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12 Companies to Check Out: Gnome Stew Advertisers

The Stew makes money from advertising (which is split among all of the authors, and which we’re currently re-investing in a secret project), and since the economy tanked that revenue has all but dried up.

But just since the start of this month, the RPG ad network we’re part of has signed up 12 new advertisers. Advertising revenue is what keeps the lights on in our stew pot, and we know everyone has things they could be doing with their money instead of giving it to us.

There’s no side deal where we have to talk about their products — this article is my way of saying thank you to our advertisers by asking you, our readers, to take a peek at their websites. (And if I missed any new advertisers, my apologies — I get an email from our ad manager about most, but not all, folks who advertise with us.)

We turn away advertising we don’t think you’ll be interested in, like text ads for casinos, and we reject pop-up ads, interstitials, and other stuff that we think will annoy you.

The end result, we hope, is that sharp companies try to reach our sharp readers through our sharp blog. As always, we’d love to hear how that approach is working for our readers in the comments.

Gnovember’s Gnomish Patrons

Alex Cramer Dominoes [1]: I have to confess that Dominoes is one of my least favorite games ever, but I do know lots of folks who enjoy it — and these are some shmancy dominoes. They’re big and heavy, come in handmade wooden boxes, and have available engraving (for the boxes).

Castle Games Inc. [2]: Castle Games designed The Portable Galactic Empire [3], a space-themed card game of economics and exploration with an old-school vibe.

Corunea BATTLES [4]: CB is online card game that looks similar in some ways to Magic. The artwork is gorgeous, and from the screenshots the play space looks interesting. There’s frustratingly little info available about the game without registering (something my 0.0001% free time just can’t support right now!).

GUBS card game [5]: Gubs are weird little creatures that live in toadstools, and GUBS is a cute card game aimed at kids. It’s non-collectible, and the 72-card deck will run you $15.

Indie Press Revolution [6]: I’ve shopped at IPR before (a pleasant experience), and I like their focus: creator-published print RPGs. I particularly like the print + PDF bundles they offer for many products, and their vetting process does a good job of weeding out the chaff. There’s a LOT to see on IPR.

KIKO Games [7]: KIKO actually counts twice, since they’re advertising their first game, Whiskey Mountain Wars [8], as well. It’s a “RTTBRPSG,” which apparently stands for Real-Time Text-Based Role-Playing Strategy Game (and sounds like a MUD or MUSH to me). The parent company, KIKO Products, makes all sorts of non-gaming stuff, so all in all an interesting mix.

Miniature Market [9]: MM is my favorite place to buy D&D Miniatures — I’ve been shopping there for a couple of years, and I love their prices and service. An article I wrote last year, El Cheapo Miniatures for Fantasy PCs [10], talks about MM and using inexpensive minis to build up a collection of PCs and NPCs.

Q-Workshop [11]: You might balk at the price of their dice (about three times what most dice cost), but take a close look — they’re doing something no other dice manufacturer has ever done. Their dice are insanely detailed, gorgeous, roll well, and in my opinion are worth every penny. I own several sets, and always make a beeline for their booth at GenCon.

Sonic Legends [12]: These guys create “soundscapes,” a blend of music and background sound effects designed specifically as soundtracks for tabletop gaming. They offer single tracks (often quite long — 8:00 or more) for $3 as MP3 downloads, and provide samples. I’m impressed.

Spearpoint 1943 [13]: I’m not really a wargamer, but if I was, I’d be intrigued: Spearpoint 1943 aims to simulate front-line WWII combat in a way that’s accessible to newbies and veteran wargamers alike.

Super Genius Games [14]: SGG is Hyrum Savage, Stan!, and Owen K.C. Stephens, and they publish products for Call of Cthulhu, Savage Worlds, and Pathfinder/OGL. I like the atypical hook for Murder of Crows, one of their CoC scenarios: “Thousands of crows have taken roost in the woods surrounding Bethlehem, NH, mercilessly attacking anyone who tries to enter the forest.”

Twilight Sector [15]: TS is a space opera campaign setting (Trav-compatible) developed from an actual RPG campaign, which is something many of us which we could do but few of us actually follow through on. It features a carbon copy of Earth, Hitchhiker’s Guide-style, which actually sounds pretty cool.

11 Comments (Open | Close)

11 Comments To "12 Companies to Check Out: Gnome Stew Advertisers"

#1 Comment By Matthew J. Neagley On November 24, 2009 @ 5:55 am

If you click through to the Gubs site, you can get a free computer version of their game to try it out and see if it’s right for you and whoever you might be playing it with. I picked it up the other day and fiddled with it for a while.

