News Digest: Toys R Us Closing, Big Announcements from the GAMA Trade Show, and more!

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! Toys R Us going into liquidation and closing nationwide, more information about Pathfinder 2, hints at Dungeons & Dragons new campaign setting, lots of game announcements from the GAMA Trade Show, and more!


After a long period trying to save the chain, Toys R Us is going into liquidation. Following a series of missteps that led to stagnated revenue and a corporate raiding that saddled the company with $6 billion in debt from other assets held by the new owners to exacerbate the problems, the chain will close over 800 locations in the United States and over 100 locations in the United Kingdom. If you’re looking for any hot deals on store closing sales, though, be warned that liquidation is almost always handled by third-party companies that start by removing any valuable inventory to sell in bulk, only discounting items that aren’t considered worth the effort. So don’t expect to find hot deals on game consoles, but you may be able to scoop up toys or board games cheaply. Of other note for the tabletop industry is the list of creditors on the bankruptcy filing who may have trouble getting the money they’re owed. Companies owed include Mattel ($135 million), Hasbro ($59 million), Bandai America Inc. ($7.7 million), Funko LLC ($3.6 million), and Ingram Entertainment (a major distributor of books and games, $2.8 million). Other distributors and game companies are also owed money, but public filings only list the top fifty.

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There’s more Pathfinder 2 news floating around. The Know Direction podcast had Erik Mona and Logan Bonner on who let out a lot of information (with Morrus working hard to transcribe the best bits here). Comments from Twitter gave us some information about Theater of the Mind, PDF timing, and foreign language editions. Erik Mona gave a presentation at the GAMA Trade Show currently happening in Reno with a few images and tidbits that have come out of there. Jason Bulmahn’s presentation talked about the new level progression, skills, and feats. A playtest report from Gary Con gave hints about the new initiative system and discussion about how bit the Bestiary will be. Finally, more information from The Glass Cannon Podcast which has more information about the system from their playtest. And Morrus and the rest of EN World is keeping track of all the new information as it comes out archived in one single source as well.


Wizards of the Coast also presented at the GAMA Trade Show, speaking about Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes along with the past year and future for Dungeons & Dragons. This has not only been the most successful year for the 5th Edition, but it’s the “best year ever for D&D in term of sales”. Oh, and it appears that the next setting the game will be visiting will be Spelljammer Think I may have buried the lede on that one. While attendees were asked not to post images of the interior of the book, nothing was said about describing them and one such image was a Giff, a Spelljammer species that had artwork reminiscent of a “steampunk hippo”. It’s unclear if the actual setting will get a book or, if lime previous settings, elements will simply intersect with the Forgotten Realms.


The Robotech license has already found a new home, at least for board games, as Strange Machine Games announced three new board games: Ace Pilot, Attack on the SDF-1, and Brace for Impact. Robotech: Ace Pilot (due June) will be a competitive dice game for 2-4 players themed around recruiting the best SDF-1 crew member and get the right upgrades to deal with threats while hampering the other players to be the first to get the title of Ace Pilot. Robotech: Attack on the SDF-1 (due August) is a cooperative board game for 1-5 players defending the Super Dimension Fortress One from waves of Zentraedi attacks and other disasters. Robotech: Brace for Impact (due Summer) is a real-time cooperative game for 2-10 players with each player taking on a different role of the crew in a firefight against a single Zentraedi player, using cards to fire, maneuver, and repair the ship against a ten-minute timer. No information on pricing is available at this time.


WizKids announced the new Magic: The Gathering board game, Heroes of Dominaria. The game for 2-4 players is due out this August and focuses on travel to different locations from Magic’s lore such as Llanowar, Urborg, and Keld to hire adventurers, construct sites to draw mana, uncover artifacts, and battle the Cabal, with the winner being the player with the most victory points. The game will be released in two versions, a standard edition and a premium set that will include four pre-painted miniatures. No pricing has been announced at this time.

Also from WizKids, Mage Knight Ultimate Edition was announced this week. The game will include the original base game plus all three expansions. The new boxed set will include all the rules and errata rewritten for clarity and integrating the rules for all the expansions into a single book with translations for twelve different languages. The game will also include five brand new cards exclusive to the set and alternate paint jobs for the miniatures. The set comes out September 2018 and will retail for $124.99.


Steve Jackson Games had quite a few announcements at the GAMA Trade Show. First, The Fantasy Trip will be released as two small box sets (one for Melee and one for Wizards) with new art by the original illustrators with a retail price of $14.95 each. While no new details have come out, it was previously stated that The Fantasy Trip will have a Kickstarter prior to release. A new edition of the classic card game Illuminati will be out this year with all new art and new cards updated to reflect current events. In Munchkin-related announcements, there will be two new small expansions this year, the bird-themed Fowl Play (with art from John Kovalic as “he’s wanted it for years!” according to SJG) and Side Quests which will include new end-game conditions. Also announced was a crossover between Munchkin and Red Dragon Inn from Slugfest Games.


