News Digest: Starfinder Beginner's Box, The Late Show D&D Segment, Several Big "Miniatures" Announced, and more!
  • News Digest: Starfinder Beginner's Box, The Late Show D&D Segment, Several Big "Miniatures" Announced, and more!


    Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news. Starfinder Beginner’s Box coming soon, Dungeons & Dragons on network television, Mercedes Lackey health scare from Gen Con, Target exclusive games, Dark Tower returns, and more!


    Paizo announced a new introductory set for their Starfinder roleplaying game, Starfinder Beginner Box. The boxed set will be a self-contained game with streamlined rules similar to the Pathfinder Beginner Box. There are not many details yet as the box is still in development, but it’s been announced it will include separate books for Gamemasters and players, stand-up pawns, dice, and maps (plural). There’s no retail price announcement, though the Pathfinder Beginner Box currently has a retail price of $34.99. The boxed set is expected in Spring 2019. While there’s no more firm of a date yet, but the Starfinder Pawns: Alien Archive 2 Pawn Box will be released on March 12, 2019, according to Amazon (the hardcover for Starfinder: Alien Archive 2 has a release date of October 16, 2018).


    Joe Manganiello appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert this week to promote his Death Saves line of D&D clothing. The result is a full segment of a broadcast network late night show devoted to both the guest and the host talking about Dungeons & Dragons. And while other guests have previously talked about roleplaying games before as Stephen Colbert is a gamer and, as you’re surely aware, you can’t put two gamers in a room together before they start talking about games. This segment, however, was entirely devoted to Manganiello and Colbert talking about games. Seriously, it’s nine minutes of discussions of D&D races, classes, meatgrinder adventures, and their preferred method of rolling characters (both prefer 3d6 in order). The full video is available on The Late Show’s YouTube channel (embedded below) as well as their Facebook page (linked above).




    There have been a few announcements of some luxury gaming products this past week. The Beadle & Grimm boxed set line was announced some time ago with a retail price of $500 but with little information about what’s inside. Now, we know. The set will include the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist adventure broken into eight smaller books, several handouts (small maps, artwork, letters, journals, newspapers, and more), two large canvas maps (one of Waterdeep itself and the other unannounced), several battlemaps scaled for miniature use, twenty-two total miniatures, a custom DM screen, “encounter cards” (folded cards with monster artwork on one side and stat blocks on the other for hanging on the DM’s screen to track initiative), a “dragon coin”, and more that hasn’t been released yet.


    WizKids also revealed information about a ship previously announced at the New York Toy Fair, a “miniature” of a sailing ship called The Falling Star to-scale for miniature use. The ship will be 33” long, 17.2” tall, and with a deck 6.4” wide and mast 12.6” long. The broadside hatches open and close, and the ship itself is built out of tiles that can be removed to track battles on the deck or in the hold. This “miniature” will retail for $249.99 and be released in May of 2019.


    Finally, the naval-scale wargame Star Wars Armada from Fantasy Flight Games will get the largest ship in the canon: The Super Star Destroyer Executor. The 24” long “miniature” (okay, yes, it’s a scale reproduction, but between this and the Falling Star can we really call these “miniatures” when they’ll take up half a coffee table?) will include all the cards, tokens, and other materials to add to your Star Wars Armada game with three different configurations for the model. Two of these options were announced, the 220 point “Star Dreadnought Command Prototype” (which is the weakest of the variants and includes eight attack dice, a hull value of 22, nine upgrade slots, and six firing arcs) and a 35 point command staff card for Emperor Palpatine. The Super Star Destroyer will be available in “the first quarter of 2019” from Fantasy Flight (though the pre-order page on Amazon lists a release date of March 29, 2019) with a retail price of $199.99.


    Fantasy author Mercedes Lackey had a health scare that forced her to withdraw from several events at Gen Con this past weekend. Original reports from Friday morning listed her as hospitalized by a stroke following symptoms of dizziness, disorientation, and hallucinations. After running several tests at the hospital, it turns out she was poisoned by her hotel room. The room had recently been renovated with new carpet, furniture, and paint but had not been properly aired out, leaving toxic fumes in the room in a phenomenon known as “outgassing”. In case you’ve ever wondered what a bestselling fantasy author poisoned by her hotel room hallucinates, Lackey wrote on Facebook “When I opened the door to the paramedics, and the hotel manager, I saw the medics, the manager, and standing between them a beautiful woman with long sandy-brown wavy hair in an astronaut’s orange jumpsuit.” Lackey recovered in time to resume her scheduled on Sunday and is reportedly back at home safely.


