CCGs are collectible card games (aka trading card games or TCGs), such as Magic: the Gathering and Pokemon.


MtG from WizKids

WizKids has announced an expansion of its licensing agreement with Wizards of the Coast to include Magic: The Gathering. As a result, the company is planning a Magic board game, as well as a series of MtG pre-painted plastic miniatures representing token creatures. In the board game, players will take on the role of Planeswalkers exploring Dominaria for mana sources.

Both the board game and minis are scheduled for release in the fall of 2018.

BattleClaw

BattleClaw is Mattel’s latest entry in to the cartoon/collectible-toy-battle-game genre. The property originates in China, where it launched late last year, and is now arriving in North America with videos on YouTube and products at Toys “R” Us.

The BattleClaw story is one of a teenage boy (natch) who, following a prophesy, takes up a combat sport involving trapping elemental creatures and sending larger beasts in to battle, as a way to fight off a supernatural evil.

BattleClaw, the game, has players using claw-like grabbers to snag little plastic animal figures (the elemental-aligned Jinlin) needed to power beast cards. The beast cards, sometimes with the help of action cards, are then used to attack one’s opponent. A beast requires two Jinlin matching the elements on the card to power an attack and two more to revive from being tapped after it has attacked. Players can also use captured Jinlin to power-up an attack or draw extra cards. The first person to defeat four of an opponent’s beasts is the winner.

From the collectible perspective, there are several styles of grabbers, Jinlin that vary in shape and color, and already 115 different beast and action cards. Players build their own deck of cards for each game, and also contribute their own selection of Jinlin to the central play space.

BattleClaw is available in $10 Starter Packs, $15 Tournament Packs, and $20 2-Player Battle Packs.

My Little Pony Movie Games

With My Little Pony: The Movie in theaters, it’s time for the licensed games in stores.

There are, of course, Hasbro’s My Little Pony: The Movie Monopoly Junior ($17), My Little Pony: The Movie Guess Who ($17), My Little Pony: The Movie Pie Face ($20), and My Little Pony: The Movie Candyland ($20), all available now, the first three exclusively at Toys “R” Us.

Releasing to retail November 24th is Seaquestria & Beyond, the ninth set for the My Little Pony CCG from EnterPlay. It adds new keywords, Traveler and Transform, new Mane characters, and elements from the movie, such as the Friendship Festival and The Storm King’s reign of terror. Single packs with 12 cards will be $3.49.

And then there’s The Official Movie Sourcebook ($20) due later this year for Tails of Equestria, the My Little Pony roleplaying game from River Horse. With this, players get new playable races (cats, parrots, hippogriffs, and lizardfolk), NPC stats from the movie, a new adventure, details for areas outside of Equestria, and rule options for factions, reputation, and vehicles.

 

Though summer is generally considered the height of convention season, fall too provides some great opportunities for game events in the United States.

Several run through the upcoming weekend. Perhaps the biggest, certainly the most elaborate, is Play Fair, a consumer toy and game show Saturday and Sunday in New York City. At Play Fair, families will find demonstrations, activities, and character appearances from some of the largest brands. Look for a world-record slime, drone races, life-sized games, virtual-reality opportunities, and more. Tickets are generally $30 per person for a 4 hour session but a discount code (“TOYASSOCEMP5“) shared with us by the Toy Association will give you $5 off per ticket.

EuroQuest, an event put on by the Games Club of Maryland, begins Wednesday in Pikesville (just outside Baltimore). Featuring board game tournaments and an active and friendly open game room, EuroQuest is also a good place to catch some of the hot releases from Essen Spiel on this side of the Atlantic.

Gamehole Con, Thursday through Sunday (November 2-5) in Madison, Wisconsin, hosts nearly 2,000 scheduled events covering all types of tabletop games, including the live action True Dungeon.

Also starting Thursday (in Morristown, New Jersey), Metatopia is a convention for game designers, with scheduled playtests, seminars, and panel discussions. Gamers who haven’t yet been hit with the design bug are also welcome, to help with playtesting.

Friday through Sunday in Lancaster, Pennsylvania is Fall-In, which focuses on historical miniatures gaming. There’ll be tournaments and scheduled games for a wide range of periods and systems. Also, dozens of classes on painting and terrain-making.

