Pennywise Floats, UK Games Expo Kicks Out a Bad GM, and More Tabletop News


Welcome back to Gaming Shelf, io9’s regular column all about board games and tabletop RPGs-focusing on all the cool genre stuff that makes you believe you’re Batman…or maybe the Joker. This time around, we’ve got a new game for It, a neat summer camp roleplaying game, and some disturbing news about an RPG gone horribly wrong at a board game convention in the UK.

News and Releases

Star Wars: Dark Side Rising

USAopoly has announced its first Star Wars game as part of its partnership with Disney Consumer Products. Star Wars: Dark Side Rising is a cooperative card and dice game where players “take command of the Rebel forces in battle against the Galactic Empire.” The game will cost about $50 and will only be available in European, Middle Eastern, and African regions, starting this fall.

Hyper Light Drifter

The popular indie video game is coming to the tabletop. Metal Weave Games and Heart Machine have announced a multi-year licensing deal to adapt Hyper Light Drifteras a tabletop game, with plans to grow the game’s “universe” into other titles and expansions. The first slate of tabletop releases are heading to Kickstarter this August, with a planned release date of summer 2020.

UK Games Expo Controversy

UK Games Expo has released a statement after ejecting a GM volunteer from the gaming convention, and banning him from all future UK Games Expo events. This came after a player shared on Twitter how the GM had created a scenario for a game of Free League Publishing’s Things From the Flood where the players were kidnapped and sexually assaulted, reportedly because he “enjoyed the shock factor.” According to UK Games Expo’s statement, the game was immediately halted and the GM was banned from attending or submitting content for all future expos. Just goes to show: Never be that person. Ever.

Agatha Christie-Death on the Cards

Who doesn’t love a good murder mystery? Agatha Christie is the queen of them all, and Modiphius has unveiled a new bluffing mystery card game called Agatha Christie-Death on the Cards, a two-to-six player game where players try to figure out which character among them is the murderer. You can take on iconic literary characters like Poirot and Harley Quin…no, not that DC one. Agatha Christie-Death on the Cards is set to come out this December.

It: Evil Below

Just in time for It: Chapter Two, USAopoly is releasing a cooperative strategy board game based on the 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s It. Players take on the roles of members of the Losers’ Club as they move around their neighborhood and try to outsmart Pennywise. It’s a total cooperative story in that if one character dies, everybody dies, so you all have to work together to survive. The game will cost about $30 and comes out this fall.

Metal Gear Solid: The Board Game Preorders

Sign-ups are currently available to preorder IDW Games’ Metal Gear Solid: The Board Game. Everybody who preorders gets exclusive minis of the Hind D helicopter, the Tank, and a surprise figure that will be revealed later. I’m hoping it’s a cardboard box.

Trismegistus: The Ultimate Formula

I love me some good alchemy. Board & Dice has announced its latest release, Trismegistus: The Ultimate Formula, where players take on the role of ambitious alchemists trying to become the successor to Hermes Trismegistus, “the greatest alchemist ever living.” Players learn to transmute metals into gold, perform experiments, and do other more risky endeavors to try and win the acclaim of the famed alchemist. The game comes out this October, and no price has been set yet.


Fireys (Jim Henson’s Labyrinth-The Board Game)

Dance magic dance! Jim Henson’s Labyrinth-The Board Game now has a new expansion that’s introduced the Fierys, i.e. those weird guys who came out of nowhere, danced a bunch, and tried to take Sarah’s head off. The expansion also comes with an alternative Jareth miniature, because you can never have enough of the babe. The babe with the power.

The Dream Eaters (Arkham Horror: The Card Game)

Fantasy Flight Games continues to grow its Arkham Horror card game with The Dream Eaters, a deluxe expansion that takes players into the Dreamlands, a mysterious place that blurs the line between reality and fiction. The expansion is currently available for preorder and is set come out this fall.


Sleepaway: A Tabletop RPG

Sleepaway is a roleplaying game that centers around a group of camp counselors trying to keep their kids safe from a monster called the Lindworm, mixing the mundane activities of being at summer camp with the terrors of a horrific mystery. It’s based on Avery Alder’s Belonging Outside Belonging system, which means it’s about a group of marginalized people finding a community together, and therefore incorporates community-based gameplay. There’s no dice and no GM; instead everybody works together to build the story. Sleepaway has already been funded, and will be on Kickstarter through July 5. It’s set to come out in January 2020. The minimum pledge request for a digital copy is $15, although there is a $7 tier for members of marginalized communities, or those who cannot afford the higher option.

The Refuge: Terror from the Deep

There’s a terrifying kraken at the bottom of the sea. Do you work with your crew to defeat the monster, or race against the clock to get to the escape pods before they do? The Refuge: Terror from the Deep is a tabletop roleplaying game with different gameplay options, depending on if you want to be cooperative or competitive. The miniatures look gorgeous, and I love the idea of a game that has two different modes of gameplay. The Refuge has been funded, and will be on Kickstarter through June 28. The minimum pledge for a copy is $49, and should be delivered around June 2020.

It’s a resource management game with a twist: space animals! In Afternova, players work to mine resources from a series of unstable planets. It’s about working together, competitively, with the help of your “Hired Paws” (aka anthropomorphized animals) who you use to build up your team. Afternova has already been funded and will be on Kickstarter through July 3. The minimum pledge for a copy of the game is $14 (the game normally costs $25).

Batman: Gotham City Chronicles-Season 2

It’s Batman’s 80th anniversary, so why not celebrate with a game? Batman: Gotham City Chronicles is coming back with a follow-up season. The mission-based miniatures game has one player take on the role of an iconic Batman villain, trying to create chaos and anarchy, while the others play Batman and his friends to stop criminals and keep Gotham safe. The original game has 42 missions, with the second season expansion adding nine more to the game as well as new versus mode missions. The game has been funded and will be on Kickstarter through June 18. It costs a minimum pledge of $147 for the core game, and $319 for the core game and season two expansion. It’s expected to come out in May 2020.

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