MIND-The Fall of Paradise

Classic board games are games played before 1900 or so, such as chess, go, backgammon, dice, dominoes, and pachisi.


Today Hasbro announced HASCON, a massive event which will be held in Providence at the Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin Donuts Center from September 8-10, 2017. The convention will be three days packed with everything Hasbro has to offer from all their product lines, characters, and stories. There will be live interactive experiences, exclusive products, special guests, panels, and everything else you’d expect to find at a good convention. Being Hasbro, it’s a fully family-friendly event.

This is one party I’m going to make sure not miss!

For more information, and to get on the mailing list for first-notice ticket sales, visit http://hascon.hasbro.com.

Geek Chic is adding a new gamer table model to the company’s lineup. The Vanguard, which Geek Chic describes as having “a design that can blend into both modern and traditional aesthetics”, will run around $3,000-4,000 (depending on options chosen) and be available in sizes up to 6½ feet long. It has the normal dining room table look but also features the recessed Game Vault space and rail system to hold accessories.

In addition to the made-to-order tables, Geek Chic is also offering a ready-made standard Vanguard configuration at $2,500, which will begin shipping in November.


Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesBackgammon has become the latest battleground for Greek and Turkish Cypriots. The Cyprus Sports Organization is rushing to form a Backgammon federation, none too happy that a Turkish Cypriot Backgammon Association already filed with the European Backgammon Federation and could end up representing the island in a major tournament coming up in October in Denmark.

The next Women’s World Chess Championship is set to take place in Iran, where women are required by law to wear a hijab. This has many people upset. General media are certainly covering it as if many are upset. But how many of the contestants are bothered by the restriction is unclear. That is, other than the U.S. Women’s Champion, Nazi Paikidze, who’s threatening a boycott. No national Chess federations, though, have formally complained about the selection of venue, though individual officials from the U.K. and Denmark have voiced their personal disagreement.

Zev Shlasinger (founder of Z-Man Games, now with WizKids) and Paul Gerardi (also formerly of Z-Man Games) are suing Dan Yarrington (Myriad Games and Game Salute) in relationship to a game store that the trio set up in Staten Island, New York. According to the complaint [PDF], filed in federal court in New Hampshire, the three formed Zap’d Games to own the store and then contracted with Yarrington’s Myriad Games to operate it, with Gerardi as the manager. The complaint alleges deception and misdeeds by Yarrington, pretty much from the beginning. The filing claims that Yarrington mishandled Shalsinger’s $100,000 investment, failed to make his own promised investment, commingled Zap’d’s funds with those of other businesses, failed to provide appropriate inventory, and eventually, without authority, closed the store, took possession of all stock, and fired Gerardi. For his part, Yarrington denies the allegations.

Game designer Bruno Faidutti is under fire for misrepresenting native American cultures in his upcoming game, Waka Tanka. In his defense, Faidutti claims that the game represents a fantasy culture, not a real one. Except that it’s pretty obvious who it’s based on.

A Justice Department report found that Baltimore police disproportionately enforce anti-gambling laws against minorities. From 2010 to 2015, 99 percent of those charged with gaming or playing dice or cards were black.

The Malta Gaming Authority has decided that daily fantasy sports leagues are primarily games of skill and therefore should be regulated with a lighter hand than gambling. Coming to that decision, though, the MGA has also concluded that some games, such as certain card and board games, involve enough luck that the regulation of tournaments shouldn’t be entirely hands-off.

Nine people were arrested while playing Mahjong in Davao City, Philippines after someone texted police about possible gambling.

Students at Chinese University of Hong Kong were challenged by campus security guards for playing Mahjong on a public plaza after midnight. According to a student publication, no gambling was involved. The university’s vice-chancellor, however, responded, “If students play mahjong, write graffiti on buildings or have hotpot meals anywhere and at any time, they might one day even carry out disreputable acts.”

The government of Hong Kong is conducting raids on Mahjong parlors to put pressure on gangs after threats made to the life of the territory’s Chief Executive. The source of the increased conflict is a planned government housing development on real-estate controlled by the triads.

In Daping Village, China a 2 year-old boy drowned in a ditch just in front of his home. He was left on his own by his mother and grandmother, who were busy playing Mahjong.

