News Digest: M:TG Theft, Shadowrun Video Games, BattleTech YA Novels, and more!
  • News Digest: M:TG Theft, Shadowrun Video Games, BattleTech YA Novels, and more!


    Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! An early preview season for M:TG due to a theft, a new Shadowrun video game may be on the horizon, BattleTech gets a YA fiction series, an updated Empyrea announcement, and more!


    Long-time Magic: The Gathering fans may notice that information from the Ixalan expansion has been coming out faster than previous expansions. This is because of a historic leak due to the theft of an uncut sheet from the card’s printer. A temporary employee for one of the printers of Magic: The Gathering allegedly snuck out of the printing facility past security with an uncut sheet from the new expansion. Though the employee managed to get away with the card sheet, he later attempted to sell the sheet online on an account under his own name. He was quickly tracked down and arrested for the theft, but not before images from the ad were spread around. Due to this, Scott Kelly, the Vice President of Creative and Production Studios, announced that there would be changes made to accelerate the release of rules, previews, and more during the normal Preview Season. In fact, the link above includes full images of all 49 cards on the uncut sheet in full resolution, even if the cards were previously too blurry or otherwise distorted to read in the ad’s images.


    Team Dragonpunk (known best for the Tribe of Gods mod for the game Ark: Survival Evolved) announced they are looking for the license to make a new Shadowrun video game exclusive to the X-Box One. The game, titled Shadowrun Anthology, will be “an Action-RPG/Multiple player title, of course! Like the RPG glory days of Mass Effect with multiplayer elements like Destiny.” When asked about whether this would be a remake of any of the previous games, designer Daniel Connery said “For example, there would be no reason why you couldn’t remake the old games as a mod, just like they’re doing with the SNES game in Shadowrun Returns. There are always challenges with next-gen modding, but as Modders ourselves for the last three years, we know exactly how to handle that!” This is not a guarantee that they will get the license, but it is the first attempt at a major AAA-style console game for the property since – and this is the only time I will ever admit its existence – the Xbox 360 first person shooter multiplayer-only game.

    To clarify from the linked source above, the rights for the Shadowrun and BattleTech video game properties are complicated, even moreso than the tabletop rights. After FASA started divesting assets, the rights were purchased by WizKids. In 2003, WizKids was purchased by Topps, who later closed down WizKids in 2008. The following year, WizKids was purchased by NECA (the current owner), but Topps retained all intellectual property rights to both the Shadowrun and BattleTech properties. However, Topps did not get the video game rights to either property as those were owned by FASA Interactive, which was spun off into its own company and later purchased by Microsoft. So when you’re playing Shadowrun Returns or its Dragonfall or Hong Kong sequels or the upcoming BattleTech game from Harebrained Schemes, the Mechwarrior Online game from Piranha Games, or the Shadowrun Chronicles games Boston Lockdown, Infected, or Missions by Cliffhanger Productions; you’ll notice there are a bunch of logos on the splash screens and it’s because of this overlapping of rights: Topps for the trademarks and general intellectual property, Microsoft for the video game rights, and Catalyst Game Labs for any elements drawn from the tabletop games (as they are the current licensee of the Shadowrun and BattleTech licenses for all tabletop games and for fiction). So yes, intellectual property law is complicated.


    Speaking of the fiction license for BattleTech, Catalyst Game Labs announced a new young adult novel series for BattleTech from author Jennifer Brozek. Brozek is the author of the YA sci-fi/horror Melissa Allen Trilogy – Never Let Me Sleep, Never Let Me Leave, and Never Let Me Die. She also has a long history in the tabletop industry, having written fiction for both Shadowrun and BattleTech as well as game writing for Dragonlance, Serenity, Savage Worlds, and many others. This is also not Brozek’s first YA BattleTech novel as she previously wrote BattleTech: The Nellus Academy Incident. Her writing has won her Scribe, Origins, and ENnie Awards as well as nominations for the Hugo Awards and the Bram Stoker Award. Few details about the story were released other than it will be set in the Age of Destruction in the immediate fallout of the Jihad and the first book has a release date of Fall 2018.


    Frank Mentzer released a new press release for his upcoming setting Empyrea. It goes over much of the same ground as the previous announcement, but notable this time after the “Let’s start from scratch” is that there is no longer any mention of Dungeons & Dragons or of Greyhawk. From the release:

    Empyrea is based on three premises: magic instead of Technology, a sentient but indifferent Planet who knows how everything can be in balance, and royals who place quality of life (for all) above unbalancing mass whims (like war and wealth).

    These premises have far-reaching consequences, and I have spent decades extrapolating the results and applying them to an entire continental society. (I have over a thousand chatroom game logs, i.e. my laboratory.)

