Some looks at Dized, Mutant: Year Zero, Unity, and Dark Souls: The Board Game.
Photo: Dized, Image: Free League Publishing, Modiphius, Steamforged Games

Welcome to the Gaming Shelf, io9's new roundup of tabletop gaming news, releases, updates, and interesting crowdfunding campaigns—focusing on sci-fi and fantasy releases, with the occasional exception of course. This week, we’ve got a board game centered around cereal box monsters, news of Mutant: Year Zero getting a Westworld-style expansion, and a Kickstarter for a tabletop RPG that’s since become a Live Action Role Play phenomenon.


News and Releases

An image from Unity, Modiphius’ new tabletop RPG.
Image: Modiphius

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Unity

Modiphius has announced the release of its latest roleplaying game, Unity, from Zensara Studios. Unity is an pre-apocalyptic fantasy game that features magick-infused technology, where players from four races team up to challenge the gods who’ve forsaken them. It’s currently available to purchase as a PDF, and the hardcover copy is in pre-order. There’s also a free 40-page sample for anyone interested in testing it out first.

Dark Souls: The Board Game

Steamforged Games has announced that Dark Souls: The Board Game and all of its expansions have completed their Development Cycle and are now locked.

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Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game

Big G Creative has brought its latest battle game to Target, a Monster Cereal mash-up where General Mills characters like Count Chocula and Franken Berry duke it out to be the scariest cereal mascot. How do they accomplish it? By being the one to eat the most cereal. We’d argue it’d be more fun to just eat the actual cereal, but we suppose you could do both at the same time. Big G Creative also recently released Bob Ross: Art of Chill, a strategy game where you try to out-paint the master of artistic relaxation himself.

You don’t have to be a graphic designer to win, but a little bit of artistry will give you an advantage.
Photo: Cryptozoic Entertainment

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Pantone: The Game

If you’re a graphic designer whose work often ends up in print, you’re undoubtedly well versed in the Pantone color chart, which helps ensure the colors you see on screen match those on paper. In recent years the company has expanded into colorful merchandise too, like mugs, flip-flops, and now a $30 board game. You don’t need to know anything about Adobe Photoshop or InDesign to play Pantone: The Game, however; you just need to arrange a bunch of color swatches to recreate a famous character for other players to try to recognize. A touch of artistic skill will give you an advantage, as well as an obsession with everything pop culture.

Call of Cthulhu Starter Box

H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday anniversary may have come and gone, but anyone interested in diving into the Lovecraftian roleplaying game Call of Cthulhu is just in time. According to The Gaming Gang, Chaosium Inc. has announced a new Starter Box for Call of Cthulhu, which provides everything new players need to get into the long-running and world-famous tabletop RPG. The Starter Box includes the solo introductory adventure Alone Against the Flames, designed to help a new player get familiar with the game—along with starter rules and adventures, as well as five ready-to-play characters.

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Gizmos

Gizmos, a new tabletop game from CMON, is set to come out on August 31. The game takes place during the Great Science Fair, and 2-4 players (as inventors) compete to build the best machines at the event. Players purchase different additions to their machines using “energy marbles,” working to build chain-reaction devices that can give multiple points from a single action.

The tutorial setting for Dized instructs players how to set up their board.
Photo: Dized

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Dized

Playmore Games has unveiled an early access version of Dized, a tabletop companion app where players can access interactive game tutorials and rules to keep track during gameplay, which can be customized to the number of players and other needs. The early access app includes tutorials for Blood Rage and Kingdomino, and there are plans to incorporate other games like King of Tokyo, Arcade Academy, and Munchkin Collectible Card Game. The app is available on iOS and Android.

Doppelgänger

Wiz Kids has come out with a new hidden traitor game called Doppelgänger. In this card game, the team of Loyal Adventurers is seeking three Artifacts of Light, but could be thwarted by the actions of the secret Doppelgängers. The not-traitorous players work to complete a variety of quests in order to uncover the Artifacts, while the evildoers in their midst can either scheme to take the Artifacts for themselves...or kill other members of their team.

