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10 amazing tabletop games to look out for in summer 2024-Lucy Orr-Entertainment – Metro

From the board game version of Divinity: Original Sin to a new Dungeons & Dragons expansion, this summer is looking hot for tabletop gaming.

10 amazing tabletop games to look out for in summer 2024-Lucy Orr-Entertainment – Metro

Larian go full circle (Larian Studios)

From the board game version of Divinity: Original Sin to a new Dungeons & Dragons expansion, this summer is looking hot for tabletop gaming.

It’s the UK Games Expo at the end of the month, as dozens of new tabletop offerings send hobbyists into a buying/trading and, of course, playing frenzy. Unlike the video game industry, that’s still wracked with layoffs, the tabletop industry is absolutely booming, with industry projections of the market doubling to around £20 billion by 2030.

Never mind investing in Nvidia, now’s the time to put your pension fund into cardboard. Google searches for Warhammer and Dungeons & Dragons have increased massively but what are people searching for? Details of the new Age Of Sigmar: Skaventide? After the pandemic, I’d suggest community and connection are what new tabletop enthusiasts are really yearning for.

With more exciting new IP on the way from massive brands such as Disney and Star Wars, as well as a thousand new kickstarters keeping the concept of crowdfunding afloat, there’s never been a better time to find someone to play with. With new Dungeons & Dragons clubs and boardgame cafes popping up across the country, here’s a selection of games we are playing right now and those arriving in the next few months.

A video game in physical form (Larian Studios)

Divinity: Original Sin The Boardgame

Before everyone was talking about Baldur’s Gate 3, they were enjoying the equally good Divinity: Original Sin. Larian Studios’ first foray into cardboard gaming is just now hitting doorsteps and shelves, seamlessly translating the beloved video game franchise into a tabletop experience. It offers a rich tapestry of storytelling and strategic gameplay, with over 1,000 cards adorned with stunning artwork and miniatures of familiar characters, such as the Red Prince and at least four chickens.

At its core, the game captures the essence of cooperative role-playing adventures, where you embark on quests, battle foes, and make crucial decisions that shape the world around you. One standout feature is the Divine Atlas, which acts as the board/map and when paired with a deck of cards and saves faffing around with a bunch of tiles.

Combat is where the game truly shines, as it employs an innovative elemental system reminiscent of its digital counterpart. You strategically combine elements like fire, water, and electricity to create powerful synergies and exploit enemy weaknesses. The action point-based combat system adds layers of tactical depth, requiring careful positioning and resource management to overcome challenging encounters, although often your fate will still be decided by a die roll.

Overall, Divinity: Original Sin The Boardgame, while being a bit on the long side, is easy to pick up and faithfully captures the spirit of its source material. I’m already looking forward to getting my hands on the expansion packs.

Available now for €150 (approx. £128)

Vecna: Eve Of Ruin

Dungeons & Dragons bad guy Vecna keeps popping up everywhere at the moment. He’s made a recent appearance in Stranger Things and is just about to shamble into Dead By Daylight, withered hand and all.

In the new campaign book, Vecna: Eve Of Ruin, Dungeons & Dragons embarks on a nostalgic treasure hunt through five decades of adventure, blending old school elements with fresh narratives for high level parties (level 10 to 20). This campaign module expertly weaves together the iconic lore of Vecna, the legendary lich, with modern multiverse storytelling, as your party is tasked with saving the universe and rebuilding the legendary Rod of Seven Parts.

Classic heroes like Mordenkainen, and lesser known figures like Kelek the Cruel, bring depth and personality to the journey. The redemption arc of Kas the Betrayer adds layers of complexity to the storyline, offering players moral dilemmas and emotional resonance that is bound to bring tears to even the most sober Saturday night shenanigans.

The main campaign’s narrative structure is a masterclass in pacing and tension-building. Whether your party are veterans in the Forgotten Realms or a newcomer to the world of Dungeons & Dragons, this campaign will put a shiver up your spine.

