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News Digest Year in Review 2016!

Hello everyone, Darryl here to recap the biggest stories of 2016 in this year in review! A lot of big events happened in tabletop gaming this past year, and I’m going to go through what I consider the most significant stories of the year!


Dungeons & Dragons had a very interesting year, as the game itself was added to the National Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong Museum for Play, the climax of the Force Grey: Giant Hunters game released on YouTube was also live streamed in front of an audience at the historic Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles, and Acquisitions Incorporated had a YouTube series of eight episodes and a theatrical live streaming of the PAX West live show.

Wizards of the Coast released Curse of Strahd and had an entire season of Dungeons & Dragons Adventure League focusing on Ravenloft, making the Demiplane of Dread the first campaign setting outside Forgotten Realms to get the campaign setting treatment (even if it was set up as a “Weekend in Hell” style campaign). Storm King’s Thunder and the related DDAL season brought us back to the giant’s steadings of the original G-series of modules. Finally, Volo’s Guide to Monsters marked the first major expansion of the rules for the year with new monsters, monster variants, and new player character races.

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The biggest news from Dungeons & Dragons for 2016, however, came early on in the year as an Open Gaming License and System Reference Document for Fifth Edition released. Possibly a bigger story than that was the launch of the Dungeon Master’s Guild, which allows creators to use copyrighted and trademarked intellectual property assets in their own material without needing an individually negotiated license. The DM’s Guild brought a huge number of new products to the market, from small fan-made offerings to professional products from big industry names using Forgotten Realms and other intellectual property and allowed individuals to purchase D&D Adventure League material for the first time (as it was previously exclusive to game stores and conventions). Meanwhile, the OGL opened up the Fifth Edition rules to many companies and individuals to legally produce material for the system using their own intellectual property and licenses.


Probably the biggest of these Fifth Edition OGL products is Cubicle 7’s Adventures in Middle Earth, making the first time that material from Tolkien’s Middle Earth has been available legally and licensed for Dungeons & Dragons. After legal disputes that turned hobbits into halflings and ents into treants, it’s a breath of fresh air to finally have licensed, authorized adaptations of the world’s most popular fantasy series for the world’s most popular fantasy roleplaying game with even more material to come in the new year.
Paizo released a large number of products, including pocket editions of the Pathfinder Core Rulebook and Pathfinder Bestiary, an anthology re-release of the Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path updated to Pathfinder rules, Pathfinder: Horror Adventures expanding the rules for horror gameplay, over 400 pages of updated and brand new gear in Pathfinder: Ultimate Equipment, an expansion of social gameplay with Pathfinder: Ultimate Intrigue, and enough more that if I highlighted it all, it would take up the entire column alone.

But of course, the biggest news from Paizo was the announcement of their new science fiction fantasy roleplaying game, Starfinder. The game will be a stand-alone system that is fully compatible with Pathfinder with updated options for traditional races as well as new alien races. The campaign setting takes place in Golarion’s solar system without the actual world of Golarion (which has been hidden by an unknown force for unknown reasons with memory of the world erased to varying degrees). Faster than light travel with spaceship combat is included, drawing influence from Firefly, Star Trek, BattleTech, and Spelljammer with combat on a 2D grid and ships having their own character sheets. EN World has more information in our updated article Starfinder: Here’s What We Know.

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Modiphius announced their acquisition of the Star Trek licensed and launched an open playtest. The playtest gives multiple options for those looking to gain a glimpse of the system and provide feedback, with different “ships” for different playstyles between science missions, conflict missions, or a balance and with an option to play in the 23rd Century of the original Star Trek series. The game is licensed for all Star Trek material except the newest films (Star Trek, Into Darkness, and Star Trek: Beyond), and uses a new version of Modiphius’s 2d20 system with development from David Chapman and Nathan Dowdell.