Another war game-focused event follows the next weekend, Friday-Sunday (November 10-12). That is the San Diego Historical Games Convention, where in addition to open gaming and scheduled miniatures, attendees have access to a number of play-with-the-designer events, a large game raffle, and free table space in the flea market.

Con on the Cob takes place the following weekend (November 9-12) in Richfield, Ohio. This one includes all types of analog games, along with a healthy dose of art, music and comedy performances, cosplay, and partying.

Then just before Thanksgiving we get three major conventions all on the same weekend! BGG.Con November 15-19 in Dallas is sponsored by the Board Game Geek website. Its big draw is a large open gaming room and a library of hot new titles but unfortunately it’s been sold out for a while.

ChiTAG is an event in two parts. There’s the consumer show, the Chicago Toy & Game Fair, Saturday and Sunday (November 18 &19), with many large and small exhibitors welcoming the public to play. There’s also the Chicago Toy & Game Week track of professional conferences and networking events that begin on Thursday (November 16), such as meetings for inventors and educators and the TAGIE Awards Gala. A special part of ChiTAG is the Young Inventor Challenge, a design contest for children ages 6-18. Prizes include over $10,000 in scholarships. For tickets to the consumer show, discounts of 50% are available through Groupon.

Finally, there’s PAX Unplugged November 17-19 in Philadelphia, where you might find me some part of the weekend. PAX Unplugged is a new convention from the organizers of PAX West, PAX East, etc. The series might be described as fandom events but this one is specifically focused on tabletop games. In its first year, it’s already seeing strong support from hobby game publishers. There’ll be a keynote address from the president of Wizards of the Coast, live performance Dungeons & Dragons games (Dice, Camera, Action! and Acquisitions, Inc.), open gaming, vendors, lots of board and card game tournaments, and a variety of panel discussions.

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesFat Brain Toys is celebrating 15 years in business with a promo code for 15% off: “PT-3967”.

Twist Gaming is giving away Millennium Blades from Level 99 Games and accessories for Kingdom Death Monster.

Daddy Stinks is giving away (appropriately) Gassy Cow from Drumond Park (UK).

Through Monday, Victory in Europe is 30% off direct from Columbia Games.

ACD Distribution is giving away Expedition: The Roleplaying Card Game from Fabricate.

Miniature Market is giving away Mansions of Madness from Fantasy Flight Games but only members of the Board Game Revolution Facebook group are eligible to win.

Rock Manor Games is giving away Brass Empire and its expansion soon to launch on Kickstarter, New Canton.

Buy one, get one 40% off all Pokemon cards and construction sets from Toys “R” Us, in-store only.

The Game Doctors is giving away board game inserts and accessories.

Pinnacle Entertainment (Savage Worlds, Deadlands) is starting its Holiday Sale early.

Medieval gothic horror RPG, Shadows of Esteren reappears on Bundle of Holding with the original offer resurrected from 2016 and a new one, Esteren +2, with the latest supplements, soundtracks, and a recipe.

Unfiltered Gamer is giving away 7th Continent from Serious Poulp and Story Bowl from Entrance Labs.

BoardGame Stories is giving away Valley of the Alchemists from Creativemaker, Monster Lands from Second Gate, three copies of Too Many Bones: Undertow from Chip Theory Games, three copies of OKKO Chronicles from Red Joker, and Gloom of Kilforth from Tristan Hall. All these are actually project currently up on Kickstarter, so to win the prize, the project must fund and deliver.

The Soup Dragon is giving away Mysterium from Esdevium (UK).

The Asmodee Group today launched new branding consisting of a new logo, new motto—”Great Games, Amazing Stories”—and new corporate website. The company described the changes as…

An expression of Asmodee’s ambition to offer a narrative transmedia experience around its intellectual properties, while continuing to develop and expand its premium physical and digital games catalogue.

After a series of acquisitions that’s united major game properties and design studios under the Asmodee umbrella, the company looks to be taking steps toward a broader business strategy. As an example, the company on the same day separately announced the formation of Fantasy Flight Interactive, a digital development studio “not just adapting tabletop games, but creating fresh, new digital experiences based on Fantasy Flight Games’ beloved brands.”

It was also recently reported by Variety that Sony Pictures is in negotiations to acquire the film rights to Catan from producer Gail Katz, with potential plans for a series. It’s not clear, however, what Asmodee’s role might be in those plans, as Katz’s acquisition of the movie rights dates back to 2015.

