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


Transformers TCG: Details and Accessories

Hasbro’s new Transformers Trading Card Game is scheduled for release in September. Though little else has been revealed publicly about this WOTC-developed game, I did get a look at some prototype product in Hasbro’s New York Toy Fair showroom. No photos but here’s what I learned…

In the game, Transformers are represented by oversized cards with bot versions on one side and vehicle versions on the other.

While not active yet, the official website will be TransformersTCG.com.

The contents of 2-player starter sets will include:

  • 4 foil Transformers cards
  • a 40 card battle deck
  • damage counters
  • turn order card

So, one battle deck for two players. Does that mean opposing players share a battle deck?

Also at Toy Fair, Ultra Pro said it is working with Hasbro to ship accessories (such as card folios and deck boxes) in time for the game’s launch.

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Following up on its recent launch of the adjustable Beyblade Burst Switchstrike line, Hasbro revealed at New York Toy Fair this week remote control Beys, a multilevel stadium, and the most powerful launcher yet, all to be released in the fall.

Beyblade Burst Digital Control Kits feature Bluetooth-connected tops that allow players to speed-boost their Beyblades mid-battle, switch spin-direction left or right, and initiate an Avatar Attack accompanied by flashing lights. Included in each kit are a Command Launcher, a Battle Platform, and one remote control Beyblade Burst Top (either Valtryek V3 or Fafnir F3) for $40.

The Beyblade Burst Evolution Switchstrike Battle Tower is a two-level battle stadium for two players on one side and a two-level stadium for four players flipped to the other side. For $50 retail, the tower comes with two tops and two launchers.

And for a 50 percent improvement in launch speeds, there’s the Beyblade Burst Xcalius Sword Launcher. It’s part of the Beyblade Burst Evolution Xcalius Set ($20), as is a right-spin Xcalius X3.

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After reporting in its recent financial results an 8 percent revenue growth for the overall gaming category in 2017, Hasbro on Friday said that Dungeons & Dragons sales were up 80 percent. That performance made 2017 the best year for D&D ever.

A new agreement with Paramount will have Hasbro participating to a greater degree in funding its movie franchises but will also provide more reliable release dates. The Dungeons & Dragons movie is scheduled to hit theaters in 2021.

Star Wars revenue was down in 2017 but Hasbro remains positive about the license, saying the decrease represents a transition to more consistent sales, rather than surges tied to individual movie releases. One of the new Star Wars products that the company is planning for this year is a Furreal Friends Chewbaca.

Citing data from NPD,  Hasbro claimed 13 of the top 20 face-to-face games in G10 markets, with Monopoly the number one overall games property.

Online retail accounts for 20 percent of the company’s toy and game sales.

Magic: The Gathering had the best year on record of new player growth.

Hasbro is launching HasLab to “put the power of innovation in the hands of fans.” Actually, HasLab is a crowdfunding platform for premium products not suitable for normal retail channels. The first campaign is for a toy model of Jabba the Hut’s sail barge in the scale of the company’s Star wars Vintage Collection. That makes it over 4 feet long! Five thousand backers at $500 each are required to go to production.

A new Dungeons & Dragons mobile game, Warriors of Waterdeep, is in development by Ludia.

Wizards of the Coast is working on other projects besides just Magic and D&D. The Hasbro subsidiary is developing a Transformers TCG and an Axis & Allies and Zombies board game.

Digital listening is driving development in Hasbro’s gaming category, whether games based on online trends or games designed for online sharing. The company has even put together a “quick strike team” for rapid development and speed to market with social listening.

Hasbro also has weather-targeted games marketing, running additional ads when its raining.

Hasbro sees location-based experiences as a key growth opportunity. This includes live shows, hotels, cruises, and family entertainment centers. Coming soon from Marriott are My Little Pony and Transformers hotels in Shanghai.

The company will launch on Earth Day a partnership with Terracycle to recycle toys and games.

WOTC will soon launch a Magic: The Gathering companion app called Portal, which in addition to a rules reference and life-tracker, will feature a matchmaker of sorts to connect players with new people for face-to-face home games. Netmarble is developing a mobile-to-mobile MtG app.

Hasbro has snagged the master toy license for Power Rangers. Products will begin arriving on shelves in 2019.

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Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesFor a limited time, every print order direct from Goodman Games gets a free vintage copy of Dragon Magazine.

Renegade Game Studios is giving away Byzanz.

Blue Orange Games is giving away a package of Kingdomino and Queendomino. And Board Game Revolution is doing the same.

