Welcome back to Gaming Shelf, io9’s regular column all about the fantastic world of board games and tabletop roleplaying games—focusing on sci-fi and fantasy, of course. This time around we’ve got some exciting announcements in the worlds of Altered Carbon and Magic: The Gathering, as well as a Kickstarter for a story expansion to the board game edition of the classic video game The 7th Guest. Yes, you heard that right.
News and Releases
Hunters Entertainment announced that it’s teaming up with Skydance Media to create a series of tabletop roleplaying games set in the world of Netflix’s Altered Carbon, based on the novels of Richard K. Morgan. The roleplaying games will tie directly into the second season of the cyberpunk series—which will star Anthony Mackie (The Avengers), who has replaced Suicide Squad’s Joel Kinnaman as the lead character, Takeshi Kovacs. Hunters Entertainment plans to hold a crowdfunding campaign for the core manual sometime this year, with plans to release both its print and digital versions in 2020.
Abomination: The Heir of Frankenstein
Against his wishes, Victor Frankenstein’s work isn’t over yet. Plaid Hat Games has announced Abomination, a new strategic worker placement game set 20 years after the events of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Players work as scientists to construct a new companion for Frankenstein’s Monster…before he’s killed by a man who promised Frankenstein he’d put an end to his creation. Players can use any trick in their arsenal to complete their task: lie, bribe, exhume, even kill. Anything is possible when you’re creating life. Abomination is currently available for preorder at $60, and should be out this summer.
Masters of Umdaar
Evil Hat Productions has released Masters of Umdaar, a roleplaying game from Dave Joria, part of the Fate Worlds series. Players inhabit the fallen world of Umdaar, which is complete with fierce fighters, cyborg insects, and “lots and lots of lasers.” The game is described as a “retro tribute” to classic sci-fi works like John Carter of Mars, Flash Gordon, and Thundercats. It’s designed to be picked up and played quickly, and has a ready-to-go-adventure campaign to get things started, called “The Starblades of Su’ul.” Masters of Umdaar is currently available on DriveThuRPG as pay-what-you-want (suggested minimum is $4) and requires the Fate Accelerated Edition system to play.
Rick and Morty: Look Who’s Purging Now
Cryptozoic and Cartoon Netflix have announced the release date of the newest Rick and Morty card game, Look Who’s Purging Now. The game is based on a season two episode from the hit animated series. Much like the card game War, players will simultaneously reveal their cards—in this case, weapon cards—to see who gets more kills during the annual “Festival.” Each character also comes with a couple unique weapon cards to hopefully give them an edge. Rick and Morty: Look Who’s Purging Now comes out April 17 and will cost $15.
Hellboy: The Board Game
The movie might be tanking at the box office, but Hellboy is still one cool customer. Mantic Games is now taking pre-orders for Hellboy: The Board Game, which comes out on April 19. In the game, players become members of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, investigating occult threats and fighting scary bosses. The normal game is about $98, but there’s also a collector’s edition for almost $200 that includes all the Kickstarter bonuses…as well as a ticket to watch the new Hellboy movie at a private screening at the Savoy Cinema in Nottingham. But given how the movie’s doing, that might not be the most tempting offer.
Ravnica: War of the Spark (Magic: The Gathering)
Wizards of the Coast has released a trailer for its latest Magic: The Gathering expansion, Ravnica: War of the Spark. As reported by our friends at Kotaku, the expansion features Magic’s largest collection of Planeswalker cards to date. It’s a controversial move, one that will definitely change the game for many players. Time will tell whether it was the right call. But at least this trailer looks awesome. Ravnica: War of the Spark comes out April 25.
Dvergar Warriors (Ragnarok: Age of Wolves)
Skirmisher Publishing (as reported by Tabletop Gaming News) has released a new supplement for the tabletop miniatures game Ragnarok: Age of Wolves called Dvergar Warriors. The expansion focuses on the Dwarves of the Mystic North, which includes “seven sets of creature statistics that can be used together to form a complete new faction.” It includes a book and a set of Dwarf Soldiery Cardstock Characters miniatures.
