Welcome back to Gaming Shelf, io9's column all about board games and tabletop roleplaying games. The New York Toy Fair is around the corner and with that comes a lot of exciting announcements for upcoming games. Right now, we’ve got Elizabeth Hargrave’s highly anticipated follow-up to Wingspan, the end of a Star Wars collectible card game series, and the Kickstarter debut of Restoration Games’ long-awaited Dark Tower remake. Be sure to let us know in the comments what games you’re currently playing!
The popular roleplaying podcast is officially coming to Dungeons & Dragons. As previously reported on io9, Wizards of the Coast has announced a collaboration with Critical Role creator/GM Matthew Mercer on a tabletop roleplaying book set within the world from the second campaign of Critical Role. The 304-page Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount includes introductory adventures, plot suggestions, unique character options, and Easter eggs from the series. Given the wide popularity of this podcast, and the RPG community it’s inspired, it’s no surprise Dungeons & Dragons has officially taken it under its dragon wing. Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount comes out on March 17.
Wingspan creator Elizabeth Hargrave has announced her latest game, which is likewise bound to take flight. Mariposas, from Alderac Entertainment Group, is a movement game about helping monarch butterflies successfully migrate—a growing challenge thanks to climate change and overpopulation. Each game is played in three seasons: The butterflies head north in spring, spread out in summer, and try to return home in the fall. The player with the most successful butterfly family wins. It’s expected to come out in summer 2020.
River Horse Games has released its latest Terminator card game, based on the latest film in the series. Terminator: Dark Fate is a cooperative deck-building game where players work together to defeat Rev-9, played in the film by Gabriel Luna. Players have to evade Rev-9 long enough to gather weapons and resources to try and combat it—and every time it finds you, it’ll cost you. Terminator: Dark Fate costs about $33 and is currently available on the River Horse site.
Fantasy Flight Games has announced a new two-player card game set within the world of the Cosmic Encounter Universe. Cosmic Encounter Duel pits two different alien species against one another to land a coveted spot in the Cosmic Citizenship Council. Players race against each other to become the first species to control five planets, which will secure your place in the council. Cosmic Encounter Duel is currently available for pre-order for $40 and is set to come out in April.
The game company giveth and the game company taketh away. On the heels of the Cosmic Encounter Duel announcement comes the end of Star Wars: Destiny, a living card and dice game that first started back in 2016. According to Fantasy Flight Games, the upcoming Covert Missions booster set will be the final one in the Star Wars: Destiny franchise. In addition, the company will be ending Organized Play for the game with one final Star Wars: Destiny World Championship, which will take place May 1-3 at the Fantasy Flight Games Center.
There’s no such thing as too many villains. Ravensburger has announced the newest expansion for its Disney Villainous board game. Perfectly Wretched sees the addition of Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmations, Tangled’s Mother Gothel, and Pete from the Steamboat Willie cartoon (his cards are even black and white, which is a super cute touch). It’s designed as an expansion of Villainous but can also be played as a standalone. According to an email from Ravensburger, Perfectly Wretched comes out on March 1 and will cost about $25.
Ahoy mateys! Shiver Me Timbers is a strategic sandbox game with miniatures for two to four players, who each have a secret goal they’re trying to accomplish in order to help win the game. This could be hunting for lost treasure, defeating enemies, helping out the king, saving family members, or even fighting the Kraken. Once most of the goals have been completed, whoever has the highest amount of booty (or victory points) wins. Shiver Me Timbers will be on Kickstarter through February 6. The minimum pledge for a copy is $77 and it’s set to come out in March 2021.
Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile is a one to six player strategy game from Cole Wehrle. In the game, players work together (or against each other) to secure power and peace throughout the land. Most players begin as Exiles, powerful figures who live on the edge of society, while one of them takes on the role of the Chancellor, or the head of the realm. It’s the Chancellor’s job to keep their power, while the Exiles are trying to challenge them for it. Players can form alliances, betray one another, or do some form of both.
It’s an intuitive game that allows for a lot of unpredictability—an excellent choice for those who like games that keep things incredibly open-ended. Oath will be on Kickstarter through February 4. The minimum pledge for a copy is $90 and it’s set to come out January 2021. That might sound steep, but it’s already raised over $600,000 so far.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m fascinated by the lore of the Seven Deadly Sins (see my video about the subject). Monsters of the City is the latest book in Cawood Publishing’s 5E Monster Series. This edition heads to a big city with a series of seven districts—each with their own legendary monsters that represent a separate sin and virtue—that players have to explore. Will you fight for the side of good, or help evil reign supreme? Monsters of the City will be on Kickstarter through February 12. The minimum pledge for a digital copy is $16 while a physical copy goes for a minimum pledge of $29. It’s expected to come out in November. Cawood has also released a free sample of the Docks District for those who want a preview of what the overall game will be like.
There are so many resource management games for building armies or surviving on Mars...but what if you just want to cook? Neko Neko Cafe has players competing for the position of top baker at a new cafe in town—only problem is none of you have any baking experience (you’re all traditional chefs). So, you try to make the most delicious recipes using whatever you have on hand. Will your baked concoction satisfy the customers or send them crying? All I want to know is, Pillsbury dough totally counts, right? Neko Neko Cafe: The Board Game will be on Kickstarter through February 15. The minimum pledge for a copy is $32 and it’s set to come out in June.
It’s finally here! The long-awaited Dark Tower revamp from Restoration Games has arrived on Kickstarter. First debuting almost 40 years ago, Dark Tower was an epic fantasy game best known for its giant light-up tower in the middle. This latest version, Return to Dark Tower, follows in its grand footsteps. It’s a cooperative game for one to four players who go on epic quests, fight enemies, and test their might against the titular giant tower. Return to Dark Tower will be on Kickstarter through February 4. The minimum pledge for a copy is $125 and it’s set to come up February 2021.
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