News Digest: Magic: The Gathering Aether Revolt, Petersen Entertainment Sues PayPal, Wizard World Drama Continues, Asmodee Buys More Companies, And More!
  • News Digest: Magic: The Gathering Aether Revolt, Petersen Entertainment Sues PayPal, Wizard World Drama Continues, Asmodee Buys More Companies, And More!

    Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week (and some change due to the holidays) gaming news! A new Magic: The Gathering expansion is almost upon us with an amazing video trailer, CNN confuses Fallout 4 with the real world, Asmodee acquired more companies, Petersen Entertainment sues PayPal, Wizard World's story gets even more complicated, and much more!

    Magic: The Gathering’s Aether Revolt hits game stores officially on January 20 with pre-release events on January 14-15. This is the second and final set of the Kaladesh block with 184 cards. In addition to the normal fifteen card booster packs, there will be an Aether Revolt Bundle containing ten booster packs, eighty basic lands, a spin-down d20 life counter, and an art book with images of all cards in the set. There will also be new Planeswalker decks with a sixty card pre-made deck, two booster packs, instruction guide, and strategy insert themed around the Planeswalkers Ajani and Tezzeret. There’s also an exclusive alternate art promotional card (limit one per customer) if you purchase a booster box in-store at select locations. And of course, many options are available from retailer-created packages on online stores such as Amazon available as soon as January 18.

    Gaming made it into a major CNN report on the current American political scandal involving Russian cyberattacks on the election, but not in the way you might think. In their attempt to illustrate what “hacking” is to their audience, they showed a screenshot of a black screen with random computer gibberish and hexadecimal code. If you don’t recognize the screenshot above, it’s from the hacking minigame of Fallout 4 where you choose a password from the gibberish in order to access terminals throughout the game. Needless to say, actual hacking has little to do with random guessing nor do modern computers give you a hint as to how many characters you guessed correctly when attempting to brute force a password. As someone on my Facebook put it, “At least they didn’t show two people typing on the same keyboard”.

    Asmodee acquired three more companies (link is in French) as the year ended, only announced due to an accidental early leak of a press release by one of the acquisitions. The companies purchased, Heidelberger Spieleverlag, EDGE Entertainment, and Millennium. Heidelberger Spieleverlag is a German publisher and distributor focused on licensing and localizing games for German language, EDGE Entertainment is a French company who localized games for the French language as well as producing products in the Anima: Beyond Fantasy series. Millenium is a Spanish distribution company. With these purchases, Asmodee now controls localization and distribution under their own company brand for English, French, German, and Spanish with distribution outlets in the United States, Canada, and Europe. More in-depth (and English) coverage is available from Board Game Geek.

    Sandy Petersen has filed a lawsuit with PayPal over unpaid funds, claiming that over $57,000 is behind held by the online payment company for post-Kickstarter campaign pledges for projects from Petersen Entertainment. While Petersen himself is Vice President of the Board of Directors at Chaosium and is most famous for creating the original Call of Cthulhu, this lawsuit is from Petersen Entertainment which has crowdfunded many successful campaigns such as Cthulhu Wars: Onslaught, which raised more than $1 million. Initial reports from some non-gaming outlets implied that PayPal is withholding Kickstarter funds, but the money actually came from post-Kickstarter fundraising and pre-orders through campaign manager programs as PayPal has never been a payment option for Kickstarter (who used Amazon Payments until 2015 when they switched to Stripe). Petersen spoke with EN World to give more details about the lawsuit last week. PayPal has not commented on the lawsuit.

    Gamestop is furthering its push into tabletop gaming as their house magazine, Game Informer, published a top ten list of new games from 2016 for tabletop games and a top five list for roleplaying games. The top ten tabletop games are: Captain Sonar, Codenames Pictures, Conan, Imhotep, Junk Art, Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition, Potion Explosion, Scythe, SeaFall, and Star Wars: Rebellion. The top five roleplaying game products are Delta Green: Agent’s Handbook, Dungeons & Dragons: Curse of Strahd, Exalted Third Edition, No Thank You, Evil!, and Shadowrun Anarchy.

    The legal battles over convention giant Wizard World are getting particularly ugly with recent developments. As a recap, Wizard World filed a lawsuit against former Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Shamus after his brother, Gareb Shamus, left the company claiming that Stephen Shamus used his position to illegally obtain memorabilia such as celebrity autographs for his personal financial benefit. Shamus counter-sued for unpaid salary and stock options based on an employment agreement signed by his brother before leaving as CEO which Wizard World is claiming was fraudulent and “a fabrication”. Wizard World then issued new stock (diluting the 40% of the shares owned by the Shamus brothers and other former CEO John Macaluso) before entering a deal with financial firm Bristol Capital Advisors for $2.5 million in capital against the new shares to be paid at 12% interest due quarterly. This is a very general overview of the situation and the details are, of course, far more complicated.

