FIDEFIDE (the World Chess Federation) is undertaking greater efforts to combat cheating at Chess tournaments. Aimed primarily at the possibility of players obtaining the aid of computers, FIDE plans to establish a permanent Anti-Cheating Commission and to adopt security measures for screening players and segregating them from spectators. Security measures may include searches and metal detectors, depending on the significance of the tournament.

Additionally, FIDE is in the process of developing a computerized tool that identifies cheating through statistical analysis of completed games. The tool is based on the work of Professor Kenneth W. Regan of the University at Buffalo Computer Science department, and rather than evaluating a player’s likelihood of winning, looks at the quality and consistency of individual moves. Dr. Regan’s research, for example, shows that human Chess players are more likely to make mistakes the further ahead or behind they are, whereas computer players perform consistently despite the present game state.

 

HEAT

ASN0025New from Asmadi Games, and hitting store shelves in January, HEAT is a 3-5 player height game where you’re trying to steal more than the other players. You have to do this without drawing unwanted attention from the authorities. The game involves drafting cards to plan your heist, and then executing your actions.

Heist is for 3-5 players and plays in 15-30 minutes. It’ll retail for $16.

Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham

eldersigngatesofarkham

Setting against the Eldritch mysteries of H.P. Lovecraft, the second expansion of co-op game Elder Sign leads players into Arkham, an ancient refuge of criminals and dark forces. In over twenty different locations throughout the dangerous city, players have to face 4 never-seen-before Ancient Horrors and it is their task to purge the awakening evils. To assist players on their quest, 8 new investigators who possess useful powers to assist fellow members of the team are introduced.

Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham plays 1 to 8 players in about 90 minutes. MSRP $24.95, expected to be released in Q1 2015.

Gifts for the Game Collection

There’s a gamer in your life, but you don’t know what to surprise them with as a gift. There are deck-builders, dice fests, worker-placement games, area-control games, and all sorts of different types of games (and so many!) — it’s tough to just pick that perfect game for your perfect gamer. Instead of giving a gift for them, why not give them something for their game collection?

Replacement Money and Score Counters

There’s something about the tactile experience of props in games, from the foam guns in Ca$h ‘N Gun$ to the paper money in Monopoly. Purple Pawn suggests upgrading your game collections money and scoring counters with one of these three suggestions:

Bird Bucks from Smart Play Games. For less than $7, you can replace money and score counters with a thicker thematic card deck. Featuring fifty cards numbered 0-9 with a sharply designed monetary look, these cards can be used as score keepers and as a clever tool for budding game designers.

A Poker Chip Set. Gamers who dislike paper money in their board games can use a standard set of poker chips as a replacement. When looking for a poker chip set, look for chips that are about 11.5 grams or higher for the weight and feel. Plus, they make a satisfying CLUNK when tossed onto a game table. Added bonus: poker chip sets can also be used for playing poker! Amazing!

Campaign Coins. A fantastic set of coins and counters available in many different styles and metals, these coins are absolutely luxurious to hold and use. You can create a specific collection of coins or just go for the King’s Ransom, a custom set intended for use with board games. Wonderfully designed, these coins are a delight to look at and play with. (Shopping for Christmas? Get your order in now to have a set arrive in time!)

Organizational Supplies

There are games with well-designed inserts and then there are the majority of games. Here are three items that Purple Pawn suggests to use to help manage their game collection (once they throw away that useless insert):

Hugo’s Amazing Tape. Games with cards often have the same problem: keeping them together. Enter Hugo’s Amazing Tape. This product is a transparent static wrap that sticks to itself, not your game components. It’s great for securing game boxes and keeping cards in organized stacks. Although Hugo’s Amazing Tape works well on most games, make sure to point your gamer over to this geeklist on BoardGameGeek for a list of games “safely tested” with the stuff. Looking for more colors? Try static bondage tape.

H-Shape or X-Shape Rubber Bands. To keep that overstuffed game box shut, a collection of crossing rubber bands might do the trick. Unlike regular rubber bands, these are split almost down the center, allowing one rubber band to wrap around all four sides of a game box.

Plano Stowaway Boxes. Primarily used as tackle boxes or for crafts, these transparent storage boxes can be configured to hold many differently-sized game components. For games that require multiple types of tokens (we’re talking about you, Fantasy Flight Games), Plano boxes are a great asset for organizing and storing. The boxes come in different sizes and basic configurations; most have adjustable dividers.

Other Items

And a miscellany of items that are just plain helpful (or tasty).

Edible Dice. Searching for a gift for a role-player? Gamers love dice — and Dice Candies makes them out of chocolate. A complete set of Ghirardelli, Van Lerr Callebaut, or TCHO organic chocolate polyhedrals (one each of d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and d20) will run you less than $10 — that’s less than some sets of non-edible dice!

Sports/Duffel Bags. Game night at a friend’s house? Heading to a convention? Your gamer will want to have something to safely and securely carry their games over. Look for a squarish-shaped duffel bag that is at least twelve inches wide — square board game boxes like Dominion are just under 12″x12″x3″. End pockets are great for holding smaller games. Note that when buying online, dimensions listed are usually the exterior size. The item linked above should carry three Dominion-sized boxes in the main compartment with room for a smaller game box.

