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 gamesA 12 year old girl was ejected from the National Scholastic Chess Championship in Malaysia for wearing a dress whose hemline was above the knee. According to the girl’s Chess coach, an official at the event called her dress “too seductive”. The tournament’s director said that he was not there at the time but that four arbiters, including one woman, together decided that the dress was too revealing when the girl sat down. Since the allegations attracted international attention, the director has promised to sue the coach, as well as the girl’s mother, for defamation. He claims to have evidence that the picture of the dress being publicized by the coach via Facebook is fake. The whole situation is now being investigated by police.

The Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office will not pursue charges against a Muslim televangelist who said that “playing Chess is worse than gambling and eating pork.” The prosecutor’s office refused a complaint from the public and instead sided with the televangelist, asserting that his statements fell within his rights to freedom of thought and expression.

A 1764-rated Chess player from India was expelled from the Dubai Open after an arbiter discovered that he was hiding a mobile phone in his sleeve. The player refused to show the arbiter whether or not the phone was running a Chess program but was still expelled from the tournament because carrying a phone is against the rules.

Thieves broke in to The Realm Games in Mansfield, Ohio early on a Sunday morning and stole about $8,000 worth of merchandise. Most of the value in stolen items came from Magic: The Gathering singles. Surveillance camera footage, however, shows that one of the thieves had no idea what he was doing and grabbed boxes of regular playing cards.

A woman in Japan who also had no idea about the potential value of old Magic: The Gathering cards took the collection her grown son had left at home (which included a Black Lotus) and put them up for sale as a bundle in an online auction. Someone who realized what was going on got word to her son, who was able to stop the sale before the transaction was complete.

In Murfreesboro, Tennessee, a woman and her boyfriend got in to an argument over a game of Monopoly. He punched her several times and stabbed her with a box cutter. She whacked him in the head with a liquor bottle.

In Jacksonville, Florida, a woman tried to break through her roommate’s door with an ax after an argument over a game of Dominoes.

A game of Dominoes in New Orleans also erupted in an argument, whereupon one of the players went in to his house, retrieved a knife, returned to the game, and stabbed another player.

During a Minnesota House debate of a law that would increase penalties for protesters who block roads, Democratic Minority Leader Melissa Hortman triggered a “call of the House” procedure to force the return of absent lawmakers. “I hate to break up the 100 percent white male card game in the retiring room, but I think this is an important debate,” she said.

Gazdálkodj okosan is a Hungarian personal finance board game dating back to 1960. It’s manufacturer never trademarked the game’s name but did register it for copyright. When recently another party attempted to trademark a color logo for that same title, the manufacturer filed an opposition. Both the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office and Metropolitan Tribunal have now rejected the trademark opposition claim, finding that the original name lacked visual distinctiveness, nor was it sufficiently familiar to the public.

Though he only narrowly escaped ouster by the organization’s board a week before, and in the process was stripped of much of his real authority, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov promises to again run for FIDE president in 2018.

The president of the Zimbabwe Chess Federation committed suicide, jumping from the 9th floor of a building while under investigation related to his previous positions in the government.

A magnetic Tic-Tac-Toe board sold at Target has been recalled because if two pieces are swallowed they could clamp together “cause intestinal obstructions, perforations, sepsis and death.”

Upper Deck has applied for a U.S. trademark on the name “Splendor” with regard to trading cards. Can anyone think of an existing card game called “Splendor”?

In order to avoid running afoul of any gambling laws, the recently formed Poker Sports League in India does not require contestants to pay any kind of participation or entry fee or wager any money. It does, however, award cash prizes to winners. Meanwhile, the Gujarat High Court is currently in the process of reviewing the status of Poker after an application by the Indian Poker Association, which seeks to halt a government campaign to shut down Poker clubs.

Senior citizens who regularly met at a community center in Richmond, British Columbia were told that their small-stakes wagering on Bridge and Poker (as in about 10¢ a chip) was illegal and would not be allowed to continue. They tried to move their games to the homes of individuals but that hasn’t worked out very well. Also, one of the group, a former police officer, claims that the wagering isn’t illegal as long as the house doesn’t claim a stake.

In Selina, Kansas, a man threatened his Walmart coworkers during an argument over a break-room card game. When he returned to the store 3 days later and threatened them again, they called police, who searched his car and found a handgun.

The robbery at gunpoint of a Jackson, Mississippi dice game resulted in the injury of two players and the death of one of the robbers. A second robber was later arrested, while police are still trying to identify the third.

An argument over a dice game inside a Harker Heights, Texas nightclub led to the shooting deaths of two men. A female suspect identified by eyewitnesses and surveillance video has surrendered to police.

