Mole Rats in Space


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.


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.

Unpainted Minis From WizKids

WizKids has launched two lines of unpainted, fantasy, plastic miniatures, one for the Pathfinder RPG, one for Dungeons & Dragons.

The Deep Cuts line for Pathfinder includes 20 different blister packs, the Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures line for Dungeons & Dragons 33. Each pack has 1-3 figures—monsters and characters in both lines—at a retail price of $3.99.

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Toy Fair 2017—B&B Games

B&B Games had a few items on display at Toy Fair this year, including their recently-Kickstarted miniatures battle game, Destiny Aurora: Renegades. Listed at $80, the core set, containing 24 miniatures, will be available in April. The game has two distinct battlegrounds: while your away team is performing a mission on the ground, your ships participate in dogfights. Set up as a story-driven campaign based off of a book series, the game offers several add-ons and upgrades.

Just released the weekend of Toy Fair, Betabotz ($30) pits robot against robot. Players get a basic bot and bid for upgrades. Team up or hinder others on missions in this card-driven game.

 

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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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A game convention of a different sort took place this past weekend in Baltimore. Rather than featuring the hottest new releases, this annual event specifically focuses on the rudimentary and undeveloped game concepts that have yet to make their way to store shelves. Though attendance is free, it takes more than a passing interest to put in several hours on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon playing games with half-baked rules and rough pieces instead of nice plastic pawns and printed boards.

Still, around 1,700 people showed up to this year’s Unpub convention and volunteered their time to help inventors and small publishers improve their products. With a sense of adventure, they made their way around 100 or so tables being guinea pigs but also sharing their ideas and perhaps getting an early peek at what could be next year’s hot title.

At these tables, designers floated new ideas, tested untried innovations, and ran their works through the paces. Developing a game from initial concept to final product requires a lot of repeated play. Unpub allows independent and budding designers to take advantage of the crowd of ready playtesters to try different alternatives on the spot.

As explained to me by Jason Kotarski of Green Couch Games, the convention is also a great occasion for publishers. In addition to testing his own games, Jason was there scouting for new projects and even took the opportunity to do some promotion for Ladder 29, a firefighting family card game that his company is currently crowdfunding.

On Friday, before the two days of open playtesting, Unpub hosted a series of professional seminars just for the designers. One was led by Zev Shlasinger, founder of Z-Man Games and currently Director of Board Games for WizKids. Another provided some behind-the-scenes industry insight for those new to the business side of games. A third, by Panda Game Manufacturing, a major sponsor of Unpub, was on the process of game production.

Brent Kinney of Panda told me that the company “feels a strong connection with the independent design community.” It was manufacturing for self-publishers and Kickstarter projects that launched Panda. And the show provides the company not only an opportunity to advise aspiring publishers on manufacturing costs and considerations, but also to learn what types of new components—some of them quite innovative ideas—Panda should consider adding to its capabilities.

Back on Sunday, when I visited Unpub, I had the privilege of playtesting three games. The first was a yet-to-be-named tabletop board game implementation of Japanese-style computer RPGs from designer Luke Peterschmidt. Though this was not the kind of game that I usually go for, I did enjoy learning its combat mechanics and thought they seemed pretty solid. The second was Party Poetry by Sheri Knauth, a game in which the players each secretly contribute one line to a larger poem and then vote on which amalgamation they consider the best. Again, not a game I would usually choose, but I was feeling venturous and was impressed by the poetry that can come out of such a process. The third game, Rain Dance by Matt Loomis and Isaac Shalev, was definitely more my style and seemed nearly ready-to-go. Simple cards allow players to plant, water, and harvest crops, while the choice of replacement cards allows them to flood out the crops of their opponent.

And though I didn’t get a chance to play it, probably the most exciting news out of Unpub for me personally was that Dave Chalker is working on a Midnight at the Well of Souls board game based on the novel series by his father, science fiction author Jack Chalker. During high school, I devoured every one of his books as they came out.

Unpub is a tremendous asset to game designers and a wonderful experience for those interested in seeing some of the process behind their favorite entertainment. Look for it again next year in Baltimore, March 23-25.

Starfinder RPG Update

With the launch date for Paizo’s Starfinder Roleplaying Game approaching this summer, the company has revealed some additional detail regarding the products being released. Starfinder is a science-fantasy game based on the Pathfinder RPG, set in space, and compatible but stand-alone.

