.  If the complaint appears frivolous, then nothing at all happens to the flagged product.”


He continued on, mentioning that he had spoken by phone directly with Steve Wieck about the matter. “During a lengthy conversation with Steve Wieck, he shared the concerns that some people had with my sleazy, vintage sci-fi RPG.  We both came to the same conclusion - Alpha Blue may be culturally insensitive at times and offensive to a few outspoken individuals, but it doesn't deserve to be blacklisted.” In a matter of a few days, Alpha Blue was one more for sale and it had been placed on the OBS “white list”


As someone who has been through the OBS vetting process and emerged on the other side, Venger Satanis has a singular viewpoint on the process.

TT: Since Alpha Blue was temporarily pulled, are you aware of any other of your products having been flagged for review at OBS?

VS: Aside from Alpha Blue being flagged for offensive content and How to Game Master like a Fucking Boss given a one-star review because I'm considered too sexist by the outrage brigade, I don't know of any abuse directed at me or my RPG products.

TT: Having had a product placed under review, has that experience made you more likely to search for another avenue for sales or are you confident in the review system in place?

VS:  I'm confident in the review system up to a point. Before Alpha Blue, there was the unfortunately named Tournament of Rapists. And after Alpha Blue James Desborough's Hentacle, schoolgirl, hentai card game got pulled and didn't pass the "test." While I understand OBS's policy, procedure, and results, I still wish they were a little more lenient.


I'm not against finding another place to sell my wares. I use Amazon / CreateSpace now and have considered selling PDFs on my own or at an alternative RPG retailer.

TT: What is your opinion of how OBS is currently handling their content review system in regards to your products? Are you satisfied with how it has been handled so far?

VS: I'm more or less satisfied with how OBS is handling things. Although, there's nothing black and white about "obscenity" and "I'll know it when I see it." So, things could go down the rabbit hold pretty quick if there's not a firm hand on the wheel. By that I mean the watchdogs should be driven towards freedom of creative expression, and not by the desire to censure another's artistic work.

TT: Has the implementation of the content review system led to changes in which products you make available via OBS, or to the content contained therein?

VS: I've thought about gearing some products so that I don't have to worry about any kind of adult filter at all. Some things behind OBS's adult filter don't get seen as much, and so sales are lower. But I don't create anything because I want to walk the razor's edge of acceptability, and I have no interest in writing material that solely has to do with rape or pushes an agenda involving a particular ethnicity or religion that exists in the real world. Sure, I might include those things here and there, but too much takes it into a different realm.


Having emerged from the experience, Venger Satanis offered his feedback to Steve Wieck.



“At the end of our discussion, I urged OBS to put language in their adult content filter page saying that things may offend or be offensive, but OBS won't take any action unless a majority of customers find the offending material egregious.”



As opinions of those involved continue to vary, in our next installment we speak to a game creator who have created the most banned products on OBS.

Bob Brinkman has been playing RPGs since the days of OD&D. Recently he has written for both the Goodman Games Fifth Edition Fantasy and DCC RPG lines and has completed a project for the Crossroads to Adventure books for GP Adventures. He co-hosts the monthly Sanctum Secorum podcast focusing on Appendix N in relation to DCC RPG.


Kickstarter - Inheritance (Back This RPG and Complain and You May Get Booted)



Some of you may remember Luke Crane's last Kickstarter - The Burning Wheel Codex. Well, Luke apparently ran that campaign "in character" and refunded folks who complained about the slow shipping (read the link, it is eye opening) He also responded to criticism with responses like:


Now, you might think this flies in the face of Kickstarter Community Guidelines, and maybe it does, but since Luke is the one that gets to interpret that:


Yep, you guessed it. Luke is the one to talk to to complain about - Luke.

So, now Luke has a new Kickstarter running called Inheritance. It may rock. It may suck balls. Doesn't matter one bit when this is the Ricks & Challenges:


Late? Shut up.

Package never showed up? Shut up.

Maybe your criticism was too harsh? Expect a refund. You should have shut up.

Imagine if Ken Whitman were allowed such a disclaimer. Does Luke get a pass because of his position at Kickstarte?.

Yeah, if this is the example that the Head of Games for Kickstarter sets, I'm not very hopeful for the future.

