Category Archives: Business

Critical Role Announce Darrington Press, a New Game Publishing Company

Darrington Press

Critical Role has launched its own tabletop game publishing company, Darrington Press.

The new company will be headed by Ivan Van Norman. Van Norman has produced tabletop games and media content for 10 years as co-owner of Hunters Entertainment. Matthew Mercer will be joining the company as Creative Advisor.

Along with staff, the new publisher has announced what’s coming in 2021.

Uk’otoa will be released in the first quarter of 2021 and is the publisher’s flagship title. It’s a tactical game of semi-cooperative card play as factions of sailors vie to be the last claimed by the raging sea leviathan Uk’otoa. As the ship slowly falls into the ocean, you’ll have to run, push, and sacrifice others to win!

The game is for 3-5 players ages 12+ and games should take 30-45 minutes.

Uk’otoa was created by Jeb Havens with additional game design by Gabriel Hicks, art by Hannah Friederichs, layout by Vee Nedro, and Uk’otoa sculpt by Niklas Norman.

The game will be available from the Critical Role shop and friendly local game stores.

Uk'otoa

In the second quarter of 2021, you’ll be able to embark on your own journey through Exandria with Critical Role Adventures. The game is described as a cooperative legacy-lite campaign game. It’ll use a “unique, narrative mechanic for social and combat encounters.”

Synidcult will be released in the third quarter of 2021. It’s a magic roleplaying game designed by Matthew Mercer where mob families guard secrets and battle for power in the streets.

Guardians of Matrimonia will be released in quarter 4 2021. You’ll fight monsters in this cooperative card game. Pre-built decks are pitted against a deck of monsters. But, you don’t want your deck to run out, or everyone loses.

From Blizzard video games to the tabletop with Warchief Gaming

WARCHIEF GAMING

There’s a new tabletop gaming company, Warchief Gaming. Founded by Chris Mitzen and Mike Gilmartin, the company springs from two former staffers of the video game developer/publisher Blizzard. Metzen was the “primary visionary” behind games like Warcraft, Diablo, StarCraft, and Overwatch. Gilmartin was the vice president of quality assurance. They’re joined by Ryan Collins as lead product developer.

The new publishing company springs out of the two’s love for tabletop games like Dungeons & Dragons and Warhammer. But, they do have an eye beyond the tabletop knowing that success can lead to other things like movies, video games, comics, and more.

But, the concept began in 2018 as a “haven for tabletop gamers in Southern California.” The venture began as a gaming club but has spun out into something more.

Unlike video games, the venture is small with just three full-time people and other helpers to get things going. It also allows the two to create on their own terms.

They’re not ready to talk about specifics. The main site though has some recent events for the game club that are focused on Games Workshop’s Age of Sigmar. Is that’s a sign of what’s to come? Only they know right now. But, with such success in the video game space, this is a publisher to keep an eye on.

Japanime Games Reveals Naruto: Ninja Arena

Japanime Games
Japanime Games

Japanime Games has announced another partnership with Don’t Panic Games to bring Naruto: Ninja Arena to wider audiences beyond just Europe. Japanime previously worked with Don’t Panic Games on the release of Cowboy Bebop: Space Serenade earlier this year. 

Naruto: Ninja Arena is a competitive, fast-paced game all about simultaneous dice rolling for 2-4 players, ages 10 and up. You and your opponents all take on characters in the Naruto universe battling it out in real-time to be the last ninja standing. Every character has their own abilities and each player has their own dice pools. As a round starts, all players roll their dice at the same time, trying to match symbols on their dice with symbols on their character boards based on what character abilities they have. As players activate abilities, they will mark their opponents for potential, future damage. Once a player has correctly collected the necessary symbols for their ultimate, special ability, they’ll slap an Uzumaki spiral in the center of the board to signify this, and the damage is dealt. In this brief pause, the player who slapped the spiral last will take extra damage and the players will resolve the effects. This damage is applied based on the markers distributed by players activating their abilities.

Naruto: Ninja Arena is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2021.

Elisa Teague Joins Renegade Game Studios as Senior Producer

Elisa Teague

Renegade Game Studios has announced Elisa Teague has joined the company full time as Senior Producer for the company’s growing stable of roleplaying games.

With over 20 years in the tabletop games industry, Teague has worked on over 100 titles including the Geek Out! party trivia game line, Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow’s Walk, the Apocrypha Adventure Card Game, and Talisman: Kingdom Hearts Edition. She is also a recurring special guest DM and game designer at conventions around the world, including Gen Con, Origins, Gary Con, and D&D in a Castle.

A distinguished tabletop game industry veteran, who has previously designed the Wardlings Campaign Guide published by Renegade Game Studios in partnership with Wizkids, and was a contributing designer on upcoming Dungeons & Dragons supplement Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything published by Wizards of the Coast, Teague will be leading initiatives to design, develop, and grow the company’s stable of roleplaying games.

