Welcome back to Gaming Shelf, io9's column all about board games and tabletop roleplaying games. I’m back at the wheel after several months of maternity leave, and I’m ready to dive back into the latest games and announcements. This time around, we’ve got an expansion for Marvel’s Villainous, more details about the hugely anticipated Skyrim board game, and a way to bring Dungeons & Dragons into the Land of Oz.
Loki fever continues with the first expansion for Ravensburger’s Marvel Villainous. The new entry to Marvel’s version of the Disney villain game adds Loki, Madame Masque, and M.O.D.O.K. to the pantheon of comic book baddies. And just like the other Villainous expansions, this one can be played as part of the larger game or by itself. Marvel Villainous: Mischief & Malice is currently available for preorder and it comes out on August 1.
WizKids has announced that the popular Ghosts of Saltmarsh expansion is getting its own board game, as part of the Dungeons & Dragons Adventure System. As reported by Dice Tower News, the 1-5 player game has players diving into the coastal village adventure with a series of standalone scenarios or an overarching campaign. However, the game does require at least one of the other standalone D&D Adventure System games to play. Ghosts of Saltmarsh is set to come out in August.
Dovahkin! Modiphius Entertainment has released new details about the upcoming Skyrim board game, set in the world of Elder Scrolls. According to a post, it will be a 1-4 player cooperative game where players take on the role of heroes exploring the cities, woods, and caves, fighting through Draugr tombs, exploring Dwemer ruins, or confronting powerful Daedra. And yes, of course, there will be dragons. The main game is divided into two campaigns, each of which has three chapters, and decisions made in each will affect subsequent ones, adding variety to the gameplay. Players can dive into the longer campaign or do one-shot adventures, and Modiphius promises “literally hundreds of hours of gameplay.” No expected release date has been announced, as Modiphius said it wants to take its time to get it right.
Fantasy Flight Games has announced a new board game set in the Arkham Horror Files universe. Unfathomable, which serves as a prequel to the events of Arkham Horror, puts 3-6 players on a steamship that is slowly being taken over by strange, otherworldly creatures called the Deep Ones. Players will either take on the role of humans struggling to survive the onslaught or “hybrids” who serve as undercover agents ready to strike the passengers. Unfathomable might be brand-new, but the gameplay will feel familiar to some folks. According to GeekDad, it uses similar mechanics to Fantasy Flight’s Battlestar Galactica game. It’s currently available to preorder for about $80 and no release date has been announced yet.
Following its successful Kickstarter campaign, the tabletop roleplaying game set in the world that inspired the video game Control is now available. SCP: The Tabletop Game takes the stories behind the Secure, Contain, Protect online writing project and expands them with standalone adventures or a longer campaign that players can build together within SCP’s creepypasta walls. SCP: The Tabletop Game is now available on DriveThruRPG for $25.
Wanting to try out roleplaying games but unsure how to do the whole storytelling part? The Oracle Story Generator is here to help fill in the gaps. Each themed deck comes with 60 cards that are used to build a story—players will pick Actors, Actions, Subjects, Intents, and Developments, and together those elements will create the latest plot development, twist, or other change in the narrative. Themes include Epic Adventures, Political Intrigue, Simple Sidequests, and more. The Oracle Story Generator will be on Kickstarter through July 8. The minimum pledge for a single digital deck is $10, while the complete box set goes for $70. It’s set to come out in June 2022.
Dorothy’s got magic now. Adventures in Oz from Double Critical is a campaign setting for 5e Dungeons & Dragons that takes place in the land of Oz. The two-volume sourcebook brings players into Oz with a string of new monsters, abilities, and classpaths. You can even be a Wicked Witch if you want, just make sure you avoid buckets of water. Adventures in Oz will be on Kickstarter through July 15. The minimum pledge for a digital copy is $45 while a print edition is $49. It’s set to come out in March 2022.
Forests of Pangaia is a strategy board game where players take on the role of spirits sent by Gaia to build a forest. Each spirit is tasked with growing one and can thrive by sticking to themselves, overtaking other lands, or collaborating with other spirits to increase biodiversity. Forests of Pangaia will be on Kickstarter through July 16. The minimum pledge for a copy is $59 and it’s set to come out in March 2022.
Curious to start your own pet shop? What if it were filled with creatures from another world? Alien Petshop is an engine-building game where 2-4 players manage their own intergalactic pet shops filled with cuddly (and sometimes terrifying) pets who all deserve a good home. Hopefully, you can finally find a spot for that abandoned Tamagotchi! Alien Petshop will be on Kickstarter through July 14. The minimum pledge for a copy is $39 and it’s set to come out in February 2022.
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