News Digest for the Week of February 11

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! Wizards of the Coast posts over $1 billion in sales, new classes from Dark Souls revealed, crowdfunding site Gamefound gets $4.5 million investment, and more!

Don’t forget, you can keep up with all the week’s gaming news with Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk! This week, Morrus and Peter talk about the new Critical Role animated series Legend of Vox Machina.


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In case you missed it elsewhere on EN World this week:
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Wizards of the Coast posted their earnings release for 2021 and reported a total sales of $1.3 billion. On a shareholder conference call, Hasbro reported that 74% of these sales were for tabletop gaming, a segment that grew by 44% over the previous year. The remaining 26% of sales came from digital games, which Wizards of the Coast took over for the entire Hasbro corporation last year. Hasbro itself posted total game sales of $2.1 billion, meaning that Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, HeroQuest, and other Wizards of the Coast properties out-sold the more traditional Monopoly, Scrabble, Battleship, and other market mainstays. In fact, the Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming segment produced a whopping 72% of Hasbro’s company-wide operating profit for 2021. Fourth quarter 2021 figures were also released during the call, showing an 18% quarter-over-quarter growth for Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming with total gaming across the company down 1%.

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Wizards of the Coast is also the first of several new grants and contests in the tabletop gaming industry. Applications are now open for the Wizards of the Coast Retail Improvement Grant for 2022. The program provides grants for independent retail stores in order to improve their spaces with new furniture, décor and design improvements, operational improvements such as digital storefronts and marketing, construction improvements like electrical, flooring, plumbing, roofing, etc., and/or moving to a new location. If approved, the Retail Improvement Grant will pay up to 50% of the total project cost. Friendly local game stores in the United States, Canada, and Japan may apply right now and applications will be open until March 31, 2022.

I Need Diverse Games has grant applications for Black game developers currently working on a video game or tabletop roleplaying game product seeking funds to start or continue work. There are $10,000 in total grants available with a maximum individual award of $1,000. Applications are open now and run until February 17, 2022, at 10:00 PM Central time.

Finally, Izegrim Creations launched the Indie Publisher Contest to help fund independent game projects. The winner of the contest will be awarded a $1,000 prize. To enter, you must have an independently published game product in development. You retain all rights to your entry and the only permission you give away is the right to use your name and your product’s name for the promotion of the contest. Entries are open until February 28, 2022.

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More news about the upcoming Dark Souls: The Roleplaying Game from Steamforged Games came out this week. First, there will be a limited Collector’s Edition of the Dark Souls core rulebook with a faux-leather cover and gold embossed lettering and gilded edges. The core rulebook will be a massive 500 pages long. In addition to the standard and collector’s editions, the game will also launch with a line of custom miniatures. We also got a preview of the four origins and ten classes that will be available to play in the game. The four origins are Brute, Fencer, Caster, and Jack of All Trades, while the ten classes (with describes based on their video game counterparts) are Knight (armor-wearing sword-and-shield), Mercenary (dual-wielder), Assassin (stealth-based and light magic use), Warrior (two-handed heavy weapon), Thief (stealth and backstab), Herald (melee and magic), Cleric (divine magic), Sorcerer (traditional spellcasters), Pyromancer (fire magic), and The Deprived (sucks at everything and starts with nothing). In case you missed it last week, we also got a look at some of the changes from standard 5e used in the game, including hints about the new magic system and the return of the Bloodied status from 4e.

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Son of Oak, publishers of the modern fantasy City of Mist, announced a new cyberpunk roleplaying game, :Otherworld coming soon to Kickstarter. The core rulebook will also launch with the Japan setting book City of Tokyo. :Otherworld will use the same core rules from City of Mist and will take place in an alternate far-future version of that game’s setting. “The Noise” is a background radiation of stimuli made of information and digital artifacts working its way into every facet of life, while the corporations and the wealthy have managed to control some of the Mythos’s power to exert and maintain control over the social and political environment. The Kickstarter is currently scheduled for a September 2022 launch.