Kickstarter - Sky ov Crimson Flame (DCC 0 Level Adventure)



There is just something about DCC RPG adventures, even the vast majority of 3rd party ones, that keep me coming back for more.

Sky ov Crimson Flame has certainly grabbed my interest. Maybe its the Poag cover. Quite possible it's the fact that its a funnel, and I love funnels.

Maybe it's the inexpensive buy in ($5 for PDF, $10 for Print, $15 for signed Print + PDF)

Yes, I'm in for $15 :)
Sky ov Crimson Flame is a 0-level adventure/funnel designed for the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, but could also be used with your favorite Old School RPG of choice. In the adventure you will take control of 3 to 4 0-level peasants as they attempt to unravel the mysterious disappearance of their fellow villagers and (if they're lucky) stop a ceremony that'll bring darkness across the land! 
This adventure was written by Thorin Thompson (that's me) and at a 12,500+ word count it is a brutal bloody good time!  
The adventure features: 
Cover art by Stefan Poag
Some fantastically gory interior artwork by Jordyn Boci and Nicolò Maioli
5 Handouts, 2 Maps, 2 Random Tables, & 1 New Spell! 
Physically, this module will be saddle-stitched, ranging from approximately 28 to 32+ pages and measuring 8.5 x 11 inches. It will feature a full-color card stock cover and sharp black & white interiors on durable paper.


Friday, September 30, 2016

ENWorld - It's Confirmed - Sean Fannon has No Intention of Disclosing his Affiliate Links

Before I get into Sean (now doesn't that sound awkward?) I'd like to highlight that ENWorld is indeed continuing to prominently highlight when a post is sponsored. Which is a good thing. Heck, this week's Sponsored Post was posted by none other than Sean Patrick Fannon (SPF) himself. Take a looksie:


So, its obvious that Sean understands the conversation that has been going on about disclosure, advertising and affiliate links. I mean, he is the one that inadvertently got the discussion started for us with this piece of wisdom:


Why is it then, that Sean, obviously under pressure, included such a disclosure on his weekly posting right before ENWorld went down and lost 4 1/2 month of posts (including the one in question) and since resurfacing hasn't disclosed?


Simple. He was trying to get rid of the negative attention he himself had generated. He put himself in a corner and had to find a way out. By posting the above, he figured he had. When ENWorld lost 4 1/2 months of posts, he saw his chance to wish it all away. Because without the above screenshot, it never would have happened.

If it seems that I am insinuating that Sean doesn't appreciate his readers, he most certainly does - as a revenue stream. You see, when ENWorld was offline for those days, Sean's affiliate referral monies nearly disappeared. Now I'm sure in Sean's mind that drop in revenue was due to the disclosure of his affiliate links. Folks simply didn't want to feed his family. Or at least, that's the excuse he's telling himself. ENWorld being offline had nothing to do with it.

My personal experience is that disclosure, disclosure as full as humanly possible, results in a noticeable increase in revenue for The Tavern. Maybe my readers are simply better than Sean's (well, I know they are ;) but I truly believe that folks prefer honesty and openness.

The Tavern existed before there was significant monetary support from the community. It would still exist even if that support were to cease. Your support allows me to devote time to gaming projects, post excessively, be a burr against the skin of those that have taken advantage of the gaming community and, most importantly, justifies devoting my time in retirement to the community and not some time filler of a part time job (yes, you effectively keep Rach happy.) Heck, starting next year you may see us at more than one Convention. Not because I'll be a Guest (thanks Sean for bragging about that today) but because I want to get out and meet more of The Tavern's Community - and game! Your support will make that happen.

Thank you all for your support. Without you, there is no community. Without the community, there would be no reason for The Tavern to exist.

edit: Sean discloses his affiliate link usage at his own site, which makes his failure to do so at ENWord ever more perplexing






Kickstarter - Shadow, Sword & Spell 2nd Edition



I never ran Shadow, Sword & Spell 1st Edition, but I own it. It was a solid system. I just happen to be drawn to S&W and it's derivatives.

Shadow, Sword & Spell 2nd Edition is the latest version of SS&S. I haven't seen the latest version of the rules, but if it holds to it's previous release, it should be a solid system.