Following a 2 year investigation, four companies, Viacom, JumpStart, Mattel, and Hasbro, have settled with the New York Attorney General’s office on charges that they illegally tracked the web browsing habits of children under the age of 13. The companies will pay a combined $835,000 in fines and have agreed to require compliance from their advertising vendors.

Former Hasbro CEO Alan Hassenfeld has been testifying at the trial of Daniel Doyle, accused of embezzling money from the Institute for International Sports, a youth service organization. Hassenfeld was a major supporter of the organization and ended up having to pay off hundreds of thousands of dollars of loans that he had cosigned for the institute. Among the incidents to which Hassenfeld has testified was a forged appeal for donations on unauthorized Hasbro letterhead.

Hasbro has joined the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, a group dedicated to improving “efficiency and social, ethical and environmental sustainability in the global supply chain.” As a member, Hasbro commits to auditing 25 percent of its high-risk facilities for human rights, conflict minerals, environmental sustainability, and other issues.

In Harlem, a woman was killed while playing Dominoes, shot in the head by a stray bullet. A teenager was killed and four men injured, the victims of a drive-by shooting while playing Dominoes in the Bahamas. A Mississippi man drove himself to the hospital after having been hit in the head with an ax handle during a fight over a game of Dominoes.

Dice game arguments led to shootings in Opelousas and Bridge City, Louisiana; Charleston, South Carolina; and Detroit. Police responding to another dice game incident in Detroit were fired upon by a man with an AK-47. A man in Little Rock, Arkansas was robbed at gunpoint while playing dice. Police in Buffalo raided a backyard dice game, arresting 12 people and charging them with promoting gambling and trespassing. While a dice game in Austin was being robbed by outsiders, one of the players shot and killed another of the players. Police did not say whether he was connected to the robbers but have arrested him on murder charges.

Murder charges have been filed in the case of a 2007 Manhattan dice game shooting involving gang members from the Crips and the Bloods.

In 1985, a Sarasota, Florida woman and her boyfriend were arguing over a game of Backgammon when the man stepped on her neck, leaving her paraplegic. Police were unable to apprehend him at the time, nor were state or federal law enforcement able to find the man for the next 30 years. Now, though, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has finally been able to close the case. After publicizing an age-progression image, they were led to records that positively identified him as having lived under a different name and deceased in 2003.

Remember Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the president of FIDE (World Chess Federation), who was the subject of sanctions by the U.S. government for alleged dealings with Syria, and had threatened to sue the United States for $50 billion in “moral and financial damages” resulting from the sanctions? Well, now Mr. Ilyumzhinov says that he has sent a letter to President Obama requesting U.S. Citizenship so that he might defend himself in a U.S. court. He also attempted to fly to New York to defend himself in person but was not allowed to board the plane.

At the Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan, players were required to ask permission to visit the toilet, while a team of special anti-cheating arbiters recorded the number of visits. Nigel Short of the U.K. team refused an electronic search by an arbiter. He was returning from visiting the bathroom during the middle of a game when Jamie Kenmure of Australia approached him with a scanner. According to his own description, Short just pushed past him and continued on to the game, risking a forfeit penalty. In the end, Short was just given a detailed scan after the game but the conflict didn’t end there. Short took great offense at being interrupted in the middle of a game, particularly since he was facing time pressure. In an interview he said that Kenmure “isn’t fit to clean my boots” and suggested that the arbiter might have picked him out in retaliation for disparaging statements he had made earlier about the man.

Peter Long reports in The Malay Mail that the Malaysian Chess Federation collected fees and lodging expenses from its members in advance of the Commonwealth Chess Championship (held in Sri Lanka) but then never paid out to the tournament organizers. The Malaysian players were therefore forced to pay up again directly before they were allowed to leave the country.

With the Court of Arbitration for Sport agreeing that FIDE has jurisdiction in deciding a complaint by the European Chess Union against Silvio Danailov, President of the Bulgarian Chess Federation (BCF), FIDE’s Ethics Commission found Mr. Danailov “guilty of violating clause 2.2.3 of the Code of Ethics in a serious degree—Officials who fail to perform their functions in an impartial and responsible manner.” Though it acknowledged that it could not remove Mr. Danailov from his position as BCF president, FIDE nevertheless has banned him from representing the national federation [PDF] in any FIDE functions or with any other federations or regional unions for 18 months. Two others in the case were banned for 6 months and 3 years.

