News Digest: New D&D Licensed Products, Steve Jackson Games Annual Report and New Products, Internat

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! New Dungeons & Dragons licensed products from the Toy Fair, International Tabletop Day announcements, Steve Jackson Games Stakeholders Report for 2017 and announcements for 2018, and more!

Two big Dungeons & Dragons licensed product announcements came out of the Toy Fair this year, one literally. The first came from Gale Force 9 who gave details on their new Dungeons & Dragons board game. Few real details came out as it’s tied to the August campaign release, but the game will be two to four player cooperative game released in August for around $50, shortly ahead of the release of the new adventure. Gale Force 9 also announced a new set of card accessories for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition with additions to their spell decks, two new monster decks, and a magic item deck. A new line of Dungeons & Dragons branded miniature paints in two sets, one with ten colors and a paint brush for $25 and another with thirty-six colors and a large model for $70, due out in June.

[Image removed at the request of ICv2]

Meanwhile, WizKids also had several big announcements. The picture above? That’s the new “miniature” in the D&D Icons of the Realm line, the Ship Falling Star. That is the prototype of a full-scale ship with removable decks that are reversible with one side marked with a grid and the other side plain. The first release will be fully painted with a possible unpainted release thereafter. No price or firm release date was announced, but it is planned for release later this year. In addition, WizKids showed off the newest in their “trophy bust” line, this time a black dragon pictured below. This will join the red dragon, beholder, and mind flayer to decorate the walls of your gaming room.

[Image removed at the request of ICv2]

No, that isn’t a strange misplaced logo or a neighboring booth. NECA, the parent company of WizKids, acquired Joseph Enterprises, Inc., the company best known for its omnipresent product commercials for Chia Pets and The Clapper. The company was founded by Joseph Pedott, who will stay with his namesake company during its transition into NECA. While this may seem like an odd fit, the Chia Pet product line has increasingly included more licensed material (most recently a tie-in with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with a Groot Chia Pet), and the acquisition also gives NECA the marketing arm of Joseph Pedot Advertising. The WizKids booth also had several upcoming Chia Pet products on display, including Hello Kitty, Bob Ross, and emoji.


International Tabletop Day planning is underway with the announcement of the first pre-orders. This year’s games include Sparkle*Kitty variant box art by Breaking Games, Sagrada promos by Floodgate Games, Wonderland which is exclusive to the event from Renegade Games, Action Cats exclusive expansion by Twogether Studios, and a Tabletop Day promo pack from Fireside Games. The promotional games are available for order through normal game distribution channels for store owners. There will also be a marketing kit (limited to 1500) which includes stickers, posters, table stands, and more available for just shipping and handling costs for any game store or community event from the Geek & Sundry website. International Tabletop Day this year is April 28 and you can find out what locations near you are participating at the Tabletop Day official website.


Steve Jackson Games released their annual Report to the Stakeholders for last year. While Munchkin and Zombie Dice are still strong sellers, revenue was down $500,000 from the previous year. If you’re interested in the ins and outs of game publishing for both roleplaying games and tabletop, it’s a fascinating look behind the curtain, but I’ll save you from that if it’s not your thing. What is of note is that Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game cost more to produce than “was healthy” and, while it is expected to sell out by the end of this quarter, it will not be reprinted. “The current market doesn't leave room for a game like this to succeed, and it's a great thing that we cut our planned print run by 30% or we would be stuck with copies for years to come.” The card game Port Royal was also listed as a failure as the licensed game from Pegasus had little demand as English language versions imported from Europe undercut sales.

Things are looking up in 2018 for Steve Jackson Games, however, with the launch if the Munchkin Collectible Card Game designed by Eric Lang and Kevin Wilson. Each of the three starter decks has two class decks with a retail price of $19.95: Ranger and Warrior, Wizard and Bard, and Cleric and Thief. Boosters are also available for $3.95 each with 12 cards per pack and 24 packs per display box. Two expansions are already announced, The Desolation of Blarg and Fashion Furious. A new 112 card expansion to the core Munchkin game will be out in October, Munchkin 9: Jurassic Snark which let John Kovalic draw a lot of dinosaurs, while the Munchkin Cheats comes out in June with thirty new cheat-themed cards for $9.95. Finally, the third party licensed Munchkin media tie-in game line continues to grow, with Munchkin Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles based on the original comic featuring art by Kevin Eastman coming to Kickstarter from IDW next month. Finally, The Fantasy Trip is in Steve Jackson’s personal hands as the game and a Kickstarter are currently under planning with an announcement most likely at Origins Game Fair.


