Earlier this year, Cryptozoic Entertainment dove headfirst into the world of board games with several releases, marking a significant growth for a company known only as the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game publisher up to that point. Early releases included licensed properties such as The Walking Dead and the Penny Arcade web comic, as well as an original creation, Food Fight. The venture seems to have paid off, given that Cryptozoic has begun fleshing out a 2012 board game release schedule that will put 2011 to shame.
Building off of their early success will be a major focus, as two of the three games mentioned above will receive expansions. Food Fight will be the first, with its 40-card Snack Attack expansion. The new set aims to add variety without significantly altering gameplay, and as such will hit shelves at an appetite-whetting $9.99. If you haven't already checked out Food Fight, it's a lighthearted card game worth your time for the excellent 70's and 80's Wacky Packages-inspired art alone.
Penny Arcade the Game: Gamers vs Evil will have a massive 406-card standalone expansion in Penny Arcade the Game: Rumble in R'lyeh. The new set will delve deep into HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos while also trotting out some familiar Penny Arcade tropes. The humor of including the DLC-flaying Gunhorse in a card game expansion is not lost here. From a gameplay standpoint, a new "gold card" type will be added that serves as a hybrid of the existing green and red cards from the base game. This could add some much-needed complexity to a game that was well-suited for beginners but was fast played out by veteran gamers. [Full review]
The mythos flavor doesn't end there, though. Locke & Key: The Game will be an early 2012 release themed around the comic book of the same name. This game will throw 3-6 players into the horror-filled Keyhouse mansion, promising to unlock an evolving set of both challenges and strategies as players explore and collect various keys. Locke & Key: The Game may also be part of a secret plot to make me read more comic books like the rest of the MTV Geek staff, but that cannot be confirmed at this time.
Cryptozoic will also be taking advantage of their newfound board game publishing experience by putting their most familiar franchise, World of Warcraft, to work. World of Warcraft: Clash of Champions aims to give players a card-based dungeon crawl in 30 minutes, which is an ambitious take on the gaming sub-genre. Other have attempted similar feats and fallen on their face (I'm looking at you, Thunderstone) so this is one worth paying attention to as it approaches release.
Lastly, Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mount Skullzfyre will be an original creation that provides humorous fantasy "take that" gameplay while challenging players to remember the full name of the game they are playing. Picture Munchkin's older brother; It's definitely tongue-in-cheek, as you can see from some of the cards below. The game uses a three-card combo system that if implemented properly, could turn it into a fantasy genre meme machine.