Shoretroopers (Star Wars: Legion)
Star Wars: Legion continues to grow its arsenal with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s awesome Imperial Shoretroopers. The expansion set comes with seven unique Shoretrooper miniatures—one of which comes with a T-21B targeting rifle, which is designed for long range. The expansion is available for preorder and should be coming out by summer 2019.
Planet of the Apes: The Miniatures Games
Planet of the Apes has had a revival with the latest trilogy, starring Andy Serkis as Caesar. But it’s also a beloved classic series with decades of history and legacy. So, it makes sense that the franchise would become not one—but two—distinct board games. WYSIWY Games has launched a Kickstarter seeking to fund two Planet of the Apes games.
The first is War for the Planet of the Apes, based on the new series, which is a cooperative action adventure board game as you take on the role of apes as you battle the soldiers who are trying to invade your home in the Muir Wood Forest. The other, Planet of the Apes: Origins, is based on the original series. It’s a board game with four scenarios, as you play astronauts who’ve landed on a literal Planet of the Apes and must fight to survive.
Both games will be on the same Kickstarter through May 26. It costs a minimum of $90 to fund Origins, and $110 to fund War for the Planet of the Apes. Anyone wishing to fund both games will have to pledge a minimum of $190. The game is expected to ship out in June 2020.
Creator Ryan Laukat has announced his latest fantasy adventure. Taking place in the land of Arzium (the same location as games like Above and Below, Near and Far, Islebound, and City of Iron), Roam players take on the role of adventurers who are seeking to find and revive other adventurers…who’ve all fallen prey to a sleeping sickness that caused them to wander out into the wilderness and pass out. And the more people you gather to your side, the easier it is to find and help others. Roam will be on Kickstarter through April 23, and the minimum pledge for a copy is $22. The game is expected to ship in October or November, depending on the pledge tier.
Sundown Roleplaying Game
Grasswatch Games is currently fundraising for its first roleplaying game, Sundown. The game is described as a “low-tech science fantasy set in a transhumanist frontier”—in other words, a cool cyberpunk Western, one that centers around issues of “otherism, class, and colonialism.” The game features a diverse cast of characters, as well as a dyslexia-friendly campaign guide. It’s designed to be played in episodes, and each session should take about three to four hours. Sundown will be on Kickstarter through May 10, and the minimum pledge to receive a digital copy is $15. It’s set to come out this September.
Fairies: A Role Playing Game
I’m always a fan of roleplaying games that are designed to bring in a new audience. Fairies: A Role Playing Game is definitely for roleplaying fans looking for something fun and cute, while also just a bit terrifying. Players take on the role of fairies living on a fictional version of Earth. They’re small and generally nonviolent, but don’t be fooled: These fairies are some of the most powerful beings on the planet. The game is pretty flexible, letting players craft their own adventures, depending on how light or serious they want the story to be. This makes it a bit more accessible for kids, too. Fairies will be on Kickstarter through May 7. Minimum pledge for a digital copy is $10, and should be delivered in April 2020.
The Stauf Mysteries (The 7th Guest: The Board Game)
This is technically a Kickstarter for an expansion, but it’s one with quite a story—literally. The 7th Guest: The Board Game is designed to be a faithful recreation of the classic video game (one that was a personal favorite of mine growing up). But as creator Rob Landeros pointed out, the video game was a little light on story. This expansion is designed to change that. The Stauf Mysteries adds a new narrative experience to the game—with nine stories that are each their own self-contained mystery, but combine into one larger story about diabolical toymaker Henry Stauf and his creepy mansion.
The Stauf Mysteries will be on Kickstarter through May 8, and it requires The 7th Guest: The Board Game to play. Minimum pledge for just the expansion is $20, while it costs at least $70 for both the game and the new expansion. It’s expected to be delivered this December.
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