ThinkFun has been acquired by international toy company Ravensburger AG. ThinkFun, perhaps best known for its logic puzzles, such as Rush Hour, also produces educational games like Math Dice and the new //CODE series, and recently acquired Khet: The Laser Game.

ThinkFun will join the Ravensburger North America division along with Wonder Forge and Brio. The company, however, will continue to operate out of its Alexandria, Virginia offices and will retain current staff.

When a mid-10th century Viking grave was excavated in Birka, Sweden in the 1880s, the warrior remains within were assumed to be those of a man, despite some contradictory skeletal traits. Using DNA analysis, however, researchers with Stockholm and Uppsala Universities have now established that the occupant of the grave was a woman. The individual carried two X chromosomes and no Y chromosome, demonstrating that the women warriors in Viking poetry and art were no myth.

As befitting such a leader, the individual was also holding a board game.

The grave goods include a sword, an axe, a spear, armour-piercing arrows, a battle knife, two shields, and two horses, one mare and one stallion; thus, the complete equipment of a professional warrior. Furthermore, a full set of gaming pieces indicates knowledge of tactics and strategy, stressing the buried individual’s role as a high-ranking officer.

[via EurekAlert]

Game Blotter

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with games

Someone pilfered uncut sheets of unreleased Magic: The Gathering cards from the factory and posted them for sale online with images. The alleged thief has been arrested and the card sheets recovered. However, with card images already circulating, Wizards of the Coast has ramped up previews for the Ixalan set.

A 31 year old man from St. Cloud, Minnesota was arrested for stabbing his 20 year old Magic: The Gathering opponent seven times in the neck, and for hitting him in the head with a mallet. The suspect has a previous conviction for possession of explosives with criminal intent.

Cary Young is suing Rob Elliot in Victorian County Court (Australia) over royalties he says are owed for contributing 4,000 trivia questions to the board game Smart Ass. Young is a master at trivia who had a legendary run on the television game show Sale of the Century. Elliot, creator of the board game, was also host of Wheel of Fortune.

James Damore, the Google engineer fired by the company after circulating a memo critical of the company’s diversity policies, claims to hold the Chess rating of FIDE Master but no evidence supporting this has been found or provided.

The National Chess Federation of the Philippines banned player Jomel Sinagula for life “for recidivist cheating and identity theft.” Sinagula adopted various aliases for team competitions in order to position himself against lower ranked players. Several of Sinagula’s teammates were banned for 6 month periods for collaborating with the scheme.

Chess player Fernando Alberto Braga has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport a decision by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) not to grant him the title of Grandmaster. Central to the question of Braga’s qualification is whether a rule change made in 2005 should apply to the counting of games he played in 1992 and whether his brief stint with a 2500+ rating in 1998 took place too long ago to meet the requirement.

The U.S. Embassy in Iraq has returned to the Ministry of Culture an antique Chess set formerly owned by Saddam Hussein and stolen in 2003.

At the 2017 Canadian Chess Championship, GM Bator Sambuev and IM Nikolay Noritsyn were in the second blitz game of a tiebreak series to determine the winner, when Noritsyn attempting to promote his passed pawn couldn’t find a spare queen next to the board. So instead, he called out “queen” and replaced the pawn with an upside-down rook (common practice in non-tournament settings). At that point, an arbiter interrupted and ruled the upside-down piece to be a rook, not a queen, noting the presence of a queen there at the side of the board. Later review of video recorded at the tournament, however, revealed that at the time Noritsyn was looking for the queen piece, it was in the hand of his opponent.

Effective July 1 under the FIDE Laws of Chess it became illegal to make a move with two hands (such as when castling or promoting a pawn). Making such a move has the potential to cost a player the game, though in several high-profile games (including the Canadian one mentioned previously), arbiters have failed to intervene over the issue.

A burgler was caught on surveillance video breaking in to a Bronx, New York apartment and stealing board games. Police are looking for help in identifying the culprit.

Recently released government records reveal that in the mid-1990s, conflict and accusations within a San Francisco-area group of Dungeons & Dragons players triggered an investigation by the FBI. Agents were looking for the Unibomber but found just “that the typical war gaming enthusiast is overweight and not neat in appearance.”

Eighteen people were arrested for gambling at cards in Anlong Veng, Cambodia. Police in the village, known for being the last holdout of the Khmer Rouge and final resting place of Pol Pot, took the players back to the station and “educated” them on the dangers of their habit.

