Welcome back to Gaming Shelf, io9's column all about board games and tabletop roleplaying games. Gen Con Online has come and gone, along with San Diego Comic-Con—but they weren’t the only sources of games announcements this time around. We’ve got a new card game about The Umbrella Academy, along with a tabletop roleplaying game about Nordic mythology. Come on in and discover what gaming delights are in store.
News and Releases
Free League Publishing has released its latest tabletop roleplaying game, Vaesen. Written by Tales From the Loop’s Nil Hintze and based on the work of Johan Egerkrans, Vaesen has players taking on the role of 19th-century investigators uncovering dark secrets in the Mythic North, a realm steeped in Nordic folklore and the myths of Scandinavia. It costs about $46 for a physical copy on Free League’s website, and it’s also available as a digital PDF for $25 on DriveThruRPG.
Minority Gamers Call for Better Representation
Dozens of game companies and groups, writing under the shared name of Cards For All People, publicly released a letter on Medium calling on big box retailers to better represent games made by and for people of color. The letter includes a list of five goals, which signees say would increase buyer interest and engagement in a largely missing market of games for non-white audiences. You can read and show support for the letter here.
Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Begins
Wizards of the Coast has announced a board game that will help get new players familiar with the world (and rules) of Dungeons & Dragons. This game has two-to-four players venture on a cooperative quest in Neverwinter, battling monsters, engaging townsfolk, and defeating the boss waiting at the end of the adventure. What’s interesting about this one is that the role of Dungeon Master passes from player to player with each turn, which gives everyone a chance to learn how being a DM works. Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Begins comes out on October 1 and will cost $25.
Unmatched: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Is the Slayer truly unmatched? I guess we’ll find out. Restoration Games and Mondo Games announced the next Unmatched set will be Buffy the Vampire Slayer themed. Players can battle in the asymmetrical miniature skirmish game as Buffy, Spike, Willow, or Angel—each with their own Scooby Gang sidekicks. According to Dice Tower News, Unmatched: Buffy the Vampire Slayer is set to come out in October.
Autumn Harvest: A Tea Dragon Society Game
The Dragon Tea Society graphic novel and card game are getting a follow-up. Renegade Game Studios and Oni Games have announced Autumn Harvest: A Tea Dragon Society Game, designed by Steve Ellis and Tyler Tinsley—with illustrations by graphic novel author Katie O’Neill. Not a lot of details have been shared about the game yet, except that it’s a follow-up to the 2019 Tea Dragon Society card game and lets players “explore the secrets of Tea Dragon caretaking in an enchanted world of friendship.” The game is set to come out sometime later this year.
Designer Is Removed From Dune RPG
Modiphius Entertainment and game designer Adam Koebel have announced that they’ve parted ways, which means Koebel will no longer be working on Dune: Adventures in the Imperium, an upcoming tabletop RPG set in the world of Frank Herbert’s Dune. According to Polygon, this comes after Koebel designed a scenario involving sexual assault to run during the actual-play livestream series Far Verona. That show has since stopped running, and Koebel has distanced himself from much of his work in the tabletop industry.
The Umbrella Academy Card Game
The graphic novel-turned-Netflix show is now getting a card game from Dark Horse Comics and Studio 71 games. In this game, players can take on the role of each of the seven siblings from the series, each with their own powers and abilities. Together they face off against a variety of baddies from the series, like Hazel and Cha-Cha—but Dysfunctional Family Cards revealed every round may cause the siblings to turn against each other instead. The Umbrella Academy Card Game will be on Kickstarter through August 29. The minimum pledge for a copy is $25 and it’s set to come out in December.
Axon Punk: Expanded
This tabletop roleplaying game is cyberpunk meets hip hop. It’s all about hackers, engineers, cyborgs, and others working together to stop the megacities and corporations of the future from conquering the world, and becoming “forces of change” to stop the “great war of global inequality.” The new expanded edition comes with new missions, enemies, and expanded gear options for players. Axon Punk: Expanded will be on Kickstarter through August 22. The minimum pledge for a digital copy is $15 while a print copy is $25, and both are set to come out in December. Anyone interested in checking out the game first can download the free Quick Start rules on DriveThruRPG.
Turris is a one-to-four player worker placement game where folks take on the role of scavengers trying to grab all they can from the ruins of a once-great civilization. But it’s not all about dog-eat-dog in the post-apocalyptic wasteland: there are also dangerous beasts lurking in the wild, ready to pounce on any stragglers who’ve lost their way. Turris will be on Kickstarter through August 13. The minimum pledge for a copy is $77 and it’s set to come out in January 2021.
Token Terrors Battlegrounds
Token Terrors Battlegrounds is a two-player battle game where you play godlike beings who are manipulating a bunch of factions into doing battle for their entertainment. So basically: playing a game. What stands out are the miniatures, which are really cute and can easily be used in other tabletop roleplaying or battle card games. Token Terrors Battlegrounds will be on Kickstarter through August 20. The minimum pledge for a copy is $45 and it’s set to come out in April 2021.
Dark Matter Starter Set
Dark Matter is a tabletop roleplaying game that uses the Dungeons & Dragons 5E system, so you can easily start playing a space adventure without learning a new set of rules. Players form crews that go on galactic missions, playing as bounty hunters, explorers, space marines, or whatever they feel like doing as they fight aliens, monsters, and, of course, evil space wizards. Dark Matter Starter Set will be on Kickstarter through September 7. The minimum pledge for a digital copy is $15 and is set to come out in September, while a print copy is $30 and comes out in February 2021. For anyone curious to try the game first, there’s a free demo available on their website.
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