News Digest: More D&D Releases for 2019, Basic D&D Updated, Steve Jackson Games Reviving Classic Gam

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! More new D&D products announced for 2019, Basic Dungeons & Dragons rules updated, Steve Jackson Games reviving a classic game line, Legend of the Five Rings setting expansion released, and more!

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! More new D&D products announced for 2019, Basic Dungeons & Dragons rules updated, Steve Jackson Games reviving a classic game line, Legend of the Five Rings setting expansion released, and more!

Several new products have been quietly announced for Dungeons & Dragons in addition to last week’s Tactical Maps Reincarnated, this times from their licensees. First is a set of children’s books from Ten Speed Press in a series titled An Adventurer’s Guide. The first is Monsters and Creatures which is an illustrated guide to all the monsters and creatures in the world and Warriors and Weapons focuses on different types of warriors and adventuring gear. Both books are targeted for ages 8-12 with no expectation of previous knowledge of the fantasy genre and both have activities included to lead into learning Dungeons & Dragons. Both books are due out on July 9, 2019, with a retail price in hardcover of $12.99 and digital for Kindle for $7.99.

This next bit is…a little more confusing as these may be out now, they may have been out for a while, or they may not be out for a few months. Gale Force Nine released listings on Amazon for Magic Item Cards (294 cards for magic weapons, armor, and items) and two sets for Monster Cards, the first set being for Challenge Rating 0-5 featuring 179 cards and the second set for Challenge Rating 6-16 featuring 74 cards (along with a set of both Monster Card sets bundled together). Where this gets confusing is that all of these items have been available in game stores and on Gale Force Nine’s website for some time. It also gets more confusing since, when originally covered on EN World, the release dates for these card sets were in February. However, clicking on the links now, you can see that the release dates are mixed for the sets, February 5 for the Magic Item and first Monster cards set but in stock now for the second set of Monster cards and a release date of December 6 for the bundle of both Monster card sets. Most likely this is due to third-party sellers, where local game stores who also sell on Amazon have listed their products and those listings have linked to the pre-order listings from Gale Force Nine. Confused yet? Basically, the cards are available in game stores now and will be available directly from Amazon on February 5, but some game stores are selling the card sets through Amazon and availability may change depending on stock of those third-party sellers. I’m not sure if that helped or made things worse…

Here’s something simpler! Wizards of the Coast released a new version of the Basic Dungeons & Dragons rules available for free from their website. This 1.0 version of the rules is a streamlined version of the D&D rules (and is not part of the OGL) meant to function as a quick-start. The 180 page PDF has all the rules to play a campaign from levels 1 to 20, but with greatly reduced options from the Player’s Handbook or from the SRD. The only races included in this version are Human, Elf, Dwarf, and Halfling (with limited subraces available) and the only classes are Fighter, Rogue, Cleric, and Wizard (with only one build option each, such as only the Life Domain for Clerics and only the Champion as Martial Archetype for Fighters). The changes from the version originally released in 2015 are mostly aesthetic, as the layout has been improved to make it more clear to read, errata has been included, and there is now artwork (mostly of pencil sketch style). And for those of you who prefer printed versions over PDFs, each page of the PDF includes explicit permission for printing and photocopying so you can have it printed and bound at most office supply and print stores.

Steve Jackson Games announced the return of their classic Pocket Box series of games. The Pocket Box Games series was pretty much where Steve Jackson Games started, with their classic titles Car Wars, Ogre, Illuminati, and others released in small boxes with all components (usually cards, small rulebooks, and cardboard chits) sized to fit into a jacket pocket. The contents themselves will be replicas of the classic games, though not without improvements. Particularly, complaints about the original box designs are being addressed so they might last a bit longer than the original. No firm announcement has been made about which games will be included, but in addition to the ones above the announcement also mentioned Necromancer and Battlesuit. A Kickstarter is planned for early 2019.

Fantasy Flight Games announced the release of the first major setting book for Legend of the Five Rings, Emerald Empire. The 256-page hardcover covers the history, culture, society, and geography of the Emerald Empire. This isn’t just a general setting book, as you’d expect from L5R, as it goes deeply into villages, roads, rivers, waystations, taxes, laws, and more including their enforcement, the societal rules surrounding them, and the spirituality of the setting. There are also new titles that characters can earn through their actions in the game, opening specialized skillsets and schools. The book is available for a retail price of $49.95 and has a listed status on Fantasy Flight’s website of “Shipping Now”, while Amazon has a pre-order page listing a release date of February 28, 2019.

