Welcome back to Gaming Shelf, io9's column all about board games and tabletop roleplaying games. itch.io recently finished its groundbreaking bundle campaign for Black Lives Matter, and we’ve got information on more bundles and deals to benefit BLM causes. Plus, word on a Star Wars escape room game and how Terraforming Mars has terraformed its own board game with 3D tiles.
Roll20, the online tabletop gaming platform, is venturing into game creation with Burn Bryte—about a group of heroes living together on a spaceship in Olaxis, the last galaxy in the universe. The characters explore ancient ruins and modern settlements in search on a way to stop the Burn, a mysterious entity that’s been wiping out solar systems... and is on its way to Olaxis. The game was developed and produced in-house over three years, and is designed to work with Roll20's online tabletop system. Burn Bryte is set to debut on July 7. The core rulebook will cost $30. There’s also a starter campaign adventure, Burn Bryte: Burning Daylight, which costs $10, along with art packs and other purchasable features.
Itch.io announced on Twitter that its Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality raised over $8 million for NAACP Legal Defense, along with the Educational Fund and Community Bail Fund, before ending on June 16. The bundle may have started out small, but eventually it featured over 1,700 video games and tabletop roleplaying games donated by 1,300 creators—all with a $5 minimum donation.
For folks who may have missed out or want to support other projects, Tuesday Knight Games has put together Dissident Whispers (available on DriveThruRPG), a $20 anthology of 58 original RPG adventures from a “diverse, international collective of creators,” with proceeds going to the National Bail Fund Network. DriveThruRPG has put together two charity bundles to benefit Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, and the National Police Accountability Project (they’re $10 each and available here and here). If you want to go more local, there’s also the Chicago New Media Artists for Racial Justice Bundle from the Video Game Art Gallery on itch.io.
Ravenburger’s Back to the Future: Dice Through Time, which io9 previewed earlier this year, has been released and is available at Target for $30. It’s a fun but challenging dice game with a cool art design, so I definitely recommend it.
As reported by Dicebreaker, that galaxy far, far away is joining the at-home escape room trend with Unlock! Star Wars (seems fitting, as the only thing any of us want to do right now is escape our homes). Asmodee France announced the game on Twitter, which looks to include adventures set during the original trilogy, as well as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but they’ll all be original stories that exist outside of the main Skywalker storyline. Unlock! Star Wars is set to come out in late August. It’s unclear whether the game will get an English-language version, but the one thing we do know is that it probably won’t come to the United States anytime soon because of ongoing licensing issues.
I’m a sucker for a good art game, and CMON Games has given me a new feast for the eyes with Modern Art: The Card Game, a modified version of Modern Art that has players working to build a valuable art collection—taking into consideration the piece’s value, the artist’s influence, ongoing trends, and whether or not you think it’s pretty (technically that last one isn’t a factor but it should be because art is subjective). Modern Art: The Card Game is now available for $20.
The (democratically elected) queen has come to Star Wars: Legion. Fantasy Flight Games has unveiled its newest expansion, “Padmé Amidala Operative,” which brings the “spirited senator” to the battle with a blaster pistol, oversized shawl, and aggressive negotiating tactics. The Padmé Amidala Operative Expansion comes out sometime in July.
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.
This game is a little bit more on the morbid side—and by that I mean it’s all morbid. In Billionaire Rumour, two-to-five players take on the role of folks who’ve died but can pay to be reborn by giving the Powers That Be a few thousand souls as payment. And the quickest way to do that is through the Soul Casino. This dice betting game has players taking control of three living dolls, which move around Hong Kong picking up valuable items and racking up souls to get you back to the land of the living. Billionaire Rumour will be on Kickstarter through July 15. The minimum pledge for a copy is $57 and it’s set to ship in December (from Hong Kong).
Fans of Terraforming Mars have something new to be psyched about: A special new version that features 3D tiles, along with the means to store them safely. There have been plenty of homemade versions of 3D tiles for games like Terraforming Mars and Settlers of Catan, so it’s cool to see Stronghold Games recognizing the need and making its own version. Terraforming Mars Big Box will be on Kickstarter through July 3. The minimum pledge for the “Small Box” version starts at $79, while the “Big Box” version starts at $99. Both are set to ship in March 2021.
Set in an alternate history where the Greek gods are real and Atlantis has not been flooded (yet), The Age of Atlantis is a competitive civilization game where up to four noble families are vying for control of the legendary city—which has seen a boon thanks to a new element called Orichalum that’s greatly enhanced their technological capabilities. Players do this by growing their house’s population, discovering new technologies and cultures, appeasing Poseidon, and building “giant machines called Myths to protect the city.” The Age of Atlantis will be on Kickstarter through July 19. The minimum pledge for a copy is $59 and it’s set to come out in June 2021.
The makers of the Boss Monster series have unveiled their latest game, Overlord, which takes the infamous “bosses” out of their dungeons on a quest to conquer the world. In this tile drafting game, players compete against each other to build their maps and grow their influence over the land. Overlord: a Boss Monster Adventure will be on Kickstarter through July 10. The minimum pledge for a copy is $40 and it’s set to come out in October.
This game is a solid choice for folks wanting to try an all-ages tabletop roleplaying game, but want something that’s going to help them a bit more along the way. Eila and Something Shiny starts with Eila, a rabbit, seeing something shiny on a hill and going on an epic adventure to find out what it is. Players can take on Eila’s journey solo, or cooperative with up to three other players, with players embarking on a five-chapter journey with multiple story paths that are determined by the event cards you play and how you choose to respond to them. Eila and Something Shiny will be on Kickstarter through July 18. The minimum pledge for a copy is $51 and it’s set to come out in April 2021.
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