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.


Second Look—Hero Realms

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.For those who missed the incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign, Hero Realms is a fantasy version of White Wizard Games’ Star Realms. More than just a reskin, Hero Realms also has Character Packs that can be purchased to customize each player’s starting decks and play styles. These come in the form of Cleric, Fighter, Ranger, Thief, and Wizard. Boss Decks can also be purchased that let’s one player control a powerful monster that other players have to overcome. Last is the Campaign Deck, one of the coolest sounding additions to the game. It contains rules for solo and cooperative play, comes with 3 missions, and has gear for upgrading your hero over time

White Wizard Games was kind enough to send a copy of the base game and Character Packs over for me to take a look at and I have to say I’m thoroughly impressed. I’ve played with my oldest so far, since he’s the most familiar with Star Realms, and we were both able to pick up the base game and play right away. We then each tried a different character and took a bit of time to learn how they play. This was a great step up from Star Realms and I can see Hero Realms pushing Star Realms out of our play rotation once we get some more of the add-ons.

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You can check out the full rules and print-and-play version from White Wizard’s site. While I can’t recommend the game enough, you still may want to try the print-and-play if you’re not familiar with Star Realms or don’t know if you want a fantasy version of the deckbuilder to replace your sci-fi one. Personally, I think it’s great to have both, but Hero Realms is definitely the more enjoyable version.

A copy of Hero Realms and 5 Character Decks were provided free for review by White Wizard Games.

Keep in mind that most of these are available for a very short time…

Flying Frog Productions is offering several individual products and bundles at 36% off.

From Meeple Source, save 25% on Mystery Meeples, 40% on lapel pins, 25% on cookie cutters, and more.

CSE Games’ products are up to 60% off via Amazon Canada.

Amazon deals in the U.S.:

Broken Token board game organizers and accessories are up to 20% off.

Monday only, Chaosium’s ebooks will be 25% off and items in the Vault will be 50% off.

Pinnacle Entertainment’s Savage World of Solomon Kane print+PDF everything bundle is 42% off.

Reaper Minis’ Black Friday Savings includes a pre-release $700 figure for $500, a $660 paint set for $530, and a $40 starter paint set for $30.

Green Ronin’s Holiday Sale includes discounts up to 75%.

Steve Jackson Games’ Holiday Grab Boxes include at least $80 of product for $40 and come in two varieties, one mostly Munchkin, one with other games.

For 15% off products from Precis Intermedia, use coupon code “RG9GWB3EA7”.

HexWar PC and Mac games are 50% off.

Collins Epic Wargames’ discounts this weekend are 37-50% off.

Avalanche Press’ Black Friday discounts are 40-50%.

For 20% off and free worldwide shipping on everything HarnWorld from Columbia Games, use coupon code “thanks”.

Nomad Games is selling Steam keys direct for digital Talisman and Smash Up at up to 80% off.

Get 15% off and free standard shipping at HasbroToyShop.com with promo code “THANKS2016”.

For 20% off print products from Goodman Games, use coupon code “blackfriday2016”. For 40% off PDFs, use coupon code “blackfrideay2016P”.

Place a deposit of $800 with Geek Chic for anything made-to-order and receive a plush fabric insert ($300 value) free.

Games and educational products from ETA hand2mind are up to 90% off direct.

Coupon code “BFCM20” is good for 20% off direct from Breaking Games.

Mayday Games has card sleeves 30% off with coupon code “BLACKFRIDAY2016”; a bundle of Viceroy, playmat, and score sheets for 45% off; and a bundle of Garbage Day and seven playmats for 58% off.

An online coupon is available for 20% off any regular priced item from Toys “R” Us.

Bananagrams’ Big Potato games are 50% off at Target.

Noble Knight Games’ Holiday Sale starts with 10% off everything and adds additional discounts on select items.

Discounts in Eagle-Gryphon Games’ Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale are in the 25-40% range. For additional free games at the $100, $150, $200 spend thresholds, use coupon codes “FREEGIFT100”, “FREEGIFT150”, and “FREEGIFT200”.

For 20% off all Subbuteo products, use coupon code “CLUB”.

Get a free set of dice with the purchase of a $100 gift card from Dog Might Games.

