Showing posts with label Fantasy Flight. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fantasy Flight. Show all posts

Round Up: Gen Con 2015

And just like that Gen Con 2015 is over. Seriously? It's already over? <> Sigh. Well, one of the good things about being back is that I can share all of the awesome that went down during the Best Four Days in Gaming. In keeping with all of our other convention round-ups, I'll present the convention news alphabetically by publisher, then give overarching impressions of the convention itself (and a little update on Steampunk Hawkgirl). For more pictures of all the goodness, check out our social pages, particularly our Instagram.

Fantasy Flight (FFG)

Perennial powerhouse Fantasy Flight occupied their customary spot right in front of the main doors of the dealer hall and their merchandise booth seemed to be permanently ringed by an endless parade of eager gamers. That commercial success, among other things, was confirmed during the annual In-Flight Review. After the powerhouse lineup of new games presented during last year's con, it was unsurprising that much of the 2015-2016 FFG pipeline consists largely of expansions and enhancements to their existing titles.

The publisher's two best-selling games, Armada and Imperial Assault (with the former actually outselling the latter in this calendar year), will both be getting new miniatures. Imperial Assault will also be bolstered by the addition of not one, but two expansion sets. The first such add-on, Twin Shadows, will focus largely on the fringe elements of the Star Wars universe, specifically bounty hunters and elements that were heavily featured in the Edge of the Empire RPG. Twin Shadows is set to be released sometime in September. The second expansion will be the very robust Return to Hoth, which will feature not only new miniatures and missions, but new mechanics for the core gameplay. Return to Hoth is forecasted to be available for purchase sometime during the fourth quarter of this year.

The insanely popular X-Wing will also get more miniatures and a few expansions. Wave 7 of these forthcoming miniatures will include an imperial raider (made with direct input from LucasFilm) and an imperial assault carrier from the animated series Star Wars: Rebels. Rebels will feature heavily in Wave 8, which will include a Mist Hunter and a Ghost.

One of the most highly sought-after games of the year, Forbidden Stars, remains completely sold out and is expected to be on back-order for much of the rest of 2015 as more copies are printed and distributed. More than a few con-goers were disappointed that FFG was not even offering demos of the Warhammer 40K-based title during Gen Con.

While we're in a Warhammer state of mind, FFG offered a bit more exposition on Warhammer Quest: the Card Game. The still-in-development title is said to be a challenging (potentially cooperative) campaign-based card game.

Descent will be getting an expansion, titled the Mists of Bilehall, late this year. Three new lieutenant packs are also in line to be released for the game in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Mission: Red Planet, a resource-management title inherited from Asmodee, has been updated and will be re-released under the FFG banner. You can pre-order copies of the game here. Interestingly enough, aside from a few high-level remarks concerning distribution at the incept of the In-Flight Review, this was the only explicit mention of FFG's blockbuster merger with Asmodee.

Fantasy Flight's single most-requested reprint, Runebound, is going to go beyond the printhouse and get a brand new incarnation. Aside from the title and a few core mechanics, this iteration of Runebound will bear no other resemblance to other games that have borne the same name. FFG has painstakingly re-imagined the title and is slated to bring it to market in time for the holiday season.

Speaking of releasing in time for a holiday, the third edition of the classic Fury of Dracula will hopefully be hitting the market just before Halloween.

The Lovecraftian Eldridge Horror will get a new expansion: Strange Remnants. The add-on was designed to effectively gameify the use of the expansions without the game itself taking up the entirety of your gaming table. The title will be available for purchase during the third quarter of 2015.
  • Fantasy Flight reiterated that its offerings in the Euro-style marketplace, such as Tigris and Samurai, will remain niche and not comprise a sizable portion of their pipeline. 
  • The second edition of the A Game of Thrones: The Card Game was the single most successful Gen Con release ever in the history of Fantasy Flight. 
  • Star Wars the RPG: Force and Destiny is now out and in its final form. There will be no omnibus offered to combine the three rulebooks.
  • Finally, the publisher did confirm that games based upon the Star Wars: Episode VII are already in development, but could provide no details as to what these would be.
Flying Frog Productions

One of the most sought-after demos of Gen Con 2014, Shadows of Brimstone, continued to be a powerful draw for Flying Frog. The publisher garnered additional attention via an intricately painted 3D board depicting the worldscape of the expansion Swamps of Death.


Some of the most sought-after badge swag at the con came from the demo table for Nefarious: the Mad Scientist Game. This fast-paced card game pits the sinister machinations of the world's most dastardly villains against one another. Players seek to out-invent, out-scheme, and out-maneuver one another as they attempt to take over the world. Nefarious can accommodate 2-6 gamers and is designated as being appropriate for ages 13 and up.

Wizards of the Coast (WotC)

The 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons continued to reign over much of the convention. WotC allowed gamers to partake in the first scripted adventures associated with the Rage of Demons Adventurers League season that will be available at your friendly local game store beginning this September.

Wizards also enjoyed a very strong showing at the annual ENnie awards, taking home the gold for Best Aid/Accessory, Best Cover Art (for Rise of Tiamat), Best Interior Art, Best Electronic Book, Best Family Game, Best Free Product, Best Game, Best Monster/Adversary, Best Production Values, Best Rules, Best Supplement, Best Publisher, and Product of the Year.

