Welcome back to Gaming Shelf, io9's column all about board games and tabletop roleplaying games. This week, everything changes when the fire nation rolls for initiative, Magic: The Gathering celebrates Black History Month, and Games Workshop figures out another way to ease you into the worlds of Warhammer.
The world of Avatar is no stranger to board games, but now you’ll be able to create a bender of your own thanks to a new team-up between ViacomCBS and Magpie Games. Kicking off with a core rulebook in February 2022, and designed using the Apocalypse World system and with development lead by Scion’s James Mendez Hodes, the game will let players fight the Triple Threat Triad, negotiate peace between disputed territories, or venture into the spirit world. The base system will see a Korra-inspired Republic City sourcebook release in summer 2022, followed by a Spirit World-themed one in February 2023.
Magic: The Gathering’s special “Secret Lair” drops let players get their hands on all sorts of unique, rare collectible cards, with brand new artwork. The latest release, in celebration of Black History Month, sees Black artists transform seven cards from the game—including the already-revealed Shalai, Voice of Plenty and Ponder—with brand new art around the themes of the Black experience, in the borderless Magic card format. The drop goes live February 22, with a standard set costing $40 and the foil variant set costing $50—proceeds from which will go to Black Girls CODE.
As if Games Workshop wasn’t already hammering you with enough models to drain a tabletop gamer’s bank account, this week the company announced three new boxed-game variants of some of its standard skirmish games designed to onboard new players into the worlds of Age of Sigmar and Warhammer: 40,000. Containing basic push-fit miniatures, rules, dice, and other parts to play short and sharp tactics games, for Age of Sigmar there are the forces of Chaos clashing in Bladeborn (inspired by GW’s Warcry specialty game). For Warhammer: 40,000, there’s Space Marine Adventures: Doomsday Countdown and the Kill Team-inspired Necrons vs Space Marine skirmish game Fireteam. All three boxed games will be out later this year.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Fantasy Flight Games has announced a potential postponement and complete cancellation of its World Championship and Organized Play events for its series of Star Wars miniatures games and the Keyforge card game. World Championship series for X-Wing, Armada, Legion, and Keyforge will now take place in 2022, while Fantasy Flight states that it is looking to smaller Organized Play events potentially beginning again in late 2021 and early 2022. “Of course, keep in mind that all of this is dependent on the timely and widespread distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine,” the publisher’s statement reads in part. “If the state of the pandemic has not significantly improved by late summer, there is a good chance we will have to push off reopening events until spring 2022.”
A card game might seem like the last of things you’d expect Netflix and Sanrio’s rageful admin red panda Retsuko to get turned into, but that’s exactly what’s happening for Aggrestsuko: Work/Rage Balance, where 3-6 players have to try and get through their workload at the office without dipping into a rage overload. The first person to finish their work gets to end their day, leaving the rest of their office mates to tot up just how much overtime they now owe the company...oops. Work/Rage Balance is set to come out in spring for $20.
Note: The covid-19 pandemic has impacted board game production. We strongly advise you check with crowdfunding developers about possible delays, but don’t let that dissuade you from supporting these campaigns.
A cyberpunk TTRPG set in the far-flung future of 2119, Gaia Complex casts players as freewheeling cybernetically enhanced mercs fighting back against the corporate overlords that have a stranglehold on human civilization in the wake of a third world war. Also, there’s vampires? Sadly you can’t play as them though. The Kickstarter runs until March 2, and a $20 pledge will get you a digital PDF of the core rulebook, containing episodic fiction and game mechanics, while around $50 will get you a physical hardback release.
Kickstarter’s third annual Zine Quest initiative is celebrating the world of RPG zines—campaigns that bring their roleplaying pitches to life through illustrated artbooks and zines to draw players into their world. There are hundreds and hundreds of potential zines to look at. Want an explicitly anti-fascist sci-fantasy space opera that takes place in a world that’s a lot like some kind of War in the Stars? Try Rebel Scum. A game about trans people deciding to become liches while they wait for equitable healthcare access? Lichcraft, baby! What about a comedy RPG where players portray supernatural creatures trying to masquerade living in modern society á la What We Do In the Shadows? Low Stakes is right there and waiting.
Maybe you’re fresh off a run-through of Control or you’ve been a lifelong fan of weird internet archival creepypasta—now you can live it with an RPG series inspired by the collaborative-fiction weirdness that is the SCP Foundation. Letting gamemasters build their own supernatural world inspired by the strange objects hidden within the SCP vaults, SCP: The Tabletop RPG promises a frills-free, mechanic-driven approach to worldbuilding that lets players and gamemaster alike surprise each other and wrestle control of the stories being told. It will cost you $15 before February 21 for a digital copy of the ruleset, while $50 will net you the physical release.
Free League Publishing is reviving its beloved Lord of the Rings roleplaying game for its first new edition since 2011, designed by Francesco Nepitello. A new release that is set in the twilight of the Third Age, as Sauron’s return nears, the updated hardback will include streamlined and updated rules changes based on nearly a decade of player feedback, as well as an aesthetic overhaul of the book that will no doubt make it look as lavish as Free League’s other hit RPGs like Tales from the Loop and the Alien RPG. No details on backer tiers are available yet, but fans can sign up to be notified when the campaign begins on February 11.
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