Pokémon TCG: EX Power Trio Tins Giveaway Winner!

We have a winner! Thanks to everyone who entered.

I chose randomly among all the entries, and have chosen…dBrown!

dBrown, you’ll be contacted via email with instructions on how to claim your prize!

Second Look—Golem Arcana

95fa806a44d0bb93d812be0c3680eb3c_largeSecond Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.Golem Arcana took Kickstarter by storm a while back ago. Released to the public in August, the game has been making waves. I finally got my grubby little hands on a core set and sat down with my two oldest kids to give it a whirl.

Yes.

Yes, it’s awesome. Yes, you should buy it. Yes, you should play it.

The game does an amazing job of things in almost every aspect of delivery. For those of you who don’t know, Golem Arcana is a miniatures game that needs a tablet or smart phone to play. A special stylus is included with the game to help the free app “see” the golems, board tiles, and cards. Golems, and their abilities, can be selected by tapping their bases or cards. Golems are moved by tapping the spaces on the board tiles. Everything from golem stats, modifiers, terrain effects, etc… is accounted for in the app. This make it very easy to set the game up and just play without ready any rules at all. the tutorial battles in the app get you started right away. Of course there’s also a link to the full rules from inside the app or on the Golem Arcana website.

I initially played the first few tutorials with just the base set. I played a few times with my 9-year-old son and my 7-year-old daughter. Both had no problem picking up the basics and having a blast with the game. My daughter is still constantly asking me to play. I ended up snagged both expansion armies to play with, and now have my eyes on the colossi.

There’s also a few extras I’d like to mention here. You aren’t limited to just 1 stylus during play. More can be purchased so that you don’t need to pass it around. In later scenarios, golems are fully customizable. You can pick your golem, the knight who rides it, relics, and powers. Everything has a point value, just as you’d expect in a miniatures game. Also, a good read through the full rules of the game once you have a few battles under your belt is well worth it. Knowing the inner workings of the game will help you form better armies, and plan better strategies. While you can get away with just having the game do everything for you, it’s nice to know why certain things happen during the course of battle.

I really can’t recommend the game enough. It’s one of my favorites this year so far.

I foresee much more Golem Arcana products in our household soon as more expansions are released.

A copy of the base game was provided free for review by Harebrained Schemes. Additional products were purchased.

DICETINY: The Lord of the Dice

DICETINY is a Digital Tabletop Board Game with RPG & Card Collecting elements where Epic Fantasy and Humorous Parodies coexist.”

That pretty much sums up the game. A board game that benefits from being digital, players will choose one of 4 heroes and roll dice, collect cards, and work together to fight monsters and bring peace to the world. Quests are randomly generated, cards have a collectable aspect to them, and the game has a wonderful 2D-style artistic feel.

The campaign has 14 days left to go, and it’s about halfway funded. A $15 pledge will get you the game when it’s released, and the rewards just keep getting better as you increase your pledge.

Edible Chocolate Board Games

Playing Scrabble and stuck with a “Q” tile but no “U”? If you were playing with the Gamesformotion version, all you’d have to do is eat it. That’s because Scrabble is one of the company’s new chocolate board games.

Under license from Hasbro, Gamesformotion is also producing versions of Monopoly, Candy Land, Clue, and Battleship with cards, tokens, and other game pieces made from “the finest Belgian milk chocolate.”

Chocolate games will be available in Target, CVS, Meijer, and other retail stores for $10 starting in November.

Candyland Chocolate Edition

Chocolate Monopoly

The Official Scrabble Players DictionaryJust 2 months since its release, the new fifth edition of The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary is coming under fire for omissions, inconsistencies, and spelling mistakes.

The problem appears to have originated with communications between the North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA) and Merriam-Webster. NASPA maintains the Official Tournament and Club Word List (OTCWL), which is used in judging tournament games in the United States and Canada. Merriam-Webster publishes The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary for casual use, removing from the OTCWL trademarked terms and words deemed offensive. NASPA’s Dictionary Committee expected Merriam-Webster to exercise editorial oversight of the draft word lists that it sent to the publisher. However that step may have been skipped.

As a result, the Dictionary includes “disrepects” and “disrepecting” but not “sez” or “xed”, which are part of the OTCWL. Other problems have been cataloged by the Seattle Scrabble Club.

With questions about the quality of these word lists, perhaps the bigger problem is availability for reference and research. Hasbro has claimed copyright to the OTCWL and restricted access to NASPA members.