Game Tables. With a round gaming table that’s easy to put away for storage (and to be used for other things), all players can have the game board at an equal distance, which helps with seeing those small board elements and reaching the board no matter where you sit. Have a few thousand dollars in your gift-giving budget? Consider The Portal by Geek Chic for something a bit more elegant and customizable.

Dice Trays. When rolling a handful of dice, it’s helpful to keep them all together instead of chasing them off the table or — for the gamer who wants to keep their game pristine — scuffing the board. Dice trays come in various shapes and styles, but for our tastes, you want to look for a large (but not too large) rolling surface and high walls.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesJust today, get 50% off select board games from Amazon.

Use promo code “2014HOLIDAY” to get 30% off and extra stuff from North Star Games. For a free copy of every one of North Star’s games, try the company’s Imaginary Game contest. To enter, post a game idea with a goofy title to either Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag, #imaginarygame.

For 20% off Golem Arcana web exclusives, use coupon code “GAHOLIDAY14″.

With coupon code “SAVE20″ get 20% off and free shipping from HasbroToyShop.com.

It’s Free at Last is giving away the Disney Palace Pets Royal Pet Salon Game from Wonder Forge.

 

Score Board - Boardgame tournaments, competitions and championships results and scoresMagic: The Gathering

Shahar Shenhar won the World Championship and is the first person ever to do so twice. The championship trophy comes with a $50,000 prize. In the World Magic Cup team competition, held together with the Championship in Nice, France, it was Denmark that came out on top.

In order to accommodate players impacted by a transit strike, a special tournament structure was arranged for Grand Prix Milan. Still, 1,760 players made it. And the winner was Magnus Lantto of Sweden. Magnus is a regular Magic Online player but this was his first time winning a live title.

On the same weekend, Gerard Fabiano was the winner of Grand Prix Baltimore.

Chess

At the Russian Championship in Kazan, Tatarstan, 10-player round-robin tournaments were won by Igor Lysyj and Valentina Gunina, men’s and women’s sections, respectively.

Anquandah Francis Eric of Ghana was the winner in the general section of the Africa Zone 4.4 Chess Championship. His performance at the tournament also qualified him for the title of International Master. In the women’s section, the winner was Rabiu Olabisi of Nigeria.

A strong field at the Qatar Masters Open was dominated by Yu Yangyi of China, whose 7.5/9 score put him ½ point in front and $25,000 richer.

Demonstrating that he’s still a strong competitor, former World Champion Viswanathan Anand finished first at the London Chess Classic, beating out Vladimir Kramnik and Anish Giri on tiebreak.

Junior, Senior, and Amateur Championships were held recently under the auspices of the Asian Chess Federation. At the Junior event, Narayanan Srinath of India took the general section trophy for the third year in a row, while Mikee Charlene Suede earned the first such title for the Philippines in the women’s section. Among the Seniors, Baimurzin Aitkazy of Kazakhstan won with a score of 8.5/9, including no losses and only one tie. Though representatives of ten countries participated, it was local player Buddhika Amarasinghe of Sri Lanka that won the Amateur Championship.

Back in the Philippines, it was Levan Pantsulaia of Georgia who came in first place at the Philippine International Chess Championship.

Dev Shah of India won the under-7 category while qualifying as Candidate Master at the World Schools Chess Championships in Juiz de Fora, Brazil.

Two familiar names topped the leader-boards at the SportAccord World Mind Games blitz tournament, Alexander Grischuk of Russia for the men and Hou Yifan of China for the women. Grischuk also claimed gold in men’s rapid. Yifan, however, fell to Valentina Gunina of Russia in women’s rapid.

Shogi

Tetsuro Itodani, the 26 year-old winner of the 27th Ryuo Shogi title, is confident that his performance will continue to improve for another 10 years.

Bridge

The team competition has concluded at the SportAccord World Mind Games. Israel took gold in open teams and England gold in women’s.

Draughts

The gold medal at the SportAccord World Mind Games women’s rapid tournament went to Tamara Tansykkuzhina of Russia, while gold for men went to Roel Boomstra of The Netherlands. Blitz men’s gold was claimed by Alexander Shvartsman of Russia, while in the gold podium position for women was Darya Tkachenko of Ukraine.

The winner of the US Open was Miguel Almanzar of the Dominican Republic.

Go

The Chinese team has started strong at the SportAccord World Mind Games, taking gold in both the men’s team and women’s individual competitions. At the top of the podium for women’s individual was Yu Zhiying.

Backgammon

Jonah Seewald won the 2014 US Backgammon Federation Grand Championship.

Subbuteo

The Merlion Cup in Singapore was an international affair. Ouabi Rouis of France took home the trophy.

Similar international representation at the Yokohama Open also resulted in a French win, this time by Cédric Garnier.

