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.

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesFor a family in County Durham, U.K., the Ouija game was a good-news bad-news kind of thing. The husband said that he drowned and dismembered the dog because the Ouija board told him to do it. The wife and daughter, however, said it was also a Ouija that warned them about the impending house fire.

In Iran, they take the term “political dominoes” literally. A group there recently put on a display in which the international conflict over the country’s nuclear program was symbolically represented by the toppling of dominoes. This included one large element featuring a missile destroying an Israeli flag.

The NCAA is claiming a trademark both on the term “bracket” and the image of brackets with regard to tournaments.

A mom who went to a Target store in Canada looking for discounts, instead found $800 worth of marijuana in an Angry Birds Telepods board game.

Ten banks were fined a total of $43.5 million for promising to publish positive research results in exchange for a piece of the Toys “R” Us IPO business.

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected Panini’s attempt to trademark the term “Limited” with regard to trading cards. The Board sided with Topps and found that Panini had failed to prove that the mark, a descriptive term, had acquired sufficient distinctiveness.

The owner of Chez Geek, a game store in Montreal, says the Quebec government is pressuring him to stop selling board games that are not in French.

Spielbound, a game cafe in Omaha, Nebraska, has successfully registered its game library as a 501c(3) tax-exempt nonprofit with the IRS.

While Hasbro has come up with a replacement for the phallic Play-Doh extruder, some are complaining that the new tool looks like a certain kind of sex toy.

Hasbro also took some flak for the way it responded to a question about the number of toys based on female Star Wars characters.

Disco choreographer, Deney Terrio, is suing Hasbro. He claims that the Vinnie Terrio character in Littlest Pet Shop copies his signature dance move, the finger point made famous by John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.

In Tune is a game that provides players with the opportunity to practice observing physical boundaries and consent. Using video game controllers it electrifies the players such that it’s able to register the places they touch each other.

Hasbro has settled with Mexican tax authorities, paying $65 million out of the $250 million sought by the government.

Lego is accusing Mega Brands, makers of Mega Bloks, of copying Lego Friends. Mega Brands, however, says that Lego can’t seek the help of the U.S. International Trade Commission because Lego doesn’t meet the ITC’s domestic industry requirement.

Sheldon Adelson, the owner of several casinos, is lobbying for laws in the United States that would prohibit online gambling. He calls it a moral issue.

Police in Trenton, New Jersey arrested seven people for playing dice in the hallway of an apartment building of which none of them were a resident.

Police in Staten Island, New York are running Chess and Checkers tournaments for at-risk youth. In Atlanta, a Chess program run by probation officers and attorneys is for youth already convicted of crimes.

A Chicago-area high school student visiting Peoria, Illinois for a Chess tournament was able to give a young girl CPR and save her life.

By order of the country’s parliament, Chess will be compulsory in Spanish schools.

Students at Padjadjaran University in Indonesia claim to have developed a card game that can train people to detect when others are lying.

A woman in China is up on murder charges for stabbing a man she claims got her husband addicted to Mahjong.

MtG Tarkir Dragonfury

Tarkir Dragonfury

For the upcoming Magic: The Gathering Dragons of Tarkir set, Wizards of the Coast is distributing a board game bonus to stores participating in prerelease. Tarkir Dragonfury will have gamers flicking their spindown life counters (20-sided dice) at standup tokens—imitating a dragon’s breath attack. Point totals from knocked down tokens will qualify for promo cards, up to and including rares.

Toy Fair 2015—Continuum Games


logoWhile Continuum Games has a bunch of new products for 2015, the two they were spotlighting were Mega Monster City Smash and Word Q. Both games couldn’t be more different from each other, one having remote controlled monsters, and the other being just a box of letter tiles.

Mega Monster City Smash – $29.99 – Ages 5+

Mega Monster City SmashTo tell you the truth, this is more of a toy than a game. Each player controls one of two giant monsters trying to knock down the buildings of the other player. Each remote has two functions: move forward, or spin. Get your monster to face in the right direction and then charge the towers! I have to admit I even tried to push the other monster off the board, which I don’t know if that’s actually allowed or not. In the end I lost horribly.

Word Q – $12.99 – Ages 8+

Word Q

Word Q is a puzzle game where you’re trying to create words in every row and column. Words can be 3 letter words for easier puzzles, and 4 letter words on the harder puzzles. The book that comes with the game lets you know the starting layout of each puzzle, and which letters are already in the correct spot. There’s only 1 solution per puzzle, and it’s a lot harder than it looks.

Emergence Event

Emergence EventEmergence Event is a new space exploration game for 2-4 players from Megacon Games. With a modular board, and different decks of captains, special abilities, and individual strengths, the game plays very different every time. In the game players explore the galaxy and control locations to earn rewards such as technology, resources, and artifacts.  Victory points are earned through control and exploitation of the galaxy, and the length of play is determined by the players movement though the galaxy and the damage they’ve taken.

Emergence Event will hit shelves in April for $60. You can find the rules here to get a peek of how the game will play.



Game Developers ClubhouseEntrepreneur David MacKenzie left his job at Game Salute in December of 2014 to start his own organization where game designers could come together to create and work on projects in a community setting.

