Welcome back to Gaming Shelf, io9's regular column all about board games and tabletop roleplaying games. New York Comic Con is around the corner, and we’re expecting to see a few new game reveals there. But in the meantime, we’ve got a roleplaying game from a young cancer survivor, a competitive card game about fighting star systems, and some disturbing news about Kickstarter.
In a truly touching tale of love and generosity, Matt Crowley and his 10-year-old daughter Harper have unveiled a campaign for Harper’s Tale, which they first started creating together while Harper was undergoing treatment for leukemia earlier this year. From Saturday Morning Scenarios, it tells the story of a group of adventurers trying to stop a mysterious illness that’s taken over a town.
Harper is now in remission, so they’re using the campaign to give back to Friends of Kids with Cancer, which helped Harper during the initial days of her diagnosis. The first adventure in the campaign, Welcome to Grove, is available to play for free through DriveThruRPG. The rest is being funded through an IndieGoGo, which you can check out here.
Careful, Robin Hood’s got some competition. Rio Grande Games has announced a new two-player game called Robin of Locksley, where two Robin Hoods compete against each other to be the fastest and the greatest at robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. According to the Gaming Gang, Robin of Locksley comes out on November 14 and will cost about $35.
Be warned: You might be tempted to book a flight to North Carolina after reading this. Cape Fear Games, a gaming store in Wilmington, NC, was recently awarded consignment rights for a massive games collection from the estate of Darryl Rubin—a former Stanford University and Microsoft engineer who helped develop technology that keeps the internet afloat.
The collection is valued at more than $1 million and contains “some of the rarest, hardest to find, and most sought after products across tabletop games, miniature games, collectible card games, and war-gaming.” According to the Port City Daily, it takes up about 3,000 square feet of space in a warehouse behind the store. Cape Fear Games is hosting reserved tours for a $20 deposit, credited to any purchase. Otherwise, some of the collection is up for sale on an auction website.
The classic ‘80s cartoon Robotech, inspired by a grouping of Japanese anime shows, is back with another tabletop roleplaying game. Strange Machine Games has released Robotech: The Macross Saga Roleplaying Game, a system that puts just as much emphasis on the everyday people behind the fight as it does the Veritech pilots patrolling the skies. Players can be anyone from fighters, spies, and volunteers...to entertainers trying to help their friends and confuse the enemy. Robotech: The Macross Saga is currently available on DriveThruRPG for about $20.
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 who already have live campaigns running as we monitor the situation.
Hellboy gets a little wild with The Wild Hunt expansion, inspired by the ninth collection in Mike Mignola’s comic book series. The expansion includes three new case files with Hellboy facing off against giants and members of the Wild Hunt. Enraged Hellboy joins the team as the newest playable agent, with Alice Monaghan also being added to the game as a back-up agent. The Wild Hunt expansion is currently available for $75.
Dice Tower News is reporting that The Big Book of Madness, a cooperative deck-building board game about magicians and monsters, is coming out with its first expansion: The Big Book of Madness: The Vth Element. The expansion includes two new modules, Dark Matter and Phobias, which contain new terrifying characters and chilling effects. The Vth Element comes out February 2020.
This is technically a Kickstarter campaign, but it’s the last day, so act fast. Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid is back. The second phase in the ongoing cooperative board game comes with a wide variety of options for pledges, depending on what you want. For example, there’s the Zeo Ranger pack, the Tommy Oliver Legendary Ranger, and even a Mega Goldar Deluxe Figure that looks amazing. The minimum pledge for one or more of these items is $40, but you’ll wanna head to the site to find out what you’d like.
Agon is a roleplaying game inspired by ancient legends (notably Greco-Roman), where players travel from island to island competing in athletic events, resolving conflicts, fighting mythical creatures, and trying to find a way home. The story weaves together into an epic tale of heroism, bravery, and presumably at least one weird encounter with a liver-eating bird. Agon will be on Kickstarter through October 25. The minimum pledge for a digital copy is $15, set to come out in October. A physical copy requires a pledge of $25 or more and it’ll be released in April 2020. Disclosure: I pledged to this campaign before writing this.
Under Hollow Hills is a tabletop roleplaying game centered around an underground circus traveling between the human and fairy worlds, where all the players are the folks helping make the circus a success. Whether it’s a performer, a clown, or the person selling counterfeit tickets—everybody works together to bring people together, and change hearts and minds. Under Hollow Hills will be on Kickstarter through October 19. The minimum pledge for a digital copy is $15, with a $30 pledge for a print edition, and it’s set to come out in December.
Imagine if Game of Thrones was about something much bigger than the Iron Throne. Say...an entire galaxy? Entropia is a card game where players take on the role of young stars trying to create their own planetary systems and become the biggest ones in the galaxy. They do this by seizing power from the cosmos, while preventing other stars from doing the same. Entropia will be on Kickstarter through October 21. The minimum pledge for a copy is $11 and it’s set to come out January 2020. It’s based in Italy and only ships to certain countries, so you’ll want to double-check before pledging.
Time of Legends: Destinies is an app-augmented board game that advertises itself as a competitive roleplaying game that has no need for a game master. Taking place in an alternate history version of 15th century Europe, Time of Legends has players following in the footsteps of Joan of Arc to become legendary heroes and fight against the forces of darkness (it is compatible with Time of Legends: Joan of Arc). Players will also have access to a Community Scenario Editor, enabling them to come up with their own stories and content to drive future gameplay. Time of Legends: Destinies will be on Kickstarter through October 16. The minimum pledge for a copy is $49, and it’s set to come out September 2020.
It’s not always easy to get younger kids into tabletop roleplaying games—but as we saw with Harper’s Tale above, it’s definitely worth the effort. Little Monster Detectives, which comes to us from Spain, is an introduction into the pen and paper roleplaying genre for kids ages five or older. Players join the Monster Detective Agency to investigate the misdeeds of monsters hiding under their beds and in their closets, learning how to handle their fears of Monsters Inc.-style creatures...while also learning the ins and outs of playing an RPG. Little Monster Detectives will be on Kickstarter through October 23. The minimum pledge for a digital copy is $11, while a print edition is $28, and it’s set to come out February 2020.
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