Use coupon code “rain18” to get Paizo’s Rainy Day Discount of 10% on a single order.

Through the end of the month, $600 of LPJ Design Pathfinder products are available in one 95% off bundle ($30) at DriveThruRPG.

For the relaunch of Button Men, arriving at retail this month, Cheapass Games is giving away multiple copies through an online quiz that matches participants with the game’s criminal masterminds.

Orders placed today from HasbroToyShop ship free with promo code “LOVE2018”.

Also today (ending midnight MST), save 30% on card sleeves from Mayday Games with discount code “chinesenewyear30”.

In recognition of February holidays, Skirmisher Publishing has bundled, at a 90% discount, RPG ebooks representing Valentine’s Day, Black History Month, Chinese New Year, and Presidents Day.

A Traveller: The New Era bundle is available at Bundle of Holding. Just $26 gets you everything.

Alone in the Jungle, Flying Pig Games’ solitaire expansion for ’65 Squad-Level Combat in Vietnam, is 30% off, direct from the company through today.

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Second Look—Munchkin CCG

Launching at retail next week is the Munchkin CCG from Steve Jackson Games. And to jump right away on your first question, no, it’s not just the Munchkin card game in new packaging. The CCG would be better described as Munchkin-inspired. The game features similar humor and artistic style and borrows many thematic elements. It’s still a parody of fantasy roleplaying. Levels and loot are part of the game. And traditional Munchkin-y things show up on various cards—ducks, chainsaws, and gazebos are just a few.

Gameplay, however, is quite different. It is a CCG, so the essential idea is to attack your opponent and reduce their hero’s life points to zero. The way cards work together, too, is an important part of the game. In fact, each player chooses a hero of a specific class (elf thief or dwarf cleric, for example) and the cards of their deck are all supposed to either belong to that class or be neutral. The cards of each class type, of course, build on a common theme. Cleric cards allow the player to resist damage or heal. Thief cards lean toward the Mischief type (special actions or attacks that can be played out of normal order).

All that is fine and good. But what makes the Munchkin CCG outstanding is how brilliantly it pairs serious game with silly humor and take-that attitude. To attack your opponent, you send out one monster at a time with the money to pay for it. The card you put forward, however, goes face-down and need not even be a monster, or maybe you paid too little, or too much. Your opponent then has a choice to make, whether to defend, or runaway, or simply stand and take the hit—all while trying to read your bluff. “Cheating,” as it’s called (attacking without a monster or the money to pay for it), is part of the game, and part of the strategy in getting past an opponent’s defenses.

Bluffing and cheating also makes the Munchkin CCG much more than just playing your cards against your opponent’s deck. You’re really playing your opponent.

At launch, the Munchkin CCG will be available in two-deck Starter Sets (Cleric/Thief, Wizard/Bard, Ranger/Warrior) for $20 and 12-card boosters for $4.

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Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesMongoose has a major Traveller sale under way at DriveThruRPG. Discounts are 33-80% off.

Gypsy Knights Games is also running a sale on Traveller material, to celebrate the company’s seventh birthday.

Another sale running at DriveThruRPG is the BAMFsies Sale, celebrating superhero titles.

Superheroes are also featured in Bundle of Holding’s Heroes Unlimited offer from Palladium Books, while another offer at the site features Ulisses Spiele’s English-language translation, The Dark Eye.

Victory Point Games is selling everything at 10% off (except for Darkest Night products) in celebration of Valentine’s Day.

Giveaways:

At Amazon, Starship Merchants from Toy Vault is 71% off and Bloodsuckers from Fireside Games is 59% off.

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Today marks 10 years since Yehuda Berlinger posted the first article on Purple Pawn, a brief story about board games mentioned in the Sally Forth comic strip. I hope in that time that you’ve felt informed and entertained. We’ve tried our best to make a positive contribution. With 8,370 articles published so far!

Purple Pawn presents a unique voice in the game field, covering all types of tabletop games—board games, card games, collectibles, roleplaying games, war games, miniatures, and more. Games with modern movie tie-ins and traditional games played by generations. Games for the dedicated hobbyist, as well as the casual gamer.

Of course we report news of product releases but we also work hard to document the business side of the game industry, provide tips to the game consumer, and highlight the significant role that games play in culture and society.

Purple Pawn would not exist if not for the vision and guidance of its founder, Yehuda Berlinger. Thank you, Yehuda, for letting me keep it going when you decided to move on to other game-related endeavors!