Independent Developers

As in previous years, the vast majority of my Gen Con trip was spent with small and independent game developers. Also akin to other years, those developers put forth some truly innovative and impressive offerings. The following titles definitely succeeded not not only providing a memorable playing experience, but lingered long after the dealer hall had closed.

Aetherium (Anvil 8 Games) - This was my very first demo of the con and it set the bar pretty darned high. Take many of the core mechanics from Imperial Assault, add in several fun tactical twists, and set it all in a phenomenally well-imagined cyberpunk universe. It was one of the most satisfying and fine-tuned miniatures games that I've had the pleasure to play. Do yourself a favor and check out the website.

Campaign Trail (Cosmic Wombat Games) - This clever game runs players through, as the name suggests, the run-up to a presidential election. Careful resource management will allow you to level up from basic grassroots campaigning to call upon a mighty war chest that will bring you to the Oval Office. The title can be played head-to-head or co-op with teammates taking on the role of Vice Presidential hopeful. This game will be the subject of its own Kickstarter beginning on September 14th.

Tesla vs Edison (Artana Games) - The end product of one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of the year, Tesla vs Edison generated quite a bit of convention buzz despite being tucked away towards the back of the dealer hall. As the name suggests, Tesla vs Edison allows players to shape the course of electricity development in the United States via the invention of new technologies and ruthless business practices. It's marketed as a 'medium-level' strategy game, which is a pretty spot-on descriptor, and will appeal most to fans of euros and those gamers who can't get enough Power Grid. Fair warning, if you're a person who doesn't like stock market or bidding mechanics in your games, this title probably isn't for you. That being said, Tesla vs Edison does an admirable job with its theme and, if you're into its mechanics, is absolutely worth a try.

Zephyr (Portal Dragon) - This competitive tabletop game continually surprised throughout the course of the demo. Set in a beautifully crafted steampunk universe, Zephyr was as satisfying to play as it was on the eyes.  Players captain, outfit, and equip their own airship in the hope of successfully resolving the missions set before them. Zephyr is a wholly modular experience that can appeal to both board game novices and seasoned veterans alike. The game is set to be featured in its own Kickstarter during the fourth quarter of this year.

Overarching Thoughts on Gen Con 2015

The Indianapolis Convention Center definitely seemed more crowded this year, and that sensation was validated when Gen Con released attendance figures. 61,423 unique con-goers graced the halls, a 8.49% increase over 2014's turnout. While that increase is markedly smaller than what we've seen in previous year-over-year periods, the fact that we're now dealing with over sixty thousand con-goers was palpable. It'll be very interesting to see what future years will look like given that the infrastructure in and around the ICC is already highly strained.

As for costume news, our steampunk take on the Justice League was very well received. It was the first time many of my friends had ever cosplayed and they all really seemed to enjoy the experience. Seeing them having so much fun gave me all sorts of happy feels. Maybe we'll make this whole group cosplay a regular thing for Gen Con. We costume up pretty nicely, don't you think?

I'll go into all the details about the individual components of Steampunk Hawkgirl via updates on the tutorial posts. On the whole, not gonna lie, it was simultaneously the most rewarding and most frustrating costume I've ever done. A lot of things went wrong at the last possible minute, resulting in a handful of components going unused. Similarly, a few of the functions of the costume weren't behaving as they were supposed to on Cosplay Saturday, so they were effectively shelved. That being said, the final product didn't turn out too badly.

Until next year Gen Con!
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Star Wars: Armada Giveaway...The Results Are In!

And the winner is...

Jeff Hayward!

Congratulations Jeff! Please send us either a Facebook message or an email ([email protected]) for all the details of your glorious victory!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our contest. We received a lot of awesome entries and we had a lot of fun running this for you.

Notes: the winner was chosen at random via The winner has 24 hours to claim their prize. If they do not do so by Friday, April 10th at 8pm EST then a new winner will be drawn from the existing pool of entrants. This process will be repeated as needed until we can get a winner!
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Star Wars: Armada Giveaway!

We're psyched to bring you guys the second round of our promised spring board game giveaways! This time around the grand prize will be the second major hit from last year's Gen Con, Star Wars: Armada by Fantasy Flight Games. Board games + Star Wars = so much win. This two-player strategy game promises the chance to indulge in some intense tactics with the high quality minatures you'd expect from Fantasy Flight (though there's nothing small about these models if you're used to playing Star Wars: X-Wing).

Awesome! How do I enter?

If you're reading this and you're neither the GIR nor Elder Gias (sorry guys) you are eligible to enter by following the directions below.

How to Enter the Contest

Step 1: Think of the name of your favorite character, weapon, alien species, type of ship or individual title from any of the movies, comics, or TV shows in the Star Wars franchise. (see the Rules below for a note about Expanded Universe titles)

Step 2: Leave the name you thought of in Step 1 as a comment on either our Facebook or G+ pages, or tweet it at our Twitter account, tag us in a picture of it on Instagram, or leave it as a comment on this post. (Yes, you can enter multiple times; see the Rules below for an example of how this works) 

Step 3: Check back here on Thursday, April 9th at 8pm EST to see if you're the winner! The winner will be selected using

Contest Rules

- You are allowed one entry per social media site (plus this website) and your entries must be different responses to each of the items in Step 1. For example, I could say my favorite character is Mara Jade on the Facebook page, then say my favorite type of ship is the Chiss Star Destroyer on G+ and earn myself 2 entries into the contest. 