In another case involving the Bulgarian Chess Federation, FIDE’s Ethics Commission overturned 3+ year bans [PDF] that the former group had set against three players for publicly calling out corruption in the national federation. The FIDE commission determined that the Bulgarian Chess Federation “failed to prosecute the alleged violations in compliance with fundamental principles of law.”

And one more… The European Chess Union (ECU) has decided (with FIDE endorsement) to expel the Bulgarian Chess Federation (BCF) for refusing to cooperate with an investigation in to two tournaments that the BCF had falsely claimed were sanctioned by the ECU. Money from those tournaments that was supposedly paid to the ECU was actually paid to an impostor organization, the “European Chess Union LLC” registered by unknown persons in Delaware, USA.

FIDE overspent its 2015 legal budget by six times, largely because of cases involving Silvio Danailov and the Bulgarian Chess Federation.

The Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge, in which tens-of-thousands of students participate, may have to shut down after being handed a tax bill for £300,000. The government says that the tournament should have been collecting VAT on entry fees.

A Chess teacher in Toronto faces charges for alleged sexual assault of a 10 year old girl. The incident is reported to have happened during an instructional session.

When police arrested a man protesting the construction of an oil pipeline in Iowa, the man produced a Monopoly Get Out of Jail Free card. Still the police wouldn’t let him go.

A collector of error baseball cards (who is also a correspondent covering the law of trading cards for The Cardboard Connection) is suing Topps because, he claims, the company failed to deliver the individual card he ordered from its website. Instead, the company substituted an error-free card, despite the point of its online service being to sell specific cards.

During the night, someone kicked in the door of Multiverse Comics and Games in Grinnell, Iowa and grabbed $300 in cash and $1,300 of Magic: The Gathering Cards.

Police in Pleasanton, California have made a collectible card game as a way to reach out to community youth.

A Georgia schoolteacher is facing disciplinary action for using a dice game to teach 5th grade students about slavery. The game had the student taking on the role of slaves in the 19th century American South and rolling dice to determine whether they were able to escape or were forced back to the plantation.

Andre Diamant, a Chess grandmaster and former member of the Webster University Chess team, pleaded guilty to third-degree misdemeanor assault and was fined $300 for paying his 6 year-old son to drink sake with him in celebration of a tournament victory.

According to the mother of a 4 year old boy with Down Syndrome, her son was refused entry to the Mattel Play! entertainment center in Liverpool because staff considered it “unsuitable for children like him”. Responding to her negative review on Facebook, facility management claimed that the staff mistakenly thought the boy was a baby in a stroller and when they realized their mistake, offered the mother a tour of the facility.

Someone tried to scam Brainstorm Toys out of product by impersonating another business and requesting delivery of goods on credit.

Cards Against Humanity is suing an internet retailer, Skkye Enterprises, for allegedly selling counterfeits games.


Score Board - Boardgame tournaments, competitions and championships results and scoresA group from France beat out a field of 64 teams to win the Hide-and-Seek World Championship. The event was held in the abandoned town of Consonno, Italy.

In one game at the Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan, Dana Reizniece-Ozola defeated the Women’s World Champion, Hou Yifan, despite being ranked 400 Elo points lower. Dana is no stranger to such lofty achievements, however. At 34 years of age, she is a longtime Chess competitor , holds graduate degrees in Translation & Terminology and Business Administration (in addition to further graduate studies in Law, International Business, and Aerospace Management), can speak six languages, and is also the Finance Minister of Latvia.

Grandmaster Timur Gareyev broke the world record for consecutive games of blindfold Chess. In fact, most of the 64 games (54 wins, 8 losses, 2 draws) he played while pedaling an exercise bicycle.

