DrunkQuest Porcelain Gods

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesNorth Korea has banned the sale of Mahjong games at street markets. The country has also organized a widespread program to train schoolteachers to combat socially undesirable behaviors, such as drugs, premarital sex, and gambling, among young people. The moves are in response to reports of increasing illegal activity among students. Middle schoolers in Hyesan city were caught engaging in “sexually immoral behavior” and 14 were arrested for playing Mahjong.

Officials in Kobe, Japan, concerned about fueling gambling addiction among the elderly, have banned Mahjong from senior centers. An ordinance, passed unanimously by the Kobe Municipal Assembly, prohibits Mahjong, slot machines, and any games that use “pseudo currency” at public daycare centers for retirees.

A major cheating scandal has rocked the world of Bridge and it involves some of the highest ranked players around the globe. Three national teams, Israel, Monaco, and Germany, withdrew from Bridge’s most important international tournament, the Bermuda Bowl (which is running right now in Chennai, India), after evidence was made public that some players had improperly signaled their partners during games at past events. Major tournaments attempt to prevent such cheating by erecting a screen across the table between partners, as well as underneath to prevent signalling by foot contact (for an example, see the image below). Individuals studying videos on YouTube, however, allege that Lotan Fisher and Ron Schwartz, who play for Israel, traded signals by the position of their bid cards as they passed them through the screen. Fulvio Fantoni and Claudio Nunes, Italians who play for Monaco and are ranked number 1 and number 2 in the world, allegedly signaled through the orientation of their cards as they placed them down on the table. The two players from Germany were not discovered but admitted their cheating and resigned.

Bridge tournament screens

A camera in a pendant under his shirt, a transceiver under his armpit, and Morse code—that’s how Arcangelo Ricciardi was cheating at the Imperia Chess Festival in Italy. The event’s arbiters became suspicious when Ricciardi never rose from his chair, kept his thumb constantly wedged in his armpit, “batted his eyelids in the most unnatural way”, and performed way better than expected for his 51,366th ranking. They asked him to remove his shirt but he refused. Then they sent him through a metal detector, which registered positive. Ricciardi claimed the pendant and box in his armpit were good-luck charms.

In Changde, China, a man was arrested by police for cheating at Mahjong using special contact lenses. The man would arrange to meet people online, reserve a Mahjong room in advance, and switch out the room’s playing pieces with pieces of his own. On the backs of his tiles were marks only visible with the lenses. Before his arrest, the scheme had netted the man more than 200,000 yuan.

Ian Nepomniachtchi appealed his loss in the tiebreak game of the FIDE World Cup, claiming that his opponent, Hikaru Nakamura, had “broken the basic chess rules” by castling on move five with two hands. Though arbiters acknowledged missing the illegal move, they also pointed out that Nepomniachtchi should have stopped the clock at the time. They also refused to grant the appeal, which is not surprising given that at most they probably would have given Nakamura a warning anyway. On his part, Nakamura blamed the mistake on being used to playing by U.S. rules, which do allow castling with two hands.

Back in 2014, when Garry Kasparov, former World Chess Champion, was campaigning for the presidency of FIDE, a contract he signed with the organization’s then General Secretary, Ignatius Leong, to deliver votes was the subject of some heated debate. Now, FIDE’s Ethics Commission has found Mr. Kasparov and Mr. Leong guilty of violating the organization’s Code of Ethics, specifically section 2.1, which prohibits “any consideration or bribe with a view of influencing the result in a game of chess or election into FIDE office.” The Commission has not yet determined a penalty, though in the meantime, FIDE’s president, and Kasparov’s opponent in that election, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, has suggested that the United States government should prosecute Kasparov for corruption. FIDE’s Executive Board, crediting Ilyumzhinov’s management, has suggested that he run for President of the scandal-ridden FIFA.

Robbers broke in to a Hong Kong Mahjong parlor after closing, tied up its security guard, and stole safes containing HK$1.2 million. One ex-employee has been arrested but the remaining culprits, and the money, remain at-large. Robbery of a Mahjong parlor is unusual as most are understood to be run by the triads.

Former Indonesian Youth and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng, who is serving a 4 year prison term for accepting bribes, is writing a book on Dominoes strategy.

