IDW to Create Avatar: The Legend of Korra Board Game
San Diego, CA (June 22, 2017) IDW Games announced today that, in its continued relationship with Nickelodeon, it will release tabletop games based on The Legend of Korra television series, the sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender. The first game planned for release is The Legend of Korra: Pro-bending Arena.
Designed by Sen-Foong Lim (Akrotiri, The Godfather: A New Don) and Jessey Wright (Pocket Adventure), The Legend of Korra: Pro-bending Arena aims to capture the excitement of the pro-bending sport found in season one of the show.Focusing on the rivalry between the Future Industries Fire Ferrets and The White Falls Wolfbats, The Legend of Korra: Pro-bending Arena has two players each take control of a team, draft card decks for their benders, and then play cards to place elemental tokens around the board in an effort to overwhelm their opponent. As in the show, pro-bending matches are a game of push and pull, with the objective to be the team that has either advanced the farthest forward, or completely knock their competitors out of the ring.
“We’re thrilled to be working closely with Nickelodeon on The Legend of Korra: Pro-bending Arena,” said Jerry Bennington, VP of New Product Development at IDW Publishing. “The relationship has truly helped hone the game into an experience that can be enjoyed by all tabletop gamers, but will also be an exciting addition to The Legend of Korra universe that fans love.”
Nickelodeon and IDW Games previously collaborated to release Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past. The Legend of Korra: Pro-bending Arena will launch on Kickstarter this summer, with a retail release this fall and an expected MSRP of $49.99.
Creators of Wayward Team Up with Jon Gilmour for a Cooperative Adventure Game
San Diego, CA (May 18, 2017) IDW Games announced today that it is working closely with writer Jim Zub and illustrator Steven Cummings on an upcoming Wayward board game. Designed by Jon Gilmour, co-designer of Dead of Winter and Outpost: Siberia, Wayward is a fully cooperative board game where players assume the roles of the comic’s heroes working together to defeat villains controlled by the game itself.
Set in modern Tokyo, Wayward is an ongoing series published by Image Comics featuring teenagers imbued with supernatural power defending the world from Yokai, Japanese mythological creatures and spirits. Since launching in August 2014, Wayward has gained critical acclaim and a dedicated readership. The first volume of the series, “String Theory,” made the Young Adult Library Services Association’s 2016 List of ‘Great Graphic Novels for Teens’ and has been favorably reviewed by many outlets, including Kirkus. In addition, Wayward was recently optioned by Manga Entertainment for development as a television series.
Jerry Bennington, VP of New Product Development, said, “IDW Games is ecstatic about working with Jim Zub, Steven Cummings, and Jon Gilmour on a project with as much recognition and fandom as Wayward. As a lifelong tabletop gamer, Jim’s creativity goes beyond just managing the IP. His input and feedback about gameplay and design have been invaluable to us, and will surely produce a product that embodies the soul of the comic series.”
Jim Zub said, “Wayward is a passion project for Steven and I, and games are near and dear to our hearts, so getting the chance to bring both of those wonderful elements together with Jon and the rest of the IDW Games crew is an absolute thrill.”
Zub is a Harvey and Shuster Award-nominated comic writer (AVENGERS, DUNGEONS&DRAGONS, SAMURAIJACK, FIGMENT), and the creator of the original comic series GLITTERBOMB and SKULLKICKERS.
Cummings is an American comic book artist based in Japan (DEADSHOT, LEGENDSOFTHEDARKKNIGHT, STREETFIGHTER, FORAGER).
IDW Games is well known for its excellent tabletop adaptations of beloved intellectual properties. Their licensed board games include X-Files, Back to the Future, and the upcoming Planet of the Apes and Atari series of games.
Hello everyone! We are into our final 48 hours of the live Kickstarter campaign. Click the link below to back today. Don’t miss out on the new Stretch Goals unlocked below:
Unlocked Stretch Goals
First, we have the FREE Warwulf Mercenary Captain to ALL BACKERS!
Next we have the unlocked 23 Plastic Sculpted Raygun miniatures as an add-on!
Next we have the unlocked the Plastic Sculpted Blast Tokens + Action Tokens + Signature Token Pouch as an add-on!