After declaring Monopoly an official sport, the Lagos State Sport Commission of Nigeria hosted a world record 1,300 people playing Monopoly at the same time in a single venue. That achievement was recorded at the state’s Under-17 Monopoly Championship, where also Elizabeth Braimoh of Top Field College took home the trophy and a NGN600,000 education grant prize (about $2,000).

Eight winners secured second interviews at an annual Mahjong tournament meant as a job recruiting event for university students in Japan.

At the Asian Rubik’s Cube Championship in Beijing, Kevin Hays of the United States solved a 6×6 Rubik’s Cube in a world record 1 minutes, 32.77 seconds.

Not for speed, Tony Fisher demonstrated in a video solving the world’s smallest Rubik’s Cube (5.6 mm on a side). To get one so small, he had a 6 mm one 3D printed by Shapeways and then filed it down further.

Among the activities that Cem Karabay of Turkey kept himself busy with during a world-record scuba dive of 142 hours, 42 minutes, and 42 seconds were underwater games of Backgammon.

Allan Silva of Brazil has won his fourth consecutive Pan American Draughts Championship.

The North American Scrabble Championship and a $10,000 prize was won by David Gibson, who in the final defeated his opponent 397-371 with words such as “drearies”, “serrano”, orcinols”, and “spelter” (none of which are recognized by my spell-checker).

Screen Games

Ready for a board game origin story on the big screen? Not one about a plucky inventor. Instead, Ouija: Origin of Evil tells a tale of 1965 Los Angeles and how “a widowed mother and her two daughters add a new stunt to bolster their séance scam business and unwittingly invite authentic evil into their home.” In theaters October 21st.

Recently released on Netflix is The Dwarvenaut, a documentary about the founder of Dwarven Forge and the company’s Kickstarter campaign.

Disney’s Queen of Katwe, based on the true story of Ugandan Chess player Phiona Mutesi, is in theaters now.

It appears that the Jumanji remake replaces the board game with a video game. On the other hand, star Dwayne Johnson claims it’s not a remake but rather a sequel.

A new Clue movie is in the works, being developed by 21st Century Fox. Unlike the 1980s Clue, this one will be a “worldwide mystery” action-adventure story.

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.People have been trying to kill Doctor Lucky for 20 years now, so what better way to celebrate than with Cheapass Games’ Kill Doctor Lucky 19.5 Anniversary Edition. The game has been out of print since 2006, so I’m sure people are going to be happy it’s back on the market. It’s packed full of all the Lucky killing action that players have come to know and love and adds just a bit more polish to the game.

Now I have to admit that I’ve never actually played Kill Doctor Lucky before this, so I can’t compare editions. What I can do is tell you how much I enjoyed the game with two of my boys. Killing Doctor Lucky, as it turns out, is a pretty fun thing to do. All the flavor text on the character cards, weapons cards, and pretty much anywhere else they can fit flavor text, it hilarious to read. That, and ruining someone’s chance to kill the good doctor both bring a very satisfying element to the game.

kill-doctor-lucky-anniversary-editionI should mention there’s a bunch of variations of the game included in the box, but so far we’ve just played the standard version where you’re trying to kill the old man. In one variation there’s a cat that is placed on the board and moved instead of your player pawn. If the cat is in a room with any player, they can’t see out of that room. There’s also rules for a variation of the game where Doctor Lucky comes back as a ghost and tries to kill all the players.

I really can’t believe I’ve never played this game before today. It’s a fun and humorous game with simple rules, a bit of bluffing, and a lot of attempted murder. The 19.5 Anniversary Edition is available now for $40, which is about $10 too high in my opinion. Nevertheless, this feels like one of those games that should be in every gamer’s collection.

A copy of Kill Doctor Lucky 19.5 Anniversary Edition was provided free for review by Cheapass Games.


Norwegian Chess Humor

A new commercial for Felleskjøpet, a cooperative and agricultural equipment vendor, featuring World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen… (note that in Norwegian, the same word, “bonde”, is used for both “pawn” and “peasant” or “farmer”.)

Google Search Playing Cards

google-playing-cardsGoogle’s version of playing cards show suits but, reminiscent of online search, require players to fill in the blank for face values.