Countdown, a grocery store chain in New Zealand, is giving out the same Pixar collectible dominoes that Woolworths did in Australia. The premium has been so popular that adult customers have been swearing at children and shoving them out of the way to get at ones they want.

Police in Port Maria, Jamaica organized a Dominoes tournament as a way of establishing closer ties with the community.

The owner of KSL Toys in Northern Ireland was given a 5 year sentence for smuggling drugs inside of robotic fish he was importing from China.

The Supreme Court of India has declared that individuals can not be charged with gambling for playing Rummy for stakes because Rummy is a game of skill rather than a game of chance.

Wealthy Irish businessman, John P. McManus, has sued the United States government to recover $5.22 million dollars of gambling winnings withheld by the IRS. Though his attorney couldn’t recall if McManus had won it playing Backgammon or Poker, he’s certain that a 1997 treaty between the United States and Ireland exempts the money ($17.4 million in total) from taxation.

This would have been the fifth year for Larkin Jones’ unofficial Pokemon-fan party at PAX if it weren’t for a lawsuit by the Pokemon Company. Though he cancelled this year’s party and refunded attendees ticket purchases (the funds from which every year went entirely to pay for the party), the Pokemon Company still demands that he pay $5,400 within 45 days.

French artist Marcel Duchamp carved a set of Chess pieces in 1918 in Argentina. The set was thought to have been lost, with only photographs remaining. More recently, Scott Kildall and Bryan Cera in the United States used those photographs to develop 3D models of the Chess pieces and then uploaded the models to Thingverse for anyone to print for themselves. Duchamp’s heirs, however, sent the pair a cease and desist letter, asserting copyright to the Chess pieces under French law. Though Kildall and Cera dispute the claim, rather than fight it, they simply added mustaches to the models of each piece.

Harris Faulkner, an anchor for Fox News, is suing Hasbro for $5 million over a plastic toy hamster the company named “Harris Faulkner”. The toy is no longer being made but Faulkner (the person) claims that Hasbro “willfully and wrongfully appropriated Faulkner’s unique and valuable name and distinctive persona for its own financial gain.”

The inventor of the military action-figure concept, which Hasbro turned in to GI Joe, is also suing the company. Stan Weston claims that Hasbro has failed to pay him any of the royalties it promised in 1963 (and which he claims add up to $40-50 million). Weston acknowledges that he accepted an upfront cash payment of $100,000 in lieu of larger royalty payments but asserts that Hassenfeld Brothers Inc. (now Hasbro) made an oral agreement to pay him a smaller royalty in addition. Complicating the case is the fact that neither Weston or Hasbro have the original written contract.

Police in Hong Kong recently raided three illegal gambling dens over the course of 2 days. When they arrived at the first, an apartment, gamblers formed a “human wall” in an attempt to block their entrance.

In the U.K., the sponsors of an Exeter-local Monopoly allege that retailers in nearby but rival Plymoth are colluding to ban the game from retail.

As a means of prompting discussion about the refugee crises in Europe, a Danish television talk show suggested the existence of a board game about blocking refugees from entering the country.

Police in Torrance, California have arrested youth Chess coach, Michael Angelo Purcell Sr., and charged him with multiple counts of child sexual abuse. The charges relate to two girls, one under the age of 14, the other under 11, both of whom were receiving Chess lessons from Purcell.

In Sussex, UK, a man was sentenced to 14 years in prison for playing strip card games with young girls.

A tree limb fell on top of some people playing Backgammon in Bryant Park in New York City.

Back on August 9th, four men allegedly beat up and robbed a man they believed was cheating at a game of dice in Hoboken, New Jersey. It’s taken a month but police have finally arrested all four.

In Peoria, Illinois, a man claims an angry mobbed chased him from a dice game to his apartment and then broke down his door. Yet he claims not to know why they were angry.

There were also dice game shootings in Centralia, Illinois; Hammond, Louisiana (with injury to a bystander); and Memphis, Tennessee (where one of the players was killed for winning).

