Welcome to the revived Gaming Shelf! We’re back with a bimonthly schedule, a new creator’s spotlight, and a whole lot of links that will be rounding up the gaming news, notable releases, and crowdfunding campaigns that have grabbed our attention recently.
Creator Spotlight: World Champ Game Co.
You can always count on Adam Vass’ work to disgust and delight in equal measure. A musician who makes games as World Champ Game Co., Vass is well known for products that combine death metal aesthetics, dark fantasy flavour, and demonic forces. Alongside his frequent collaborator will jobst (Good Luck Press), Vass won the Indie Groundbreaker Award from IGDN in 2021 for their game, This Discord Has Ghosts in It.
I’m a huge fan of Vass, who creates games that usually utilise more than one kind of mechanic system–dice and cards, drawing and coin tosses, mixing and mashing different strategies and randomization to produce new ways to play games. He has short lyric games, strategy games, and massive core tabletop role-playing games (TTRPGs) in his repertoire. Many of World Champ’s games use tarot cards and deal with the oracular and demonic, reclaiming a fear that drove many people out of the hobby in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Soul Burner, his latest game, is already fully funded on Kickstarter. It’s described as a stand-alone tabletop roleplaying game for two to six players combining the mechanics of MÖRK BORG with the themes of death, compulsion, and faulty memory from World Champ’s previous game, the stoner-metal science-fantasy game NECRONAUTILUS. In Soul Burner, heaps of fresh ash and embers gain humanoid form in search of truth and revenge, discovering who they were and who they want to be along their violent way.
New Releases: Diesel and Dinosaurs, Last Hope, The Long Shift
“Diesel and Dinosaurs (by Dyer Rose/BasiliskOnline) is a powered by Charge RPG combining dinosaurs and post apocalypse settings and inspired by the cartoon Cadillacs and Dinosaurs and the comic Xenozoic Tales. Humanity has spent the last 600+ years in bunkers while the planet recovers from a massive climate crisis. Those bunkers began to breakdown beyond the mechanist’s abilities to keep them running and eventually humanity began to return to the surface. They found a world once again reclaimed by dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, and began working to settle this untamed land.”
“Last Hope is a tabletop roleplaying game within which you play as teenage characters trying to fight evil corruption in an alternate version of the world, while also living your daily life as a student.”
“The Long Shift (Caro Asercion) is a tabletop story game for two to five players. Using a standard deck of playing cards, players take on the roles of employees at Mari’s 26-Hour Cosmic, an interstellar rest stop in a derelict asteroid belt. Over the course of the game, players will also take turns playing travellers who visit the rest stop, bringing news of the world beyond.”
Crowdfunding: The Real Thing, Deimos Academy, Flee, Mortals!
Image: Jason Ward
The Real Thing is a self-contained, story-driven, pen-and-paper tabletop role-playing game inspired by the music of Faith No More. It uses the Powered by the Apocalypse game engine and is for fans of the dark, gritty RPGs of the 1990s. This was the height of Vampire: the Masquerade and its sibling titles. It was when many of us were discovering Anne Rice’s works. It was a time of grunge, the war on drugs, gangsta rap, and the goth-industrial lifestyle. The story is flooded with early ‘90s ambiance and flavour.
Deimos Academy (Game and a Curry) is a game about adults returning to face the cursed boarding school that terrified them as children. Players are the adults who must attend a reunion at the school. With no clear recollection or memory of what their childhood was like at school, they slowly unlock what has clearly been repressed. As they uncover more and more of their old memories, they discover that a monster lurks beneath. This is a horror collaborative storytelling roleplaying game that uses a colouring book and dice. Players will be building the story together, remembering things from their characters’ pasts and attempting to overcome the fears they had as children.
Flee, Mortals! is a new D&D supplement from MCDM publishing that gives you new monsters, supplemental rules for combat, and updates stat blocks for older monsters. It’s specifically designed to make combat easier to understand in the Fifth Edition, and includes the “action-oriented monster” that MCDM developed in its earlier game, Chain of Acheron. These monsters get “a special move and rely on spells a lot less,” helping streamline encounters. Also, the art in this book is sick.
In Other News
- If you’ve ever wanted to do an escape room, but escape rooms freak you out, try Escape Team for an at-home escape room.
- StartPlaying makes finding games super easy.
- Cyanide and Happiness are crowdfunding Master Dater.
- Demeo is a new PC game inspired by OSR D&D dungeoncrawls and deckbuilders.
- Exalted Funeral (one of my favourite places to find new games) is now selling Runecairn: Wardensaga.
- I can’t wait for the new Blade Runner RPG.
- Late Pledges are open for Jurassic Park – Isla Nubar, including all the KS upgrades and expansions.
- The forthcoming Marvel RPG is getting a digital toolkit courtesy of Demiplane.
Editor’s Note: Release dates within this article are based in the U.S., but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.