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Modiphius is now accepting pre-orders for the new Gamemaster’s Toolkit for Dishonored: The Roleplaying Game. The kit will include a 51-page booklet offering advice, details, locations, NPCs, and new rules to help gamemasters in creating a campaign. There will also be a Gamemaster’s Mat with kew rules and a dedicated area to track Chaos (the “morality system” from the video game series where lethal methods of dealing with enemies directly changes the setting), player reference sheets, and a set of both Chaos and Momentum tokens. The toolkit will also include new locations in Dunwall to explore and a short adventure set in the Roseburrow Ruin. The Dishonored Gamemaster Toolkit is available for pre-order now for $35.00 with an estimated release in early May 2022, and includes a PDF version available immediately.

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The two of the largest digital storefronts for tabletop roleplaying games, DriveThruRPG and Itch.io, both announced on social media that they have no interest in and will not support NFT content. DriveThruRPG made a post on Twitter stating

“In regard to NFTs – We see no use for this technology in our business ever.”

The DriveThruRPG Twitter account stated they made this announcement after being tagged and DM’ed “most of this weekend” requesting their stance on NFTs. The Itch.io statement was a bit more condemning of NFTs:

“A few have asked about our stance on NFTs: NFTs are a scam. If you think they are legitimately useful for anything other than the exploitation of creators, financial scams, and the destruction of the planet the [sic] we ask that [you] please reevaluate your life choices. Peace. [an emoji of a hand making the “Peace” symbol]

Also [expletive deleted] any company that says they support creators and also endorses NFTs in any way. They only care about their own profit and the opportunity for wealth above anyone else. Especially given the now easily available discourse concerning the problems of NFTs.

How can you be so dense? [emoji of a frowning face with a single tear]”

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are small pieces of code registered to a blockchain, typically used as “proof of ownership” for digital assets such as image files. Interest in NFTs has gone up recently following a large promotional push by companies involved with NFTs including celebrity endorsements and the naming rights to a major sports stadium and the feature-length video by popular YouTuber Dan Olson titled The Line Goes Up – The Problem with NFTs discussing many of the controversies surrounding NFTs.

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Ravensburger, the German publisher of popular board games such as The Castles of Burgundy and Puerto Rico, announced they are investing $4.5 million in the crowdfunding site Gamefound. The tabletop gaming-focused crowdfunding platform was created by Awaken Realms, publishers of Etherfields and the board game adaptation of This War of Mine, in 2015. The investment in the platform is part of Ravensburger’s Next Ventures initiative in an effort to invest in startups and projects in the games, toy, books, puzzles, and education markets. To date, Gamefound has hosted 665 projects with over 650,000 backers raising a grand total of over €202 million, including several big projects last year such as a $1.2 million campaign for Modiphius’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim board game, $4.9 million for Awaken Realms’s ISS Vanguard, and $3.4 million for Chip Theory Games’s Too Many Bones: Unbreakable expansion for their dice-building RPG.

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The Black Library is back with another bundle of ebooks for the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 worlds. This bundle features 25 DRM-free ebooks for $18 at the top level with works covering Warhammer 40,000, Warhammer Fantasy, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, Necromunda, The Horus Heresy, and more. This bundle benefits the EveryLibrary Institute and runs until Thursday, February 17.


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@enpublishingrpg.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 to get notifications when I go live, 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.
 

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Darryl Mott

Darryl Mott

Jaeger

That someone better
Wizards of the Coast is also the first of several new grants and contests in the tabletop gaming industry. Applications are now open for the Wizards of the Coast Retail Improvement Grant for 2022. The program provides grants for independent retail stores in order to improve their spaces with new furniture, décor and design improvements, operational improvements such as digital storefronts and marketing, construction improvements like electrical, flooring, plumbing, roofing, etc., and/or moving to a new location.

If they were really serious about helping FLGS: They would give them the same wholesale price on their books that Amazon and other big box stores get...

They won't. They could, but they won't.
 

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