- Since there are five categories and five places for your potential responses, you can earn up to five entries for yourself by putting a different response on each of the sites. If you say 'Han Solo' 5 times in 5 places, only one of those will count.

- While you do not have to use your full, real name to enter the contest, we are going to require that you give us at least a valid handle or nickname so we can contact you if you're the winner. Contestants who are found to be using burner accounts to try and earn more entries will be disqualified. 

- For the purposes of this contest, all Expanded Universe titles, weapons, species, ships, and characters can be treated as valid and canonical (since Episode VII hasn't been released yet!)

Good luck everyone!

Notes: The Care and Feeding of Nerds and this contest are not in any way affiliated with Fantasy Flight Games, Inc. Star Wars: Armada, and all imagery used therein, is licensed to Fantasy Flight Games, Inc.
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Game Review - XCOM: The Board Game

This is a subject we've been waiting to talk about with you guys for much of the past six months, pretty much from the minute we walked away from the demo table at Gen Con 2014. After Fantasy Flight encountered some production delays and we dealt with some snow-related shipping snafus we finally got our hands on XCOM: the Board Game (and sent out the grand prize to our giveaway winner). After some deep inhalations of New Game Smell and the always-satisfying popping of chits we were ready to defend the Earth against extraterrestrial hostiles. The tiniest bit of apprehension hung in the air: were our convention memories too rose-colored or would the game be as awesome as we recalled?
It's every ounce of what we experienced at the demo table and then some.

It's not a flawless title, but XCOM definitely delivers some of the most satisfying and addictive play we've seen in several years. Let's dive right into the details, shall we?

Theme and Presentation

It's no secret that we at the Care and Feeding of Nerds are pretty big fans of the XCOM franchise. Between the three of us, we've logged around a thousand total hours if you were to sum up our time played in each of the titles in the series. So we came into the board game with a reasonably good idea of what makes XCOM feel like XCOM. 

Two key components of that XCOM-y feel are a high level of tension and a near-visceral attachment to your soldiers. The board game manages to capture both of these, and does so manner that feels true to the franchise while also allowing for solid strategy and play. We’ll get to each of these in more detail in the sections below but, for now, just know that you will not be disappointed in how the game will make you feel.
You will also not likely be disappointed either in the overall look or the physical components of the game. The board, cards, tokens, and chits draw exclusively from the grim, dark imagery of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM: Enemy Within and boast the quality that you’ve likely come to expect from a Fantasy Flight title. Akin to many of its other recent offerings, Fantasy Flight left the tokens monochromed to allow for player customization if you’re into mini painting, but the detail is still striking even if you choose to keep them unadorned.

All this translates into an immediate sense of familiarity for those veterans of the XCOMiverse. However, even if you have never played a single digital incarnation of the franchise, there’s no doubt as to the gravity of the theme being presented.

The App

When it debuted last August, the companion app for XCOM: the Board Game instantly became arguably the most divisive topic in board games (for a little while at least). If you are one of those gamers who took umbrage at the notion of digital components in your board games, then it's highly unlikely that anything we say here will persuade you otherwise. In all honesty, we found that the app was one of the strongest facets of the entire game. 

Fantasy Flight was well aware that this innovation would have to deliver a compelling, bug-free component to the game in order to have it be accepted by the masses and we feel that they were successful in this endeavor. The app is fast, free, and is the unquestionable lynchpin of any given playthrough. It’s available on the majority of digital platforms and can be played from a desktop/laptop or a mobile device.

While it was initially disconcerting to open the box and see that a brief overview was the only printed material that accompanied the game, we quickly fell in love with having a fully hyperlinked and dynamic rulebook at our fingertips. There's no flipping back and forth as you try to shed light on an in-game situation. The app does an excellent job of not only presenting the rules in a very user-friendly format, but anticipating the sorts of questions you're likely to have mid-playthrough and making that information readily accessible.

Aside from being the de facto rulebook, the app is the primary driver of actual gameplay. It presents players with setups and scenarios that are tailored to the number of participants and the desired difficulty level. It also dispenses and accounts for almost all of the action during the Timed Phase of the game, which we’ll explore more in just a moment. Lastly, it provides some of the heftier immersion points in the form of simple but compelling graphics, tactful sound effects, and a background soundtrack guaranteed to get your heart racing.

Core Mechanics

Gameplay is bifurcated into the Timed Phase and the Resolution Phase. The Timed Phase is governed almost entirely by the app, which dictates the order by which each player may act as well as provides environmental effects, like alerts that new UFOs have spawned over various continents. This portion of the game is literally named, as the app displays a countdown clock ticking away the seconds available for each player action. Just knowing that you’re under the proverbial gun creates a certain level of tension, but having a very precise timer (which displays down to the hundreth of a second) and potentially a fellow player also counting down puts everyone effectively on edge.

There may be a collective exhalation of relief when the app declares an end to the Timed Phase and a momentary luxuriating in the idea that you can take some time to digest what’s happened and formulate a plan of action before the Resolution Phase begins. The Resolution Phase is free of the merciless timer and also abides by the same schedule of events each round, as opposed to the randomness inherent to the Timed Phase. This is also where each of the four requisite player Roles get their individual chance to contribute.