[via Search Engine Roundtable]



Score Board - Boardgame tournaments, competitions and championships results and scoresNeil Scallon of the U.K. claims a world-record collection 2,500 copies of Monopoly but also says he hasn’t played a board game in 20 years.

Sota Fujii, a 14 year-old middle school student from Aichi Prefecture, Japan, has achieved 4th dan status, breaking the record for youngest professional Shogi player ever.

Brett Smitheram of the U.K. took home the trophy, a €7,000 grand prize, and a kiss to the feet at the World Scrabble Championship in Lille, France. His win was secured with 176 points from the play of “braconid” (a species of wasp) for a bingo on a triple word score.

Londoners commemorated the Great Fire of London with the toppling of 23,000 dominoes strung through 4 miles of city streets, markets, pubs, gardens, and a church.

With a win at the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis (and its $75,000 prize), Wesley So of the United States is nearly assured of also taking the top prize for the entire Grand Chess Tour. That is, unless maybe Magnus Carlsen decides to step back in for the London Chess Classic in December after finishing the World Chess Championship.

The winner of the 40th World Chess Solving Championship (a tournament of solving Chess puzzles) held in Belgrade, Serbia was Zaur Mammadov of Azerbaijan. The second place winner was also from Azerbaijan.

Draughts also finished a World Championship of Problems recently, with Alexander Moiseyev of the United States in first place.

The winner of the 2016 Magic: The Gathering World Championship, Brian Braun-Duin of Virginia, was described by WOTC as having taken the “everyman’s journey to the top.” “Grinding” through tournament tours, he had set himself a goal of Grand Prix Master for this season but managed to trump that, going home with the big trophy.

At the 2016 World Championship Domino Tournament hosted by the Andalusia (Alabama) Rotary Club, the winner, Jerry Baker, was from nearby Ozark, Alabama. In fact, all the winners were from the Southeast United States.

A world record for the largest circle field of dominoes (76,017 toppled) was set in Westland, Michigan, along with the U.S. record for total dominoes toppled (242,518). A team of 18 spent 10 days setting up the feat.

Three retirees from China finishing on top of the 11th Austrian Mahjong Open was seen as something of a comeback after an embarrassing showing at the Open Mahjong Championship 2 years ago in France, where the highest placed competitor from China came in 30th.

It was an Austrian, Wolfgang Leitner, who won the 2016 FISTF World Cup in Belgium, where 500 competitors gathered to play table football (Subbuteo).

In first place at the 41st Backgammon World Championship was Jörgen Granstedt of Sweden.

At the European Rubik’s Cube Championship, Feliks Zemdegs of Australia set seven world records, including one for solving a 7×7 in 2 minutes, 20.66 seconds. At the PSU Open, August 28th in Novopolotsk, Belarus, Roman Strakhov of Russia set a world record by solving a 5×5 Rubik’s Cube, blindfolded in 5 minutes, 1.40 seconds. Just a few days later, however, at the SPB Championship, September 4th in St. Petersburg, Roman bested himself by finishing the 5×5 blindfolded in just 4 minutes, 55.63 seconds.

And the winner of the Pentamind World Championship was Andres Kuusk—his fourth time! The Pentamind is a meta-event, incorporating multiple games of one Chess variant, Scrabble, Go, Poker, and Backgammon.

Downtown Dice & GamesLas Vegas’ version of a game cafe is Milk Teaze, where the tea, juice, and board games are served by women in lingerie.

Good Games, a chain of game shops with 25 locations in Australia, is opening its first in the United States. The store will be located in downtown Indianapolis, just around the corner from the convention center.

Retailer Downtown Dice & Games opened last month in Great Falls, Montana.

Molino Lounge, part of the Loungers chain, is opening up in the restored Old Town Hall of Oldham (Manchester area, UK), with an alcohol license but a family-friendly atmosphere, including newspapers, a book-swap, and board games.

Pawns and Pints, a game cafe planned for Kansas City, has already singed a lease in the Crossroads area but is raising money on Kickstarter to stock its board game library.

While looking for a location for Meeples Cafe and Games, a husband and wife pair are hosting Thursday night game events at Toolry in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Black Rabbit bar in Brooklyn has some of its own board games but also encourages patrons to bring their own and occasionally hosts tournaments.

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