At the FISTF Open of Milano, Portuguese player Vasco Guimaraes defeated World Champion Juan Noguera in the final game 2-1.

Rubik’s Cube

Marcin Kowalczyk set a new world record for single solve of the 3×3 blindfolded, finishing in 21.17 seconds.

A world record single Skewb solve was set by Jonatan Kłosko 1.81 seconds.

And in Niddrie, Australia, three world records were set, Feliks Zemdegs with the 5×5 at an average 54.20 seconds, Feliks agains with the 3×3 one-handed at an average 11.72 seconds, and Jayden McNeill with Skewb at an average 3.10 seconds.

Dominoes

A world record 50,000 domino circle bomb was pulled off in Germany:

International Space Station (ISS)There’s not much free time on the International Space Station, which explains why it takes so long to finish a game of Scrabble. In Saturday’s installment of The Guardian’sDo Something Guide to Games“, astronaut Chris Hadfield describes how boardgames are played on the ISS. As it turns out, they’re played very slowly. And with a lot of velcro.

Hadfield writes that games like Scrabble are encouraged to “help keep us sane” as boardgames are “fundamental for peace of mind”. Scrabble, a game that the astronaut has played with his family off and on for the past five decades, is one of his favorites. On the space station, the board is affixed to the ceiling. Letter tiles are attached to the board with Velcro. During breaks or meals, players plan their next moves. Due to the heavy workload, games can take months. Mission controls in five countries “are all scheduling your day, for the entire time you are up there….It’s an over-saturated life, where you occasionally get the time to play Scrabble.”

Read the full article at The Guardian.

Pokémon TCG: XY: Primal Clash

XY5_logo_EN_gs copyThe latest set for the Pokemon TCG will be arriving in Febraury 2015, along with 2 new Premium Collection boxes.

The new set, Primal Clash, features Primal Groudon-EX and Primal Kyogre-EX. It also includes new Mega EX cards such as Mega Gardevoir-EX and Mega Aggron-EX, along with new Spirit Link cards and Special Energy cards. Primal Clash will be available in booster packs, Elite Trainer Boxes, and will have 2 new Theme Decks.

Also coming in February will be 2 new Premium Collector Boxes featuring Mega Diancie-EX and Gallade-DX. The contents of the boxes include:

Mega Diance-EX Box:

  • 1 never-before-seen foil card featuring Mega Diancie-EX!
  • 1 never-before-seen foil card featuring Diancie-EX!
  • 1 brilliant and shining Mega Diancie collector’s pin
  • 6 Pokémon TCG boosters to expand your collection
  • 1 foil oversize card featuring Mega Diancie-EX
  • 1 cool Pokémon coin featuring Mega Diancie
  • 1 bonus code card for the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online

Gallade-EX Box:

  • 1 Gallade-EX as a never-before-seen foil card
  • 4 Pokémon TCG booster packs
  • 1 special oversize card featuring Gallade-EX
  • 1 BONUS code card for the Pokémon TCG Online!

The Mega Diance-EX box will retail for $39.99 while the Gallade-EX box will retail for $19.99.

Second Look—Tiny Epic Kingdoms

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.When I first heard about Tiny Epic Kingdoms I was a bit skeptical. How can you fit a 4X game in the span of 30 minutes? The only thing in my mind it had going for it was that it’s put out by Gamelyn games, the same company that brought us the excellent Dungeon Heroes.

Sitting down to play this one with my 9-year-old, we went through the rulebook fairly quickly and sat down to play (adding in a ghost player since there was only 2 of us.)

Call me pleasantly surprised.

TEK delivered on it’s promises, and proved to be a very competent game in a very short amount of time. The choice of races to play as is robust, and each race has it’s own technology tree to build on. The player boards and territory are a great way to keep things exciting, yet compact. You can claim territory on your own boards, or even hop over to other players’ boards. Combat is quick, easy, yet brutal, as it takes valuable resources to conquer your foes. Choosing a path to victory isn’t simple, as other players can disrupt your progress leaving you seriously hurt if you’re not planning on a backup.

TEKPROMOMy son and I finished our first game in around 30 minutes. We probably could knock that time down a bit. Gamelyn says the game takes between 30-60 minutes realistically, and I agree with that range. Figure 10 minutes per player once everyone is familiar with the rules.

Tiny Epic Kingdoms packs quite a punch for such a small package, very similar to how Dungeon Heroes does.

A copy of Tiny Epic Kingdoms was provided free for review by Gamelyn.

Magic: The Gathering: Duel Deck: Elspeth vs. Kiora

WOCB24600000In February we’ll be seeing a new Magic: The Gathering Duel Deck. Elspeth vs. Kiora pits the protector of the Multiverse against the master of the waves.

Each deck includes the following:

  • 2 ready-to-play 60-card decks
  • 2 deck boxes
  • 3 creature tokens
  • 1 strategy insert
  • 1 learn-to-play guide

Of course the biggest reason to get this pack is for the 2 Planeswalkers. Elspeth vs. Kiora will retail for $19.99 and will be hitting store shelves on February 27th, 2015.

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