Gen Con announced that ticket sales have increased 6% over last year, the first sell-out year in the conventions fifty-year history. Odds are, that means we’re headed for another sell out this year as well, and this time even sooner than the early July from last year. If you’re even thinking about attending this year’s “The Best Four Days in Gaming”, I’d recommend purchasing now as you can still receive a full refund by contacting Gen Con customer service by phone until June 17 if you change your mind. In the sales announcement, Gen Con also announced the dates for the next four conventions after extending its contract with Indianapolis until 2022: August 2-5 this year, August 1-4 in 2019, July 30-August2 in 2020, August 5-8 in 2021, and August 4-7 in 2022.


Humble Classics Return Bundle is all about games who found a new life long after being thought gone, through both direct sequels and spiritual successors. The $1 level gets you Shadowrun Returns and Shadowrun Dragonfall along with Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse and Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure. The beat-the-average (which is currently about $8.50) has Shadowrun Hong Kong along with Wasteland 2, Age of Wonders III, and Xenonauts. The $15 top-tier level gets you Torment: Tides of Numenera, based on Numenera from Monte Cook Games and the spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, along with Dreamfall Chapters: The Final Cut. If you’re a Humble Monthly subscriber (where you can get Dark Souls III as your early unlock this month plus more games at the start of the month), you also receive a $2 credit to the Humble Store. This bundle runs until Tuesday, March 6.


Edge of Darkness from Alderac Entertainment Group is a card crafting worker placement game where the players take on the role of guildmasters attempting to exert control over the city of Aegis. It’s hard to describe this game as it’s almost two games in one, or a game with its expansion…but it’s not. Let me just jump to the pledge levels. The Agent level for $60 gets you the center game board, 12 Location boards for places in the city, 90 Advancements for those locations, and the proper cardboard tokens with a bonus set of card sleeves to help protect your game. The Guildmaster level for $100 gets you the center game board plus the advancement extension boards, 21 Location boards and 158 Advancements, and 3D tokens to represent your agents. So it’s somewhere between the base game and its expansion or the base game and a deluxe edition. Either way, there’s more to this project than that as they’ve already unlocked several stretch goals with more to go until the campaign funds on Friday, March 23.

Traveller RPG: Element Class Cruisers is a new boxed set for the latest edition of the classic science fiction roleplaying game. This boxed set includes not only stats and construction rules for the Element class ships, but also ten poster-sized double-sided full-color blueprints for each ship detailed. And if you’re new to Traveller (or missed out on this newest edition), you can also purchase the available core rulebooks so far as add-ons. The PDF copy is available for a £25 (about US$35) pledge, the print version for £50 (about US$70), two different £150 (about $209) pledge levels which add on either all 38 current PDFs for Traveller or the four hardcover rulebooks, and for £275 (about US$382) you get everything in print and PDF both. This project is fully funded and runs until Sunday, March 18.

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’m grousing about no one bidding on my eBay auctions so I can afford to upgrade my computer while also whining about computer part prices, follow Gamer’s Tavern on YouTube featuring videos on gaming history and 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

R

RevTurkey

Guest
Not impressed with the way SJG handled Dungeon Fantasy. Too much negativity and complaining about how we weren't giving them enough money to make it worth their while to support the line going forward. Most of the risk was reduced by it being Kickstarted anyway. Plenty of people spent a lot of money to support the game and they have dumped it...shame because it looked good. I expect getting the rights back for The Fantasy Trip has a large part to play in this as well.
 

doctheweasel

Explorer
Gale Force 9 also announced a new set of card accessories for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition with additions to their spell decks, two new monster decks, and a magic item deck.
I think they buried the lede on this one. As much as people like Minsc and Boo, monster and magic item cards are money printing machines.