Asmodee’s new logo is meant to focus on the company’s B2B position in the industry. Branding for the group’s various publishing studios (Fantasy Flight Games, HeidelBear, Asmodee Studio, Space Cowboys, Days of Wonder, Plaid Hat Games, Ystari, Z-Man Games, and Pearl Games) will not change.

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Hot Jobs

Kickstarter is looking for a Games Content Strategist to work at its office in Brooklyn, evaluating games projects, writing about them, and promoting them through various online outlets.. The company is also looking for a Games Intern for a 3 month research project. There’ll be a lot of detail work online and either previous academic study of games or 3-4 years of professional experience with games is required.

Recruiter Aardvark Swift is searching for a Marketing Manager to work at The Pokemon Company in London. The successful applicant will familiar with media for 4-14 year olds across Europe.

Steamforged Games (Guild Ball, Dark Souls) is looking to fill two positions: Commercial Brand Coordinator and Retail Support Manager, both in Tukwila, Washington. The former will focus on marketing, the latter on retailer account management.

Esdevium Games, part of the Asmodee Group in the U.K., has openings for a Finance Manager, an HR Officer, and a Sales and Customer Service Account Handler. The last of those is about sales to the hobby channel.

University Games, located in the Mission area of San Francisco, needs someone to fill the dual role of Receptionist and Office Manager.

The Stars Group is working to develop a state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence that could learn to play a variety of games. Toward that end, the company is recruiting for a Poker AI Research Engineer and a Graduate Poker AI Research Engineer.

Cubicle 7 needs an Office Assistant in Swindon, U.K. to help with customer service, order handling, and administrative tasks.

Tabletop Tycoon (Game Salute, Myriad Games, Ship Naked) is staffing up in Londonderry, New Hampshire. The company has job openings for an Account Manager, an Assistant Account Manager, full and part-time Fulfillment Staff, and a General Manager. The Account Manager and Assistant Account Manager will be responsible for sales and logistics for Ship Naked. Fulfillment Staff will handle packing and shipping. The General Manager, who will run everything, is expected on-site 7:00 AM-7:00 PM.

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Hot Jobs

To support its fast-growing catalog, Renegade Game Studios seeks a Localization Coordinator (in Europe, to support European partners), a Marketing Coordinator (in North America, to support brand-building and social media), and a Game Producer (in San Diego, to push the development of new products).

In addition to a number of jobs related to its digital products and a few art-related positions (contract and in-house), Wizards of the Coast is recruiting for a Principal Product Designer. This job involves overseeing R&D design for Magic: The Gathering. Responsibilities include managing all aspect of a MtG block, contributing to strategic development and decision-making, and otherwise supporting the MtG brand.

Two positions are open at Paizo. One is for a Game Developer “to take responsibility for the creation, revision, and editing of content for… the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder, and associated product lines.” The other is for a Customer Service Representative to answer inquiries and troubleshoot problems.

Pelgrane Press has an opening for an Administrative Assistant but it’s no mere secretarial position. The job involves working with directly with customers, online and in-person, as well as managing supply-chain issues such as print buying and tracking warehouse inventories. Pelgrane is headquartered in the U.K. but remote work is OK. The work is estimated at 25 hours per week for a salary of US$1,500 per month (about $14/hr, no benefits).

Games for Change (G4C), the organization that promotes driving real-world change using games, has three openings: Senior Director (an executive leadership position), Community Manager (a part-time but front-line, point-of-contact between G4C and the whole range of its stakeholders), and Operations Manager (also part-time, and responsible for office and financial management, and maintaining institutional knowledge). All three are based out of New York City.

Ceaco (Gamewright) is looking for a Stock Room Assistant, part-time in Newton, Massachusetts.

At Lost Battalion Publishing in Upperco, Maryland there are openings for a full-time Graphic Designer and a part-time Game Manufacturing Technician.

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Game Blotter

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with games

Someone pilfered uncut sheets of unreleased Magic: The Gathering cards from the factory and posted them for sale online with images. The alleged thief has been arrested and the card sheets recovered. However, with card images already circulating, Wizards of the Coast has ramped up previews for the Ixalan set.

A 31 year old man from St. Cloud, Minnesota was arrested for stabbing his 20 year old Magic: The Gathering opponent seven times in the neck, and for hitting him in the head with a mallet. The suspect has a previous conviction for possession of explosives with criminal intent.

