Two major trends seem to be occurring when it comes to America’s most/least favorite shopping holiday, Black Friday: news comes earlier and earlier each year (it’s not even Halloween yet!), and small business owners are fighting harder for their slice of the pie. The latter is of keen interest to the tabletop gaming industry, which is largely dependent on brick and mortar, so publisher AEG has created a new product to help local game stores cash in on the festive consumerism hysteria.

This November, the AEG Black Box will start a new annual tradition, retailing at $49.99 and only sold at local shops. All we know so far is that this box of tabletop mysteries will contain four games with a total $110 retail value. Among the selection will be at least one brand new game, complemented by special editions and/or reskins of prior AEG releases (potentially even out of print titles).

AEG has been on quite a hot streak, so we’re very curious to see what makes its way into this inaugural box. The publisher has over two decades of experience producing CCGs, but went through some growing pains in 2008 as it moved into the board game market. Is this Black Box just a ploy for AEG to drop old and unwanted inventory on unsuspecting gamers, or more of a celebration of its recent hits, rewarding loyal customers for sticking with the publisher?

Such an opportunity for rampant speculation cannot be passed up! ICv2 has the scoop, and our first clue: the box’s dimensions have been revealed as 26.5 cm x 26.5 cm x 7cm. In board gamer terms, that’s slightly smaller than a Ticket to Ride box, so don’t expect multiple big-box games. Let’s lay out the possibilities:

Best case:

  • Alternate-art Doomtown: Reloaded cards
  • A euro game surprise from German co-publishing partner Pegasus Spiele
  • The Kebab Shop promo expansion for last year’s award-winning Istanbul
  • Another crazy microgame from Jason Tagmire (designer of AEG’s Maximum Throwdown)

Worst case:

  • Tomb of Iuchiban, the unpublished third game in the Tomb series, long thought cancelled due to just not being very good
  • A Legend of the Five Rings CCG starter (hey kids, the first hit is free)
  • More Thunderstone
  • Another re-theme of Love Letter (don’t get us wrong, Love Letter is a must-own game, but we all own it already!)

In the words of Reddit user takabrash, “Seems like a bad deal to me. I’ll probably only buy two..”