    Our story is about Empyrea at its height. It is geographically constrained on all four sides, and Evil wants to spoil the party. But at the moment it's a comfortable Realm, the sort of world in which your current player characters have thrived. They'll find a second home in Empyrea.


    Why the new announcement? We can only speculate, but my personal guess (and again, this is pure speculation) is that Wizards of the Coast or someone on Mentzer’s legal team gave guidance to remove all the Wizards of the Coast trademarks (such as “Dungeons & Dragons” or “Greyhawk”) from the announcement, but that speaking of his past work on Empyrea as well as his history at TSR with Gary Gygax was acceptable. If so, this means the likelihood of this project coming to fruition with no legal snares has increased dramatically, which is I’m sure what everyone wants.


    Gen Con released their annual survey for attendees and, honestly, the joke from Tabletop Gaming News is just too good not to steal: “Did you go to Gen Con 50? Did you eat beans at Gen Con 50? Would you go to a convention with George Wendt? Would you go to a bean-eating convention with George Wendt?” Okay, Animaniacs reference aside, the survey is meant to improve the convention, which had record attendance this year, specifically addressing issues of space and organization. If you attended this year, whether you loved how well everything was run or were upset about some snag along the way, I would highly recommend spending a few minutes to take the survey so that Gen Con 51 can be even better.


    Lee Garvin has a long history in the tabletop gaming community, from his own games such as Tales of the Floating Vagabond, Control: The Game of Absolute Corruption, and Badass Zombie Killers to his work on games like 7th Sea, Ninja Burger, Pathfinder, and others. Every month (though it’s getting very close to changing to every week), Garvin provides a one-sheet adventure meant to pack a full game sessions worth of content onto a single page. Having playtested and helped with editing one of these, I can promise you that they’re just the thing when you need a fun game on the fly. Also available at the $5 pledge level are physical rewards in the form of card expansions for the card game version of Badass Zombie Killers. And of course, any pledge level gets you into the secret society of the Royal Knights of Fawndray. Who are they and why would you want to join? Well it’s a secret society, isn’t it?


    Humble Bundle Books has an amazing deal for fans of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay with four different bundle levels. Even the $1 level includes the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition Core Rulebook and three adventure books, and each level adds on more adventures, sourcebooks, campaign guides, and more. Even better for old-school fans, the top $20 level includes the first-time ever digital release of the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st Edition Rulebook. At any level, you also get a coupon for 30% off your entire purchase at the Cubicle 7 store valid until October 31, 2017. This promotion runs until Wednesday, September 27.


    The Deck of Many Things is one of the fondest memories and worst nightmares of any gaming group. But Cardamajigs has expanded the idea into an entire line by not only recreating a Tarot-sized deck of cards for the well-known artifact, but also reference decks for monsters, conditions, weapons, and NPCs with more to unlock through stretch goals. It features art from Jason Engle, Peter Mohrbacher, Thomas M. Baxa, Steve Argyle, Tom Babbey, and Aaron Miller and each deck varies in size depending on unlocked stretch goals and content available (as it’s OGL-compliant). A digital version is available for a $10, while there are several levels for decks with price breaks including $16 for one, $25 for two, and $49 for all the decks (five are currently unlocked with three more as stretch goals). This project is fully funded and runs until Thursday, October 5.

    IDW is doing a licensed Legend of Korra board game based on Pro-Bending. If you never watched Legend of Korra but are familiar with Avatar: The Last Airbender, Pro-Bending is an arena game of zone control where three benders – one water, one fire, and one earth – compete to push the other off using only their bending powers. Clay discs are available for earthbenders while the platform stands over a pool of water for waterbender. The gameplay for the board game version simulates the various strategies and bending abilities through a deckbuilding mechanic with a specialized D6 as an additional randomizing effect, which each team having access to different tricks they can pull based on their team’s personality. The only pledge level is $65 for the game and there are no stretch goals, though IDW will be releasing additional information as the project continues (there’s a $195 level for six copies of the game, but that’s only available for retailers). This project is fully funded (because of course it is, this is something Last Airbender fans have been screaming to get for ages) and runs until Friday, September 29.

    That’s all from me for this week! Find more gaming crowdfunding news at the EN World RPG Kickstarter News 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 news@enworldnews.com. You can follow me on Twitter @Abstruse where I’ll be giving a tutorial on how to capture game footage as I rant every time I mess something up, or you can listen to the archives of the Gamer’s Tavern podcast. Until next time, may all your hits be crits! Note: Links to Amazon, Humble Store, and/or DriveThru may contain affiliate links with the proceeds going to the author of this column.
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. ilsundal's Avatar
      ilsundal -
      That Warhammer Bundle is an amazing deal! Jumped in to get everything. Along with 10,000 others As a nice bonus, 10% of what you pay (or whatever you choose) goes to charity. Wow.
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