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


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.

The winner of the 2017 Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming is Gen Con. Not only is the award totally deserved because Gen Con is a fantastically fun convention, but it’s also not so surprising that it was awarded this particular year, the show’s 50th.

Running this weekend in Indianapolis, Gen Con for the first time completely sold out of badges this year. And I hear that after just one day, so have several of the most anticipated new games.

Distribution

It’s only been about a year-and-a-half since Asmodee consolidated operations and abandoned Fantasy Flight Games’ exclusive deal with Alliance Game Distributors (in favor of a portfolio approach with ACD, Alliance, GTS, Southern Hobby, and PHD). Effective this month, though, Asmodee North America back to exclusive with Alliance, claiming the arrangement will benefit hobby retailers.

Alliance Game Distributors is building a dedicated team of Asmodee Sales Specialists who will work directly with retailers to help them grow sales by understanding the retailer’s specific needs and providing in-depth product knowledge of ANA products and services. This sales team will also provide greater visibility into stock availability, allocations, and other retailer initiatives, as well as sending retailer feedback to ANA.

At the same time, Asmodee is restructuring its broader sales policies and assigning all specialty retailers (new or existing) to one of three categories. Flagship Accounts are for those with brick-and-mortar stores that provide in-store gaming space. These will have access to the full range of ANA products, early access to new releases, and benefit from organized play support. Toy and Gift Accounts, for those without in-store gaming space, will be limited to the top-selling, broad-appeal titles and restricted to general release dates. General Accounts are for those with different business models, perhaps such as event sales, game cafes, and primarily online businesses. These will be able to participate in organized play and sell the full catalog but not benefit from early access. All three types of account will henceforth be permitted online sales but also must commit to a minimum advertised price (MAP, of no more than a 20 percent discount off of MSRP).

Coiledspring Games has signed on as exclusive U.K. distribution agent for Iello Games’ full product line and for Games Workshop’s Talisman: The Magical Quest board game.

Ares Games of Italy will be distributing the English-language games of Phalanx (UK) worldwide except for Europe. This includes existing products, such as Germania Magna: Border in Flames and Hunger: The Show, as well as the soon to be republished classic, Hannibal & Hamilcar – Rome vs. Carthage (due November 2017).

CMON is no longer handling U.S. distribution for Ankama Products (Krosmaster board games).

This week marks the formal launch of a distribution arrangement that sees Passport Game Studios carrying the product line of Rule & Make of Australia. These include Skyward: The Airborne City, Entropy: Worlds Collide, Smiths of Winterforge, Robots & Rockets, Tavern Fame, and more. Passport also recently expanded its existing distribution partnership with the Polish game company, Granna, to bring the CV series of board games to Canada.

Retail Games

Elli-Chai’s, the Judaica shop just up the street from me, has repurposed half the store in to a game room. The focus is on providing a family-oriented activity space. Snacks are available for purchase and there’s a game library with a mix of traditional and modern strategy board games.

Wellington, New Zealand has a new venue, the Counter Culture Board Game Cafe and Bar, opened by Emma Smart and Ahmed Bulbulia in the same building they used to live in, before they spent 10 years in the Middle East.

The Cube Cafe in Hanoi, Vietnam is arranged by levels. On the first floor are the drinks and snacks, on the second floor are simpler games, and on the third floor are the hard-core strategy games.

Vianna Bui runs All Aboard Games, a weekly game night program at The Cold Pressery in Mississauga, Ontario. Table service is provided for both food and games.

Calling itself an esports bar, Guild Hall in Burbank, California features comfort food, craft cocktails, screens for watching esports, and board games.

One night a month, the upstairs room at Philadelphia’s American Sardine Bar turns in to Drinks & Dragons, a roleplaying open game night.

Elsewhere is Pennsylvania, the town of Honesdale (east of Scranton) now has a shop to compete with the bigger cities. Tap2Games runs lots of Magic tournaments, as well as D&D events and LAN parties.

Recently opened in the small town of Maryville, Missouri (near the border with Iowa) is the aptly named Maryville Board Game Cafe. Owners Scott and Thuy Copeland see it as a community space for families, as well as students from nearby Northwest Missouri State University.

South of Maryville (about half the way to Kansas City), a new game shop called End Game has opened in a former Record Warehouse location in St. Joseph.