Saving Throw Show is having a Sub-a-Thon this Saturday in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Starting at 9:00 AM Pacific Time (12:00 noon Eastern), this marathon stream will feature four roleplaying game shows with prizes and giveaways throughout the stream and chances for the audience to influence the game through subscriptions and donations. The marathon will include games of FATE, Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, Deadlands, and more running all the way until 12:00 Midnight Pacific (3:00 AM Eastern) with some special guests as well. You can find out more about the channel and their shows (including the new Starfinder game on Tuesdays) at their website.


When the villainous Cobr—err, VENOM threatens the world, who’s there to rise to the call? GI J—Err, FREEDOM SQUADRON! This Savage Worlds book written and designed by Sean Patrick Fannon is the perfect throwback to 80s action cartoons with larger-than-life characters and fictionalized setting so you can just enjoy the Good vs. Evil, Freedom vs. Tyranny glory. The Freedom Squadron: Commando’s Manual (player’s guide) is available in PDF for a $15 pledge, the Operation Manual (gamemaster’s guide) added on for $25, a print copy of the Commando’s Manual for $35, both for $60, and many others including stretch goals and add-ons. This Kickstarter funded in its first six hours and still has until Tuesday, April 10 to unlock more stretch goals. (Disclosure: Sean Patrick Fannon is a paid contributor to ENWorld)

Robin Hood and the Merry Men is a competitive game where each player takes on the role of a hero of Sherwood Forest protecting the land from the evil Prince John and his enforcer, the Sheriff of Nottingham. The game has multiple victory paths as you gather resources, set traps and ambushes, or just pilfer from the rich. The round ends with combat against the guards, rob tax caravans, free prisoners, or more in the Heroic Round. While everyone’s working together to defeat Prince John, you’re also competing to score the most points in doing so to be the hero of the story. The core game is available for a $54 pledge, while the deluxe edition with custom tokens and meeples is available for a $64 pledge. This Kickstarter is fully funded and runs until Wednesday, March 21.

Imp of the Perverse is a psychological horror game inspired by the works of Edgar Allen Poe and set in a gothic 1830s America. The players are members of a society that have the titular imp on their shoulder, tempting them to do terrible deeds. The only way to get rid of your imp is to find those who have given in to their imps and become monsters…and hunt them down. Character creation is handled through a quick lifepath system that determines their career and abilities. Your imp gives you the ability of Exertion to impose your will on the world, but it also further tempts you to the darkness…or you can partially give in for a guaranteed success. The PDF is available for a $13 pledge, the book for a $28 pledge, and custom cards to speed gameplay added for a $38 pledge. This Kickstarter is fully funded and runs until Friday, April 13 (apt, considering the subject).

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 I will be using Words of Power mentally through all avenues of communication as I build a new computer and try to get it functioning, 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

Superchunk77

Explorer
My guess about the new setting for D&D is that it won't actually be Spelljammer. If history has taught us anything, it's that the presence of a single monster in a book does not preclude a new campaign setting being released. We don't have Dark Sun yet but there are Thri-kreen in the Monster Manual and a psionics class in Unearthed Arcana. We've got Modrons but no Planescape setting. So if you're a Spelljammer fan I wouldn't read too far into this news just yet.
 

Von Ether

Explorer
I guess I should have seen that coming in my backyard, the local ToysRUs has been in low-rent neighborhood for a while.
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
My guess about the new setting for D&D is that it won't actually be Spelljammer. If history has taught us anything, it's that the presence of a single monster in a book does not preclude a new campaign setting being released. We don't have Dark Sun yet but there are Thri-kreen in the Monster Manual and a psionics class in Unearthed Arcana. We've got Modrons but no Planescape setting. So if you're a Spelljammer fan I wouldn't read too far into this news just yet.
It's more the description of the art and how it was presented, which there's more detail of in the linked article (but no images of the art at the request of WotC). Wink-wink, nudge-nudge, this is important way it was presented and in a book that isn't meant as a "core rulebook" like MM (that attempted to give the pieces at least for any setting so had the rules and just needed the fluff) or the playtesting for vague future projects like UA (which has also included rules for Kender and Warforged).
 

Ath-kethin

Explorer
My guess about the new setting for D&D is that it won't actually be Spelljammer. If history has taught us anything, it's that the presence of a single monster in a book does not preclude a new campaign setting being released. We don't have Dark Sun yet but there are Thri-kreen in the Monster Manual and a psionics class in Unearthed Arcana. We've got Modrons but no Planescape setting. So if you're a Spelljammer fan I wouldn't read too far into this news just yet.
Of course, thri-kreen predated Dark Sun. Modrons predated Planescspe. But giff were introduced in the Spelljammer boxed set.
 

lyle.spade

Explorer
TrU: Sad. I remember toystores when I was a kid - they were wonderlands where you could browse, dream, and discover. Shopping online is not the same.
 

Shasarak

Villager
That is one ugly looking Giff. Thats what you get for standing too close to the smoke powder when it goes off.
 

Superchunk77

Explorer
Of course, thri-kreen predated Dark Sun. Modrons predated Planescspe. But giff were introduced in the Spelljammer boxed set.
That's true, but unless I'm missing something, Spelljammer wasn't that popular was it? I never played it myself, too goofy looking.