It’s no surprise, then, that neighbors are concerned about dice games taking place in front of a community of homes for foster children in Chicago. Despite attempts by police to catch people playing, the games continue.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesTo celebrate a new website, HasbroToyShop is offering 15% off and free shipping with promo code “Welcome”.

Preorder Sapiens through Iello and get eight promo tiles shipped direct from the company.

Vote in TimeToPlay Magazine’s Most Wanted 2015 Giveaway for a chance to win up to $100 in Toys “R” Us gift cards.

All orders in October from Reaper Minis will receive a free bottle of Breast Cancer Awareness Pink MSP paint. Orders over $40 also get a Trick or Treat Ghoulie Bag, which contains three paints (Pumpkin Orange, Spectral White, and Mouldy Skin), one miniature, and some candy.

Preorders of the next set of miniature buildings from Knights of Dice get free worldwide shipping.

Patch Products is giving away $200 worth of Mirari toddler toys.

Blog giveaways:

Crowdfunding Highlights

patreon logoIt’s an all-Patreon episode of Crowdfunding Highlights! This week we’re looking at four gaming-related projects that you can back on a monthly subscription basis at a rate you choose. (Patreon lets you cap monthly payments to keep your budget happy.) As patrons sign up, funding levels hit milestones which might unlock additional goodies. Like other crowdfunding sites, projects might have tiers to unlock bonus material for backers.

Like beer and boardgames? So do Aaron and Matt of Blame Society Films. They drink beer with their friends, play board games, and record it for your entertainment. Games played range from the current hotness in party games to to obscure games that nobody really wants to play, like Dr. Ruth’s Game of Good Sex, Pretty Pretty Princess, or Party Mania (with VHS tape). It’s goofy fun with adult beverages that you can provide! Milestones for this project include better beer. Beer & Boardgames on Patreon.


Every Thursday evening at 9 PM Eastern, Liz Bauman organizes and hosts #RPGchat over on Twitter. The weekly hour-long chat is a guided discussion using the #RPGchat hashtag. By supporting Liz in this Patreon project, she’ll be able to have dedicated time to curate content and develop topics for the hour, and feature industry guests and co-hosts in the project. More information is at Patreon.com/RPGchat.

If you like Johnn Four’s Roleplaying Tips newsletter, he’s opened up the ability to let readers support him via Patreon. The fifteen-year old email newsletter is free, but he’s moved to crowdfunding for the fans who want to support the newsletter. (And, as a bonus, patrons giving at least $5 a month get a monthly PDF compilation of the 4-5 tips newsletters.)


cardboard edison

Over at Cardboard Edison, Chris and Suzanne Zinsli have been working on aggregating news and information about the game design world for the past three years. In addition to reviewing hundreds of websites, dozens of podcasts, and tons of social media, the couple has developed several industry report infographics and held interviews about design with Chris Kirkman, Matt Leacock, Daniel Solis, and more. They’re looking for patrons to help them aggregate game design news.


Warpaints: Starter Paint Set Christmas Edition


Looking for the perfect gift for the miniatures lover in your life? Know someone just getting into the hobby? The Army Painter is coming out with a Warpaints: Starter Paint Set Christmas Edition in November for just such a gift. The set includes 9 Color Primer, a brush, and some Quickshade Ink to get you started on your painting way. Also, as an added bonus, you’ll be a free miniature for Mantic Game’s Dungeon Saga. Perfect to get started painting right away.

The set will retail for $29.99.

Battle for Zendikar

Ulamog the Ceaseless HungerToday marks the full release of Battle for Zendikar, the latest expansion set for Magic: The Gathering. The set features a return to the plane of Zendikar, now threatened by an invasion of the Eldrazi. The Eldrazi are led by Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, a 10/10 legendary creature costing 10 mana but which also exiles 20 cards from an opponent’s library every time it attacks.

On the normally staid land side of Magic, Battle for Zendikar features full-art land cards, land cards that awaken in to creatures, and a special premium series of foil-art land cards with unusual abilities, Zendikar Expeditions.

Tiny Robots


Doorway Games has announced their new game, Tiny Robots, will be available for sale at Essen Spiel in Germany on October 8th.

The game uses memory and puzzle mechanics, and has players competing to build robots and score points. Building the robots gets harder as the game progresses, as parts get more and more sparse as time goes on.

