Mole Rats in Space


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


Badges for the newest PAX convention go on-sale next Wednesday, May 3rd. Other PAX events have sold out, so if you’re interested don’t hesitate.

PAX Unplugged takes place November 17-19 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. The event is a joint effort of Penny Arcade and ReedPOP, and will focus entirely on tabletop games.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesFor 15% off games from HasbroToyShop.com, use promo code “GAMES2017”.

HasbroToyShop.com also runs an eBay store front where many games are discounted more than at its namesake web site.

Here’s a coupon for 15% off at Toys “R” Us that’s good through tomorrow.

Dog Might Games Huge Inventory Sale means 20% off all in-stock items.

Amazon deals:

Blog and podcast giveaways:

Dungeon Masters Guild Megabundle #2 highlights products from the top-30 bestselling community authors for 87% off.

Currently available at Bundle of Holding are two deals for 4th edition Champions, Essentials and Universe. To get the Bonus Collections of both will cost around $70 but between the two, you’d get more than 60 books. Also being offered by Bundle of Holding is Rocket Age, the RPG of retro-style science-fiction from Cubicle 7, and East Texas University, modern high school horror setting for Savage Worlds.

AEG is conducting two surveys. The company will send respondents promo cards for Mystic Vale and Smash Up.

CoolStuffInc’s 15th Anniversary Celebration features many games at significant discount, such as Pandemic Legacy for 52% off, SeaFall for 56% off, and a MtG Modern Masters 2017 booster box for 21% off.

Through the end of the month, furniture orders from Geek Chic qualify for free accessories.

ACD Distribution is giving away a Pokemon: Sun & Moon Elite Trainer Box.

Magic Open House

Game stores around the globe are hosting tomorrow a Magic Open House sponsored by Wizards of the Coast. The event is specifically meant for beginners and lapsed players of Magic: The Gathering. There’ll be casual games, teaching sessions, foil promo cards, and even free decks of cards for all attendees.

Phil Reed, CEO of Steve Jackson Games, published the company’s annual Report to the Stakeholders today. In it, the company revealed that they had a second year of decline from 2014’s high of $8.5 million to $6 million. The main reasons cited for the income slowdown were delays on planned releases of Car Wars Sixth Edition and the Munchkin Collectible Card Game. With the delay on Car Wars, Mr. Reed writes it was due to “an insistence on making the game exactly the way we want it. We would rather not ship the game than ship a game that doesn’t meet our standards.” They are also seeking to get the Munchkin CCG ready to print by the end of the year.

The company looks to have a difficult year ahead for it, with the Ogre Kickstarter campaign from 2012 still not completed. “We are still sinking time into the project,” he writes, even though “we’re seeing real progress; several outstanding pieces of the project are finally coming to a close. Whew.”

Issues with the GURPS line have been problematic for the company as well. Two hardcover books for the GURPS line, Discworld and Mars Attacks, were released but performed poorly at retail. “Today’s cluttered market, combined with our insistence on getting it right, made both books expensive experiments that tell us one thing: Do not produce more GURPS hardcovers until we have guaranteed that the sales are there.” Also tying up resources at the company is the Dungeon Fantasy GURPS introductory box set. Reed writes, “what would have been a profitable project is rapidly turning into a loss.”

But it isn’t all doom and gloom: Munchkin continues to do well with reprints, Guest Artist Editions, and expanding into Walgreens. In the top twenty products sold by dollar volume, all but three were Munchkin related. The company released five new games which appear to have done well at retail, and Zombie Dice had to go back to reprint due to “unexpected demand during the fourth quarter” of 2016. “A game from 2010 that keeps outselling our forecast is good and bad, but we’ll take this situation over the opposite problem any day.”

ACD Distribution is looking to hire a Sales Representative in Middleton, Wisconsin. The job involves cold-calling and managing existing customer relationships. “Knowledge of and a passion for board games are a definite plus.”

TCGplayer has a number of openings in Syracuse, New York. Some are for software development; others are for some aspect of project management and customer relations.

Green Ronin is recruiting women for contract work on its upcoming Lost Citadel Roleplaying Game.

Patrick Leder, owner of Leder Games and designer of Vast: The Crystal Caverns, needs all-around help running his company—production, customer service, marketing, all of it—so he can focus on product development. The position he wants to fill, Operations Coordinator, is part-time and contract and can be done remotely, though proximity to the Twin Cities would be an advantage.

Also in the Twin Cities area, Asmodee North America (née Fantasy Flight Games) has openings for a Production Coordinator, License Compliance Coordinator, and International Sales Representative.

Game Blotter

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesThere’s been a rash of Magic: The Gathering card thefts in the Canadian province of Alberta. Most have involved the use of stolen credit cards to purchase Magic cards at local game shops. Police suspect that the same person is responsible for the various incidents.

Someone broke in to a youth Chess center in Albuquerque and stole four laptop computers, a tablet, and cash.

A dispute has developed over the contract to translate Dungeons & Dragons for the Brazilian market. Four companies had supposedly formed a joint venture for the project but only one came away with the contract. That one says there was never a formal agreement and in regards to whatever arrangement was made, it withdrew before signing the contract with Gale Force Nine (which holds the global license for localizations). The remaining four say there definitely was an agreement, that they had started incurring expenses, and that the one company had even started paying a share.

The question of whether Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has resigned as president of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) remains open. The organization’s board says he did; he says he didn’t. Pending a special board meeting scheduled for April 10th, Ilyumzhinov held a press conference where he received the public support of Andrey Filatov, president of the Russian Chess Federation. Ilyumzhinov also claims that he is the only one who can call for that special board meeting but his deputy points out that Ilyumzhinov had previously abdicated his administrative authority in favor of the deputy.

