Welcome back to Gaming Shelf, io9's column all about board games and tabletop roleplaying games. San Diego Comic-Con at Home and Gen Con Online 2020 are right around the corner, and with those events we might see some new announcements and releases. In the meantime, there’s plenty of cool stuff on the horizon, including a Steven Universe musical battle game, a new Boss Monster expansion, and more information on Pandemic’s final Legacy edition.
Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, times are challenging for educators. Some states are ordering schools to reopen amid rising cases, while others are figuring out how to continue online learning into the 2020-2021 school year. The Adventure Guild is trying to help make student-teacher bonding a little easier. Teachers, counselors, librarians, and others qualify for a free digital copy of Quest, a tabletop roleplaying game designed for kids and beginners to the genre. It’s a welcoming, positive, and (dare I say) educational roleplaying game, and seems like a great way to bring educators and students together during a difficult time. Head here for more information.
The board game company Tabletop Tycoon recently donated over $500,000 worth of games and accessories to over 500 local game stores, as a way to help them recoup economic losses during the pandemic. The program ran from May 26 to July 5 and included some of Tabletop Tycoon’s biggest games, like Nemo’s War and Everdell. Though the program has ended, the company said in a press release that it’s looking for more ways to support local game stores during this time.
More information has surfaced about the final installment in the Pandemic Legacy series. As revealed by Dicebreaker, Pandemic Legacy: Season 0 will be a Cold War-era spy thriller that sets the stage for the events in the first two seasons of Pandemic Legacy. However, you don’t need to have played the first two games in order to take on this one. Players take on the role of medical specialists who’ve been tasked with locating a secret Soviet bioweapon, Project MEDUSA. The creators told Dicebreaker in an interview that they’d long intended the final game in the series to be a Cold War spy thriller, rather than a story taking place in the “post-post-post-apocalypse.” I imagine the current pandemic made that decision a little extra easy. Who wants to play a game about future doom and gloom? Pandemic Legacy: Season 0 is expected to come out later this year.
Looking to expand your deadly dungeon? Brotherwise Games has unveiled a new expansion for Boss Monster. As reported by Dice Tower News, the Boss Monster: Vault of Villains expansion adds 64 new cards—which include 15 mini-bosses, more rooms, and unique spell cards. The expansion requires any of the main Boss Monster sets to play, and is set to come out on October 21.
Happy Holidays! DriveThruRPG is currently has a massive sale going on for “Christmas in July.” Thousands of tabletop roleplaying games, like Alien: The Roleplaying Game, Vampire the Masquerade, and Savage Worlds are 25% off through July 27. Head here for more information.
Well, this sure just made my skin crawl. Hello Neighbor, the surreal video game about trying to find out what your creepy neighbor is hiding in his basement, is getting a secret identity game from Arcane Wonders. In this game for 5-10 players, participants take on the role of neighborhood kids or one or more terrifying neighbors. The kids are trying to locate keys to unlock the door to the basement, while the neighbors are trying to trick them into handing over the keys to protect their secret. Hello Neighbor costs $20 and is set to come out on October 7.
Note: The covid-19 pandemic and Trump’s trade war with China have 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.
“STEVEN!” In this 2-6 player Kickstarter exclusive game, players each become their own Steven and try to make the best band ever and win Beach-a-Palooza. After all, if one Steven wins, every Steven wins! But a bunch of unruly, corrupted Homeworld Gems are trying to screw up your performance, so the Stevens have to team up with the Crystal Gems and their friends to make great music and save the world—actually probably just the music part in this case. Steven Universe: Beach-a-Palooza will be on Kickstarter through July 31. The minimum pledge for a copy is $30 and it’s set to come out in December.
The Night Cage is a cooperative tile placement game with a really unique premise. In this horror-based game, players explore a dark labyrinth with only flickering candles to guide them—candles that only light up immediate adjacent spaces. Players navigate the labyrinth trying to find all the lost keys, while trying to avoid a mysterious force hunting them out. The trick is that anytime a player moves to a new pathway... the old paths will disappear from the board. After all, the light cannot show where you’ve been. The Night Cage will be on Kickstarter through August 5. The minimum pledge for a copy is $35 and it’s set to come out in January 2021.
Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall is a collaborative storytelling roleplaying game about a Chinese family in the 1920s. By day, they run their restaurant while dealing with racism and gang violence. Then there’s the night, which is when the jiangshi, or “hopping vampires,” come. It features gorgeous artwork and a scary but powerful story that encourages players to work together—whether it’s getting every table’s order out on time, or healing a family member who has become jiangshi themselves. Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall will be on Kickstarter through August 13. The minimum pledge for a digital copy is $20 and it comes out in October, while the minimum pledge for a physical copy is $65 and will come out in December.
The Shivers is an episodic roleplaying mystery game with a twist: The story is told through pop-ups! After receiving a note that someone is lost in a nearby haunted house, players work together as members of the Shivers family to investigate the house for clues, solve puzzles, and vanquish enemies. The 3D pop-ups give the game an extra dose of fun, with each room hiding clues, traps, or other surprises—with different attachable Story Cards changing up the things you find, making the experience different from game to game. The Shivers will be on Kickstarter through August 7. The minimum pledge for a copy is $65 and it’s set to come out in July 2021.
For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.