Card games are any types of games played primarily with cards, excluding collectible card games, but including Poker, Rummy, Bridge, and games with specialized card decks.


According to Hasbro, gaming as a general trend has seen a 75 percent increase in 3 years, up from 1.2 billion gamers in 2013 to 2.1 billion in 2016.

In its presentation to investors at New York Toy Fair today, Hasbro revealed that 20 percent of its products in 2016 went to consumers 20 years of age and older. The hottest of those products, of course, was Magic: The Gathering, for which the company produced last year 117 million booster packs. In another interesting statistic, 5 million viewers watched 350 million minutes of Magic video online. To keep the trend going, subsidiary Wizards of the Coast will be launching a series of new events in local game stores called “Magic Open House”. At these events will be giveaways and how-to-play sessions for beginner players.

Magic Digital Next was also mentioned but the better information on it comes from a WOTC website article posted today. In it, Jeffrey Steefel described Magic Digital Next as an “internal umbrella term for the entire landscape for Magic: The Gathering experiences around digital games.” This includes:

  • Back-end technology upgrades to support both digital and tabletop play.
  • More and better ways to play Magic digitally.
  • Expanding the Magic experience and setting to “diverse platforms and genres.”

For the first time that I know of, a WOTC CEO participated in the Toy Fair presentation and gave some recognition to Dungeons & Dragons. Chris Cocks said that in 2016, D&D had its best sales in 40 years. He even mentioned that Duel Masters experienced its fastest growth ever last year.

On the board game side, 30 million Hasbro games were manufactured in Longmeadow, Massachusetts last year. The company claims 13 of the top 15 face-to-face games in United States—number 1 was Pie Face and number 2 was Speak Out.

White Wolf’s World of Darkness returns to digital with Vampire: Prelude (iOS, Android) and Mage: Refuge (iOS, Android) interactive fiction apps.

Support for Clank! has been added to the Renegade Game Studios Companion App (iOS, Android), providing “mini-quests” and a solo game mode.

GMT Games is working with HexWar Games on digital versions of Commands & Colors: Ancients and Commands & Colors: Napoleonics. Ancients will launch first in this summer, followed by Napoleonics in the fall or winter. At launch, the games will support PC and Mac. A couple of months later, there’ll be support for iPad. Android support will come eventually, probably.

The previous implementation of Dominion online is no longer. It has been replaced by one from Shuffle iT. Accounts, though, were transferred, supposedly with usernames and passwords intact.

Victory Point Games’ Hunt: The Unknown Quarry recently launched on Steam. It’s a “deductive combat game” for 3-6. One plays a monster trying to escape. The others are hunters. A whole group can play with just one purchased license.

Online accounts for Fantasy Flight Games, Days of Wonder, and Asmodee have been merged. If you had an account, you should have received an email.

Illuminati New World Order, Steve Jackson’s card game that satirizes conspiracy theories, is long out-of-print but continues to provide grist for the mill to those same conspiracy theorists. In the past, it was said that the game predicted the terrorist attacks of 9/11. New theories seem to focus on two cards, “Enough is Enough” and “Charismatic Leader”, with images purported to resemble Donald Trump. And based on the content of those cards, these theories predict an assassination. A simple search of YouTube brings up thousands of such results from just this month.

 

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesDruid City Games is giving away a $500 shopping spree to Funagain Games.

Retweet Weird Hobbies for a chance to win WOTC’s Dungeons & Dragons adventure campaign, Out of the Abyss.

Use coupon code “rain17” to get 10% off a single order direct from Pazio.

The Advanced Adventures deal at Bundle of Holding features six OSRIC modules in the Starter Collection for $5.95 and nine more modules with the Bonus Collection starting at $15.80. The Bundle for Two deal collects games for two players (one GM, one player/character) in honor of Valentine’s Day.

Actualol (AKA Jon Purkis) is giving away five board games he says are much better than Monopoly. I’ve played three of them and I’d have to agree.

As part of the launch of its Kickstarter project, RAINN Studios will be giving away Lovecraftian-themed Elder Dice.

EncounterRoleplay is giving away three copies of the Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook.

Use coupon code “RoosterSale” to save on purchases direct from Greater Than Games. How much savings the company’s email forgot to say.

Use coupon code “LOVE2017” to save 10% and get free shipping from HasbroToyShop.com.

EverythingBoardGames is giving away Dice Throne from Mind Bottling Games, Element from Rather Dashing Games, and two copies of Affliction from DPH Games (or $30 gift certificates if the game doesn’t fund on Kickstarter).

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Victory Point Games is discounting all bagged games by 25%. Zulus on the Ramparts is discounted 20%. And everything else is discounted 10%.

Mile High Game Guys is giving away Imperial Settlers from Portal Games.

@SmashUpDigital on Twitter is giving away a new copy of the Smash Up What Were We Thinking expansion from AEG each week this month.

Spectrum Games’ Heroic Valentine’s Day sale means discounts of 40% on Cartoon Action Hour, Retrostar, and Capes, Cowls and Villains Fowl.

Use coupon code “LOVE14” for 14% off purchases from White Wizard Games. Discount ends today.

Also ending today, Treasure Tokens are on-sale 50-70% off (depending on quantity) from GameTrayz.

Save 20% site-wide at Dog Might Games.

In-store only at Toys “R” Us, buy one get one 40% off on all arts & crafts, board games, puzzles, and collector cards.

Online from Toys “R” Us, save 20% on all Monopoly games.

Post-Truth Games

The current political climate in the United States hasn’t escaped the notice of game publishers. Breaking Games recently applied for a trademark on the term “fake news” with regard to board and card games. No details on game-play are available yet, just a Fake News Game website to sign up for a mailing list. Partnering with Breaking Games, however, is Cards Against Humanity, so I wouldn’t expect anything easy-going.