Spin Master is acquiring Marbles, maker and retailer of “brain-building” games, gifts, and gadgets. Marbles has been undergoing bankruptcy proceedings and the purchase, including proprietary and licensed games, warehoused inventory, and the Marbles name and website, has been approved by the bankruptcy court. Spin Master is not acquiring Marbles’ retail operations.

Announcing the acquisition, Spin Master touted the move as a continuation of its growth in the games category. Previous acquisitions included Cardinal Industries and Editrice Giochi.

Crowdfunding Highlights

Scott Almes’ Heroes of Land, Air & Sea is much bigger than the Tiny Epic games he’s designed, but retains the epic-ness. In this 4X boardgame set in a fantasy world, 1-4 players try to take over as much as possible, collecting resources, building structures, and conquering regions. The base game from Gamelyn Games comes with four factions, the 5-6 player expansion comes with four more factions. The base game is a reward for a $79 pledge while a $139 pledge gets you that and the expansion next March. Is it already funded? Each box comes with 80 miniatures: of course it’s already funded.

Are you a fan of the series of games where villagers trying to uncover werewolves in their midst? You’ll want to check out Werewolf Coins by Home Run Games, where roles are stamped onto twenty-eight (base set: more added as stretch goals) different quarter-sized coins, fitting in a synthetic suede pouch. Um. That’s pretty much it. They’ll retail for $30 for the base set, but you can get one as a reward this summer for a $22 pledge to make the product happen. Will it happen? As I type this, they’ve blown past their goal by 2500%.

Dude. Ties. With d20s on them. Do I need to write more? A $15 pledge gets you a d20 tie in red, black, or blue in July. Again, already funded, with about $2500 of the $1000 needed to make this product happen. If Kaleb Mankey gets up to $3000 in backer support, they’ll add yet another color to the line. Unsurprisingly, we’re hoping for purple.

Looking to upgrade those wooden shapes in your games? Meeple Source (a past advertiser on Purple Pawn, although that doesn’t weigh into us highlighting them this week), has painted upgraded wooden tokens and custom-shaped pieces for games such as Camel Up, Pandemic, Colt Express, Above and Below, Catan, Carcassone, and more. Reward levels start with pledges as low as $10 for a single-color set for some games with expected delivery times of October and December of this year.

Registration for the 2017 Connecticut Festival of Indie Games is now open! The festival will be held on June 3, 2017 at the Tabletop Shop in Newington, CT. Tickets are $10, and upon arriving at the event guests will receive $5 in store credit to spend.

Along with registration, CT-FIG has set up a giveaway for the following games:

  • Plus Word by Geek Fever Games
  • Raid & Trade by MAGE Company
  • Captains of Industry by TMG
  • City Hall by TMG

Just head on over ct-fig.com to enter. Prizes will be awarded the day of the event.

CT-FIG is an awesome event. I’ll be there again as a judge for the Figgie awards.

Hope to see you there!

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesGet one pack of TPK Tissues for every $25 ordered from Goodman Games.

Blue Orange Games is giving away Clear for Takeoff.

Evil Hat is giving away one copy of The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game plus all expansions before it hits retail. Twelve people will win other prizes.

Get a free copy of the Wild West Exodus second edition rules when they’re released for posting on social media a photograph with a first edition rulebook.

Select Paizo PDF products are 25% off.

CoolStuffInc is running a Mother’s Day Sale on 183 products.

Dog Might Games is offering a 25% discount to anyone who feels they’ve been shortchanged or let down by someone else’s woodworking Kickstarter project.

Collins Epic Wargames has various Spearpoint 1943 games and expansions on-sale and is also discounting preorders for Polyversal.

In celebration of the company’s fifth anniversary, DramaScape is offering a bundle of its Modern Floor Plans (sold separately for $239) for 75% off.

For 10% off purchases from Precis Intermedia, use coupon code “AJZJ7R8SSM”.

The 20th Anniversary Edition of White Wolf’s Vampire: The Masquerade is currently featured at Bundle of Holding with a deal starting at $14.95. Also at Bundle of Holding (actually returning after a previous engagement) is a deal for 13th Age.

EverythingBoardGames is giving away Gardens of Mars from Big Kid Games and Honshu from Renegade Game Studios.

The prize pack in Casual Game Revolution’s Big Box O’ Games giveaway includes seven games.

A group of reviewers has gotten together also to give away a bunch of games.

The Giveaway Geek is giving away Above and Below from Red Raven Games.

Sahm Reviews is giving away Fantasy Fantasy Football from CSE Games and New York Slice from Bezier Games.