    Stronghold Games and Indie Boards & Cards announced on Friday that the two companies will merge. Both companies (along with Action Phase Games, previously acquired by Indie Board & Cards) will each retain their independent brands. Indie Boards & Cards is best known for their games The Resistance, Coup, and Kodama, while Stronghold Games is best known for Space Cadets, Terraforming Mars, and Survive: Escape from Atlantis! And because a board game company merger/acquisition can’t happen without Asmodee also grabbing a piece of the story, Asmodee acquired Galapagos Jogos, a large regional distributor for Brazil which already acted as distributor for the Portuguese language South American for Asmodee.


    Target announced exclusive distribution deals for over one hundred new games, ninety-five of them exclusive to Target stores. The majority of these games are standard fare you’d expect from a big box chain such as licensed board games and variants of mainstream board games like Monopoly, Battleship, and Sorry. However, added to the non-exclusive list was the Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set, which has already been seen on endcap displays in stores. Additionally, exclusive variants of Ticket to Ride New York and The Oregon Trail Game were announced as well as the non-exclusive distribution of Superfight 90s Deck, Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger, and Game of Thrones: Hand of the King.


    Restoration Games announced the follow-up to their re-release of the classic Fireball Island, a new edition of the 1981 electronic board game Dark Tower called Return to Dark Tower. The original game involved moving around a board gathering armies and supplies to lay siege to the titular Dark Tower while battling the forces of evil, using a large portable computer to track randomize events using a keypad to enter codes (demonstrated in this demo of a hard-to-find functional version by YouTuber Noah Antwiler aka Spoony). The sequel game will refocus the design into a cooperative game as the players work together to gather resources and plan for the final assault on the tower. The game will go to Kickstarter sometime in 2019 with an estimated release in 2020.


    Humble Bundle decided that one Humble Book Bundle on game design wasn’t enough so added a second one. The Game Design & Puzzlecraft Book Bundle from Lone Shark Games features $270 worth of books on game design for tabletop games, including books from designers like Monte Cook, Shanna Germain, Mike Selinker, Robin J. Laws, Elisa Teague, James Lowder, Wolfgang Baur, Justin Gary, and more. The Program Your Own Games Book Bundle from Mercury Learning and Information features $649 worth of books covering video game development and digital filmmaking including primers on Python, video game writing, game testing, storyboarding, and studio production techniques. There’s also the Valiant Universe Humble Comics Bundle available as well with several digital trade paperbacks of Valiant Universe comics. These bundles will be available until August 15, August 20, and August 22 respectively.


    Your Best Game Ever from Monte Cook Games isn’t really a game book, but it may be one of the most important game books. The book is a resource for gamers for all roleplaying games regardless of system focused on teaching new techniques, tips, tricks, and advice for making any game better. The list of contributors is impressive, including names like Matt Mercer, John Rogers, Monica Valentinelli, Matt Coville, Tom Lommel, Jennell Jacquays, Alina Pete, and a lot more giving advice for any gaming experience level from brand-new players to lifelong grognards. The PDF is available for a $20 pledge and the hardcover for $45, with several backer levels and add-ons for deluxe editions and several of Monte Cook Games’s other products. This project is fully funded and runs until Friday, August 24.

    Domina Magica is a roleplaying game based on the maho shojo genre of anime and manga, more popularly known as “Magical Girl” in the US. The complete system focuses on playing school-age girls with powerful magical abilities used to fight evil, keeping it secret as they deal with the drama of classes, friends, and family. And if you want to know how much the designer Emily Reinhart gets the aesthetic, the game mechanics involve using a “cootie-catcher” and every backer level gets a slap bracelet – even the one dollar level. The PDF is available for $25 and the hardcover available for $50. This project is fully funded shortly after launch and will unlock stretch goals until Thursday, September 6.

    That’s all from me for this week! Find more gaming crowdfunding news by following our Kickstarter news tag, and don’t forget to support our Patreon to bring you 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 you can help convince me to finally get back to streaming on Twitch and finishing up Dragon Age: Origins before deciding which game to play next, follow Gamer’s Tavern on YouTube featuring videos on gaming history and gaming Let’s Plays, 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, Humble Bundle, and/or DriveThru may contain affiliate links with the proceeds going to the author of this column.
    Comments 18 Comments
    1. Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
      Ralif Redhammer -
      Crazy news about Mercedes Lackey. At least it wasn’t a stroke, but that had to be pretty scary.

