Welcome back to Gaming Shelf, io9's regular column all about tabletop and roleplaying games—with a healthy yet slightly obsessive focus on sci-fi and fantasy games, of course. This time around, we’ve got some major announcements coming out of D&D 2019: The Descent, as well as new games for The Expanse and Space Invaders. Also, could President Trump’s tariff war with China impact game prices in the future? Read on.
The Trump administration’s continued trade war with China will soon be impacting the board game industry. The Office of the United States Trade Representative has released a new document stating that board games, dice, and toys imported from China will now see 25 percent tariffs. Expect prices to go up as a result, so long as the tariffs are in effect.
As reported by our friends at Kotaku, Modiphius is releasing a tabletop miniatures game set within the world of Elder Scrolls, called Elder Scrolls: A Call To Arms. The game will cover the entire Elder Scrolls video game universe, starting with Skyrim. Miniatures will include fan favorite characters like Lydia, Hadvar, and Mjoll the Lioness. I know I’ll be waiting for M’aiq the Liar to hopefully show up randomly to tell me something and then leave. The tabletop miniatures game is expected to debut around the holidays.
D&D Live 2019: The Descent has come out with some major announcements. Most notably, Wizards of the Coast revealed the next adventure supplement for the fall. According to The Gaming Gang, the next adventure is Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus, where players will journey to a new plane of existence to “do battle with demonic forces in the Blood War.” It comes out September 17, and will cost around $50. Then, there’s Dungeons & Dragons vs. Rick & Morty. Designed for new players, it follows the Stranger Things trend of licensed D&D tie-in releases. It’s currently available for preorder for $30, and comes out November 19.
Growing impatient for season four of The Expanse to arrive on Amazon Prime? Here’s something to help tide you over: Green Ronin has released a new roleplaying game set in the world of James S.A. Corey’s The Expanse series. Using Green Ronin’s signature Adventure Game Engine, which powers most of the company’s roleplaying games, it has players take on the roles of Martians, Belters, and Earthers engaged in a tense intergalactic conflict, just as a new and mysterious threat arises. The Expanse Roleplaying Game is currently available on DriveThruRPG for $27.
Bezier Games has announced the latest release from Ted Alspach, which takes inspiration from one of his most famous creations: One Night Ultimate Werewolf. Silver is a deck-building game where players form their own villages, which have been invaded by werewolves, and seek to get rid of as many of them as possible. The person with the fewest werewolves in their village by the end of the game wins. Much like One Night, different villagers have unique abilities that can help your team...or hinder someone else’s. Silver is currently available for preorder, and is set to come out this September.
Preorders are now available for Alien: The Roleplaying Game. In a press release, Free League Publishing announced that people who preorder the game will get early access to the Cinematic Starter Kit, which means players can try out the game’s first pre-made storyline, Chariot of the Gods, before the game officially comes out later this year.
Not a lot happening in expansions right now, but this one seemed pretty cool. Fantasy Flight Games has announced the new Arkham Horror: The Card Game scenario for Gen Con 2019. It’s called The Blog That Ate Everything, which seems to be a Lovecraftian nod to classic horror film The Blob. Players are forced to try and stop this massively growing anomaly before it’s too late. Registration is currently open on the Gen Con website, and the event is happening this August.
Fickle is a gorgeous card game featuring art from well-known fairy artist Amy Brown. Players compete to gather enough fairies into their “alliance” in order to win the coveted Fairy Crown. It looks pretty and pretty easy to play, making it great for newcomers wanting to get into more complex card games. Fickle has already met its fundraising goal on Kickstarter, and will be on there until June 19. The minimum pledge for a copy is $39, and it comes out this September.
This is the first in a planned series of tabletop games that are designed like an actual video game. Players compete in a Battle Royale to see who will exit the dungeon with the Stone of Life. To make it look and feel like a video game, players all move through the dungeon at the same time, can attack each other simultaneously, and can “respawn” after death for a second chance. Dungeon Royale has already surpassed its goal on Kickstarter, but it’s open until June 20. If you want the basic game mechanics, the minimum pledge is $10 and should come out in July. For $30 you get the complete set and the Gameboy-esque box, out in November.
Icaion is a jaw-droppingly beautiful engine territory building and resource management game where players take on the role of “seekers” who control various machines in an attempt to gain territory before their opponents do. It’s the second part of the Mysthea Universe trilogy, which was started with Mysthea: the Fall. The game can be played by itself, or can be combined with the first game for a campaign experience. Icaion has soared past its fundraising goal on Kickstarter, and will stay there until June 11. It costs about $106 for a copy of Icaion, which comes out May 2020, and $190 for both games.
MÖRK BORG is a rules-light, art-heavy roleplaying game that’s basically heavy metal goodness personified. I can’t really do the plot description justice, as it barely makes any sense, but it looks really cool and seems like a fun time for anyone wanting to experiment with their roleplaying. MÖRK BORG has met its fundraising goal on Kickstarter and will stay open until June 16. The minimum pledge for a digital copy is about $10, while a hardcover copy costs $25. It’s expected to come out in November.
The wonderful world of video game reboots continues. Space Invaders now has a deck-building card game where players move their cannons across the board to gain new intelligence about the alien invaders. The board has a similar design to the original game, but defeating the enemies requires a bit more work. Players work separately and whoever ends up with the highest score wins. Space Invaders has met its fundraising goal and will be on Kickstarter through June 15. The minimum pledge for a copy is $30, and it should be released in December.
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