[via FiveThirtyEight]

Pathfinder Monster Codex

Pathfinder RPG Monster CodexPaizo’s new Monster Codex for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game provides an in-depth look at 20 monster types, including orcs, ogres, trolls, kobolds, and more. For each, the book includes detailed background information, sample encounters, special material (such as feats and magic items), and a series of new stat blocks covering a range of challenge levels.

Another feature of the Monster Codex is a set of simple class templates, which is a way to add character-class features to a monster without having to go through the usual tedious level-by-level process.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesPatch Products is giving away 10 copies of Stratego via Facebook.

TOR is giving away three copies of the Mistborn Adventure Game and Alloy of Law setting supplement.

The Once & Future Podcast is giving away 10 autographed copies of the Battlestar Galactica RPG.

Ares Magazine is running a game design contest open only to women. The prize is $100, or $1,000 if the game is published in the magazine.

unnamedWizards of the Coast has just announced that Garruk’s Revenge, the new expansion for Magic 2015 – Duels of the Planeswalkers, will be available starting November 5 on PC via Steam and Android via Google Play, with Apple iPad, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Amazon Kindle to follow soon after.

The expansion will cost $4.99, and will feature fan-favorite cards from the Alara block. This expansion also makes it possible to earn every card from the base game and the expansion through game play alone, something that wasn’t previously possible. Once players complete the main storyline, they can earn Battle Boosters by winning multiplayer battles. Previous called Premium Boosters, these packs will feature the cards that were previously unavailable unless purchased.

Stockpile—A Kickstarter Preview

Stockpile LogoStock market games have a reputation for being, well, boring. And though I couldn’t say that Stockpile—which has players buying and selling stock certificates with the goal of accumulating the greatest net worth—is a laugh-out-loud kind of experience, I am quite comfortable recommending it as a very interesting and engaging strategy game.

First of all, Stockpile really is easy to learn. The game proceeds in rounds of buying and selling. Buying takes place in a combined auction of various bundles—primarily stock certificates, but also trading fees and the occasional bonus action—assembled by the players themselves. Selling takes place in normal round-the-table turn order, each player having the opportunity to sell any number of stocks at the current market price.

Second, buying and selling are both spiced up with a bit of hidden information. At the beginning of every round, each of the players is dealt a set of company and forecast cards, which are later used after the selling phase (at the end of the round) to adjust market prices. In between, as the players add certificates from the draw pile to the stockpiles for auction, each places one face-up and one face-down.

Simple mechanics with a twist of secret knowledge makes for some interesting choices and results in some tense moments, in both the auction and selling phases. For example, the selling phase can see runs develop on a particular stock when one player sells it and the others suspect insider information.

As company stock values move up and down in the market, they may occasionally split, go bankrupt, or pay dividends. Relatively easy to track, these thematic details further enhance the sense of market volatility without appreciably adding to the complexity of the game.

Overall, while no real-time zombie game, Stockpile does a great job of finding fun in the world of finance.

A game of Stockpile takes about an hour and handles up to five players (in fact, it probably works better with the full complement of five, which is how I played it each time). The Kickstarter project was launched today by Nauvoo Games with a goal of $25,000 and an estimated delivery date of July 2015.


A prototype copy of Stockpile was provided free for review by Nauvoo Games.

Second Look—Magic the Gathering: Khans of Takir

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.It’s taken me a bit longer than usual to get my thoughts together about Khans of Takir, the latest block in the Magic the Gathering universe. This block, unlike many other, really shines when it comes to triple color decks. Even the Intro Decks are all tri-color. That makes it a bit harder few newer players, and this block seems squarely focused on the established Magic player.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of this block. The way the cards work together is nothing less than you’d expect. The art is fantastic, the card list is great, and this is a solid set overall. I’m very much looking forward to the next two sets in this block, and it’s got me excited to a level I haven’t been at since Return to Ravnica.

03e55l4d43Wizards sent me a Fat Pack and 4 Intro Decks. The Intro Decks I split between myself and my 9-year-old son. Both of us quickly dissected them and beefed them up a bit. Out of the box, they’re great decks. Tweak ‘em a bit and they’re excellent decks. The Fat Pack went to my 7-year-old daughter to get her collection started. In hindsight, this probably wasn’t the best idea. Like I stated before, this set isn’t really for beginners. After some sorting and subbing in some extra cards I have from previous blocks she was golden. For someone her age I would recommend getting them started with the M15 Core stuff.

Overall I’m exceedingly happy with the new set. Not only that, but we have a new Magic player in the house. You can’t beat that.

A Fat Pack and 4 Intro Decks were provided free for review by Wizards of the Coast.

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