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Publishers in 2023 Are Coming in Hot!

You’d think with how many amazing game campaigns launched in just Q4 of 2022 that game publishers might be taking a break. Easing into the new year, enjoying some leftover post-holiday sweets. But nope, that’s not even close to true. Some of the biggest names in games are starting off 2023 with a bang, meaning that this year is shaping up to be another banner year for the tabletop industry.

Marvel United: Multiverse – Kickstarter (TBD)  

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If you’re a fan of Marvel comics and like the idea of a Marvel miniatures game but don’t want the level of investment required for Marvel Crisis Protocol, then Marvel United from CMON and its chibi champions might be for you.  

In the Marvel United base game, 2 – 4 players each choose a hero from the standard Avengers line-up and faceoff with 1 of 3 Marvel villains. The villain of course has a Master Plan that they are trying to accomplish, and the fearless heroes spend the game scrambling between 6 city locations in order to stop them. Each character comes with a unique deck of cards which the players can “unite” via the Storyline to foster a sense of teamwork among Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Each time a player adds a card to the Storyline, they may choose actions from their card and the previous card. Talking to your teammates becomes incredibly important in order to maximize hero potential and beat the villain before time runs out.  

Jane Foste, a.k.a. The Mighty Thor 
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As with any new expansion, the main question is what additions does it bring?  According to the game’s designer, Andrea Chiarvesio, one of the main goals with this expansion was to address requests from the game’s fans. ” People wanted to see Captain America throwing his shield, Spider-Man using his webshooter, and Thor flying with Mjolnir,” Chiarvesio said. Her solution: ” Why don’t we add Equipment cards to Heroes?” Like the Tactics cards in the previous expansion, players will now be able to add iconic weaponry and gadgets to their favorite heroes to create the feeling of playing a totally unique character.  

Please let him have his cosmic motorcycle. 
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Speaking of characters, of course there will be new heroes and villains pulled from across Marvel’s multiverse, including my personal favorite, Cosmic Ghost Rider. Even bigger news, though, is the fact that heroes can now take on villains alone in a new solo mode. Not much has been said about it other than it introduces a new deck-building mechanic via something called the Support Deck. I’m certain it will be a highlight of the Kickstarter campaign, though, so make sure to follow the campaign now to get an earlier look.

Battletech: Mercenaries – Kickstarter (March 23) * 

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Catalyst Game Labs has been steadily churning out high-quality Battletech content for years now, including two very successful Kickstarter campaigns. Fans have known about their third campaign, Battletech: Mercenaries, since last year with Catalyst even displaying early miniature prototypes at Gen Con 2022. Recently, however, Catalyst Game Labs has stepped up their pre-launch game for the new set, releasing 2 previews and a release date.  

The new and improved Quickdraw. 
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For those of you knew to miniature gaming, Battletech has been stomping and lasering across tabletops since 1984. Catalyst Lab Games has been at the helm since 2007 and updated the game into a modern tabletop war game with their Alphastrike rule set.  

The Assassin strikes again.  
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Like Marvel United, Battletech: Mercenaries is a set meant to do right by long-time fans. The new Kickstarter campaign will feature 50 new models, including mechs that fans have been waiting quite a while for like the Flea, Assassin, Quickdraw, and Ostroc. This set will also debut the first 2 quad mechs and the original Technical Readout: 3055 Clan IIC ’Mechs. Of course, a set titled Mercenaries needs some guns for hire, so expect lance packs featuring famous mercenary units from the Battletech universe such as Wolf’s Dragoons and the Kell Hounds. 

I personally would take a hound over a Wolf any day.  
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But it’s not just mechs who are getting the spotlight. Over a dozen of the miniatures will be tanks, providing support for your mech lances. There will also be new battle armor squads, a VTOL, and even a new aerospace fighter.  

You may think 8 Medium Lasers is excessive. But you’d be wrong.  
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Only this week Catalyst Game Labs announced that the campaign would go live on March 23 at 11:00 AM EST which happens to be the first day of the war gaming convention, Adepticon. The Catalyst crew have said they will be live-streaming from the convention, so make sure to tune in and follow the whole campaign in real-time. 

* As of publication, there is not a Kickstarter launch page.  

Ascencion Tactics Inferno – Kickstarter (TBD) 

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Designed by a handful of master Magic: The Gathering players, the Ascension deck-building game has done very well for itself and its publisher, Stoneblade games. It’s a two-time Golden Geek Best Card Game nominee, and it also picked up an Origins Best Card Game nomination. Numerous expansions and a digital game later, along came Ascencion Tactics, a new format that kept the deck-building but also added miniatures.  

Really, I should say it added army-building in addition to the deck-building. Ascension Tactics takes a novel route to army building by allowing players to add to their army as they go. Like it’s forebear Magic, players spend resources to assemble a force of Champions and Monsters with which to do battle. Unlike MTG, though, Champions are purchased from a shared pool of cards in the center. They also aren’t just represented by cards but also miniatures which move around and interact with a map. Players must also accomplish various objectives, allowing for more complex objectives than just “Destroy your opponent.”  

Miniatures add a tactical and visual depth to the game.  
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Though Inferno is a stand-alone game, the story picks up where the first Ascencion Tactics left off: “With Samael destroyed, and Xeron in hiding, The Arch-devil Kythis has taken control of the infernal realm, forcing its people to submit to his might. It is up to the champions of Vigil, alongside a few rebellious monsters, to bring peace to the twisted lands, and set Deoful on a path to redemption.” 

I personally like a little stabby with my shooty.  
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Such an epic sounding story of course necessitated a new Campaign Mode, allowing players to tackle scenarios co-operatively, head-to-head, or solo. But just because Inferno is a game unto itself doesn’t mean you can’t bring your Champions from the core set. Instead, players can add all of their old favorites to Inferno for even more tactical depth.  

By Zane Messina

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