The four Roles are unique functions that players take on and must be filled during each playthrough (the app provides suggestions on how to double up Roles if there are fewer than four players). You can pick from the Commander, the Central Officer, the Chief Scientist, and the Squad Leader. The Commander resolves Crises, balances the budget, and controls all Interceptor units in their battle against UFOs in the atmosphere. The Central Officer defends Earth’s orbit with satellites and relays all pertinent information from the app, as this player is in charge of whatever device you’re using. The Chief Scientist manages the research process, attempting to develop technology that will give the players a desirable edge. The Squad Leader controls all ground units, dispatching troops to various missions as well as defending the XCOM HQ.

All of the roles utilize the same dice-rolling mechanic to make the various checks required of them. The Board Game includes a set of custom six-siders representing human efforts and a red eight-sided die standing as the omnipresent alien threat. Checks require a certain number of successes, but these are tough to come by as each die has only two success icons (the remainder of the faces being stark, blank blue). Not only must players garner successes, but they must also avoid low rolls on the eight-sided alien die. Each time a player attempts a roll and does not obtain all the necessary successes the Threat Level increases, thus increasing the probability that the aliens will thwart your efforts and cause the players to incur losses.These losses can add up quickly and have dire consequences for the playthrough. Furthermore, the Threat Level heightens the existing tension by forcing players to push their luck or otherwise be forced to make very difficult choices.  
Will you be the big hero or will you cost your team the game?
Playthroughs and Replayability

The game can be played with any number of players up to a maximum of four. It also includes a single-player option which, based on our experience with the 2-player version, we imagine to be extremely difficult. Base playtime is listed at 1-2 hours, which we found to be pretty accurate.

The replayability factor with XCOM: The Board Game is very high. Between the number of missions, the customizable scenarios, the relatively short playing time, and the variable difficulty levels the game is Arkham-ish in that no two playthroughs will really be the same (aside from the tutorial). The only factors that may limit frequent play is the initial setup process (though this is far less involved than Arkham Asylum or Twilight Imperium) and frustrations stemming from repeated defeats.
Revel in your victory!

And that last point is another facet of the XCOMiverse that The Board Game gets right: victories, even those on the easier difficulties, are hard-fought. Periods of stability, wherein you and your fellow players feel like you just might have a handle on things, are uncommon and fleeting. A lot of considerations are thrown at you in the frantic bursts of the Timed Phase and it may take some practice in order to devise effective strategies to optimize all four Roles. For this reason, The Board Game would not likely be a good fit for casual gamers or newcomers to board gaming. Those veterans of Arkham will know the feeling that The Board Game exudes: that wins are a welcome exception rather than the rule.

While The Board Game is solidly cooperative, one of its few flaws is the potential imbalances between the four Roles. The Roles themselves are very well defined, but the randomness of the scenarios and missions may cause instances wherein one Role is overwhelmed with activity while another Role gets left with very little to do. This sort of thing is an inevitable byproduct of a game with so many moving parts and, fortunately, instances like the aforementioned scenario would likely be limited to a single playthrough (and wouldn't really factor into games with fewer than four players).

All in all, XCOM: The Board Game is an excellent offering that will provide hours of fun for those gamers who love strategy and a solid measure of intensity in their board games. Fans of the franchise will also likely enjoy the title quite a bit. (Warning: playing The Board Game may prompt you to put in more hours with one or more of the video games.)

Final Grade: A

XCOM: The Board Game is now available for purchase on Fantasy Flight's website,, other online retailers, and at your friendly local game store.
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XCOM Giveaway: The Results Are In!

And the winner is...
Image Source: Fantasy Flight Games
Evan Derrick!

Congratulations Evan! Please check your Twitter direct messages for all the details of your glorious victory!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our contest. We received a lot of awesome entries and we had a lot of fun running this for you.

Stay tuned! In the next few months we'll be running another giveaway, but the grand prize next time will be Armada!

Notes: the winner was chosen at random via The winner has 24 hours to claim their prize. If they do not do so by Monday, January 26th at 8pm EST then a new winner will be drawn from the existing pool of entrants. This process will be repeated as needed until we can get a winner!

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XCOM: The Board Game Giveaway!

This is a contest that has been literal months in the making and we're thrilled that we can finally bring it to you! One of the single biggest attention-grabbers (and, consequently, one of the most hotly contested demos) at Gen Con 2014 was XCOM: The Board Game by Fantasy Flight Games. In my humble opinion, the title definitely lived up to every bit of the hype that surrounded it, but mass production of the game was plagued with delays in the months following the con. Fortunately, those delays are a thing of the past and now we can get down to the fun times!

That's very nice, but you said something about a contest?

I sure did. We're giving away a copy of XCOM: The Board Game and everyone reading this can enter for a chance to win it! (unless you're the GIR or Elder Gias, sorry guys)
Image Credit: Fantasy Flight Games

How to Enter the Contest

Step 1: Think of the name of your favorite soldier class, weapon, alien species, NPC or individual game title from any of the video games in the XCOM franchise. (see the Rules below for a note about expansion titles)

Step 2: Leave the name you thought of in Step 1 as a comment on either our Facebook or G+ pages, or tweet it at our Twitter account, tag us in a picture of it on Instagram, or leave it as a comment on this post. (Yes, you can enter multiple times; see the Rules below for an example of how this works) 

Step 3: Check back here on Sunday, January 25th at 8pm EST to see if you're the winner! The winner will be selected using

Contest Rules

- You are allowed one entry per social media site (plus this website) and your entries must be different responses to each of the items in Step 1. For example, I could say my favorite soldier class is the Sniper on the Facebook page, then say my favorite weapon is the Railgun on G+ and earn myself 2 entries into the contest. 