Release date: 21st May for £69.95

Pokémon Trading Card Game: Scarlet & Violet – Temporal Forces

There’s already tons of hype building around the beautiful woodcut aesthetic of the cards in the forthcoming Shrouded Fable expansion. Before that though there’s the Temporal Forces Elite Trainer Box, or ‘Walking Wake’ – which is also not short of standout cards. It brings back ACE SPEC cards and four more Paradox Pokémon to the tabletop game and is bursting with dynamic, vibrant artwork. My favourites are Ciphermanic and cutie pie chinchilla Cinccino.

ACE SPEC trainer and energy cards are so powerful you’re only ever allowed to run one in your entire deck. Last seen back in 2013, in Boundaries Crossed, they can support huge increases in damage and HP. I’m a fan of using Master Ball, which allows you to search for any pokémon from your deck but I’m also keen on Prime Catcher, which is extremely versatile.

The increasingly complex meta including Future, Ancient, and Tera Pokémon will make for interesting times on the tabletop. Just be sure to watch out for Raikou’s ancient relative Raging Bolt, and his Bellowing Thunder, that will make short work of even your strongest Charizard.

Available now for £54.99

The Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Mission Kit

The latest release from Talsorian Games, publishers of the original role-playing game Cyberpunk 2077 is based on, will be on doorsteps and virtual shelves very soon. It boasts an immersive tabletop experience that thrusts players into the heart of the cybernetic intrigue and urban chaos seen in the Netflix anime.

This kit should appeal to seasoned tabletop role-playing veterans but there will be more than a few newcomers who only know of the game or Netflix series and who will want to build a campaign around David, Lucy, Rebecca, and the rest of the Edgerunners crew.

While also the subject of a crossover quest from the video game, The Jacket is a new full-length mission that explores what happens after the anime ends. Featuring a dynamic mix of high stakes missions, intricate worldbuilding tools, and customisable character options, the mission kit offers endless possibilities for players to tell their own story in Night City.

Release Date: June 2024 for $35 (£27)

Disney Lorcana Wave 4 – Ursula’s Return

Me and Piglet against the world! Ursula’s Return brings an (eel)ectrifying new dimension to the highly successful Lorcana card game universe. There is a huge array of new character cards coming with Wave 4, each beautifully illustrated and brimming with personality. From the cunning Ursula herself to loyal minions like Flotsam and Jetsam, every card adds depth and strategy to the game.

I love Super Goofy especially, in his Enchanted shiny form and the cool Ruby Superhero, who is a fantastic game closer. Another highlight is the five-ink cost ‘aggro defence’ emerald action song card ‘We don’t talk about Bruno,’ which returns a chosen character to its player’s hand if they also discard a card at the same time.

Ursula’s Return is a must-have expansion for fans of the game, and there’s a lot these days – many keenly anticipating the competitive play rollout coming towards the end of the year.

Available now for £16.99 (starter pack)

Star Wars Unlimited – Shadows Of The Galaxy

Star Wars Unlimited’s first expansion pack, Spark Of Rebellion, was great and this new one promises some exciting new character additions, such as Grogu and Moff Gideon. Taking the focus away from the fight between the Empire and the Rebels, Shadow Of The Galaxy contains over 250 cards in the two prebuilt starter decks. It also explores the territories of the Outer Rim, giving you the chance to master a new ‘bounty’ mechanic.

When the attached unit is defeated or captured, the opponent collects the bounty, but there’s also two other new mechanics being introduced into the game at the same time. Capture is the second and offers an alternate way to get rid of your opponent’s cards without removing them from play completely. Smuggle hasn’t been revealed yet but no doubt involves sleight of hand shenanigans.

The Mandalorian is introduced as a unique leader card, manoeuvring on the battlefield with Cunning and Vigilance aspects. Cards like the Phase-III Dark Trooper and Gideon’s Light Cruiser also add layers of complexity to every match. Grogu looks slightly upset in the card art – I would have preferred a cuter aesthetic – but then he is a lot more powerful than he looks.

Release Date: July 2024 for £34.99

Warhammer 40,000 – Darktide: The Miniatures Game

I know, I know; everyone is talking about Age Of Sigmar: Fourth Edition and your timeline is awash with ogre rats and Stormcast Eternals, but I’ve not yet been able to play a preview copy and instead I’ve been having plenty of fun fighting Pox Walkers in Darktide: The Miniatures Game.