It's 10 bucks for the PDF and $45 for the Print in SC (plus shipping)

I'm sorely tempted, but I might just drop in at the PDF level, as I don't know when I'll ever get a chance to run the system (but I steal and borrow liberally for my S&W games).

+Richard Iorio II has a solid history as a game creator / publisher, so I have little apprehension when it comes to the completion of this project.




Mini Review - Edgar Rice Burroughs Adventures (Pulp RPG)


This is going to be a fairly short review, but that's appropriate, as the page count comes in around 66 pages.

So, what is Edgar Rice Burroughs Adventures? It's a fairly simple, mostly d10 based system. Attributes are generally rolled using a d10, but there are alternate methods depending on the source material you plan on using (John Carter roll 1d6 + 4, Tarzan 2d6, etc). Success is determined by rolling a d10 and determining your level of success, or failure.

Adding to the attribute scores are skill, and not having a skill means that your relevant attempts are judged as one success level lower. That's pretty much it.

Character generation and system explanation takes up 44 of the 66 pages of content, and that's where Edgar Rice Burroughs Adventures falters. When you think ERB, you think Tarzan, you think John Carter and the like. Having roughly 8 pages devoted to the three covered settings (Pellucidar, Caspak and Barsoon) is a huge fail. That's not 8 pages per setting, it's less than 3 pages per setting.

I really wanted to like Edgar Rice Burroughs Adventures but there just too little setting for a game that is setting derived and driven.

As a total aside, the PDF clocks in at 342 MB. That's not a typo. Crypts & Things Remastered comes in at 13 MB. On top of that, the ToC is not hyperlinked. ERBA is $4.99 in PDF.

Ah well. Maybe I'll have better luck next time.

Remember, all purchases using The Tavern's RPGNow affiliate links puts 5% of your purchase price into The Tavern's coffers. Don't leave that money on the table for the greedy corps! Tip your barman!  ;)

Comic - Corpus Christie and the Cape Girls TPB - Normally $4.99, On Sale for $0.25 Thru the Weekend


When I posted about the Aegis Publishing 70% off sale yesterday, I missed that the Corpus Christie and the Cape Girls TPB is on sale for 25 cents (normally $4.99).

I don't read much in the way of comics these days, but for a quarter I figured I could take the plunge. I'm very happy that I did. I'm far from through all 115 pages, but what I've read so far makes it worth the price of full entry, let alone 25 cents.

Enjoy :)

Remember, all purchases using The Tavern's RPGNow affiliate links puts 5% of your purchase price into The Tavern's coffers. Don't leave that money on the table for the greedy corps! Tip your barman!  ;)
The Corpus Christie and the Cape Girls TPB follows the zany adventures of Corpus Christie (a girl who is so goth she's actually dead) and her two roommates: Squeak (a dominatrix with a speech impediment) and Purple (a portly dorky goth with serious magical mojo). 
When the trio decides to visit the coffee shop to ward off the evening's ennui, they come across a jock named Brad whose crush on Christie leads him to seek the aid of a voodoo wielding, zombie making pimp. Add to the chaos Brad's ax wielding jealous ex-girlfriend and it makes the perfect recipe for one hell of a bizarre night!

edit - fixed for proper discount link

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Aegis Studios - 70% off Sale - Stock Art and More!

$0.45 for 12 images
+Denis McCarthy pointed out on his his Northport Blog that Aegis Studios is running a huge 70% off sale, not just on games and gaming material but stock art too.

The stock art happens to have been done by Denis who is an excellent Old School artist.

At 70% off, you simply can't go wrong.

You can grab Denis' art here and browse the rest of the Aegis Studios catalogue here.

Goodman Games adds 3rd Party Publishers to it's Online Store

Want one stop shopping for your DCC RPG gaming?

Well, look no further. Goodman Games has got it.

Actually, the store is a joy to look at. Ease of use? I'm still knocking it around but I like what I see.

Some of the 3rd party product is not in stock yet sadly, but I assume that has to do with the logistics of the 3rd Party Publisher part of the store just going live.

Disclaimer - I have no affiliation with Goodman Games. I get no monies if you shop at their online store. I share this because it is news and the DCC RPG adventures are some of the best written adventures for ANY RPG system. Period.

