Welcome back to Gaming Shelf, io9's regular column all about the latest in board games and tabletop roleplaying games. We’re fresh off the weekend’s Essen Spiel, which brought a bunch of new releases and surprises. In addition, we’ve got a new Star Trek Adventures campaign, a shocking story of Kickstarter fraud, and a crowdfunding campaign for a game all about workers’ rights.
Star Wars: Legion has expanded into the prequels with its latest Core Set, which is finally available after months of waiting. The Core Set pits Jedi Knights and clone troopers against the Separatist droid army, with heroes like Obi-Wan Kenobi facing off against the likes of General Grievous. The Core Set comes with cards, tools, and tokens needed to start staging Star Wars battles, and can be combined with other sets in the Star Wars: Legion series. It costs about $80 and you can find more information here.
Modiphius’ Star Trek Adventures continues with the latest adventure supplement, Hard Rock Catastrophe. No, Captain Kirk and Spock are not heading to a Hard Rock Hotel for a dip in the swimming pool, as fun as that would be. In this 22-page adventure, the Enterprise is responding to a distress call from Rikyu, an independent Saurian colony, regarding a natural disaster that might be too strange to believe. For folks whose campaigns aren’t based in The Original Series, the adventure includes guidelines on how to adapt for other Star Trek eras. Hard Rock Catastrophe costs $5 and is available on DriveThruRPG.
Concourse Media has released the first trailer for new documentary Gamemaster, all about the growing tabletop gaming industry and folks trying to break into it. According to Deadline, the documentary focuses on five board game designers who’ve either found success with their games (like Exploding Kittens and Catan) or are working on their debuts, with some on the focus being about how much crowdfunding has changed the industry. No release date has been announced. You can watch the trailer on Deadline.
Be careful of how you donate your crowdfunding dollars...not just because of Kickstarter’s continued refusal to support its union. According to Polyhedron Collider, someone recently created a fake campaign based on White Helm Games’ Dungeon Hoard, which came out in June. It didn’t take long for folks to recognize that something was afoot and the campaign was soon cancelled...but not before it had raised almost $400. Those people won’t be charged, luckily, but the incident shows that sometimes you have to be mindful of scams on Kickstarter.
Our favorite non-Stranger Things spooky kids are back with a new time travel mystery. Tales From the Loop: Out of Time is a new campaign book that brings the kids into the wilderness of the Loop and down into its tunnels, bringing them one step closer to unlocking the big secrets of their world. Many of the scenarios involve time travel, including one set at a summer camp, which opens up a lot of options for awesome (and timeless!) storytelling. Out of Time costs about $36 and is available in hardcover and PDF.
Note: Kickstarter, a huge fundraising site for tabletop gaming, has come under fire for opposing its employees’ attempts to unionize under Kickstarter United. This includes firing two staffers who were members of the organizing committee. In a recent statement, Kickstarter CEO Aziz Hasan denied the company was engaging in union-busting but confirmed that the company is refusing to voluntarily recognize Kickstarter United and called unions “inherently adversarial.”
We do not support Hasan’s comments, and GMG Union stands in support of Kickstarter United. As of now, Kickstarter United has not called for a boycott of the company, so io9 will continue to showcase creators as we monitor the situation.
The TESA Collective, the folks behind Space Cats Fight Fascism, are back with a game that’s perfectly fitting for everything happening with Kickstarter right now. STRIKE! The Game of Worker Rebellion is a cooperative 2-to-4 player board game about building a citywide rebellion against HappyCorp, a mega corporation trying to take over their city and turn it into a corporate-run metropolis devoid of minimum wage, public services, unions, and rights. Players work together as the Strike Council to lead a rebellion while fighting for worker rights across Mercury City.
STRIKE! will be on Kickstarter through November 21. The minimum pledge for a copy is $35, and it’s set to come out March 2020. The game was co-developed with Jobs for Justice, a prominent labor rights organization. It’s also important to note that TESA, along with some of the other game companies featured here, is standing with Kickstarter United.
A game that started in 2013 as something a couple of friends played together has been turned into something friends around the country can enjoy. Space Kings is an improvisational tabletop roleplaying game set as a space adventure where players “fight evil space governments, thwart unethical corporations, host fancy dinner parties, and overcome other devious challenges.”
In this game, instead of rolling dice, each player’s successes and failures are determined by drawing a card from a deck of standard playing cards. It’s an interesting mechanic that’s sure to keep things exciting and mysterious...unless you’re good at counting cards. Space Kings will be on Kickstarter until November 23. The minimum pledge for a digital copy is $12, with a hardcover edition costing $30. Both are set to come out November 2020.
Now this is what I call a drinking game! Dragon Brew: Orctoberfest is a standalone card game set in the world of the Dragon Brew series. Each player is a brewer competing in “Orctoberfest,” gaining points by making beer, pleasing judges, and getting into fights, among other things. If you’ve always wanted to brew your own beer but aren’t sure if you’re up to the task, maybe trying it as an Orc will help. Dragon Brew: Orctoberfest will be on Kickstarter through November 5. The minimum pledge for a copy is $20, and it’s set to come out in December.
Beyond Humanity: Colonies is a semi-cooperative board game for 1-5 players, meaning everyone has to work together to build and expand their human colony, while also working to gain influence and make decisions for the team to increase your personal score. Everyone can fail together, but there can only be one true winner. Developer Three Headed Monster calls this a “hybrid” tabletop game because it features electronic miniatures that are supported by a companion app. Beyond Humanity: Colonies will be on Kickstarter through November 12. The minimum pledge for a copy is $225, and it’s set to come out in September 2020.
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