Daily Illuminator

December 23, 2011: New Releases In 2011

At the end of last year I wrote about our 2010 releases, both new and reprinted. That exercise turned out to be very useful for 2011 planning -- I went back to it a few times a month as I worked on scheduling new releases and reprints -- so here's a review of our 2011 new releases. There were so many reprints that they'll get their own writeup next week!

Give Me The BrainJanuary -- The year started very strong with the release of James Ernest's Give Me The Brain. It's always fun working with James, and our edition of his fast-food zombie game turned out great. One look at that bright pink box and it will forever be burned into your memory.

And Munchkinomicon was a fantastic first Munchkin expansion for the year. There's a forum thread in which fans are discussing their favorite booster packs. I put my own vote in for Munchkinomicon. I still want a sequel for this wacky pack of spells.

February -- 2011 was a great year for dice, and we started with the +6 Bag o' Munchkin Rainbow d6, a pack of six dice to upgrade your Munchkin and Munchkin Quest games. But as cool as dice are, the big release for this month had to be Munchkin 7 -- Cheat With Both Hands, the replacement to the previous Munchkin 7 -- More Good Cards and Munchkin Blender expansions. And it looks like everyone's loving this one; the first reprint is on its way already.

Munchkin ZombiesMarch -- Hands down, our biggest release of the month had to be Munchkin Zombies. That game ate a LOT of brains.

Also in March we released Munchkin Monster Enhancers, a booster that gave a home to the cards we didn't use from More Good Cards when Cheat With Both Hands was created. It's become very popular with players who want to make their Munchkin games really mean. I love those players!

April -- We only had one new release this month, and it was a much bigger job than we expected. But in the end, the new edition of The Awful Green Things From Outer Space turned out beautifully. All of the effort that Ben, Monica, and Steve put into updating the game was well worth it, if only because whenever anyone sees this new edition the first response is "Wow."

May -- Our first month in 2011 without a new release. Not bad, but I'd rather put something new on the store shelves every month except December (the end-of-year releases have to be out in November). I'm hoping that 2012 will be a little more steady when it comes to new games and accessories.

Munchkin DeluxeJune -- The successes of Munchkin Zombies and Munchkin Cthulhu were reinforced with the release of Munchkin Cthulhu Crypts of Concealment and Munchkin Zombies Kill-O-Meter, two accessories that have done very well for us. (In fact, Crypts of Concealment performed so well that we had to immediately reprint it. That took us all by surprise.)

July -- In late 2010, we put together a plan to create a bulkier, fancier, more "deluxe" version of core Munchkin. What would we call something like that?  Munchkin Deluxe, of course! And it turned out great, with a gameboard and pawns and a big, beautiful box. Based on what I saw during convention season, players are using this version to introduce their friends to Munchkin. It's never bad when new players discover just how much fun they can have with the game, and the board and pawns make level tracking easier to visualize than ever.

GURPS HorrorAugust -- Ken Hite's GURPS Horror is a fantastic update of a classic book. I still remember the first time I read GURPS Horror -- way back in 1991 -- and just how inspired I was after reading it. It's truly awesome to be able to help players today feel that same sense of excitement. And Munchkin players were treated quite well this month with the release of Munchkin Zombies 2 -- Armed and Dangerous+6 Bag o' Munchkin Level Counters, and the Munchkin Conan the Barbarian booster. Munchkin Conan the Barbarian was personally very exciting for me; I'm a fan of Howard's work and the chance to work on an official Conan expansion for Munchkin was more than I could resist . . . even when my senses were screaming at me that the deadline was unrealistic. Well, we did it and we did it right. 

September -- More dice! The Munchkin Jumbo d6 turned out perfectly. Six colors, six different sets of new cards, and insanely large dice all came together to make this a powerful release. And for those who love plush, we unleashed Zombie Chibithulhu, a cute brain-eater ready to help you in games of Munchkin Zombies.

Munchkin Axe CopOctober -- Just like last year, October was the month in which several delayed releases all ran into each other and hit store shelves at once. We had six new releases: the new Munchkin Axe Cop core set, the surprisingly-fast selling Giant Cthulhu Dice (see the November 18, 2011 Daily Illuminator), the Munchkin Dice Bag (with a rule and cards!), the new blue and yellow Cthulhu Dice, GURPS Tactical Shooting, and our new Trophy Buck dice game.

November -- The final month of new releases and our last chance to bring you more dice . . . so we did! Another new Cthulhu Dice color -- sparkly pink! -- joined the existing swarm, while Munchkin Fairy Dust Dice enhanced everyone's Munchkin Fairy Dust booster and Munchkin Jolly Jumbo d6 made Christmas more . . . well, Jolly! Closing out the month -- and keeping Christmas fun -- was Munchkin Reindeer Games, the latest Munchkin booster. It goes so very nicely with the Waiting for Santa and Santa's Revenge boosters that are already out there bringing cheer to Munchkin games everywhere.

A total of 26 new releases in 2011! That's more than we published in 2010, with only a few bumps here and there (and the bumps were more on the shipping and manufacturing than they were internal, so I'm pretty happy). 2012 which is already shaping up pretty well, with eight new releases already at print and several more in the works.

Thanks, everyone, for helping to make 2011 so successful for us. I hope you'll stick around for 2012, because I promise we have more surprises!

-- Phil Reed

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