It’s the tabletop version of the 2022 video game and a captivating dive into the grim and gritty universe of Warhammer 40,000, where four operatives descend into the chaos of Tertium Hive. It delivers intense tactical co-operative combat between iconic factions such as Space Marines and the forces of Chaos, each side with their own unique abilities and characteristics.

One of the standout features of Darktide is its innovative gameplay mechanics, which are a simplified version of the rules for Kill Team. This streamlined skirmish ruleset maintains the depth and complexity synonymous with the Warhammer 40,000 universe, while ensuring fast-paced and engaging gameplay based on rounds – supported by a battle phase with activations.

The inclusion of terrain elements adds an extra layer of strategy, allowing you to utilise cover and line of sight to their advantage. Darktide introduces dynamic narrative objectives that evolve throughout the game, keeping you on your toes and encouraging adaptive strategies while keeping gameplay light with no competitive army lists.

Available now for £65

The magic of opening a new packet (Wizards of the Coast)

Magic: The Gathering – Modern Horizons 3

While Magic: The Gathering novices, like me, are drooling over the upcoming Secret Lair x Hatsune Miku crossover (which looks absolutely stunning) in the ever-evolving competitive realm players are bracing themselves for the release of Modern Horizons 3. The modern format, as opposed to the standard format, offers a wider range of cards for deck-building and is designed for veterans to be able to strategise and bring their best cards to play.

Modern Horizons 3 seems heavily Eldrazi focused and includes reprints and notable new cards, such as octopus lookalike Emrakul, the World Anew. Strongest of the Eldrazi titans, this card allows you to gain control of all creatures the target player controls and doesn’t even need to be cast from your hand.

I love the look of the Eldrazi Incursion Commander Deck, as this ancient race has a beautiful, underwater aesthetic. Of there’s Kudo, King Among Bears and Phelia, Exuberant Shepard if you want something a bit cuter. These new cards promise to reshape the course of the game in new and unexpected ways, and will be on full display at MagicCon at the end of June.

Release Date: 7th June for £57

Paint it and play it (Steamforged Games)

Epic Encounters: Lair Of The Drider

Designed for both newcomers and seasoned parties, Epic Encounters are awesome for a summer Saturday night of tabletop role-playing. Each set introduces an all-in-one boxed encounter meticulously crafted for fifth edition compatibility, so you don’t have to learn a new set of rules.

Prepare to face the malevolent Drider (half-dark elf, half-spider) concealed within the shadows and hungering for unsuspecting prey or combine this set with the Palace Of The Drow Queen warband box, for an even bigger challenge.

Featuring a large, intricately detailed Drider miniature, this set caters to role-players, painters, and collectors alike. Prepare for battle with a double-sided illustrated battle map, an adventure book, and all the tokens required for gameplay. If you do win, this guy’s legs look like they would also make good BBQ fare.

Release Date: June 2024 for £49.99

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Mörk Borg action figure with Zine

Thinking ahead to next summer… I reckon the new Kickstarter for this Mörk Borg action figure, in the form of the skeletal Dread Risen, will be worth the wait. If you haven’t already realised, I’m a big fan of Mörk Borg and its black metal infused aesthetic. For those unfamiliar, it’s a role-playing sensation of dark fantasy, packed full of suffering. I’ve covered many of the spin-offs, including CY_BORG and Pirate Borg and now the iconic Dread Risen character from the cover of the Mörk Borg book will have its own official action figure.

This demonic goat-headed skeleton has broken free of its flesh cage and comes in several variants, which you can only get as part of the campaign. At seven inches tall it’s fully articulated and there’s a free flanged mace available to all backers who pledged in the first 48 hours. If you missed the mace there’s also a sick flail, rusted sword, battered shield, and – in true hipster style – a dedicated ‘zine and back patch for your battle vest.

Release Date: Oct 2025 for £44

It’s already doubled its Kickstarter goal (Stockholm Kartell)

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