Thank you also to our various contributors over the years: Ben Clark, Thomas Deeny, K.C. Lee, Lory Gilpatric, Phil Kilcrease, Randy Snyder, Richard Bliss, Josh Street, Rob Kalajian, Sam Mercer, and Tracy Tang! In the early days it was Yehuda as the snarky commentator, Josh as the fanboy, and me as the straight-man. Ben provided an amazing inside look at the business side of games with the Paper Money podcast. Sam gave us some cool graphics. Rob—who, other than Yehuda and I, was with Purple Pawn the longest—was of tremendous support to me personally, did a wonderful job of covering the independent publishers, and also solved many technical problems behind the scenes. Thomas, who is still with Purple Pawn, has an amazing knack for identifying the hot trends and controversies.

And of course, thank you to our readers!

Retail Games

Major League Baseball player Hunter Pence and cohost of AMC’s Comic Book Men Ming Chen opened a coffee shop and board game venue in Houston this past week. Coral Sword also has a private booth for recording podcasts and gaming sessions.

Breakfast cereal and board games are the specialties of Tiny Rick’s in Liverpool, U.K. Along with board games, the restaurant serves cereals from around the world, mixes specialty cereal cocktails, and offers a variety of other breakfast foods, such as toast and Pop Tarts.

Eve’s Coffee Shop in Thiruvananthapuram, India is a board game cafe where the board games are free. Also featured at the shop is an extensive book library and adult coloring books.

After following his new wife to the U.K., Ryan, originally from Canada, decided to open the board game cafe he’d been dreaming about for years. His shop, Hexagon, is the first such venue in Taunton.

Ticket to Play is opening shortly in Salem, Oregon. Food will be served but with evening hours only, the space is primarily for playing games.

Undergoing bankruptcy proceedings, Toys “R” Us is shuttering 182 of its stores in the United States and another 25 stores in the United Kingdom.

BC Comix is consolidating three separate locations in to one larger retail space in Genoa Township, Michigan. The new space will also allow them to host bigger game events.

House of Cards is opening a second location in Cloverdale, British Columbia. The owners plan to hold Magic: The Gathering events every day in the new space.

The owners of Bonus Round Game Cafe, opening soon in the Lakeview area of Chicago, do not intend the space as a service to established gamers but rather as a place that’ll introduce the fun of board games to new people. Wi-fi will not be available.

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Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesCabot Creamery is running a board game recipe contest. Three winners will each receive two tickets to the BGG@Sea 2018 Alaska cruise.

The Dungeon Masters Guild New Year, New Campaign Sale means a 25% discount on all tier 1 (levels 1-4) Dungeons & Dragons adventures, as well as some rulebooks.

Parenting in Progress is giving away two games from Goliath, Greedy Granny and Jumping Jack.

For The Love To is also giving away a Goliath game, Doggie Doo.

Promo code “GAMES2018” is good for savings of 25% on games from HasbroToyShop but only until midnight ET tonight.

Plumpy Thimble is giving away Torres from IDW.

MyMBuzz is giving away three Magic: The Gathering Rivals of Ixalan Bundles (box, 80 lands, and 10 boosters each).

Board Game Revolution is giving away Valeria Card Kingdoms plus expansions and accessories from Daily Magic Games.

USAopoly is giving away three sets of promo cards for Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle.

Buy one, get one 30% off on HexBug Battle Ground toys.

Through February, Noble Knight Games is offering free domestic shipping on all orders over $149.

The latest at Bundle of Holding is Oone Blueprints, maps for RPGs.

Unfiltered Gamer is giving away something from Mayday Games.

Name Dropping is giving away Stranger Things games.

Sentient Cow Games is giving away some miniatures.

Rolling Solo is giving away UBOOT: The Board Game (pending Kickstarter funding and production).

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Pitch Your Game to Target

Game and toy inventors hoping to see their design on the shelves of a major retailer have a unique opportunity over the next month with Target. The company has launched what it’s calling the Target Open Innovation Project and is taking applications for direct meetings at New York Toy Fair in February.

We want early access to inventors and companies with fresh ideas and in exchange, will offer the opportunity to pitch your idea to a panel of Target Toy buyers and get feedback from experts in Mass Retail. We intend for these meetings to produce a meaningful pipeline of innovation for our Toy Assortment.

Initial applications are due January 17th and require information on the product’s target audience and how it differs from current products. Also asked is whether the inventor has performed any market studies, patent searches, or cost analysis.

Target is looking for products in the following categories: games, dolls, activity sets, pre-school toys, and imaginative play.

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