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War of the Ring, The One Ring and Zombicide RPG designers join Blood Rage and Rising Sun studio CMON

Francesco Nepitello and Marco Maggi working on “several high priority and super-secret future releases”.

The designers behind acclaimed Lord of the Rings board game War of the Ring, The One Ring RPG and the upcoming tabletop RPG based on Zombicide have joined the ranks of Blood Rage, Rising Sun and Massive Darkness publisher CMON.

Francesco Nepitello and Marco Maggi are best known for co-creating War of the Ring alongside Roberto Di Meglio. An epic strategy game spanning the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, the 2004 release (as well as its 2012 second edition) is often proclaimed as one of the best board games based on Tolkien’s books.

In 2017, Nepitello and Maggi joined forces with Letters from Whitechapel designer Gabriele Mari for Hunt for the Ring, a prequel to War of the Ring set during The Fellowship of the Ring that sees the Hobbits fleeing the Nazgul. Hunt for the Ring could be played as an opening chapter to War of the Ring, with the outcome of the first game influencing the setup state of the second.

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Nepitello and Maggi explored the fantasy world of Middle-earth further in tabletop roleplaying game The One Ring, the 2011 RPG set between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Following the cancellation of the RPG and its Dungeons & Dragons 5E-compatible spin-off Adventure in Middle-earth earlier this year, a new edition of The One Ring is currently under development at Tales from the Loop studio Free League. Nepitello will serve as lead designer on the upcoming tabletop RPG.

Outside the world of Lord of the Rings, Nepitello and Maggi adapted magical novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell into a board game released last year, and collaborated with Wings of Glory co-creator Andrea Angiolino on the War of the Worlds-inspired spin-off from the aerial combat miniatures game, Tripods & Triplanes.

CMON announced that Nepitello and Maggi would be joining its design team as part of its online event held last weekend, CMON Virtual Expo - replacing the annual convention held by the publisher after it was cancelled due to COVID-19.

The designers previously worked on the upcoming tabletop RPG based on CMON’s horror board game series Zombicide. The project was recently crowdfunded as part of the Kickstarter for the board game’s second edition and is due for a release this November.

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CMON teased that Nepitello and Maggi are working on “several high priority and super-secret future releases” as part of the studio, with no further details of the upcoming board games announced.

They join Blood Rage, Rising Sun and Ankh: Gods of Egypt creator Eric Lang, who took up the mantle of director of game design for CMON in early 2017.

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Matt Jarvis


After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.