A Muslim Cricket player in India suffered harassment online after posting to Facebook a picture of himself playing Chess with his son. The harassers apparently side with the Muslim televangelist in Turkey who said that “playing Chess is worse than gambling and eating pork.” Several Indian Muslim clerics, though, have come to the Cricketer’s defense, saying that there is nothing wrong with playing Chess as long as gambling isn’t involved.

A homeless man was playing Chess in Union Square Park in Manhattan at 3:30 AM when three other men approached and got in to an argument with him, and then one of them stabbed him in the chest.

In Santa Monica, California’s Chess Park, two players were assaulted by a couple of homeless men, who were apparently drunk and raving about some drug dealer. “I bitched to the police about losing our beloved chess park to these roving bands of dangerous homeless, but didn’t see the point in pressing charges given the reality of our legal system.”

Rubik’s Brand Limited is suing in U.S. federal court Duncan Toys and Toys “R” Us for trademark infringement. Rubik’s claims that the appearance of Duncan’s Quick Cube puzzle, sold at Toys “R” Us, copies the trademarked design of the Rubik’s Cube without permission and will cause confusion among consumers. There is no patent claim in the suit.

To fight the counterfeiting of board games, Ad Magic and Breaking Games have started applying 3D photopolymer authentication labels to their products. The labels are produced by De La Rue, a U.K. company, and include parallax images and unique 8 digit serial numbers. The labels can even be authenticated with standard mobile apps.

Reaper Minis was dragged in, or involved itself in (depending on how you look at it), some controversial social-media postings by one of its employees. Ed Pugh, Reaper’s CEO, said that the company was “reviewing the matter and taking appropriate action,” which made other people upset that Reaper felt it should have a stake in what one of its employees said outside of the workplace.

The number of private card rooms in Texas is growing. To avoid anti-gambling laws, instead of taking a stake in the wagers, they collect membership and seat rental fees.

The World Series of Poker has been having a problem with card quality, leading to complaints by many participants about card marking, intentional and unintentional.

Police raiding a Mahjong game at a home in Cape Town, South Africa ended up arresting fourteen people for possession of shark fins and abalone.

New York City Chess school Chess at 3 is suing Hugh Kramer, one of its former instructors, claiming that he violated the terms of his employment contract by taking with him 24 students. The school is asking for $100,000 in damages.

A Chess instructor in Malaysia is facing criminal charges for allegedly groping his young charges. In Mumbai, a Chess coach was arrested for molesting a sister and brother pair of students, 10 and 7 years old. Once in custody, charges were added for beating a student aged five.

The State of Florida finally settled its dispute with the Seminole Tribe over banked card games. Tribal casinos will retain exclusive rights to run card games for another 13 years and the state will get $340 million. To enforce the bargain, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation has filed administrative complaints against the Sarasota Kennel Club and Pensacola Greyhound Racing for failing to comply with rules on designated-player games in their Poker rooms.

Cantina, a bar in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, was fined for hosting dice games with gambling.

The proprietor of a martial arts gym in Singapore was arrested for renting Mahjong tables and allowing gambling inside his facility.

Police believe that a man who showed up at an Annapolis, Maryland hospital with a gunshot wound had gotten in to an argument at a dice game, took a taxi home to get his gun, then took the same taxi to the hospital after he was wounded. They arrested him on weapons charges, theft, and failing to pay the cabbie.

A man returning to the scene of a dice game argument in Birmingham, Alabama, brought in the car with him a friend and his 4 year old daughter. The friend pulled a gun, so did the person they were going to see, but it was the girl and an elderly woman in another vehicle who ended up shot. The girl later died.

stray bullet originating at a dice game in Louisville, Kentucky struck and killed a 7 year old boy eating a bedtime snack in his home nearby.

The 1 year old hit by three stray bullets from a dice game shootout in Washington, D.C. survived and was, in fact, discharged from the hospital the next day.

Other dice game shootings occurred in Riverdale, Georgia; Phildelphia; Brooklyn; the BronxJacksonville, Florida; Edwardsville, Illinois; again in the Bronx; Baltimore; St. Louis; Detroit; and Shreveport, Louisiana.

A man who shot three people in a Las Vegas home over a game of Dominoes forgot his car keys when he left the scene, then pounded on the door expecting to be let back in.

A man in Hanover, Jamaica was shot and killed while playing Dominoes.

In Stratford, Connecticut, a man pulled a gun on his cousin because he thought he was being cheated at a game of Dominoes.

