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Official Mass Effect board game will cost “well under $100”

Modiphius' Mass Effect board game is coming in Q4 of 2024 - and the firm's boss tells us it's simpler and cheaper than most big-box games.

Mass Effect board game - Official bioware modiphius artwork showing femshep and crew members including Garrus, Tali, and Wrex

Modiphius, maker of licenced Elder Scrolls and Fallout miniatures, has announced it’s making a new, Bioware licenced Mass Effect board game that’s due later this year – and Modiphius founder Chris Birch promises Wargamer it’ll be much easier on both your time and wallet than most big RPG-style board games.

Mass Effect – Priority: Hagalaz is a story-driven campaign board game set during the events of Mass Effect 3, with character progression, and branching storylines – which could easily signal to gamers it’ll be fairly complex, take a long time, and cost a lot of cash. Not so, says Birch.

“The pitch was: let’s do a low maintenance, easy dungeon crawl, and pitch it at a lower price point so it’s not a $150 massive box of plastics,” he explains to Wargamer in an interview, ahead of the Mass Effect board game‘s public announcement on Monday.

“The price is fluctuating, with things like the Red Sea making it very difficult to bring board games out of China,” he adds – but he confirms the final product will cost “well under $100”.

Modiphius officially announced Mass Effect – Priority: Hagalaz in a press release on Monday, as “a cooperative, story-driven board game for 1-4 players designed by Eric M. Lang and Calvin Wong Tze Loon”.

It’ll come with “six highly detailed 32mm scale pre-assembled plastic miniatures of male and female Shepherd, Liara, Tali, Wrex, and Garrus,” Modiphius says, with each character able to level up and pick new skills and equipment as you progress through the campaign.

The game’s story sees you and the gang investigate a crashed Cerberus ship on the planet Hagalaz – a world with a highly hostile environment, visited only briefly during the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC for Mass Effect 2.

“We’re not using the Shadow Broker,” Birch confirms – but “the planet is great fun because of the intense natural conditions”.

“This is a mission you missed when you played the videogame,” he explains. “Shepard’s like ‘look, I’ve got one more mission we’ve got to go and do’ – it’s going to be fun”.

“There’s a crashed ship, and you’re gonna be going into the crashed ship. And the Reapers are involved. It’s a classic Mass Effect mission.”

But, unlike similarly sized and structured RPG board games, it reportedly won’t be stuffed with additional miniatures and expensive luxury material.

Birch tells Wargamer his team, Lang, and Wong have specifically designed the game to be more accessible, less time-hungry, and significantly cheaper than comparable, big box campaign board games like Frosthaven or Undaunted: Stalingrad.

“It’s not a super complex game; we wanted something that would be very easy to pick up and play through,” says Birch.

“There’s a kind of branching narrative campaign, which, just like normal Mass Effect games, has different endings.

“You can pick different characters and different skills – and, as you go through each game, you can’t unlock all the skills that each character has. So you can have quite a different experience playing through again, and making different choices.”

Character progression isn’t the only element of Bioware’s videogames captured in Priority Hagalaz, though – the moral choices are in there as well.

“You’ve got the Paragon and Renegade choices to make too,” Birch says. “You can go in two different directions with the mission options, so it does keep give people a fair amount of replay value, which is nice.”

“But it’s not the classic $150 huge box with all the content you’ll never play through, that’s going to take you hours to learn to play.”

“The idea with this is that you should be playing very quickly, and it’s going to teach you the rules as you go,” he adds.

Fans of the best board games will recognize Eric M. Lang as a big name in the trade, designer of the 2015 hit Viking themed territory control strategy board game Blood Rage. Calvin Wong, meanwhile, is a prolific tabletop games writer and actor who worked on the 2022 adventure board game Lands of Galzyr, and starred in the 2015 rom-com Crazy Rich Asians. We’re interested to see what this team comes up with for Mass Effect.

Modiphius’ announcement says the game will come out via board games publishing and distribution giant Asmodee “later in 2024” – and Birch confirms to us that probably means a holiday release.

“We’re looking at Q4 with Asmodee,” he says, adding “there’ll be some pre-orders before then, through us and, obviously, through retailers”.

The announcement comes just days after Modiphius revealed it was developing the first new Terry Pratchett Discworld RPG to hit our tabletops for 26 years.

You can rest assured that our chat with Chris Birch turned up not only a few more nuggets of information about the Mass Effect board game, but a trove of facts about what’s coming up in Adventures in Ankh-Morpork too.

For all the latest, and the full interview with Birch, stay tuned to Wargamer this week and follow us on Google News. In the meantime check out our guides to the best tabletop RPGs and the best coop board games in the business, to see what Modiphius’ new titles are up against.