    Accord to ICv2 reports, it appears that documents filed during the discovery process of the Shamus lawsuit indicates that there may be a takeover in the works. Shamus’s lawyers stated that major shareholders Eric Weisblum, Robb Knie, and Vince Labarara have “knowledge and information that Wizard World shareholders intended to replace the current Board of Directors, withdraw the instant lawsuit and issue a public apology to Shamus”. Also listed among potential discovery are sources of information on the custom within Wizard World of gifting free autographs or photo ops, which would mean that their lawsuit against Shamus was unfounded. Stephen Shamus also recently launched a talent booking agency, A-List Talent, to book celebrity guests for convention appearances with a list of major convention draws such as actors from Marvel and DC films, Firefly, Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who.

    Mansions of Madness, whose new edition you’ll recall was listed as one of Game Informer’s top ten tabletop games of 2016, has done something a little different with its newest expansion – DLC for a board game. What Lies Within is a new scenario for Mansions of Madness available from the Apple App Store, Google Play, Amazon, and Steam as an in-app purchase for $4.99. The expansion requires no new physical components and includes everything in the app to explore the story of a disturbing murder that, of course, goes far deeper down the rabbit hole of the occult. The scenario is a Challenge Level 4 that will take around two hours to complete.

    Star Wars: Edge of the Empire hasn’t gone away with the other entries of the Star Wars game series as the new bounty hunter expansion, No Disintegrations, is coming soon. A new preview gives a glimpse at three new bounty hunter specializations: Stand and Fight, The Chase is On, and You Can’t Hide. This follows another preview from November showcasing three new alien races: Devaronians, Clawdites, and Kallerans. No Disintegrations is currently listed with the status of “On the Boat” under Fantasy Flight’s upcoming product list, meaning it should make it to stores and online outlets soon with a retail price of $29.95. If you’re looking to pre-order, be careful as West End Games released a book of adventures for bounty hunters for their Star Wars line back in 1997.

    Mantic Games released information on their plans for the coming new year. The first news is a price hike for the Kings of War line due to an increase in manufacturing costs, with the army sets and Dungeon Saga raising to a retail price of Ɯ59.99 starting February 1st (giving you a bit of time if you were looking to pick these up before the new pricing structure for the line). Warpath will arrive in retail stores starting in April with Enforcers vs ForgeFathers coming first and more following quickly for the mass battle game. Related, Star Saga is coming out later this year as a dungeon crawl board game set in the world of Warpath and its skirmish game Deadzone. The Walking Dead: All Out War will also have new units on the way including the January/February release of the Atlanta Camp Survivors line including Rick on a Horse, The Governor, and Morgan. May will bring in Hershel’s Farm with even more new characters with some retail exclusives to be announced throughout the year. Finally, Mantic has devoted itself to more traditional retail expansion with a reduction of their Kickstarter offerings in 2017 so they can focus on using crowdfunding solely to fund large product launches rather than smaller expansions.

    Sadly, I must close the first column of 2017 with the report that Sean Sweigart from Gale Force Nine has passed away. From the statement by Gale Force Nine:

    It is with great sadness, we have to announce our friend and colleague Sean Sweigart passed away over the holidays, due to complications following surgery.

    Sean worked at Gale Force Nine for thirteen years. He was instrumental in designing Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery, Firefly: The Game, Sons of Anarchy: Men of Mayhem, Homeland, WWE Superstar Showdown, Family Guy: Stewie’s Sexy Party Game, Star Trek: Ascendancy, and beyond.
    Sean spent his life immersed in Science Fiction and Fantasy worlds. In the early 1990s he founded his own game store, Omnidon’s, in Hummelstown, PA. Before joining GF9, Sean worked with Games Workshop for four years where he manned the Battlewagon and ran the Maryland Battle Bunker.
    Sean always sought new challenges. He relished innovating and creating. Sean wanted to make thematic games that told stories, games in which people could immerse themselves. He succeeded, and was rightly proud of his work.

    Sean was a close friend to those around him, passionate about games (among many other things!) and his presence will be sorely missed.

    A memorial fund is in place for his daughter, Alyssa. If you’d like to contribute, please visit:

    That’s all from me for 2016! Find more gaming news at the EN World News Network website, and don’t forget to support our Patreon to bring you even more gaming news content. If you have any news to submit, email us at You can follow me on Twitter @Abstruse where I've been ranting frustrations at getting live streaming equipment to work (and possibly announcements should I get it working), or you can listen to the archives of the Gamer’s Tavern podcast. Note: Links to Amazon and/or DriveThru may contain affiliate links with the proceeds going to the author of this column.
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. doctheweasel's Avatar
      doctheweasel -
      "A new preview gives a glimpse at three new bounty hunter specializations: Stand and Fight, The Chase is On, and You Can’t Hide."

      You just listed the paragraph headers rather than the specialization names. The actual specializations are: Martial Artist, Operator, and Skip Tracer.
    1. Staffan's Avatar
      Staffan -
      That portrayal of hacking is just silly. Everyone knows real hacking duels go like this:
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Staffan View Post
      That portrayal of hacking is just silly. Everyone knows real hacking duels go like this:
      At least John Rogers knows better and uses realistic language when talking about the hacking. Because real hacking is boring. I don't care how much techno music you blare, no one wants to watch someone stare at code looking for bugs or reading over an nmap log.
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