Welcome back to Gaming Shelf, io9's column all about board games and tabletop roleplaying games. This week, Gen Con Online gets things in full swing with its events schedule for the digital convention experience. Plus, a look at Pandemic Legacy’s upcoming season and a special anniversary edition for The Lord of the Rings: The Board Game. Check it out!
Gen Con 2020 might be canceled due to the novel coronavirus, but the online convention experience is in full swing. Gen Con has released the events schedule for Gen Con Online, a digital three-day con that features streaming shows, remote gaming events, online exhibitors, and community engagement on Discord. The event runs from July 30 to August 2, and is free to watch, but registration is required to participate in most events. Head here for more information.
Dicebreaker has unveiled the first teaser trailer for Pandemic’s new Legacy game, Pandemic Legacy: Season 0, which is heading back to the beginning of the ongoing global disaster saga. Pandemic Legacy: Season 0 looks to be a prequel game that sets up the origins of the Legacy saga, but no other information has been made available yet. It’s also unclear whether this will be the final game in what was originally announced as a trilogy of Legacy games, or if the company will still be making a Pandemic Legacy: Season 3.
The unveiling comes after Z-Man Games had paused all new Pandemic announcements in March, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The company only unveiled a spinoff in the months between then and now. With Pandemic Legacy: Season 0, it looks like Z-Man Games is putting Pandemic back on the market. The big question is whether audiences will be ready for the latest chapter in a story about a pandemic, considering we’re still living in one.
Wizards of the Coast and Fantasy Flight Games have announced they will no longer be working with artist Noah Bradley after he admitted to engaging in sexual harassment and other predatory behavior at gaming conventions. In a statement, Bradley acknowledged the truth of the allegations.
“I was terrible to women,” Bradley said. “I preyed on them. I ceaselessly hit on them. I pressured them into sex. I got too drunk and did all manner of dumb things. Yes, I was one of those shitty, creepy sexual predators you hear about. I was fucking awful.”
Bradley worked on art for Wizards of the Coast’s Magic: The Gathering and various Fantasy Flight board games. In a statement, Fantasy Flight Games said it will no longer commission new artwork from Bradley, and will work to remove his art from reprints of games he’s worked on. That said, due to the nature of production schedules, it acknowledged that some of his artwork will still appear in a “limited number of upcoming products” in the future.
Toss a coin to your many, many, many witchers. R. Talsorian Games has unveiled the latest sourcebook for The Witcher tabletop roleplaying game, A Witcher’s Journal, which looks back to the Golden Age of Witchers. According to the description, the sourcebook tells the story of monsters and witchers “through the journal of the founder of the Griffin School of Witchers, Erland of Larvik,” bringing new lore and adding rules for 33 new monsters, including ones that were wiped out well before Geralt joined the Witcher ranks. It also features a new investigation system, so GMs can create murder mysteries and other unusual events for their players. A Witcher’s Journal is on sale for $15 (normally $30), and is available on DriveThruRPG.
Fantasy Flight Games has announced it’s publishing a 20th anniversary edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Board Game, created by game designer Reiner Knizia with art by John Howe. The Lord of the Rings: The Board Game is a cooperative game where players take on the role of the hobbits trying to get the One Ring to Mordor. The anniversary edition is a faithful recreation of the original, featuring new sculpted miniatures for the Hobbits, Sauron, and the One Ring. The Lord of the Rings: The Board Game Anniversary Edition is currently available for pre-order—doing so will set you back $50, and the game is due to come out by the end of the year.
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.
Gotta heal ‘em all! Monster Care Squad is a tabletop roleplaying game where players take on the role of Monster Care Specialists, elite vets who’ve been sent out into the world of Alt-Amura to heal monsters who’ve been infected with a poison called the False Gold. It’s kind of like The Witcher, only you’re curing monsters instead of killing them. Monster Care Squad will be on Kickstarter until August 2. The minimum pledge for a digital copy is $25 (though there is a sliding scale for those unable to pay that amount), and a print edition costs $60. It’s set to come out in November 2021.
Catapult Kingdoms is a two-player tabletop game where each side represents a kingdom that’s waging war on the other one. Each player works to build and strengthen their castles using blocks, while simultaneously seeking to knock down the opponent’s castle and defeat their troops—with actual catapults and boulders. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, as there’s a good chance you’ll get a rock in the face. Catapult Kingdoms will be on Kickstarter through July 27. The minimum pledge for a copy is $35 and it’s set to come out in January 2021.
Picture this: Odin has promised a coveted spot in Valhalla... but only to the greatest Viking rock band of all time. In RagnaRok Star, players take on the role of groups trying to win the ultimate Battle of the Bands and secure a place at Odin and Thor’s side. You do this by booking venues, gaining fans, and rocking your tunics off. RagnaRok Star will be on Kickstarter through July 31. The minimum pledge for a print-and-play copy is $6, while the full game costs $38. It’s set to come out in April 2021.
Our Innermost Thoughts is a tabletop roleplaying zine that features four solitaire RPGs and one two-player RPG. They’re all focused on communication (whether it’s with yourself, with someone else, or with the surrounding world), as well as reflecting on personal judgements and biases. I’m always a fan of recommending solo play tabletop RPGs, especially during times of social distancing, and this seems like a great collection for exploring yourself and the relationship you have with the people and things around you. Our Innermost Thoughts will be on Kickstarter through July 14. The minimum pledge for a digital copy is $5 and will come out in July, while a print version is $9 and is set to be released in September.
Mantis Falls is a cooperative card game. Taking place in the noir-esque 1940s, it’s about people trying to survive the night in the town of Mantis Falls, which has been overrun by the mob. Players take on the secret roles of witnesses, assassins, or others—trying to stay alive while sussing out if anyone in their group is a danger to their safety. It’s a game of trust in a world where no one can really be trusted. Mantis Falls will be on Kickstarter through July 30. The minimum pledge for a print-and-play copy is $5 and will come out in August, while a print version costs $29 and is set to come out in May 2021.
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