This past weekend, Wizards of the Coast took over Fort Wayne, IN for the annual Dungeons & Dragons Experience convention. Fans got the chance to play games, attend seminars, shop the vendor hall, test out the upcoming "D&D Next," and in general just enjoy all things Dungeons & Dragons for a few days.
Of particular note was Saturday's seminar topic: the D&D product schedule for 2012, which showcased all that will be released this year. With a new edition on the horizon, this session aimed to show fans exactly what they could expect for continued 4th Edition support, as well as a look at what other side-projects WotC had planned for the D&D line.
Lead developer Mike Mearls took the stage to preview the following:
- Lords of Waterdeep: Breaking stride from the three-deep series of D&D Adventures board games, Lords of Waterdeep will be a Euro-style strategy game set in the Forgotten Realms. We've covered this one at some length in the past, and DDXP attendees had nothing but great feedback on the game, so expect a full review following this March release.
- Premium 1st Edition Core Rulebooks: Based on high-quality scans of the original Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual, WotC will be re-releasing these classics with brand new covers. As part of a tribute to original D&D co-creator Gary Gygax, a portion of all proceeds from these books will be donated to the Gary Gygax Memorial Fund. Of course, the timing could not be better, with "D&D Next" claiming to support play elements from all editions. This presents a great opportunity for newcomers to learn a bit of gaming history and prepare for the future at the same time. All three of these books will be released in April as hobby store exclusives.
- Dungeon Survival Handbook: Sticking right to the core of what D&D does best, this book will arm DMs with the traps and mechanical effects they need to set up a true dungeon crawl. Interestingly, DMs will also get tips on how to thematically tie this sort of content into their adventures, so expect a boost to your roleplaying, not just extra crunch.
- Rise of the Underdark: As the theme for this summer's Encounters season, the Underdark and the Drow will be featured in many D&D products. June releases include an Urban Underdark Tile Set as well as the D&D Lair Assault: Spiderkiller kit. In August, players will get a focus on PvP combat with the Menzoberranzen: City of Intrigue book.
- The Return of D&D Minis: Perhaps the biggest surprise of the seminar was the announcement of the Dungeon Command minis battle game, primarily because WotC had previously exited the D&D minis business and had also just laid of miniatures game veteran Rich Baker only a month prior. Regardless, Dungeon Command is coming, and will consist of two separately-sold faction packs: Sting of Lolth and Heart of Cormyr. Both will come packed as sets of 12 non-random minis from a mixture of both old and new sculpts, and will fuel this dice-less, card-driven combat game.
- Elminster's Forgotten Realms: Rounding out the schedule is the Q4 release of this book by Ed Greenwood, which serves as a tome of Forgotten Realms campaign content pulled straight from Greenwood's DM notes.