Next we have the SECRET MISSION OBJECTIVE cards Stretch Goal unlocked! They provide you a hidden win condition, or worse!
We also have the Princess miniature unlocked. She’s a playable character with the below x2 Builds!
And JUST NOW we unlocked the faction dice Stretch Goal!!!!! It’s so new that we don’t even have the UNLOCKED asset up yet!
And this is JUST around the corner! The mighty mercenary captain: Battlin’ Boxx!
Coming Up Next:
IDW Games goes to Geek and Sundry!
Recently Bryan Merlonghi, the Marketing Manager for IDW Games was invited onto the International Tabletop Day Livestream at Geek and Sundry where he was interviewed about Rayguns and Rocketships! Watch the clip below.
“I swear, that Jack Blacktail is the most adorable killer in the galaxy.”
In 1978, a remarkable coincidence occurred. Within months of each other, two ray-gun wielding green anthropomorphic rabbits wearing red and yellow space suits simultaneously appeared in comic books: Bucky O’Hare and Jaxxon in the Marvel Star Wars comic.
I have always been fascinated that such a creative confluence could occur. Both creators (Larry Hama and Roy Thomas) were working in Marvel’s New York office at the time and yet both of them claim that neither knew what the others were up to. Either way, these two lovable leporidae were a big influence on my childhood science-fiction tastes. And when I created Rayguns and Rocketships, I knew I had to include another raygun-wielding green rabbit. Thus, Jack Blacktail was born!
Concept design by Scott Rogers
3D model by Kaleb Rice
Color guide by Scott Rogers
Jack Blacktail is a lepine mercenary captain known for his bravado and daring escapes. He often leaps into action before he looks – but his ability with a neurolizer pistol allows him to shoot his way out of danger. His two captain card builds showcase Jack’s quickness whether with his neurolizer pistol or his oversized feet. Hop to it: allows Jack to move over obstructing tokens and crew members and they do not count as spaces when moving. Which means blast tokens or blocking enemies are no obstacle for his quick-footed bunny! He’s even more deadly with his Doubleshot ability. Once per turn, if Jack Blacktail makes a successful ranged attack, he may follow it up with a second ranged attack as a free action. This quick-shooting Captain can make short work of a crew or blast up the rayguns on an enemy ship in no time. These abilities coupled with his captain’s health of 3 makes him a character to be reckoned with!
Stay tuned for more characters from Rayguns and Rocketships!
Over the weekend, Rayguns and Rocketships got its first official in-person reveal at Kingdom-Con 2017 in San Diego, CA. Featured here is a cinematic 4-player Deathmatch battle.
It was incredible. Each rocketship started at a home planet, and once the gunshot rang out, they raced to their engines, rocketed for the stars, and beat the snot out of each other.
Initially, the Zard anticipated the Space Pirates blasting off into the center of the map due to watching the Space Pirate player deploying two ship crew to the engines. As such, the Zard decided to operate around the edge of the board, and the Space Pirates, incidentally decided to race directly for the Zard. What came of that? A catastrophic mid-flight collision that rocked both ships to the very core, doing substantial damage to their engines, rendering them nearly immobile.
After the collision, with neither ship being able to properly fire, the Space Pirates decided to invade the Zard ship. In the ensuing battle, Fanglaird Varanus, the Zard captain, fell in combat as he watched the remainder of his crew succumb to the superior Space Pirate boarding party.
Meanwhile the Blaarg Saucer zipped across the map, engaging in a short fire-fight with the aptly-navigated Astro Ranger ship. As a good Astro-Ranger captain, the player in control of Jesse Novastar guided his ship like an expert, traveling just outside of range, flanking the saucer and firing as it passed. Very quickly, the Astro-Ranger player racked up a comfortable lead with his clever and strategic pilot skills.
But the fight got even more heated. Smelling blood, the saucer began to engage the collided Zard and Space Pirate ships, taking advantage of their weakened states and poor star map presence. After a blistering shot from the saucer’s special Beamer Ray, the Blaarg had caught up and tied the Astro-Rangers.
