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


Retail Games

Launching soon in the Longmont, Colorado area is a board game rental service, Borrowed Boards. The plan is to have a 60 day borrowing period.

A long abandoned storefront in the Midtown area of Muskegon, Michigan is being completely renovated and will soon house The Griffin’s Rest, a game and comic shop.

House Rules Cafe is supposed to be open by now in Hudson, New York serving coffee, tea, bagels, breakfast, and board games.

Davis Cards & Games recently moved to a new larger location in Davis, California, significantly expanding its play space.

Recently opened in the North Portland area is Game Knight Lounge, a board game bar with game-themed menu items such as the Catanwich and Hungry Hungry Chippos. There’s also Cosmo Encounter drink. Access to the game library is $4 a day.

Starlit Citadel, an online retailer in Canada, has opened a brick-and-mortar storefront in Vancouver.

Back to Games of Abu Dhabi has opened its second location in the Times Square Center in Dubai. The shop holds themed game nights every day.

Las Vegas should soon be getting another game cafe, Tables Board Game Spot.

There’s a Chess-themed restaurant in Budapest appropriately named Chess Restaurant. As far as I can tell, there’s no game-playing on-site but the food looks amazing and comes recommended as one of the best places to eat in the city.

The Plainfield, Indiana public library has added board games to circulation.

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesA 12 year old girl was ejected from the National Scholastic Chess Championship in Malaysia for wearing a dress whose hemline was above the knee. According to the girl’s Chess coach, an official at the event called her dress “too seductive”. The tournament’s director said that he was not there at the time but that four arbiters, including one woman, together decided that the dress was too revealing when the girl sat down. Since the allegations attracted international attention, the director has promised to sue the coach, as well as the girl’s mother, for defamation. He claims to have evidence that the picture of the dress being publicized by the coach via Facebook is fake. The whole situation is now being investigated by police.

The Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office will not pursue charges against a Muslim televangelist who said that “playing Chess is worse than gambling and eating pork.” The prosecutor’s office refused a complaint from the public and instead sided with the televangelist, asserting that his statements fell within his rights to freedom of thought and expression.

A 1764-rated Chess player from India was expelled from the Dubai Open after an arbiter discovered that he was hiding a mobile phone in his sleeve. The player refused to show the arbiter whether or not the phone was running a Chess program but was still expelled from the tournament because carrying a phone is against the rules.

Thieves broke in to The Realm Games in Mansfield, Ohio early on a Sunday morning and stole about $8,000 worth of merchandise. Most of the value in stolen items came from Magic: The Gathering singles. Surveillance camera footage, however, shows that one of the thieves had no idea what he was doing and grabbed boxes of regular playing cards.

A woman in Japan who also had no idea about the potential value of old Magic: The Gathering cards took the collection her grown son had left at home (which included a Black Lotus) and put them up for sale as a bundle in an online auction. Someone who realized what was going on got word to her son, who was able to stop the sale before the transaction was complete.

In Murfreesboro, Tennessee, a woman and her boyfriend got in to an argument over a game of Monopoly. He punched her several times and stabbed her with a box cutter. She whacked him in the head with a liquor bottle.

In Jacksonville, Florida, a woman tried to break through her roommate’s door with an ax after an argument over a game of Dominoes.

A game of Dominoes in New Orleans also erupted in an argument, whereupon one of the players went in to his house, retrieved a knife, returned to the game, and stabbed another player.

During a Minnesota House debate of a law that would increase penalties for protesters who block roads, Democratic Minority Leader Melissa Hortman triggered a “call of the House” procedure to force the return of absent lawmakers. “I hate to break up the 100 percent white male card game in the retiring room, but I think this is an important debate,” she said.

Gazdálkodj okosan is a Hungarian personal finance board game dating back to 1960. It’s manufacturer never trademarked the game’s name but did register it for copyright. When recently another party attempted to trademark a color logo for that same title, the manufacturer filed an opposition. Both the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office and Metropolitan Tribunal have now rejected the trademark opposition claim, finding that the original name lacked visual distinctiveness, nor was it sufficiently familiar to the public.

Though he only narrowly escaped ouster by the organization’s board a week before, and in the process was stripped of much of his real authority, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov promises to again run for FIDE president in 2018.

