Welcome back to the Gaming Shelf, io9's roundup of tabletop gaming news, releases, updates, and cool crowdfunding campaigns —focusing on sci-fi and fantasy games, typically. These past couple of weeks were really big on miniatures games—from the new skirmish set for Kings of War to build-it-yourself mech suits on Tiny Epic Mechs. Here are some of the highlights we spotted for the week.
Pre-orders are now available for Mantic’s long-awaited Kings of War: Vanguard. Funded on Kickstarter last year, Vanguard is a two-player miniatures game set in the same fantasy universe as Kings of War—only this time, it’s a bit more accessible for newer players, meaning it’s smaller skirmishes instead of all-out war. They’re designed to be played as one-off missions, but Vanguard is also compatible with larger Kings of War games.
USAopoly’s latest Harry Potter universe board game, Fantastic Beasts: Perilous Pursuit, was pushed back from its expected August 2018 release date but is expected to come out soon. Players take on the role of Newt Scamander, Tina or Queenie Goldstein, or Jacob Kowalski, collecting sets of dice to help them return all the beasts to Newt’s suitcase before Muggles catch wind of them. When it’s released, it’ll cost just under $30.
Tiny Battle Publishing’s hidden strategy game Zombie War is currently available for pre-order. It’s a large-scale war game where, on the brink of the zombie apocalypse, players take on different societal roles to achieve objectives that are kept secret from the others. For example, you could be playing as corporations trying to protect trade centers (for their own interests), or as zombies looking to infect cities. Everybody is at risk of screwing the others over, and no one is safe. Zombie War is set to come out later this month.
For anyone wanting to add a little class to their RPG night, I came across this 3D-printed metal D20 di from Majestic Trinkets and fell in love. It’s expensive (almost $80), but it’s mathematically balanced to ensure fair gameplay. And it’s really really really pretty. The site has a bunch of other Gothic-style balanced dice, too, and they’re also all gorgeous.
As reported by The Gaming Gang, Ares Games’ Battlestar Galactica: Starship Battles and Lucky Duck’s VR-integrated Chronicles of Crime have both been given November release dates. In Starship Battles, players take on the roles of both Colonial and Cylon fighters to face off in dogfights and missions, reliving actual fight scenes from the TV show. Chronicles of Crime is a crime-solving board game with several missions; it integrates virtual reality using a mobile phone and the simple VR headset included in the game.
WizKids is adding a bunch of new elements to The Expanse board game, which includes the Protomolecule itself. Named after a season two episode, Doors and Corners contains five new modules that can be used and combined however players choose with the main game. Modules include: Leaders, New Tech, Resource Tokens, Variable Setup—and, of course, the legendary Protomolecule, which adds a new scoring opportunity. The expansion should be available in Feburary 2019.
The first expansion for Reiner Knizia’s The Quest for El Dorado adds (in addition to new suggested map set-ups) a really interesting risk and reward system to the game. As reported by Dice Tower News, players can add heroes and demons to the racing course, offering bonuses, familiars, and even shortcuts... but demons come with a price, meaning you can get badly cursed.
Hell yeah, Batman Ninja. Crytptozoid’s latest crossover pack centers around the Batman Ninja animated film, which came out earlier this year. The pack is compatible with DC Comics Deck-Building Game, Heroes Unite, Forever Evil, and Teen Titans. Players take on the role of feudal Japan-era Batman, Catwoman, Red Robin, Red Hood, and Nightwing, along with supervillains who combine to form a unique (and tough) challenge. As reported by Dice Tower News:
The Joker, The Penguin, Poison Ivy, Deathstroke and Two-Face are daimyos who battle from within giant castles that come to life. When the fifth Super-Villain has been defeated, the five castles merge to become one final monumental challenge. The card backs of the Super-Villains each form a portion of the giant merged castle, with The Joker’s head at the top (of course).
Remember how enjoyable school was any time your teacher let the class play games? That’s the strategy behind John Coveyou’s Genius Games, which aim to make science subjects like chemistry and biology more accessible. Periodic: A Game of The Elements is Coveyou’s latest creation, turning the periodic table into the game board and a strategic tool. Players try to maneuver across the board using what the game calls “periodic trends,” such as finding nearby elements with a continuously smaller atomic mass. But part of the game is also about discovering elements, although no actual chemistry takes place. Periodic: A Game of The Elements has already shattered its Kickstarter goal, but you can still contribute and pre-order the game until mid-October.
The latest game in the Tiny Epic series, Tiny Epic Mechs is an arena-style PvP game where players fight using constructed power armor and mech suits that they build around their characters—all of it being very tiny, of course. I’ve played other games in the franchise, like Tiny Epic Quest, and they’re a lot of fun. Just make sure you keep a close eye on the pieces, as they’re super small and easy to lose. Tiny Epic Mechs has already met its fundraising goal, and will be on Kickstarter through October 6.
The Forest Hymn & Picnic is a light-hearted role-playing game that takes inspiration from The Wind In The Willows, Winnie the Pooh, and the music of the Decemberists (okay, that last bit is a little strange). The game takes place in the Forest Hymn, where plays can take on the roles of animals, humans, or ghosts, “as they stumble upon trouble in the strange woods.” It looks like a fun and sweet-tempered role-playing game with a calming nature to it. I mean, come on, you can win a dance contest at the county fair. The Forest Hymn & Picnic is on Kickstarter through October 8.
Fireforge Games is launching a new range of fantasy models for war games or role-playing campaigns called Forgotten World. The company’s goal is to fund at least six different plastic boxed sets for the Forgotten World setting, starting with the Northmen and the Living Dead starter set. Fireforge is also working on the fantasy rules for Forgotten World, although the figures can be used for a variety of campaigns. Forgotten World will be on Kickstarter through October 20.
This is technically a family-friendly game (or at least 13+), but it’s dedicated to the friendly art of murder. In Kill Merlin!, players take on the role of wizards striving to unseat the famous wizard as the most-powerful magician in the land, as Merlin has become a jerk who hoards all the good magic and spell ingredients. Of course, being the best means competing with your fellow wizards, so be prepared for a ruthless battle for the title of “greatest mage in the land.” Kill Merlin! has already been fully funded, and will be on Kickstarter through October 18.