The Game Designers Clubhouse is located in Edmonds, WA not far from the bustling Seattle metropolis. For a monthly fee, members have access to the clubhouse’s workspace tools, including a 27-inch iMac with Adobe Creative Cloud, Color laser and Inkjet printers, and prototyping stations with various crafting tools, like cutting mats, card sleeves, game tokens, and more.

While the membership-based clubhouse is getting underway, MacKenzie has managed to keep the fire burning by offering substantial blind playtest session through a monthly recurring crowdfunding website called Patreon. Read the rest of this entry »

Toy Fair 2015—Pressman


While part of the Goliath family now, Pressman is still being maintained as a separate brand. And it’s products are distinct enough that I thought they deserved their own report.

In terms of new products, Pressman has a license for Shopkins games. Out already is Shopkins Pop ‘N’ Race, with Shopkins Supermarket Scramble ($20) following soon. The former is a version of Trouble, the latter a simple spin-and-move game of collecting characters from each section of the grocery store.

Other than that, Pressman is bringing back some out of print titles.

Lucky Ducks (fall, $24), formerly a Milton Bradley title, is a cute matching memory game with a little added challenge. The plastic ducks, on the bottom of which the various shapes are printed, are constantly in motion, circling around the board.

Wheel of Fortune ($20) returns for a fourth edition in the fall with 90 puzzles included.

And for the game’s 50th anniversary, there will be Tri-ominos Junior (summer, $15). What makes it kid-friendly is the inclusion of some wild-card pieces and the addition of colors corresponding to the matching numbers.

Greater Than Games MergerGreater Than Games (GTG) recently announced that it is unify its forces with Dice Hate Me Games to create an even better powerhouse of successful games publishing.

The immediate affect, according to the company blog, will be unnoticeable to the public. GTG has already been warehousing and shipping for Dice Hate Me Games, so the transition is minimal. Upcoming games publishing from both companies will remain on schedule.

GTG is restructuring its company, as well. There will now be three imprints under the GTG parent. The Sentinel Comics imprint will cover games such as Sentinels of the Multiverse, Sentinel Tactics, and other games within the comic universe. The Dice Hate Me imprint will cover previous titles owned by the company, such as Brew Crafters and VivaJava. Dice Hate Me will also be in charge of future strategy board games. Fabled Nexus is the newest imprint and will cover science fiction and fantasy titles like Galactic Strike Force.

The first game to be published under the new structure is Bottom of the 9th, which begins its Kickstarter campaign on Mar. 1. It is a one or two-player dice and card game based on the final inning of a baseball game. Players compete against each other as pitcher and batter for the final score.

Toy Fair 2015—Goliath Games


Goliath’s products are always good for a few laughs and leading in that role this year was Who Tooted? (fall, $24). A game about farting—complete with whoopee cushion buzzers and electronic sound effects—you know it’ll be a hit with the 6-12 year old set.

Really more of an aid in performing magic tricks, there’s also Magic Mindreader (fall, $20). It’s an interactive plastic skull that can do such things as guess the card a person picked or lead participants through simple number tricks.

Sands Alive! (fall, $15) is a game played in a mini sandbox. Players draw cards that allow them to build certain structures in an effort to connect one side of the box with the opposite side.

In Fool the Frog (fall, $24) one player wears a mask of frog eyes that open and close at random intervals, while the other players pass back-and-forth a fly. The frog player, then, tries to guess who’s holding the fly.

Slap (fall, $24) is a trick trivia game with a special device to figure out who gave the first answer. It’s trick trivia because questions are designed to confuse players (for example, “What does a cow drink?”). And the device works because the players have to write their answers on the end of its spring-loaded arms, and then when they let go, the arms slap down on top of each other in to the center.

American Journal of Play v7n2A study published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Play suggests that playfulness is key to keeping a mate. This follows up on an earlier study that found the same characteristics important for attracting a mate.

The new study, by researchers at the University of Zurich, determined that playfulness retains its meaning even for people already in a relationship.

People perceive playfulness as being beneficial to well-functioning romantic relationships, by increasing well-being in the partnership, by maintain the excitement and conveying one’s affection, or, more generally speaking, by more deeply cultivating the relationship.

Now if that study has you thinking about how you might increase the playfulness in your life, might I suggest a webinar, “Pursuing Playfulness“, with author Bernie De Koven. The webinar, sponsored by the North American Simulation and Gaming Association, is free and scheduled for this coming Monday.

We all seek to use games and other learning activities to engage with the learners. Understanding and taking a playful approach will encourage participants to make the game (or learning) their own. Bernie will talk about the nature of playfulness based on many years of experience in pursuit of play. You will come away with a new sense of what it means to be playful and its potential for enhancing your games and for your life.

El Grande Big Box


The year 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of El Grande, one of the most influential strategy and area control bestsellers. To celebrate this special occasion, a Big Box Edition will be released in Dutch, German and English languages.

Aside from the base game, the Big Box also includes all previously published official expansions, including:

  • Grand Inquisitor & Colonies;
  • Grandissimo;
  • King & Intrigant;
  • King & Intrigant: Players’ Edition;
  • King & Intrigant: Special Cards;
  • Anniversary Extension (details TBA).

The English version of El Grande Big Box will be published by Z-Man Games in 2015, according to W. Eric Martin on BoardGameGeek.

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