Selected products from Spartan Games are 40% off.

Modiphius Entertainment is offering 30-40% off with coupon codes.

Iello is running a 60% off sale this weekend.

There are hundreds of board games discounted even more than usual at Miniature Market, though the sale prices are limited to stock on hand.

 

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With all Cards Against Humanity’s expansions and promos things were getting a bit messy, and customers were getting confused. The team behind the game has given the product line a refresh and consolidated things a bit in order to make purchasing the game much easier.

  • Expansions 1, 2, and 3 are now available for $20 as the 300-card Red Box
  • Expansions 4, 5, and 6 are now available for $20 as the 300-card Blue Box.
  • An all new Green Box with 300 new cards. This is the largest expansion written, more than half the size of the main game.

The Bigger Blacker Box also got a refresh as the old one was too small to fit all the new stuff. The new BBB is $15 and large enough to hold the entire CAH product line.

There’s also a new product tossed into the mix, a set of 50 blank cards called Your Sh*tty Jokes for $5.

 MysteriumAsmodee Digital has announced that digital version of both Libellud‘s Mysterium and Horrible Games‘ Potion Explosion will be coming in December of this year.

Mysterium will be released for both the PC and mobile devices in conjunction with Playsoft Games. Prices for iOS and Android will be $6.99 and Steam will be $9.99. 

Potion Explosion will be available for iOS and Android for $6.99, and is being published with the help of Studio Clangore.

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesBezier Games is giving away a voucher for $50 of product.

Included in a new Humble RPG Book Bundle are digital rule books and supplements for A Song of Ice and Fire, Atomic Robo, The Laundry Files, Mistborn, and The Dresden Files.

There’s also currently a Humble Mobile Bundle for board game apps on Android, including Carcassonne, Scotland Yard, Ticket to Ride, San Juan, Galaxy Trucker, Splendor, Catan, The Amazing Labyrinth, Take it Easy, Small World, and Ingenious.

Bundle of Holding is running deals for The One Ring RPG and a collection of Old School Revival games.

Get a coupon for $3 off admission to the Chicago Toy & Game Fair from The Game Aisle. Complimentary admission is available to educators, scouts, grandparents, firefighters, police, and current and past members of the military.

SAHM Reviews is launching a new giveaway every day for 100 days. So far, there’s ones for Vinhos Deluxe from Eagle-Gryphon Games, Best of the Worst from Endless Games, Kill Doctor Lucky from Cheapass Games, Animals on Board from Stronghold Games, Munchkin from Steve Jackson Games, and Sneaky Cards from Gamewright. An earlier giveaway of one title from Osprey Games is also still running.

Paizo’s Fall Into Adventure Sale has many Pathfinder products at around 50% off. Also available from the company are 20 D&D 5e PDFs for $20.

At Toys “R” Us, there are board games on-sale for $8, $10, and $15. Also, all Pokemon are buy-one-get-one-40%-off.  All Pavilion games are 20% off. And all Ravensburger puzzles and games are 25% off.

At Amazon:

Everything Board Games is giving away Tattoo from Gaming Paper, two copies of Blood of an Englishman from Renegade Game Studios, Ice Cool from Brain Games, and Scythe from Stonemaier Games.

For 15% off all Yashima-line products from Greenbrier Games, use coupon code “yash2016”.

Dog Might is giving away a prize package of wood game cases with a retail value of over $500.

Queen of Reviews is giving away Suspicion from Wonder Forge with a BRIO Fire Station.

MumbleBee Inc. is giving away four packages of five Winning Moves games.

ET Speaks From Home is giving away Stoopido from Drumond Park (UK residents only).

Fat Brain Toys Problem Solver Giveaway includes Imhotep, No Stress Chess, Perplexus, and much more.

Second Look—Smash Up Digital

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.It wasn’t long ago that Smash Up became available via Early Access to Steam. Since then I’ve had some time to play and see how it compares to the physical game. Smash Up is free to play, giving you 3 factions,  Dinosaurs, Ninjas and Geeks, to play the game with. All the features of the game are available in the free version. The only reason you’d need to pay at this point is if you want more factions. There’s a $9 Starter Pack available that gets you Zombies and Aliens now, and then Pirates, Robots, Tricksters, and Wizards when the game leaves Early Release.

