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.
John Kovaleski, the original founder of Gale Force 9, has announced the formation of Monster Fight Club, a new board game and accessory company. Kovaleski has partnered with long time Gale Force 9 designer Aaron Dill (Firefly: The Game, Star Trek: Ascendancy)and “office overlord” Peter Przekop on this venture. Monster Fight Club will feature an in-house digital design studio, master class resin casting facility, as well as new board game product development. Gale Force 9 is well known for 20 years of creating quality board games from famous IPs, including Firefly, Star Trek, Homeland, and Spartacus, among others. For more information, check out the Monster Fight Club webpage and their presence on Facebook.
Legendary Entertainment and The Frank Herbert Estate have announced they awarding Gale Force Nine a license to begin creating new tabletop games based in the popular DUNE universe. Gale Force Nine have announced that they are ready to release a role-playing game in late 2019 with original table time games to follow.
Jamie Kampel, Vice President of Licensing & Partnerships for Legendary, commented that:
Gale Force Nine has consistently demonstrated a skill and passion for building successful tabletop game series alongside category leading partners and we are thrilled to announce this exciting addition to the Dune licensing program. Legendary looks forward to a fun and meaningful contribution to this revered legacy property.
The agreement allows Gale Force Nine to produce new tabletop games drawing from the entire scope of the Dune franchise. This will include drawing on publications not just from Frank Herbert but also works by Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson. New games will also feature direct tie-ins with the films being produced by Denis Villeneuve for Legendary.
A full slate of games, including role playing games, board games, and miniatures games, are planned for a release just prior to Legendary’s theatrical release of DUNE in 2020. John- Paul Brisigotti, CEO of Gale Force Nine, described this as just being a start for the new material, “This is only the beginning of our big plans in tabletop for this captivating franchise. Dune is a rich and wonderful universe, and we expect to produce an equally expansive and inspired line of games for years to come.”
Gale Force Nine isn’t planning on stewarding this planet of material alone. The license allows Gale Force Nine to partner with other companies to produce new products. The first collaboration is planned to be a tabletop role-playing game from Modiphius, who has published other IP based games including Star Trek Adventures, Fallout: Wasteland Warfare, Conan, Achtung! Cthulhu, and Tales from the Loop.
Frank Herbert published in the original Dune science fiction novel in 1965 as two separate serials in Analog magazine. The book was the first installment of the Dune series, and in 2003 was cited as the world’s best-selling science fiction novel.
The book is set in the distant future populated by a feudal interstellar society where noble houses control individual planets. Dune follows the story of Paul Atreides and the noble family that accepts the stewardship of the planet Arrakis. Arrakis is the only source of the melange, a rare oracular spice, and the most valuable substance in the universe. The full story explores everything fro politics to religion and ecology to technology as factions seek control of Arrakis and melange.
Following the popularity of Dune, Herbert ended up writing five sequels. The first novel inspired a 1984 David Lynch film, computer games, board games, songs and more. In 1999 Kevin J Anderson and Frank Herbert’s son Brian Herbert began publishing a series os prequels and sequels to the original book.
Gale Force 9 is releasing another Dungeons and Dragons board game expected this August with Vault of Dragons.
For 2-4 players, the game goes into the dark underbelly of the streets of Waterdeep as characters play various unsavory factions who are searching for a hidden vault of gold. Players will send followers to locations for rumors and possibly treasure, as well as a few street fights to maintain control of key locations. Not only are the other players watching you, so are the City Watch! Will you travel to the Undermountain and find the gold?
The location tiles are double-sided for extra places to explore.
The game is for ages 14 and up and has a play time of 60-90 minutes.
Gale Force 9 has announced two new expansion for Firefly Adventures: Brigands and Browncoats that will allow the players to add new crewmembers to the Serenity. The Respectable Folk set includes Inara Serra and Shepherd Book, while the Wanted Fugitives set includes Simon Tam and the River Tam. Each expansion comes with four Crew miniatures (Casual and Heroic poses for each character), two double-sided Crew cards, ten Equipment cards, and two new Jobs. The box bottoms also double as new buildings.
These expansions will be available later this year.
Gale Force 9 has announced a new board game set in the Firefly Universe, Firefly Adventures: Brigands and Browncoats. This new game is described as a 1-5 player cooperative, mission based, skirmish-level game which takes place in the Eavesdown Docks on Persephone. Brigands and Browncoats comes with miniatures for 5 of the the Firefly crew, but interestingly, there are 2 per character – one casual, and one heroic. Depending which miniature the player is using, there are a different set of actions available, and the character is more or less noticeable to the bad guys. Brigands and Browncoats also comes with Cowboy and Dock Thug enemies, as well as 3D terrain.
Firefly Adventures: Brigands and Browncoats will preview at GenCon50 in August, with a release schedules for later in 2017. For more information, check out the Gale Force 9 website here.
Several new game releases were announced recently, including a new expansion for the popular 51st State: Master Set from Portal Games
- 51st State: Scavengers adds 50 new cards to the immensely popular 51st State: Master Set, including the ability to draw from your discards, and a new strategy centered around building ruins. 51st State: Scavengers has a release date of March 2017.
- Pillars of Eternity: Lords of the Eastern Reach from Zero Radius Games is a new city building card game which takes place in Obsidian Entertainment’s computer RPG Pillars of Eternity. The player uses resources to construct buildings, build defenses and hire troops to fend off monsters. In an added twist, any unused resources each turn are passed to the other players. Pillars of Eternity: The Lords of the Eastern Reach is expected March 2017.
- Sidereal Confluence: Trading and Negotiation in the Elysium Quadrant is a new trading and negotiation game for 4-9 players coming from Wizkids. While being a competitive game, Sidereal Confluence’s trading feels more cooperative as no race can survive on their own. The game comes with 390 cards and almost 300 wooden pieces, and is due to hit shelves in August 2017.
- Dr. Who: Time of the Daleks Board Game was announced recently by Gale Force Nine. In this game, players pick a Doctor and try to thwart the Dalek master plan of … exterminating .. the doctors. Time of the Daleks has a release date of May 2017.
Wizkids and Gale Force 9 continue to do very little in the way of advertising for their latest DnD game, Tyrants of the Underdark. Tyrants is an area control, deck building game where you will try to influence and control areas of the board. How you deploy and move your troops on the board is through the deck building aspect as you acquire cards to perform different actions. At the end your score is based on the points in your deck as well as the points you have secured on the board. The base game came with a few decks to give you some variety, but I doubt anyone will turn down the opportunity to add more to the game. So in January of 2017 you will be able to find the expansion pack that will add the aberration and undead decks, giving you even more variety and replayability to this highly rated game.
Gale Force 9’s highly rated Firefly board game is getting some new shiny’s added in. The first is a booster pack of cards called Crime & Punishment Game Booster which adds a host of new cards to the Misbehave deck and adds some new elements for the Alliance in the game. One of the new elements are priority alerts for the Alliance, this makes certain aspects of misbehaving very difficult ranging from shutting down a supply planet to forcing contacts to lay low. Also included are two new story cards and two new setup cards, adding more variety and replayability to the game.
The other pack being released is the Big Money Deluxe Accessory, this is a cosmetic upgrade which improves the quality and look for the money included in the game, or any game for that matter. It also includes a new denomination, $5000, for when you really hit the big time! You can preview both of these packs on the Firefly game website, and look for them on store shelves in early 2017.