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News Digest: D&D Movie "News", Pathfinder 2nd Edition Released, Industry Stats from ICv2 and ORR Gro

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! Pathfinder 2nd Edition is out and there’s a lot to talk about, some more Dungeons & Dragons movie “news”, Roll20’s user stats, ICv2’s industry rankings, Diana Jones Award winner announced, and more!

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So the tabletop gaming news channels have been hit once again by the Hollywood trades’ ability to make news out of nothing after Deadline reported that Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley are in talks to direct the Dungeons & Dragons movie. Chris McKay (The Lego Batman Movie) is definitely out as director now as he’s moved onto another project with Chris Pratt called Ghost Draft. Goldstein and Daley, the team behind the script for Spider-man: Homecoming and the recent comedy about tabletop gaming Game Night, are only in talks and have not been signed on to write or direct, despite what many are saying. So, really, there’s no news other than rumors at this point. As we stand, the movie is currently with Paramount for distribution and Hasbro’s AllSpark Pictures handling production, with the most recent screenplay draft from Michael Gilio (who has no major writing credits to his name), though that will probably be either re-written or thrown out with a new director replacing McKay. Brian Goldner (producer of the Transformers and G.I. Joe live-action films) and Stephan Davis (producer of the recent Transformers and G.I. Joe animated TV series) are still on-board as producers.

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Pathfinder 2nd Edition is officially in the wild, and EN World has a lot of coverage. First, a special double-length episode of Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk spends an hour and a half of its two-hour runtime with Morrus and Peter giving their impressions of the new edition. Next, Ben Reece has a detailed dive into the new edition. Morrus also weighed in with his opinions in text format as he discusses the difference between complexity and depth in a game. Finally, EN Publishing is right on top of the new edition with four PDF supplements already online for backers of the TRAILseeker Patreon for those already hungry for more options, including an adventure for Level 1-2, a dragon-themed location with new magic items, fifteen new backgrounds, and advice on fleshing out your brand-new character. Oh, and the System Reference Document for Pathfinder 2nd Edition is now live from Archives of Nethys.

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The ORR Group (the company behind Roll20) released their user statistics with a lot of shake-ups in the rankings due to a change in how they’re measured. Previously, the list was generated by just looking at what games people were playing, which didn’t always give accurate data as people would set their game as D&D when they were playing…well, anything. So starting this quarter’s measurement (2019 Q2), they’ve begun tracking via the character sheets used by players, which tends to give more accurate information as a grid is a grid but character sheets are particularly tailored for a specific system. This change caused quite a bit of shuffling, as you can see in the chart above, with Call of Cthulhu moving above Pathfinder and other systems getting a much stronger showing as D&D 5e has dropped by almost ten percent. You can see the full statistics which lists pretty much every game played on the system in the link above.

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ICv2 released their quarterly market rankings for gaming this week. In addition to roleplaying games, they also track board games (Catan, Pandemic, Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth), card and/or dice games (Codenames, Marvel Legendary, Love Letter), collectible games (Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon Trading Card Game, KeyForge), and non-collectible miniatures (Warhammer 40K, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, D&D Nolzur’s Marvelous Minis). However, you’re here for the roleplaying games. The top five best-selling tabletop roleplaying games for Spring 2019 through hobby store channels are: Dungeons & Dragons, Starfinder, Star Wars RPG, Vampire: The Masquerade, and Pathfinder.

As far as the overall market, there’s been some sales slumps this quarter, marking the second such slip in a row following a record approximately ten years of quarter-on-quarter growth in the industry, with the biggest drop in trading card games at 14% (with most of that coming from slowing of sales of Pokemon TCG following a burst of sales in 2017 with the popularity of Pokemon Go). Board games and non-collectible games had single-digit increases from last quarter, while roleplaying games increased by 18% over last quarter.

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This year’s Diana Jones Award winner was announced at an industry-only ceremony on Wednesday. This year’s winner is Star Crossed from designer Alex Roberts and published by Bully Pulpit Games. The two-player romance game is all about the tension of new romance as you use a Jenga tower and event cards to determine how the courtship progresses, with the tension of hoping everything doesn’t fall apart. Get it? Fall apart? Because it’s a figurative statement for how things can go wrong but also literally it’s a Jenga tower and—Anyway, the game is available in digital format on DriveThruRPG (“54-brick tumbling block tower” not included) with a boxed version with everything you need to play also available from other outlets. The Diana Jones Award is one of the highest honors of the tabletop industry, awarded each year the night before Gen Con and chosen by a panel of industry professionals to honor one product, designer, event, or concept in gaming.