Finally it came down to a sudden death (first to 1 victory point) battle between the tied Blaarg and Astro-Rangers. Starting in opposite corners, the Blaarg saucer raced forward, while the Astro-Ranger ship moved slowly, and carefully. The saucer pressed the attack and fired a battery of shots. Due to Jesse Novastar sitting in the command chair of the Astro-Ranger ship, all shots failed to hit due to her special ‘Ace Pilot’ rocketship defense fortification ability. Here’s where it got interesting…
The Astro-Rangers began to run away. Everyone at the table could not believe it. Thinking it had the advantage the Blaarg player took pursuit. The saucer was beginning to turn around and engage the fleeing Astro-Ranger ship, when the Astro-Rangers moved their crew to man the starboard rayguns and fired their special ‘retro-rockets’ and moved backwards, perfectly opening them for a complete broadside attack from their starboard guns. Everyone yipped in anticipation! It was a clever move, and brilliant piloting.
Sadly, the shots failed to hit, and so the Blaarg, seeing they had been outmaneuvered, decided to send a boarding party to finish the job. Jettisoned into space, the Blaarg Captain himself, allied with a few Blaarg minions cut through the Astro-Ranger hatch, and engaged the crew. Jesse Novastar stepped in and began a long and climactic circuit-sword duel with the Blaarg Captain. Jesse jumped high in the air, and slammed her circuit-sword down into the bulging eye of the Blaarg Captain. As the Blaarg Captain let out a gurgled scream, the Astro-Ranger crew cheered. The Blaarg minions fled, and the Astro-Rangers won the day.
Finally… we had a spotting of a pew-pew of doom! I told you all in the video! It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE for anyone NOT to say ‘pew-pew’ while playing Rayguns and Rocketships!
“I was fortunate enough to play Rayguns and Rocketships at gencon. I’m going to back this one because I want to own it, not just because Scott Rogers is a friend.
This is a beer and pretzel game where players each play the role of a captain of a pulp era sci-fi rocket ship and its loyal crew. There are a couple of tactical elements you need to manage. First, you plot movement on the space grid using cards that determine where your ship flies and where it’s cannons are aimed, what kind of sneaky moves it will do.
But that’s not all. You also have your own ship board with figures representing your crew and your captain. You can move your dudes around on your own ship, manning various stations, or your dudes can jet pack out into space for laser gun space battles.
But that’s not all. Your space jet pack dudes can blast open an enemy ship’s airlock and now your dudes are on your opponent’s ship, moving around, fighting and jacking up their ship.
Anyway, if you like the pulp sci-fi swashbuckling theme, and classic comfort food gameplay, you should keep your eyes open for this.”
– Jerry Hawthorne, Designer of Mice and Mystics
“From the moment I fired up my jetpack and jumped between the stars to blast my way into a saucer full of bug-eyed aliens, I’ve been hooked on Rayguns & Rocketships. The action is quick and intense, with a huge cast of characters and a mix of cards that has made every game result in different tactics and a new story I tell other players as I drag them to the table. I can’t wait until my next chance to blast off into the future!”
In this second article about my inspiration of Rayguns and Rocketships, I look at the literary influences on the game. I attended college at California State University at Long Beach. In my junior year, an annex to the library opened up on campus. This smaller library contained a private collection of science-fiction novels. Over the summer, I decided to take advantage of this library and read every science-fiction novel I had ever heard of. Starting with Isaac Asimov, I read my way through the classics of the genre.
My favorites ended up being the space operas – novels that weren’t rooted in hard science, but rather focused on swashbuckling adventures and the stories often had a touch of fantasy to them. These novels definitely had a big influence on my taste in sci-fi and the creation of Rayguns and Rocketships.
SCIENCE FICTION TALES: INVADERS, CREATURES AND ALIEN WORLDS by Various
This was one of the first science-fiction books I remember reading. One tale from this anthology stuck with me in particular. It was about a boy had to fight off a boarding gang of space pirates. I distinctly remember learning how deadly a simple knife was to a space-suit in outer space. A PRINCESS OF MARS by Edgar Rice Burroughs
John Carter hasn’t fared too well in movies but the original tale written by Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs, Earthman John Carter kicks butt as his sword-fights against armies of Martians, space beasts and other baddies to reunite with his love Dejah Thoras, the original space princess.
