The estate of Allan Calhamer, inventor of the Diplomacy board game, is being liquidated. One of the items being sold is his own copy of Diplomacy, first edition. The game is currently up to $1,550 on eBay with the auction closing Sunday evening.
Being auctioned by Sotheby’s April 5th in Hong Kong is a Huanghuali Double-Sixes game board from the late Ming Dynasty. The estimated sale price for this incomplete but vintage board game is $23,000-36,000. On April 26th in New York, the auction house is offering a French gilt-bronze and kingwood game table from about 1900 (estimated $7,000-10,000).
Bonham’s has for sale April 27th in Edinburgh two volumes on the game of Draughts from the early 1800s, authored by John Drummond: The Game of Draughts (1832) and The Scottish Draught Player; or, The Theory and Practice of that Scientific Game (1838).
BoardGamePrices is also giving away Terraforming Mars.
Renegade Game Studios is giving away a game of the winner’s choice.
Bundle of Holding has a deal for the Advanced Fighting Fantasy RPG, which is based on the Fighting Fantasy game books.
DramaScape has bundled up $343 of print-and-play battle maps and is offering them for $49.76 via DriveThruRPG. Offer expires in 3 days.
The Ultimate Indie Giveaway is a joint effort to award one winner eight games by various publishers.
Toys “R” Us has all junior versions of board games at 20% off for Easter.
Some Palladium books are on-sale today but not tomorrow.
Green Ronin’s Justice For All Sale means a discount of the Advanced Bestiary for the Pathfinder RPG. Also, $10 from each sale will go to the National Immigrant Justice Center.
UK blog and publisher giveaways:
Board Game Couch is giving away two prize packages of FAITH RPG stuff.
Sahm Reviews is giving away Huh? from Eagle-Gryphon Games.
The prize package in Game On Family’s giveaway includes Ticket To Ride, Qwirkle, Telestrations, Reverse Charades, and Taboo.
Play Library, which started with a popup in the Globe Gallery, Cincinnati, opened last week at a permanent location in Over-the-Rhine. Games can be played on-site for free or they can be checked out and taken home with a paid membership. The cost depends on the number of games a member wishes to check out at the same time. Play Library is also seeking sponsors for low-income memberships.
After hosting a series of Magic: The Gathering tournaments in a local coffee shop, Dice City Games wants to open an all-around geeky shop in Wheaton, Maryland. [Hey, that’s just up the street from my house!] The proprietors are seeking support via Indiegogo and have already built up some inventory tabletop games, videos, video games, vinyl albums, and pop-culture doodads.
Kingmakers of Columbus has opened a second location in Indianapolis. It’s a board game lounge that serves drinks and charges $5 for access to the game library.
Board game cafe Well Played opens this weekend in Asheville, North Carolina. The space fits over 100 people. The fare is updated kid food—house-made hot pockets, fresh-baked cookies, mason-jar puddings, grilled cheese, and charcuterie made to look like Lunchables.
Games Inn, a shop which launched four years ago in Hobart, Indiana, has opened Dark Ground Cafe. The attached dining option will focus on healthy dishes and ramen noodles.
South Hill Games recently opened in South Hill, Washington. Though trying to stay small, the shop still has some play space in the back.
The latest deal at Bundle of Holding is for Traveller20, the d20 adaptation of Traveller and a fantastic resource for any version of the game. The Player’s Collection is priced at $12.95 and is already a pretty good deal but it’s the Referee’s Collection that really ramps up the value, which starting at $27 includes the full rule set, several setting books, more starship guides, separate adventures, and a campaign book.
For the month of March, Academy Games is bundling Fief, the Fief Expansions Pack, and Fief Buildings Pack for $130.
Apps from Asmodee Digital are on-sale at discounts of up to 60% for the next several days. Ticket To Ride, Small World 2, Splendor, Mysterium, Potion Explosion, Pandemic, and Colt Express are all included (Android, iOS, and PC), as are even some in-app purchases. Mysterium on Steam and in-app Ticket to Ride USA 1910 are excluded, however.
Until the launch of Mora Games’ crowdfunding project, the company is collecting email addresses for a giveaway of three copies of Wages of War.
