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


According to market data firm The NPD Group, annual retail sales of toys in the United States declined 2 percent from 2017 to 2018. For games, that decline was 1 percent.

Against that backdrop, Hasbro has reported that 2018 net revenue fell 12% compared to 2017, mostly due to the Toys “R” Us bankruptcy. The retailer was Hasbro’s third largest customer in the United States, second in Europe and Asia. Additional earnings pressure resulted from other retailers moving to leaner inventories and from political-economic events in Europe (particularly the U.K.).

The failure of Toys “R” Us meant not only the loss of a major retail outlet for Hasbro but also competition from a large amount of inventory being liquidated at significant discount. Excluding Toys “R” Us, however, sales at existing U.S. and Canadian retailers were up slightly, “mid-single digits” for the games category.

While Hasbro recorded an overall year-to-year drop in revenue of 9 percent in its franchise brands category and 12 percent in its gaming category, Beyblade, Dungeons & Dragons, Monopoly, and Magic: The Gathering all grew in 2018. Also on the upside among games were Jenga and Don’t Step in It, offset by downturns to Pie Face and Speak Out. When viewed as a broader category (MtG and Monopoly are normally counted in franchise brands), games were only down 4 percent to $1.4 billion compared to 2017.

Again, 2018 was a record year for Dungeons & Dragons. Regarding the future, CEO Brian Goldner said, “Our plans for an expanded universe of gaming behind D&D is taking shape in analog and digital game play.”

Noting that Magic: The Gathering Arena is still in the beta-testing phase, Goldner also revealed that the so-far-PC-only platform saw 350 million games played in the 4th quarter. Viewership on Twitch doubled. And Arena users are averaging 8 hours played per week.

The St. Louis Chess Club and World Chess Hall of Fame has openings for a Gallery Attendant, a Retail Associate, and a Graphic Designer. The last includes significant management responsibilities, such as assigning tasks to other staff, selecting vendors, and representing the organization to the public.

Modiphius Entertainment has openings in its London office for a Finance Assistant (full or part-time), a Marketing & Communications Manager, and a Logistics Assistant. The Finance Assistant will handle bookkeeping, accounts payable, and account receivable. The Marketing & Communications Manager will promote the company’s products to distributors, reviewers, and customers. The Logistics Assistant (or Manager) will require experience with imports and exports and freight arrangements. The company is also looking for a Freelance Layout Artist to work remotely.

Gen Con is looking for a temporary Administrative Assistant for the Events Team. The job starts in February and lasts until August. Location is Seattle.

Atlas Games is looking for a Marketing Coordinator at its office in Duluth. The position requires knowledge of marketing analytics and the hobby game industry.

American Sign Language Proficient RPG Game Masters are wanted by RPG Therapeutics to run games in Spokane, Washington.

A full-time Chess Coach with at least an International Master rating is wanted by The University of Texas at Dallas. In addition to training the team, the Coach will also be responsible for recruiting students at international tournaments.

PSI is recruiting for a Vendor Account Coordinator to manage relationships with board game publishers “leading to the development of customer delight.”

The Field Museum in Chicago is recruiting for an After School Game Designer. It’s a temporary part-time position for the spring program in which teens will create board and card games about freshwater ecosystems.

Good Games in Indianapolis is planning to expand its e-commerce business and needs an Online Sales Manager.

Galileo Learning runs a summer camp for elementary school-aged children in Mahanoy Plane, Pennsylvania, where it needs a Game Design Instructor.

STAR is looking to hire a Dungeons & Dragons Teacher for elementary after-school programs in Culver City, California.

Hasbro is looking to hire a Contract Graphic Designer to work on the Transformers TCG.

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Gamer Archaeology

More than 60 Chess pieces carved from wood and bone during the 17th century have been found during excavations at Berezovo in norhtern Siberia. Eight fashioned from fossil ivory were exhibited at the most recent Women’s World Chess Championship.