- Since there are five categories and five places for your potential responses, you can earn up to five entries for yourself by putting a different response on each of the sites. If you say 'thin man' 5 times in 5 places, only one of those will count.

- While you do not have to use your full, real name to enter the contest, we are going to require that you give us at least a valid handle or nickname so we can contact you if you're the winner. Contestants who are found to be using burner accounts to try and earn more entries will be disqualified. 

- For the purposes of this contest, all XCOM expansion titles can be treated as separate games. So, if you really loved XCOM: Enemy Within and want that as your entry, you're completely allowed to do so.

Good luck everyone!

Notes: The Care and Feeding of Nerds and this contest are not in any way affiliated with Fantasy Flight Games, Inc. XCOM: The Board Game, and all imagery used therein, is licensed to Fantasy Flight Games, Inc.
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Upcoming Awesomeness in 2015!

Happy 2015! Wow, it seems like we were just marveling in the new shininess of 2014 (or 2013 for that matter) and somehow we're already in Back to the Future territory. I don't know about you guys, but I get a kick out of comparing the cinematic predictions of the late 80s-early 90s once the dates featured in the films actually roll around. And hey, we may actually get hoverboards!
While we wait for this potentially excellent way to commute, we can distract ourselves with other goodness that's a bit more likely to make an appearance this year. As in previous years, all of the forecasted awesome presented below is divided by media type. Projects and titles are included in this post only if they have at least a specified month for their release. There's none of this vague "sometime in late 2015 business." So if you look below and don't see a certain game or movie, it may be because that project doesn't have a release date yet.

Before we tackle individual titles, there'll be some (hopefully) fun new goodness right here on the Care and Feeding of Nerds in 2015.

New Site Stuff in 2015 (and some old, but still exciting stuff)!

First up, there will be at least 2 contests between now and March. We won't disclose the details of the contests just yet, but the prizes for these will be a copy of XCOM: the Board Game and Star Wars: Armada respectively. Stay tuned for these!

Speaking of board games, we're very pleased to announce that we've become the official media partner of the Game Makers Guild. This should translate into more reviews and more Developer Dialogues among other things. All the board games! (Important Note: you definitely don't have to be a member of the Guild to take advantage of our Playtesting Lab!)

We're in the very early stages of this, but we're in the process of building what we hope will become a video channel on YouTube. We're hoping to feature gameplay of various board games, tutorials on costume components and recipes, and, just maybe, some fantastically snarky video game play from the GIR and Elder Gias. This whole process is very new to the three of us, so we'll see how this goes.

The Care and Feeding of Nerds will have a presence at at least three different conventions in 2015: PAX East, Gen Con, and Boston FIG. At the very least, we'll be giving you live coverage from the floor of each of these. More details for each convention will be forthcoming!

There'll also be plenty of new reviews, recipes, tutorials and general musing. As always, feel free to give us a shout if there's something you'd like to see or if you have any other feedback about what we're doing.

Image Credit: DC Entertainment

2014 was chock full of gargantuan changes for a number of major comic franchises and, if all goes accordingly, we should continue to see plenty of new comic material as a result of these changes.

Thor #4 is slated to hit shelves on January 28 and promises some serious Thor versus Thor action!

Marvel took over the licenses for all Star Wars related titles today and their first act of publishing business is to release the remastered graphic novel versions of the screenplays for the original trilogy. A New Hope is already at your local comic shop and Empire will be available in March.

DC, still trying to play catch-up, is banking heavily on the success of the all-digital Batman prequel series, Batman: Arkham Knight. The comic will be available for purchase in February and a companion video game by Rocksteady Studios and Interactive Entertainment will go on sale on June 2.  


Most regular series make their mid-season return in January after ceding their timeslots to various holiday specials. A handful of new shows are slated to premiere at the cusp of the new year as well. The release dates listed below are guaranteed only for U.S. audiences. Dates and times may vary based on your utility provider.

Agent Carter - Tuesday, January 6.
Archer - Thursday, January 8.
12 Monkeys - Friday, January 16.
The Musketeers - Saturday, January 17.
The Walking Dead - Sunday, February 8.
Better Call Saul - Sunday, February 8.
Vikings - Thursday, February 19.
Once Upon A Time - Sunday, March 1.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Tuesday, March 3.
Outlander- Saturday, April 4.

Season 6 of the Venture Bros. can't be included in the above because it still has no definite release date but, if last year's teaser trailer is to be believed, we should be getting this as well sometime this year. <>


2015 will follow in the footsteps of the past few years and have its fair share of sequels, prequels, and reboots, but those will take on a slightly different format this year. We're slated to get quite a few very-long-haul sequels (set in real-time decades after their predecessor films), as well as installations of established franchises that aim to present alternate vantages and timelines. Also, STAR WARS!

