No Honor Among Thieves

Electronic games are any games that include an electronic component, or online versions of games that also belong to another category.


galaxy-zegaGalaxy ZEGA is the toys-to-life category applied to head-to-head tank combat. On the toy side are futuristic-looking tracked vehicles in four designs. On the mobile device side, an app (iOS or Android) serves as a player’s remote control for movement and simulated combat.

That fighting, though, is more than simply taking pot shots at each other. Each vehicle has its own balance of attack, defense, and speed, as well as unique “skills” that provide speed boosts, HP recovery, an obscuring fog that partially covers an opponent’s screen, and other benefits. Additional skills are available as upgrades and in-game boosts. One even causes an opponent’s phone to vibrate while they’re trying to use the control panel.

Galaxy ZEGA ships in October. A set with just two vehicles runs $100. A starter set that adds a kind-of maze terrain kit is priced at $150.

galaxy-zega-battlefield

storm-kings-thunderThe latest story-line for Dungeons & Dragons saw its official launch this week with the full retail release of the Storm King’s Thunder adventure book ($50 suggested retail). Developed in-house at Wizards of the Coast, Storm King’s Thunder sees the player characters defending the Sword Coast in The Forgotten Realms against the depredations of ravaging giants.

The adventure covers character levels 1-11, for the first five in a more traditional progression and in the later levels with a modular approach. The book includes an adventure flowchart to help guide the dungeon master, as well as an appendix with suggestions for integrating it with other published adventures. Part of the story involves the characters making use of the giants’ own rune magic to craft new fantastic items.

For those playing Dungeons & Dragons remotely online, licensed versions of Storm King’s Thunder are also available in Fantasy Grounds ($35) and Roll20 ($50). The story line makes an appearance as an expansion to the Neverwinter MMO. And coming from WizKids are a Storm King’s Thunder Icons of the Realms miniatures series (later this month) and an Assault of the Giants board game ($100, May 2017).

icons-of-the-realms-storm-kings-thunder assault-of-the-giants

Boards to Bytes

Ascension VR screenshot

Ascension VR (Steam, Rift, or Gear VR) allows play of the deck-building game in a three-dimensional virtual environment with avatars representing the moves (and head motions) of other players.

Indie Boards & Cards’ bluffing game, Coup, is now available for Android. It can be played online cross-platform or in practice mode against AI.

Czech Game Edition expects to release a digital version of Codenames this year with online play available at launch.

A PC version of Ogre is in development by Auroch Digital. Steve Jackson’s game of nuclear-powered, armored combat should hit Steam in late 2017. It’ll be a hex and turn-based adaptation.

Neverwinter, the free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG, is now available on PlayStation 4.

Ubisoft has new Battleship and Risk games for XBox.

Ubisoft is also doing a version of Uno for XBox One, Playstation 4, and PC with voice and video chat.

The new The Game of Life 2016 Edition, available on iOS and Android, has full and fast-play modes.

Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy, already on iOS, will soon be available for Android and PC.

Toy of the Year Awards 2017For its next Toy of the Year Awards, granted annually at New York Toy Fair, the Toy Industry Association is eliminating gender categories. No more Girl Toy of the Year or Boy Toy of the Year. For 2017, the categories will be:

  • Action Figure of the Year (new)
  • Active/Outdoor Toy of the Year (formerly Outdoor)
  • Activity Toy of the Year
  • Collectible of the Year (new)
  • Construction Toy of the Year (new)
  • Doll of the Year (new)
  • Game of the Year
  • Infant/Preschool Toy of the Year (formerly two separate categories)
  • Innovative Toy of the Year
  • License of the Year (formerly Property)
  • Rookie [Company] of the Year (new)
  • Specialty Toy of the Year
  • Tech Toy of the Year (formerly e-Connected)
  • Vehicle of the Year (new)
  • People’s Choice Toy of the Year
  • Toy of the Year

In addition to the new categories, a new streamlined selection process in being implemented. Also worth noting, public voting this year will result in a separate “People’s Choice” award for Toy of the Year.

Toys R Us President of Play

Toys “R” Us is looking for a child 9-13 years of age to be its President of Play. The role will involve testing toys, including some not yet available to the public, talking about toy trends to the media, and representing Toys “R” Us at public events.

Toys “R” Us estimates eight appearances for 80 hours and a contract value for the position of $5,000.