Archaeologists excavating a pottery workshop in Israel dating back 1,800 years found that the facility had recreational facilities for workers, including a spa and game room. Inside the game room were four game boards similar to Backgammon or Mancala.

A dot pattern carved in to a 4,000 year-old rock shelter in Azerbaijan was determined to be an example of a game known as 58 Holes, or Hounds and Jackals, another precursor to Backgammon. Previously found examples of the game from that period were limited to Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Near-East.

Professor Manuel Eisner, with the Violence Research Centre at the University of Cambridge, studied 700 year-old coroner’s records to produce a map of murders in 14th century London. Among his discoveries:

Like in modern societies, homicide was most likely at weekends. Almost a third of all cases (44) occurred on Sundays. Sunday was the day when people had the time to engage in social activities – drinking and playing games that would occasionally trigger frictions leading to assault.

For example:

  • In March 1301, an argument that resulted when three men interrupted a Chequers game being played by two others, ended with one of the interrupting men forcibly stripping one of the players of his clothes and stabbing the other in the chest with a dagger.
  • In November 1321, two men got in to an argument playing the dice game Hazard inside a brewery. Outside after the game, one attacked the other with a sword then ran away and took refuge in a church. Sometime in the following week he escaped and was never caught by authorities.
  • In December 1323, a tavern-keeper was stabbed by a customer that he had beaten in a game of Backgammon.

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Score Board - Boardgame tournaments, competitions and championships results and scoresA group of senior high school students at the American British Academy in Muscat set a new record for computer processor built from dominoes. With 15,000 dominoes, they constructed a 5-bit adder that can sum numbers up to 63. [For a fascinating explanation of how this works, I suggest this video from the person who built the 4-bit adder.]

Keisuke Fukuchi of Japan took home the trophy at the World Othello Championship held in Prague, Czech Republic. At 11 years of age, he’s the youngest champion ever in the tournament’s 42 year history. On his flight home via All Nippon Airways, a congratulations was announced by the pilot, Kunihiko Tanida, the previous record holder for youngest Othello champion (which he had held since 1982).

The World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis reclaimed the record for the world’s largest Chess piece. It previously held the record with a 14 foot tall king from 2012 to 2014 but was then eclipsed by a school in the town of Kalmthout, Belgium. The new record-making piece is a 20 foot tall black Staunton king with a base of 9 feet 2 inches and a weight of 10,860 pounds. It was hand carved from African Sapele Mahogany.

Magnus Carlsen of Norway successfully defended his World Chess Champion title against Fabiano Caruana of the United States by intentionally playing for a draw in standard time controls and then winning three straight in rapid tie-breaks. At the World Rapid Chess Championship, though, Carlsen tied with three others for second place. The winner in that event was Daniil Dubov of Russia. Following that was the World Blitz Chess Championship, where Carlsen again came out on top.

With a win at the London Chess Classic, Hikaru Nakamura of the United States secured first place in the multi-tournament Grand Chess Tour series.

Among artificial entities, Chess engine Stockfish won both Rapid and Blitz categories of the Chess.com Computer Chess Championship. Houdini came in second in Rapid, where the final match took place over 200 games, and Komodo came in second in Blitz, where the final was 300 games.

Nigel Richards won his fourth World Scrabble Championship with a final game score of 575-452, that achieved with such words as “groutier” (68 points), “zonular” (100 points), and “phenolic” (84 points). His opponent managed “maledict” for 95 points.

A new edition of The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary makes legal play out of “sheeple”, “ew”, “OK”, “yowza”, and “zomboid”. It also adds another q-without-a-u word, “qapik”, a monetary unit from Azerbaijan.

Javier Dominguez of Spain, who last year finished in second place, managed a win in this year’s finals, taking home $100,000 and the trophy for Magic: The Gathering World Champion.

Akiko Yazawa of Japan, cancer survivor, won her second World Backgammon Championship title.

Topping a field of 76 contestants from 46 countries, Quetzal Hernandez of Mexico won the Catan World Championship in Cologne, Germany.

Elena Short of Ukraine finished first in both the women’s classic and women’s blitz sections of the World Championship in Draughts 64.