David Davis just moved to Van Buren, Arkansas in 2015. Unsatisfied, though, with the town’s lack of a game store, he’s opened Big Kids at Play with plenty of play space.

Kit and Matt Strehlow sold board games online for a year-and-a-half before deciding to open a brick-and-mortar shop, Menagerie Games, in Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin.

Asteroids 2 Zombies opened recently in Marion, Illinois with a fundraising event for Extra Life.

Wonderland in Grande Prairie, Alberta has dropped mass-market toys to make room for a diner in the front of the shop and is soon planning to open a second location in Prince George.

Kokomo, Indiana is back on the game map. Goblin Games, which closed last year, has been replaced by Kingdom Cards and Games.

Cardboard Crowns, a board game bar, is working toward an October opening in Dayton, Ohio.

Sente is a new coffee shop with board games in Wichita, Kansas. The shop opens daily at 7:00 AM, in case you’re one of those morning people.

Tables Board Game Spot in Las Vegas has over a thousand games to play and craft sodas to drink.

Halifax, Nova Scotia now has a third venue, Roll the Dice Board Game Cafe and Restaurant.

The owner of The Comics Place in Bellingham, Washington is opening a second shop, Moon Base Games & Comics, in the Fairhaven area.

With Stone Age being the most checked-out item of anything in circulation, Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia, New York is expanding its board game collection.

Hasbro today announced that the next product to come out of its Magic Digital Next initiative will be Magic: The Gathering Arena. “Designed for Magic fans and beyond,” Arena will feature “AAA graphics” and serve as a platform for growing Magic as an esport, said Chris Cocks, head of Wizards of the Coast.

Magic: The Gathering Arena is currently in alpha testing and will open to public beta testing in the fall (details of that process to be revealed September 7th on the Magic Twitch channel).

This announcement follows recent news of a Magic MMO being developed by Cryptic Studios and a highly anticipated schedule of set releases leading in to the card game’s 25th anniversary next summer. In September, Ixalan will release with vampires, dinosaurs, and pirates. December will see Unstable, a unconventional, silver-bordered, un-set (not legal for standard tournament play), followed by a 25th Anniversary Masters set in March 2018 and Dominaria in April. Core sets are also returning, with one scheduled for next July.

According to WOTC, 2017 has already seen a 27 percent increase in the number of new Magic players and a 150 percent increase in viewers of events on its Twitch channel.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesDriveThruRPG’s Christmas in July Sale, which offers 25% off thousands of items, ends tomorrow.

Doctor Who RPG books from Cubicle 7 are available in a Humble Bundle deal starting at just $1 for the rulebook, First Doctor sourcebook, three adventures, a computer game, and a coupon for 30% off any other purchase from Cubicle 7. Get 17 books at $15.

For 25% off in Precis Intermedia’s Christmas in July Sale, use coupon code “J86MG8Y9GV”.

Multi-Man Publishing is running a Summer Sale, to coincide with the World Boardgaming Championships, with discounts starting at 25%.

Use promo code “FANMILY” for $20 off an adult ticket and $10 off a child’s ticket to Hascon, Hasbro’s in-house fan convention.

Gen Con and USAopoly are giving away the latter company’s Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle game.

From Dr. Finn, get three games (Biblios Dice, Foragers, and Let Them Eat Shrimp) for $45.

Giveaways:

Over at Bundle of Holding, there are two Numenera offerings, one with the core rulebook and early supplements starting at $9.95, the other starting at $14.95 with more recent supplements, including one based on the Torment: Tides of Numenera computer game. There’s also a RIFTS bundle, starting at $17.95 for four books including Ultimate Edition, and the bonus collection with seven more books starting at $27.86.

Venger’s Old School Gaming Blog is running an RPG adventure writing contest with a prize of $500.

Strat-O-Matic is running a t-shirt design contest. The winner will receive a $250 merchandise credit, plus a shirt.

A bundle of all five years of Steve Jackson Games’ The Space Gamer magazine is now available for half off.

Dice from Dog Might Games are on-sale for 20% off.

For one more day, Osprey Publishing’s Campaign, Fortress, and Raid series books are 20% off.

