Avalon Hill

For years, the most common grail game among gamers, the one game that was the most desired and unattainable, was the infamous Dune (1979) board game from publisher Avalon Hill and designers Bill Eberle, Jack Kitteredge, and Peter Olatka. This classic game involved negotiation, area control, asymmetric player factions in Frank Herbert’s Dune universe, and a hidden bid battle system. Dune had not seen a reprint since 1984, excepting a rare French release in 1993. Fantasy Flight released Rex (2012), capturing most of the elements of the Dune game, except for any actual Dune license or content. Last week all of this changed.

Dune had hit a lull of licensing, but recently things got exciting again. A new movie from Legendary Entertainment is due to hit in 2020, and last August, Gale Force 9 announced they had acquired a multi year licensing deal with the Frank Herbert Estate and Legendary Pictures to create Dune board games. Last week at the GAMA trade show, Gale Force 9 announced they were bringing back the classic game Dune, with later twitter confirmation by the designers.

The interesting part of the GF9 presentation was the slide used to show the game. For years, Dune has had an active print and play audience for people wanting to update the board, cards, and components of their old Dune copies. One of the most popular artists was boardgamegeek user Ilya, and it appears GF9 used this art in their presentation. If this is an indication that the official reprint will use this spectacular art, it would make many people very happy, but at this point it is highly speculative.

Avalon Hill’s Betrayal Legacy is available in stores now. Ever since Dice Tower News covered the announcement last year, fans have eagerly awaited its release.  The original Betrayal at House on the Hill, designed by Rob Daviau, is a hugely popular and thematic game and has already served as the inspiration for re-implementation in the fantasy setting of Forgotten Realms in Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate. Rob Daviau has made his mark in the industry as a premier legacy game designer, first with Risk Legacy, then with award winning Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 (currently #2 on BGG), Seafall, and Pandemic: Season 2.

Rob Daviau returns in Betrayal Legacy adding permanent changes and a multi-game story arc that define the legacy game concept. It will not be enough to survive the haunted mansion for one game.  The game is told through a prologue and 13-chapter story where players represent specific members of a family, who age over time, and experience the events of the haunted mansion over multiple decades.

Betrayal Legacy plays 3-5 players, ages 12+, in about 75 minutes per game. Go to Avalon Hill to learn more about the game, or visit your friendly local game story today.

Wizards of the Coast (under the Avalon Hill imprint) have made more details available regarding the upcoming Axis & Allies & Zombies board game. It’s designed by Mike Mearls (known for Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate, and Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft), Scott van Essen, and Ryan Miller (both known for Magic: The Gathering TCG, Duel Masters: TCG). Axis & Allies & Zombies will support 2-5 players, aged 12+, and will play in 60-180 minutes (each additional player above 2 players seems to add 40 mins to the game).

“In this new take on the iconic World War II strategy board game, each player takes command of one of the major powers, joining either the Axis or the Allies. Players fight for victory against the opposing faction and a terrifying new foe—zombies. Will players survive the onslaught or succumb to the uprising?” [source]

The game will be set in 1941 with the world at war. The Axis war machine is crushing everything in it’s path while the Allies are gathering their forces to make a stand. Then the zombies show up. Players will take the role of a commander of one of the five major powers (Germany, the Empire of Japan, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and the USA) while the zombies will be a non-player faction . Winning battles will help to defeat your human enemies but it will also feed the ever growing, flesh-eating horde with fresh corpses. Players will have to fight both their human enemies as well as the undead hordes.

The game should include the following content:

  • 1 Game Board
  • 1 Battle Board
  • 5 National Setup Charts (one for each power)
  • 70 National Control Markers
  • 12 Custom 6-sided Combat Dice
  • 6 Custom 6-sided Combat Dice
  • 50 Plastic Unit Stacking Counters
  • 215 Plastic Miniatures (including 30 zombie miniatures)
  • 60 cards
  • Paper money
  • Rulebook
  • Introductory scenario

Axis & Allies & Zombies is expected to release October, 26th 2018.


Fans of the classic Avalon Hill game Betrayal at House on the Hill know all too well the pain of loose clips on difficult player boards; those black markers that came with the game never seemed to fit right on the cardboard pentagons. Well fear no more, because Wizkids has announced the Betrayal at House on the Hill Upgrade kit, with 6 new player stat trackers and some pretty spiffy dice. The new character cards are double sided, like the originals, but sandwiched between the sides are rolling stat tracker wheels. The cards come with all new character art and a set of green pearlescent dice, displaying the familiar 0-2 pips from the original game. Look for the Upgrade kits in stores this September 2018.

Rob Daviau and Wizards of the Coast president Chris Cocks announced the forthcoming release of Betrayal Legacy, based on the Betrayal at House on the Hill game at PAX Unplugged today. Betrayal Legacy will be released under the Wizards of the coast Avalon Hill brand. Betrayal Legacy is scheduled to be released in Q4 2018.

