Mole Rats in Space


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


Ilyumzhinov Holds On, Barely

Those battling over the presidency of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) have, for now, settled in a face-saving measure that confirms Kirsan Ilyumzhinov as the organization’s titular President, though denied pretty much all of the position’s authority. Despite recent assertions that he had resigned, a special meeting of FIDE’s Presidential Board, conceded Ilyumzhinov the title but made formal the transfer of his powers to the Deputy President, Georgios Makropoulos. With Ilyumzhinov under sanction from the United States for dealings with the Assad government in Syria, FIDE has found it increasingly difficult to land international sponsors for its events. The particularly influential Russian Chess Federation, though, continues to back Ilyumzhinov.

The people who created TSR’s Alternity roleplaying game are looking to bring the game — well, a new game inspired by their earlier work — kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. “The ‘tech’ of RPG system design has moved on a bit from 1997,” writes Sasquatch Game Studio’s Rich Baker, “and we’re looking to create a system that captures the spirit and the key table experiences of the original game with an updated approach.” Advertised as its own game, not a second edition, reboot, or remake, the creators have a free beta playtest available on DriveThruRPG. Various reward tiers are available, but you’ll really want to start at the $45 level which gets pdf versions of the core book and all sourcebooks and adventures unlocked during the campaign. Estimated delivery is in December.

If you run a game store or game cafe, or do video reviews of boardgames, Massif Displays offers collapsible stands for displaying those games. Sets (one large display, two medium, or four small) start at $8, but pricing drops with multiple sets — twelve display sets are down to $4 per individual set. Delivery is scheduled for August.

Oh, and something called Gloomhaven went live yesterday. It was at $1.15 million when I started writing this sentence, but wound up at $1.16 million when I ended it.

Huh. Still no full-on Cards Against Humanity knockoff this week. But hey, look at this, it’s another dirty words Charades.

But wait, Dirty Lines A Game For Dirty Minds isn’t just a straight charades photocopy! You gain points extra points if you can get the others to guess some key words before they get your main word. So you’re really trying to charade up to five words in a short time. Oh, and hey, the sample card on the kickstarter campaign isn’t really a naughty word, it’s just racist! Five days left!

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.

The estate of Allan Calhamer, inventor of the Diplomacy board game, is being liquidated. One of the items being sold is his own copy of Diplomacy, first edition. The game is currently up to $1,550 on eBay with the auction closing Sunday evening.

Being auctioned by Sotheby’s April 5th in Hong Kong is a Huanghuali Double-Sixes game board from the late Ming Dynasty. The estimated sale price for this incomplete but vintage board game is $23,000-36,000. On April 26th in New York, the auction house is offering a French gilt-bronze and kingwood game table from about 1900 (estimated $7,000-10,000).

Bonham’s has for sale April 27th in Edinburgh two volumes on the game of Draughts from the early 1800s, authored by John Drummond: The Game of Draughts (1832) and The Scottish Draught Player; or, The Theory and Practice of that Scientific Game (1838).

Scoreboard

Score Board - Boardgame tournaments, competitions and championships results and scoresA team from Slovenia won the Red Bull Mind Gamers’ first Escape Room World Championship, which featured some really high-end set design (including a rotating tunnel) and challenges themed around quantum computing. The escape-rooms were designed by Prof. Scott Nicholson and his students at Wilfrid Laurier University. Held this past week in Budapest, the event ran more than 20 international teams through a series of timed challenges, with the top two teams, Slovenia and Ukraine, moving to the finals. There, the teams’ performance on a series of additional challenges—including one that surprised the competitors by needing to be solved cooperatively—determined the difficulty level assigned to them in a final puzzle.

The inaugural season of the PRO Chess League has concluded with the St. Louis Arch Bishops taking the championship title. St. Louis, led by the world’s number 2-ranked player Wesley So, faced in the final match the Norway Gnomes, led by number 1, World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen. So also captured the medal for MVP.

Also hailing from St. Louis, the Webster University Chess team won its fifth consecutive President’s Cup Collegiate Chess Tournament in New York City (fondly known as the Chess Final Four). Coach Susan Polgar was quoted as saying, “This was an incredibly hard victory, and the students gave everything they had. The competition on Saturday lasted nearly 13 hours, underscoring the importance of both physical and mental toughness.”

At the Cubing Classic in Melbourne, Australia, Feliks Zemdegs solved a 7×7 Rubik’s Cube in a world record 2 minutes, 18.13 seconds.

A Michigan team by the name of Incredible Science Machine has broken the world record for number of dominoes (76,017) toppled from the center in a circle field. The circle was the final display in a longer domino-toppling series that started with a Rube Goldberg-type trigger and included separate sections dedicated to each of Earth’s continents.

Is Kirsan Ilyumzhinov on his way out as president of FIDE (the World Chess Federation)? According to the organization’s website, he resigned Sunday at FIDE’s board meeting in Athens. But this man who consorts with dictators, claims to have been abducted by aliens, believes that aliens are the source of Chess on Earth, and is the subject of sanctions by the U.S. government for providing support to the Assad regime in Syria claims such assertions are false.

Ilyumzhinov does admit that he offered—unofficially, in discussions after the close of the meeting—to submit his resignation if necessary but has also since published an open letter to FIDE’s board stating that he never did resign, nor does he intend to.

Many would not be sad to see him go. There have been longstanding accusations of corruption. Nor has he actually been in charge of FIDE’s day-to-day operations recently, having stepped out of that role since the imposition of the sanctions. Still, Ilyumzhinov did soundly defeat democracy activist and former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov in the last election for the FIDE presidency (an accomplishment commonly believed to have been achieved with the support of Russia’s President Putin). And the idea that he has lost the support of the national federations would come as a shocker.

FIDE’s Executive Director Nigel Freeman states that an Extraordinary Presidential Board meeting will take place April 10th to discuss the situation. But don’t expect this situation to remain calm until then!

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Announced last year, Restoration Games was created to breathe new life into classic games, updating them to our modern world. One of the first games mentioned was Stop Thief!, a 1979 board game with an electronic element: a handheld device that made sounds of a thief walking, smashing through windows, and opening doors. As detectives, you pieced together where the villain might be and move in for the capture. The new version moves the handheld tracker to an app for phone or tablet and swaps the roll and move mechanic to a point-to-point movement system based on a small handful of cards with abilities. Currently funded, Restoration Games expects the game to be ready in August, this year.

One of my favorite creatures from my Dungeons & Dragons days was the mimic, that master of disguise. And now Forge Prints is kickstarting a whole bunch of mimic miniatures: trap doors, books, wooden barrels, sleeping bags, graves, and even a wizard’s cap. Most of these come with two or three versions: actual props and toothy tongued mimic monsters. The campaign has some confusing reward structures, but you’re really going to want to get in at the $35 level to get the stretch goal minis. Extremely overfunded at this point, just over a week into the campaign, they expect to deliver in July.

I love me some post-apocalyptic gunshooting vehicular-combat madness, and Badass Riders looks like a fun card-based boardgame to scratch that itch. Build a track, choose a driver and vehicle, and during the game start playing cards to rush, race, and attack other vehicles in this Mad Max-like sprint to the finish line. Currently funded, 20$ (plus shipping) nabs you a copy. Expected delivery is December, 2017.

The Adventurer’s Collection Tabletop Soundtrack is a “nearly fifty track collection” of background music tracks for roleplaying game sessions. The designer is planning on using funds for the campaign to create a website that streams music using a simple interface. AU$15 (about $11 USD) gets you early access to the audio tracks in April, slightly less gets you access to them on the official launch date in August.

I was looking forward to this Crowdfunding Highlights article so I could write about what new Cards Against Humanity knockoff was being offered, but… there weren’t any. Maybe it’s a weak week for CAH off-brands.

However, I did come across Bad Words, which is an exteremly NSFW version of Taboo. You get a card that has a phrase or word that other players have to guess, but also on the card are five forbidden words that you cannot use. Can you get your teammates to guess “Eiffel Tower” without you using the words “Paris”, “threesome”, and “high five”? This is the company’s third attempt at launching the game on Kickstarter, originally shooting for a $30,000 goal, then a $12,000 goal, and now with a modest $1,000 goal, they’ve succeeded in funding! For every $100 raised, there’s four more words added to the game — right now, a $15 pledge will get you the base 208-word deck plus the (currently) 92-word expansion.

Oh, and check out the video for drunk people eating snacks and trying to talk about the game.

Edit: Updated the article to reflect the number of words in the Bad Words game per the creator’s note below.

Play Library, which started with a popup in the Globe Gallery, Cincinnati, opened last week at a permanent location in Over-the-Rhine. Games can be played on-site for free or they can be checked out and taken home with a paid membership. The cost depends on the number of games a member wishes to check out at the same time. Play Library is also seeking sponsors for low-income memberships.

After hosting a series of Magic: The Gathering tournaments in a local coffee shop, Dice City Games wants to open an all-around geeky shop in Wheaton, Maryland. [Hey, that’s just up the street from my house!] The proprietors are seeking support via Indiegogo and have already built up some inventory tabletop games, videos, video games, vinyl albums, and pop-culture doodads.

Kingmakers of Columbus has opened a second location in Indianapolis. It’s a board game lounge that serves drinks and charges $5 for access to the game library.

Board game cafe Well Played opens this weekend in Asheville, North Carolina. The space fits over 100 people. The fare is updated kid food—house-made hot pockets, fresh-baked cookies, mason-jar puddings, grilled cheese, and charcuterie made to look like Lunchables.

Games Inn, a shop which launched four years ago in Hobart, Indiana, has opened Dark Ground Cafe. The attached dining option will focus on healthy dishes and ramen noodles.

South Hill Games recently opened in South Hill, Washington. Though trying to stay small, the shop still has some play space in the back.

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Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesThe latest deal at Bundle of Holding is for Traveller20, the d20 adaptation of Traveller and a fantastic resource for any version of the game. The Player’s Collection is priced at $12.95 and is already a pretty good deal but it’s the Referee’s Collection that really ramps up the value, which starting at $27 includes the full rule set, several setting books, more starship guides, separate adventures, and a campaign book.

For the month of March, Academy Games is bundling Fief, the Fief Expansions Pack, and Fief Buildings Pack for $130.

Dog Might Games is offering free worldwide shipping on all its wood boxes and trays this week only. It’s also giving away a $180 flaming birch Adventure Case on April 1st.

Apps from Asmodee Digital are on-sale at discounts of up to 60% for the next several days. Ticket To Ride, Small World 2, Splendor, Mysterium, Potion Explosion, Pandemic, and Colt Express are all included (Android, iOS, and PC), as are even some in-app purchases. Mysterium on Steam and in-app Ticket to Ride USA 1910 are excluded, however.

Until the launch of Mora Games’ crowdfunding project, the company is collecting email addresses for a giveaway of three copies of Wages of War.

Susan Polgar’s The Polgar Method of video Chess lessons is 60% off.

With Passover approaching, Amazon has a coupon for an additional 15% off TorahLine from 613 Games.

Other Amazon deals:

Savage World Bennies are 15% off direct from Pinnacle Entertainment.

EverythingBoardGames is giving away The Village Crone from Fireside Games and, along with the Crazy Like a Box Board Game Community, is giving away one-year memberships and a copy of Rising Sun (currently on Kickstarter).

Hasbro’s Toilet Trouble and Fantastic Gymnastics are $2 off at Toys “R” Us.

For the game’s 15th anniversary, Spectrum Games has a complete bundle of Cartoon Action Hour ebooks for 80% off.

March Madness means 30% off on basketball products from Strat-O-Matic. And the start of spring training means 25% off on card sets for select baseball seasons.

The prices on printed versions of the Ghastly Affair Player’s Manual and Ghastly Affair Presenter’s Manual have been reduced $5.

Complete ThinkFun’s customer survey to be entered in every future monthly giveaway by the company. And don’t forget to mention Purple Pawn as one of your sources for information.

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Fans across the globe have spoken, and the eight tokens set to “pass GO” in the next generation of the MONOPOLY game are… the Scottie dog, top hat, car, battleship, cat, T-rex, rubber ducky, and penguin tokens!

That means the thimble, boot, and wheelbarrow are being removed from the game.

The new tokens will be in the new version of MONOPOLY arriving this fall.

During the MONOPOLY Token Madness vote, January 10 – 31, fans across 146 countries selected the eight tokens they hoped to see in the next generation of the game from a list of 64 contenders – drawing more than 4.3 million votes. The breakdown of votes is as follows:

The highlighted tokens are those found in the current version of MONOPOLY.

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