purplepawn1_smToday, February 7th, marks the 6th anniversary of Purple Pawn’s launch! Congratulations to all involved—writers, editors, supporters, and you wonderful readers as well!

Six years ago, Yehuda Berlinger started Purple Pawn with the mission of publishing “game news across the board”. On that day, he began with articles about Ticket to Ride appearing in the Sally Forth comic strip and a charity board game event being held at Bowling Green State University.

Since then, we have published 6,187 articles and the site has been visited by over a million individuals! Over its 6 year history, Purple Pawn has had its ups and downs but the staff remains committed to providing you a source of news covering all types of games, and to work at making the site even better.

Thank you Yehuda for your vision. And thank you to my current colleagues Robert, Randy, Sam, and Thomas for keeping us going.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesPlaydek’s iPad games are on-sale. Fluxx, Penny Arcade, Food Fight , Nightfall, Nightfall: Marshall Law, Ascension and its expansions, and Tanto Cuore are all .$99. Agricola is $4.99.

Coupon code “holiday14” is good for 10% off everything at Paizo.

Coupon code “LNL15PER2013” is good for 15% off any one thing from Lock n Load Publishing.

For a 30% discount from Triple Ace Games, use coupon code “TAGXMAS2013”.

Each day this week, Time to Play Magazine is giving away a $10 gift card for Toys “R” Us.

Pre Early Bird Special Tickets to the GSummit San Francisco 2014 conference on gamification save $400.

Holiday Sales at DriveThruRPG include:

The C4 Counter Culture Corner Cutter for clipping counters is $3 off.

Steve Jackson Games is running an Ogre Scenario Design Contest. Four winners will three copies of Pocket Ogre each.

Submit drum-related trivia questions for the soon-to-be-published The Ultimate Drum Trivia Game. All submissions earn a discount on the game when published, are entered for a chance to win prizes such as snares and sticks, and will be reviewed for possible inclusion in the game.

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Wagering on Philanthropy

Pledge Your BetsPledge Your Bets is a just-launched gamification platform for charitable giving. Website users register their preferred charities and then place bets on various events, like sports games or entertainment awards. Odds for each event are constantly adjusted as the event draws closer and more people add their pledges. Then when a result is declared, the wagers of the losers are paid to the chosen charities of the winners.

Charities have long struggled with the task of keeping small donors engaged to provide a more consistent source of funding… Unfortunately, donors also have a short attention span and often this engagement wanes as the images or events that spurned it fade from view… Donors make pledges and play games to raise more donations for their favorite charity. Not only does the donor get the satisfaction of helping a good cause, but they also enjoy the fun of playing games and possibly raising even more for their charity than they themselves donated.

[via 83degrees]

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Similar to “gamification”, “gamblification” refers to the use of gambling mechanics for non-gambling purposes. It’s a term being promoted by attorney James Gatto and the issues it raises he explains in this presentation at the recent GSummit conference. For those interested in game design, social media, or gamification, the presentation is well worth 20 minutes. Among other topics, Gatto explains how the law differentiates gambling from games, and he provides some warnings regarding common legal pitfalls for gamification and social media projects.

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BigLeap Games to Make Kids SmarterBigLeap is a cross between crowdfunding, like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, and an inducement prize contest, like the Ansari XPRIZE or the Orteig Prize. “Starters” identify a problem and design a project around a goal and a prize. “Supporters” contribute funds toward that prize. And “Challengers” compete to reach the goal and win the prize.

What’s interesting about BigLeap, besides the approach, is that the very first “challenge” on the website is a game project. Jointly started by Dr. Silvia Bunge, Assistant Professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and Bill Ritchie, co-founder and CEO of ThinkFun, the challenge aims to produce games that make children smarter.

At Berkley, Dr. Bunge has been studying how playing games helps develop reasoning and problem-solving skills.

Our small but influential study showed that playing fun, off-the-shelf reasoning and logic games in a social group for just 2-3 hours a week was able to boost these critical skills by over 30% and even boosted IQ scores by 10 or more points.

The problem is that purchasing games to support a school program can get expensive. So what the project seeks from challengers are game designs that build reasoning and logic skills but can be produced at low cost with common household items or art supplies. From supporters, Bunge and Ritchie are hoping to raise $10,000 for prize money.

With 18 days to go, $2,800 has been raised so far.

Those who donate $50 or more earn ThinkFun games as perks. The individual who gives the most ($2,000 minimum) will get a custom 3-D physical brain model (medical clearance and scan required at Berkley).

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Boston Festival of Indie GamesThe Boston Festival of Indie Games runs this Friday at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The event “celebrates independent game development in New England and neighboring regions” with seminars, performances, an art exhibit, a game design jam, and of course, demonstrations of both tabletop and digital games. Visitors to the games showcase can vote on awards being given for best art, best innovation, and best overall game.

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CDCFor the 2013 Georgia Game Jam hosted by Southern Polytechnic State University (September 20-22 in Marietta), the theme will be “games for health”. More specifically, the event is focused on the

Creation of games that address large-scale health priorities championed by CDC, such as disease prevention, outbreak investigation, and healthy, active lifestyles.

Board game projects are especially encouraged. And in fact, there will be two tracks in the competition, one for digital games and one for analog.

Experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be on hand to advise participants, while judges for the contest will include health-oriented developers and investors.

The winning team will be awarded a 4 week paid assignment to study public health and government at the CDC and to complete their project.

[via Polygon]

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U.S. House of RepresentativesWe here at Purple Pawn certainly appreciate the value of play and the importance of the toy and game industry. We’re confident you do too. However, it’s also nice when that value is recognized by our government representatives. Thus, we’re happy to report on the formation of a U.S. Congressional Toy Caucus.

The caucus will officially be launched by Congressmen Ron Kind and Marsha Blackburn on September 18th. In a statement to Purple Pawn, Representative Kind said:

The Congressional Toy Caucus is dedicated to raising awareness on key issues impacting the toy business, the economic impact of the toy industry, the promotion of creativity and innovation, and the increase of free trade opportunities in international markets.

Hasbro logoThis Saturday and Sunday (August 17-18) at the company’s headquarters in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Hasbro is sponsoring a hackathon aimed specifically at developing “the next big way to play”. Developers, hackers, fiddlers, and inventors are invited to build a prototype app, website, game, or toy with the assistance of play experts from Hasbro and other organizations.

There is a $20 charge for participation but food, drinks, massages, and Nerf Blasters will be provided.

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Could Games Replace Captchas?

Concentration-Image-250Researchers at NC State University have developed a computer program that successfully imitates the difference in human behavior between playing the game of Concentration for speed versus playing for accuracy. This they believe could help computers distinguish between human users and automated bots.

Sure, it seems like they’ve proven the opposite. However, Dr. David Roberts, professor of computer science and co-author of the paper, “Modeling the Concentration Game with ACT-R“, explains:

One way to approach the distinction between bot behavior and human behavior is to look at how bots behave. Another way is to look at what humans do. We’re focusing on the latter. We’re looking for distinctions so subtle that they’d be very difficult to replicate outside of a cognitive architecture like ACT-R. The level of sophistication needed to replicate those distinctions in a bot would be so expensive, in terms of time and money, that it would – hopefully – be cost-prohibitive.

[via CSO Online]

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