Rob Daviau helped create the original Betrayal at House on the Hill in 2004 while working full time for Hasbro. Risk Legacy was the first of Daviau’s Legacy games and created while he was still at Hasbro. They were followed by his designs of Pandemic Legacy, Seafall, and Pandemic Legacy Season 2, none of which were Hasbro releases. While Daviau was off perfecting the Legacy concept Betrayal was also growing, receiving the Widow’s Walk expansion in 2016 and a Dungeons & Dragons re-theme as Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate in 2017.

Betrayal Legacy will take the concept of the original betrayal game, exploring a haunted mansion, and add permanent changes and a multi-game story arc that define the Legacy concept. At Pax Unplugged it was announced that the new game will feature a prologue and a thirteen-chapter story that will take place over multiple decades. Players will represent members of a specific family, with some characters aging within the story arc and possible family descendants making appearances.

About Legacy Games

Legacy Games are games where player choices permanently alter the state of the game. Alterations the game might include placing stickers on cards or the board, permanently destroying game components, opening sealed game packages, and more. Legacy Games follow story arcs that result in the changes taking place over a campaign resulting in a copy of the game that cannot typically be reset as a new game at the end of the campaign. To fully play through a second campaign of the same game requires the purchase of a second copy of the game.

Pandemic Legacy was the second Legacy game released, and currently is the highest rated board game on boardgamegeek. Aside from the popular acclaim it received on the site, it was also the winner and nominee for many awards, including:

Both Eric and The People ranked it as the best game of 2017. Tom, Eric, and The People have all placed Pandemic Legacy on the list of the Top 100 Games of All Time.


WizKids and Wizards of the Coast have announced expansion plans for a Magic: The Gathering product partnership. The new products are expected to include a line of Magic: The Gathering miniatures as well as a forthcoming board game. Wizards of the Coast and Wizkids had already worked on a line of products together based in the Dungeons & Dragons universe.

“We’re introducing a long-time, beloved brand to an all new medium,” said Justin Ziran, president of WizKids. “Producing high-quality miniatures and bringing to market captivating board games is at the heart of WizKids. We could not be more excited to extend our relationship with Wizards of the Coast with Magic: The Gathering.”

The initial product line will include pre-painted sculpted miniatures that will focus on token creature cards. Players enjoying the Magic: The Gathering card game will now be able to bring 3-d sculpts of their favorite figures to the table with them. Prepare to be intimidated!

The board game will pull content from the original universe of the trading card game. Players will take on the role of Planeswalkers as they explore Dominaria and try to establish connections to mana sources. Planeswalkers will have to act fast in  gathering power before their opponents while building a hand full of spell cards.

Both the new miniatures and the board game are currently scheduled for a Fall 2018 release date.

WizKids/NECA, LLC is a New Jersey-based game developer and publisher. WizKids first moved into the hobby with pioneering of the Combat Dial system featured in HeroClix, which went on to sell over 750 million game figures worldwide. Wizkids moved deeper into the hobby with tabletop games that included the award-winning Mage Knight, as well as the Dice Building Game mechanic used in both Quarriors! and the subsequent Dice Masters series of games.

Wizards of the Coast
Wizards of the Coast LLC is a subsidiary of gaming giant Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS). Wizards of the Coast is home to some of the biggest brands in gaming, including Magic: The Gather, Dungeons & Dragons, and Avalon Hill.

Francis Fukutama might have declared The End of History in his 1989 essay, but apparently Z-Man Games didn’t get the notice. Z-Man games has announced they are releasing  remastered edition of the 1991 Avalon Hill classic History of the World by designers Gary Dicken, Steve Kendall and Phil Kendall. The game is scheduled for a late 2017 release.

Once again players will will take control on the grand scale that made the original game a classic. Running from the very dawn of civilization to the 20th century through multiple epochs, players will need to spread their empire across the globe. Fierce battle and unpredictable calamities will test even the most veteran player, but those who score the most points will be remembered throughout history.

The remastered edition maintains gameplay from the original title while adding a newly illustrated board and new components.


Played out over 7 rounds and running from the ancient 3000 B.C. Sumerians to the pre-WW1 Germany each player will control a new rising empire. At the end of every epoch players will score points for all of the units of their color on the board both from the current empire they control as well as any previous empires units they controlled that remain on the board.

During each of the epochs players will marshall armies and send them towards the very edges of the known world, head towards unoccupied territory or battle with other players. New terrain will score points, but control all of a single colored region and you’ll be rewarded even more greatly. Success in invasions will be determined by dice rolling. The invader rolls two, the defense one, and whoever has rolled the highest individual dice value claims a win.

Invading territory won’t be the only path to victory. Each empire has unique abilities in addition to whatever armies they start with. Secure resources, build monuments and use all of your empires traits to your best advantage in order to score points.