Another game in the making is Alternative Facts from Frog God Games.

You win [Opinion Points] by assembling sets of matching Alternative Fact cards from your hand. A matching set is called a “Trick” in most card games, but we don’t like that word. It sounds deceptive. Instead, we call a matching set of Alternative Fact cards a “Truth.” A valid Truth can be made up of 3 or more identical cards — after all, the more you repeat something, the truer it is.

This one’s about half funded on Kickstarter but…

We began accumulating awards for Alternative Facts before even writing it, and expect to generate many more awards if necessary.

Retail Games

Beirut, Lebanon has two escape room locations, Exit Beirut and Escape the Room Lebanon, each with two individual rooms to escape. Also recently opened in Beirut is the game, pop-culture, and comic shop, Multiverse.

On Kickstarter, Keiran Franklin is raising money for a game cafe in Brighton City Centre, UK. At 8BitBoards, customers will be able to play both board games and retro console games.

Game Kingdom Games & Hobbies in Bullhead City, Arizona does sell some board games but is primarily a public play space for tabletop and video games.

Milwaukee-area retailer, Board Game Barrister, is opening its fourth location March 1st in the Mayfair mall. It’ll be a relatively small location for the chain but will still have play space.

Opening soon in Rochester, Minnesota with 1,900 square feet of retail and play space is D6 Games.

BlackWater Roasters and Gaming Cafe opened on the east side of Cleveland last week. It serves pastries, sandwiches, fresh roasted coffee, and of course, board games.

After running pop-up shops, convention booths, and special events, B&E Games recently opened a retail location in San Jose, California.

New from Turn One Gaming Supplies, a series of Space Invaders themed card sleeves ($5 for 50 sleeves), deck boxes ($4), play mats ($21), and dice ($7 for 6d6)—each in multiple designs.

 

 

Surprising the market, who’s lower expectations for the company were based at least partially on weaker performance by Mattel, Hasbro on Monday reported a 13 percent net revenue growth in 2016. That put the company’s total year revenue over $5 billion for the first time. Following the news, Hasbro’s stock hit a new high and closed up 14 percent.

The company’s performance in the games category was strong. Led by sales of Pie Face and Magic: The Gathering, revenue grew 9 percent year-on-year.

Hasbro’s strongest growth was in its partner brands category, which was up 28 percent on the success of Disney Princess, Disney Frozen, Dreamworks’ Trolls, and Yo-Kai Watch.

On the subject of the company’s largest individual game brand, CEO Brian Goldner reported that 2016 was the 8th straight year of growth for Magic: The Gathering. He also suggested that consumers would start seeing some results from the Magic Digital Next initiative before the end of the year.

Magic Digital Next, which has been an investment for a number of years, and will continue to be a bit of an investment this year because of course late this year you’ll start to see some of the evidence of what the team has been working on as they begin to put that platform out to the market.

Hasbro also revealed an interesting change in its approach to financial reporting:

Beginning with the first quarter, we will no longer report revenue along the boys, games, girls, and preschool categories. Instead, we will provide a revenue breakdown of franchise brands, partner brands, Hasbro Gaming, and emerging brands. We believe this is a more relevant and appropriate view of our business.

Later Monday afternoon, Hasbro announced the appointment of John Frascotti as President of the company—he was previously President of Hasbro Brands. Brian Goldner remains with the company and will serve as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

According to a study by researchers with the Mayo Clinic, seniors who play games are less likely to experience mild cognitive impairment (MCI), an intermediate stage of dementia. Nearly 2,000 subjects, 70 years or older were followed for 4 years, interviewed about mentally stimulating activities, and evaluated for cognitive function. Those who played games at least once-a-week were 22 percent less likely to suffer from MCI.

Similar results were also found for craft activities (28 percent), computer use (30 percent), and social activities (23 percent).

The study, published in the January issue of JAMA Neurology, did not control for the same activities performed earlier in life and could not conclusively determine cause and effect.

Familiar Games recently launched Mageling on Kickstarter and was kind enough to send me a prototype of the game to get a feel of what the game plays like. Familiar called the game a “dice activation” game and says it plays like a deck builder without all the shuffling and sorting of cards. This is pretty spot on.

Mageling has you trying to beat 5 different locations by rolling dice, allocating the dice to earn Power, Mana, or buy cards, and using the powers on those cards to make yourself more and more powerful. Power is the currency used to purchase cards, while Mana is a type of banked power. Managing these two resources becomes critical, especially late in the game.

As far as cards go, players may have a Grimoire of up to 8 cards in front of them. These cards are always in play and can be activated by rolling their symbol one the dice during a turn. Cards can be damaged by location text of abilities from other cards which mean they have to be healed by a die roll, thus lowering your turn’s effectiveness. There’s also Spawns that attach to you that prevent you from beating locations and can have other adverse effects through the game. These must be removed by spending 2 Power.

The best way to wrap your head around all this is to watch a playthrough here.

The first person to beat the 5th location is the winner.

I played this with my 11-year-old son, the deckbuilding fan of the family, and we both had an amazing time playing. The game initially felt slow to ramp up, but I blame that on the learning curve since we decided to read the rules as we went along. Once we got the hang of things turns were really quick. The whole experience took about 45 for the two of us and that would probably drop to 30 now that we know how to play.

Mageling is almost funded. A pledge of $10 will get you a print-and-play copy of the game once it’s funded, while a pledge of $22 will get you a print copy. In my mind, the latter is the way to go. It’s an excellent price for an excellent game.

A prototype copy of Mageling was provided free for this preview by Familiar Games

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