      The Manganiello-Colbert segment is pretty glorious. Though their enthusiasm is infectious, it looks like Colbert needs to get up-to-date on his D&D playing.

      I wonder if we’re going to have Hollywood’s first D&D-related beef now, what with Manganiello casting aspersions on Vin Diesel actually playing D&D?
    1. Zarithar's Avatar
      Zarithar -
      Will definitely be picking up the Starfinder Beginner Box when it is released.
      Stephen Colbert is great and filled with the truly old school AD&D knowledge. When he came back with Mournblade in response to Manganiello's Stormbringer reference I just about jumped out of my seat... Respect!
    1. AriochQ's Avatar
      AriochQ -
      Best part of the Colbert interview, when Joe mentions the current method of rolling ability scores is 4d6 drop the lowest and arrange how you like, Colbert says "5d6? That's for children!" lol

      I guess Colbert hasn't played since college, but I would love to see him on Critical Role at some point.

      Joe also throws some shade at Vin Diesel, saying something like "He says he plays, but I don't know anyone who plays with him..."
    1. AriochQ's Avatar
      AriochQ -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zarithar View Post
      Will definitely be picking up the Starfinder Beginner Box when it is released.
      Stephen Colbert is great and filled with the truly old school AD&D knowledge. When he came back with Mournblade in response to Manganiello's Stormbringer reference I just about jumped out of my seat... Respect!
      Colbert has serious nerd cred. Do a YouTube search for his segments on Tolkien. The dude is a walking Tolkien encyclopedia!
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by AriochQ View Post
      Colbert has serious nerd cred. Do a YouTube search for his segments on Tolkien. The dude is a walking Tolkien encyclopedia!
      Yeah, if you think the potential Manganiello/Diesel feud is something, look up the appearances of James Franco on Colbert Report. There's at least two and maybe more because Franco mentioned being a Tolkien fan and Colbert went deep into Middle Earth lore, so Franco actually studied up for the next appearance to try to one-up him...and Colbert still schooled him.

      So what if he's three editions out of date, guy's been producing and hosting a show while still touring for something like a decade and a half. My last group canceled a game once because there was an X-Files marathon.
    1. Emirikol Prime's Avatar
      Emirikol Prime -
      Not really into Pathfinder as much as I used to be but as the Beginner Box was the best product in a decade I'll be picking up the Starfinder box as well.
    1. Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
      Ralif Redhammer -
      Though in his defense, that was "just five years ago."

      But yeah, Colbert on Critical Role has to happen now.

      Quote Originally Posted by AriochQ View Post
      I guess Colbert hasn't played since college, but I would love to see him on Critical Role at some point.
      "
    1. Dire Bare's Avatar
      Dire Bare -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ralif Redhammer View Post
      I wonder if we’re going to have Hollywood’s first D&D-related beef now, what with Manganiello casting aspersions on Vin Diesel actually playing D&D?
      Quote Originally Posted by AriochQ View Post
      Joe also throws some shade at Vin Diesel, saying something like "He says he plays, but I don't know anyone who plays with him..."
      That bit felt awkwardly weird to me. I'm assuming and hoping Manganiello didn't mean any serious shade . . . does he really believe that "everyone" in LA who plays passes through his gaming circle? Just because you don't know anyone who plays with Vin Diesel, doesn't mean jack. No need to play "King Nerd".

      There's some great video from D&D Beyond on Manganiello's gameroom, the "Gary Gygax Memorial Dungeon".



      Here's a short bit from SiriusXM on Manganiello's gaming group.

    1. JEB's Avatar
      JEB -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dire Bare View Post
      That bit felt awkwardly weird to me. I'm assuming and hoping Manganiello didn't mean any serious shade . . . does he really believe that "everyone" in LA who plays passes through his gaming circle? Just because you don't know anyone who plays with Vin Diesel, doesn't mean jack. No need to play "King Nerd".
      Also a bit silly since there's video evidence of him playing at least once and Diesel was talking about his D&D games well before the current D&D resurgence (see the 30th anniversary book in 2004). But I think we can assume Manganiello was just kidding.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dire Bare View Post
      That bit felt awkwardly weird to me. I'm assuming and hoping Manganiello didn't mean any serious shade . . . does he really believe that "everyone" in LA who plays passes through his gaming circle? Just because you don't know anyone who plays with Vin Diesel, doesn't mean jack. No need to play "King Nerd".
      To me, that came off a bit like...the wrestling term is a "work". Like Manganiello is setting up Diesel to do some cross-promotion by "feuding" over who is the "real" D&D fan until some big thing like a stage or live stream event where Chris Perkins or Matt Mercer runs a game for the two of them through Tomb of Horrors to see who survives or something like that. That's just a random guess from me, though. It could've also been Manganiello trying to get attention for Death Saves through the Hollywood gossip rags by starting a "feud" and get all the mudslinging press to write up pieces about the "drama".
    1. MNblockhead's Avatar
      MNblockhead -
      I would love to see Manganiello and Vin Diesel play in a Chris Perkins run meat grinder.
    1. delericho's Avatar
      delericho -
      Quote Originally Posted by Abstruse View Post
      To me, that came off a bit like...the wrestling term is a "work".
      Well, if it works...

