When it comes to RPGs table-top versions continue to have an enormous impact on the gaming community. The Dungeons & Dragons community alone has only grown since it was first released in 1974. Spanning across five editions the game has seen thousands of community-created mechanics and creatures, in addition to the official source materials.
Developers continue to explore new avenues while showing that when it comes to table-top role-play games anything is possible. There are dozens of new variants on existing franchises and new mechanics and worlds to explore. Spanning across every genre from cyberpunk to high fantasy. There are even systems that can be played solo or without a guide. The genre is rapidly growing and the next few years of gameplay have a lot in store.
Update July 12, 2021 by Mark Sammut: Table-top RPGs will never grow out of fashion, and the genre offers a lot more than just Dungeons & Dragons. Besides the many great games that have been released this year, table-top fans still have a lot more to look forward to in 2021. Looking further ahead, 2022 is already shaping up to be a strong twelve months for board games, with plenty of projects expected to drop during the year. This article has been updated to include the expected release periods for each RPG, along with links to their crowdfunding pages if applicable.
- Expected Release Date: Fall 2021
Originally released in 1989, HeroQuest is very much considered a table-top classic. While the game has been dormant for around two decades, a remake was announced in 2020. Following a successful crowdfunding campaign, this modern update on an industry staple is set to debut by the end of 2021.
A big part of the HeroQuest experience is the plastic miniatures, as the original game features some of the best of its era. Naturally, the remake will be reflecting this standard for the license by including 71 "highly detailed character and furniture miniatures" in the Heroic Tier version. There is also a more expensive Mythic Tier edition that includes two game expansions and two exclusive figures, among other things.
9 Darkest Dungeon: The Board Game
- Expected Release Date: November 2021
Red Hook Studios' Darkest Dungeon has proven to have a lot of staying power. The 2016 RPG is still going strong five years later, with its gameplay loop providing endless replayability. The game is so successful, a table-top version is set to debut later this year. Created by Mythic Games, Darkest Dungeon: The Board Game's Kickstarter campaign has been successful, earning over $5 million.
An adaptation of the RPG, Darkest Dungeon: The Board Game is a traditional dungeon crawler with rogue-like elements. The campaigns will be split into 11 missions, with the party's end goal being to eventually take on the titular dungeon.
8 Sirens: Battle of the Bards
- Expected Release Date: December 2021
Fans of the Dungeons and Dragons franchise have plenty of things to look forward to throughout the upcoming year, especially Bard mains.
Sirens: Battle of the Bards is a 5th edition campaign and setting, that brings the favored class to the forefront. Players will explore Salvata, a city for artists, as they perfect their crafts and attempt to lure a deity during an eclipse. In addition to a new setting filled with comedy clubs, taverns, and amphitheaters, the RPG will introduce plenty of new Bard subclasses.
The campaign will feature several characters from Sirens of the Realms, a LivePlay also created by Satine Phoenix. Sirens will also feature a forward by Luke Gygax and a host of VIP guest writers from the table-top space. In addition to all of the campaign and setting materials Sirens: Battle of the Bards will also feature a full orchestral soundtrack. Sirens: Battle of the Bards' Kickstarter campaign has come to a close after exceeding stretch goal after stretch goal, so players have a lot to look forward to.
7 Once More Into The Void
- Expected Release Date: October-December 2021
Table-top players who are fans of franchises such as Mass Effect and Star Trek: Picard will enjoy Once More Into The Void.
Once More Into The Void is a science fiction RPG where players will bring their team back together for one final job. The game is made up of a collection of mini-games, that guide players through a scene or multiple scenes. Each mini-game gives players a chance to roleplay their characters and explore the emotions and drives of the characters.
A campaign can be run completely on the fly and even without a game moderator. Players can complete the story in one to four sessions, depending on their preferences. The team behind Once More Into The Void includes Jamila Nedjadi, Jason Pitre, Adrien(ne) Valdes, Camille Chua, Christopher Rothwell, and Avery Alder. Once More Into The Void's Kickstarter includes an option to pre-order the game.
6 Auroboros: Coils of the Serpent
- Expected Release Date: March 2022
Auroboros: Coils of the Serpent is a campaign setting that uses the Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition ruleset developed by Chris Metzen and Warchief Gaming. Players will explore the world of Lawbrand which hosts eight cities, enemies, and the power of the Auroboros. Lawbrand is based around Chris' roleplaying campaign he ran during the 1980s and 90s, before working on titles such as Warcraft and StarCraft.
The world of Lawbrand features over 100 pages of lore, five new races, four subclasses, and plenty of new spells. Players who take on the mark of the serpent will be able to wield unimaginable power, which comes at a cost. The Mark is a game system that offers a unique experience for a TTRPG setting, the more its power is used to more dangerous the side effects become. Players looking to up the stakes of their campaigns while exploring a unique world will want to check out Auroboros: Coils of the Serpent on Kickstarter.
