Games Industry News Roundup- December 19th, 2023

This past weekend marked a major milestone for beloved Goonhammer contributor Dan “Swiftblade” Richardson. He crossed the metaphorical Rubicon that many before and many after him will: Dan reached the unenviable age of thirty years, meaning he’s now, officially, old. Ancient, perhaps. Decrepit, even.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, to leave youth behind like this to face the large and tough to actually swallow pills the human body needs to survive after the age of thirty. We wanted to see how Dan was handling finally becoming old, perhaps to comfort him in these troubling times. We found him standing in a field behind the Goonhammer offices, staring off into the setting sun.

We asked Dan how he was feeling, and he put on a brave face. Said he was fine, didn’t feel any different than the day before. But we weren’t fooled, we knew it was only a matter of time before his knees exploded into dust and his back would become one massive charlie horse. It’s sad to see it in person, such a proud and vibrant man laid low by the strain of thirty years of soft living.

The Goonhammer team thought it would be best that we give Dan something to do to keep his mind off his own fragile mortality. We asked him “Hey buddy, you wanna write about the news for us again?”

A flash of life returned to Dan’s dull stare. “Aw gee, I’d like that very much to type about the tabletop industry news and related media.”

Dan may be old now, but that won’t stop our boy from reporting faithfully again on this week’s news roundup.

Credit: The Entertainment Software Association

E3 Declared Officially Dead

The ESA, otherwise known as the Entertainment Software Association, finally made formal what many have suspected for some time now. In an interview with The Washington Post last week, the ESA confirmed that the Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, was not returning, ever.

Truthfully, the only surprising bit about this news is that E3 wasn’t already dead. The last E3 conference was held in 2019, before the pandemic canceled the event in 2020. E3 attempted to pivot into a digital format in 2021, but it failed to garner the popularity the ESA was expecting for the event. The trade show was originally supposed to return this year after taking last year off to restructure the event. However, IGN reported earlier this spring that this year’s E3 would also be canceled, citing a lack of popular interest.

It’s not hard to see why what was once the biggest event in video games has now fallen. Even though the pandemic seems to be the backbreaking blow for E3, it had been fading in popularity with both gaming companies as well as the general public for several years before that. E3 was a tradeshow at it’s heart, an event meant to be attended in person by gaming companies and journalists to report eagerly back to the public about what was next in the world of video games. The rise of social media and streaming meant more and more companies left to do their own digital tradeshows, and gave way to competitors like the Game Awards to steal E3’s thunder as it struggled to adapt. 

In his interview with The Washington Post, ESA president Stanley Pierre-Louis elaborates further on these digital showcases: “There were fans who were invited to attend in the later years, but it really was about a marketing and business model for the industry and being able to provide the world with information about new products… Companies now have access to consumers and to business relations through a variety of means, including their own individual showcases.”

While the Game Awards this year felt an awful lot like E3, it’s hard to not feel a little nostalgic about this news. E3 was easily the biggest event of the year for video game fans when I was growing up. I remember watching coverage of the event on G4 and reading about the games at the event in gaming magazine, making silent promises to myself that somehow I would one day attend the holiest three days of gaming in person. Those days are gone now, I’ll never get to go to E3, but I hope that E3 won’t be forgotten and one day we will see a different event shoulder the mantle of it’s legacy.

Credit: Games Workshop

Amazon and Games Workshop Finalize Warhammer Show Deal

In better news, it looks like we are all one step closer to a proper Warhammer TV show.

Games Workshop announced on the Warhammer Community website this Monday that they had finalized the deal with Amazon to adapt the Warhammer universe to the screen. 

The initial news broke last December when Games Workshop and Amazon had signed a tentative agreement about the IP, with Henry Cavill acting as a cross between Executive Producer and pseudo-Brand Ambassador, with little in the way of any additional news until now.

While it’s very exciting to see this deal finalized, what it really means is that the two companies are now finally ready to get the work started on a show. The Warhammer Community article states that assembling a team for scriptwriting is next, followed by writing the actual script. Additionally, an investor update post from Games Workshop states that the two companies will be working over the next twelve months “to agree creative guidelines for the films and television series to be developed by Amazon. The agreement will only proceed once the creative guidelines are mutually agreed between Games Workshop and Amazon.” This means that major scriptwriting efforts may not even begin until later in 2025.

We have no further indication what the show will be about, what the format will look like, and a timeline for the show’s release, and we likely won’t have any news regarding any of that for a few more years at least.