Wu Yiming, 11 years old, of China became the country’s youngest female professional Go player.

In late December 2017, thirteen year-old Que Jianyu appeared on Chinese television and solved three Rubik’s Cubes while continuously juggling them, and did so in a world record 5 minutes 6.61 seconds. Then in December of this year, he went on Italian television and broke his own record by just over 4 seconds. Between these two events, he also broke speed records for solving three Rubik’s Cubes simultaneously with hands and feet (1 minutes 36.39 seconds) and solving a single Rubik’s cube while hanging upside down (15.84 seconds).

At the Cube for Cambodia event in Melbourne, Australia, Feliks Zemdegs solved a 3×3 Rubik’s Cube in a world record 4.22 seconds.

Max Park of the United States set four new Rubik’s Cube world records. He solved:

Several new world records were set for solving Rubik’s Cubes while blindfolded. At the end of the year, the records stand as follows:

  • 16.55 seconds for 3×3 blindfolded, set by Max Hilliard at the Puget Sound NxNxN in Tacoma, Washington.
  • 1 minute 26.41 seconds for 4×4 blindfolded set by Kaijun Lin at the Please Be Quiet Beijing in Beijing, China.
  • 3 minutes 1.01 seconds for 5×5 blindfolded set by Stanley Chapel‎ at the Shaker Fall in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

Grégoire Pfennig of Belfort, France built the largest order working Rubik’s Cube puzzle, 33×33. Imagine how long it would take to solve that!

A group of four in Moscow set a world record for the number of escape rooms attended in 1 day, 22.

At the World Rummikub Championship in Jerusalem, Kohei Numajiri of Japan came in first place, Sasha Erlich of Israel came in second, and Matthijs Delvers of Netherlands third.

Ankush Khandelwal of the U.K. won the Pentamind World Championship, a tournament that consists of matches in Quoridor, 7 Wonders, Acquire, Liar’s Dice, and Chess 960.

Brain Games held its first ICECOOL World Championship event at BaltiCon in Riga, Latvia, where Khanh Hung Dong of Canada took home the trophy and a prize of a weekend for two at Snow Village in Lapland.

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Magnus Carlsen has emerged victorious over challenger Fabiano Caruana at the 2018 World Chess Championship in London. While spectators and fans may have been disappointed by the early draw in game 12, Carlsen’s strategy proved successful. He won three straight in the tie-break rapid games and will go home with a €550,000 prize.

Answering questions after the match, Carlsen said that Caruana was his toughest challenger yet for the championship.

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All 12 scheduled games of the World Chess Championship have been completed, with neither Magnus Carlsen, the reigning champion, or Fabiano Caruana, the challenger, declared the winner. In fact, there was no winner in any one of the individual games.

The match will now move to four games of rapid Chess (25 minutes per player per game, plus 10 seconds per move). If there is no winner after that, there will be two games of blitz (5 minutes plus 3 seconds per move), followed by two more, and finally an Armageddon game, in which White gets an extra minute but Black wins on a draw.

In any case, a champion will be declared on Wednesday.

Drawn games are common in higher level play and the last World Championship also ended regular games at a tie. For the first time in the tournament’s history, however, all games played under classical time controls finished with a draw.

The last draw attracted some criticism for Carlsen, who offered it at the first opportunity (draws by mutual agreement are not permitted in the first 30 moves) despite being in a favorable, if somewhat complicated, position.

But it seems Carlsen was playing the game for a draw. Caruana, only 3 ratings points behind the champion in classic time controls, put up a good fight throughout the previous games. In rapid and blitz, however, Carlsen remains the top ranked player, while Caruana is number 10 and number 18, respectively. Carlsen apparently prefers his odds in these tighter games.

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Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesFrom CMON, save up to 80% on select items through Monday.

Save 33% on more than 47,000 items at DriveThruRPG.

Academy Games’ Be Thankful You Are Not Being Invaded by Vikings Sale pairs 878 Vikings with various other games for bundle discounts.

