Miniatures includes the miniature games and hobby, where detail of the figures and terrain are of primary importance. Many miniature gamers spend more time painting than playing.


TCGplayer has received a $10 million equity investment from Radian Capital. The company says the money will allow it grow staff while it expands its collectible market portal and retail support service from CCGs to board games, roleplaying games, comic books, sports cards, and video games.

Mayfair Games is closing up shop and has sold all its remaining game assets, as well as its majority stake in Lookout Games of Germany, to Asmodee North America. Lookout will continue to operate as a design studio of Asmodee.

Spin Master has signed a distribution deal with Toysmith for a variety of toy brands, including games and puzzles from Spin Master’s Cardinal subsidiary. The arrangement, which takes affect in June, will see Toysmith as exclusive distributor to the specialty market for the covered ranges.

North Star Games has instituted a minimum advertised pricing (MAP) policy, which is “non-negotiable for all North Star Games’ resellers and will be strictly enforced to ensure the continued value of its brand.” The company also issued a statement saying that, effective immediately, except for two unnamed parties, all sellers will be restricted from participating in Amazon’s Third-Party Marketplace. North Star promises to monitor product listings and suspend or terminate the accounts of those sellers that do not comply.

Hasbro has signed on as the master toy licensee for Power Rangers (Saban Brands), UglyDolls (STX Entertainment), Super Monsters (Netflix), and Top Wing (Nickelodeon), though only the announcement for Power Rangers specifically mentions games.

According to NPD, Mattel’s UNO card game was the top selling game in the United States in 2017.

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Kevin Siembieda, President of Palladium Books, posted a public update to the Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter stating they will not be able to produce the Robotech RPG Tactics Wave Two rewards following the expiration of the Robotech license. The campaign for the Robotech RPG Tactics game raised nearly $1.45 million in 2013 to produce a miniature wargame based on the version of the Robotech anime owned by Harmony Gold USA. The license, which was held by Palladium for thirty years, has expired and is not being renewed.

As part of the loss of license, Palladium is liquidating all Robotech products, including their roleplaying game book line and all pdfs of the original game line’s material on DriveThruRPG.

Siembieda writes about the many delays and the unseen costs Palladium encountered while attempting to fulfill the project: recreating 3d sculpts that were incompatible with the manufacturer’s production process and increased shipping costs. In January of 2014, the company decided to split the numerous sculpts and rewards into two waves of project. After having delivered the planned first wave, “the Kickstarter money was gone.” Palladium Books estimated that producing the second wave of rewards would have cost them up to $625,000.

The company is offering to substitute already-produced product in place of the second wave rewards they did not create, but say backers would have to pay for shipping. “We estimate shipping to all 5,000+ backers around the world will cost $120,000-$160,000; and, at this point, Palladium Books just does not have the resources to cover that expense.” This exchange is offered only while supplies last or March 20, 2018, whichever comes sooner.

In an earlier update to the campaign, Palladium wrote “By Kickstarter’s terms of service, we are obligated to deliver on the rewards we have promised, and we will do that…. If the time should ever come that Palladium Books cannot fulfill the terms of our Kickstarter project, we will of course offer refunds, as we would be required to do by Kickstarter.”

August will see the retail release of the Lego Ninjago Stormbringer set, a robot dragon programmable with Lego’s Boost system. Suggested retail price is just $40.

Boost is an icon-based programming system designed for builders as young as seven. Programming takes place entirely in a mobile app environment.

Stormbringer can walk, move its head, roar, and shoot bolts from its mouth.

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The Broken Token will begin shipping this week a series of modular dice tower kits, each with a unique thematic design, including stairs, bones, pachinko, and others. The modules can be mixed and matched for a single dice tower up to several feet high.

One module even has a dice-shaming cage, so poor performing dice will have to watch their fellows tumble by.

On the backside, each module has a cutout for wall-mounting. And two bases are available, one standard in which the dice roll to the front when the tower is on a table, and one side-mounted so it doesn’t stick out when hanging on the wall.

