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.


On display by Games Workshop at New York Toy Fair were two new board games representing an effort by the company to provide a fresh point of entry for “the hobby”. The games, which feature less violent language and imagery and somewhat simplified rules, are being promoted to specialty toy retailers and mid-tier mass-market sellers as a way to expose new players to Games Workshop’s most popular IPs.

Both are planned for release later this year at a price point of around $40-50.

Blitz Bowl is the no-death version of Blood Bowl. It’s still a fantasy, full-contact version of American football, just with less blood and players being “taken out” instead of killed. The concept behind this version is monsters playing a scrimmage game while trying out for the main team.

Blitz Bowl’s rules are streamlined from the original (it’s supposed to play in about 40 minutes). Also, in addition to scoring touchdown’s for the win, completing certain objectives randomly selected each game (for example, three monsters making run actions) unlocks various benefits for the team.

Space Marine Adventures: Labyrinth of the Necrons is a Warhammer 40,000 dungeon crawl with a squad of marines drawn from those troops’ various chapters. The game is cooperative and scenario-based, the first of which is a tutorial and the last of which is a “massive labyrinth adventure” that can be adjusted for difficulty level. Each player gets a plastic space marine figure but the enemy necrons are represented by cardboard tokens.

Inside both game boxes, as alternatives to the standard rule books, are series of cards with instructions that work like game tutorials.

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Following up on its recent launch of the adjustable Beyblade Burst Switchstrike line, Hasbro revealed at New York Toy Fair this week remote control Beys, a multilevel stadium, and the most powerful launcher yet, all to be released in the fall.

Beyblade Burst Digital Control Kits feature Bluetooth-connected tops that allow players to speed-boost their Beyblades mid-battle, switch spin-direction left or right, and initiate an Avatar Attack accompanied by flashing lights. Included in each kit are a Command Launcher, a Battle Platform, and one remote control Beyblade Burst Top (either Valtryek V3 or Fafnir F3) for $40.

The Beyblade Burst Evolution Switchstrike Battle Tower is a two-level battle stadium for two players on one side and a two-level stadium for four players flipped to the other side. For $50 retail, the tower comes with two tops and two launchers.

And for a 50 percent improvement in launch speeds, there’s the Beyblade Burst Xcalius Sword Launcher. It’s part of the Beyblade Burst Evolution Xcalius Set ($20), as is a right-spin Xcalius X3.

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After reporting in its recent financial results an 8 percent revenue growth for the overall gaming category in 2017, Hasbro on Friday said that Dungeons & Dragons sales were up 80 percent. That performance made 2017 the best year for D&D ever.

A new agreement with Paramount will have Hasbro participating to a greater degree in funding its movie franchises but will also provide more reliable release dates. The Dungeons & Dragons movie is scheduled to hit theaters in 2021.

Star Wars revenue was down in 2017 but Hasbro remains positive about the license, saying the decrease represents a transition to more consistent sales, rather than surges tied to individual movie releases. One of the new Star Wars products that the company is planning for this year is a Furreal Friends Chewbaca.

Citing data from NPD,  Hasbro claimed 13 of the top 20 face-to-face games in G10 markets, with Monopoly the number one overall games property.

Online retail accounts for 20 percent of the company’s toy and game sales.

Magic: The Gathering had the best year on record of new player growth.

Hasbro is launching HasLab to “put the power of innovation in the hands of fans.” Actually, HasLab is a crowdfunding platform for premium products not suitable for normal retail channels. The first campaign is for a toy model of Jabba the Hut’s sail barge in the scale of the company’s Star wars Vintage Collection. That makes it over 4 feet long! Five thousand backers at $500 each are required to go to production.

A new Dungeons & Dragons mobile game, Warriors of Waterdeep, is in development by Ludia.

Wizards of the Coast is working on other projects besides just Magic and D&D. The Hasbro subsidiary is developing a Transformers TCG and an Axis & Allies and Zombies board game.

Digital listening is driving development in Hasbro’s gaming category, whether games based on online trends or games designed for online sharing. The company has even put together a “quick strike team” for rapid development and speed to market with social listening.

Hasbro also has weather-targeted games marketing, running additional ads when its raining.

