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.


This game is something else! I saw many fun games at Gen Con but Holding On: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr from Hub Games pairs gameplay with a meaningful experience, such as I haven’t seen before.

At the basic level, Holding On is a cooperative worker-placement game, where the players manage hospital staff as they work with heart-attack patient Billy Kerr.

At a deeper level, though, gameplay presents the opportunity to learn something about modern medical care. Each game round represents 1 day and consists of three work shifts. During each shift, the players have to decide between allocating resources to physical care, addressing Billy’s direct medical needs, and palliative care, making him more comfortable and establishing a closer, trusting relationship with him.

But that’s not what this game is really about. What Holding On is about is the troubled life of Billy Kerr. And that is revealed, slowly, through 10 scenarios, during which the players are able to help the patient recover memories of his earlier life. Partial-memory cards with limited text and hazy images can be replaced with clarifying overlays if the right choices in care are made. And while I wouldn’t (in fact, can’t) spoil the whole story, I can reveal that Billy’s history is a complex one involving The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The story, I’m told, is based on real facts and paints an honest picture of a complex character.

The game, then, promises to give players a lot to think about.

Holding On: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr should be available at Essen Spiel for $40.

Gen Con 2018—USAopoly

Recent releases from USAopoly include Samurai Jack Back to the Past ($35), based on the animated series, Thanos Rising ($50), a Marvel comics cooperative dice game, and Blank Slate ($25), a family-friendly fill-in-the-blank party game.

Coming next month is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: A Gemstone Mining Game ($35). Based on Quartz, the push-your-luck game of collecting crystals from Passport Game Studios, this Disney version works with up to seven players, each as one of the dwarfs.

In October, USAopoly ships Harry Potter Codenames ($25), with art from the films and gameplay similar to Codenames Duet but multiplayer.

Later in the fall, we’ll see Fantastic Beasts Perilous Pursuits ($30), a cooperative dice game where the goal is to put the beasts back in the suitcase.

While it wasn’t on display at the show, I was told there would be another expansion for the Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle deck-building game sometime in 2019.

Strange Board Games

These are some weird games!

Pimple Pete from Spin Master is a game in which the players take turns pulling squishy pimples from Pete’s face until one triggers the Mega-Zit on his nose to squirt.

 

Another from Spin Master is Silly Sausage. It’s a pattern-matching action game meant for kids ages 6+, “Twist Me, Stretch Me, Poke Me…”

It’s not the first dexterity game involving chopsticks but Flying Sushi Kitchen from Redwood Ventures challenges players to catch ping-pong balls as they float on air jets coming out of bamboo stalks. The balls are supposed to represent sushi but for some reason are painted with smiley faces!

And then there’s WizKids’ A’Writhe, which is basically… Cthulhu Twister!?! Players contort their bodies to put hands and feet on location mats in specific patterns to summon the great old ones.

Gen Con 2018—Gigamic

What I really want is the giant-sized Pylos but Gigamic’s new games look fun too.

Kaosmos ($30, due at retail this fall) is a space-themed reimplementation of Mad City (with was published by Mayfair). Not to be confused with Chaosmos from Mirror Box Games, this title is a real-time tile-laying game, where players assemble individual galaxies of nine planet tiles and score points based on contiguous zones of same-colored planets. Additional points are awarded for the length of asteroid paths the players manage to keep uninterrupted in each of their galaxies.

Squadro ($35, fall) is a simple-looking abstract where players race to get their four pieces back and forth across the board. The twist is that if one player’s piece blocks the path of another’s, the so-called blocked piece jumps ahead and the blocking piece is sent back to the start.

Gen Con 2018—Calliope Games

The next three games in Calliope’s Titan Series games are due later this year.

Everyone Loves a Parade ($25) has players designing parade floats to match the styles and decoration preferences of the crowds. Card play also allows manipulation of the crowds and position in the parade for turn order.

In Spy Master ($30), players control teams of agents, sending them on various missions around the world. To complete a mission and claim its victory points requires playing cards to move agents in to position and to collect specified types of intelligence (surveillance, blueprints, dossiers, or espionage). Each round, the current Spymaster divides available cards for the other players to choose.

Intriguing enough, that’s just the basic game. According to my source at Calliope, not once mentioned explicitly in the rules, there are also instructions for an advanced game hidden and hinted at somewhere in the Spy Master box.

Ship Shape ($30) is a kind of three-dimensional puzzle game in which the players attempt to smuggle the most valuable contraband in the holds of their sailing ships. They bid on crates that are stacked tiles with different gaps. During the bidding process, these gaps provide the players with limited information about upcoming crates. After the auction, they can try to stack these crates to maximize contraband value.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesMiniature Market is running a huge Back to School Sale on games but get on it quickly. It ends tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM CT.