Cary Young is suing Rob Elliot in Victorian County Court (Australia) over royalties he says are owed for contributing 4,000 trivia questions to the board game Smart Ass. Young is a master at trivia who had a legendary run on the television game show Sale of the Century. Elliot, creator of the board game, was also host of Wheel of Fortune.

James Damore, the Google engineer fired by the company after circulating a memo critical of the company’s diversity policies, claims to hold the Chess rating of FIDE Master but no evidence supporting this has been found or provided.

The National Chess Federation of the Philippines banned player Jomel Sinagula for life “for recidivist cheating and identity theft.” Sinagula adopted various aliases for team competitions in order to position himself against lower ranked players. Several of Sinagula’s teammates were banned for 6 month periods for collaborating with the scheme.

Chess player Fernando Alberto Braga has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport a decision by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) not to grant him the title of Grandmaster. Central to the question of Braga’s qualification is whether a rule change made in 2005 should apply to the counting of games he played in 1992 and whether his brief stint with a 2500+ rating in 1998 took place too long ago to meet the requirement.

The U.S. Embassy in Iraq has returned to the Ministry of Culture an antique Chess set formerly owned by Saddam Hussein and stolen in 2003.

At the 2017 Canadian Chess Championship, GM Bator Sambuev and IM Nikolay Noritsyn were in the second blitz game of a tiebreak series to determine the winner, when Noritsyn attempting to promote his passed pawn couldn’t find a spare queen next to the board. So instead, he called out “queen” and replaced the pawn with an upside-down rook (common practice in non-tournament settings). At that point, an arbiter interrupted and ruled the upside-down piece to be a rook, not a queen, noting the presence of a queen there at the side of the board. Later review of video recorded at the tournament, however, revealed that at the time Noritsyn was looking for the queen piece, it was in the hand of his opponent.

Effective July 1 under the FIDE Laws of Chess it became illegal to make a move with two hands (such as when castling or promoting a pawn). Making such a move has the potential to cost a player the game, though in several high-profile games (including the Canadian one mentioned previously), arbiters have failed to intervene over the issue.

A burgler was caught on surveillance video breaking in to a Bronx, New York apartment and stealing board games. Police are looking for help in identifying the culprit.

Recently released government records reveal that in the mid-1990s, conflict and accusations within a San Francisco-area group of Dungeons & Dragons players triggered an investigation by the FBI. Agents were looking for the Unibomber but found just “that the typical war gaming enthusiast is overweight and not neat in appearance.”

Eighteen people were arrested for gambling at cards in Anlong Veng, Cambodia. Police in the village, known for being the last holdout of the Khmer Rouge and final resting place of Pol Pot, took the players back to the station and “educated” them on the dangers of their habit.

A Muslim Cricket player in India suffered harassment online after posting to Facebook a picture of himself playing Chess with his son. The harassers apparently side with the Muslim televangelist in Turkey who said that “playing Chess is worse than gambling and eating pork.” Several Indian Muslim clerics, though, have come to the Cricketer’s defense, saying that there is nothing wrong with playing Chess as long as gambling isn’t involved.

A homeless man was playing Chess in Union Square Park in Manhattan at 3:30 AM when three other men approached and got in to an argument with him, and then one of them stabbed him in the chest.

In Santa Monica, California’s Chess Park, two players were assaulted by a couple of homeless men, who were apparently drunk and raving about some drug dealer. “I bitched to the police about losing our beloved chess park to these roving bands of dangerous homeless, but didn’t see the point in pressing charges given the reality of our legal system.”

Rubik’s Brand Limited is suing in U.S. federal court Duncan Toys and Toys “R” Us for trademark infringement. Rubik’s claims that the appearance of Duncan’s Quick Cube puzzle, sold at Toys “R” Us, copies the trademarked design of the Rubik’s Cube without permission and will cause confusion among consumers. There is no patent claim in the suit.

To fight the counterfeiting of board games, Ad Magic and Breaking Games have started applying 3D photopolymer authentication labels to their products. The labels are produced by De La Rue, a U.K. company, and include parallax images and unique 8 digit serial numbers. The labels can even be authenticated with standard mobile apps.

Reaper Minis was dragged in, or involved itself in (depending on how you look at it), some controversial social-media postings by one of its employees. Ed Pugh, Reaper’s CEO, said that the company was “reviewing the matter and taking appropriate action,” which made other people upset that Reaper felt it should have a stake in what one of its employees said outside of the workplace.

