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Dark Souls board game maker picks up Streets of Rage-inspired board game beat 'em up Street Masters

Street Masters joins Altar Quest as another orphaned Blacklist title rescued by the Manchester-based Steamforged Games.

Promotional image for Street Masters board game by Blacklist Games
Image credit: Blacklist Games

Dark Souls, Resident Evil and Elden Ring board game maker Steamforged has acquired Street Masters, a cooperative beat ‘em up inspired by arcade fighting games such as Streets of Rage. The deal lifts even more tabletop projects from Blacklist Games as its struggle to fulfil crowdfunding projects continues.

Steamforged Games announced the agreement with Blacklist Games on November 28th, saying that it will “take the reins” on current and future development, production and distribution of Street Master, “ensuring the game's continued success and expansion,” according to a press release.

The Manchester-based tabletop studio, which also handles the Horizon and Monster Hunter board game series and the disastrous Dark Souls RPG, said it will also claim responsibility for a Street Masters’ Indiegogo campaign that launched in 2020 and is still attempting to ship the promised Tide of the Dragon expansion to the majority of backers. Steamforged will reportedly post a substantive update and communicate more details to backers in “the coming weeks”.

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That’s likely welcome news to backers who have been waiting up to three years for Street Masters’ most recent box to arrive on their doorstep. Street Masters: Tide of the Dragon was partially launched as recompense for the multiple fulfilment failures that plagued the Street Masters: Aftershock crowdfunding campaign.

At the same time, Blacklist Games launched and attempted to fulfil two series of fantasy-themed miniatures. The company claimed that the months-long delays - which eventually stretched into years - could be blamed on the cascading issues with production and shipping brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic: exorbitantly priced shipping containers, docks in lockdown, shipping staff strikes and shocking price hikes on raw materials.

In May of this year, Steamforged rescued another of Blacklist Games’ projects. Altar Quest, described as the spiritual successor to HeroQuest, was designed by Adam and Brady Sadler before they departed as vice presidents of the company. As with Street Masters, Steamforged promised to assume responsibility for producing and fulfilling the project on Blacklist’s behalf.

"We’re thrilled to welcome Street Masters into the Steamforged library,” said Rich Loxam, Steamforged Games co-founder and CEO. “Being a company of gamers as well as a publisher, we only take on projects we’re genuinely passionate about, and Street Masters is a game we’ve loved for a long time. We look forward to taking the reins, welcoming the fans into our thriving community, and exploring the exciting possibilities for the Street Masters world.”

Plenty of rotten animus and vitriol have circulated online regarding Blacklist Games as a studio in the wake of their string of half-finished or seemingly abandoned projects. Despite blaming a pandemic-frozen global economy and distribution network, many fans point at Blacklist’s lack of international business experience and chronic Kickstarter launches as indicators of deeper financial problems within the company. Dicebreaker has reached out for more information but did not receive a reply prior to publication.

Street Masters pits one to four players against various villainous organisations in a miniatures-based fighting game with combat inspired by the best beat ‘em up arcade franchises from your arcade days. Sessions are structured around specific scenarios, and players will use a unique deck of cards and six-sided dice to dish out punches, kicks and legally distinct, definitely not Hadouken energy attacks. Street Masters was also designed by the Sadler brothers and originally released in 2018.

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