Welcome back to Gaming Shelf, io9's column all about the latest in board games and tabletop roleplaying games. The coronavirus pandemic has changed a lot of things in a very short amount of time, and we’ve got some updates on where you can find news for cancelled gaming events and in-person gathering bans. In addition, we’ve got news on a new Onward roleplaying game, a Critical Role version of Munchkin, and more.
Just over the past week, the covid-19 pandemic has impacted everything from TV production schedules to theme parks, restaurants, and schools. This includes gaming conventions, meet-ups, and stores. Already we’ve seen several gaming events delayed or canceled, including: Game Developers Conference, SXSW Gaming, WonderCon, Oregon’s Game Storm 22, Trivia Con in Las Vegas, and CMON Expo. Some still look to be on for now, like San Diego Comic-Con and Gen-Con, both of which are in July. But that could very well change.
Several states and larger cities have already banned large gatherings and/or forced the closure of restaurants and bars, and the CDC has advised a moratorium on gatherings of 50 people or more for at least eight weeks. The Center for American Progress has compiled a list of states and cities with group bans to help you stay updated. I’m also including this link to a list of upcoming cons to see if ones you were planning to attend may have been postponed.
Things are scary right now and we need to support each other more than ever. I’m currently working on articles with resources and recommendations for how to game during times of social distancing. I also welcome suggestions in the comments for ways you’re keeping the game going. As High School Musical once put it: We’re all in this together!
The Op has announced a new tabletop roleplaying game set in the world of Disney Pixar’s Onward. Based on Ian and Barley’s adventure guide book featured in the movie, Quest of Yore Barley’s Edition brings two to five players (and a Quest Master) together as a fellowship to help a group of Clevendell’s satyrs and “uncover a mystery that will test your adventurers’ strength and teamwork.” Quest of Yore Barley’s Edition is set to cost $50 but no release date has been announced yet.
Also from the Op, this first officially licensed Critical Role card game brings the popular podcast—specifically the Mighty Nein campaign—to the equally popular Munchkin roleplaying franchise. This news comes after Wizards of the Coast announced Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount, a Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook set in the world of Critical Role earlier this year. Munchkin: Critical Role is set to cost about $25 but no release date has been announced yet.
Free League Publishing, the folks behind the Alien and Tales From the Loop roleplaying games, has announced a partnership with Sophisticated Games to publish The One Ring series, a tabletop roleplaying games set in the world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. According to a press release, The One Ring’s author Francesco Nepitello and lead designer Marco Maggi will continue in their roles. The partnership goes into effect in June and games will be announced at a later date.
IDW Games has revealed a new hidden-traitor card game set in the world of Locke & Key, the graphic novel series and Netflix show. In Locke & Key: Shadow of Doubt, players use magical keys to unlock different areas and activate abilities while trying to suss out which character is secretly a demon. Locke & Key: Shadow of Doubt comes out July 29 and will cost $20.
Note: The covid-19 pandemic and Trump’s trade war with China have impacted board game production. We strongly advise you check with Kickstarter developers about possible delays, but don’t let that dissuade you from supporting these campaigns.
Cleocatra (which might be the cutest name ever) is a puzzle game where two to four players take on the role of Egyptian cat rescuers trying to save cats in the pyramids. The more cats you save, the more points you earn—who can possibly object to a mission like that? Cleocatra will be on Kickstarter through April 11. The minimum pledge for a copy is $12 and it’s set to come out in September.
In the vein of Evil Hat Production’s upcoming Aeon, Fate of the Oracle is a tabletop roleplaying game set in the myths and legends of Ancient Greece. This latest adventure book for levels 1 through 5 features Greek-themed adventure content set in the Bronze Age, with a dozen class archetypes and 10 new races—including an original hybrid race inspired by different Greek monsters. Fate of the Oracle will be on Kickstarter through April 2. The minimum pledge for a digital copy of the adventure book is $10, with the full digital set (including players handbook) going for $20 and the full physical set costing $40. It’s set to come out in June.
For those stuck at home and wanting to spend some time getting to know their kids a bit better, there’s Outta Our Shells. It’s a card game where players receive a series of three fortunes—good or bad—and the goal is to wind up with three fortunes that you’re personally happy with. Players do so by answering questions about themselves and quizzing each other with “what if” scenarios. Outta Our Shells will be on Kickstarter through April 9. The minimum pledge for a copy is $20 and it’s set to come out in September.
Wehrlegig Games is doing a reprint of Pax Pamir, which comes from the designer of Root. In this game, players take on the role of Afghan political factions in the early 19th century, working to build an Afghan state after the collapse of the Durrani Empire. Players use cards to grow their position, gain allies, and command armies—they can work together in coalitions but only one player can win. Pax Pamir will be on Kickstarter through March 27. The minimum pledge for a copy is $70 and it’s set to come out in October.
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