Blog Archives

Specimadness!

By now you’ve probably heard about Specimen, our board game which pits a space freighter crew against a genetically modified super-monster. If you haven’t: it’s a two-player game, and one of the twists is that the monster changes with each game because players can custom-build their “specimen” from over 20 different attributes.

As we were playtesting and demo-ing the game around the Midwest, people would ask if we were going to make Specimen into a movie. Never say never, we said, though it’s probably a long way off. But we got to thinking: how would such a movie play out? With so many different possible monsters, which one would we feature? Would the crew survive? How many? Would we follow the tried-and-true “final girl” model of so many horror films and watch Whitaker become the last person standing?

We decided that the way to find the answers to those questions was to let the game decide. So we assembled seven of the best Specimen players we know, ranked them and built brackets. We invited some of our cast members to participate, as well as some of our more outstanding playtesters. The last two players’ game would determine the official, canonical sequence of events in the world of Specimen. Whenever possible, we’ve been playing these games at Geek Bar Beta in Chicago.

Here are the brackets for the first round, which we played last week. Eric Van Tassell was given a bye in the first round, for no real reason other than an eighth player wasn’t available.

tourney_bracket

 

The first round is now complete. We had three really good games. Only one of the top seeds advanced. In the first game, Jodi Brown (playing the Specimen) narrowly defeated Alex Hunt. The second game saw Amy Hopkins (playing the Specimen) win on the fifteenth and final turn by blowing up the ship against Lonnie Harris. The last game had Ele Matelan (playing the Crew) defeating Alan Vuchichevich’s collapsible spine Specimen.

We’re now ready for Round Two. Here’s the bracket as it stands (and yes, we’re about a week behind):

 

tourney_bracket_b

 

What do you think will happen? Send your predictions to podcast@toxicbag.com.

New film project: Capt. Tyler’s Ex!

Captain Tyler's Ex poster

Workplace romances can be challenging. But when your workplace has been invaded by a violent and predatory creature from a genetics lab, it’s downright impossible.

In “Captain Tyler’s Ex,” the new romantic comedy from Toxic Bag Productions, Science Officer Franklin (Eric Van Tassell) and Navigator Whitaker (Ele Matelan) try to keep their relationship on track while being hunted down by the mysterious Specimen. The fact that one of them used to date Captain Tyler (Steve Baldwin) just makes matters worse. Also starring Alan Vuchichevich and Carly Joy as Engineers Booth and Douglas, a working couple with challenges of their own. Co-starring Leena Kurishingal (Gibson), Eric Neal (Palance).

Written and directed by Steve Baldwin and set in the world of Specimen, “Captain Tyler’s Ex” will begin filming in August 2015, with a direct-to-DVD release planned for Valentine’s Day 2016.

Wayne Foundation Charity Bundle

This week, we’re taking part in the 4th annual Wayne Foundation Charity bundle on DriveThruRPG. You can get $240 worth of RPG stuff for $20, including several Toxic Bag products. Proceeds go the Wayne Foundation.

“The Wayne Foundation is committed to spreading awareness of CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children) and DMST (Domestic Minor Sexual Trafficking) occurring within the United States. Our organization is survivor led. Our goal is to provide young women in the United States who have fallen victim to DMST with a means of leaving the sex industry for good by providing a safe home environment with rehabilitation services.”

From the DriveThru page:

On  sale  June  22   through  June  29,  exclusively  through  DriveThruRPG,  this  bundle  offers  over  $240  worth  of  RPG   products,  fiction  and  artwork  for  just  $20!    You’ll  be  paying  just  under  9%  of  the  total  retail  value,   and  every  cent  of  profit  made  from  the  sale  of  this  bundle  goes  directly  to  The  Wayne  Foundation   –  a  501(c)(3)  charitable  organization.  The  Wayne  Foundation  is  committed  to  spreading  awareness  of  CSEC  (Commercial  Sexual   Exploitation  of  Children)  and  building  a  rehabilitation  facility  for  victims  DMST  (Domestic  Minor   Sexual  Trafficking).

They’re  working  hard  to  get  child  sex  workers  the  help  they  deserve  to  live   normal  lives.  What  do  you  get  for  your  $20?  You  get  all  of  these  products  listed  below  (in  no  particular  order),   and  more!  Visit  tiny.cc/TWF-RPG  to  purchase  the  bundle!

Here’s  what  you’ll  be  getting!

