Welcome back to Gaming Shelf, Gizmodo's column all about board games and tabletop roleplaying games. This weekend’s Toy Fair will bring all sorts of awesome gaming news. We’ve got some exciting stuff here, and be sure to be on the lookout for some reveals and announcements on Gizmodo in the coming days. Right now, we’ve got Mysterium’s first official sequel, the release date for a new Wonder Woman game, and some fantastic union news for Kickstarter.
News and Releases
Kickstarter Employees Vote to Unionise
In a major victory for labour rights, Kickstarter’s employees (under Kickstarter United) have successfully voted to form a union with the Office and Professional Employees International Union. According to a press release, the 85-member union has become one of the first tech worker unions in American history, setting a precedent for Silicon Valley.
This comes after months of backlash against Kickstarter for refusing to voluntarily recognise Kickstarter United, with CEO Aziz Hasan calling unions “inherently adversarial.” The company has also been accused of union-busting attempts, including firing two staffers who were members of the organising committee and hiring a law firm that specialises in “maintaining a union-free workplace.” Kickstarter responded on Twitter, “In a ballot count today, we learned that our staff voted 46 to 37 in favour of a union. Kickstarter’s leadership supports and respects their decision. We’re proud of our staff and of the fair and democratic process that got us here.”
The Big Top has never seemed so...murdery. Libellud has announced the first official sequel to Mysterium, its award-winning board game where a group of psychics work together to solve a murder, with one player taking the role of the ghost to help them along.
Mysterium Park, which is not an expansion of the original game, heads to a carnival for a new round of thrills and surprises, as the former director has “disappeared” and all sorts of spooky things are happening at the fair. Could it be the ghost of the director trying to find closure? Only one way to find out. Mysterium Park is set to come out sometime this year.
Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons
Ravensburger has unveiled the release date for Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons, a new cooperative game where Wonder Woman and her Amazon allies work together to defeat Area, Circe, or Cheetah (who is featured in the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984). The game includes five Amazon miniatures, including Wonder Woman, all of which are paintable. Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons comes out next month and will cost around $52.
Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid Expansions Pre-Order
It’s Morphin’ Time! Renegade Game Studios’ Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid is finally getting ready for Phase Two, which will feature three new expansions to grow the franchise. Following a massively successful Kickstarter campaign, the three expansions are available for pre-order, including the Zeo Ranger Pack, the Mega Goldar Deluxe Figure, and the legendary Tommy Oliver set, which includes four different figures depicting Tommy as the Mighty Morphin’ Green and White Rangers, Turbo Red Ranger, and Dino Thunder Black Ranger, as well as a cyborg Tommy monster figure. Each expansion costs about $60 and is set to be released by winter.
Blade Runner 2049: Nexus Protocol
One of the biggest mysteries in modern science fiction is whether Blade Runner’s Rick Deckard is a replicant. Now, WizKids’ new game is providing an answer, and it’s...maybe? Blade Runner 2049: Nexus Protocol is a social deduction game based on Blade Runner 2049. Players work together to figure out which one among them is secretly a replicant, interrogating witnesses and finding evidence cards in order to solve the puzzle. But if the humans take too long, the replicant escapes and wins the game. Blade Runner 2049: Nexus Protocol comes out this April.
Free League Workshop
Free League Publishing has announced a new community content program called Free League Workshop. The digital storefront and resource invites creators, fans, and gamers to publish their own adventures set in the worlds of Free League’s most-popular roleplaying games—including Tales From the Loop, Mutant: Year Zero, Forbidden Lands, and Coriolis, among others. Creators retain ownership of their content (with the exception of Free League’s copyrighted stuff), and if they choose to charge for it they receive 50 per cent of royalties. You can find out more information on the Free League Workshop website.