In the meantime, FIDE is also dealing with a recalcitrant Iran Chess Federation, which though it hosted the recent Women’s World Chess Championship has not yet paid out promised prizes. FIDE will pay the winners their prizes and has promised to suspend the Iran Chess Federation if it does not reimburse the world body.

Borislav Ivanov, the Bulgarian Chess player suspected (but never proven) of cheating, has been arrested for counterfeiting documents. An investigative television show caught him impersonating an official and selling fake drivers licenses. Police who arrested him added charges of counterfeiting university diplomas.

Chess grandmaster, and the last challenger for the World Chess Championship, Sergey Karjakin has joined the Civil Chamber of the Russian Federation at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin. The Civil Chamber is an advisory body to Russia’s parliament.

Both the Japan Shogi Association and Nihon Ki-in (the national organization for Go) have banned electronic devices during matches as a measure to prevent cheating. The former will be taking electronic devices away from players during games. The latter will still allow them to hold on to their devices.

A federal court judge has invalidated five patents for controlling toys with sound, clearing Hasbro’s Furby toy of infringement. The judge applied the U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice ruling to find the patents invalid because they covered only an abstract idea.

The Ethisphere Institute has for the sixth year in a row declared Hasbro one of the world’s most ethical companies.

A U.S. federal court has decided that Irish businessman J.P. McManus can’t have his money back from the IRS. The money, $5.2 million, was withheld from $17.4 million McManus won in a Backgammon game against billionaire Alec Gores. McManus had claimed that he’s exempt from U.S. taxes under a treaty between the United States and Ireland. However, the U.S. government asserted that he’s not actually a resident of Ireland but of Switzerland.

A New Zealand man vacationing in Bali was kidnapped and forced by his abductors to wager increasingly larger stakes on a card game. He was set free after losing $2,000.

Lost in the story about an Iranian teenager banned by Iran Chess Federation for playing an Israeli during a recent tournament was the fact that arbiters at international events normally rig the pairings process to prevent such results.

In Moscow, International Women’s Day was recognized with a blondes vs. brunettes Chess match.

A dice game in a Jackson, Mississippi park turned deadly when an argument broke out and one of the teenage players started shooting. One of the people he shot was declared dead at the scene; the other was taken to the hospital. The shooter also shot himself in the foot.

Two men robbing a regular afternoon dice game in a Milwaukee alley didn’t hesitate to shoot (one with an assault rifle). Three victims were seriously injured.

Yu-Gi-Oh! April Releases

Yu-Gi-Oh! gets two new Structure Deck releases this month, both of which look really exciting.

The Machine Reactor Structure Deck uses the Gadget series of monsters, most recently seen in Movie Pack Gold Edition. There’s also new cards like Ancient Gear Hunting Hound and Ancient Gear Howitzer from. This Structure Deck takes combines the Gadget and Gear themes with Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon, a 3000 ATK boss monster that powers up with help from Gadgets and Ancient Gears.  Search cards are included in the deck to help fuel getting this beast onto the field.

Next up is dinosaurs. The Dinosmasher’s Fury Structure Deck contains powerful new Dinosaur-Types that devour their own for powerful effects. Souleating Oviraptor can search a player’s Deck when it hits the table, and helps Duelists make quick Special Summons. Feeder support monsters like Petiteranodon make even more Special Summons, or keep Dinos sated with Jurraegg Token and other cards, using the new Lost World Field Spell. Then there’s Ultimate Conductor Tyranno can attack every opposing monster, shifting battle positions and burning an opponent for damage when it wipes the field. This deck also lends itself to summoning multiple monsters to the field at the game time. A perfect fit for Xyz Summoning.

Both decks will be available on April 14th for $9.99, and will contain 41 cards, a Token card, beginner’s guide, and a playmat. Rarity breakdown for each deck is as follows:

Machine Reactor Structure Deck:
36 Common cards
3 Super Rare cards
2 Ultra Rare cards
1 Ancient Gear Token

Dinosmasher’s Fury Structure Deck:
36 Common cards
3 Super Rare cards
1 Jurraegg Token

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.

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The latest expansion in the Sun & Moon line of Pokémon TCG products, Guardians Rising, hits shelves on May 5th. The new set contains over 140 new cards including Tapu Koko-GX, Tapu Lele-GX, Kommo-o-GX, Lycanroc-GX, Metagross-GX, Sylveon-GX, Toxapex-GX, Vikavolt-GX, and more. More Alolan variets of original Pokémon will also be tossed into the mix.

The two new theme decks will feature the Legendary Pokémon Solgaleo and Lunala.

Guardians Rising will be available in booster packs, Elite Trainer boxes, and theme decks.

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PAX East 2017 – Final War: Onslaught

Final War: Onslaught was setup just outside the tabletop area and I almost missed it. Don’t ask me how. For some reason or another I just hadn’t walked down that isle until I was almost ready to leave the floor for the day.

Final War is a CCG for 2-4 players, but it plays a bit differently that I’m sure most CCG players are used to. The game has each player building their armies up while combating events resolved through a Fate Deck. Eventually, towards the end of the game, Final War is called and the players then battle head to head to see who emerges as the victor. The full rules are available on the game’s website.

One of the cool things about the game is how the boxed starter set provides you with plenty of power and options to enjoy the game. Booster packs aren’t really necessary unless you’re really looking to expand your play. Even then, cards from the base set may still find their way into your decks because of how useful they can be.

The game hasn’t officially launched in the states yet, but should be soon. You can still purchase it online.

It’s certainly a game to keep an eye on.

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