Hello folks, I’m Evelyn, bringing you the latest news in the tabletop space, from TCGs to TTRPGs and everything in between. If it’s played on top of a table, you’ll find it in this GYGO space. As somebody whose foray into gaming started with video games and the digital world, there’s something magical in the tactile and sensory input of a game around a table with friends face-to-face. I say this as if the majority of my tabletop experience isn’t relegated to the digital realm of running TTRPG campaigns on virtual table tops (the woes of the pandemic and moving across state lines). But I do own a pristine copy of Fury of Dracula 4th Edition, so legally I’m an expert on all things tabletop.
Magic: The Gathering Trials and Tribulations
There is, as ever, a lot happening in the world of my favorite cardboard gambling pyramid scheme, Magic: The Gathering.
The Magic: The Gathering animated Netflix series may still see the light of day. First announced in 2019 and slated to release in 2022, the show disappeared with nary a whisper. On October 26th, the show was mentioned by Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks in an investors meeting. Given that Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons are Hasbro’s current top breadwinners and the recent release of the D&D film, the powers that be may yet be convinced to see the show to fruition.
Wizards of the Coast, Hasbro’s darling subsidiary, continues to cut labor costs and maximize profit by pursuing the usage of AI-generated art in official materials. In a Twitter post, the Magic: The Gathering Secret Lair account, which advertises exclusive, limited-edition releases, used AI-generated art to advertise the Tomb Raider Secret Lair drop on November 13th. Wizards has since retracted the post and replaced it with an advert that purportedly does not contain AI-generated assets. The discerning among us will recall that just this August, fans noted that AI-generated assets were also clearly present in the earliest release of Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants, a D&D 5th edition supplement. Wizards then re-released the material without the AI art present and promised to “not use AI for Wizards’ work moving forward.”
On AI-generated art and Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants: pic.twitter.com/q6oXRRITk9
— D&D Beyond (@DnDBeyond) August 5, 2023
The newest Magic set, Lost Caverns of Ixalan, is expected to experience production delays and shortages throughout the month of November.
It’s not all doom-and-gloom in the cardboard gambling sector, though, as Wizards takes steps towards reducing the stranglehold that Dungeons & Dragon’s notoriously racist roots has Magic. This comes by way of a new set of terminology changes, live as of November 8th, on Magic the Gathering: Arena. The Rakshasa, a creature from Hindu mythology, has been forever painted as a shapeshifting cat in the popular imagination of the Anglophone world thanks to D&D Second Edition. Now these supernatural creatures are losing the “Cat” creature subtype. Meanwhile, Nagas finally gain the “Snake” sub-type they’ve wanted all along, and my dreams of a mono-snake deck can finally be fulfilled.
Tabletop Café Unionization
I firmly believe unionization is long overdue in all facets of gaming, and the wave of worker solidarity is finally coming to the tabletop scene. Workers at the New York board game café The Brooklyn Strategist are filing for an election with the Workers United NY/NJ Regional Joint Board after a supermajority of over 75% of the store’s workers signed the request. Workers cite a story familiar in all industries related to gaming: a lack of job security, abusive management, and terrible compensation. The owner of the Brooklyn Strategist, Jon Freeman, is also a co-owner of Hex & Company, a chain of gaming cafés in the Manhattan area. Unfortunately for Freeman, Hex & Company is also unionizing. The workers of Brookyln Strategist and Hex & Company join a burgeoning swell of unionizing efforts in the tabletop space, including United Paizo Workers and TCG resellers like TCGPlayer Union and Card Kingdom Union.
Pathfinder Cuts D&D Legacy and Remasters Core Rulebooks
Speaking of Paizo, while they don’t believe in splitting the party within their union, they do believe in expunging any association with Dungeons & Dragons. The D&D Open Games License (OGL) debacle from early January caused an uproar among the TTRPG community. Though Wizards of the Coast has since reneged on the disastrous OGL changes, the damage has been done. Paizo’s new rulings come at a time when the OGL blunder has supercharged sales for virtually every other TTRPG competitor. As of November 15th, new Player and GM Core books have been rolled out for Pathfinder Second Edition, complete with errata and compatibility changes handily featured on Paizo’s website.
In other news…
My beloved edgy darling Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition has raised a controversy over its flippant treatment of safety tools once again with its handling of the roleplaying concept of emotional bleed-over between the game and real life.
Have you ever wished you could roleplay a goose from Untitled Goose Game with your friends? I have. Consider One Honk Before Midnight, currently fundraising on Kickstarter until December 4th. This game should be a great fit for those who love rules-lite TTRPGs that center on causing maximal chaos, such as my favorite micro-TTRPG Goat Crashers.
The original loot simulator, Diablo, reportedly has a TTRPG in the works. The TTRPG will feature a unique system, rather than a modified D&D 5th Edition, as has come to be expected in the word of licensed TTRPGs.
Brandon Sanderson’s Knights Radiant join the world of TTRPGs, with a Stormlight Archive RPG digital release planned for 2024 and a physical release in 2025. The game will feature a d20 system and seems to take cues from D&D 5th edition, such as five-by-five battle maps and features such as “command die” for a particular player class.
Ticket to Ride is the latest behemoth tabletop game to see an adaptation into the Legacy format with Legends of the West.
The Adventure Time RPG has reportedly removed its narrative-centric “Yes, And” system for the combat-oriented D&D 5th Edition d20 system. Publisher Cryptozoic promises that the original “Yes, And” system will see the light of day eventually, but that these changes to a modified D&D 5th Edition are based on fan feedback.
Who doesn’t want to see two swords kiss? Now you and your friend’s swords can all kiss in the Boyfriend Dungeon TTRPG: Life on the Edge.
Evelyn Grey is a media critic, cryptid, and Forever DM. She writes at the intersection of queer experience, class, and games. You can find her on BlueSky @Insulindianphasmid.