Flesh and Blood, the upstart competitor to Magic: The Gathering, has built up a lot of steam since its launch in 2019. Primarily played as a two-player dueling game, it has a thriving competitive scene, with 4,000 stores worldwide helping promote its organized play program. But until now, the game hasn’t had an introductory boxed set geared toward more casual players.
Now the New Zealand-based company has teamed up with Brian “The Professor” Lewis, the trading-card-game guru behind the popular Tolarian Community College YouTube channel, to create Round the Table, a new four-player boxed set available on Sept. 29. It includes four decks of cards built around FAB’s existing Ultimate Pit Fight multiplayer format. According to publisher Legend Story Studios, the game was built specifically with new players in mind, and includes all new hero characters — including one based on Lewis himself.
In Flesh and Blood, players take on the role of fantasy warriors engaged in one-on-one arena combat. Players use items like weapons and armor, as well as special moves played from a small hand of cards. These moves form a “combat chain,” where characters trade attacks, parries, spells, and other maneuvers to disrupt their opponents, break their guard, and do damage. The first player to bring their opponent to zero health wins. But what truly makes FAB stand apart is its commitment to local game stores.
“Flesh and Blood is a true indie game,” Lewis told Polygon in an interview on Wednesday. “That’s something very rare in [trading card game] spaces. It’s the only major TCG game that I know of that is not owned by a huge corporation like Konami or Hasbro. But rather, it was created by an individual, James White.”
Speaking with Polygon in 2022, White emphasized his own goals for the franchise, which focus on community-building.
“People typically have work, they have home, and then they have a third place,” White said at the time. “For some people there’s a sports club, or it’s church, or it’s the pub, or maybe it’s like a music club or something like that. But for gamers — for tabletop gamers — traditionally it’s been the local game store.”
“The local game store still played a really important role in my life,” White continued. “It kept me grounded.”
Lewis shares his love of local game shops at a very deep level.
“Your local game store is the last gathering point,” Lewis said, “where kids and teenagers can go to find a safe environment to engage in activities that involve creativity, strategic planning, mathematics, [and to] make friends. And this is true too for adults. How do you make friends as an adult? [...] Game stores are where grownups can make friends like they used to do at school.”
Newbies aren’t the only target demographic for the game. Long-time fans of FAB are also in for a treat. In addition to The Professor as a playable hero, Round the Table also includes the game’s first legally playable bard, Melody.
“Her attacks are songs,” Lewis said. “Like any good artist, she doesn’t work for exposure. Every time she plays a song she gets paid and receives coppers.”
Regarding the value inside the box, Lewis calls Round the Table his “dream product.” It include four pre-constructed Ultimate Pit Fight blitz decks, which regularly sell for $14.99. More than 100 of those cards are new to the game, with many of them designed specifically for multiplayer games. Also bundled inside is a 24-inch high-quality rubber playmat and a thousand-count card storage box, so very little of the packaging goes to waste.
Round the Table: TCC x LSS will be on sale only at local game stores beginning Sept. 29. Fans should expect to find it for sale at $69.99.