- Expected Release Date: February 2022
In a world where birth rates continue to sink, death is spiraling out of control, and humanity's survival relies solely on the use of the animated bodies of their loved ones players become survivors in Necrobiotic.
Necrobiotic is a dystopian table-top RPG that takes players through a world of emotions. The system is based on deck-building mechanics using standard playing cards, with the option to use tarot cards. The gameplay mechanics push players to roleplay and highlight each other's specialties. Players can choose between multiple backgrounds from architect to technosophist.
Necrobiotic is being developed by the Penny for a Tale team including Mitchell Wallace, Samantha Davis, Mr. Smith, Valerio Amadei, and Andrea Marmugi. While Necrobiotic is still active on Kickstarter, the campaign's stretch goals will add a variety of additional adventures from various writers from the table-top space.
4 Hoplomachus: Victorum
- Expected Release Date: March 2022
Players looking for a Table-top RPG experience that offers a single-player option will want to look into Hoplomachus: Victorum.
Victorum offers an easy-to-learn but complex-to-master set of gameplay mechanics. Players begin by selecting a hero to take on the role of while navigating a world full of gladiatorial arenas. Taking place in the year 79 AD after mankind's desperate attempt to keep Mt. Vesuvius from erupting, heroes must now defeat Pluto's greatest champions.
Over the next four play sessions, players will build their heroes' stats and skills while also improving their team of gladiators' stats. As they travel around eight regions players will encounter multiple event types, to test their skills.
Hoplomachus: Victorum is being developed by Chip Theory Games and has a page on Kickstarter.
3 Ironsworn: Starforged
- Expected Release Date: March 2022
A standalone follow-up to the Ironsworn table-top RPG, Ironsworn: Starforged builds on the award-winning innovations of the original. The game offers three types of play from solo, cooperative, and guided. Players will journey through their new home, the Forge, and traverse opportunity and peril. Conflicts between individuals and factions have just as much impact as environmental conflicts. In addition to the core rulebook, the game will include a deck of asset cards that become vital for character development. Assets represent a character's background, skills, traits, resources, and companions.
Starforged is developed by Shawn Tomkin, the original creator of Ironsworn in collaboration with Absolute table-top and a team of artists, writers, and consultants. Upon the completion of the Kickstarter campaign, all backers will immediately receive the digital preview version of the game.
2 Into the Mother Lands
- Expected Release Date: September 2022
Recently launched on Kickstarter, Into the Mother Lands is an Afrofuturist sci-fi journey on an interstellar plane. The gameplay focuses on culture, skills, and values encouraging players to build characters whose abilities are built around what they're good at and who they care about. Fans of franchises such as Star Trek and Wakanda will want to keep Into the Mother Lands on their radar. Players will land in Musalia 1500 years in the future where they can begin to make their own paths.
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The RPG's sourcebook will feature a variety of unique worlds to explore, several futuristic professions - including pilots and combat medics - as well as multiple cultures. Players can even see the system in action live on Twitch, and catch up on the adventure on YouTube. Into the Mother Lands is developed by an all-Person of Color team featuring Tanya Depass, B. Dave Walters, Gabe Hicks, Jasmine Bhullar, Eugenio Vargas, and Vanessa B. The game was also fully funded on Kickstarter by eager fans within ninety minutes of its launch.
Into the Mother Lands is still quite far away, but the complete book should be available by September 2022.
1 The Wagadu Chronicles
- Expected Release Date: December 2022
Table-top fans looking to explore an Afrofantasy setting that doubles as an MMORPG and table-top 5E compatible system should look into The Wagadu Chronicles' Kickstarter. While the game is more of a hybrid between table-top and online play, the table-top materials act as a crucial element when showcasing the lore to a deeper extent. Twin Drums is the team behind the game and has stated that community-generated content that focuses solely on the table-top side of the game will eventually impact the MMO as well.
The world of Wagadu is home to a variety of people who have fallen into this world and must now fight to adapt and survive. Players who journey into the world will be met with many unique cultures and lineages rather than the standard races and classes mechanic. A vast majority of the lore elements in the game are inspired by actual experiences, with the help of African biologists and elders, to make the world more authentic.
Every Video Game Coming Out In 2021 (And Beyond)
There is naturally quite a bit of overlap between table-top and digital RPGs, with the former influencing the latter in many ways. While counting the days until the release of a new board game, people can turn to their PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, or PC to pass the time, and 2021 is absolutely packed with upcoming releases. For a complete calendar of every AAA and indie game coming out on these systems, please check out the below articles:
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