(photo of box art)
https://icv2.com/image/39687/4
 

ccs

39th lv DM
I'll be getting one too if they release an unpainted version.
I'm good either way.
The other 1/2 of my gaming hobby is miniature war-gaming. So if it's pre-painted & I don't love it? I can fix it. :)

Speaking of fixing it.... I'm all ready planning how to add up to 2 more masts. And/or a airship balloon.

And I'll likely get two of them. Afterall, it's hard to have a ship-to-ship battle with just 1 model.

I got plans for 2019!. :)
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
Honestly, the Minsc mini was announced ages ago and it's coming out next month. I only picked that because Gale Force 9 doesn't have any promotional images up of the other products yet. And there's not much interesting about the packaging for a paint set, the board game doesn't have an image yet because the next campaign hasn't been announced, and ICv2 was the only outlet I could find with pictures of the cards and while their coverage was amazing, their photos weren't that great (which is understandable, it's a large trade show with a lot of companies, they cover a lot more than just gaming, and convention lighting isn't the best for photography anyway). Besides, it's Minsc.
 

EthanSental

Explorer
I'll be picking up the Minsc mini as the GF9 minis are pretty awesome! The ship looks great but has to be in the 125-175 range I'd guess. Might be more as it looks pretty big.
 
Steve Jackson Games said Dungeon Fantasy Boxed Set, Disc World and Mars Attacks were tests to see if there was still a large enough market for print GURPS product and it looks like the answer is no. I think this is probably becoming more and more true of the whole hobby and I would not be surprised if in a few years the only print products will be core rule books, everything else being sold as PDF's.

I think The Fantasy Trip may be a reset button for Steve Jackson Games, it gives the company a chance to develop another RPG line with a much smaller scope and no baggage. The problem I see is TFT was not a particularly popular game back in the 70's and it has been dead for 35 years. I just do not see any evidence that there is enough support out there for TFT to end up being anything other than a vanity project for Steve Jackson.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Not impressed with the way SJG handled Dungeon Fantasy. Too much negativity and complaining about how we weren't giving them enough money to make it worth their while to support the line going forward. Most of the risk was reduced by it being Kickstarted anyway. Plenty of people spent a lot of money to support the game and they have dumped it...shame because it looked good. I expect getting the rights back for The Fantasy Trip has a large part to play in this as well.
Wait, did they not fulfill or something?
 
Wait, did they not fulfill or something?
They fulfilled the Kickstarter and I would say they exceeded expectations as well, I was a $250 "I want it all" contributer and I felt it was worth every penny. The problem is, Steve Jackson Games was hoping the product would have a wider audience and would act as a gateway product. I suspect the pre-orders from retailers was much lower than they expected, so low in fact, they cut the print run by 30%. The problem with Kickstarters is they will always attract the hardcore players, but that is rarely a good indicator of popularity among the larger gaming community. From a business stand point, they made the right decision.
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
In the Stakeholder Report, they do talk about how the Print-on-Demand and Drive Thru PDFs have done well for GURPS. But I wouldn't expect more traditional print run products from SJG for The Fantasy Trap unless it's Kickstarter-exclusive or close to it.
 
R

RevTurkey

Guest
SJG did indeed fulfill the Kickstarter and the game looks great but to my mind they didn’t do a good job creating any confidence in the system going forward...nobody was going to drop the substantial amount of money being asked on the game when they could go buy another system for less that promised to support their line well without moaning about how poor the profit margins were. Munchkin money won’t last for ever, in fact I think that bubble will burst soon and I think they will be in trouble because they didn’t support other lines through difficult times and keep some diversity. I can say for certain that I didn’t invest in the line because of the things SJG were saying about dumping it if we didn’t give them enough money...the box was a stupid concept...because it was too big and empty as well, even though I love boxed rpgs. I’d say look at Shadow of the Demon Lord for a more focused approach with great support and confidence going forward...all from pretty much a one man band too. Why try to pitch the game at beginners as well with a high entry price and a complicated rule system? They should have pitched it for what it is...a rich, deep roleplaying experience with huge flexibility. I don’t mean to be down on SJG as I really like some of the games they’ve made but I got the impression they think they did everything right and it was our fault for not giving them more money and showing them more love...when actually I think they got this wrong and promoted it poorly.
 

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