Welcome back to Gaming Shelf, io9's regular column all about the latest in board games and tabletop roleplaying. San Diego Comic-Con and Gen Con are around the corner, and with both of those we’re expecting a lot of exciting gaming news. In the meantime, there are some really cool announcements we’ve gotten over the past couple of weeks, including a release date for the long-awaited Dune board game reprint, and a competition reality show set in the world of...board game Ticket to Ride?
Dune is everywhere lately—with Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming movie, the spinoff series about the Bene Gesserit, video games, and at least one other project that’s still top secret. Gale Force 9 wants to help pass the time waiting for these films, shows, and games to finally surface, with more information about the upcoming reprint of the classic Dune board game, along with a release date.
First released 35 years ago alongside David Lynch’s film adaptation, Dune had players take on the role of one of six rival groups vying for control (or the independence) of Arrakis. That’s the planet where all the spice flows. Since going out of print, it’s become a hot collector’s item for fans of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi saga. You can see a preview of the new box art above. Dune the board game is set to come out August 24, and will cost about $50.
For those still mourning the unexpected ending of The Walking Dead graphic novel series, there’s A Call to Arms. It’s a new sourcebook of skirmish battles for The Walking Dead Miniatures Game. In this version, the living have gathered together to form communities and can now wage large-scale battles against the undead, as well as other outside threats. A Call to Arms is currently available for preorder for about $19, and starts shipping July 29.
This was definitely the weirdest gaming news to come out in awhile. As reported by Tabletop Wire, Propagate Content and Asmodee Entertainment have announced they’re working on a television series based on the board game Ticket to Ride. Only get this: It’s a reality show. Specifically, it would be a The Chipmunk Adventure-style competition series that would take five teams around the world completing “Girls of Rock and Roll” challenges by air, land, and sea. Presumably there’s some diamond smuggling involved, thanks to an almost-incestuous brother-sister European duo. No potential network or release date have been announced yet. Sun goes down, I’m just getting up...
Grey Fox Games has announced a release date for its two-player asymmetrical deck-building game set several years after the events of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. In this quasi-sequel to the original story, aliens have landed in countries around the world, including Scotland, and are working to destroy Great Britain. One player takes on the role of UK forces trying to destroy the aliens, while the other plays the extraterrestrials trying to complete their mission. The New Wave arrives on September 24 and will cost about $40.
It’s He Who Must Have His Ass Kicked. USAopoly has revealed its latest Wizarding World board game, Harry Potter: Death Eaters Rising. Taking place during Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, two to four players join together in this cooperative card game to fight Lord Voldemort (oh shit I said it) and his terrifying Death Eaters. Harry Potter: Death Eaters Rising comes out this fall and will cost about $50.
As previously reported, the Trump administration has suspended the planned 25 percent tariffs on board games, toys, and accessories imported from China. You can read more about it here.
Indie Board & Cards’ cooperative deckbuilding game Aeon’s End, where players work together to defend Gravehold from the Nameless, is getting a new standalone expansion called The New Age. According to the Gaming Gang, it adds a new expedition mode, along with a ton of cool new gear, heroes, and enemies. Aeon’s End: The New Age is set to come out on September 18 and will cost about $60.
If you want to find the most Fantastic Beasts, all you have to do is look out your window. Birdscapes is a trading card game that turns real birds into powerful creatures with their own needs and skills. Players take turns keeping and trading birds in their personal habitats, combating things like natural disaster and competition from the other players while trying to emerge as the superior flock. Birdscapes will be on Kickstarter through August 4. The minimum pledge for a starter pack is $20, and it’s set to ship in November.
The Kickstarter-funded video game Shovel Knight has now become a tabletop miniatures game... that’s also seeking funding on Kickstarter. Shovel Knight: Dungeon Duels is a competitive board game for one to four players who seek gold by digging up mounds, defeating bosses, or even stealing from other Shovel Knights.
The interesting thing about this game is that it’s quasi-recreated the side scroller experience of the video game by having a series of moving board pieces that rotate with each round. This not only makes it actually feel like a side scroller, but also ensures that the game changes every time you play. Shovel Knight: Dungeon Duels will be on Kickstarter through July 27. The minimum pledge for a copy is $70, and it’s set to come out in July 2020.
Sometimes, it’s hard to come up with good Dungeons & Dragons storylines. It involves a lot of work! That’s why I appreciate when folks create ways to give awesome, unique, and creative story ideas a much-needed boost. Dream Realm Storytellers has built a storydeck of cards that combine to make different horror scenarios inside Dungeons & Dragons and other tabletop roleplaying games. The set comes with 90 cards that include suggested themes, illustrations, characters, plot twists, and other story elements. Journey Guide will be on Kickstarter through August 1. The minimum pledge for a digital copy is $15, while a printed set will run $35. It’s set to come out January 2020.
Hate to break it to you, but the world is ending. Kinda sucks, right? Well, Project: Pangea is here to figure out how to save as many lives as possible, by learning from the rights and wrongs of the past. Pangea, an English version of a successful Polish board game, puts players inside a “simulation” of what the world was like 250 million years ago during a previous mass extinction. The goal is to make sure your designated animal group survives, no matter the cost. Pangea will be on Kickstarter through July 15. The minimum pledge for a copy is $55, and it’s set to come out April 2020.
For those wanting more of a challenge—a puzzle, if you will—there’s Crypt-X, a narrative story game that unfolds through a series of puzzles, mazes, and mysteries. It centers around a missing professor of archaeology and an ancient tomb, and players have to figure out what happened before it’s too late. The game is long (seven to 10 hours of gameplay) and looks tough as nails, but for those who feel like flexing their mental muscles, it’s a rough but fun ride. Crypt-X will be on Kickstarter through July 18. The minimum pledge for a copy is $34, but there are higher tiers that provide more puzzles, maps, and challenges.
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