Mole Rats in Space


Modern board games are games created after 1900 or so, including early games such as Monopoly and Scrabble, to the latest games from Europe and around the world.


Sailor Moon Games

Dyskami Publishing has secured a license from Toei Animation for a line of board games based on the Sailor Moon Crystal series. The first game planned is Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge, scheduled for late summer this year. This one is being designed by James Ernest based on his Button Men game. The next release, planned for 2018, is a “tile-passing-and-bluffing game”, Sailor Moon Crystal Truth or Bluff.

Selling to Walmart

On June 28th, Walmart is conducting an Open Call event at its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, where potential suppliers will have an opportunity to pitch their products to company buyers. The theme of this event is made-in-the-U.S.A., meaning Walmart will be focused on identifying new products in all categories produced domestically.

Applications to participate in Walmart’s 2017 Open Call are due May 18th but space is limited.

Eh. After watching three episodes of The Toy Box, the toy-focused, Shark Tank like television show on ABC, I’m not impressed. Though, perhaps I’m jaded from 9 years attending Toy Fair… Actually, some of the toys in the first three episodes of The Toy Box weren’t bad. But not bad just doesn’t cut it. I mean, Mattel, who promises to produce the winning toy, doesn’t need a televised national competition to come up with dolls that have ballet costumes and a couple of extra degrees of articulation.

Not that a decently made new doll, or nested foam sports balls, couldn’t find some room in the marketplace. These ideas, though, do nothing for a large established toy company like Mattel, which has many designers on staff, as well as existing relationships with experienced outside inventors. Frankly, I don’t think the average viewer either is going to be much impressed.

The concept, I believe, has a lot of potential but the first three episodes so far haven’t realized it. The mentors representing the first on-screen evaluation stage are far too calm and gentle. Here’s a guy who sold his house and moved back in with his mother to finance production of a kind of plush he didn’t realize was already in the market from a different company. Another contestant’s brilliant idea is to make a stiff curved swing-set seat specifically for kids to stand on. Does that really require $130 specialized equipment? Definitely not. But throughout, the panel of expert mentors is calm and polite and barely challenges the inventors other than to express “concerns”. Liven it up guys!

By the way, let me say from personal experience, with an emergency room visit and stitches to the head, that standing on a swing-set seat is not a safe activity for children!

The second evaluation stage in each episode—before a panel of four children judges—you’d think would be a lot more fun to watch. Unfortunately, it just isn’t. Eleven year-old actors paid to look young and recite adult lines are lacking in chemistry and spontaneity.

Now maybe you think differently. Maybe you have more confidence in what will come out of this series. If so, you should know that the final chosen toy—whatever that will turn out to be—is already in production and will be sold exclusively at Toys “R” Us beginning May 20th. Toys “R” Us is also running a sweepstakes, where the grand prize includes travel for four to Los Angeles, a tour of Mattel headquarters, $1,500 in gift cards, and a meeting with the show’s winning inventor.

Also, if you think you have the perfect toy or game for Mattel, MysticArt Pictures is already casting inventors for a second season. And a U.K. version of the show has been licensed to Electus International. Maybe that one will be better. I hope so.

Badges for the newest PAX convention go on-sale next Wednesday, May 3rd. Other PAX events have sold out, so if you’re interested don’t hesitate.

PAX Unplugged takes place November 17-19 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. The event is a joint effort of Penny Arcade and ReedPOP, and will focus entirely on tabletop games.

Valerian: The Alpha Missions

A board game based on Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets has been announced by Ultra PRO Entertainment and should arrive at retail to coincide with the release of the film. Valerian: The Alpha Missions is a cooperative adventure game in which the players explore randomly placed hidden tiles representing a contested zone of the Alpha metropolis. By defeating encountered aliens and sacrificing various resources they can complete a set of missions and get to an extraction site before time runs out.

Catalyst Game Labs announced today Dragonfire, a deck-building adventure game based on Dungeons & Dragons and set in the Forgotten Realms. The initial release, “coming soon”, will have players choosing from classic D&D races and classes and beginning their adventure along the Sword Coast. The company also plans future expansions with players leveling up their characters while visiting Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter, and Waterdeep.

Catalyst is building Dragonfire from the same system the company used for its Shadowrun: Crossfire game (though the two will definitely not be compatible).

Adapting that engine to Dungeons & Dragons is an exciting opportunity to build new ways for players to experience both quick adventures and long-term campaigns in this legendary high-fantasy setting. And at every step, Catalyst has worked hard to remain true to D&D lore. When players open a copy at the table, regardless of what they enjoy playing—RPGs, deckbuilder games, or both—they’ll find a complete box of fun.

Dragonfire will be priced at $60 retail and come with five decks of encounter cards, plus a market deck, magic item deck, character cards, adventure cards, an adventure book, sticker sheets, tokens, plastic clips, and a rule book.