Note: Kickstarter, a huge fundraising site for tabletop gaming, has come under fire for opposing its employees’ move toward unionization under Kickstarter United. This includes firing two staffers who were members of the organising committee. In a statement, Kickstarter CEO Aziz Hasan denied the company was engaging in union-busting but confirmed that the company is refusing to voluntarily recognise Kickstarter United and called unions “inherently adversarial.”
As of February 18, Kickstarter United has successfully voted to unionise. GMG Union stands in support of the union, and we continue to oppose Hasan’s comments. As of now, Kickstarter United has not yet called for a boycott of the company, so Gizmodo will continue to showcase creators as we monitor the situation.
i’m sorry did you say street magic
February is Zine Quest 2 month at Kickstarter, where creators are invited to create short two-week campaigns to promote unique RPG zines. I’m highlighting one game during each Gaming Shelf as the campaign is ongoing (there are plenty of others to check out too). This time around, I’ve picked i’m sorry did you say street magic from Caro Asercion, a GM-less citybuilding story game where players work together to explore a city, creating it as they move through neighbourhoods and landmarks while coming across unforeseen events like festivals, elections, natural disasters, or even something that could change the fabric of time itself.
The designer is dedicated to keeping its games accessible for those who cannot afford them—so, for any folks who pledge $15 more than the minimum, Caro Asercion will add an extra digital community copy to its itch.io page for someone to access free of charge. i’m sorry did you say street magic will be on Kickstarter through February 27. The minimum pledge for a digital copy is $15 and comes out in May, while a print zine costs $22 and is expected to ship out in August.
CMON Games has unveiled its latest cooperative game, which takes place in the wild world of Marvel Comics. Marvel United has two to four players take control of Marvel’s superheroes in a fight against some of its biggest villains, like Red Skull and Ultron. Done in the Japanese “chibi-style,” the figures are both adorable and dangerous.
CMON also announced in a press release that the Kickstarter campaign has already reached a level high enough to unlock S.H.I.E.L.D. Solo Mode, meaning players can also take on solo missions. Marvel United will be on Kickstarter through March 5. The minimum pledge for a copy is $89 and it’s set to come out March 2021.
Imagine if Clue was mixed with Finders Keepers, with a little dash of Hot Potato. Chaosmos is an open-world board game where players are trying to find, protect, and hide something called the Ovoid card. They do that by going to different planets and collecting equipment to help on the mission. Cards are placed in envelopes on different planets, and anything you leave behind on a planet because part of that miniature deck.
That way you can go back for it later, unless someone else gets there first. It’s an interesting concept for a game and I’m curious to see how it plays out. Chaosmos will be on Kickstarter through February 21. The minimum pledge for a copy is $65 and it’s set to come out April.
A major crisis has arrived in the world of Wonderland. No, it’s not Johnny Depp. It’s logic! In Wonderland’s War, players take on the role of key Alice in Wonderland characters—like Alice, the Red Queen, and the Mad Hatter—who are engaged in a war over control of Wonderland. The goal? To return it to its former nonsensical glory.
Players vie for support, gather resources, go to battle, and complete side quests in order to gain power. The winner becomes the new ruler of Wonderland, and hopefully madness will return with them. Wonderland’s War will be on Kickstarter through March 4. The minimum pledge for a copy is $74 and it’s set to come out March 2021.
Recipe for Adventure: Lost Tomes of Culinary Arts
This Kickstarter campaign combines two of my favourite things: roleplaying games and cooking up tasty treats. Recipe for Adventure is a series of 25 cards that feature a fantasy-esque (but totally do-able) recipe on one side and a party encounter on the other. The encounters are connected to gathering some of the main ingredients in the recipe and typically include a challenge or monster of some kind.
Could be a fun challenge for a DM to task your players with gathering the ingredients to cook up an elderflower and cheese tart, only to surprise them with a real version for everyone to enjoy together! Recipe for Adventure: Lost Tomes of Culinary Arts will be on Kickstarter through March 10. The minimum pledge for a set is $36 and it’s set to come out in September.