Susan Polgar’s The Polgar Method of video Chess lessons is 60% off.
With Passover approaching, Amazon has a coupon for an additional 15% off TorahLine from 613 Games.
Other Amazon deals:
Savage World Bennies are 15% off direct from Pinnacle Entertainment.
EverythingBoardGames is giving away The Village Crone from Fireside Games and, along with the Crazy Like a Box Board Game Community, is giving away one-year memberships and a copy of Rising Sun (currently on Kickstarter).
Hasbro’s Toilet Trouble and Fantastic Gymnastics are $2 off at Toys “R” Us.
For the game’s 15th anniversary, Spectrum Games has a complete bundle of Cartoon Action Hour ebooks for 80% off.
Complete ThinkFun’s customer survey to be entered in every future monthly giveaway by the company. And don’t forget to mention Purple Pawn as one of your sources for information.
A game convention of a different sort took place this past weekend in Baltimore. Rather than featuring the hottest new releases, this annual event specifically focuses on the rudimentary and undeveloped game concepts that have yet to make their way to store shelves. Though attendance is free, it takes more than a passing interest to put in several hours on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon playing games with half-baked rules and rough pieces instead of nice plastic pawns and printed boards.
Still, around 1,700 people showed up to this year’s Unpub convention and volunteered their time to help inventors and small publishers improve their products. With a sense of adventure, they made their way around 100 or so tables being guinea pigs but also sharing their ideas and perhaps getting an early peek at what could be next year’s hot title.
At these tables, designers floated new ideas, tested untried innovations, and ran their works through the paces. Developing a game from initial concept to final product requires a lot of repeated play. Unpub allows independent and budding designers to take advantage of the crowd of ready playtesters to try different alternatives on the spot.
As explained to me by Jason Kotarski of Green Couch Games, the convention is also a great occasion for publishers. In addition to testing his own games, Jason was there scouting for new projects and even took the opportunity to do some promotion for Ladder 29, a firefighting family card game that his company is currently crowdfunding.
On Friday, before the two days of open playtesting, Unpub hosted a series of professional seminars just for the designers. One was led by Zev Shlasinger, founder of Z-Man Games and currently Director of Board Games for WizKids. Another provided some behind-the-scenes industry insight for those new to the business side of games. A third, by Panda Game Manufacturing, a major sponsor of Unpub, was on the process of game production.
Brent Kinney of Panda told me that the company “feels a strong connection with the independent design community.” It was manufacturing for self-publishers and Kickstarter projects that launched Panda. And the show provides the company not only an opportunity to advise aspiring publishers on manufacturing costs and considerations, but also to learn what types of new components—some of them quite innovative ideas—Panda should consider adding to its capabilities.
Back on Sunday, when I visited Unpub, I had the privilege of playtesting three games. The first was a yet-to-be-named tabletop board game implementation of Japanese-style computer RPGs from designer Luke Peterschmidt. Though this was not the kind of game that I usually go for, I did enjoy learning its combat mechanics and thought they seemed pretty solid. The second was Party Poetry by Sheri Knauth, a game in which the players each secretly contribute one line to a larger poem and then vote on which amalgamation they consider the best. Again, not a game I would usually choose, but I was feeling venturous and was impressed by the poetry that can come out of such a process. The third game, Rain Dance by Matt Loomis and Isaac Shalev, was definitely more my style and seemed nearly ready-to-go. Simple cards allow players to plant, water, and harvest crops, while the choice of replacement cards allows them to flood out the crops of their opponent.
And though I didn’t get a chance to play it, probably the most exciting news out of Unpub for me personally was that Dave Chalker is working on a Midnight at the Well of Souls board game based on the novel series by his father, science fiction author Jack Chalker. During high school, I devoured every one of his books as they came out.
Unpub is a tremendous asset to game designers and a wonderful experience for those interested in seeing some of the process behind their favorite entertainment. Look for it again next year in Baltimore, March 23-25.
One of of the larger booths I visited at Toy Fair was Gamewright. Several small games were on display as were some games that are about to return to your game store’s shelves.