For an extra 20% off in-store clearance purchases from Toys “R” Us, print this coupon.

Amazon deals:

Dunk Hat

Dunk Hat ($20 retail) is Hasbro’s latest entry in to the wacky action game category. It’s basically a portable version of the carnival dunk tank. One person wears the water-filled reservoir on top of their head. When either target is hit with one of the included foam balls, the reservoir tips and spills water down the wearer’s face. In addition to the reservoir and targets, also part of the wearable contraption is a pair of goggles, so no one gets hit in the eye.

Okay, this is strange.

So there’s Shut Up & Sit Down, a games review site that publishes game news, and they’re kind of a big deal. Like, crazy big in the general gaming otherspace that’s not actually involved in designing or publishing games. Over 50,000 people are subscribed to their YouTube channel with several review videos having over 100,000 views.

Now they’ve decided to leverage their brand to launch a quite small gaming convention in “annoyingly beautiful” Vancouver, Canada on October 6th through October 8th of this year. Aiming to sell 740 tickets to a board game convention based in a downtown hotel (The Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown), they’re bringing the Seattle Megagames Society to run a few events over the weekend and a few select publishers (some small people, like Fantasy Flight Games and Plaid Hat Games) to run demo areas. Mainly funded by ticket sales instead of exhibit hall rental space, Shut Up & Sit Down is hoping that the US$150 admission price will help fund this show and lay the groundwork for future SHUX shows.

In particular, they’re using the funds to pay for flights and hotels for SHUX’s special guests. “You would be shocked by how few conventions do this,” SU&SD writes. SU&SD co-founder Paul Dean responded to that thread on their website:

…We constantly get invited to speak at or put on events at other cons, ones with far bigger budgets, without any offers of accommodation or travel assistance or fees for our time/preparation/work. That basically boils down to people saying to us “Please be an attraction we can advertise at our con for free,” while we look at air fares and hotel costs running into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

That sucks and we don’t want to do that to other people.

The mainly UK-based media company said that one of the reasons they chose to debut SHUX in North America is that continent has about 70% of their audience. “The UK is 15% of our audience, and has been from day 1,” was posted on Shut Up & Sit Down’s twitter. “70% of our donors are US and CA. If anything, it was the USA that gave us our start.”

Crowdfunding Highlights

Cam Banks’ Magic Vacuum Design Studio has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Cortex Prime, the newest version of the Cortex Plus system. Cam was the lead designer and developer of the Cortex Plus system, which was used in the Smallville, Leverage, Firefly, and Marvel Heroic Roleplaying games. Two different books are offered, a 152+ page roleplaying game, and a basic system reference guidebook. A $10 pledge gets you pdf versions of both books in January while physical copies begin at $25, arriving in April of 2018, with a hardcover Cortex Prime book only available during this campaign starting at $35.

Posthuman Studios has announced a second edition of Eclipse Phase, launching a funding campaign last week. The science fiction roleplaying game is set in a quite advanced future: your mind can inhabit different bodies, death is something that can be easily avoided, and need is alleviated. However, transhumanity has fled Earth following a war against artificial intelligences, dispersing thoughout the solar system (and beyond) for survival. The new edition features faster character creation and resleeving (switching from body to body), an updated ruleset for quicker and simpler play at the table, and a redesigned layout to minimize flipping through the book to find relevant rules. Already funded, a $60 pledge gets you a copy of the physical book around October; a pdf-only reward is available down at a $20 pledge.

The story of Brass is a long and troubled tale, but finally Brass is being reprinted in an updated version from Roxley Games. Brass, now titled Brass: Lancashire, is part of a funding campaign that also is producing a sequel game, Brass: Birmingham. Both games have updated artwork (the best art I’ve seen in any edition of Brass, frankly). Lancashire features updated 2- and 3-player rules to “provide an experience more consistent with [the 4-player gameplay]”. Birmingham has a dynamic board setup with new canal and rail scoring (plus an evocative nightscape map). Crazily over-funded and with several upgrade stretch goals already unlocked, you can get either one of the games for about $60 or both as a reward for backing at the $100 level. (Funding levels are in CAD.) Final versions of the games are expected in January of 2018.

Back when I was heading up a rather large monthly game day event, it seemed that every third attendee was a budding game designer. Gameplaywright and Atlas Games are creating a great product for these designers: The White Box. This project comes with components for prototyping and development, a book of essays about how to make games, and a gift certificate for The Game Crafter, a small press board game printer that is commonly used for prototyping. A $30 pledge gets you a copy of The White Box in October. Higher level pledges get you a consultation on your game design.

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.

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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.

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