Welcome back to Gaming Shelf, io9's column all about tabletop and roleplaying games. Gen Con 2019 brought us a bunch of exciting announcements for new and upcoming releases. We couldn’t possibly get through all of them, but here are some highlights!
Fantasy Flight Games is entering the Marvel Universe with Marvel Champions: The Card Game, a cooperative card game where players work together as Marvel heroes to stop some of the franchise’s most dangerous villains. The Core Set has over 350 cards and starts with five heroes: Captain Marvel, Iron Man, She-Hulk, Spider-Man, and Black Panther. And since it’s a Fantasy Flight game, many, many more cards are on the horizon. In fact, the company says there will be new expansions every month. The core set is available for preorder at about $60, and comes out later this fall.
The McElroys’ Dungeons & Dragons podcast-turned-graphic novel and nerdy phenomenon is now heading to the tabletop. Twogether Studios has announced it’s working with the McElroys on a tabletop game based on The Adventure Zone, a podcast that features the three brothers and their dad venturing through different D&D games, and has also inspired some fan-favorite characters and cosplay. No information or expected release date have been announced yet.
Star Trek and time travel—they’re kind of a package deal. So, it only makes sense that Looney Labs has taken on Star Trek in its latest version of Chrononauts, called Star Trek Chrono-Trek. In this card game, players are trapped in an alternate reality and have to work to ensure certain events happen in the timeline...or maybe you have to prevent them! Either way, Tribbles are bound to show up. Star Trek Chrono-Trek is currently available for $25.
Green Ronin Publishing has signed a licensing agreement with N.K. Jemisin to build a roleplaying game set in the world of the Broken Earth trilogy. The roleplaying game series will start in fall 2020 with The Fifth Season RPG—makes sense, since not only is it the first book in the trilogy, but it’s also the one TNT announced back in 2017 was being adapted into a TV show. In a statement, the three-time Hugo winner said she’ll be working with Green Ronin to “make sure the spirit and feel of the books is rendered successfully.”
Mondo Games and Restoration Games have announced that Jurassic Park is being added to the Unmatched head-to-head series of battle board games. The game’s first deck will feature “InGen vs. Raptors,” due later this year, with plans for a “Dr. Ellie Sattler vs. T-Rex” face-off and a solo expansion for Dr. Alan Grant coming out next year. According to Dice Tower News, Unmatched: Jurassic Park is replacing Jurassic Park: The Chaos Gene, which is no longer in development.
Cyberpunk 2077 has been a video game several years in the making, and that’s an understatement. Now, it’s getting not just one, but at least two versions. CMON and CD Projekt Red have revealed Cyberpunk 2077—Afterlife, a card game based on the upcoming cyberpunk video game. In the card game, players take on the role of Fixers working in Night City to recruit cyberpunks and send them out on missions. Afterlife is set to come out sometime in 2020, presumably around the video game’s release date of April 16, 2020.
The little figurines based on nerddom’s biggest characters are now getting a board game world of their own. Funko has announced Funkoverse, a series of board games based on its versions of characters from DC Comics, Harry Potter, Rick & Morty, and The Golden Girls (what?). The competitive, light-strategy games are designed to be family-friendly, and expansions are already available for some of them. The basic games run around $40, with expansions costing around $25, and are currently available on Amazon.
White Wizard Games’ Sorcerer, a dueling mages game, is getting three new expansions that range from $5 to $10. As reported by The Gaming Gang, there’s the Character Pack featuring Virgiliu, a pyromancer; the Sylvanei Lineage Pack that focuses on druids; and the Bloodsoaked Fjord Domain Pack, centering around the trolls of the north. The expansions come out August 13.
Fiasco, a light GM-less roleplaying game that plays like a series of fun catastrophe films, is getting a version that’s more accessible to those who aren’t experienced with roleplaying games. The new card-based edition replaces the dice and index cards with playing cards, enabling players to create characters and change scenarios much easier. There are plans to roll out “old favorites and new surprises” in the future, ensuring a lot of variety and repeated gameplay. They’re also looking into developing tools for players to develop their own cards and future scenarios.
Fiasco is on Kickstarter through September 4. The minimum pledge for a digital copy is $10 and a box set is $30, and the physical version is set to ship by December.
What if evil corporations were, like, actually evil? That’s the plot of Techlandia, a new 1-4 player tabletop game where players are undercover reporters attending a press conference at Techlandia Corporation, the world’s biggest smartphone company. You’re not there to learn about phones, you’re trying to uncover a secret cult that’s hell-bent on global domination. I’ve had a chance to play it myself, and it’s a fun mix of quirky social commentary and Lovecraftian horror. Techlandia will be on Kickstarter through September 5. The minimum pledge for a copy is $39, and it’s set to ship in April 2020.
The Sands of Shurax is the third game in the HEXplore It series. The cooperative game centers around heroes working together to battle the Ravager of Shurax, which is causing havoc throughout the land. Players battle, trade, explore, excavate, and do all kinds of cool shit. The Sands of Shurax is on Kickstarter through September 1. The minimum pledge for a copy is $64, and it’s set to come out August 2020.
Paws & Claws is a tabletop roleplaying game inspired by the animal worlds of Watership Down, The Builders, and the Redwall series. Taking place in the fictional realm of Wudlind, Paws & Claws has players take on roles within a thriving animal kingdom as you all work together to keep the balance...or perhaps you choose to seize power for yourself. The game will be on Kickstarter through September 1. The minimum pledge for a digital copy is $20, and it’s set to come out September 2020. There’s also a free Quickstart Guide on DriveThruRPG for those who want to try it out before funding the campaign.
For a hot second, I thought this was a roleplaying game set in the universe of Disney Pixar’s Cars franchise, and I was both terrified and excited. Instead, The Carniverse is a campaign skirmish system for two players that takes place in a Jurassic World 3-style realm where dinosaurs rule the Earth. Governments have fallen and humanity struggles to survive the new Age of Dinosaurs. There are no branded models for the game—instead, it’s designed to be played with your own 28mm miniatures. If you don’t have any, you can probably use whatever toys you have lying around the house. LEGO Dr. Malcolm, anyone?
The Carniverse will be on Kickstarter through August 29. The minimum pledge for a digital copy is $12, which will be released in October. A physical copy requires a $23 pledge, and comes out January 2020.
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