If you’re headed to Essen, Doorway Games will have Tiny Robots for sale for 30€ at booth 2-D131. The game will release in Finland shortly after that on the 17th of October.

Tiny Robots is for 1-5 players and will play in 15-60 minutes depending on how many robot pieces you play with.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesThe Collector’s Trove is auctioning art and other roleplaying items from the collections of artists Jim and Laura Roslof.

Spin Master is teaming up with the Chicago Toy & Game Fair to give away a prize package worth $500. Tweets and follows required. The winner will be announced in November at the Fair.

Eagle-Gryphon Games’ Rumble in the Jungle Sale features a 65% discount on Dragon Rampage, a 60% discount on Triassic Terror, and lessor discounts on other products.

Bundle of Holding has two deals going on now, one for Hellfrost, a Savage Worlds setting from Triple Ace Games, and the other for Kenzer & Company’s Aces & Eights, one of the few western RPGs.

RAINN Studios wants email addresses to send announcements about the company’s upcoming Kickstarter campaign. To sweeten the deal, one of those addresses will get the set of three AD&D second edition reprinted rule books and a dice bag.

Gypsy Knights Games Traveller RPG ebooks are 30% off through mid-October.

The Toys “R” Us Clearance Blast has some great deals on games, including Star Wars Rebel Missions from Wonder Forge for 50% off and Words With Friends from Hasbro and Zynga for 80% off.

Bishop trader ChallengeSplendor is now available for PCs via Steam. And Days of Wonder has upgraded the game (iOS and Android) with a fourth challenge pack, Saint Petersburg, based on Russia in the 13th-17th centuries.

Orchard Toys has ported some of their games for preschoolers to iOS.

Reiner Knizia’s Lost Cities card game is getting a virtual reality edition (Samsung Gear VR and VRFocus).

Dr. Knizia is also the designer of Dice Monsters, being brought to iOS by Timecode.

Hammerfall Publishing has launched Warhammer 40,000: Regicide on Steam. The game combines 40K, Chess, and gore.

Do you hate when you’re playing a game and the loose bits get knocked all over the place? Tired of using bowls, Tupperware, or whatever else is laying around to try and keep all those bits organized? BitCrates are here to solve all your bitly woes.

BitCrates are small containers made of brushed aluminum and hardwood Walnut. They’re easy to pickup, stack, line up, and hold all your board game bits. They’re gorgeous, and extremely solid. I received a nice wooden box that contained 8 BitCrates to put through their paces, and I can’t image playing certain games without them now. Ticket to Ride is a great example. Each player can keep all their trains in a BitCrate, which makes it much easier than keeping them in a pile on the table, or trying to pick them out of the plastic bags while playing. You may have also noticed BitCrates in my review of High Heavens. They’re perfect for holding all the plastic rings needed during the game.

The best part? They’re a gaming luxury that doesn’t cost a fortune. Pledging $35 to their Kickstarter project, which is already funded, will get you 4 BitCrates without a case. $60 will get you 4 BitCrates and a case. $90 will get you 8 BitCrates and a case, and is the set I have and I highly recommend.

c38b284b258632aea7ada6787c10e746_originalSure, you can store your bits in cups, plastic containers, bowls, or whatever you have laying around. They’re not going to look/feel half as nice as a set of BitCrates. These are gaming accessories built to be functional, impress, and last. I doubt I’ll be playing at bit-heavy game without mine ever again.

You may want to hop on these quickly, though. There’s just 6 days left on the project. Like I said earlier, they’re already funded, so you’re  guaranteed to get some if you pledge enough.

A set of 8 BitCrates in a wooden case was provided free for preview.

WOTC and Cryptozoic Settle IP Dispute

Hex Shards of FateWizards of the Coast and Cryptozoic Entertainment have settled a dispute that saw the former sue the latter in federal court with allegations of copyright, patent, and trade dress infringement. WOTC had essentially claimed that Cryptozoic’s digital trading-card game, Hex: Shards of Fate, was a copy of Magic: The Gathering.

Other than to say that “the parties have entered into a settlement agreement and license with undisclosed terms,” no further details of the deal were provided.

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