      That said, if that's the angle they're going for, they should find a way to pull The Rock in - for the publicity, but also because he's well experienced in such things. Manganiello & Colbert vs. Vin Diesel & the Rock perhaps?

      And maybe that's how you birth an eSport?
    1. Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
      Ralif Redhammer -
      Yeah, I imagine that it was all in good humor.

      Although…after watching Vin Diesel play, I can say that he seemed more than a little rusty. Sure, Vin Diesel isn’t Laurence Olivier, but he was playing a character he just played in a movie, and he still didn’t get into character at all.

      And dang, is that one heck of a gaming room.

      Quote Originally Posted by Dire Bare View Post
      That bit felt awkwardly weird to me. I'm assuming and hoping Manganiello didn't mean any serious shade . . . does he really believe that "everyone" in LA who plays passes through his gaming circle? Just because you don't know anyone who plays with Vin Diesel, doesn't mean jack. No need to play "King Nerd".

      There's some great video from D&D Beyond on Manganiello's gameroom, the "Gary Gygax Memorial Dungeon".
    1. MNblockhead's Avatar
      MNblockhead -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ralif Redhammer View Post
      Yeah, I imagine that it was all in good humor.

      Although…after watching Vin Diesel play, I can say that he seemed more than a little rusty. Sure, Vin Diesel isn’t Laurence Olivier, but he was playing a character he just played in a movie, and he still didn’t get into character at all.

      And dang, is that one heck of a gaming room.
      He is rusty. In his after-game video post, he states that he hasn't played in a long time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlnyeqvnBkE

      I couldn't find them with a quick Google search, but I remember when I first watched this, there was an interview with Matt Mercer talking about how it took Vin Diesel a bit to warm up, citing his reaction to rolling a critical as when he got fully into it.

      While he may be rusty--I doubt he finds much time to actually play regularly--he has been talking about its importance to him and influence on him for a long time. Years before it became trendy. He made a movie based on his old D&D character--because he could.

      Also, his reaction after the Geek & Sundry session (the link I posted above), I find to be genuine. He had a great time.

      I can totally see Manganiello and Vin Diesel manufacturing a dispute, leading up to some all-stars game.
    1. VengerSatanis -
      Just watched that segment... Awesome! Even Cthulhu was mentioned. Old School meets new school. Nuff said.

      I agree with the person who said that could birth an esport!
    1. Jer's Avatar
      Jer -
      Quote Originally Posted by Emirikol Prime View Post
      Not really into Pathfinder as much as I used to be but as the Beginner Box was the best product in a decade I'll be picking up the Starfinder box as well.
      I recently acquired a copy of the Starfinder Core Rules, but there's no way I'll convince my gaming group to play it based on the core rules - it's just too much for a one-shot and honestly too much game for where they are right now as players (and we're in the middle of a campaign anyway).

      But if the Starfinder Beginner Box is as good at explaining the minimum you need to start playing for Starfinder as the original Pathfinder Box was for Pathfinder, I might be able to convince them to give it a go.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jer View Post
      I recently acquired a copy of the Starfinder Core Rules, but there's no way I'll convince my gaming group to play it based on the core rules - it's just too much for a one-shot and honestly too much game for where they are right now as players (and we're in the middle of a campaign anyway).

      But if the Starfinder Beginner Box is as good at explaining the minimum you need to start playing for Starfinder as the original Pathfinder Box was for Pathfinder, I might be able to convince them to give it a go.
      If it's remotely as good as the Pathfinder box, it's a pretty good value even if you are already playing and know the rules. An extra rulebook to pass around the table, dry/wet erase flip maps, and the stand-up cardboard pawns alone make it worthwhile.
    1. aramis erak's Avatar
      aramis erak -
      "this is going to alienate some of my audience... but I don't care! What's your highest level character?"

      Awesome quote.
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