Hot Jobs

Mattel in Frankfurt, Germany has an opportunity for a Marketing Intern – Brand Activation Games to support the company at Essen Internationale Spieltage, test and proofread prototypes, plan advertising, manage social media, and conduct market research.

Wizards of the Coast is recruiting for a Senior Game Designer to join Magic: The Gathering’s R&D team. Requires 3+ years design experience, passion for MtG, ability to lead teams, and familiarity with other CCGs.

Spin Master is looking for someone crafty, outgoing, and comfortable with social media to fill the role of Sand Castle Maker. The position is a 1 year, $50,000 contract to build “imaginative creations” with Kinetic Compounds. Must make at least one video a week, with children.

CENTRA Technology, a consulting firm in Arlington, Virginia (just outside D.C.), has an opening for a Wargame Analyst. The job of the analyst is to organize and implement simulations and exercises involving such topics as space policy, military technology, cybersecurity, and regional affairs.

Goliath Games in Plano, Texas needs a Graphic Designer to design game packaging and layout instruction manuals and game boards. Five or more years of experience is required.

Andromeda Simulations International, which runs board game based training programs on business, finance, and strategy, needs a Marketing Director. The goal is to “focus on solution design and content development,” such as blogging, social media campaigns, email campaigns, and trade shows and conferences.

Cartamundi has a number of openings at its board game manufacturing plant in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Some are shift-based production positions. Others are for IT and logistics.

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Four-day badges for Gen Con’s 50th anniversary event (August 17-20 in Indianapolis) have sold out. Individual-day passes are still available but are also expected to sell out shortly. Gen Con has already decided not to sell additional day-passes on-site and instead will use the hall registration space to speed up the will-call line.

For those who do have passes and perhaps consider the crowds and chaos a geeky-romantic venue, Gen Con has an official wedding planner and has set aside times (with corresponding event IDs) for vow-renewal ceremonies and actual weddings.

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Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesTabletop Simulator via Steam is on-sale for 50% off.

Talisman and other PC games from Nomad Games are also on-sale via Steam—up to 80% off.

Eagle-Gryphon Games is running a sale on expansions.

Cool Stuff Inc. is running a 4th of July Sale through Sunday, almost exclusively on CCGs. Also, in celebration of receiving its 3 millionth order, the company is giving away a Twilight Struggle Collector’s Edition, a Magic: The Gathering Modern Masters 2013 Booster Box, and a $400 gift certificate.

For Independence Day, several of the 7th Sea ebooks are on-sale for more than 50% off.

Dog Might Games’ Independence Day sale means 10% off all in-stock items, 20% off all dice, and free shipping in the U.S.

At Bundle of Holding, there’s a deal for Colonial Gothic, a supernatural horror RPG set in the colonies and around the American War of Independence.

Today only, save 25% on orders of $35 or more from HexBug.

For 15% off from Toys “R” Us, use coupon code “JULY15OFF”, but do it today. It’s no good tomorrow.

For 20% off orders from HasbroToyShop, use promo code “JULYSAVE17” (also ending today).

Save 25% on Drink Trayz and get one free for every $20 spent at GameTrayz with code “4THDRINK”. (Drink Trayz are can and cup holders meant to resist tips and collect condensation at the game table.)

Use coupon code “CATALOG30” to save 30% on all in-stock games from Compass Games.

Fat Dragon Games has put six of their 3D printing model sets on pay-what-you-want pricing through July 10th.

The three (PDF) books of the Deadlands Dime Novel Series are more than 10¢ but still 50% off.

Giveaways:

Amazon deals:

…and from Stronghold Games:

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ASTRA, the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s Marketplace & Academy, is an annual show focused on the needs of small, independent, local toy and game stores. This year’s event was earlier this week (June 25-28) in Philadelphia.

The marketplace aspect of ASTRA refers to an exhibit hall with approximately 500 exhibitors (a significant increase since the last time I attended in 2012). Among them I found on display a number of new products, which I will share with you over the coming few days.

ASTRA’s academy aspect features a range of professional development workshops for retailers, including lessons on predicting trends, managing employees, marketing to local communities, negotiating with sales reps, and much more.

Overall, the event feels like a smaller, somewhat more relaxed version of Toy Fair with a larger educational component—a good fit for the independent retailers, as well as the manufacturers and publishers looking for business in that market.

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