Prices for the individual kits range from $10-22.

The Broken Token currently lists five tumbling sections for sale. Others will be listed soon, including a clockwork section with moving gears.

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On display by Games Workshop at New York Toy Fair were two new board games representing an effort by the company to provide a fresh point of entry for “the hobby”. The games, which feature less violent language and imagery and somewhat simplified rules, are being promoted to specialty toy retailers and mid-tier mass-market sellers as a way to expose new players to Games Workshop’s most popular IPs.

Both are planned for release later this year at a price point of around $40-50.

Blitz Bowl is the no-death version of Blood Bowl. It’s still a fantasy, full-contact version of American football, just with less blood and players being “taken out” instead of killed. The concept behind this version is monsters playing a scrimmage game while trying out for the main team.

Blitz Bowl’s rules are streamlined from the original (it’s supposed to play in about 40 minutes). Also, in addition to scoring touchdown’s for the win, completing certain objectives randomly selected each game (for example, three monsters making run actions) unlocks various benefits for the team.

Space Marine Adventures: Labyrinth of the Necrons is a Warhammer 40,000 dungeon crawl with a squad of marines drawn from those troops’ various chapters. The game is cooperative and scenario-based, the first of which is a tutorial and the last of which is a “massive labyrinth adventure” that can be adjusted for difficulty level. Each player gets a plastic space marine figure but the enemy necrons are represented by cardboard tokens.

Inside both game boxes, as alternatives to the standard rule books, are series of cards with instructions that work like game tutorials.

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Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesMongoose has a major Traveller sale under way at DriveThruRPG. Discounts are 33-80% off.

Gypsy Knights Games is also running a sale on Traveller material, to celebrate the company’s seventh birthday.

Another sale running at DriveThruRPG is the BAMFsies Sale, celebrating superhero titles.

Superheroes are also featured in Bundle of Holding’s Heroes Unlimited offer from Palladium Books, while another offer at the site features Ulisses Spiele’s English-language translation, The Dark Eye.

Victory Point Games is selling everything at 10% off (except for Darkest Night products) in celebration of Valentine’s Day.

Giveaways:

At Amazon, Starship Merchants from Toy Vault is 71% off and Bloodsuckers from Fireside Games is 59% off.

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Today marks 10 years since Yehuda Berlinger posted the first article on Purple Pawn, a brief story about board games mentioned in the Sally Forth comic strip. I hope in that time that you’ve felt informed and entertained. We’ve tried our best to make a positive contribution. With 8,370 articles published so far!

Purple Pawn presents a unique voice in the game field, covering all types of tabletop games—board games, card games, collectibles, roleplaying games, war games, miniatures, and more. Games with modern movie tie-ins and traditional games played by generations. Games for the dedicated hobbyist, as well as the casual gamer.

Of course we report news of product releases but we also work hard to document the business side of the game industry, provide tips to the game consumer, and highlight the significant role that games play in culture and society.

Purple Pawn would not exist if not for the vision and guidance of its founder, Yehuda Berlinger. Thank you, Yehuda, for letting me keep it going when you decided to move on to other game-related endeavors!

Thank you also to our various contributors over the years: Ben Clark, Thomas Deeny, K.C. Lee, Lory Gilpatric, Phil Kilcrease, Randy Snyder, Richard Bliss, Josh Street, Rob Kalajian, Sam Mercer, and Tracy Tang! In the early days it was Yehuda as the snarky commentator, Josh as the fanboy, and me as the straight-man. Ben provided an amazing inside look at the business side of games with the Paper Money podcast. Sam gave us some cool graphics. Rob—who, other than Yehuda and I, was with Purple Pawn the longest—was of tremendous support to me personally, did a wonderful job of covering the independent publishers, and also solved many technical problems behind the scenes. Thomas, who is still with Purple Pawn, has an amazing knack for identifying the hot trends and controversies.

And of course, thank you to our readers!

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesOnline decor retailer Wayfair is giving away the components for awesome game room: carved wood table, throne armchair, bookcase, and a variety of fantasy-themed decorative items.