The initial slate of Starfinder releases scheduled for Gen Con will include a Core Rulebook ($60), GM Screen ($20), and Player Character Folio ($10). Also available at the same time will be the first part of a Starfinder Adventure Path, Incident at Absalom Station ($23), as well as the usual adventure path accessories, a pawn collection ($25) and flip mats ($15-20). The core rulebook runs 560 pages and includes several new races, seven classes (technomancer, mechanic, soldier, envoy, operative, mystic, and solarion), science-fantasy equipment, spells, and rules for starship construction and combat.

Following in September will be Starfinder Condition Cards ($13). In October will be Starfinder Alien Archive ($40) with rules for both creatures as adversaries and creatures as player-characters.

Paizo also has in the works a Starfinder organized play program. The Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild will be separate from but similar to the Pathfinder Society—the major difference being that Starfinder characters will be able to be members of more than one faction at a time, sort of like multi-classing.

To accommodate third-party products, Paizo has already published a Starfinder Compatibility License. It’s also licensed Syrinscape to produce official Starfinder sound-effects and is working with Ninja Division on Starfinder prepainted miniatures.

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Toy Fair 2017—WizKids

WizKids has a packed booth at Toy Fair with lots of items from their Dungeons & Dragons line on display as well as more Heroclix items and some standalone games.

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the wall of unpainted Dungeons & Dragons miniatures. In the first wave of miniatures (this month, $2.99 each), sixty different miniature packs are available with some coming in with multiple figures. Also planned: Pathfinder miniatures! (No date or price on those as of yet!)

But if you like painted miniatures, they’ve got you covered with the Adventurer’s Campsite as part of the Icons of the Realms’ Monster Menagerie II line. This $50 box comes with a painted covered wagon, two saddled horses, three treasure chests, two kegs (of course), and all the little things: sacks, camp fires, bedrolls, spellbooks, scrolls, bags of holding…

And just released the day of the show, Assault of the Giants. This newest entry into the line of D&D boardgames comes in a standard edition for $80 or a premium edition with fully-painted miniatures for $130.

Coming soon in Heroclix are two new lines: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Return and Marvel’s Deadpool & X-Force. TMNT will come in blind bags for $3 each. Deadpool & X-Force will be available in a brick of boosters for $130, which is probably your best bet at obtaining that Deadpool riding the unicorn ultra-rare piece (one is available in approximately every four cases).

Recreating a classic oversized comic book I had when I was a kid, the Heroclix Superman vs. Muhammad Ali set comes with a boxing ring, the greatest, and a Superman wearing boxing gloves. Debuting in March, this set will retail for $50.

Three new games were also shown: The Banishing, Tower of London, and Tournament at Camelot. Relasing in March, the Banishing is a difficult strategy cooperative game where you’re banishing creatures. Tower of London is a zone control game available in April. Tournament at Camelot, a May release, is a trick-taking game with box artwork inspired from illuminated manuscripts. All three games will retail for $20.

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Lightseekers

Lightseekers, a new entry in the toys-to-life category, makes use of Bluetooth communication to deliver two-way communication between action figures and computer app, no special portal required. Thus, the figures not only show up in the video game, but can also respond to in-game events with vibrations, lights, and sounds, can be modified with weapons and other physical attachments, and can even be used as live controllers.

The software for Lightseekers is being produced by PlayFusion, the toy line by TOMY. Besides the figures, that product line includes a collectible card game, playable either on its own or through augmented reality as enhancements to the video game.

Lightseekers will launch at Toys “R” Us online on April 17th and in-stores July 1st.

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Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesWin a Magic: The Gathering Modern Masters 2017 Booster Box from MTGHeadQuarters by subscribing, commenting, etc.

Blue Orange Games is giving away Vikings on Board.

Brilliant PR is giving away a $333-value package of toys and games, which includes Word on the Street Junior and Kanoodle Jr. from Educational Insights.

OffWorld Designs is giving away five pairs of passes to Gen Con, with five pairs of Gen Con t-shirts.

Two deals are currently running at Bundle of Holding. One is for the 2014 edition of Space: 1889 and starts at just $6.95. The other, Designers, Dragons, and More, includes a variety of books about games, as well as a comprehensive series on the history of roleplaying games.

Osprey Publishings’s March Sale is 20% off Men at Arms, Elite, and Warrior series.

The Cardboard Republic is giving away Captain Sonar from Asmodee.

The Board Game Revolution Community on Facebook is celebrating achieving 5,000 members with a series of giveaways. Two of the latest are photo contests with prizes from Minion Games and R&R Games.

The Board Game Vault is giving away the winner’s choice of Santorini or Attack of the Giants.

The Giveaway Geek is giving away Champions of Midgard from Grey Fox Games and Emergence from The Emergence Team.