French board game company Asmodee extended its domination on the board game market following big acquisitions in 2014 of Days of Wonder and Fantasy Flight Games. This year, Asmodee got the exclusive English language rights for Settlers of Catan, arguably one of the largest of the new wave of hobbyist board games penetrating the mainstream market. In July, Asmodee officially acquired F2Z Entertainment, which owned Z-Man Games, Plaid Hat Games, and Filosophia. Using ICV2’s most recent sales data from independent hobbyist game stores, this means that eight of the top ten bestselling board games are all owned by Asmodee (1. Star Wars Rebellion, 2. Pandemic, 3. Settlers of Catan, 4. Dead of Winter, 5. Ticket to Ride, 7. Mysterium, 8. Carcassonne, and 9. Small World), with only CoolMiniorNot’s number six Blood Rage and number ten Zombicide making the list.

One of the longest-running legal disputes of tabletop roleplaying games ended as a settlement was finally reached over the rights to Villains & Vigilantes after almost six years. Creators Jeff Dee and Jack Herman were finally allowed to release not only their back catalog of V&V titles such as the updated Villains & Vigilantes 2.1 edition, but launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to update the system with a new 3rd Edition and a canonical campaign setting. This ends a legal dispute over the rights to the game started in 2010 after Monkey House Games (a company owned by Dee and Herman) attempted to assert their rights over the product line after the previous company holding the original rights dissolved (or maybe didn’t) and the rights reverted (or maybe not) to the original creators. Thankfully, fans of old school superhero roleplaying will soon get their hands on a backlog of V&V material the two have cooked up over the years they waited for this rights issue to end.

Two huge crowdfunding stories came through this year, and one of them is still in the making. 7th Sea: Second Edition funded on March 13, 2016 with a grand total of $1,316,813 from 11,463 backers, officially making it the highest funding Kickstarter for a tabletop roleplaying game. And unlike some other crowdfunding horror stories of highly anticipated games, John Wick delivered as 7th Sea: Second Edition released in June, even before the originally projected delivery date.

Meanwhile in the board game arena, we may have a new record holder for highest funded game of any genre of all time with Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5. At the time of writing, the Kickstarter campaign has raised $8,557,148 from 15,899 backers and the campaign still has nine more days to run, ending on Saturday, January 7. The current record held for highest funded game is the party card game Exploding Kittens, which funded with $8,782,571 from over two hundred thousand backers. As you can see, there is a very good chance that Kingdom Death will break that record as they have over a week to raise about $230,000 more.

That’s all from me for 2016! Find more gaming news at the EN World News Network 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 may or may not be planning to post pictures and videos of me burning 2016 in effigy this weekend, or you can listen to the archives of the Gamer’s Tavern podcast.
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Darryl Mott

Comments

Matchstick

Explorer
Seems odd to call out Force Gray and Aquisitiions Inc. when Critical Role streamed live shows twice, including in front of 1000+ people at Gen Con. And AI may have had eight episodes, but CR has almost 80 now, and they live stream on Twitch almost every week (most weeks for ~28000 viewers). FG and AI are cool, but Critical Role is way beyond what people even two years ago would have seen as the viewership limits of live streaming (or even just recording) a D&D game.

Ultimately though, it's pretty dang cool that streamed and recorded D&D games are so popular, no matter from whence they spring.
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
Seems odd to call out Force Gray and Aquisitiions Inc. when Critical Role streamed live shows twice, including in front of 1000+ people at Gen Con. And AI may have had eight episodes, but CR has almost 80 now, and they live stream on Twitch almost every week (most weeks for ~28000 viewers). FG and AI are cool, but Critical Role is way beyond what people even two years ago would have seen as the viewership limits of live streaming (or even just recording) a D&D game.

Ultimately though, it's pretty dang cool that streamed and recorded D&D games are so popular, no matter from whence they spring.
Because Critical Role started in 2014 (not 2016) and did not have major nationwide theatrical events centered around them this year. Same reason I left out Dice, Ready, Action, Foreververse, Saving Throw, the Harmontown RPG spinoff, and several other big live streams. Force Grey and Acquisitions Inc broke barriers this year, while the other shows just kind of did their thing.
 

chibi graz'zt

Registered User
Congrats to the D&D 5 team for delivering another solid year of excellent products to the fans, can't wait for 2017. Volo's Guide is a gem of a product, and I really hope to see another monster/ecology book in the next year.
 

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