Through Tuesday, all in-stock boxed games from Flying Pig are 50% off.

Also through Tuesday, in-stock games from Tiny Battle Publishing are 25% off.

Subscriptions to the Magnus Trainer mobile Chess training app are 25% off.

Amazon deals:

Avalanche Press’ Black November Sale applies to Gold Club members, giving them 30% off 37 different products and 50% off two others.

The first 15 orders save up to €1,000 on Altar gaming tables in Rathskellers’ Black Friday Sale.

Save up to 20% in The Broken Token’s Black Friday Sale.

Meeple Source’s Thanksgiving Sale features discounts of 25-75%.

For 25% off in Firelock Games’s Raise the Black Flag Friday Sale, use coupon code “raisetheblack”.

For 20% off in Breaking Games’ Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale, use coupon code “BFCM2018”.

For 40% off most books from Goodman Games (excluding leather-bound and third-party products) and 20% off everything else (including the leather-bound books, as well as dice and other accessories) use the following coupon codes: “GGblackfriday2018”, “3PPblackfriday2018”, and “LEblackfriday2018” (multiple codes are accepted).

Mayday Games’ Black Friday Sale includes discounts on various board games, 35% off card sleeves, and free domestic shipping on orders over $50.

U.K. retailer Zatu Games is offering double rewards in its Victory Points loyalty program.

Save 20% in HasbroToyShop’s Friends & Family Sale with promo code “FF20”.

Top Shelf Gamer is offering discounts up to 25% on select products and bundles and free gifts ranging from stickers to dice bags to gift cards, depending on the size of the original order. This Black Friday Bling Weekend Event ends in the early hours of Tuesday.

Save 30% on orders from Renegade Game Studios with promo code “BFSALE”.

All Jon Brazer Enterprises’ Pathfinder PDFs are 75% off. Ends Tuesday.

Discounts are in the 20-45% range in Van Ryder Games’ Thanksgiving Week Sale.

Monte Cook Games’ Cypher Monday Sale starts Monday. Already active, though, is the gift code “2018MCGHolidayGift”, good for $5.

German retailer Spiel Zeit Shop is holding a sale on used and imported games.

Troll & Toad’s Black Friday Sale (discounts up to 60%) end Sunday night.

Drinking Quest games are 20% off.

The Game Crafter’s Turkey Day Giveaway of store credit and parts ends December 4th and will have seven winners.

Coupon code “BlackFriday2018Cards” is good for 10% off card decks from Superior Print on Demand, and “BlackFriday2018Photo” is good for 10% off photo products.

Bundle of Holding’s Indie Cornucopia 6 bundle features Dusk City Outlaws, Spire, and a few more.

90 Second Nerd is giving away Captive from Van Ryder Games.

Sign up for Iron Crown Enterprises’ newsletter for a chance to win $10 off at RPGNow.

To save 33% on purchases from Precis Intermedia, use coupon code “9WAZXMNUYN”.

JasonTDnDDM is giving away the alternate-art Dungeons & Dragon core rules gift set. Retweet by December 12th.

ShimmerwindIsle is giving away a dragon miniature and polyhedral dice set. Twitter stuff required by November 27th.

Cassandra M’s Place is giving away three games from Tactic Games.

Sahm Reviews is running many giveaways, including Dungeon Raiders from Devir, Hero Realms from White Wizard, Blue Lagoon from Blue Orange, and more.

Syrinscape is offering a 30-day free trial to all of its gaming soundsets, including Pathfinder, Dungeons & Dragons, and more.

From Corvus Belli, save up to 50% and get free shipping with orders over €150.

Eagle-Gryphon Games’ Black Friday & Cyber Monday Sale includes discounts up to 50%.

Alderac Entertainment Group is doing bundle deals for its Black Friday Sale.

Greenbrier Games is also doing the bundle thing, plus on Monday, get 10% off with sale code “2018GAMES”.

Hexbug’s Black Friday special BattleBots Championship Bundle is good for $25 savings.