To apply, kids are asked to submit a 1-2 minute video “that lets their playful personality shine, as they tell us all about their favorite toy, doll, gadget or game.” The deadline for that is tomorrow. By the end of the month, the company will choose a group of semifinalists to interview, and from them three finalists to participate in a public debate. The winner of the debate, and President of Play, will be chosen by public vote.

pokemon_logoThe 2016 Pokémon World Championships will be hosted in San Francisco from August 19-21. The event will be closed to the general public since the response from invited players was so positive, but they will be shown live at  www.pokemon.com/live. Competitors from over 30 countries will be in attendance, and hundreds of players will be competing to become the Pokémon World Champion and for a piece of a combined prize pool of more than $500,000 in scholarships and travel awards.

Coverage schedule is as follows:

Twitch.tv/Pokemon – General Event Coverage

  • Friday: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Sunday: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Finals Coverage for Pokémon TCG and Video Game)

Twitch.tv/PokemonVGC – Pokémon Video Game Championships

  • Friday: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Twitch.tv/PokemonTCG – Pokémon TCG Championships

  • Friday: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Twitch.tv/Pokkentournament – Pokkén Tournament Championships

  • Friday: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. (Last Chance Qualifiers coverage)
  • Saturday: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesAfter a 51 year-old Welshpool, U.K. man was accused by his sister of stealing pieces from her Frustration board game, he followed her back to her home and pushed her against the wall. Then when confronted about the incident by his nephew, he punched him in the face. A local magistrate fined the man £635 and issued a restraining order.

Two people were arrested on drug smuggling charges in Northern Ireland after trying to pick up a children’s board game shipped via UPS from Canada that was stuffed with marijuana. Police say evidence leads them to suspect there were other such packages. They did not, however, name the game.

A group of four was photographed playing Mahjong around a table they set up in an MTR train in Hong Kong. However, by the time staff went to investigate, the game was gone.

Swiss Chess player, Yannick Pelletier, was initially refused a visa to attend the World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan because of earlier travel to Azerbaijani territory occupied by Armenia. After signing a letter stating that the visit was a mistake and promising not to go back, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs relented and granted him that visa.

House-banked gambling on card games is illegal in California, except at tribal casinos. More than 70 non-tribal card rooms continue in business, though, operating under a 2007 letter from the former chief of the Bureau of Gambling Control, Robert Lytle, which declared that as long as the role of dealer was offered to to the whole table every second hand, the game would not be considered illegal even if all the players declined. (When everyone declines, as they usually do, the role of bank is given to a licensed and contracted dealer-of-last-resort. And in any case, the host card room makes money by charging a fee for each hand played.) Lytle left the Bureau, however, shortly after issuing that letter and went to work as a card room consultant. And just recently he settled a complaint that he illegally received information from inside the Bureau on an investigation involving one of his clients. So now, nearly 10 years later, the Bureau is rescinding his letter but has determined that it is OK for the card rooms to reopen the bank position only every 60 minutes, under the condition that if someone new doesn’t assume the role of dealer, the game takes a break for 2 minutes. Card room operators are concerned about what this break will do to their profitability. Tribal casino operators claim that one person acting as dealer for 60 minutes does not meet the statutory requirement that the position be “continuously and systematically rotated amongst each of the participants during the play of the game.”

Similar issues continue to be debated in Florida, where an administrative law judge found that a Jacksonville poker room’s contract with a specific player to act as bank effectively results in a house-banked game.

The former chairman of the Irish Chess Union (ICU) is suing the organization for defamation. At issue is an ICU blog post commenting on his job as an arbiter at a Chess tournament.

An Information Technology Agreement negotiated by members of the World Trade Organization eliminates tariffs on electronic products, including video games and games “operated by coins, banknotes, bank cards, token, or by any other means of payment.”

Steven Russell, CEO of Rite Publishing, was killed in an automobile accident.

In a concurrence on a case involving the regulation of mobile billboards, federal circuit court judge John Owens explained his problem with the controlling Supreme Court precedent by referencing a Monopoly board. He took issue with the fact that while a Los Angeles city ordinance prohibits mobile billboards, cars with equally ugly decals would not “go to jail” but would rather “treat my curb like the upper left corner of a Monopoly board” (a reference, I believe, to the Free Parking space).

New Jersey state Assemblyman Jack M. Ciattarelli introduced legislation that would require school districts to offer varsity letters for all competitive extracurricular activities, such as participating on Chess teams, not just for sports.

Seven people were arrested on gun and drug charges after neighbors complained about a street dice game in Flint, Michigan. Patrolling detectives found “validated gang members” playing a street dice game in Richmond, California. They stopped, broke up the game, and ended up arresting one on gun, drug, and probation violation charges. Police arrested three for illegal gambling after breaking up a dice game in Monroe, Ohio.

Shooting broke out at a dice game in Dallas. Two people were wounded. Both are expected to recover. No arrests were made.

Two men in Washington, D.C. were shot (one of them died) when another two attempted to rob the formers’ street dice game at gunpoint. The assailants have both been arrested and are being charged with first-degree felony murder.