THE BOOKS OF SKAITH by Leigh Brackett
Eric John Stark is another classic sci-fi hero, written by Leigh Brackett who helped write the first draft of The Empire Strikes Back. This trilogy of books finds Stark rescuing his kidnapped foster father, conquering a dangerous pack of dog-creatures and going on the run from a traitorous crew on a jungle planet. Swashbuckling space opera at its best.
VOYAGE OF THE SPACE BEAGLE by A.E. Van Vogt
The crew of the science vessel, the Space Beagle, travel to strange planets, meet strange creatures that try to kill them. The stoic-ness of the crew as they fight off these galactic horrors definitely influenced my taste in space-heroes that are tough, capable and no-nonsense. DEATHSTALKER SERIES by Simon R. Green
Deathstalker is a swashbuckling adventure about a man who tries to clear his name when he is betrayed by the evil Empress of the galaxy. Simon R. Green’s universe is filled with every archetype of science fiction: Space Pirates, Clones, Cyborg armies, robots, sinister alien races and more!
THE INSPIRATION FOR RAYGUNS AND ROCKETSHIPS: PART ONE
I find inspiration to come in many forms. When I was coming up with Rayguns and Rocketships, I knew I wanted to set the game during the golden age of science fiction – 1936 to 1953. While I like 1950’s science-fiction with its UFOs and little green invaders, I felt that that era was already well represented in board games. I wanted to do something different and looked all the way back to the roots of modern science-fiction, to focus on the sub-genre space opera.
When I was a kid, I learned about space opera through Star Wars. I read that the genre had inspired George Lucas and I soon discovered the movies, books and comics that had inspired him. I wasn’t the only one as many other creators since then have also discovered space opera. Their creations served as further inspiration in creating the galaxy of Rayguns and Rocketships.
Over the next few articles, I will share a few of those inspirations with you, so you can learn more about this influential period in science-fiction.
FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE (Republic, 1940)
Inspired by the 1930’s comic strip, this 12-part serial features the adventures of “Flash” Gordon, an earthman who finds himself in another universe filled with wicked villains, strange aliens and marvelous rocketship technology. He quickly makes an enemy of Emperor Ming, a despotic ruler of the universe. In this cliffhanger filled serial, Ming has unleashed “the purple death” – a terrible plague that threatens to wipe out all life. Flash joins up with Professor Zarkov and love interest Dale Arden to save the universe and thwart Ming’s plans. Will he succeed?
PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES (American International, 1965)
While it boasts one of the most misleading titles in science-fiction history, Planet of the Vampires is about two spaceships that answer an SOS from a mysterious planet only to discover a murderous alien race. The film was a big inspiration on director Ridley Scott who made Alien. Planet of the Vampires was stylishly directed by Italian film director Mario Bava and features amazing costume design. Planet of the Vampires has been described as “a pulp science-fiction magazine cover come to life.”
FLASH GORDON (Universal, 1980)
When George Lucas failed to get the film rights to Flash Gordon, he made his “own damn Flash Gordon” – a little film called Star Wars. Producer Dino De Laurentiis capitalized on the sudden interest in science-fiction movies and created a classic. Flash Gordon walks a fine line between science-fiction spectacle and cheese. Sam Jones is great as the heroic Flash, Max Von Sydow drips menace as Ming the Merciless. Topol, Brian Blessed, Timothy Dalton and Peter Wyndgarde all take turns chewing up the scenery as Professor Zarkov, Prince Vultan, Prince Barin and Klytus. And let’s not forget the unforgettable soundtrack by Queen. The attack on the rocketship Ajax is one of the inspirations for Rayguns and Rocketships’ boarding actions.
SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW (Paramont, 2004)
Sky Captain is an airborne hero who stumbles upon a mysterious plot involving kidnapped scientists. Kerry Conran’s love-letter to pulp sci-fi came out of nowhere but it was chockful of references to the classics of the 1930’s and 40’s including Max Fleischer’s Superman cartoons, King Kong, and Airboy comic books. My favorite nod is Angelina Jolie’s spacesuit inspired from Wally Wood’s Weird Science comic book covers. She looks like she could be leading a crew of Astro-Rangers in that get-up.