Harn World PDFs from Columbia Games are 33% off with coupon code “thanks”.

Dog Might Games’ Black Friday deals include free dice at orders of $100 and free gift cards at orders of $250. Purchased gift cards are 20% off.

Games listed in Compass Games’ Holiday Catalog [PDF] are 30% off. Get the same discounts when ordering online with coupon code “HOLIDAY18”.

Update (4:00 PM ET, 11/23/2018) with late additions:

Osprey Publishing’s 30% off Black Friday Sale includes Gaslands, Frostgrave, Bolt Action, High Society, and more.

Steve Jackson Games’ Warehouse 23 Hauliday Sale has discounts of 23-75% and free gifts with orders of $25 or more.

Rogue Genius Games has bundles all 117 of the company’s Pathfinder PDFs for just $10 (normally more than $400). They’re calling it the Not Done With This Path Yet Sale.

Kenzer & Company’s Hack Friday Sale includes many items at 50% off.

For 20% off all board games from Capstone Games, use coupon code “HOLIDAYS20”.

The Open Gaming Store is running a Real Stuff Sale on print roleplaying products.

The Infinite Black Friday Sale means 20% off playmats from Infinite Black.

Save 30% on Beasts of Balance with coupon code “BFSAVE30”.

Use the “CRITHIT” code for a $5 savings at Hero Forge.

Everything is 20% off in Litko’s Black Friday Sale.

For 20% savings on Jenga Giant, use code “JengaGiant2018”.

Most things from PSC Games are on-sale for 25% off.

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Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesSave 50% on tickets to the Chicago Toy & Game Fair with coupon code “CHITAGPLAY”.

For the company’s fifth anniversary, Dog Might Games has discounted in-stock items 10-25%.

Xai is giving away RPG-related accessories, including dice, a dice bag, and fantasy-themed scented candles.

Ending at midnight tonight is a giveaway from Blue Orange Games and Bubble Bum that includes three games and an inflatable child’s booster seat.

Save 15% on games from HasbroToyShop with promo code “WINNING!”.

Laid Back Games is giving away Super Mario Level Up! from USAopoly.

Mom and More is giving away The Baby Beluga Game from Child and Nature.

Feisty Frugal & Fabulous is giving away Fortnite Monopoly from Hasbro.

Preorder Yaah! magazine issue number 12 from Flying Pig Games for a 28% discount.

Greenbrier Games has several discounted bundles on-sale for the holiday shopping season.

The latest deal at Bundle of Holding is another collection of Fate games, including Fate Core, Fate Accelerated, Bulldogs, Kaiju Incorporated, and Elysium Flare.

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This Saturday is Neighborhood Toy Store Day, an opportunity to support your local toy and game retailer before the peak of holiday shopping pressure. Organized by the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, Neighborhood Toy Store Day also has participating shops running family-friendly activities and offering in-store specials.

Take the opportunity to support a small business in your community.

 

 

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This Friday begins the 2018 World Chess Championship in London. Reigning champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway takes on challenger Fabiano Caruana of the United States in a 12 game series scheduled to conclude November 26th, though tiebreaks could extend the series an extra day or two.

Carlsen, 27 years old, has held the title since defeating Viswanathan Anand of India in 2013. Caruana, 26, trails the current champion by just three rating points going in to the tournament (2835-2832) and is the first American World Champion challenger since Bobby Fischer in 1972.

For those not able to attend in-person, the World Championship games will be broadcast live online (3 PM GMT, 10 AM ET). A subscription to the series is only $20.

Don’t have someone to follow the games with? Consider Mates, the official World Chess Championship dating app. According to the app’s developer, “Good sex has a lot in common with a good game of chess… That’s why Mates limits your conversation to an hour, so you spend less time talking and more time playing.”

And if that doesn’t work for you, the tournament’s organizers have also signed an official online betting partner. Unibet expects wagers on the Chess championship to exceed those placed on some of the recent FIFA World Cup games. Odds are currently running ⅔-⅓ in favor of Carlsen.

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