The president of the Zimbabwe Chess Federation committed suicide, jumping from the 9th floor of a building while under investigation related to his previous positions in the government.

A magnetic Tic-Tac-Toe board sold at Target has been recalled because if two pieces are swallowed they could clamp together “cause intestinal obstructions, perforations, sepsis and death.”

Upper Deck has applied for a U.S. trademark on the name “Splendor” with regard to trading cards. Can anyone think of an existing card game called “Splendor”?

In order to avoid running afoul of any gambling laws, the recently formed Poker Sports League in India does not require contestants to pay any kind of participation or entry fee or wager any money. It does, however, award cash prizes to winners. Meanwhile, the Gujarat High Court is currently in the process of reviewing the status of Poker after an application by the Indian Poker Association, which seeks to halt a government campaign to shut down Poker clubs.

Senior citizens who regularly met at a community center in Richmond, British Columbia were told that their small-stakes wagering on Bridge and Poker (as in about 10¢ a chip) was illegal and would not be allowed to continue. They tried to move their games to the homes of individuals but that hasn’t worked out very well. Also, one of the group, a former police officer, claims that the wagering isn’t illegal as long as the house doesn’t claim a stake.

In Selina, Kansas, a man threatened his Walmart coworkers during an argument over a break-room card game. When he returned to the store 3 days later and threatened them again, they called police, who searched his car and found a handgun.

The robbery at gunpoint of a Jackson, Mississippi dice game resulted in the injury of two players and the death of one of the robbers. A second robber was later arrested, while police are still trying to identify the third.

An argument over a dice game inside a Harker Heights, Texas nightclub led to the shooting deaths of two men. A female suspect identified by eyewitnesses and surveillance video has surrendered to police.

Registration for the 2017 Connecticut Festival of Indie Games is now open! The festival will be held on June 3, 2017 at the Tabletop Shop in Newington, CT. Tickets are $10, and upon arriving at the event guests will receive $5 in store credit to spend.

Along with registration, CT-FIG has set up a giveaway for the following games:

  • Plus Word by Geek Fever Games
  • Raid & Trade by MAGE Company
  • Captains of Industry by TMG
  • City Hall by TMG

Just head on over ct-fig.com to enter. Prizes will be awarded the day of the event.

CT-FIG is an awesome event. I’ll be there again as a judge for the Figgie awards.

Hope to see you there!

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesGet one pack of TPK Tissues for every $25 ordered from Goodman Games.

Blue Orange Games is giving away Clear for Takeoff.

Evil Hat is giving away one copy of The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game plus all expansions before it hits retail. Twelve people will win other prizes.

Get a free copy of the Wild West Exodus second edition rules when they’re released for posting on social media a photograph with a first edition rulebook.

Select Paizo PDF products are 25% off.

CoolStuffInc is running a Mother’s Day Sale on 183 products.

Dog Might Games is offering a 25% discount to anyone who feels they’ve been shortchanged or let down by someone else’s woodworking Kickstarter project.

Collins Epic Wargames has various Spearpoint 1943 games and expansions on-sale and is also discounting preorders for Polyversal.

In celebration of the company’s fifth anniversary, DramaScape is offering a bundle of its Modern Floor Plans (sold separately for $239) for 75% off.

For 10% off purchases from Precis Intermedia, use coupon code “AJZJ7R8SSM”.

The 20th Anniversary Edition of White Wolf’s Vampire: The Masquerade is currently featured at Bundle of Holding with a deal starting at $14.95. Also at Bundle of Holding (actually returning after a previous engagement) is a deal for 13th Age.

EverythingBoardGames is giving away Gardens of Mars from Big Kid Games and Honshu from Renegade Game Studios.

The prize pack in Casual Game Revolution’s Big Box O’ Games giveaway includes seven games.

A group of reviewers has gotten together also to give away a bunch of games.

The Giveaway Geek is giving away Above and Below from Red Raven Games.

Sahm Reviews is giving away Fantasy Fantasy Football from CSE Games and New York Slice from Bezier Games.

For an extra 20% off in-store clearance purchases from Toys “R” Us, print this coupon.

Amazon deals:

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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