ZATHURA: A SPACE ADVENTURE (Columbia, 2005)
Based on the children’s book, Jon Faverau (Iron Man, Elf) directed this movie about kids who play a magic board game that send their house into outer space. The Zorgon are one of the inspirations for Rayguns and Rocketships Zard, The way their rocketships fly and shoot in the film are exactly how I imagine Rayguns and Rocketship’s craft move in the game.
Do yourself a favor and check out these great movies. They will definitely get you in the right mood to play a game of Rayguns and Rocketships!
A long time before I became a game designer, I started my art career working on high resolution assets for games and film. Background art, 3D models, textures, characters and the like. So, taking a ‘step backwards’ into pixel art was initially strange for me.
My first foray into the world of pixels came about from chance job that appeared with 4J Studios, working on the massively popular Minecraft: Console Edition. Initially I was outside of my comfort zone. But, many of the techniques I had used in previous work transitioned smoothly into my new workflow. The simple purity of pixel art continued to excite me and capture my interest. I kept learning, working on my technique, and I ended up working with 4J for a further 2 years.
Pixel Art comes with an array of emotional and nostalgic baggage for most gamers, myself included! For some, it calls back memories of games we loved as kids. For others, it points to the recursion of simple visuals in indie adventure games that have recently taken the style to a new level in the video games market.
I wanted to utilize the new experience I had with pixel art production and play off of the pre-existing views that come with it. But, I wanted bring it to the tabletop – where friends could experience something similar to those classic adventures together, in a fresh setting.
Random Encounter ended up as a game which feels like it hopped straight off of a screen but is still championing a new generation of tabletop games with fun, colourful, characters and a strong sense of self-aware playfulness about it. Vibrant visuals which feel entirely out of place on a table but perfectly fit the style of game and help to bring the unique world to life.
My early sketching process for pixel art is much the same as with high resolution work. I usually start with initial (somewhat scrappy) pencil sketches to tie down the idea and the personality of the characters or location and then move straight into photoshop and start blocking out shapes. For colour consistency, I usually have a mood board at hand which includes image from other artists which I like, early tests and colour swatches and helps me keep on track.
Working on a standard sized grid and with a static background is another unique challenge. The smaller the character the less room for error there is on the details. Whole images and character personalities can change with the movement of a single pixel. The larger characters need more detail work to make them look convincing. But, if one character becomes overly detailed it can make the others seem out of place. Maintaining constants from card to card is always one of the hardest challenges.
I am a little bit of a perfectionist (Ok, that’s a lie. I’m 100% a perfectionist), so I usually start cleaning up the edges of the pixels quite early on to get readable shapes out of the characters or backgrounds I’m working on. It won’t matter to everyone, but to me having lines and curves which follow simple coefficients (known as ‘perfect lines’ in pixel art) are hugely important. This isn’t something you have to worry about in high resolution artwork as a slight variance in a line will go unnoticed. These simple touches allow your eye to define shapes without any difficulty.
I get to work a little more loosely and skip the sketching phase on bigger background or tiled cards such as the Key Cards (used to open the door to the Final Boss). When I say ‘bigger’ they are still usually only around 300×300 pixels in size. I usually start with large brushes on these and don’t worry too much about spilling outside of the card borders. Once I have the general layout complete I slowly work my way down in brush sizes until I get into single pixels for details. I’ll then crop the image down to size depending on what it is needed for.
The final step is always scaling up the artwork and preparing the final layouts for the game. The pixel art is usually blown up to 1000% (10x the original size that they were painted in) and then text and numbering is added where appropriate. Finishing off an individual card is always a huge milestone but as the others are finished I will often go back and rework some others to keep them in-line stylistically or thematically as the game design progresses.
Overall, I realise I may have made this sound like an arduous process. But, it genuinely is a labour of love. Every new piece of artwork I finish helps to expand the game’s universe and leads to unique stories for players to create with their friends. Every detail counts (always)!
Random Encounter: Seas of the Sea Chicken will be hitting stores May 31st, 2017!