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.

Second Look—Giant

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.6 giants roam the land, and it’s up to you to bring them down.

Giant is a card drafting game where players use tokens to draft troops and try to take down giants. Each giant is a large cardboard stand up with punch out circles representing parts of their bodies, and overall health. Tokens come in 3 forms: gold, magic, and weapon. Gold is used to draft troops, magic is used to fuel wizards’ attacks, and weapon tokens are used for warriors to fight. Players earn punch tokens for taking out giant parts, and when a giant is killed the loot is divided up based on how many punch tokens a player has. Players need to be careful, though, as if their token numbers equal 7 or above they lose a troop to the battle.

pic2221932_mdThe game is simple to learn, and a blast to play. The giants themselves are great pieces to have on the table. Players work together to take them down, but you always have your best interest at heart which makes for a very tense game at times. The giants scale in difficulty, so while it seems a bit too easy at first you’ll soon be struggling to field troops with enough power to take down the latter giants.

In the end my kids and I have a great time with this one. I hadn’t heard of it until I saw a post about how the designer was looking for reviews,. Giant is a fantastic little game that could have completely passed me by. The game was recently fully funded on Kickstarter, and I’m glad for it! This is one that definitely should be in a gamer’s collection, especially if they have kids.

A copy of Giant was provided free for review by Joe Magic Games.

Supreme Court of IndiaThe Supreme Court of India is set to consider the question of what differentiates a game from a puzzle or toy. That issue is the subject of a petition filed by toy company, Funskool India, in appeal of a finding by the Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT).

In India, games are subject to a 16 percent import duty, while toys and puzzles may be imported duty-free.

The decision by assessing officers that Snakes & Ladders, Monopoly, and Upwords are games has been conceded by Funskool. The company, however, contests the status of 18 other products, including Travel Ludo, Travel Chess & Draughts, Travel Snakes & Ladders, and Junior Monopoly. These, Funskool says, are designed to be played with by children.

[via The Economic Times]

Lagoon: Land of Druids

3HG1013 Hares Games has just released Lagoon: Land of Druids, a game about forging the destiny of a new world. Players use their druids to take control of the three energies of the world and try to sway sites around the world to those energies. The energy type with the most sites around the world becomes the new world destiny, and players who are aligned with that energy emerge victorious.

Lagoon is for 1-4 players, plays in an hour, and costs $35.

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesTime to Play Magazine is giving away games from Spin Master: Shark Mania and Moustache Smash.

Playdek’s Halloween Sale includes Nightfall, Lords of Waterdeep, and Ascension—iOS and Android versions—33% to 66% off.

DriveThruRPG’s Halloween sale has 561 items at 33% off.

Precis Intermedia is also offering Halloween discounts, directly on the company’s website.

Calliope Games is holding a pumpkin carving contest. Game-themed carvings have an advantage, though the prizes haven’t been specified yet.

Housewife on a Mission is giving away Pictopia: Disney Edition from Wonder Forge.

EverythingBoardGames is giving away Made in the USA: The Game.

And then there’s SportAccord’s mind games photo contest. The best photographs of Chess, Bridge, Go, Xiangqi, or Draughts uploaded to Instagram will win prizes that include a tablet, watch, and $100 gift card.


Score Board - Boardgame tournaments, competitions and championships results and scoresChess

First place at the Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan was shared by the rising young star and established older veteran pair, Fabiano Caruana and Boris Gelfand. During one game of the tournament, Caruana was aided by an equipment failure. His opponent, Sergey Karjakin, lost 15 minutes of time when taking a break in the rest room he failed to notice that the monitor did not update for Caruana’s move.

The World Junior Chess Championship in Pune, India finished with 19 year-old Lu Shanglei of China at the head of the open section. Four players went in to the final round with 9 points but only Shanglei won his final game. The girls’ section was clinched a round earlier by Aleksandra Goryachkina of Russia. As a result of their wins, both qualify for positions in the 2015 World Cup, part of the World Championship Cycle.

Magic: The Gathering

While variety was the predominant story for most of Grand Prix Los Angeles, in the end it was California local Daniel Scheid’s traditional red green monster deck that propelled him to the top.

At Grand Prix Stockholm, veteran competitor Matej Zatlkaj of Slovakia claimed the trophy with a Jeskai deck.

Settlers of Catan

Sander Stroom of Estonia won the Catan World Championship.