The number of private card rooms in Texas is growing. To avoid anti-gambling laws, instead of taking a stake in the wagers, they collect membership and seat rental fees.

The World Series of Poker has been having a problem with card quality, leading to complaints by many participants about card marking, intentional and unintentional.

Police raiding a Mahjong game at a home in Cape Town, South Africa ended up arresting fourteen people for possession of shark fins and abalone.

New York City Chess school Chess at 3 is suing Hugh Kramer, one of its former instructors, claiming that he violated the terms of his employment contract by taking with him 24 students. The school is asking for $100,000 in damages.

A Chess instructor in Malaysia is facing criminal charges for allegedly groping his young charges. In Mumbai, a Chess coach was arrested for molesting a sister and brother pair of students, 10 and 7 years old. Once in custody, charges were added for beating a student aged five.

The State of Florida finally settled its dispute with the Seminole Tribe over banked card games. Tribal casinos will retain exclusive rights to run card games for another 13 years and the state will get $340 million. To enforce the bargain, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation has filed administrative complaints against the Sarasota Kennel Club and Pensacola Greyhound Racing for failing to comply with rules on designated-player games in their Poker rooms.

Cantina, a bar in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, was fined for hosting dice games with gambling.

The proprietor of a martial arts gym in Singapore was arrested for renting Mahjong tables and allowing gambling inside his facility.

Police believe that a man who showed up at an Annapolis, Maryland hospital with a gunshot wound had gotten in to an argument at a dice game, took a taxi home to get his gun, then took the same taxi to the hospital after he was wounded. They arrested him on weapons charges, theft, and failing to pay the cabbie.

A man returning to the scene of a dice game argument in Birmingham, Alabama, brought in the car with him a friend and his 4 year old daughter. The friend pulled a gun, so did the person they were going to see, but it was the girl and an elderly woman in another vehicle who ended up shot. The girl later died.

stray bullet originating at a dice game in Louisville, Kentucky struck and killed a 7 year old boy eating a bedtime snack in his home nearby.

The 1 year old hit by three stray bullets from a dice game shootout in Washington, D.C. survived and was, in fact, discharged from the hospital the next day.

Other dice game shootings occurred in Riverdale, Georgia; Phildelphia; Brooklyn; the BronxJacksonville, Florida; Edwardsville, Illinois; again in the Bronx; Baltimore; St. Louis; Detroit; and Shreveport, Louisiana.

A man who shot three people in a Las Vegas home over a game of Dominoes forgot his car keys when he left the scene, then pounded on the door expecting to be let back in.

A man in Hanover, Jamaica was shot and killed while playing Dominoes.

In Stratford, Connecticut, a man pulled a gun on his cousin because he thought he was being cheated at a game of Dominoes.

In High Springs, Florida, a woman shot at her husband while he was playing Dominoes in the park. Why was not revealed.

In Owatonna, Minnesota, a woman was arrested for attacking her boyfriend and other players during a game of Dominoes, with a knife and a shard of glass.

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesIn Hollandspiele’s One-Year Anniversary Sale on military history board games, fifteen games range from $5-15 off. Additionally, for $10 off orders of $200 or more, use coupon code “save10”. For $20 off orders of $300 or more, use coupon code “save20”. For $30 off orders of $400 or more, use coupon code “save30”. And for $50 off orders of $500 or more, use coupon code “save50”.

Gathering Magic is giving away a Magic: The Gathering Arcane Wizardry deck from the Commander 2017 series.

The MCGuiRE Review is giving away Zoo Ball from Osprey Games.

As App of the Week, Tsuro is currently free on iOS. It’s also on-sale for 99¢ on Android.

Three games are 10% off in Victory Point Games’ Are We Hawkin’ Weehawken Sale, including obviously Hero of Weehawken.

Tiny Battle Publishing is holding an Eclipse Sale with games around 15-25% off.

Steve Jackson Games is running special sales and bundles at Warehouse 23 for those who can’t attend Gen Con.

Also on the subject of not attending Gen Con, many fine and sympathetic publishers are participating in a giveaway of games by GenCant (the “unconvention”).

Dog Might Games’ Adventure Cases are 10% off and ship for free to the United States.

Flying Pig Games is selling Old School Tactical for 25% off but that end today.

With HexBug’s Back to School Sale, save 25% on orders of $50 or more.

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