A team from Slovenia won the Red Bull Mind Gamers’ first Escape Room World Championship, which featured some really high-end set design (including a rotating tunnel) and challenges themed around quantum computing. The escape-rooms were designed by Prof. Scott Nicholson and his students at Wilfrid Laurier University. Held this past week in Budapest, the event ran more than 20 international teams through a series of timed challenges, with the top two teams, Slovenia and Ukraine, moving to the finals. There, the teams’ performance on a series of additional challenges—including one that surprised the competitors by needing to be solved cooperatively—determined the difficulty level assigned to them in a final puzzle.
The inaugural season of the PRO Chess League has concluded with the St. Louis Arch Bishops taking the championship title. St. Louis, led by the world’s number 2-ranked player Wesley So, faced in the final match the Norway Gnomes, led by number 1, World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen. So also captured the medal for MVP.
Also hailing from St. Louis, the Webster University Chess team won its fifth consecutive President’s Cup Collegiate Chess Tournament in New York City (fondly known as the Chess Final Four). Coach Susan Polgar was quoted as saying, “This was an incredibly hard victory, and the students gave everything they had. The competition on Saturday lasted nearly 13 hours, underscoring the importance of both physical and mental toughness.”
At the Cubing Classic in Melbourne, Australia, Feliks Zemdegs solved a 7×7 Rubik’s Cube in a world record 2 minutes, 18.13 seconds.
A Michigan team by the name of Incredible Science Machine has broken the world record for number of dominoes (76,017) toppled from the center in a circle field. The circle was the final display in a longer domino-toppling series that started with a Rube Goldberg-type trigger and included separate sections dedicated to each of Earth’s continents.
BoardGamePrices is also giving away Terraforming Mars.
Renegade Game Studios is giving away a game of the winner’s choice.
Bundle of Holding has a deal for the Advanced Fighting Fantasy RPG, which is based on the Fighting Fantasy game books.
DramaScape has bundled up $343 of print-and-play battle maps and is offering them for $49.76 via DriveThruRPG. Offer expires in 3 days.
The Ultimate Indie Giveaway is a joint effort to award one winner eight games by various publishers.
Toys “R” Us has all junior versions of board games at 20% off for Easter.
Some Palladium books are on-sale today but not tomorrow.
Green Ronin’s Justice For All Sale means a discount of the Advanced Bestiary for the Pathfinder RPG. Also, $10 from each sale will go to the National Immigrant Justice Center.
UK blog and publisher giveaways:
Board Game Couch is giving away two prize packages of FAITH RPG stuff.
Sahm Reviews is giving away Huh? from Eagle-Gryphon Games.
The prize package in Game On Family’s giveaway includes Ticket To Ride, Qwirkle, Telestrations, Reverse Charades, and Taboo.
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.
Normally when I think of HABA I think of family friendly games is bright yellow boxes. In fact, I have a whole shelf in my game collection devoted to these awesome kids’ titles. So I was a bit surprised to year about Meduris – The Call of the Gods from my HABA contact. Surprised, but very interested! Especially when I found out one of the designers of the game is Stefan Dorra.
Meduris is a resource-management game at heart. Players take turns gathering materials, building huts and temples, and making offerings to the wandering Druid. Hut become more expensive to build as a single hut grows into a multi-hut settlement. Settlements also mean the Druid makes more stops, needs more offerings but offers greater victory point rewards. Temples can rack up a ton of points at the end of the game if they’re placed next to large settlements, and Runes offer extra points mid-game whenever the Druid makes a complete circuit around the board.
Final scoring occurs when a player has built all their temples and huts. A final round is played and then the score tallied. The player with the most points wins.
Meduris is relatively easy to learn, but the rulebook isn’t really laid out in a way that would make you think this. There’s an odd flowchart in the rules that’s a 4-page foldout. It’s very awkward, and not the easiest to read. Once you get past that, though, the game is very straight forward. Even your first game will fit within the 75-minute timeframe printed on the box.
There’s a good amount of strategy here. Placing your workers to maximize your material gain is just as important as the good placement of your huts on the board either alone, or in settlements. Temples shouldn’t be built too early, but building them too late might lose you a key placement next to a large settlement for maximum points.
While meant for ages 10+, my 7-year-old son had no trouble learning and enjoying the game.
While Meduris isn’t at all what I normally expect from HABA, I was pleasantly surprised with a smart Euro that was easily playable and just as beautiful to look at.
A copy of Meduris was provided free for review by HABA.
Greenbrier always has an impressive showing in a small space at every PAX I’ve been to. This year they were showing off Z-Pocalypse 2: Defend the Burbs, Grimslingers: The Northern Territory, Of Dreams and Shadows, and Thundergryph Games’ Overseers.