Spare Parts - A motley crew of high school tinkerers form a robotics club and attempt to compete against engineering powerhouse MIT.
Jupiter Ascending - After months of intense editing, we'll finally get a glimpse of this sci-fi epic  wherein a destitute human woman comes to grips with her unimaginable destiny as would-be Queen of the Universe.
Seventh Son - Game of Thrones' Kit Harrington attempts to assume the mantle of Protector Against the Supernatural and, specifically, evil in the form of Julianne Moore.
What We Do In The Shadows  - A macabre comedy about roommates who also happen to be immortal, bloodthirsty vampires. 
Chappie - Chappie is the first instance of the Singularity. The film, starring Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver, details humanity's response to the first fully sentient AI.
Insurgent - In the sequel to Divergent, Tris Prior must navigate the political and military tensions set in motion on her initiation day that now threaten to rent human society asunder.
Home - Dreamworks presents this unconventional road trip featuring a human girl and a member of the overconfident alien race that has taken over the Earth.
Selfless - A man of extraordinary wealth lies dying and chooses to undergo a radical procedure that transfers his consciousness into the body of a young man. 
Avengers: Age of Ultron - Tony Stark attempts to bolster the ranks of those attempting to keep peace on the planet when his efforts go horribly awry.
Mad Max: Fury Road - The title says it all.
Tomorrowland - A precocious teenager and a former child prodigy inventor embark on a perilous journey to the titular locale.
B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations - Dreamworks' second entry on the year details the goings on at the paranormal agency dedicated to protecting humans from mischievous spirits.
Jurassic World - It has been 22 years since the events of Jurassic Park and the lush island is now a fully functional dinosaur-themed park. All seems well until someone gets the bright idea to start splicing dinosaur genes and creating new species. What could go wrong? 
Terminator Genisys - Following the events of the rest of the Terminator franchise, Kyle Reese finds himself in an alternate timeline. He teams up with Sarah Connor in an attempt to prevent Judgement Day.
Minions - Everyone's favorite yellow pill-shaped sidekicks are back and again working beside the would-be evil masters of the world.
Ant-Man - Dr. Hank Pym is brought into the Marvel cinematic fold (without his wife).
Pixels - 80s era video game characters have come to life and are now rampaging in New York City. A handful of classic arcade game champions may be humanity's only hope.
The Fantastic Four - Their comic may be getting shut down, but that doesn't mean The Fantastic Four won't get their cinematic reboot.
Hitman: Agent 47 - Based on the Hitman game franchise, a professional assassin joins forces with a woman seeking to shed light on the mysteries of her family's past.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials - The heroes of  last year's the Maze Runner believed that their strife was at an end. Little did they know it was only the beginning.
Victor Frankenstein - A recounting of the life of the infamous doctor from the perspective of Igor.
The Last Witch Hunter - Vin Diesel is the titular hunter of occult forces on the loose in the city of New York.
Gem and the Holograms - It's a veritable 80s bonanza as former Brat Packers take up the live-action mantle of the classic cartoon.
Peanuts - Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the gang make their big screen debut.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 - The final installment of the Hunger Games quadrilogy will pit Katniss and her erstwhile allies in District 13 in the ultimate battle against President Snow and the status quo.
The Martian - The cinematic version of the excellent book will give us the account of Mark Watney, an astronaut stranded on Mars.
Midnight Special - A father journeys with his son upon learning that the child has unique powers.
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens - Trying to temper expectations since we're still the better part of a year away. But...NEW STAR WARS!!!

Board Games/RPGs

Most board games publish with quarterly guidance (i.e. 'sometime in 1Q15'), and releases usually coincide with the major board game conventions. However, we are slated to get a not-insignificant number of games that we first laid our eyes on during Gen Con 2014 in the next few months. Also, quite a few games do have finite release dates. A comprehensive list of the latter can be found here. 

PC/Video Games

Game Informer has put together this excellent listing of those video games with confirmed release dates that we'll be seeing in 2015.

Looks like we're in for all sorts of awesome! Here's to a happy and healthy 2015!

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Round Up: Gen Con 2014

And we’re back! By all accounts Gen Con was a solid all-around experience. Demos were played, tournament spoils were won, friends were made, dungeons were conquered, and costumes were on display at just about every turn. There were a few bumps, which we’ll get to in a bit, but by and large it was a wonderful con. In keeping with all the other convention round-ups featured on the blog, I’ll tackle the goings-on at Gen Con by publisher, then give overarching feedback on the con as a whole. So, without further ado…
Fantasy Flight Games (FFG)

Powerhouse publisher Fantasy Flight adopted what I’ll term the PAX East methodology and released a series of major announcements in the days immediately preceding Gen Con. Arguably the most sensational of these press snippets was news that FFG would have a playable demo of XCOM: the Board Game in Indy. Unsurprisingly, the wait times to get in on such a demo stretched over multiple hours, but I was finally able to snag a seat on Sunday. So, does it live up to the hype?

Never in my life has a board game elicited such an intense, visceral reaction just from what are ostensibly its standard mechanics. While the iconography used on the board and the various components are directly ported from XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the actual gameplay and resulting player engagement feels like it was wrought from X-COM: UFO Defense. Players assume one of four available roles to govern a specific aspect of either base management or XCOM relations with external factions. The order and degree to which these roles influence play is guided and dictated by the free downloadable companion app which provides both structure and anxiety. Only the base commander has access to the app and must relay the information it provides to his or her fellow players. This most commonly takes the form of a countdown. It’ll be, “Chief Scientist, you have 15 seconds to act…10…5…0. Squad Leader, you have 60 seconds to assign soldiers to missions and base defense.” 

It will get your heart pounding while simultaneously breaking it in a way that’s all too familiar to players of the source games. XCOM: the Board Game accommodates 1-4 players and is scheduled to be available in the fourth quarter of this year.