A former Director of Transportation for Toys “R” Us has pleaded guilty to embezzling $1.9 million from the company.

Would you like to be the primary person responsible for the Monopoly brand or help preserve games for museum archives or develop the digital version of a popular card game?

At Hasbro, the numerous open jobs include Senior Director of Global Marketing (“define and drive the global strategy for Family Gaming”), Design Manager (supervise technical design development efforts for a games category product line), and Product Designer (for “Phygital Games” combining physical and digital products). Subsidiary, Wizards of the Coast, is looking for, among others, a Director of Competitive Gaming and eSports for Magic: The Gathering, a Game Designer fluent in Japanese for Duel Masters, and a Principal Product Designer to oversee MtG R&D efforts and “develop strategic direction for block environments.”

Spin Master wants to hire a Public Relations Coordinator to manage outreach to press and a Senior Copywriter to author marketing materials.

Mattel has three Senior Designer positions open in the Boys Toy Box team for people with “a passion for action figures and/or game design.” Also positions for a Sr. Manager Digital Marketing and a Digital Producer.

ThinkFun is looking for a Product Manager and a Senior Product Manager to help organize the company’s projects, keep them moving forward, and manage quality.

Among the people that The Strong (National Museum of Play) is looking for are a Director of Conservation (to preserve games and toys in its collections), a Project Cataloger (to digitize and inventory games and puzzles), and a Teaching Host (to work with visiting school groups).

Ceaco (A.K.A. Gamewright) needs a Sales & Marketing Coordinator to assist with accounts, prepare marketing materials, and analyze sales data.

White Wizard Games (Star Realms) has an opening for a Digital Deckbuilder, that is, someone with experience in server-side apps and “a passion for card games.”

Thames & Kosmos needs a Purchasing & Planning Coordinator for analyzing sales data, managing inventories, and working with suppliers.

TOMY (Battroborg, Mr. Mouth) is recruiting for several positions: Brand Assistant, Digital Merchandising Manager, and Legal & Marketing Coordinator.

Toobeez (U.S. distributor of Funskool games from India) seeks a Junior Sales and Marketing Executive to help with social media, email marketing, and specialty retailer support.

The Toy Industry Association needs a Communications Specialist/Content Developer and a Director of Audience Relations. Both positions have a fair amount to do with New York Toy Fair.

Toyjobs is a specialty recruiter for the toy industry.

Dicetiny Full Steam Release

dicetiny

Dicetiny is currently out of Early Release on Steam, and is considered released in full for $14.99. The game is a mash up of paraody and memes set in the fictional world of Middle Board. It’s a cross between a roll-and-move game and a deck builder. Each step along your quest you battle crazy opponents using a deck you’ve constructed as you try to position yourself on the board using the roll of the die.

It took me a bit to get used to, but turned out to be quite entertaining.

You can chcekout more about the game on Fakedice’s site, and can snag the game now on Steam.

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesMore than 25,000 products are going for 25% off in DriveThruRPG’s Christmas in July Sale. Sister-site Wargame Vault has a similar Summer Campaign Sale with another 3,700 items also at 25% off.

This week’s Bundle of Holding deals feature the acclaimed but mature Lamentations of the Flame Princess (starting at $13) and Pellgrane Press’ DramaSytem-based Hillfolk (starting at $8).

Accessory retailer, Top Shelf Gamer, is going to give away $100 of goods when its Facebook page reaches 500 likes.

On the occasion of hitting 2,000 likes, EverythingBoardGames.com is doing a Mega Colossal Giveaway—nine different games, dice, posters, and dice towers.

To clear out some of its older titles, Avalanche Press is offering ten of them at major discounts, some in excess of 50%. The Gold Club member discount of 20% can be had in addition.

Paizo’s web store, also hoping to clear out some old products from the company’s warehouse, has opened up a new Golem Clearance section, and it really does have some old stuff. I see there’s even a bunch of TSR books in there.

Giveaways:

Amazon deals:

Spartan Games is running a miniatures painting contest with Halo game prizes in a variety of categories.

Deposits with Geek Chic by August 31st qualify for a free game accessory held snug with the company’s new silicone bands.

The Toys “R” Us Mega Webisale ends in a couple of hours but games in the Clearance Blast should persist a little longer.

Dog Might Games’ Dog Days of Summer Sale means 25% off everything, except Dragon Sheaths. On the other hand, the company is giving away three Dragon Sheaths, each filled with a set of metal dice from Easy Roller Dice.

There’s a Humble Book Bundle featuring puzzles, mazes, and games.

Flying Pig Games is selling Night of Man direct for 30% off.

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