A History of History of the World

Originally published by Ragnar Brothers in 1991, History of the World has worked it’s way through several english iterations. Compendium Games re-released the game in 1992, Gibsons Games in 1993 followed by Avalon Hill in 1993. An 8 year break took place before Avalon Hill/Hasbro released the game again in 2001.

Avalon Hill has announced that they are reprinting the Anniversary Edition of the classic Axis and Allies. Originally published in 1981 by Larry Harris Jr, Axis and Allies has remained a fan favorite, and a true board game classic, although some of the original rules could arguably have needed some tweaking here and there. The Anniversary Edition, originally released in 2008 to celebrate the company’s 50th year, was gigantic and beautiful, with the biggest board ever in an Avalon Hill game, and contained over 650 pieces. The Anniversary edition adds a 3rd Axis power, Italy, and keeps 2-6 players engaged for, well, quite a long time (6 hours on the box).

You can read the Avalon Hill Press Release here, and look for the re-issue of this amazing classic in September 2017.

Wizards of the Coast and Avalon Hill have teamed up to create Betrayal At Baldur’s Gate, a spiritual successor to the classic board game Betrayal At House On The Hill. The new game is designed by Chris Dupuis (Betrayal At House On The Hill: Widow’s Walk) and Mike Mearls (Castle Ravenloft). Set in the Forgotten Realms city of Baldur’s Gate,  3-6 players take turns placing tiles, exploring the dark alleys and deadly catacombs of the city, until one of the party is turned traitor. The game comes with 6 prepainted adventurer miniatures, Traitor’s Tome and Secrets of Survival haunt books, 42 tiles, and loads of tokens and cards. Fans of the original will enjoy the new Dungeons and Dragons theming of this classic traitor mechanism board game.

Betrayal At Baldur’s Gate is due for release in October 2017. You can read Wizard of the Coasts full press release here.

Following the passing of board game designer Allan Calhmer in 2013, a piece of board gaming history is up for auction right now as part of his estate sale. The first edition of the game Diplomacy was printed as a numbered print run of 500 copies, and the copy up for auction right now is number one of those first  500 editions. The auction ends April 2, 2017 at 9:05 PM EST.

The copy was found in a mailing box with a return address of “Diplomacy,” located in Boston, Mass. Postmarked July 21, 1959, the contents of the auction including, per the auction listing:

The game board
A box of wooden game pieces
3 Conference Maps

“Diplomacy – Rules of the Game” which is 6 stapled sheets (sheets 2 thru 5 are 2-sided).  The back side of sheet 5 is stamped “THIS IS SET NO. 1 OF THE FIRST EDITION, OF 500 SETS” (the number “1” is handwritten in ink pen).

Also in the box is a “Sylvania Signal” newsletter dated November 21, 1958 with an article about Mr. Calhamer and his new game.  This was no doubt put in the box many years ago and will be included.

Diplomacy is a legendary negotiation game with no elements of chance. Per the Avalon Hill game description:

At the turn of the 20th century, the seven Great European Powers engage in an intricate struggle for supremacy. Military forces invade and withdraw, shifting borders and altering empires with subtle maneuvers and daring gambits.

Form alliances and unhatch your traitorous plots as you negotiate and outwit—in a delicate balance of cooperation and competition—to gain dominance of the continent! In Diplomacy, your success hinges not on the luck of the dice, but your cunning and cleverness.

Top Game For Ruining Friendships
Diplomacy has made many Top Ten Lists on the Dice Tower including:

Top 100 Games 2015
Stress-Inducing Games
Political Games
Top Ten EPIC games
Top Ten Mean and Nasty Games
Best Political games
Best Convention Games
Games That Have Stood the Test of Time
Stress-Inducing Games
Mean and Nasty Games

Diplomacy is likely most famous for being one of the friendship killer board games. The game was Tom’s original number 1 pick as the top Mean and Nasty Game.

Google “top friendship destroying board games” and any thoughtful list usually results Diplomacy taking the top spot. Top Tenz list of Top Board Games (for Ruining Friendships) describes the game mechanics:

There’s zero random chance in Diplomacy, so if your friends decide you need to be eliminated there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. And while you hate them for it, you know you would have done the exact same thing to them. At that moment comes the realization that, deep down, you were never really friends at all.

Quinton Smith from Shut up and Sit Down’s list of The Top 5 Board Games That Really Will Ruin Friendships also gives Diplomacy the top rank and warns: “Buy Diplomacy at your own risk. I will absolutely not be held accountable.”

Ruined Friendships By the Numbers
Diplomacy has always been recommended as best with 7 players, that means a combination of 21 friends are usually playing the game. With 9,336 logged plays on boardgamegeek, that makes approximately 65,352 ruined friendships since 1959.

There’s no way of knowing how many friendships were ruined by the very first copy of Diplomacy, but this is your chance to both own a piece of board gaming history while at the same time clearing 6 contacts out of your phone.