Devetos Gaming is giving away a Star Wars Destiny Booster Box (36 booster packs) from Fantasy Flight Games.

Blue Peg, Pink Peg is giving away Gloomhaven from Cephalofair Games.

Passport Games is giving away a copy of They Who Were 8 before it’s available in stores.

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Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesPolice in New Delhi, India arrested a man for replacing cash in an ATM with fake 2,000 Rupee notes he got out of a board game that he had purchased for his nephew. The police were alerted by bank customers who were given currency guaranteed by the “Children’s Bank of India”.

Hasbro has applied for a U.S. trademark on the smell of Play-Doh.

Already banned by FIDE for misfeasance at the Bulgarian Chess Federation and improperly diverting money from Chess tournaments, Silvio Danailov and Vladimir Sakotic have allegedly used illegal means to take over the Serbian Chess Federation and have sent threatening and blackmailing emails to the president and board of the European Chess Union.

Teen siblings, Dorsa and Borna Derakhshan, have been banned by Iran Chess Federation from playing in domestic tournaments and representing the country at international events. Dorsa played at the recent Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival without wearing a hijab. Borna played a game against an Israeli.

A 23 year-old mother in Hong Kong was arrested by police for abandoning her baby (only 18 days old) unattended at her mother’s house so she could go play Mahjong. In consideration of the weeks she already spent in police custody and the support of her family, a magistrate sentenced the mother to just 12 months probation.

The Ningdu County Committee of the Communist Party of China has banned local officials from playing Mahjong. The goal of the order is to combat gambling, though it applies to any occasion, on-duty or off.

Between the two separate Mahjong games police raided in Davao City, Philippines, they arrested 11 people and confiscated gambling money totaling 320 Pesos (no more than $6.50).

A Denver-area high school principal was found guilty of 3rd degree assault for kicking his wife between the legs and punching her in the ribs. The incident occurred after he called her a “cheater” during a game of Backgammon. It’s unclear whether by cheating he was referring to the game or their marriage.

A man and woman were captured on video surveillance shoplifting $400 worth of Magic: The Gathering cards from a Walmart in Potsdam, New York. State police eventually caught the pair when they tried to sell the cards.

The makers of Secret Hitler, a Mafia-like game about the rise of fascism, sent a copy of the game to every member of the United States Senate, thinking maybe the education would do them good.

Sophisticated Games, which owns the rights to the original board game version of Ingenious (also known as Einfach Genial), registered a U.S. trademark for “Ingenious” and began demanding that the game’s designer, Reiner Knizia, pay a royalty for using that name on related game designs. Rather than acquiesce, Knizia has come up with a new name for games in that series—at least the ones for which he has the rights. So for example, there’s AXIO Hexagonal and AXIO Octagonal now available to play online. Under license from Sophisticated Games, though, Thames & Kosmos will be publishing the original in board game form as Ingenious later this year.

For the second month in a row, a car crashed in to a game shop. This time, the incident occurred at the Spielbound board game cafe in Omaha.

Portal Games has had its PayPal accounts frozen pending delivery of First Martians. The bulk of funds in those accounts were for preorders of the game. However, Portal assures customers that the move by PayPal will not interfere with delivery.

First in Parliament, then on Facebook, the Chief Minister of Gibraltar criticized the Leader of the Opposition for skipping a session of Parliament to officiate at a dog show in Brussels. Another MP responded by pointing out that a Government Minister had also missed a session to take part in a Backgammon tournament.

The immediate past president of the Northern Region Chess League in Malawi asserts irregularities in the latest election of officers. He claims that the president of the Chess Association of Malawi, who presided over the balloting, refused to let all local Chess players vote (as required by the organization’s constitution) and instead only accepted the votes of players who had participated in the last tournament.

The resignation of the president of the Japan Shogi Association wasn’t enough for members upset that the group’s leadership had banned a prominent player on suspicion of cheating but without evidence. A no-confidence vote has resulted in the ouster of three more board members.

As with Bridge and Chess, supporters are trying to get Sport England to declare Scrabble a sport.

A New York City police officer visiting the Virtual Crime Information Center for some training recognized the man on a wanted poster as a regular at the Chess tables in Washington Square Park. And so police went to the park and arrested him.

Two of four men in an SUV, who robbed and shot up a Dominoes game taking place in the parking lot of a Houston convenience store, were captured by police following a second incident later the same night.

An argument broke out between two people playing Dominoes in Dolores Park, San Francisco. One slashed the other’s arm with a pocket knife and escaped on-foot.

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