The annual fundraising effort for Worldbuilders launched this week, with all donations going to the charity Heifer International. Created by author Patrick Rothfuss in 2008, Worldbuilders has raised over $7.4 million for charity using the tagline “Geeks Doing Good” with a major focus on the annual fundraiser and raffle. For every $10 you donate, you get an entry into a raffle with over 5000 total items donated from sponsors including Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Lone Shark Games, Cards Against Humanity, Iello, Fantasy Flight Games, Roll20, Monte Cook Games, and that’s just a fraction of the game companies alone, not counting the authors, publishers, comic book companies, merchandisers, and more. In addition to the main lottery, you can also pledge to a specific team. For example, the D&D Team features special raffle prizes like tokens from Acquisitions Inc. and Critical Role characters designed by the players of those characters for use in your games, while the Worldbuilders Inc. team features critiques and story consultations from award-winning authors and editors and the Pat’s Twitch Team features daily giveaways during Patrick Rothfuss’s promotional Twitch streams. These raffle entries are in addition to the main lottery prizes so you don’t have to pick between the chance at a balcony cabin on the JoCo Cruise 2020 or a Black Walnut Prophecy gaming table from Wyrmwood Gaming or the other team-specific prizes. The fundraiser runs until December 11.

The Humble Board Games Bundle from Asmodee Digital has…well, exactly what it says on the tin. You can get the digital versions of several Asmodee board games including Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pandemic, Splendor, Small World, Twilight Struggle, Agricola, and more. There’s also still just under a week left on the Dystopian Worlds Book Bundle, featuring twenty-two books from award-winning authors available in multiple formats and DRM-free.

If you looked at Shadow of the Demon Lord and thought, “You know, this looks good but I could really use about 800 more spells for the game”, then Shadow of the Demon Lord: Occult Philosophy is for you. This first major expansion for the game features 800 new spells split between forty different traditions of magic with spell offerings from rank 0 to rank 10. If you’re not familiar with SotDL…imagine a metal album turned into a roleplaying game and whatever you’re picturing is probably pretty close. The PDF is available for a $20 pledge and an at-cost hardcover version for $50 (plus digital spell cards), but the real magic of this is in the add-ons which feature every single book available for Shadow of the Demon Lord (including the core rulebook) at a steep discount as well as exclusive merchandise like dice, dice trays, turn tokens, and more. This Kickstarter is fully funded with no demonic pacts required and runs until Wednesday, December 12.

If that’s a bit too much for you and you’d prefer something lighter, Crystal Heart for Savage Worlds is based on the webcomic Up to 4 Players and is also rather literal with its title. In the world of Crystal Heart, people’s hearts are literally made of stone, but some people are able to replace their stone hearts with ancient crystals to grant them superpowers but also affect their personalities. The game requires the Savage Worlds rulebook to play and the setting book features 200 pages of information and rules including brand new art from webcomic artist Aviv Or (who you also may know from her work on Thornwatch). The PDF is available for a £15 (about US$19) pledge, in softcover for £30 (about US$38), or as part of the fan kit with dice tray and copies of the comic for £55 (about US$70). This Kickstarter is fully funded and runs until Tuesday, December 11.

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, and you can get more discussion of the week’s news on Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk every week. You can follow me on Twitter @Abstruse where I’ve been overthinking the Choose Your Own Adventure books, follow me on Twitch if I ever get a chance to start on my stack of mystery games, subscribe to 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.

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Darryl Mott

Darryl Mott


Nice! The lure of some updated SJG boxed games might be too hard to resist. 'Car Wars' and 'Awful Green Things From Outer Space' were two favourites back in the day.

Well at least this explains my confusion about the GF9 Monster Cards. When I saw them with a release date of February I was starting to wonder if I was seeing things, as I swore that I had already seen them for sale at a local gaming store. Good to know I wasn't going crazy! :-D


Well at least this explains my confusion about the GF9 Monster Cards. When I saw them with a release date of February I was starting to wonder if I was seeing things, as I swore that I had already seen them for sale at a local gaming store. Good to know I wasn't going crazy! :-D
It was a lot more clear until the news broke about it getting listed on Amazon. Before it was "This has been out in game stores, but is now going to mass market retailers including Amazon starting in February". Now it's that convoluted mess I had to write up there because third-party sellers started latching onto the Amazon direct listing, so some of them are available now and some not until February. And you'd never know unless you checked the seller.

Queer Venger

Dungeon Master is my Dad
Sadly, GF9 has an incredibly unreliable and frustrating production and release schedule; Ive per-ordered their merchandise and have had to wait almost a year (magic item cards). I once made the mistake of ordering direct from them (they're in Australia or NZ I believe) took as long. What is surprising is that they are a WotC licensee. We are still waiting for product releases coinciding with Dragon Heist (maps, screens, miniatures) that are no where on the horizon as we move to 2019.

Ive pretty much given up on their merch. I'll buy it when I see it available for purchase.


First Post
We don't know what's next for Dungeons & Dragons, but we do have a modest list of wishes on what we'd like to see next for the popular game tutuapp.
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