As previously announced, the publisher recently acquired the rights to publish roleplaying games for several well-known franchises including, Power Rangers, My Little Pony, GI Joe, and Transformers. 

Asmodee and Artovision Partner for Art Collectibles

Asmodee

Artovision and Asmodee Entertainment have entered into a licensing partnership to bring several of Asmodee’s fan-favourite properties to life through Artovision’s range of multi-dimensional art collectibles. Properties featured in the deal will include the omnipresent modern classic boardgame CATAN along with Fantasy Flight Games Arkham Horror, Twilight Imperium, KeyForge, and Legend of the Five Rings brands, known for their extensive library of high-quality
illustrations.

The cooperation will see artwork from these beloved properties produced as shadowbox and desktop artwork by the team at Artovision, bringing some of the brands’ most iconic pieces of art to life with a three-dimensional depth never seen before. Artovision’s shadowbox artwork combines four layers of full-colour art, each printed on optical grade
cast acrylic, and assembled within a durable high-quality finished frame to create astonishing visual depth. Artovision’s desktop artwork, meanwhile, combines two highquality printed art layers in a freestanding optical grade acrylic block, perfect for brightening up desktops, bookshelves, TV cabinets or home entertainment system surrounds.

Klaus Teuber’s CATAN is a highly visual and engaging game, known for the compelling art style of its box covers, board and other game components. Developed by Asmodee’s Catan Studio, the modern classic celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2020/21 and enjoys a great and growing audience all over the globe. Having sparked a revolution in modern game design, CATAN is well on track to become the world’s pre-eminent boardgame.

Twilight Imperium is a genre-defining strategy game set against the backdrop of a sweeping, epic space opera with awe-inspiring, epic art to match. The cyber-noir setting of Android sees megacorporations battling for dominance in an AI-enhanced future and is, like Twilight Imperium, KeyForge and Legend of the Five Rings, a product of Asmodee’s renowned Fantasy Flight Games studio. KeyForge is the world’s first Unique Deck Game, known for its deep, immersive melting-pot universe where anything is possible, with stunning card art central to its appeal. The world of Rokugan, home to Legend of the Five Rings, offers an epic fantasy vista and provides the backdrop for a range of beloved tabletop games. The chosen properties stand out as some of the most beautifully illustrated brands to be found anywhere in world, traits which make them a perfect fit for Artovision’s innovate, ultra high-quality shadowbox and desktop artworks.

The first products of this collaboration are due to launch in fall 2020. CATAN, Android, Twilight Imperium, KeyForge, and Legend of the Five Rings will each be the subject of two fantastic shadowbox designs and two more desktop artwork pieces.

CMON’s Comic Imprint Guillotine Press Brings Asmodee’s Twilight Imperium and Android to Graphic Novels in 2021

CMON

CMON LTD and Asmodee Entertainment have entered into a licensing partnership to bring two of the most famous boardgame universes of all time to the pages of comics! The best-selling game worlds of Twilight Imperium and Android are slated to make their graphic novel debut in 2021. The deal is the latest example of Asmodee Entertainment’s continued expansion into licensed publishing opportunities. For CMON, this deal secures the first-ever licenses for their newly minted comics arm, Guillotine Press.

CMON has seen some of their games turned into comics through IDW Publishing and recently Kickstarted three graphic novels “CMON Comics – Vol. 1.” That project raised $501,632 from 12,261 backers and featured not just print comics but expansions for CMON’s popular tabletop board games. It’s slated to be delivered in February 2021.

As with CMON’s first set of graphic novels, these new books will be created by veteran writers and artists, who will bring their immense talents to the projects. Scheduled to be launched on Kickstarter in 2021, the books will be paired with tie-in game components designed to delight long-time fans of both franchises.

Asmodee

Twilight Imperium, the genre-defining 4x strategy game immersing players into interstellar conquest and diplomacy for over 20 years, is set against the backdrop of a sweeping, epic space opera filled with iconic races, locations, ships, and characters. Twilight Imperium was first released in 1997 and has seen four editions released with the latest in 2017. The game was designed by Christian T. Petersen with art by Bill Heagy.