- The other merited-hours-of-wait-time-for-the-demo title was Star Wars: Imperial Assault. Think the best parts of Star Wars: Epic Duels made both broader and deeper. 2-5 players find themselves in the midst of a series of skirmishes directly tied to the events immediately following the Battle of Yavin. Each player takes on a specific role either as part of the Rebel Alliance or the Imperial forces threatening to annihilate them. The game can also be played Epic Duels style with two players going head-to-head. The game itself is entirely self-contained, with both the campaign and duel modes included in the base set, and is slated to arrive in your local game store in early 2015.

- The addictive spacefaring adventure Star Wars: X-Wing Minis is getting even more robust with the addition of a new faction: bounty hunters. Five new ships (in addition to the capital-class Slave I) make up the Scum and Villainy set of expansions. The Most Wanted expansion includes three new ships (one is a basic Y-Wing with a custom paint job) while the remaining entrants in the Scum and Villainy lineup are one-off, self-contained sets. All of the ships will be available for purchase in the fourth quarter of this year. As a related aside on capital-class ships, I got a chance to play with a full contingent of them during one of my X-Wing tournaments and can confidently say that they add a whole new dimension to the base game.
- While we're on the subject of capital-class ships, get ready for many more of those as they are the focal point for Star Wars: Armada. It's effectively the next evolutionary step for X-Wing, adding a number of enhancements to a now-familiar set of base mechanics. While the two games are not inherently compatible, it's fairly easy for an X-Wing player to pick up the jist of Armada. Additionally, you can add individual capital-class ships to your X-Wing game using the latter's Epic Rules. This two-player tactical title is scheduled for a release date in early 2015.

- The beta for the third and final installment of FFG’s gargantuan Star Wars RPG system, Force and Destiny, will be open in the very near future. Click here to check out the rulebook for the beta and sign up to submit your feedback. The other two thirds of the system (Edge of the Empire and Age of Rebellion) will be getting new fully scoped campaign sets.

- Eldrich Horror, Netrunner, Warhammer 40K: Conquest, and Cosmic Encounter will be getting expansion sets between the last quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of 2015. 

- FFG's Warhammer RPG system now has a full FAQ and a compilation of all errata from the first edition of the GM's manual. 

- FFG is beginning its foray into digital gaming with BattleLore: Command. The tactical combat game is designed primarily for mobile use (on both Android and iOS), but can be played on a PC as well. It will be available for download in the fourth quarter of this year.


The maker of Pathfinder seemed keen to participate in what was definitely the overarching trend of the con: melding digital and tabletop gaming. Just hours before doors opened, Paizo announced that it would be partnering with Obsidian Entertainment (the guys behind Fallout: New Vegas and Pillars of Eternity) and that the latter party would be producing several all-electronic versions of Paizo’s titles. First on the docket will be a mobile-based version of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. While there was an early prototype of the game on hand at the extremely crowded Paizo booth, no release date has been assigned to the project.

In what was certainly no surprise to those familiar with Pathfinder, Paizo took home a sizable number of Ennie Awards during the con including Best Interior Art, Best Cover Art, Best Cartography, Best Free Product, Best Minis, Best Monster/Adversary, Best RPG, and Best Supplement.

Wizards of the Coast (WotC)

For Wizards, the con was pretty much all 5th Edition all the time. That’s not to say that the proverbial staples of Neverwinter and Magic: the Gathering were absent, far from it, just that 5th Edition predictably took center stage. Fans of Neverwinter were rewarded with the news of a new expansion, Tyranny of Dragons

In addition to what seemed like dozens of panels expounding upon the new, highly streamlined (to use their words) rule set, WotC displayed examples from their new line of minis and touched upon the Player’s Handbook for 5th Edition, which just came out today. The guys over at i09 have already put together this helpful breakdown of the Handbook.

Additionally, as part of the celebrations surrounding the 40th birthday of Dungeons & Dragons, WotC released details concerning the D&D anniversary tribute audiobook. Said book, The Legend of Drizzt, is a compilation of 12 stories about, you guessed it, the life and times of everyone’s favorite drow. Longtime Forgotten Realms author R.A. Salvatore provides the text while a cadre of celebrities lend their voices to the project. The book is available for free download here on Audible until September 20th.

Mayfair Games

As the leading sponsor of the con, Mayfair was just about everywhere you turned. Its logo was draped over doorways, its sheep loomed large over the demo hall, and its van was a fixture amongst the food trucks parked just outside. While it certainly commanded attention simply by virtue of those things, Mayfair went the extra mile and hosted what was arguably the most talked about event of the convention by taking the once entirely fictional euro-parody Cones of Dunshire from the NBC show Parks and Recreation (which is set in Indiana) and making it real. The event allegedly sold out in mere seconds and garnered over $20,000 USD, which Mayfair then donated to Gleaner’s Food Bank, the official charity partner of Gen Con.

Asmadi Games

Asmadi had a considerable presence at Gen Con derived more than a little bit from their very own room located directly across from the dealer hall. Said room was the site of many a demo, but also an equal number of absurd and hilarious events including We Didn't Playtest This Resistance Movement At All and the Ridiculympics. The Playtest mashup actually came in several different flavors and met with rave reviews. We also got to see the newest incarnation of Consequential, which has been a long time in the making and looks better than ever! 

