After the success of our 2018 visit with The op, then still under the name USAopoly, we had to make sure to stop in at their booth at this year’s GenCon to find out the new and exciting ways that the company is marrying excellent game design with some of our favorite properties (and some originals as well). Since my last visit, the company has fully embraced the hobbyist gaming market, with games that combine their high production value with creative and deeply complex game design that can stand up alongside any in the industry. They’ve also committed to a diverse slate of designers, with a full half of the people developing games at The op being women.
Since I already covered Die Hard: Nakatomi Heist and Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle: Defense Against The Dark Arts over on Fanfinity, I won’t tread old ground here. I will, however, mention that they were giving away Die Hard Crunch bars at GenCon and it was really, really cool.
Release: September. 2019
Retail Price: $49.95
The first followup to Thanos Rising (check out my review here) and using a similar system of cooperating boss fighting. But thanks to its placement after the end of a series, rather than in between two major movies, it has a lot of room to play with canon and draw on the whole franchise for inspiration. While it retains the similar rotating villain (this time a (extremely cool) rotating figure of Voldemort as opposed to Thanos), he’s spreading corruption rather than collecting infinity stones (though the idea of Voldemort collecting infinity stones is kind of fun). He’s a little more flexible than Thanos, with an eight sided villain die rather than the d6 from Thanos Rising.
Thanos Rising was already a gorgeous game, but I think Death Eaters Rising may have topped it. Like with the other games in The op’s Harry Potter line, the game comes in a cardboard sleeve with all the boring stuff on it. When you take it off, however, you get a beautiful foil blue and black box with Harry and Voldemort facing off and Hogwarts in the background. The interior is just as nice, with high quality pics from the movies and detailed game pieces like sculpted, ivory-colored dice.
Release: September 2019
Retail Price: $69.95
Talisman (sometimes subtitled as A Magical Quest Game) had been around since 1983, designed by Robert Harris for Games Workshop, who have owned the property since the 90’s. This edition will be the second licensed edition of the game after The op’s Batman edition. In it, you’ll travel through the different locations from Kingdom Hearts as you gather allies from classic Disney like Goofy, Donald, and Milan, as well as franchise originals like Sora, Riku, and Kairi. There are also cards that represent all corners of the series like the Gummy Ship, magic spells like Cure or Blizzaga, and followers to help you in your quests like Mushu and Simba. You’ll complete quests on your journey to defeat the Heartless while dealing with events featuring villains and other Keyblade holders. Oh, and yes, there will be Keyblades. Divine Rose, Oathkeeper, Oblivion, and more…they’ll all be there.
Release: Early 2020
Retail Price: $99.95
A collaboration between The op and design studio Sideshow, Court of the Dead: Mourner’s Call is a classic big box strategy game with a dope grimdark aesthetic. Set during a war between heaven and hell, fueled by the souls of mortals harvested by the Grim Reaper. Tired of just sending mortals into a meat grinder, Death creates a Court of the Dead, a council meant to rebel against Death’s purpose and end the war for good. Players will have to not only do what they can to enact this goal, they must do so without drawing the attention of heaven or hell.
Everyone takes on the role of a mourner, a member of the Court of the Dead assisting in Death’s quest. They all have their own ulterior motive for participating, and they have to keep it in mind (and themselves under control) while they journey. Each turn, you’ll gather ethereal energy, recruit allies, handle the guilds, and keep your tithes up, all while handling threats from all sides as they arise. It’s an incredibly ambitious game with a lot of moving parts and an insane amount of detail put into every aspect of it. It’s worth checking out for any strategy player worth their salt.
Release: Fall 2019
It’s like chocolate and peanutbutter. What is a better fit for the classic adventure and fun of Steve Jackson’s Munchkin series than DuckTales? Play as Scrooge McDuck or one his nephews as you do…basically everything in the DuckTales theme song (which you’re now singing in your head). You’ll defeat iconic enemies, gather treasure, and try to be the first person…er…duck to hit Level 10. It’s also got tons of art from the show and references to any DuckHead (DuckLover, DuckFan?) happy.
Retail Price: $49.95
A deck-building game similar in design to Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle, Obstacles & Adventures takes the action and excitement of that game and makes it a little bit more accessible for the younger set. Streamlined, sped up, and easier to pick up, Obstacles & Adventures is a great game for introducing kids to more complex board games. That’s not to say it’s a breeze, as the different adventures across four movies still require cooperation, quick thinking, and good-old-fashioned Space Ranger grit.
Release: Fall 2019 (Europe, The Middle East, and Africa only)Another new release in the Rising line of board games, Dark Side Rising wasn’t shown at GenCon but I thought it might be nice to add it on anyway. Much like Death Eaters Rising, Dark Side takes the formula of Thanos Rising and applies it to the Star Wars universe. In this one, Vader is trying to build, what else, but a Death Star. It’s up to the Rebellion, as represented by the players, to stop him. You’ll recruit iconic heroes and ships from the series while thwarting Vader and the forces of the Empire at every turn.
Dark Side Rising is releasing soon overseas, and it’s unknown if or when it’ll be available stateside. But you can be sure if it does, we’ll be the first to know!
Be sure to stay tuned for STILL MORE GenCon coverage yet to come, and for news and reviews on all the cool games being produced by The op!
All Images via The op