Available at Humble Bundle are 20 game design and puzzlecraft books for a package price of $15. Spend more, support charities.

Deals currently running at Bundle of Holding include:

Dragons and Things is giving away a $20 Syrinscape gift card. Follow and retweet before 6:00 PM PT today.

Decision Games August Deal of the Month is $89 for Advanced Pacific Theater of Operations (regularly $120).

Thousands of titles are included in Osprey Publishing’s 30% off Summer Sale.

The Bridge World is holding a Summer Sale on Bridge books and software, 20-75% off.

Amazon deals:

Calliope Games is giving away a copy of Menu Masters.

Scott King is giving away a variety of games and accessories to 15 winners. Prizes include the games Azul, Pioneer Days, and Nmbr 9.

R&R Games is running a picture contest with a copy of Cave Paintings going to 10 winners.

Additional giveaways:

Gen Con 2018—Show & Tile

Show & Tile from Jellybean Games is a picture-making party game, where instead instead of drawing pictures by hand, players create their images using tangram pieces. The idea, of course, is to guess other players’ words from their pictures and to have them guess your word from yours.

Show & Tile should reach retail within a month priced at $25. Jellybean also has a $5 promo pack of extra word cards in four specific categories: world, jobs, sci-fi & fantasy, and adjectives.

Once again this year at GenCon FFG gave an update on upcoming games and expansion. We will post the full video at the bottom, but here are some highlights.

Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce Arkham Horror Third Edition, the next evolution of the classic cooperative board game of cosmic horror for one to six players. Originally developed in 1987 by Richard Launius and re-released by Fantasy Flight Games in 2005, Arkham Horror has long been synonymous with thrilling, thematic, cooperative board gaming. Now, we invite you to return to the Lovecraftian-inspired nightmare again—or visit it for the first time!—with a modern take on the classic game.

KeyForge: Call of the Archons is the world’s first Unique Deck Game. Every single Archon Deck that you’ll use to play is truly unique and one-of-a kind, with its own Archon and its own mixture of cards in the deck. If you pick up an Archon Deck, you know that you’re the only person in existence with access to this exact deck and its distinct combination of cards. In fact, in just the first set of KeyForge, Call of the Archons, there are more than a gazillion (seriously, it’s a bunch)  possible decks. Find out more about KeyForge here.

 

 

 

Also announced to the delight of GOT fans was the mother of dragons expansion. Mother of Dragons adds House Targaryen (who start on a new Essos sideboard) and House Arryn, while introducing the Iron Bank and a “Vassal” system to help with unchosen factions.

Oh, and a Super Star Destroyer for Star Wars: Armada

 

 

 

On Monday, Asmodee North America announced the upcoming departure of CEO Christian Petersen. The founder of Fantasy Flight Games, and then CEO of Asmodee NA after the merger with Asmodee in 2014, is leaving the company at the end of the year.

Petersen said in the announcement that his departure has been “long-planned” and that he is leaving to “focus on family, health, and the pursuit of other interests.”

With the leadership change also comes a restructuring of the company. Two separate business units will emerge, Asmodee North America Publishing led by Steve Horvath and Asmodee North America Distribution led by Andre Kieren.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesIello is giving away a mystery bag of prizes. Gen Con pickup only.

For those not attending the show, DriveThruRPG’s Christmas in July Sale features 25% discounts on thousands of popular titles.

Ulisses is giving away two copies of the deluxe core rules for Wrath & Glory, its Warhammer 40,000 RPG.

Save 20% on Avalanche Press titles of world domination with coupon code “VLAD”.

Jackson Pope of Eurydice Games is running a scenario design contest for his upcoming science-fiction, dexterity game, Flick Fleet. No real experience with the game is necessary and the rules are available to download for free. Up to three winners will get a copy of the game, assuming it funds on Kickstarter.

Cardboard Republic is giving away Dwarven Smithy from Flatworks Games.

Arizona Game Fair is holding a t-shirt design contest. The winner will receive $250, an 8 percent royalty on shirt sales, four event badges, and one shirt. A runner-up will receive $50, two event badges, and a shirt. All other participants will get a discount on badges.

Prism Pals is giving away a set of rainbow-colored polyhedral dice.

What’s Eric Playing? is giving away recent Spiel des Jahres winner, Azul.

Nerdarchy is giving away seven sets of metal polyhedral dice from Norse Foundry, enough to supply a whole game group.

For the 10th anniversary of 3:16 Carnage Among the Stars, Gregor Hutton has discounted several of his games to $3.16.

Game All Night is giving away a Quiver game bag filled with five games.

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