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Expansions

The Forgotten Folk (Caverna: The Cave Farmers)

Looks like the dwarves are getting some new neighbors. Lookout Games’ Caverna: The Cave Farmers is getting a major expansion with Caverna: The Forgotten Folk, adding eight new races to the game: Trolls, Humans, Elves, Dark Elves, Goblins, Mountain Dwarves, Pale Ones, and Silicoids (creatures that eat rock). According to Dice Tower News, each race will have a unique ability that changes overall gameplay and forces other player to rethink their strategy. For instance, the Pale Ones can grow all their food in caves, since they’re humans who’ve spent all their time living there. Caverna: he Forgotten Folk should arrive in the US before the holidays.

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A scene from the Eternal War compendium.
Image: Free League Publishing

Eternal War and Hotel Imperator (Mutant: Year Zero)

Free League Publishing has launched not one, but two new Zone Compendia for Mutant: Year Zero. There’s Eternal War, all about robots—with special zones like Fort Robot, an abandoned Westworld-style amusement part now inhabited by machines, and the Robot Factory. You’ve also got Hotel Imperator, where the Brain Ring has established headquarters in an ancient hotel. Each of the special sectors from both compendia can be placed anywhere in your Zone.

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The Woodland Realm (The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game)

Fantasy Flight Games has unveiled its custom scenario kit for this year’s Fellowship Event, which takes place in the mysterious forest of Mirkwood. The Woodland Realm follows the adventures original set up in The Wizard’s Quest. And much like The Wizard’s Quest, The Woodland Realm lets players take on the role of Sauron, unleashing evils upon those who dare travel through the realm.


Crowdfunding

Dystopia Rising: Evolution

Dystopia Rising is a post-apocalyptic tabletop roleplaying game series that’s since grown into a successful ongoing LARP. The latest edition from Onyx Path Publishing, Evolution, is bringing the series back to its tabletop roots, focusing on humanity’s struggle to rebuild sustainable communities after the Fall. It includes 13 chapters of storytelling, promising a long campaign for an RPG group interested in diving into post-apocalyptic storytelling. Evolution has already met its fundraising goal, and will be on Kickstarter through September 21. The game is set to come out September 2019.

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Midnight Legion: Portal of Life

Portal of Life is the final book in C. Aaron Kreader’s Midnight Legion trilogy, a Choose Your Own Adventure-style tabletop RPG for 1-2 players. It can be played by itself or as a continuation of the series—some of the reward tiers include access to previous volumes in the trilogy. The gameplay, which utilizes the book, is really engaging, and the art is absolutely gorgeous. Portal of Life has already met its fundraising goal, and the Kickstarter will be open through September 19. The game is set to come out this December.

Event: Kickstarter Edition

Event is something creator Valerio De Sanctis calls a “minimalist tabletop roleplaying game,” designed to be simple to create and play with a group of any skill level. Each session revolves around a pre-determined “event” that brings the characters together, building the story as a reaction to what has already occurred. The RPG is already available as a free download for people to try out, but De Sanctis is looking to create an improved English translation, as well as a gaming community similar to the one he started for Myst.it. Event will be on Kickstarter through September 26, and is set to come out January 2019.

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The Ancient World: Second Edition

This 2014 worker placement game is getting another edition, and demand is already high—it’s only been a week and it’s already reached five times its initial fundraising goal. The board game takes place in an ancient world terrorized by giant titans, and players take on the role of city-state leaders trying to fight back and save their world. The game is on Kickstarter through September 7, and is set to come out June 2019.

Infinities: Defiance of Fate

Infinities: Defiance of Fate is a 4X-lite adventure game that that interweaves science fiction and fantasy through the multiverse theory, with multiversal rifts bringing different worlds and realities crossing over into each other. It’s an incredible complex and detailed game, a better choice for gaming pros looking for something that’s not only challenging, but also versatile for their gaming groups. Infinities reached its fundraising goal within the first day, and stays on Kickstarter through September 19. The game is expected to come out July 2019.

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Note: If you have any new games, expansions, or tips you’d like us to check out, email beth.elderkin@gizmodo.com