#2 Comment By theeo123 On November 24, 2009 @ 5:58 am

First of Love Q-Workshops Dice, haven’t been able to afford many, But I have one set, and in the near future plan to take advantage of their customized/personal dice creation service, not many people know abut it, but for a price, about the same as their normal product’s you can send in your own artwork to have etched onto the dice.

Also wanted to inform you, I’m an Avid user of firefox and Ad-block plus. Gnome stew is one of the sites I have white-listed. Your ads are tasteful, relevant, and non-intrusive. And I always allow sites, that i wish to actually support. Know that you’ve done a good job keeping things tasteful and relevant

#3 Comment By Clawfoot On November 24, 2009 @ 6:57 am

Oh! I’m actually really glad you did this — we own a couple decks of Corunea, and I’d never have known it had an online version if you hadn’t mentioned it here. I’ll have to check that out. Thanks!

#4 Comment By Kurt “Telas” Schneider On November 24, 2009 @ 8:06 am

Martin probably won’t take credit for it, but the readers can be thankful for his vigilance on managing the ads. Some of them were incorrect, tacky, or downright wrong.

Dominoes can be used to create “dungeon walls” like a poor-man’s Dwarven Forge set.

And a second vote for Miniature Market for prices, selection, and ease of use. Despite the name, it’s really not a tiny little cluster of shops. 😉

#5 Comment By theeo123 On November 24, 2009 @ 8:21 am

[16] – Wow, cool idea on the Dominoes for Dungeon walls, I think I’ll try that with my next gaming sesion

#6 Comment By LordVreeg On November 24, 2009 @ 8:32 am

I actually appreciate this honest appeal.

My industry is full of BS and fake affiliate sites masquerading as actual expert advice, so I have an extremely adversarial relationship with ads and click-throughs,

However, this honest and transparent appeal easily convinces me to check out all 12.

and I think Sonic Legends may get some business from me. Nice call.

#7 Comment By Martin Ralya On November 24, 2009 @ 9:25 pm

[17] – I really appreciate that! There are a handful of sites whose advertising I care about, and in every case it’s the ones where someone has taken pains to keep their ads relevant (Penny Arcade, Geekdo).

I really wish we could afford to junk Google Ads entirely, but at the moment we can’t. Evony in particular isn’t my first choice for advertising, but the company deliberately makes it impossible to block their ads through Google.

[18] – …and I had no idea there was an offline version. 😉 How’s the gameplay?

[19] – That’s awesome to hear. 🙂 I try to be transparent about things on the Stew — we publish our site stats, have a plain and simple comment policy, etc.

If there’s ever anything readers are curious about, chances are I’d be happy to share. We don’t have many secrets. 😉

#8 Comment By Clawfoot On November 24, 2009 @ 10:29 pm

[20] – Complicated. There’s a manual, a quick guide, and a recommendation to follow a simplified tutorial on a website. We’ve only played a couple of times, so we haven’t got it down pat yet (there are a LOT of stages and a LOT of rules), and it’ll take a while to get up to full speed, I think. The main problems are that it’s expensive, and we bought two starter packs, which is a deck and two boosters, and we STILL could only just scrape together a couple of decks that were *functional,* let alone felt like they were built with purpose and with choices. With more choices, I think it’ll be a lot more fun, but as I said… expensive. And it’s hard to bring yourself to invest so much in a game you’re not entirely sure you’ll even like.

The artwork is gorgeous, however, and I think the potential for fun is high.

I’m excited to see the online version, though.

#9 Comment By Ed Healy On November 26, 2009 @ 3:26 am

[17] – As the guy that hunts down the ads, I’m very happy that you’re happy with them. If you have contact with any companies who make products you enjoy, feel free to point them my way. 🙂

#10 Comment By SonicLegends On November 26, 2009 @ 10:22 am

Thank you Martin, for including Sonic Legends in your list! We are so thrilled you like our soundscapes, and we hope your readers do too! 🙂

#11 Comment By Martin Ralya On November 29, 2009 @ 10:36 pm

[21] – The Stew would be a very different place without you. When I ran TT, I did my own ad management, and I hated it. It took time away from writing, and I frankly just wasn’t that good at it. Your efforts are greatly appreciated. 🙂

[22] – You’re most welcome! I’ll be visiting the next time I run a game and need to flesh out my background music.