Meanwhile, the cyber-noir setting of Android explores a future where megacorporations compete across the globe and cyber-espionage is just business as usual whilst criminal gangs fight for dominance in the overcrowded streets below gleaming corporate starscrapers. Android has been explored through board games, card games, and roleplaying games for over a decade. Android was released in 2008 by designers Daniel Clark and Kevin Wilson. It features art by Julie Dillon, Henning Ludvigsen, Stefan Morrell, Aaron Panagos, Didier Poli, and Zoe Robinson. 2012 saw the release of the popular card game Android Netrunner by Richard Garfield and Lukas Litzsinger which featured art by Bruno Balixa, Ralph Beisner Del Borovic, Adam S. Doyle, Amelie Hutt, Thomas Lishman, Henning Ludvigsen, Ed Mattinian, Dallas Mehlhoff, Adam Schumpert, Mark Anthony Taduran, and Matt Zeilinger. That release saw numerous expansions well into 2018.

Both the Twilight Imperium and the Android game lines are products of Asmodee’s Fantasy Flight Games studio.

Stronghold Games Announces Stephen Buonocore to Step Down as President

Stephen Buonocore

Stronghold Games has announced that Stephen Buonocore will be stepping down from his role of President effective August 1, 2020. Buonocore founded the company in 2009 and served as President for most of that time.

Stronghold Games and Indie Boards & Cards merged in mid-2018 to form Indie Game Studios, where Buonocore continued in his role as President of Stronghold Games, as well as in the role of Spokesperson for the merged company. 

Stephen Buonocore is also the cohost of Board Games Insider, one of the most popular hobby game podcasts, and he has appeared in interviews on television, radio, and numerous game media outlets to promote both the company and the game industry. He will continue to produce the podcast as well as be involved in additional game media outlets. Buonocore also serves on the Board of Directors for the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund, the purpose of which is to provide financial assistance to members of the gaming community who have suffered personal hardship.

While President of Stronghold Games, Stephen Buonocore provided vision and guidance for hundreds of game titles, both developed within the company and in partnership with publishers around the world.  Indie Game Studios CEO Travis Worthington will continue to direct the merged company.  Sydney Engelstein will become Director of Game Development for Stronghold Games.

Wil Wheaton Announced As Bicycle’s Global Board Game Ambassador

Wil Wheaton

Today, the Bicycle brand is excited to announce the signing of actor, writer, and board game enthusiast Wil Wheaton as its first global board game ambassador. In his role, Wil supports the new “Games By Bicycle” line of board and card games. Bicycle is partnering with Wil, who for years has been an advocate for expanding the board game hobby to new audiences.

 As the creator, producer, and host of the wildly successful web series Tabletop, Wil is credited with reigniting an interest in board games. Wil’s career highlights include roles on the hit TV Series Star Trek: The Next Generation and more recently, as a fictionalized version of himself on CBS’s The Big Bang Theory, one of the most highly rated and watched sitcoms of the last decade.

Like Wil, Bicycle continues to invite more people to the board game table. This past year Bicycle launched multiple games including Tattoo Stories, a drawing party game where your art skills don’t matter. The game was designed by schoolteacher Eric Slauson to inspire students to be more creative. Players compete in a series of quick-paced tattoo competitions. 

For people who want a little less party and a little more strategy, Games By Bicycle is bringing The Alpha, and Exchange to store shelves around the country.  In The Alpha, players lead a wolf pack on a hunt to become The Alpha pack. When multiple packs hunt the same prey, they must decide to fight or share bringing heart-pumping excitement to the game. In Exchange, players must outwit opponents to corner the stock market and become the player with the highest net worth.

In addition, Bicycle will be launching Adult Party Games: The Sweet & Spicy Truth and Nailed It in July.

Jeffrey Alvarez promoted to President; Lisa Stevens continues as CEO of Paizo

Paizo

Paizo Inc. has announced the promotion of Jeffrey Alvarez to the position of President and shared its leadership transition plans. Alvarez will be responsible for the company’s regular operations. CEO Lisa Stevens will continue to provide strategic guidance while preparing the company for her retirement in a few years. Erik Mona continues as Publisher and Chief Creative Officer.

Stevens founded Paizo in 2002 after working at TSR and Wizards of the Coast. This marks Stevens officially stepping back from the day-to-day running of Paizo and instead focusing on the strategic aspects of the business.

Publisher and Chief Creative Officer Erik Mona has long been the architect of Paizo’s creative efforts. He will continue to make the final decisions about what Paizo publishes and when.

Vic Wertz, Paizo’s Chief Technology Officer, another founder of the company, and Stevens’ spouse is also pulling back from day-to-day operations; he will continue overseeing the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, among other duties.

These changes have been in progress for some time and are part of an orderly plan for the next leadership steps of the company.

WizKids Ends their Relationship with Robert Burke Games Over Insensitive Remarks

WizKids has announced that they have ended their “relationship” with Robert Burke Games after insensitive statements were made by the game publisher in a Facebook group and Twitter.

The designer had published Doppelgänger, O.P. Arena, and King’s Struggle through WizKids. He’s also self-published and released games through Grey Fox Games who has not made a statement (but also aren’t too active on Twitter).

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