Most of the first page

Press Release Weekly - A Collection of Non TableTop RPG Press Releases - September 29, 2016

I get a bunch of press releases sent to me that aren't TableTop RPG related. Instead of sitting on these myself, I figure I'll share them once a week. You never know, you might find something applies to you. If not, they are often entertaining unto themselves.

Some actually bother to address it to me, others? Too lazy ;)

What follows is from the past week or so...

Hello,

CON MAN: THE GAME, based on the wildly successful Con Man series and $3.2 million record-breaking Indiegogo campaign has a new major update which includes new levels, a new campaign manager office and lots of collectibles both from the Con Man world with items such as a bottle of Jack Moore's (NATHAN FILLION) sweat and Jerry Landing's (NOLAN NORTH) mocap suit and borrowed from "real life" beloved sci-fi such as the "Brown-ish Jacket", an homage to Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk's beloved Firefly series.

Want to review the game or talk to Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Felicia Day, or Nolan North? Let us know!

Now available for review on iOS here: http://apple.co/2bHvqt6
Now available on Google Play for review here: http://bit.ly/2bxYcvG

Thanks,
Honey

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CON MAN: THE GAME
 has released new information about a major game update coming out today. In addition to the hilarious and addictive gameplay already highly rated oniOS and Google Play, a new convention manager’s office and nerdy collectibles have been added to the game to give players even more to enjoy!

Collectibles can be acquired through acquiring con bags and completing certain tasks. Items that you can digitally collect include things such as Jack Moore’s (Nathan Fillion) bottle of sweat, Wray Nerely’s (Alan Tudyk) action figure, Jerry Lansing’s (Nolan North) mocap suit, and even a Brown”ish” Jacket in homage to one of Fillion and Tudyk’s most beloved shows. Each collectible belongs to a series group and once all in that group has been collected, a special convention buff will unlock. All collectibles will be displayed in special cases in the manager’s office.

The convention Manager’s Office will be the place where players can admire their collection as well as monitor their progression towards certain rewards and buffs. The office will be staffed by an animated Wray Nerely.

For more information, click here: https://honeyhamilton.prezly.com/con-man-the-game-reveals-new-con-managers-office-and-in-game-collectibles



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Con Man the Game - Full Trailer

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Contact

Honey Hamilton
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Hi Erik, I'm writing to give you an early look at the Gametober announcement Newegg will make later today. In addition to offering great deals for video game enthusiasts the entire month of October, Newegg is teaming up with Intel and WD to offer customers a shot at two sweepstakes with big prizes.

The full press release is pasted below. There's no embargo on the news - feel free to share/publish if you wish.

Thanks, and best regards,

John Snedigar
PR for Newegg

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Newegg Unveils Plans for 2016 Gametober™ Initiative

Company to Offer Great Deals, Exciting Sweepstakes During the Month of October

September 28, 2016 – Los Angeles, CA – Newegg, the top tech-focused e-retailer in North America, is celebrating this year’s Gametober™ with great deals on the latest gaming gear, and a pair of sweepstakes with prizes tailor-made for video game enthusiasts. Each October gamers await the release of new titles and video game accessories as publishers and vendors prepare for the holiday rush. This year, with gaming popularity fueled by the rise of virtual reality (VR) and eSports, Newegg will be the best place to find everything gamers need.

“PC gaming is on the rise this year as VR and Pro gamers take center stage. This Gametober, Newegg will be the place for everyone to join the fun. We have the right equipment at great prices,” said Merle McIntosh, Newegg SVP of Sales & Marketing.

Newegg will kick-off Gametober October 1 with a 72-hour flash sale with deep discounts on video game accessories across all categories, from gaming laptops to components, and everything in between. Also during Gametober, Newegg will partner with some of the biggest names in tech – including Asus, Intel, MSI and Nvidia – to offer exclusive deals.

In addition to great deals on gaming products, customers who shop Gametober will have the opportunity to enter two sweepstakes:

- Newegg and Intel’s GEARUP4VR Giveaway features a trio of prizes with HTC Vive VR headsets matched with three different VR-ready PCs, including a $5K custom-built ABS gaming PC, an MSI VR-ready laptop, and a budget-friendly ABS VR-ready desktop.