In Grey Gnome Games Hot Winter Sale, get significant discounts on select games, plus free promos, free expansions, and free shipping.

Osprey Publishing’s February Site-Wide Sale means up to 70% off in all categories, books, ebooks, and games.

A Pawn’s Perspective is giving away Hero Realms from White Wizard Games.

To go with the release of its free living campaign, Modiphius Entertainment is running a sale on Mutant Chronicles books.

Darksilver Forge is giving away a Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set prize pack, which in addition to the actual Starter Set includes metal dice, a dice tray, a comic, and dungeon tiles.

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Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesCabot Creamery is running a board game recipe contest. Three winners will each receive two tickets to the BGG@Sea 2018 Alaska cruise.

The Dungeon Masters Guild New Year, New Campaign Sale means a 25% discount on all tier 1 (levels 1-4) Dungeons & Dragons adventures, as well as some rulebooks.

Parenting in Progress is giving away two games from Goliath, Greedy Granny and Jumping Jack.

For The Love To is also giving away a Goliath game, Doggie Doo.

Promo code “GAMES2018” is good for savings of 25% on games from HasbroToyShop but only until midnight ET tonight.

Plumpy Thimble is giving away Torres from IDW.

MyMBuzz is giving away three Magic: The Gathering Rivals of Ixalan Bundles (box, 80 lands, and 10 boosters each).

Board Game Revolution is giving away Valeria Card Kingdoms plus expansions and accessories from Daily Magic Games.

USAopoly is giving away three sets of promo cards for Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle.

Buy one, get one 30% off on HexBug Battle Ground toys.

Through February, Noble Knight Games is offering free domestic shipping on all orders over $149.

The latest at Bundle of Holding is Oone Blueprints, maps for RPGs.

Unfiltered Gamer is giving away something from Mayday Games.

Name Dropping is giving away Stranger Things games.

Sentient Cow Games is giving away some miniatures.

Rolling Solo is giving away UBOOT: The Board Game (pending Kickstarter funding and production).

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It’s Rambo. It’ll have miniatures. For many people, that nostalgic excitement will be enough. Frankly, that was all I needed to volunteer for this preview. But the question, of course, is will the final Rambo: The Board Game product live up to the expectations of potential backers?

I, at least, expected a miniatures combat game. And while fighting is certainly the focus of the game’s mechanics, I was pleasantly surprised to find it more a cooperative adventure game. In fact, the highlight for me was how well the game differentiates and personalizes the individual characters—including Rambo himself—which players adopt to complete various missions. Successfully achieving objectives is not just a matter of plunging forward shooting at enemy soldiers. Instead, it requires players to coordinate and make use of their heroes’ unique talents.

Another nice aspect of the game is the scenarios, which not only advance the story but also provide players further development for their selected characters. As each scenario is completed, the players are afforded additional choices of gear and tactics.

In terms of gameplay, I particularly appreciated the individual “alert meters” and other features that focus players on keeping their heroes hidden from the enemy while moving about the board. Also special is the more cinematic approach that the game takes to combat. There are no dice or other random factors. If someone shoots, they hit.

Finally, though Rambo: The Board Game requires players to track a fair amount of detail among character skills, stances, tactics, and gear, plus a variety of enemy units, each type with its own programmed battlefield actions, the structure of the game and most of the rules are pretty straightforward. I rarely play this kind of game, yet one quick read through the rulebook was all I needed.

Still, my generally positive experience with Rambo: The Board Game comes with a significant caveat. The game I played was a prototype. Though I’ve seen much worse even in published games, the rules to this one are still rough around the edges. Some ambiguities and language issues remain. The graphics and design will improve, I’d hope. More scenarios should be added (the prototype only had three). And instead of standees, there are supposed to be plastic miniatures in the production box. The number and quality of those, I expect will be a significant factor for potential backers.

Rambo: The Board Game from Everything Epic Games launches on Kickstarter January 23rd.

A complimentary partial prototype of Rambo: The Board Game was provided by Everything Epic Games for review.

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