So how does it play? Ultra smooth. The interface is a bit different than what I would have thought but works extremely well. Your cards are laid out on the bottom of the screen while scores are on the left and the rest of the screen is taken up by the bases. Each base is represented by a row with its card to the left, played cards on the line, and number totals to the right.

smashup_base_screenshot_02The way the screen is laid out makes it extremely easy to know what’s going on with the game at all times. It only takes a glance to see what you have, where your assets are places, and where you stand with all the other players. Overall the experience is extremely pleasant and makes the game that much more enjoyable to play. Having all the bookkeeping kept track of by the game is awesome.

Even though it’s in Early Access, Smash Up still boasts an incredible level of polish with a great tutorial and a slew of different features. Here’s the list detailed on the Nomad Games site:

  • Play with 4 players or solo against the AI
  • Online play against opponents from across the globe
  • Add-on faction decks, including the base game set and more
  • Random or manual faction selection
  • Save game function for storing progress on the go
  • Fully automated scoring
  • Tutorial system plus ‘Step Through’ and ‘Review’ modes to help players learn
  • Leader-boards and Achievements
  • Three free to play factions

I was already a huge fan of Smash Up, but this steps the game up a notch. Being able to play solo, and have the bookkeeping taken care of, means that I’ll be playing this one much more often than I do now.

A copy of the Starter Pack DLC was provided free for this review by Nomad Games.

Game Blotter

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesA Michigan man charged in a series of two murders and a kidnapping is reported by police to have been in a Magic: The Gathering tournament next door to where the first victim was working, just before she went missing.

Shogi computer programs are catching up with software for Chess and that means more cheating. The Japan Shogi Association has instituted a ban on bringing smartphones in to tournament venues and will restrict players from leaving the playing hall during matches. The group also banned 9th-dan-ranked Hiroyuki Miura through the end of the year for possible cheating. It was noted that he left his seat an unusual number of times during a recent tournament. He denies, though, the allegation and says he will consult a lawyer.

An insurgent group in eastern India, the KCP (Kangleipak Communist Party), has declared a ban on all forms of dice games and gambling and warned of serious consequences for any violations. The group is concerned that a dice game trend is negatively affecting the reputation of women.

In Ahmedabad, the Indian Poker Association has asked the Gujarat High Court to declare Poker a game of skill and therefore not subject to the state’s gambling restrictions.

The Florida Department of Business Services has ruled designated player card games (where someone sits at the table to represent the bank) illegal in the state. This is likely to complicate the ongoing case between Seminole tribes and the state over similar issues.

Recently declassified documents reveal that a Kurdish man killed while playing Backgammon in London back in 1994 was the victim of a plot orchestrated by the spy agency of Turkey.

Someone broke in over night to The Comic Hunter in Moncton, New Brunswick and stole Magic: The Gathering cards, including a Black Lotus and other rare Unlimited and Alpha cards.

The cash boxes of R&R Games and Ludi Creations were stolen from the exhibit hall during Spiel Essen.

Dan Yarrington filed a response to Zev Shlasinger and Paul Gerardi’s lawsuit over their failed Staten Island game store. Yarrington asserts [PDF] that Zap’d Games was only an investment vehicle with no role in management of the store, that the store’s lease was approved by Shlasinger, and that the store failed from the combined effects of hurricane Sandy and Gerardi’s failure to build shelves in time for the store’s planned opening. Pretrial conferences in the case are scheduled for later this month.

An assistant manager of a Hong Kong Mahjong parlor is facing criminal bribery charges for taking payments from his boss to help people cheat at games. He allegedly received HK$75,000 over a period of 4 months to mark tiles with fluorescent ink that’s only visible with special lenses.

The people who were told that their card game rules weren’t patentable (because they used a standard deck of cards) are appealing to the Supreme Court.

Upper Deck has applied to trademark the word “LOOT” with regard to trading cards, card games, and playing cards.

Hasbro was named the 2016 “Most Responsible Company in the Consumer Items Industry Sector” by Corporate Responsibility Magazine.

A man was stabbed during an argument over a game of Dominoes at a park in East Chicago, Indiana.