DICETINY: The Lord of the Dice

DICETINY is a Digital Tabletop Board Game with RPG & Card Collecting elements where Epic Fantasy and Humorous Parodies coexist.”

That pretty much sums up the game. A board game that benefits from being digital, players will choose one of 4 heroes and roll dice, collect cards, and work together to fight monsters and bring peace to the world. Quests are randomly generated, cards have a collectable aspect to them, and the game has a wonderful 2D-style artistic feel.

The campaign has 14 days left to go, and it’s about halfway funded. A $15 pledge will get you the game when it’s released, and the rewards just keep getting better as you increase your pledge.

Edible Chocolate Board Games

Playing Scrabble and stuck with a “Q” tile but no “U”? If you were playing with the Gamesformotion version, all you’d have to do is eat it. That’s because Scrabble is one of the company’s new chocolate board games.

Under license from Hasbro, Gamesformotion is also producing versions of Monopoly, Candy Land, Clue, and Battleship with cards, tokens, and other game pieces made from “the finest Belgian milk chocolate.”

Chocolate games will be available in Target, CVS, Meijer, and other retail stores for $10 starting in November.

Candyland Chocolate Edition

Chocolate Monopoly

The Official Scrabble Players DictionaryJust 2 months since its release, the new fifth edition of The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary is coming under fire for omissions, inconsistencies, and spelling mistakes.

The problem appears to have originated with communications between the North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA) and Merriam-Webster. NASPA maintains the Official Tournament and Club Word List (OTCWL), which is used in judging tournament games in the United States and Canada. Merriam-Webster publishes The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary for casual use, removing from the OTCWL trademarked terms and words deemed offensive. NASPA’s Dictionary Committee expected Merriam-Webster to exercise editorial oversight of the draft word lists that it sent to the publisher. However that step may have been skipped.

As a result, the Dictionary includes “disrepects” and “disrepecting” but not “sez” or “xed”, which are part of the OTCWL. Other problems have been cataloged by the Seattle Scrabble Club.

With questions about the quality of these word lists, perhaps the bigger problem is availability for reference and research. Hasbro has claimed copyright to the OTCWL and restricted access to NASPA members.

[via FiveThirtyEight]

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesPatch Products is giving away 10 copies of Stratego via Facebook.

TOR is giving away three copies of the Mistborn Adventure Game and Alloy of Law setting supplement.

The Once & Future Podcast is giving away 10 autographed copies of the Battlestar Galactica RPG.

Ares Magazine is running a game design contest open only to women. The prize is $100, or $1,000 if the game is published in the magazine.

Stockpile—A Kickstarter Preview

Stockpile LogoStock market games have a reputation for being, well, boring. And though I couldn’t say that Stockpile—which has players buying and selling stock certificates with the goal of accumulating the greatest net worth—is a laugh-out-loud kind of experience, I am quite comfortable recommending it as a very interesting and engaging strategy game.

First of all, Stockpile really is easy to learn. The game proceeds in rounds of buying and selling. Buying takes place in a combined auction of various bundles—primarily stock certificates, but also trading fees and the occasional bonus action—assembled by the players themselves. Selling takes place in normal round-the-table turn order, each player having the opportunity to sell any number of stocks at the current market price.

Second, buying and selling are both spiced up with a bit of hidden information. At the beginning of every round, each of the players is dealt a set of company and forecast cards, which are later used after the selling phase (at the end of the round) to adjust market prices. In between, as the players add certificates from the draw pile to the stockpiles for auction, each places one face-up and one face-down.

Simple mechanics with a twist of secret knowledge makes for some interesting choices and results in some tense moments, in both the auction and selling phases. For example, the selling phase can see runs develop on a particular stock when one player sells it and the others suspect insider information.

As company stock values move up and down in the market, they may occasionally split, go bankrupt, or pay dividends. Relatively easy to track, these thematic details further enhance the sense of market volatility without appreciably adding to the complexity of the game.

Overall, while no real-time zombie game, Stockpile does a great job of finding fun in the world of finance.

A game of Stockpile takes about an hour and handles up to five players (in fact, it probably works better with the full complement of five, which is how I played it each time). The Kickstarter project was launched today by Nauvoo Games with a goal of $25,000 and an estimated delivery date of July 2015.

A prototype copy of Stockpile was provided free for review by Nauvoo Games.

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