15–21 July 2019: Crowdfunding Growth; Diana Jones Awards; Female Dwarves

It has been another quiet week as Gen Con slowly, inexorably approaches. For that reason, it’s probably a good illustration of what ‘normal’ looks like for the industry right now: a growing market, a ton of new product announcements, a convention scandal, a notable TV adaptation, traditionalists getting miffed about female dwarves, gaming celebrities, and indie games inspired by Canadian pop stars.

Featured Image: Tiamat, from Wizards of the Coasts’ Tyranny of Dragons storyline.

Want to help fund our efforts to resurrect J.R.R. Tolkien and ask him about female dwarf beards keep this site running? Drop us a few dollars on Ko-fi.

Industry News

ICO Partners releases report on tabletop game crowdfunding

ICO Partners’ report on Tabletop Game Kickstarter projects, showing a continual increase in the number of funded projects over the last 7 years. Image: ICO Partners.

Gaming consultants, ICO Partners, release their report on Tabletop Gaming crowdfunding for the first half of 2019.

There’s a lot to analyse here, and we won’t go into it in any detail, except to say that the market for crowdfunding tabletop games is still growing. Boardgames are almost certainly the primary driver here.

Diana Jones Award nominees announced

As we anticipated last week, the nominees for the Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming have been announced:

  • Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana, by Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson & Sam Witwer: An art and history book tracing the history of Dungeons & Dragons art.
  • Holding On: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr, by Michael Fox & Rory O’Connor: A co-operative boardgame about end-of-life care.
  • The Mind, by Wolfgang Warsch: A co-operative card game of deduction.
  • Star Crossed, by Alex Roberts: A two-player, GM-less roleplaying game about forbidden love.

Well, it’s certainly a diverse list of products, though at least this time the judges have restricted themselves to actual products. (In 2018, Chris Spivey’s groundbreaking Harlem Unbound controversially lost the award to the general concept of Actual Play). Previous years aside, this year’s seems like a great list: between us, we own and adore three of the four nominees, and any of them would make an excellent winner. (We can’t comment on the fourth.)

CAR-PGa on UK Games Expo incident

The Committee for the Advancement of Roleplaying Games (CAR-PGa) publishes a letter from its chair, Mike Tresca, regarding the recent incident involving sexual violence as content in a convention game at UK Games Expo.


Image: Games Workshop

Games Workshop’s miniature wargame, Warhammer 40,000 is getting a TV adaptation.

We don’t usually cover wargame news, but it will be interesting to see what (if anything) this will mean for the Warhammer 40,000 roleplaying game, which Cubicle 7 took over from Ulisses Spiele in May.

Paper interviews the McElroy brothers (of The Adventure Zone and My Brother, My Brother, and Me) about their Dungeons & Dragons actual play podcast, and its comic adaptations.

Kotaku talks about Colin Cummings’ Boy Problems — a hit Indie RPG inspired by singer-songwriter, Carly Rae Jepsen.

Upcoming Products

Dungeons & Dragons is releasing a revised edition of its Tyranny of Dragons storyline (combining Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat). The product is coming exclusively to game and hobby shops on October 22nd.

Earlier this month we were complaining about Wizards no longer offering hobby shops an earlier release date, so it’s nice to see them offering an exclusive like this. We hope they’ll keep supporting local stores in this way.

Red Scar Publishing (Devil’s Run RPG) announce that they will be publishing a roleplaying game based on the Kings of War fantasy wargame by Mantic Games.

The Alpha Quadrant sourcebook for Star Trek Adventures lands 25 July.

Catalyst Game Labs gives us a breakdown of how the game systems behind the Matrix (Shadowrun’s worldwide computer network) are changing in the latest edition of the game.

Cubicle 7 releases the cover art for its upcoming second edition of The One Ring RPG:

Cover Art for the upcoming second edition of The One Ring. Artist: Johan Grenier

The choice to include a female dwarf front and centre is a notable one. A number of people in the comments in this article are ostensibly experts on what a medievalist Catholic philologist born in the 19th century would have intended for a 2019 roleplaying game based on his work, and apparently, this means no female dwarves. As for us, we’re delighted at the possibility that The One Ring RPG might be taking a slightly revisionist attitude to Tolkien’s gender politics with this new edition. Tolkien lived in another time. We are not beholden to his politics. — Amy

Free League announces that the Mutant: Elysium sourcebook for Mutant: Year Zero is arriving August 1st.

Geek Native interviews Scion co-writer, Danielle Lauzon, about the upcoming Scion: Dragon sourcebook.

Deals & Bundles

DriveThruRPG is running a Christmas in July sale.

Putting on our totally-biased hats*: our friends at Up To Four Players’ new game Crystal Heart is on sale now! We think it’s pretty brilliant.

Bundle of Holding launches a bundle of games based on the Savage Worlds system, including the Solomon Kane RPG, which will cease to be available at the end of this year, as Pinnacle Entertainment loses its licence.

Crowdfunding News

Film, TV and Animation

Let’s Play: Dungeons & Dragons Behind Bars: A documentary about roleplaying games in the U.S. prison system, by Kleer Creative — August 14th

This has the potential to be a fascinating documentary about an obscure part of role-playing history, about gaming’s potential for personal development, and about the lives of a subset of gamers whose stories are rarely told. We have both backed it.

Fantasy 5e & Pathfinder

Dungeons & Dancers: An Epic Belly Dance Adventure! A belly-dancing show adapted from a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, along with a campaign based on the belly-dancing show, by The League of Extraordinary Bellydancers — July 25th

Out of the Box: Encounters for 5th Edition: A collection of ready-made encounters for D&D 5e, by Nerdarchy — August 18th


The Barbarians of the Ruined Earth: An OSR post-apocalyptic fantasy game, by Mike Evans (Demon City, A World of Visceral Adventure) — August 14th

General Fantasy

Delayed Blast Gamemaster #2: A fantasy RPG zine, by Philip Reed (Outdoor Encounter Cards, Dungeon Encounter Cards) — August 9th


Hit the Streets: Defend the Block tabletop RPG: A street-level superheroes game, by Rich Rogers — July 31st


Magical Kitties Save the Day! An all-ages roleplaying in which magical cats save their humans from their problems, by Atlas Games (Over the Edge, Unknown Armies, Feng Shui 2) — August 16th

Sci-fi & Cyberpunk

BattleTech: Clan Invasion: A new box set for the BattleTech RPG, featuring a wave of miniatures, by Catalyst Game Labs (Shadowrun: Sprawl Ops Boardgame) — August 18th

I can never decide if BattleTech, a venerable game from 1983 about giant mecha, would be classified as an RPG if it came out today: it has always been a blend of roleplaying and tactical miniatures wargaming, and can be played purely as the latter. Nonetheless, this has been the biggest RPG Kickstarter campaign for quite some time (not surprisingly, as miniatures tend to reach high levels of funding), having raised over $800,000 in just four days. — James

Comics and Graphic Novels

Drift of Dreams | A Swordsfall Graphic Novel: A graphic novel set in the world of the Afropunk science-fantasy RPG, Swordsfall, by Brandon Dixon (Welcome to Tikor | The Swordsfall RPG Setting and Art Book) — August 5th

* Let us know in comments what kind of hat you think a totally-biased hat would be.

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