Flying Frog Productions

Flying Frog made sure to put one of the most highly anticipated Kickstarters of 2013 front and center in their booth. Shadows of Brimstone seemed to live up to every ounce of the hype surrounding it, successfully combining the feel of Eldrich Horror with a distinctly western air. 

Indie Pubishers

We talked earlier about the meshing of digital and physical components to create new gaming experiences, but World of Yo-Ho by Volumique sought to take that combination in the most literal way possible. In this fantasy turn-based pirate-themed game your phone is both a source of information and your pawn. The fast-paced play can be modified into either a one-shot experience or an ongoing campaign. Keep an eye out for their Kickstarter, which is set to open in October. 

Gen Con 2014 saw the fruition of several Kickstarter projects we've featured on the blog over the past few years. Thrash-Car made its official debut just a few weeks after going through the final stages of production and Call of Catthulhu was one of the more talked about titles out of the indie publishers.
One of the runaway hits of Gen Con was a nondescript little table off to the side of the Mayfair portion of the demo hall. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes was an ingenious use of the geeky love of solving puzzles, teamwork, and an Oculus Rift. One or more team members sat across from their compatriot wearing a set of Oculus goggles. The be-goggled individual then had a number of minutes (usually 5-6) to describe the components of a bomb depicted by the Rift. Those teammates outside the Rift were left to frantically page through a binder of decryptions and walk their colleague through the process of defusing the bomb.

We also did two separate True Dungeon runs (surviving one and literally crashing and burning in the other). While the monsters were no more or less impressive than in previous years, the props and effects used in some of the puzzles were jaw-dropping. One puzzle involved motion projection onto a table filled with kinetic sand while the intricacies of a steampunk 'fueling tower' had us shaking our heads as we guessed how long it must have taken to build.

While the overall experience was wonderful, the huge draw of Gen Con was palpable. The official attendance number was listed at 56,614, which is an increase of 15.4% year-over-year. There was talk that the convention could expand into the adjoining Lucas Oil Stadium to accommodate future conventions, but what will need to take precedence is the provision of more housing. Though it was often extremely crowded, it appeared as though local businesses were prepared for the nerdy onslaught. So there were lines aplenty, but little danger of not finding something great at the other end.

Finally, all the costumes turned out as well as I could have hoped they would. The last few days leading up to the con were far more stressful than they should have been after the artist I'd commissioned my trident from overreached on the scope of our project and almost didn't finish it. After a flurry of very late night emails and a lot of crossed fingers, the trident arrived with only hours to spare. While it turned out beautifully, I can't say that I'd use that artist again.

The costumes themselves were very well received. There was some minor difficulty getting the GIR's wings to behave and stiletto heels are always a challenge to walk in, but the experience was very positive. All three outfits even made it onto io9! For more pictures, check out our social media pages. Until next time Indy!

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This Week in Geekdom

Hope everyone's having a great weekend thus far. You can probably guess that the past week has been chock-full of costume construction. Fortunately, all that is now 100% complete so I can get down to packing and studying up on the Epic rules for Star Wars: the X-Wing Miniatures Game. I've got two miniatures tourneys on the Gen Con schedule and need to fit all the practice I can into the next 2-3 days. In the meantime, let's get down to the Week in Geekdom.


Revisiting franchises is the name of the cinematic game as of late, but one property that hasn't gotten the reboot treatment is Galaxy Quest. Turns out, that might not be true forever. Earlier this week it was confirmed that a script for a sequel does exist.

While we're talking about reboots, let's chat for a minute about the fact that J. Michael Straczynski, creator of the cult TV series Babylon 5, is personally leading the charge to turn his brainchild into a major motion picture.

It's a question that has been bandied about since the publication of the Lord of the Rings trilogy: Why didn't the members of the Fellowship just fly to Mount Doom on the giant eagles? This amusingly illustrated fan theory seeks to provide a definitive answer.

In an act of what's most likely too little, too late, DC released their distinctly Marvel-esque release schedule spanning until 2020.

Back in February of this year, economics blog the Motley Fool penned this piece about how the Guardians of the Galaxy would flop. Yeah. About that.

Conversely, Comics Alliance has a slightly different take on Marvel's movie business model.


Darkchylde artist Randy Queen has been on a personal quest to stamp out all criticism of his work from all corners of the internet.


It's estimated that we humans have yet to understand approximately 95% of the universe. Does this translate into a weaker case for the Big Bang Theory?

The latest edition of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society contains this research that appears to have found the origins of the 'lonliest supernovae in the universe.'
Image courtesy of Nature Communications.
Add to the list of things that we, as a species, found perplexing but are now beginning to comprehend the fact that electrons often exhibit odd quantum behavior when they pass through a magnetic field.

Ever wonder why you seem to get your best ideas while you're in the shower? Here comes the science.

Honda's humanoid robot Asimo has added two new skills to its digital resume: bar tending and taking penalty kicks.

General Awesomeness/Feats of Nerdery

Are you a lover of both coffee and steampunk? Well, if you also happen to have 4,200 GBP lying around you can be the proud owner of this incredibly complex and lovely coffee machine.

Designer Michael Tyznik hopes you'll be able to better navigate the geography of the continents in the Song of Ice and Fire series with the help of these subway maps he drew up.

Have you ever wanted to run your own particle accelerator? This simple-but-addictive click game from the gaming lab at CERN can help assuage your cravings for atom smashing. (In other news, there is a gaming studio at CERN.)

As always, best wishes for an awesome week ahead!
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