- The WD Store-N-Go Sweepstakes gives customers the chance to win great prizes, including a 2016 Vespa Primavera 150, an ultimate ABS gaming PC with more than 12TB of WD storage valued at over $5K, and an 8TB WD personal NAS storage system.

For more information about Newegg’s Gametober sweepstakes, visit http://www.newegg.com/gametober. And visit www.newegg.com regularly throughout the month of October to stay up to date on Newegg’s Gametober deals and promotions.

About Newegg Inc.
Newegg Inc. is the leading electronics-focused e-retailer in the United States. It owns and operates Newegg.com (http://www.newegg.com) which was founded in 2001 and regularly earns industry-leading customer service ratings. The award-winning website has more than 28 million registered users and offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest consumer electronics products, detailed product descriptions and images, as well as how-to information and customer reviews. Using the site's online tech community, customers have the opportunity to interact with other computer, gaming and consumer electronics enthusiasts. Newegg Inc. is headquartered in City of Industry, California. The Newegg Hybrid Centers are located in City of Industry, CA and Richmond Hill, Ontario.
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Hi Erik,

The morning after the first Clinton/Trump debate next week, political junkies will be able to download Instant Regret ‘He Said/She Said’ Election 2016 – a free, fill-in-the-blank, interactive multiplayer word game from Blue Loop LLC that lets players skewer the candidates with wisecracking wordplay based on the nominees’ own sound bites.

Players simply complete sentences like Clinton’s “We all know the story, but we usually focus on ____________” or Trump’s “We are going to win _____________ and make America great again,” in the cleverest way they can – the more outrageous, cheeky or gut-splitting, the better.

Each game can accommodate 4 to 11 participating friends or strangers. One player is assigned to anonymously judge each round. Once that round’s winner is announced, play proceeds to the next round with a new judge. The first player to win 7 points wins the game.

I can send you a press release and sample questions, and also arrange a sneak peek.

Thanks!
Jim

Jim Capalbo
Account Supervisor

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Hi  –
Ever wanted to know what it was like to be inside of a video game? I want to invite you – or someone from your team - to join us to experience NYC’sFirst Interactive Urban Orchard with Ashley Tisdale hosted by King (makers of the popular Candy Crush franchise) on Wednesday, September 21 at Madison Square Park from 9am to 11am.
To give you an idea of what the event will be like – we have created an interactive orchard that will be smack dab in the middle of Madison Square Park. See below for a mockup of the space, where consumers will be able to go inside for a truly unique multisensory experience that brings to life the new King game (teaser: there will be wind, a match-four game and delicious orchard treats).
We’ll be kicking off the installation with farm-to-table breakfast items for media. And the dome will be open to the public on September 21 and September 22, so you’ll want to get the word out to your readers :)
Let me know if you’re able to come and check out the oh-so-instagrammable installation to kick off fall and apple picking season.
-Rashidah


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King, the creator of the hit game franchise Candy Crush, will bring to life the “bigger is better” world of the latest installment of Farm Heroes mobile game franchise in a unique, multisensory pop-up

WHAT: The Big Apple has indeed arrived in the Big Apple, in the form of a larger-than-life apple Super Cropsie dome in Madison Square Park!

To usher in the first day of autumn (and the always-Instagrammed apple picking season) and to celebrate the launch of Farm Heroes Super Saga,  Ashley Tisdale and King invite media  to immerse themselves in a multisensory apple orchard without even having to leave the city!

Once inside this Urban Orchard, you’ll be transported away from the hustle and bustle of NYC and into the “bigger is better” world of Farm Heroes Super Saga. You’ll be delighted by playful, experiences that highlight the core ‘Power of Four’ game mechanics of the new game and that will delight all the senses. Glowing Cropsies will hang from a central tree and can be plucked and hugged to trigger a Super Cropsie moment that will allow attendees to discover the exciting aspects and designs of the new game.

Media are invited to enjoy breakfast, an overview of the features of the new game, and explore the orchard before it opens to the public at 12 p.m.

WHEN:           Wednesday, September 21, 2016
                        Media check in begins at 8:30 a.m.; breakfast served until 9 a.m.

WHERE:         Madison Square Park, 23rd St., between Broadway and Madison, New York, NY

Please RSVP to Rashidaht@



Mbooth
RASHIDAH TIMOTHY | Manager, Media Relations