• Melior  Via  –  Hope  Prep,  Accursed,  Universal  Space  Combat  Battle  Map

• Evil  Hat  Productions  –  Don’t  Read  This  Book

• Imperfekt  Games  –  Invulnerable  –  Super  Hero  RPG:  Vigilante  Edition

• Mount  Zion  Press  –  All  for  me  Grog

• Ennead  Games  –  Campign  Chunk,  Cult  Name,  Fantasy  Feats  IV

• Mithril  and  Mages  –  Three  different  Name  Spaces

• Rocks  Falls  Games  LLC  –  Dungeons  by  the  Level,  2  Studies  of  Decay,    2  Adventures  in   Awesfur

• Toxic  Bag Productions  –  Battles  of  the  Zombie  Apocalypse,  Ghosts  in  the  Graveyard,  Horror  Soundpack,   Fantasy  Dragons

• Steve  Keller  –  Generala

• Wargaming  Recon  Podcasts  –  a  few  hand  picked  episodes

• Brent  P.  Newhall’s  Musaeum  –  Murderhobos,  Mystery  of  the  Shattered  World

• Crooked  Staff  Publishing  –  Megadungeon  Level  1  Map  Pack

• Critical  Hits  Studios  –  Criminals  Print  and  Play

• Zero  Point  Information  –  Aeternal  Legends

• Cumberland  Games  –  Risus:  A  Kringle  in  Time,  Sparks:  Dan  Smith  Stockpile,  HexPaper,   Points  in  Space  1:  Starport  Locations,  Uresia:  Grave  of  Heaven  and  Caravel

• Ashe  Rhder  –  Black  Briar,  Sounding  Fury,  Sunburn  (Original  Art)

• Dilly  Green  Bean  Games  –  Ka-­‐Pookie  Theater

• Eric  Orchard  –  Marrowbones  Double  Issue

• Khairul  Hisham  –  Four  pieces  of  original  RPG  Artwork

• Troll  in  the  Corner  –  Various  and  sundry  RPGs,  expansions,  Print  and  Play  games  and   Fiction

• Soap  Box  Productions  –  Lost  on  the  Road,  Train  Ride  into  Darkness

• FableForge  –  Enter  the  Shadowside,  Greater  Thelema  Society,  SCaV3NG3R

• Studio187  –  Rogue  Chess  Decks  1  &  2

Specimen Print on Demand Cards!

Steve with cards

The captain and his card.

We’re tremendously excited to announce that we’ve set up all 122 cards for the game as a Print-on-Demand product, available from DriveThruRPG.com. Now instead of printing out, cutting out and pasting together all those cards, you can have a professionally printed deck delivered straight to your mailbox (You will still need to print out and assemble the map, counters and screen, but this does save you an awful lot of work).

The Print-on-Demand decks cost $9.99 + shipping. The Specimen print and play download costs $9.99 from Drivethru and $9.00 from Toxicbag.com.

 

Attribute deck

25 attribute cards

Character cards

7 Character cards

Crew deck

45 Crew strategy cards

Monster deck

45 Monster strategy cards

Print-on-Demand card set from DriveThruRPG

Print-on-Demand card set from DriveThruRPG

Game Masters iPad app update

We’re pleased to announce that version 2.3 of our Game Masters Collection app for the iPad is now available at the Apple Store.  The new version includes in-app purchase access to several of our recent soundpacks, including:

 

Eldritch Horror: Cult Ceremonies is a collection of 9 different mystical cult ceremonies. Now you can let your players hear that pesky cult eagerly summoning their icky dark lord to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting world.

Fantasy: Dragons: a collection of 20 growls, hisses, roars and breath attacks. Now you can let your players hear one of the most iconic creatures of the fantasy genre!

Fantasy: Traps: a collection of eleven sinister traps for you to install into you perilous fantasy campaigns.

Horror #2 – EVP: Electronic Voice Phenomena. These mysterious recordings are believed by some to represent the voices of the dead. Now Toxic Bag introduces a collection of creepy EVP phrases for you to use in your modern horror game.

Sci-Fi: Blasters & Deflector Shields: a collection of 16 energy weapons and shields for you to equip your party as they enter your Galactic Sci-Fi Operas.

 

Changes and fixes –
Optimized for iOS 7.
Changed the iPhone main view to a tableview menu.
Fixed scrubber to resize properly after rotating.
Resized main tableview icons to line up the text.
Cleaned up the startup screens.
Cleaned up actions when app goes into background.
Added a microphone access request for iOS 7 devices.

 

The Game Masters app is a free download; additional sounds are available via in-app purchase.

New Podcast: Zombies and more Zombies!