Among the expansions planned are Wondrous Cache (more magic items), Heroes of the Sword Coast (more character cards with new classes and races), and Encounters: Dragonspear Castle (a new adventure with more encounter, magic item, and market cards). Several of the expansions are going to print at the same time as the base game.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesFor 15% off games from HasbroToyShop.com, use promo code “GAMES2017”.

HasbroToyShop.com also runs an eBay store front where many games are discounted more than at its namesake web site.

Here’s a coupon for 15% off at Toys “R” Us that’s good through tomorrow.

Dog Might Games Huge Inventory Sale means 20% off all in-stock items.

Amazon deals:

Blog and podcast giveaways:

Dungeon Masters Guild Megabundle #2 highlights products from the top-30 bestselling community authors for 87% off.

Currently available at Bundle of Holding are two deals for 4th edition Champions, Essentials and Universe. To get the Bonus Collections of both will cost around $70 but between the two, you’d get more than 60 books. Also being offered by Bundle of Holding is Rocket Age, the RPG of retro-style science-fiction from Cubicle 7, and East Texas University, modern high school horror setting for Savage Worlds.

AEG is conducting two surveys. The company will send respondents promo cards for Mystic Vale and Smash Up.

CoolStuffInc’s 15th Anniversary Celebration features many games at significant discount, such as Pandemic Legacy for 52% off, SeaFall for 56% off, and a MtG Modern Masters 2017 booster box for 21% off.

Through the end of the month, furniture orders from Geek Chic qualify for free accessories.

ACD Distribution is giving away a Pokemon: Sun & Moon Elite Trainer Box.

2017 Mensa Select Winners

At the Mensa Mind Games this past weekend in the Virginia suburbs outside Washington, DC, member judges played through and selected the following games as 2017 Mensa Select winners:

Amalgam from Simply Fun—A game in which the players, as wizards, try to collect sets of potion ingredients but have to rely on their memories of the ingredients they’ve already collected.

Around the World in 80 Days from Iello Games—A Spiel des Jahres winner from years ago (Hare & Tortoise), reproduced based on the Jules Verne novel. Players race around the board, moving forward and back as they wish. However, they must carefully plan to arrive back in London with the least amount of cash left in hand.

Clank! from Renegade Game Studio—A dungeon delve fantasy adventure game built on deck-building mechanisms.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle from USAopoly—Another deck-building game, this one follows the novels with a series of cooperative games that get more complex and more difficult to beat as they progress.

Imagine from Gamewright—A party game where the giver-of-clues chooses an item from a card and then tries to illustrate the item by combining images and symbols with an overlay of transparent cards.

Hasbro is getting in to the subscription box business with the launch this summer of Hasbro Gaming Crate. At $50 each, the boxes will be delivered four times per year and contain three brand new games. Customers will be able to subscribe to either family or party game versions of the box. In this case, “party” means edgier adult games.

[via Fortune]

An early adopter of crowdfunding, Tasty Minstrel Games is now looking to raise general operating and marketing funds through equity crowdfunding portal MicroVentures. The company says it has three games in development, 15 in production, and has sold over 400,000 units since 2010. It appears that any return on a crowdfunding investment could only come about through the sale of shares back to the company or if the company as a whole was sold at some point in the future. But equity crowdfunding is significantly more complex that your typical game project. Read those documents carefully.

Calliope Games has been doing a great job with its focus on easier-going strategy games. Next in that line is to be Dicey Peaks, currently funded and aiming for stretch-goals in its final hours on Kickstarter. I got a brief preview of Dicey Peaks at Toy Fair. It’s a push-your-luck dice game of mountain-climbing. To win, players must make their way to the summit while managing their oxygen and avoiding yeti attacks.

With Commands & Colors: Tricorne from Compass Games, designer Richard Borg takes his C&C card-driven system to the American Revolution. The game will include more than 300 wood blocks, printed dice, a mounted map-board, and separate decks of combat cards to represent the differentiated strategies of the British and Colonials.

On the verge of funding is another block war game, Combat Infantry. Columbia Games’s version of squad-level combat in World War II, this one emphasizes fog-of-war with blocks that are single-sided and rotate to record current strength. The box will include six historical scenarios from the invasion of Normandy, as well as four additional generic scenarios.

Tesla vs. Edison: Duel is an abbreviated, two-player card game that covers the same history of early electric utilities as Artana’s full Tesla vs. Edison board game. Most importantly, the company finally included Samuel Insull, my favorite personality of the period.

Kenzer and Company is on Kickstarter for the first time with Aces & Eights: Reloaded, a revised edition of its wild-west roleplaying game. Kenzer promises a second edition “chock-full of new rules, tweaks, art and other enhancements,” while maintaining the game’s unique shot-clock, a targeting overlay for fun old-west style shoot-outs.

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