These were the results of the setting survey they did last June:

[FONT=&quot]"The popularity of settings in the survey fell into three distinct clusters. Not surprisingly, our most popular settings from prior editions landed at the top of the rankings, with Eberron, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, Planescape, and the Forgotten Realms all proving equally popular. Greyhawk, Dragonlance, and Spelljammer all shared a similar level of second-tier popularity, followed by a fairly steep drop-off to the rest of the settings. My sense is that Spelljammer has often lagged behind the broad popularity of other settings, falling into love-it-or-hate-it status depending on personal tastes. Greyhawk and Dragonlance hew fairly close to the assumptions we used in creating the fifth edition rulebooks, making them much easier to run with material from past editions. Of the top five settings, four require significant new material to function and the fifth is by far our most popular world."

So with that in mind, WotC could be going with one of the second tier settings I suppose. Assuming that it would be a "quick win" with minimal new material required. In that vein I guess Spelljammer might be possible since Greyhawk and Dragonlance can essentially be played with the material produced so far.[/FONT]
 

Ath-kethin

Explorer
That's true, but unless I'm missing something, Spelljammer wasn't that popular was it? I never played it myself, too goofy looking.

These were the results of the setting survey they did last June:

[FONT="]"The popularity of settings in the survey fell into three distinct clusters. Not surprisingly, our most popular settings from prior editions landed at the top of the rankings, with Eberron, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, Planescape, and the Forgotten Realms all proving equally popular. Greyhawk, Dragonlance, and Spelljammer all shared a similar level of second-tier popularity, followed by a fairly steep drop-off to the rest of the settings. My sense is that Spelljammer has often lagged behind the broad popularity of other settings, falling into love-it-or-hate-it status depending on personal tastes. Greyhawk and Dragonlance hew fairly close to the assumptions we used in creating the fifth edition rulebooks, making them much easier to run with material from past editions. Of the top five settings, four require significant new material to function and the fifth is by far our most popular world."

So with that in mind, WotC could be going with one of the second tier settings I suppose. Assuming that it would be a "quick win" with minimal new material required. In that vein I guess Spelljammer might be possible since Greyhawk and Dragonlance can essentially be played with the material produced so far.[/FONT]
You might be on to something, though I'd argue that Dragonlance would need some significant new options and mechanical developments to handle correctly - something the quote you cited acknowledges as well.

I personally have always loved Spelljammer; its basis in preclassical physics and its hearty embrace of both the silly and the terrifying aspects of fantasy just resonated with me. I know Planescape was popular, but I always saw it as a very 90s style gritty reboot of Spelljammer.

Anyway, we'll all find out in a few weeks.
 

Kobold Boots

Villager
I guess I'm surprised we don't have a MTG setting book for D&D yet. Either remarkable restraint by WoTC or maintaining separation of brands.

KB
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
TrU: Sad. I remember toystores when I was a kid - they were wonderlands where you could browse, dream, and discover. Shopping online is not the same.
Toys R Us was one of the last hold-outs. Circus World, KayBee Toys, F.A.O. Schwartz — all gone now. I first learned about D&D from a Circus World in the 1980s.
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
I guess I'm surprised we don't have a MTG setting book for D&D yet. Either remarkable restraint by WoTC or maintaining separation of brands.

KB
There were two attempts in the 3.x era that both broke down due to creative differences between D&D design staff and M:TG design staff (I want to say it was Sean Reynolds who wrote a big blog post about this several years ago?). The M:TG staff wanted everything balanced like the cards were to appease their fans and the D&D staff wanted everything balanced for the D20 rules to appease their fans and they just couldn't agree. At least that's my read on what happened (noting that I can't find the article at the moment and I read it several years ago). They managed to put out the 5e Magic: The Gathering books as free downloads I want to say it was last year? I reported on them when they were new, but honestly I forgot they existed too until you asked. I believe that's what the link upthread is. Probably not what fans wanted compared to a full 300ish page campaign book or monster manual, but it's enough to give you a head start homebrewing a Dominaria setting.
 

Vayman

Villager
Toys R Us was more than just a high school job for me back in the late 80s. It was literally where I met all but one of my gaming group members.

One such friendship began as I was stocking the book aisle. A co-worker asked if I could tell her when the new 2nd Edition AD&D DM Guide. "You plan D&D?!".

Another friendship started up when one co-worker asked "So what are you doing tonight?" to which I replied - in a world where D&D just wasn't considered "cool" - I'm actually playing D&D tonight. His eyes widened "You play D&D, too!?"

Soon, we discovered there were several other gamers that worked in the store, and the rest was history. At one point, we had our gaming group up to 11 people, all but one being a TRU employee at the time! Through one of them, I met my eventual wife... and my #1 gaming partner to this day.

I can't imagine what my life would be like if not for Toys R Us. Both it and my RPG gaming are forever entwined. I am saddened that the next generation will not get to have their own memories about this wonderful place.

No more games. No more toys. But I will always be a Toys R Us kid.
 

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