Be sure to check out our new podcast, where we talk about our new Zombie stuff, announce the new Specimen game board design, and discuss the new crop of horror TV shows for the fall.

Like the podcast and want to always be up to date? You can grab the RSS Feed here!

New sounds: Drones and Atmospherics

We have a new soundpack! Drones and Atmospherics Volume One consists of two six-minute ambient drone sounds that GMs can use to underscore unsettling, creepy or otherwise dramatic scenes in their adventures. You can hear and download our new drones at toxicbag.com or drivethrurpg.com.

A blasted heath. An alien planet. Cyberspace. A distant moon orbiting a dead world. The End of Time.

Sometimes you don’t need a specific ambience. Sometimes you just want there to be something…ambient. A background, an atmosphere, a drone.

Whether you’re running a horror campaign, sci-fi opera, fantasy epic or anything in between, the Drones and Atmospherics series gives you a variety of creepy, mysterious sounds to underscore your most unsettling locations.  Each drone is six minutes long. We’ve given them names, because “Drone 1” and “Drone 2” wouldn’t be very evocative. But don’t just take our titles as gospel – use them for whatever you like!

Drones & Atmospherics Volume One includes two six-minute creepy mood-setting drones.

Haunted Drone: an electronic hum supports random bursts of mystic energy that drift back and forth across an unearthly abyss.

The Ruins Drone: A wasted land? A devastated planet? The slow song of a dead people drifts across the shattered sky.

Drones and Atmospherics I cover

Game Masters Collection CD Clearance

Have you been wanting to pick up our critically-acclaimed Game Masters Collection sound effects for role playing, but couldn’t quite scare up the extra dough? We feel your pain, and due to tight space in our warehouse you’re in luck. We’ve got a limited supply of Game Masters (and BATTLES) compact discs left in stock, and we’re blowing them out at $1.50 per disc. The Game Masters Complete Collection –over 200 sounds on 4 CDs– is available for $5.00! While supplies last; we won’t be re-pressing these CDs, so get them while you can!

Game Masters Complete Collection

Volume One: The Twentieth Century CD: $1.50
Volume Two: Monsters CD: $1.50
Volume Three: Fantasy CD: $1.50
Volume Four: Strange Places CD: $1.50
The Game Masters Complete Collection 4-CD set: $5.00

“Are you one of those DMs who can mimic a fabulous array of voices and make convincing sound effects during the game? Me, neither. For those of us with a limited vocal range, Toxic Bag Productions has come to the rescue with a series of sound effects for your roleplaying campaign.”
–Dragon #284

“The discs feed the imagination by providing the auditory equivalent of flavor text, those long passages of description found in almost every Dungeons & Dragons module. The Game Masters Collection …provide[s] GMs with just the right sound for just the right moment. Diehard game masters…are going to love this collection.” –Kenneth Newquist, Scifi.com

“A pretty creepy collection…made the hair on my neck stand on end…a must have!” –Brian’s Small Press Picks, Knights of the Dinner Table

Battles front cover

Battles CD: $1.50

“While I’ve obviously never been in the middle of a sword and sorcery melee or a Civil War battle, [BATTLES] sounds pretty much like I imagine it would.” –Kenneth Newquist, Nuketown

“One of the best…BATTLES is a top notch game aid. This one CD has so many uses, it’s really a shame not to own it.” –Brian’s Small Press Picks, Knights of the Dinner Table

“…all the war ambience you need.” –Sorting the Loot, Nodwick

*prices apply to physical CDs only. Downloads are still at the regular price.

Xmas in July sale at DriveThruRPG

Time for a sale! This week, Toxic Bag products at DrivethruRPG will be 25% off!

The 2012 X-Mas in July Sale at DrivethruRPG will start 7/23 at 10am and run until 7/30 at 10am.

Specimen Photo Shoot!

Last weekend we had a nine-hour photo shoot to capture images for the cards in Specimen. We shot over 90 setups and took 3500 pictures. We’ll spend the next few weeks editing them into all the cards and promo materials. Thanks to our behind the scenes crew: Jill Vanc, Jodi Brown and Phil Freeman.

And now, we present the crew of the TCS Brown: Carly Joy, Steve Baldwin, Eric Neal, Eric Van Tassell, Ele Matelan, Alan Vuchichevich and Leena Kurishingal!

L-R: Carly Joy, Steve Baldwin, Eric Neal, Eric Van Tassell, Ele Matelan, Alan Vuchichevich, Leena Kurishingal

%d bloggers like this: