Our initial exposure to Magic Digital Next came a little over a year ago in a presentation by Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner. At that time, we saw it only as a new Magic: The Gathering product, albeit a sophisticated one for a range of players. From a new article posted online by Wizards of the Coast President Chris Cocks, we now learn, though, that Magic Digital Next (though not specifically named in the article) is just one part of a more comprehensive digital strategy update being pursued by WOTC.
Cocks describes “adjustments to and increased investments in our digital teams” as the “biggest move” currently underway at the company. WOTC has created a new Digital Games Studio with significant new outside talent, the existing Magic Online team, and digital art and game design staff.
But these changes don’t pertain just to Magic. Rather, WOTC is looking to apply a digitally integrated experience to all its games (including Dungeons & Dragons), incorporating such elements as augmented-reality games, MMOs, tournament organization, home game management, and other “unexpected settings, genres, and platforms.”
We are reimagining digital versions of Magic and other Wizards games… We will bring our characters and worlds to other games and experiences… We will make your Wizards experiences more efficient, connected, and convenient.
Perhaps we might hear more about this initiative from Hasbro leading in to New York Toy Fair.
Back in November, I had posted about the digital release of Colt Express for Steam, Android, and iOS. I finally got a chance to sit down and give the Steam version a try and put it through its paces.
What hit me right off the bat was how thematic the digital port is. Just like the tabletop version, the digital version is just oozing with that western train robbery theme. Initially, you’re brought into the tutorial which pretty much covers anything you need to know about playing the game, all while getting you familiarized with the interface and how things work. Everything is extremely streamlined and easy-to-follow.
Colt Express gives you pretty much what you’d expect in a digital tabletop port. You can play the game against other people, play online, and play against the computer in Classic Mode. What really makes the game shine is its Story Mode, a single player campaign with 6 playable characters and over 30 different missions. It’s a bit more rewarding that just playing the game over and over with bots.
It seems that digital tabletop adaptations are getting better and better, and Colt Express really shines. It’s certainly not a hastily thrown together port, but a finely crafted, polished game that’s worth every cent. If you’re a fan of Colt Express, there’s no reason for you not to snag this now. If you’ve never played Colt Express, I can’t think of any better way to give the game a shot and familiarize yourself with it.
If you’d like to see how the game actually played, I recently streamed myself through the tutorial.
A Steam copy of Colt Express was provided free for review by Asmodee Digital.
New fellowships are available for research at the The Strong’s National Museum of Play. The idea is to support researchers accessing the museum’s library; collection of toy, doll, and game artifacts; and video and electronic game resources. The G. Rollie Adams Research Fellowships will provide academic professionals, independent scholars, museum scholars, and advanced graduate students at the masters or doctorate level with $500 per-week stipends. Applications are due April 20th.
The latest RPG deals at Bundle of Holding include Cthulhu Britannica (Call of Cthulhu scenarios set in Great Britain from Cubicle 7), Cubicle 7 Worlds (Qin, Keltia, Kuro, and Yggdrasill), and Family-Friendly RPGs +2 (Lone Wolf, Do: Fate of the Flying Temple, and No Thank You, Evil).
Modiphius Entertainment is giving away a package that includes the core rulebook of every one of the company’s games: Achtung! Cthulhu, Mutant Chronicles, Symbaroum, Mutant: Year Zero, and more.
Mama’s Mission is giving away three sets of four games from Wonder Forge: Stick Stack, Suspicion, Really Bad Art, and Dr. Seuss Whirly Fun.
When it’s too late to ship in time for Christmas, that’s when the digital products go on-sale:
For 25% off purchases from Breaking Games, use coupon code “NEWYEAR”.
Everything Board Games is giving away two copies of Undermine from Gizco International and one copy of Demon Espionage 5tails Studio. Also giving away a $50 game gift card but really a gift, meaning it goes to someone nominated by the person entering the giveaway.
Renegade Game Studios is giving away Snow Tails.
Startup publisher Restoration Games this week shared the specifics for its planned initial products, remakes of three older titles: Stop Thief, Dragonmaster (now to be Indulgence), and Top Race (now Downforce). Redesigns and nostalgic reprints are nothing new in the game business (see for example, Winning Moves’ classic versions of Sorry and Life, or Fantasy Flight Games remake of Dune as Rex) but the mission of Restoration Games is a little different. As Justin Jacobson, company president, explained:
We’ve certainly seen lots of reprints of hobby games. And you can count on Hasbro to release new versions of Monopoly on a regular basis. What we haven’t seen is new versions of these older mass market games. These are games that didn’t become evergreen titles but are still beloved. For a variety of reasons, those games have been largely forgotten. But because they are older, they suffer from being of their time. Roll-and-move for example. We’ve simply gotten better about designing games in the past several decades. So we decided to take these modern design concepts and apply them to these forgotten games. You get the spirit of the game that you love in a well developed package you will enjoy.
Stop Thief is a deduction game put out by Parker Brothers in 1979. What made it special at the time (for 12 year old me, included) was a handheld electronic device that played audio clues as players tried to find the invisible thief on the game board. In the new edition of Stop Thief, Restoration Games promises a mobile app to replace the device with more sophisticated game play and better sound quality.
Dragonmaster, a 1981 title from Milton Bradley, is a trick-taking card game with different contracts set each round by the dealer. Restoration Games’ version, Indulgence, keeps the same general game-play but features 20 possible contracts and makes it about papal intrigue during the Italian Renaissance.
Top Race, one iteration in a series of card-based auto racing games by Wolfgang Kramer, is being brought back by Restoration as Downforce. Besides the name change, the new version is pretty much a reprint with a component upgrade.
We chose the first three games, in part, because they fit three different visions of what a restoration can look like. For Indulgence, it was about smoothing out the game play while keeping the high aesthetic standard of the original. For Downforce, this is a brilliant design by a legendary designer. We just wanted to make sure this new generation of gamers got to experience it. For Stop Thief, it was about showing what technological advance can do bring a game back—in this case, replacing the crime scanner with a smartphone app.
Restoration Games expects all three to be ready in time for Gen Con 2017. But don’t you go expecting to see them in the traditional long, flat board game boxes.
Alas, no. We looked into it. Those largely disappeared with the advent of the quad-fold board. But we are always looking at ways we can reimagine those bits of past design in new ways.
Earlier in November, the National Rifle Association suggested to its members that they could make board games more interesting by using them for target practice. The organization even posted online a print-and-shoot alternative to Candy Land, “Target Land”. Hasbro complained and the NRA has since removed the article from its website.
The Magic: The Gathering collection of Cassius Marsh, linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks, was stolen out of his car. He hasn’t gotten them back yet but Wizards of the Coast did send him some replacements.
Governor Mike Pence of Indiana ordered the Indiana Gaming Commission not to take action against a senior center for handing out prizes such as cookies and toilet paper to the winner of Euchre card games. Though the collection of an entry fee for the games would be considered gambling under Indiana law, the Commission said it never had any intent to do more than inform the senior center of what it was doing wrong.
A police detective in New York City was caught on camera wagering the freedom of his prisoner on a roll of dice. Referring to someone being held in the detective’s car a few feet away, a bystander said, “If you ace out right now, you gotta let him go,” after which the detective blows on the dice and throws them.
Proposed revisions to Poland’s gaming laws would define as gambling any electronic game (or game employing a mechanical device) that involves any amount of luck (even if luck is not the predominant factor) and has any prize (including non-financial awards, such as the right to proceed to the next game). It would seem that caught in this broad definition would be online Chess and MtG tournaments, even those without cash prizes.
A West Yorkshire domestic abuser jailed under new English coercive control laws was said to have, among other things, “intensively instructed” his victim in Chess, even threatening to kill her if she failed to capture a particular piece.
In Arkansas, a brother and sister pair are facing charges for conspiring to have a minor smuggle tobacco and prescription drugs in to a jail hidden in a Chess set.
Someone stole a Chess set brought back from Europe by a late World War II veteran. The man’s son said the Chess set was awarded to him by a German baron. Also taken were two swords that the father collected while stationed in the Pacific theater.
China Labor Watch, says it investigated several factories in China and found poor working conditions and violations of Chinese labor laws. According to the organization, the factories make products for Hasbro, Mattel, and Disney.
The European Court of Justice has found the shape of a Rubik’s Cube not eligible for trademark protection. The court determined that the Cube’s ability to rotate was essential to the protection sought but should instead be the subject of a patent.
Korean mobile game developer iPeoples is suing Korean mobile game developer Netmarble Games for patent infringement and unfair competition, claiming the latter company copied the design concepts of the board game, Blue Marble, for which the former has an exclusive license. The thing is, Blue Marble is just a knock-off of Monopoly.
Leder Games was taking payments for preorders of the reprint of Vast: The Crystal Caverns but PayPal froze their account.
Before the World Chess Championship, the reigning champion, Magnus Carlsen, called on Microsoft Norway to help defend his team from cyber infiltration. Apparently, he was concerned that Russian hackers might attempt to aid his challenger, Sergey Karjakin. Meanwhile someone is squatting on domains incorporating Sergey Karjakin’s name. He plans to sue.
The organization that ran the World Chess Championship in New York, Agon Ltd., was unsuccessful at getting a federal court to stop unlicensed competing websites from broadcasting live moves from the tournament. The websites argued that the information was freely available via social media. A Russian court also rejected a similar effort by Agon to restrict broadcasting of moves from the earlier Candidates Tournament (which determined the challenger for the World Championship). The Russian court ruling, which came after the Candidates Tournament finished, found that the moves were already in the public domain and did not constitute a trade secret.
After one of the games of the World Chess Championship, Magnus Carlsen ditched the required press conference. Based on his contract, that move may cost him 10 percent of his prize money.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport has rejected Ignatius Leong’s appeal of the World Chess Federation’s finding that he sold his vote in the organization’s presidential election. Not only was the 2 year ban instituted against him by FIDE upheld, he was also ordered to pay 5,000 Swiss francs in arbitration costs.
The National Chess Championship of India was kicked out of its venue, the Lucknow Public School, mid-tournament. Several leading contenders quit in protest.
Twenty year-old Chess Grandmaster Yuri Eliseev died after falling from his 12th floor apartment in Moscow. He was attempting parkour.
According to police, Joseph Hammond of San Antonio wouldn’t stand for his opponent walking away from a Dominoes game. He followed and shot at the man several times.
One person was killed and several others wounded in a drive-by shooting of a Dominoes game in the Bahamas. The alleged perpetrators have been arrested.
A man who was already on probation was apprehended by police in Pine Bluff, Arkansas smoking marijuana in a stolen car. He claimed to have purchased it an a dice game unaware that it was stolen.
Someone set up a fake Smyths Toys Facebook page, offering a sweepstakes for a $300 gift card and collecting email addresses.
Yesterday, Asmodee Digital released Colt Express on PC, iOS and Android. Developed by Frima studio, Colt Express is the digital adaptation of the Spiel des Jahres winning board game released by Ludonaute.
The game features an extensive story mode with 6 characters and 30 chapters. Each character has their own goals and features relating to game play. Of course online multiplayer will be included. Plot out your train heist then play out your actions cards along with your fellow outlaws to see who comes out with the most loot.
Keep in mind that most of these are available for a very short time…
Flying Frog Productions is offering several individual products and bundles at 36% off.
From Meeple Source, save 25% on Mystery Meeples, 40% on lapel pins, 25% on cookie cutters, and more.
CSE Games’ products are up to 60% off via Amazon Canada.
Amazon deals in the U.S.:
Broken Token board game organizers and accessories are up to 20% off.
Monday only, Chaosium’s ebooks will be 25% off and items in the Vault will be 50% off.
Pinnacle Entertainment’s Savage World of Solomon Kane print+PDF everything bundle is 42% off.
Reaper Minis’ Black Friday Savings includes a pre-release $700 figure for $500, a $660 paint set for $530, and a $40 starter paint set for $30.
Green Ronin’s Holiday Sale includes discounts up to 75%.
Steve Jackson Games’ Holiday Grab Boxes include at least $80 of product for $40 and come in two varieties, one mostly Munchkin, one with other games.
For 15% off products from Precis Intermedia, use coupon code “RG9GWB3EA7”.
HexWar PC and Mac games are 50% off.
Collins Epic Wargames’ discounts this weekend are 37-50% off.
Avalanche Press’ Black Friday discounts are 40-50%.
For 20% off and free worldwide shipping on everything HarnWorld from Columbia Games, use coupon code “thanks”.
Nomad Games is selling Steam keys direct for digital Talisman and Smash Up at up to 80% off.
Get 15% off and free standard shipping at HasbroToyShop.com with promo code “THANKS2016”.
For 20% off print products from Goodman Games, use coupon code “blackfriday2016”. For 40% off PDFs, use coupon code “blackfrideay2016P”.
Place a deposit of $800 with Geek Chic for anything made-to-order and receive a plush fabric insert ($300 value) free.
Games and educational products from ETA hand2mind are up to 90% off direct.
Coupon code “BFCM20” is good for 20% off direct from Breaking Games.
An online coupon is available for 20% off any regular priced item from Toys “R” Us.
Bananagrams’ Big Potato games are 50% off at Target.
Noble Knight Games’ Holiday Sale starts with 10% off everything and adds additional discounts on select items.
Discounts in Eagle-Gryphon Games’ Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale are in the 25-40% range. For additional free games at the $100, $150, $200 spend thresholds, use coupon codes “FREEGIFT100”, “FREEGIFT150”, and “FREEGIFT200”.
For 20% off all Subbuteo products, use coupon code “CLUB”.
Get a free set of dice with the purchase of a $100 gift card from Dog Might Games.
Selected products from Spartan Games are 40% off.
Modiphius Entertainment is offering 30-40% off with coupon codes.
Iello is running a 60% off sale this weekend.
There are hundreds of board games discounted even more than usual at Miniature Market, though the sale prices are limited to stock on hand.
Fantasy Flight Games’s annual Holiday Sale is on and includes lots of non-FFG Asmodee products and products for which Asmodee has been handling U.S. distribution, such as Queen Games.
Magic: The Gathering Arena of the Planeswalkers is 68% off at Amazon.
Mayday Games is offering a series of buy-one-get-one-free deals on board games this week.
Story Bundle’s Pico Game Bundle includes, in addition to various video game development books and tools, also a couple of books on tabletop games.
A Humble RPG Book Bundle includes 20+ Pathfinder books from Frog God Games, Kobold Press, and Green Ronin for $15.
Grow Up Smart is giving away three Backgammon sets.
Save 25% on all fantasy resin miniatures from Greenbrier Games with coupon code “resinminis2016”.
For 30% off in-stock games from Compass Games, use coupon code “CATALOG30”.
The latest Bundle of Holding starts with the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG at $8.95 and adds the Angel RPG starting at $19.79 (currently).
Gypsy Knight Games’ PDFs are 30% off at DriveThruRPG.
A bundle incorporating all Thrilling Tales products for Savage Worlds is available for more than 50% off the PDFs priced separately.
EverythingBoardGames is giving away SolarQuest from Universal Toys.
Kohl’s has select board games on-sale for 50% off.
A number of games are also on-sale at Target. For example, Evolution: The Beginning and Machi Koro: Bright Lights Big City are $5 off. A 20% off coupon is also available by texting “TOYS” to 827-438.
Carolina Game Tables is running a raffle to give away a Coffee Game Table. Tickets are $20 or three for $50.
Eagle-Gryphon Games is running a Holiday Blowout Sale.
Fat Brain Toys’ Big Elfin’ Deals features a number of free gifts, including a couple for board games.
Place an order with Geek Chic before the end of the year and the company will send out a free gift while you wait for your furniture.