Dice game shootings in Birmingham, Alabama; Springfield, Illinois; Pontiac, Michigan; and Capitol Heights, Maryland.

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesSave 10% on the Galaxy ZEGA remote control tank battle game by signing up for the company’s newsletter.

Carve a Munchkin, Ogre, GURPS, or other Steve Jackson Games themed pumpkin for a chance to win an undead prize pack from the company.

For a few more hours, there’s a Halloween Sale going on at DriveThruRPG—31% off horror titles.

Scary bundles still active at Bundle of Holding include two for Gumshoe-based Lovecraftian roleplaying, Trail of Cthulhu and Trail of Cthulhu +2, and one for Call of Cthulhu supplements, Bundle of Tentacles +4.

A bundle of Your Whispering Homunculus and More Whispering Homunculus from Kobold Quarterly runs 50% off the books priced individually.

TerraTiles: Tundras and Wastelands is 15% off direct from RAINN Studios.

Spend $100 or more at Toys “R” Us now through November 5 and get a gift card for $25 valid December 1-24.

To celebrate its renewed business, Capitan Games is discounting all Naval Range miniature products 10% for the first 15 days after restocking.

EverythingBoardGames is giving away Kingdomino from Blue Orange Games.

@DungeonDrunks on Twitter is giving away one Dungeonology book from Candlewick Press.

Lord Zsezse Works has a puzzle-based coupon book on DriveThruRPG. The coupon book can be downloaded for free through November 2nd and the coupons used through November 5th.

Buy two get one free board games at Target.

At the recent DEFCON hackers conference, members of Google’s anti-fraud and abuse team presented the results of an investigation in to a smartphone-like device for cheating at card games such as Poker. The instrument, which they purchased from a Chinese seller for $1,300, can read through an entire deck of shuffled and stacked cards, telling its user exactly which suit and number will be drawn next. If the user selects options for the number of players and the game being played, the device will even accurately predict who has the winning hand.

The feat is accomplished with a marked deck of cards, infrared LEDs, and a black-and-white camera. The whole process is quite discreet. The cards are marked along the edges with IR ink invisible to the naked eye. The LEDs work through the device’s outer casing, such that their lights are hardly noticeable. And the camera is placed in order to read the card deck from a position laying down across the table.

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In fact, a sealed-in-shrink-wrap deck of cards of the purchaser’s choice of brands is included in the package.

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The device too is well disguised. It not only looks very much like a Samsung smartphone, it’s built on the Android operating system and will make calls and run standard apps.

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In terms of getting the scan results, users have the option to receive audio signals via miniature earpiece (included), coded signals via a vibrating receiver that can be strapped to an arm or leg (also included), or the device can make subtle changes to the time it displays on-screen.

And just in case a smartphone on the table might arouse suspicion, the package also comes with an alternate Bluetooth-connected camera hidden in a car key fob (customizable with different car maker logos).

Second Look—Storyline: Scary Tales

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.This Second Look is going to be a bit shorter than normal. That’s because I’ve already reviewed Storyline: Fairy Tales and Storyline: Scary Tales is the same game, just with a spooky theme. Scary Tales comes with 30 new narrator cards, 100 new story cards, and 21 spooky tokens. Just like the original the box contains two storylines.

“It was a dark and [Feature] night.”

So the first story begins.

I’m actually a bigger fan of Scary Tales than I was of Fairy Tales. The gloomy setting and spooky art are right up my alley. There’s nothing overly scary here, it is a family game after all, but there’s plenty of haunted manors, vampires, horsemen, curses, and slimy cards to satisfy the Halloween season. The new token set, shaped like coffins, contain icons like gravestones, a witch’s hat, and skulls.

Scary TalesScary Tales can also be combined with Fairy Tales to create even more fantastic stories, and it really works well. We’ve actually had a great time using narrator cards from one game with the story cards from another. Mixing them all together is really the best way to play, though

Storyline: Scary Tales is available now, and I highly recommend picking it up. Pick both Storyline games up. They’re perfect for family game night and work well down to around age 5 or 6. If you’re only going to pick up one, Scary Tales would be my first choice.

A copy of Storyline: Scary Tales was provided free for review by Asmodee.

 

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