W. Eric Martin
• A lot of announcements (and other things) piled up in the inbox during Gen Con, and I'm only now clearing them out, such as the news that Cool Mini Or Not (technically CMON Limited) "acquired all branding and intellectual property rights for the successful Zombicide franchise from Guillotine Games". David Preti, Director of Guillotine Games, has become Creative Director of CMON Limited, and Guillotine Games will continue to work exclusively with CMON.
• CMON also signed a deal with Good Games Publishing to "co-brand, market and distribute the new Australian publisher's board games in all French and English territories outside of Australia and New Zealand", with GGP's Monstrous due out in Q3 2016 and Unfair planned for release in Q4 2016.
• Similarly, CMON announced that it would co-publish John Hawkins and Michelle Menard's Gateway: Uprising with FishWizard Press, which had developed the game and run an unsuccessful Kickstarter for it in 2015. Here's an overview of the game, now due out in Q1 2017:
Players of the deck-building card game Gateway: Uprising take on the roles of insurgent wizards determined to reclaim the Great City of Gateway.
Each player begins with the game with the same starter resources of basic insurgent wizards, merchants, and a magical Runestone — but from there the similarities end. Players will draft new wizards, heroes, and magical creatures into their ranks, building up an army to defeat and defend the different districts of Gateway.
After successfully liberating a district, the player gains access to its unusual power, such as cheaper resources, additional defenses, or even the ability to magically damage foes from afar. Be warned: Not only will other rebel insurgents attempt to steal your districts away from you, but you'll also have to battle against the forces of Chancellor Gideon and an invading onslaught of terrible monsters called the Drueggar.
To aid you in this are Runestones: powerful one-time-use spells that can turn the tide of battle instantly or provide the player with a temporary boost to his coffers. However, once used, Runestones become empty shells and are discarded for the remainder of the game.
To win the game, players must collect victory points by defeating the city guard and Drueggar Horde, controlling important districts, or through special insurgent abilities they draft into their ranks. Don't delay and play the waiting game; if the Drueggar manage to take all the city districts, it’s game over for both the insurgents and the innocent citizens of Gateway!
Perhaps Cool Mini Or Not needs a new tagline to go with its hew logo: "We Try Harder".
• Ultra PRO announced a deal in which it will "acquire the rights to Stone Blade Entertainment's tabletop games portfolio", which primarily consists of the Ascension deck-building games. To quote from the press release:
Under the completion of the transition, Ultra PRO will handle tabletop publishing, marketing and promotion, engaging its extensive presence in the gaming market to bring Stone Blade Entertainment games to new audiences, while allowing Stone Blade Entertainment to focus on designing new quality games.
I asked Stone Blade for clarification about this statement and was told that "SBE will still exist as a separate company, and Justin Gary will still design future Ascension releases that will be handled by Ultra PRO."
• In May 2016, GTS Distribution announced that it had agreed to purchase New York-based distributor Global Enterprises, with all existing staff of Global Enterprises coming to work for GTS Distribution.
• Portal Games has opened a new division in Germany — Portal Games Deutschland — that will debut in October 2016 at SPIEL 2016. This division is being run by Benjamin Schönheiter, who used to work for Pegasus Spiele on the localization of games such as Portal's own Robinson Crusoe. At SPIEL 2016, Portal Games plans to debut the new version of 51st State, the third edition of Neuroshima Hex!, and an as yet unannounced new army for that game. Cry Havoc will debut in Germany shortly afterwards.
• Finally, in a bit of news not about acquisition or expansion, the Korean-based Hanjin Shipping Co. has filed for bankruptcy. From an article in The Wall Street Journal:
Hanjin, one of the world’s largest shipping lines, stopped taking new shipments in the wake of the filing, according to a customer advisory sent to freight brokers in Asia. The carrier faced the possible detention of its ships under threats of seizure by creditors.
The filing with the Seoul Central District Court came just a day after the company’s creditors cut off a lifeline, as financial assistance of more than 1 trillion won ($896 million) failed to keep it afloat. It is the latest domino to fall as shipping companies world-wide grapple with overcapacity amid a slump in global trade.
The news sent freight brokers and shippers scrambling to find space with other carriers as Hanjin was immobilized in the midst of the busiest season for exports out of Asia. Asia-based freight brokers estimate Hanjin’s daily capacity at 25,000 shipping containers.
The article notes that Hanjin vessels are being denied entry into ports since it's not clear whether they can pay the necessary fees. An additional worry is that ships in port might have legal claims filed against them, which would prohibit them from moving, thereby tying up the space and not allowing it to be used by others.
While this news isn't related to games directly, if publishers are moving games out of China, there's a good chance that their shipping plans will be disrupted due to this development, whether directly or indirectly.