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Paizo announced that Archon Studio will take over production of the Starfinder Masterclass Miniature line of unpainted miniatures from Ninja Division after difficulties fulfilling the original Kickstarter. Archon will begin fulfilling the Kickstarter again from scratch, though the miniatures will be plastic instead of resin. However, backers who received partial fulfillment will receive their full order again in plastic in waves at no additional charge. Archon itself has a history with unfulfilled Kickstarters as the company was previously known as Prodos and left an Aliens vs. Predator Kickstarter only 20% completed before closing the company and transferring assets to the new Archon Studio, though Archon itself has not had any reported fulfillment issues with the Kickstarters it has managed since the rebranding. Paizo has asked that all questions about fulfillment from backers be addressed via the original Kickstarter page.

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There are still a few days left in the Lone Shark Games Puzzles & Puzzle Games Humble Bundle. Not only does it include DRM-free multiformat ebooks on crosswords, cryptics, logic puzzles, and the like, it also includes full-fledge tabletop games including the Lovecraftian Scrabble-like game Unspeakable Words, musical duo Paul & Storm’s Sausage Party, the Mike Selinker and John Kovalic designed memory game Hastur Horta Hodor Modor, and the adventure card game Apocrypha featuring writing from Patrick Rothfuss and Matt Forbeck. This bundle runs until Monday, August 5.

There are several other interesting bundles currently up, including the 2D Game Dev Bundle which, despite the name, is also useful to anyone who uses virtual tabletops as the assets are perfect for NPCs, monsters, terrain, effects, and more and already perfectly-formatted for easy uploading. If you want to expand the look of your Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds game cheaply, this is an amazing deal. There’s also the Jim Henson & Friends Comic Bundle featuring comics from Fraggle Rock, Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and a few surprises like Mouse Guard and Munchkin (yes, the Steve Jackson Games dungeon-crawling card game). Does that mean the duck you find in the dungeon is actually Ronald Duck?

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Want to have some thrilling espionage action using a heavily-adapted 5e ruleset? Then The Spy Game is right up your alley! The game features eight new character classes with sixteen specialized archetypes and a slew of modern gear and vehicles letting you play anything from an ultra-realistic intelligence operation campaign to the cheesy, over-the-top fun of 60s-inspired secret agent books and films. The PDF is available for £15 (about US$18) pledge, while the hardback is available for £35 (about US$42) and a special variant cover for backers only at £50 (about US$60). This Kickstarter is fully-funded and runs until Friday, August 9.

What’s better than one game? How about four games from independent developers who are paid a proper wage and royalties on sales? Exploding Rogue Studios’ Paper Arcade Vol. 1 promises a fair word rate and 20% royalties to their designers with four amazing games! Danielle DeLisle’s Elements in Harmony puts you in the role of Elemental Knights in service to the Elemental Queens, who have been at war for longer than living memory, tasking you with assembling the Queens in one location safely to discuss a final peace. Joe Young’s Found by Rescuers is a survival horror game using a deck of standard playing cards for each hour of the night to determine what events happen as you describe how you manage to survive until sunrise…if you survive. Momotoes’ It Goes Without Saying puts the players in charge of Ellen as she’s in a difficult situation (whether it’s a job interview, a date, an argument with her mom, or many others) as you play cards to try to help her talk her way out of the situation with each card having an effect on the next as Ellen struggles through the conversation. Finally, Chris Challice’s Psychopomp places the players in the role of a psychopomp, a spirit who guides the departed to their final resting place. If you succeed, they can find peace but if you fail, they will wander the world as a tormented spirit. The PDF and at-cost print-on-demand is available for $10, and you can get a personalized audio thanks for the creators along with an entry in the High Scores Page for a $30 pledge. This Kickstarter is still shy of its funding goal but has until Friday, August 9, to make it to its $2000 goal.

That’s all from me for this week! 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, and you can get more discussion of the week’s news on Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk every week. You can follow me on Twitch where I’ll continue streaming A Tale of Two Wastelands, a full conversion mod that merges Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas into a single game, subscribe to Gamer’s Tavern on YouTube for videos on gaming history, RPG reviews, 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.
 
Darryl Mott

Comments

Traycor

Villager
Disagree with the author's conclusions about the movie news:

"...Hollywood trades’ ability to make news out of nothing after Deadline reported that Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley are in talks to direct the Dungeons & Dragons movie."

Combined with the previous news that the studio wants to start filming sometime in the fall, this is big news. Of particular interest is the line, "This is all coming together quickly, and will add more information as I get it."

The trades only say something like that if they think a deal is imminent. If the studio wants to start shooting in the fall, and they are quickly working out a deal with new directors, the project will likely see movement very soon. The script at this point either will not change, or it will only have rewrites that keeps the major set pieces in place. Because of the timeline involved, design work has likely already started on the project. They wouldn't be building sets yet, but it's likely that within a few weeks of the directors signing the deal, construction on sets will begin. This is moving fast.
 

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