DropMix Country

The DropMix music-mixing audio card game was on display Tuesday at CES (the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas), where Hasbro and Harmonix partner NXP Semiconductors is hoping the demonstration will inspire additional uses of its near field communications technology in “areas like consumer engagement in smart toys, smart clothing, smart packages and more.” Fans of the game attending CES will be happy to note that the convention-exclusive Transformers DropMix cards are also being distributed at NXP’s booth (CP-25).

Shipping February 1st is the next DropMix expansion, the Country “Lucky” Playlist Pack, which includes 15 DropMix cards and one hidden track card. with music from Big & Rich, Carrie Underwood, Poison, Sam Hunt, and the Zac Brown Band.

For those interested but previously put off by the game’s full retail price, Amazon is currently offering DropMix at a 50% discount.

Pitch Your Game to Target

Game and toy inventors hoping to see their design on the shelves of a major retailer have a unique opportunity over the next month with Target. The company has launched what it’s calling the Target Open Innovation Project and is taking applications for direct meetings at New York Toy Fair in February.

We want early access to inventors and companies with fresh ideas and in exchange, will offer the opportunity to pitch your idea to a panel of Target Toy buyers and get feedback from experts in Mass Retail. We intend for these meetings to produce a meaningful pipeline of innovation for our Toy Assortment.

Initial applications are due January 17th and require information on the product’s target audience and how it differs from current products. Also asked is whether the inventor has performed any market studies, patent searches, or cost analysis.

Target is looking for products in the following categories: games, dolls, activity sets, pre-school toys, and imaginative play.

Scoreboard

Score Board - Boardgame tournaments, competitions and championships results and scoresOpen source Chess engine Stockfish won Chess.com’s Computer Chess Championship, clearly leading the 10-engine, 90-game round-robin and then edging out runner-up Houdini in a superfinal that included 20 rapid, blitz, and bullet games.

Stockfish, though, may be on the way out as grand computer Chess champion. AlphaZero, an algorithm developed by Google’s DeepMind subsidiary, with nothing more than the basic rules to get started, taught itself Chess well enough in 4 hours to beat Stockfish handily over a 100 game series with 28 wins, 72 draws, and zero losses. Though some questions remain about the conditions of the contest, AlphaZero’s play was amazing not only for its performance but also for its style.

Artist Ara Ghazaryan of Los Angeles has assembled the world’s smallest handmade Chess set with a board measuring 15.3 x 15.3 mm and a king piece standing 4.8 mm tall. Ghazaryan used Brazilian cherry wood, 18 kt. yellow and white gold, and diamonds in building the set.

The current general World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen, won the World Blitz Chess Championship. The previous World Champion, Viswanathan Anand, however, demonstrated that he still retains the competitive spirit, taking home the trophy of the World Rapid Chess Championship.

Kacper Piorun of Poland won the World Chess Solving Championship for the fourth year in a row. The Solving Championship presents competitors with a variety of Chess-game puzzles, such as how to guarantee White a mate in a limited number of moves. There are also helpmate challenges, which require figuring both Black and White-side moves to arrive at mate in a set number of turns, and selfmate challenges, a kind-of suicide puzzle, where the goal is to move White such that it forces Black to mate.

At a Rubik’s Cube event in Chicago, Seung Beom Cho solved the 3×3 puzzle in a world-record 4.59 seconds. At an event in Plano, Texas, Max Hilliard did it blindfolded in 17.87 seconds (also a world record).

Carter Pfeifer Mattig of Chicago won the Merit Open International Backgammon Championship in North Cyprus, taking home a prize of €77,600.

In Sulaymaniyah, in Iraqi Kurdistan, two brothers played Backgammon several thousand feet in the sky, while paragliding.

Eight year-old Zack Barnett, the youngest player ever to do so, won the title of Top Trumps Champion.

There was a Klask World Championship (the first) in Copenhagen. The winner was Kevin Reder of Michigan.

A Pandemic Survival World Championship was held in Amsterdam, where the team of Sébastien Roy and Sébastien MacKenzie Faucher from Canada were declared the winners. Pandemic Survival is a scenario-based version of the game and the tournament rules limit player turns to one minute.

David Eldar of London claimed the top trophy and a £7,000 prize at the World Scrabble Championship in Nottingham, U.K., finishing 3-0 in the best-of-five final series. His last play was the word “carrels”.

Marty Gabriel of Charleston and Scott Garner of Memphis received recognition from Guinness World Records for the highest Scrabble score in 24 hours (two players). Over the course of 240 games (averaging just under 6 minutes per game), the pair scored a total of 216,439 points. As soon as each game was finished, assistants removed the just-played board for documentation and provided the pair a new board already set up for play.

A team in Michigan toppled 245,732 dominoes in a setup that paid homage to various board games. The project also broke the U.S. domino records: largest domino field, largest domino structure, and largest overall domino project.

In Germany, Sinners Domino Entertainment broke the world record for most dominoes toppled underwater, 11,466.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesCMON is giving away two 3-day passes to the CMON Expo (May 11-13 in Atlanta). To enter, post your New Year gaming resolution to CMON’s Facebook page, but do it by tomorrow.

Save 20% on Geeknson game tables through the end of the month.

Also through the end of the month, Rogue Genius Games is offering a bundle of all the company’s Pathfinder RPG ebook products for $29.87, a discount of 98%.

Renegade Game Studios is giving away a prize package that include every game and expansion in its North Sea series. That’s six boxes in all.

Save 20% on all purchases through the 12th in Victory Point Games’ New Year’s Sale. Save an additional 10% on Gem Rush and High Treason.

Featuring the first edition World of Darkness is Bundle of Holding’s Chronicles of Darkness offering, now $28 for the rulebook and eight supplements (maybe more).