In the Port-A-Party line of small games, they had Think ‘n Sync and PDQ, both available in March for $10. PDQ, which we’ve discussed before, has been out of print for five years and returns in a box sized to fit in the Port-A-Party line. In that game, three letter cards are placed in a row and players race to create a word using those letters either left-to-right or right-to-left. Think ‘n Sync is a game that reminded me a bit of Family Feud, except everyone shouts out their answer. Matches gain points.
Rory’s Story Cubes, Fantasia edition, is on its way for a summer release ($8). Fantasia contains three Enchanted dice, three Myth dice, and three Medieval dice.
Cha-Cha Chiahuahua (summer, $16) comes with a bunch of little doggie figures and several disco dance floors for kids 4 and up. Do activities and place your dancing pups on the color-coded dance floor.
Go Nuts for Donuts (summer, $15) is a Sushi Go-like game with bidding instead of drafting. Donut cards are laid out and you select which one to add to your collection; if others are also going for your choice, you all lose out. Each type of donut has different abilities, such as a point reward for having the fewest cards, ability to steal donuts from the discard pile, or a significant number of points for having a large collection of one type.
Imagine (now, $15) is charades with clear cards. Transparent cards with symbols printed on them are layered atop one another to create images others have to guess. A clever way to use see-through cards. Can you tell what’s on the center of the box above?
Tiki Topple (summer, $20) is a reprint of a ten year old game. This new Mensa Select edition has players trying to assemble a totem pole with certain tiki heads nearest the top. Cards that reorder and remove some sections of the pole are used to move your sections up and opponents’ down. But can you tell which tiki heads your opponents are trying to get to the top? It’s a quick game that I really enjoyed playing a demo of — it reminded me a bit of Abandon Ship, but with simpler and shorter gameplay.
This summer, two new entries into the CardVentures line, Vanished and Time Raiders (each $10), will be released. These choose-your-own-adventure-like games join last year’s Stowaway 52 and Jump Ship!. The single-player game is played with oversized cards with story elements, allowing you to jump to additional cards based on your choices to tell a story.
From the team that brought you Boss Monster comes Unearth, a dice-placement game. Hitting store shelves in August for $34.95, Unearth has you exploring the world trying to unearth old ruins, build places of power, and restore the wonder of ancient civilizations.
Right now I’m on board for the art alone.
Hopefully the game is as awesome as it looks.
30-60 minute play time
Star Realms next expansion is to be a Scenario Pack of special cards that modify a game for all players. For example, the “Rushed Defenses” card makes bases cheaper and allows players to put newly acquired ships immediately on top of their decks. A single scenario card can be added at the beginning of a game either by choice or at random.
White Wizard Games will ship the Star Realms Scenario Pack this summer with 20 cards at a suggested retail price of $7.99.
The Scrollplay is a scroll with 3 magnetically sealing deck compartments. The outside of the scroll also has several magnets for holding a loosely wrapped game mat around the unit. This keeps your game mat from getting creased or, if rolled to tightly, warped into a curled shape. It’s actually really awesome. Scrollplay sells both the customizable scroll case and pre-magnetized mats to go with it. You can also buy straps to make the unit easier to carry. Really in love with your own game mat? You can buy magnets and the template to magnetize your own mat for use with the Scrollplay.
I took one home with me, a black scroll with the Island mat, and I couldn’t be happier with it!
Check out some pics below. If you like what you see you can snag everything you need here.
Jon Brazer Enterprises has bundled up every one of its Pathfinder ebooks (that’s more than 60 products) and is selling the package at a 90% discount.
For $5 off purchases of over $35 from Fat Brain Toys, use promo code “RO-2429”.
For 15% off “most items” from Hasbro Toy Shop, use promo code “SPRING17”.
And for 20% off Spin Master’s Toy of the Year winners and finalists (excluding Hatchimals), use promo code “TOTY20”.
Chanegling: The Lost makes an appearance at Bundle of Holding. The Player’s Collection is $17.95 and includes the World of Darkness rulebook, Changeling: The Lost, and three other sourcebooks. At the threshold price of $29, six more books are added.
Flying Pig Games has Night of Man on-sale for 25% off.
For baseball’s spring training, Strat-O-Matic is offering 25% off select seasons of cards.