In High Springs, Florida, a woman shot at her husband while he was playing Dominoes in the park. Why was not revealed.

In Owatonna, Minnesota, a woman was arrested for attacking her boyfriend and other players during a game of Dominoes, with a knife and a shard of glass.

JAX Acquired by Goliath

Goliath today announced its acquisition of JAX Ltd. The latter company, best known for its Sequence board game, will continue to operate under its own name out of offices in Plymouth, Minnesota. Members of the Levine family, former owners, are staying with the company.

Goliath, which is headquartered in the Netherlands and operates in 75 countries, is probably best known in the United States for its silly action games such as Doggie Doo, Gooey Looey, and Pop the Pig. Goliath also acquired the family-owned Pressman back in 2014.

In early July, Evil Hat Productions filed to register a trademark for Star Frontiers, an abandoned trademark previously held by Wizards of the Coast as part of their purchase of TSR.

TSR’s Star Frontiers published between 1982 and 1985. A remake of the setting with a different name was published in 2004 as part of Wizards of the Coasts’ d20 Modern sourcebook, d20 Future. The United States Patent and Trademark Office lists Wizard of the Coasts’ claim on the trademark as “dead” as of April 17, 2004.

The TSR version of Star Frontiers was the company’s space-faring science-fiction roleplaying game, set in a relatively unknown region of space where humans and a group of other alien species had formed a “United Planetary Federation”. Evil Hat’s filing for the trademark lists a roleplaying game and a series of fiction works including novels.

This article has been edited as mentioned in the comments below.

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesFor 25% off direct from Troll Lord Games (print or digital), use coupon code “Labor25”. Or share the sale on Facebook or Twitter for a personal coupon of 40% off.

For Labor Day, Dog Might Games is giving free domestic shipping, free lights and wooden sculpts on Adventure Cases, 50% off custom wooden sculpts, and free textured lining on Premium Adventure Cases.

Eagle-Gryphon Games is running a Labor Day Sale.

Toys “R” Us has Hasbro’s Clue, Connect 4, Trouble, and Sorry to under $10.

Today and tomorrow from Litko Game Accessories, save $5 off orders of $50, $15 off orders of $100, and $40 off orders of $200, and get free domestic shipping starting at $100.

Through Friday, save 20% on orders of $50 or more from Hexbug.

Save 10% on metal coins from The Broken Token with coupon code “COINSALE”.

Daily through the 10th, BKOM Studios (via Facebook) is alternating between giving away Steam keys for its upcoming turn-based D&D-based computer game, Tales from Candlekeep, and the Tomb of Annihilation Board Game from WizKids.

For the launch of Lords of Waterdeep on two more platforms, the game is 30% off on Steam and 50% off on Android. The original iOS game is also discounted.

Capitan Games’ September Sale means 15% off 15mm Napoleonic, Naval, 1st Carlist War, and Spanish American War ranges, and all WWII 20mm ranges.

There are two Ars Magica deals available now at Bundle of Holding: Fifth Edition and Wizards & Power.

Sign up for Spin Master’s newsletter to save 20% on your first direct purchase.

After announcing two new core rule books for Numenera, Monte Cook Games has put all the existing Numenera products on-sale for 20% off, not to clear inventory but to emphasize their compatibility.

To celebrate the opening of the company’s online shop, Jon Brazer Enterprises is giving 25% off with coupon code “OpenStore25”.

Zott Dairy cheese-strip packages in Germany, Austria, and Poland come with codes to enter weekly sweepstakes for games from AMIGO. A number of supermarkets in Germany are also running in-store giveaways.

A limited-time bundle of Fat Dragon Games Papercraft products includes $150 of print-and-play terrain for only $28 (an 81% discount).

For $10 off purchases of $50 or more direct from HasbroToyShop, use coupon code “LABORWEEK17”.

EverythingBoardGames is giving away:

The Giveaway Geek is giving away:

Hot Jobs

Goliath Games is recruiting experienced artists with 5 or more years of experience to fill the position of Graphic Designer at the company’s office in Plano, Texas.

Spin Master is in search of a Social Media Producer and an Integrated Marketing Specialist for the company’s Toronto office. For Social Media Producer, what the company wants is someone who’s constantly plugged in to social media and loves to play with toys. Marketing experience and creativity required. The job of Integrated Marketing Specialist will be to develop influencer campaigns, events, and programs. At the company’s Los Angeles office, Spin Master is looking for a Senior Brand Manager to lead product development and marketing for entertainment-based brands, including Star WarsHow to Train Your Dragon, and Pirates of the Caribbean. For this position, an MBA and 4-6 years of consumer product brand management experience is preferred.