Credit: Awaken Realms

Nemesis: Retaliation Soars to Crowdfunding Records

Last November, Polish company Awaken Realms launched a crowd-funding campaign for the third game in its Nemesis series of co-op survival board games, Nemesis: Retaliation. The campaign was launched on Gamefound, a tabletop-focused competitor to Kickstarter owned by Awaken Realms, with an initial goal of raising $50,000. 

On December 14th, the campaign closed having raised over $12.2 million, with 41,000 backers internationally.

This is a new record high number for Gamefound as a platform, and Polygon reports that this is the third highest board game crowdfunding campaign of all time across any platform, with Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5 narrowly edging it out at $12.5 million, and Frosthaven reaching nearly $13 million raised.  

Nemesis: Retaliation is the third game in the Nemesis series, taking inspiration from the Alien films. In Retaliation, it looks like Awaken Realms is going all in on the Aliens vibes, with the player characters taking the role of marines against the alien menace. Nemesis is a cooperative dungeon game with a secret traitor mechanic, and has received acclaim for it’s thematic atmosphere and brutal gameplay.

Backers of Nemesis: Retaliation can expect to see their copies arrive around April of 2025, according to the Gamebacker page.

Credit: Larian Studios/Wizards of the Coast

Larian CEO: “Almost Nobody Left” from D&D Team that Helped with Baldur’s Gate 3 after Layoffs

Last week, I reported here on the news roundup about the massive layoffs at Wizards of the Coast parent company, Hasbro Inc. In our reporting, I stated that these layoffs were focused on Hasbro’s toys division, due to the sagging toy sales that Hasbro experienced this year.

Unfortunately, it appears my reporting was wrong. The layoffs are more widespread than just toys, and includes members of Wizards of the Coast as well. 

Last week on Twitter, Swen Vinke, the CEO of the company behind the breakout hit video game Baldurs Gate 3, Larian Studios, wrote a lengthy thread of thank you’s. Vinke notes that during his acceptance speech for Baldur’s Gate 3 winning game of the year, Vinke was cut short by the award shows now infamously short time allotment for speeches and he did not get the chance to thank all the people who helped make Baldur’s Gate 3 happen.

Among these thank you’s was Wizards of the Coast, though Vinke’s kindness is quickly soured. Vinke states that he is saddened to hear that much of the D&D team who helped with Baldur’s Gate 3 from Wizards was laid off, going so far as to say in the thread that there’s “almost nobody left” from the original team that first met with Larian about the game.

Also caught in the layoffs is Megan Golbraith Donahue, who directed the Magic: the Gathering: Universes Beyond sets. These sets have been massive successes for Wizards of the Coast financially, expanding the M:TG brand through collaboration with multiple IPs. 

In a year where Hasbro was failing, Wizards of the Coast found extraordinary success with Dungeons and Dragons and Magic. Even doing an exemplary job can’t save you from a layoff it seems. 

Credit: Brooklyn Strategist Workers United

New York Game Cafes Win Battle for Unionization

In the November 7th edition of our roundup, we reported on the unionionization struggles facing the workers at New York Tabletop café The Brooklyn Strategist as well as its sister chain of stores Hex & Company. The employees of these stores, as well as Uncommons, the original Board Game Café by Hex/Strategist owners Jon Freeman and Greg May, have all cited poor wages and working conditions as reasons for unionization. After attempts for voluntary negotiations failed, employees of these stores went to the National Labor Relations Board for assistance in holding a union election. 

Goonhammer is pleased to report that all of these stores have successfully unionized, despite union busting attempts by ownership. The last of these stores to unionize, The Brooklyn Strategist, passed their union vote 17-1 last Wednesday. 

Boardgamewire, who broke the news, reports that Brooklyn Strategist employee Chrstine Carmack was “eager for a brighter and better Brooklyn Strategist, and to work with management to ensure it”. 

With so much news about how hard it is for workers in the tabletop games industry, it’s nice to see a win for the little guys here. Congratulations to all those involved in winning these union elections.

James McCaffery Dies

The talented voice actor many will remember as the voice of Max Payne and Alex Casey in this year’s excellent Alan Wake 2 died on Sunday after a battle with cancer. He was 65.

And that wraps it up for our Games Industry News Roundup this week! Join us again next week for more news about the tabletop games industry and related media. If you have an interesting tabletop news lead, send it to and we may include it in next week’s report!