Morning everyone! As I prattled on about yesterday, mega North American board gaming convention Gen Con 2015 is upon us like a dentist hunting a celebrity lion, and The Boarding Kennel will be giving you a potted rundown of all the most exciting news and happenings from each day.
The monster event officially kicks off today, meaning anyone looking for Gen Con news online yesterday was met with a stream of selfies from board gamers delighted at being on identical-looking planes, or in their cars, or showing off the food available at pit stops in the sprawling nowhere between their homes and Indianapolis.
But one major board gaming announcement blew through the transport instagrams like the whiff of tacos through a board game convention, making everyone sit up and take notice. Plaid Hat Games, the outfit behind eye-catching recent titles such as Dead of Winter and Specter Ops, has been bought by Canadian company F2Z Entertainment, better known as the parent of Pandemic publisher Z-Man Games, Filosofia and Pretzel Games.
Here’s a video which gives no details at all, but makes some quite satisfying noises:
Plaid Hat’s Colby Dauch said, “As Plaid Hat Games has grown, the other aspects of the board game publishing business have devoured more and more of the team’s time and attention.
“This acquisition by F2Z Entertainment allows the Plaid Hat Games’ team to turn their attention back to what they do best as they are bolstered by a super-star production, logistics, sales and marketing team that will have a fast impact on game players around the world having reliable access to the games we create.”
As well as easing pressure on logistic details and letting Plaid Hat get back to just designing games, the new association with Filosofia will see every Plaid Hat title from next year simultaneously released in French, with more simultaneous releases in German and Dutch also planned.
Amid the general excitement there were minor outbursts of dismay at the buyout on BoardGameGeek.com, from people grumbling that Z-Man’s customer service had deteriorated in the past couple of years. Others seemed surprised Plaid Hat hadn’t been picked up by industry giant Asmodee, although BGG user eldooderino pointed out it was only a surprise until Asmodee buys all of F2Z somewhere down the line.
Plaid Hat’s big Gen Con 2015 release is the grandly-titled Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn, which has all the hallmarks of a slick, slimmed-down Magic: The Gathering – a head-to-head card game with spellcasters battling by summoning creatures, casting spells etc to bring the opponent’s life down to zero. Designer Isaac Vega previously worked on Dead of Winter and City of Remnants, so it’ll be interesting to see how the shift to designing a card-based battler pans out.
We also got our first brief look at Fantasy Flight Games’ re-release of Fury of Dracula in the wild, a week after the board game community went potty after FFG fumbled one of the biggest Gen Con reveals in history by accidentally putting live a web page announcing details of the game. Not much to glean from this sadly, except to applaud FFG’ leftfield decision to improve the map with an actual pair of human legs, presumably so it can start setting itself up while you leaf through the new rulebook.
In probably unrelated news, Risk Legacy designer Rob Daviau revealed on Twitter he had to chase a bat out of his house before setting off for Gen Con. If the board game world discovered it was inspiration for a Legacy version of Fury of Dracula, I think we’d basically be looking at the start of a global meltdown. Pray he’s too busy working on Seafall, people – our futures depend on it.