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Arkham Horror LCG co-creator and Lord of the Rings designer leaves Fantasy Flight after 11 years

MJ Newman’s last expansion was the ambitious non-linear campaign The Scarlet Keys.

Image credit: Fantasy Flight Games

The co-creator and former lead developer for Arkham Horror: The Card Game, as well as designer on several of Fantasy Flight Games’ other living card games, has left the publisher after more than a decade.

Maxine Juniper ‘MJ’ Newman initially joined The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game lead developer Caleb Grace in creating expansions for the long-running LCG back in 2013, working on beloved campaign cycles including Angmar Awakened and Dream-chaser. Both campaigns have since been re-released for the card game’s revised edition, launched in 2022 after a nearly three-year hiatus.

In 2016, Newman co-created the living card game spin-off from Lovecraftian board game Arkham Horror. Arkham Horror: The Card Game would arguably go on to become Fantasy Flight’s most acclaimed and best-loved LCG, with Newman herself heading up eight campaigns as the game’s lead developer over six years.

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In October 2022, Newman announced she would be departing the Arkham Horror LCG team to move onto other projects inside Fantasy Flight as a senior designer, handing over to new lead developer Duke Harrist and co-designer Nick Kory.

Newman wrapped up her time on Arkham Horror: The Card Game in style, her final expansion being the game’s ambitious non-linear campaign The Scarlet Keys, combining a globe-spanning storyline - said to be its biggest campaign to date - with a separate investigator expansion adding six new playable characters. Since the expansion’s release in 2022, she has returned to the Arkham Horror Files universe with Secrets in Scarlet, a short story for the anthology of the same name that features a character from The Scarlet Keys.

Away from Arkham Horror and Lord of the Rings, Newman also contributed to some of FFG’s other living card games, notably the Black Widow and SP//dr hero packs for Marvel Champions.

Outside of Fantasy Flight, Newman has authored fantasy novel The Key and the Crescent and story collection A Drift Apart in her Darkdrifters series, with second full instalment The Thousandth Cut due to release later this year. Last September, Newman announced she was working on a Darkdrifters roleplaying game, noting that she planned to release the tabletop RPG for free due to her role at Fantasy Flight.

However, Newman has now revealed that she will be leaving Fantasy Flight next week after more than 11 years at the studio.

“I will forever cherish my time here and the many friends I've made along the way,” she wrote on X. “I’m so proud of everything we’ve done and all the amazing, talented, and lovely people I have been fortunate to work with. But all good things must come to an end, and it’s time for me to embark on a new adventure.”

While the designer stayed shtum on her plans, Newman confirmed that she will continue to create games, adding: “In fact, I hope you hear a lot more from me in the future.”

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