Modiphius Entertainment is expanding its miniatures business and needs both freelance 3D sculptors and figure painters. The company is also looking for an Art Director, which could be freelance or full-time, in London or remote.

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Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesIn Hollandspiele’s One-Year Anniversary Sale on military history board games, fifteen games range from $5-15 off. Additionally, for $10 off orders of $200 or more, use coupon code “save10”. For $20 off orders of $300 or more, use coupon code “save20”. For $30 off orders of $400 or more, use coupon code “save30”. And for $50 off orders of $500 or more, use coupon code “save50”.

Gathering Magic is giving away a Magic: The Gathering Arcane Wizardry deck from the Commander 2017 series.

The MCGuiRE Review is giving away Zoo Ball from Osprey Games.

As App of the Week, Tsuro is currently free on iOS. It’s also on-sale for 99¢ on Android.

Three games are 10% off in Victory Point Games’ Are We Hawkin’ Weehawken Sale, including obviously Hero of Weehawken.

Tiny Battle Publishing is holding an Eclipse Sale with games around 15-25% off.

Steve Jackson Games is running special sales and bundles at Warehouse 23 for those who can’t attend Gen Con.

Also on the subject of not attending Gen Con, many fine and sympathetic publishers are participating in a giveaway of games by GenCant (the “unconvention”).

Dog Might Games’ Adventure Cases are 10% off and ship for free to the United States.

Flying Pig Games is selling Old School Tactical for 25% off but that end today.

With HexBug’s Back to School Sale, save 25% on orders of $50 or more.

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The winner of the 2017 Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming is Gen Con. Not only is the award totally deserved because Gen Con is a fantastically fun convention, but it’s also not so surprising that it was awarded this particular year, the show’s 50th.

Running this weekend in Indianapolis, Gen Con for the first time completely sold out of badges this year. And I hear that after just one day, so have several of the most anticipated new games.

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Distribution

It’s only been about a year-and-a-half since Asmodee consolidated operations and abandoned Fantasy Flight Games’ exclusive deal with Alliance Game Distributors (in favor of a portfolio approach with ACD, Alliance, GTS, Southern Hobby, and PHD). Effective this month, though, Asmodee North America back to exclusive with Alliance, claiming the arrangement will benefit hobby retailers.

Alliance Game Distributors is building a dedicated team of Asmodee Sales Specialists who will work directly with retailers to help them grow sales by understanding the retailer’s specific needs and providing in-depth product knowledge of ANA products and services. This sales team will also provide greater visibility into stock availability, allocations, and other retailer initiatives, as well as sending retailer feedback to ANA.

At the same time, Asmodee is restructuring its broader sales policies and assigning all specialty retailers (new or existing) to one of three categories. Flagship Accounts are for those with brick-and-mortar stores that provide in-store gaming space. These will have access to the full range of ANA products, early access to new releases, and benefit from organized play support. Toy and Gift Accounts, for those without in-store gaming space, will be limited to the top-selling, broad-appeal titles and restricted to general release dates. General Accounts are for those with different business models, perhaps such as event sales, game cafes, and primarily online businesses. These will be able to participate in organized play and sell the full catalog but not benefit from early access. All three types of account will henceforth be permitted online sales but also must commit to a minimum advertised price (MAP, of no more than a 20 percent discount off of MSRP).

Coiledspring Games has signed on as exclusive U.K. distribution agent for Iello Games’ full product line and for Games Workshop’s Talisman: The Magical Quest board game.

Ares Games of Italy will be distributing the English-language games of Phalanx (UK) worldwide except for Europe. This includes existing products, such as Germania Magna: Border in Flames and Hunger: The Show, as well as the soon to be republished classic, Hannibal & Hamilcar – Rome vs. Carthage (due November 2017).

CMON is no longer handling U.S. distribution for Ankama Products (Krosmaster board games).

This week marks the formal launch of a distribution arrangement that sees Passport Game Studios carrying the product line of Rule & Make of Australia. These include Skyward: The Airborne City, Entropy: Worlds Collide, Smiths of Winterforge, Robots & Rockets, Tavern Fame, and more. Passport also recently expanded its existing distribution partnership with the Polish game company, Granna, to bring the CV series of board games to Canada.

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