I had a chance to see Z-Pocalypse 2: Defend the Burbs and Of Dreams and Shadows and I’m very excited about both games. Z-Poc 2 has more of a tower defense feel than the previous game and also has a lot more stuff. Mechanics have also been streamlined. You can find the full list of changes here.
Of Dreams and Shadows is a cooperative, narrative RPG board game for up to 6 players. Choices made by the players in the game can greatly affect the outcome for both good or ill. The artwork is amazing, along with the plethora of heroes to choose from and villains to fight against.
The new Grimslingers is currently up on Kickstarter with streamlined rules, a new campaign featuring the Northern Territory of the Forgotten West. Also, a new Fate deck has been introduced for various events, card effects and most importantly, procedurally generated area exploration.
Greenbrier never fails to excite, and this year was no different.
At Toy Fair, ThinkFun’s booth was full of puzzles and a few games. We saw the next entry in their Escape the Room line: Secret of Dr. Gravely’s Retreat (available now, $22). Containing four packed envelopes of props, puzzles, and clues, the new case has a higher age range. “Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor was big hit for us,” explained Kacey Templin, “but we had a lot of feedback to make the next one a bit more difficult, a bit more adult.” Thus, the recommended age moved slightly forward from 10 to 13 and up.
Color Cube Sudoku (March, $20) replicates a 6×6 Sudoku puzzle with nine colored cubes. Orient, spin, and swap cubes to solve a Sudoku puzzle using colors instead of numbers.
But I thought the coolest thing there was Spin-A-Roo (in stores in March, $20), a number counting game for the preschooler to second grade set. On your player mat, you have four numbers. You race to grab numbered discs off of the central spin-a-roo piece, either one up or down from the numbers you currently are showing. One neat thing about the game is the spinning element on the central unit: just spin it once and the board is repopulated with tiles — it’s actually fun to set up the next round!
RollerCoaster Challenge (summer, $22) is designed by the person that created Gravity Maze. In this, you’re taking several roller coaster elements, and buildling out tracks. You can try one of the forty challenge cards that come with the game, or — as I suspect I’d do — just use it to build your own coaster set. Currently on Kickstarter — ThinkFun’s first foray using the crowdsourcing platform — backers can receive an exclusive ThinkFun-colored blue car.
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.
Posted by Rob Kalajian as Modern Board Games
On June 1st Three Kingdoms Redux will be available for an MSRP of $59.99 from Capstone Games. The game recreates the historic struggles between the Wei, Wu, and Shu states in the Three Kingdoms period in China’s history. The game is for 3 players only, each taking control of one of the three lords. Each side is asymmetrical and players will have to use their own advantages to run their states and protect their borders while trying to unify China.
Three Kingdoms Redux is for 3 players ages 14+ and is estimated to play in around 2 hours.
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.
The latest deal at Bundle of Holding is for Traveller20, the d20 adaptation of Traveller and a fantastic resource for any version of the game. The Player’s Collection is priced at $12.95 and is already a pretty good deal but it’s the Referee’s Collection that really ramps up the value, which starting at $27 includes the full rule set, several setting books, more starship guides, separate adventures, and a campaign book.
For the month of March, Academy Games is bundling Fief, the Fief Expansions Pack, and Fief Buildings Pack for $130.
Apps from Asmodee Digital are on-sale at discounts of up to 60% for the next several days. Ticket To Ride, Small World 2, Splendor, Mysterium, Potion Explosion, Pandemic, and Colt Express are all included (Android, iOS, and PC), as are even some in-app purchases. Mysterium on Steam and in-app Ticket to Ride USA 1910 are excluded, however.
Until the launch of Mora Games’ crowdfunding project, the company is collecting email addresses for a giveaway of three copies of Wages of War.
Susan Polgar’s The Polgar Method of video Chess lessons is 60% off.
With Passover approaching, Amazon has a coupon for an additional 15% off TorahLine from 613 Games.
Other Amazon deals:
Savage World Bennies are 15% off direct from Pinnacle Entertainment.
EverythingBoardGames is giving away The Village Crone from Fireside Games and, along with the Crazy Like a Box Board Game Community, is giving away one-year memberships and a copy of Rising Sun (currently on Kickstarter).
Hasbro’s Toilet Trouble and Fantastic Gymnastics are $2 off at Toys “R” Us.
For the game’s 15th anniversary, Spectrum Games has a complete bundle of Cartoon Action Hour ebooks for 80% off.
Complete ThinkFun’s customer survey to be entered in every future monthly giveaway by the company. And don’t forget to mention Purple Pawn as one of your sources for information.