Coupon code “holiday2017” will get you 30% off orders placed before the 31st from the Jon Brazer Enterprises Shop.

Save 18% on orders from Mayday Games with discount code “welcome2018” but only until 11:59 MT tonight.

Compass Games is holding a Holiday Sale. Preorders and recent releases are 25-30% off. Select other games are 40% off through the 15th with coupon code “HOLIDAY17”.

Flying Pig Games’ Post-Holiday Sale means 30% off for Old School Tactical Volume I, ’65 Squad-level Combat, and Night of Man.

Buy two card sets from Strat-O-Matic, get one free.

A 1,600 year-old board game has been discovered in the tomb of a Germanic prince in Poprad, Slovakia. According to an article in The Slovak Spectator, the game was actually found in 2006 but has taken some time to study and identify. The game consists of a wooden checkerboard and green and white glass playing pieces.

Ulrich Schädler, director of the Museum of Games in Lake Geneva, Switzerland, was quoted as saying that similar playing surfaces have previously been found carved in to the floors of Greek and Roman temples and the pavement of ancient towns. However, this is the first instance found of a portable wood board.

The playing pieces are Roman in style and are believed to originate from the Eastern Mediterranean, possibly Syria. Those studying the tomb, dating back to 375 CE, believe that the prince probably served in the Roman army and brought the game back home, where he was buried with it.

[Image: Matej Ruttkay, SAV]

Pathfinder enters the mobile CCG market with Pathfinder Duels, a new head-to-head battling game with simultaneous turns and cards decks built around the iconic characters of the Pathfinder RPG. Available now for Android and iOS.

Dire Wolf Digital has added a solo scenario for Clank! In Space! to its Renegade Game Studios Companion App (Android, iOS).

Hasbro has launched a game-show style version of Trivial Pursuit played with Amazon Echo Buttons.

Metro, Queen Games’ tile-laying title about Paris rail-lines, has arrived on iOS and Android, with AI opponents and online play.

The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game materialized recently on Steam. Evil Hat and developer Hidden Achievement say that mobile versions will follow on the 7th.

Asmodee Digital put out a new version of Carcassonne with a 3D look to Steam and Android.

There’s also a new version of Catan in the electronic game space. Catan Universe is available for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android and allows cross-platform play. Previous mobile versions of Catan have been renamed Catan Classic and owners of those versions are eligible to receive certain content in Catan Universe for free.

Set in the “Catan universe” but not the traditional board game, Catan Stories is a new scenario-based text adventure game from Asmodee Digital (Android and iOS).

APBA Go, the online version of APBA Baseball, has added solitaire play.

Referring to it as “everybody’s favourite board game,” Ubisoft announced the release of Hasbro’s Monopoly on Nintendo Switch. The game includes three themed boards (Classic City, Amusement Park, Haunted) and dice rolls that players can feel with the Switch’s HD Rumble.

Also now on Nintendo Switch from Ubisoft is the card game Uno, with themes derived from video games, Rabbids, Just Dance, and Rayman.

Kinkajoo, which already produces a Rummikub game app, now has out a free Rummikub score tracker and timer (Android and iOS).

Other cardboard-to-computer ports:

Hellboy Board Game

Mantic Games has secured a license from Dark Horse Comics for a Hellboy board game.

The Hellboy board game will be a co-operative experience in which players face off against some of the comic’s most famous foes. Up to four people take control of iconic BRPD members, such as Hellboy, Abe Sapien and Roger the Homunculus, before exploring gothic locations and uncovering ancient artifacts.

Mantic is planning a Kickstarter project for the game in April and says the product will feature preassembled plastic miniatures.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesMikkel Bertelsen will hand-deliver an extra-large Klask anywhere in the world to the person who’s Facebook comment earns the most likes by 8:00 PM CET January 1st.

SahmReviews continues its 5 month series of daily giveaways.

North Star Games is giving away Evolution: Flight.

Gozer Games is giving away Codenames: Deep Undercover from CGE.

Blog and podcast giveaways:

A bundle of Tony Petrecca’s DM’s Guild products is available now at more than 50% discount but disappears tomorrow.

Save 10% on anything from Strat-O-Matic through the 3rd.

Discount code “MERRY17” is good for 20% from Rebel Minis but only through tomorrow.

The Fantasy Trip to Return Under Steve Jackson

The Fantasy Trip, a roleplaying game series from the late 1970s, should return to publication as early as next year. Steve Jackson Games announced that rights to several products in the series—Melee, Wizard, Death Test, Death Test 2, Advanced Melee, Advanced Wizard, In the Labyrinth, and Tollenkar’s Lair—have returned to their original author, Mr. Steve Jackson. Until now, those rights were held by Metagaming. However, an element of U.S. copyright law, allows the author to reclaim rights 35 years after last publication.

While specific plans for publication of The Fantasy Trip are still being considered, Jackson suggested that the first new release is likely to be Melee (via Kickstarter), with minimal rules changes but “a fully modern presentation.”

[Image note: Those are the original games that I played with during my junior high school days.]

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesGiveaways:

TripAdvisor’s giveaway invokes The Game of Life but I’m sure you’ll forgive the lack of actual board game if you win the $5,000 vacation prize package.

Wargame Vault’s Winter Offensive Sale runs until January 2nd, with 25% off over 8,000 titles.

The discounts on 250 family-friendly RPG titles range up to 60% in DriveThruRPG’s Teach Your Kids to Game Sale.

Through the 27th, save 20% on everything from Lock ‘N Load Publishing with coupon code “LNLP2017”.

There’s lots going on at Bundle of Holding. The latest deals include two for the first edition of Dark Heresy (Dark Heresy 1E Essentials and Dark Heresy 1E Judgements) and two from Monte Cook Games (The Strange and Cypher System).

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