Hasbro sees location-based experiences as a key growth opportunity. This includes live shows, hotels, cruises, and family entertainment centers. Coming soon from Marriott are My Little Pony and Transformers hotels in Shanghai.

The company will launch on Earth Day a partnership with Terracycle to recycle toys and games.

WOTC will soon launch a Magic: The Gathering companion app called Portal, which in addition to a rules reference and life-tracker, will feature a matchmaker of sorts to connect players with new people for face-to-face home games. Netmarble is developing a mobile-to-mobile MtG app.

Hasbro has snagged the master toy license for Power Rangers. Products will begin arriving on shelves in 2019.

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Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesFor a limited time, every print order direct from Goodman Games gets a free vintage copy of Dragon Magazine.

Renegade Game Studios is giving away Byzanz.

Blue Orange Games is giving away a package of Kingdomino and Queendomino. And Board Game Revolution is doing the same.

Use coupon code “rain18” to get Paizo’s Rainy Day Discount of 10% on a single order.

Through the end of the month, $600 of LPJ Design Pathfinder products are available in one 95% off bundle ($30) at DriveThruRPG.

For the relaunch of Button Men, arriving at retail this month, Cheapass Games is giving away multiple copies through an online quiz that matches participants with the game’s criminal masterminds.

Orders placed today from HasbroToyShop ship free with promo code “LOVE2018”.

Also today (ending midnight MST), save 30% on card sleeves from Mayday Games with discount code “chinesenewyear30”.

In recognition of February holidays, Skirmisher Publishing has bundled, at a 90% discount, RPG ebooks representing Valentine’s Day, Black History Month, Chinese New Year, and Presidents Day.

A Traveller: The New Era bundle is available at Bundle of Holding. Just $26 gets you everything.

Alone in the Jungle, Flying Pig Games’ solitaire expansion for ’65 Squad-Level Combat in Vietnam, is 30% off, direct from the company through today.

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Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesMongoose has a major Traveller sale under way at DriveThruRPG. Discounts are 33-80% off.

Gypsy Knights Games is also running a sale on Traveller material, to celebrate the company’s seventh birthday.

Another sale running at DriveThruRPG is the BAMFsies Sale, celebrating superhero titles.

Superheroes are also featured in Bundle of Holding’s Heroes Unlimited offer from Palladium Books, while another offer at the site features Ulisses Spiele’s English-language translation, The Dark Eye.

Victory Point Games is selling everything at 10% off (except for Darkest Night products) in celebration of Valentine’s Day.

Giveaways:

At Amazon, Starship Merchants from Toy Vault is 71% off and Bloodsuckers from Fireside Games is 59% off.

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Inspired by the success of Happy Salmon, a 2018 TOTY Game of the Year finalist, North Star Games is launching two more in what the company is now calling the Happy Planet Games line.

Tying together the line is a focus on light-hearted, high-energy fun. And really cute game pouches!

Funky Chicken follows its precursor with four new moves: spinning, hip-bumping, swinging, and arm-flapping. I played it one day down at the North Star office (on the condition there would be no pictures) and I can tell you it’s just as silly.

Monster Match is a fast-play game where players race to find illustrated monsters matching the features rolled on two dice (for example, 5 eyes or 3 legs). Improving on the standard grabbing game, this one allows slower players to be more competitive by limiting the field of cards to smaller batches and having a Zilch token for when there are no matches.

Both Funky Chicken and Monster Match will play up to six and are expected to retail for $18.

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Today marks 10 years since Yehuda Berlinger posted the first article on Purple Pawn, a brief story about board games mentioned in the Sally Forth comic strip. I hope in that time that you’ve felt informed and entertained. We’ve tried our best to make a positive contribution. With 8,370 articles published so far!

Purple Pawn presents a unique voice in the game field, covering all types of tabletop games—board games, card games, collectibles, roleplaying games, war games, miniatures, and more. Games with modern movie tie-ins and traditional games played by generations. Games for the dedicated hobbyist, as well as the casual gamer.

Of course we report news of product releases but we also work hard to document the business side of the game industry, provide tips to the game consumer, and highlight the significant role that games play in culture and society.

Purple Pawn would not exist if not for the vision and guidance of its founder, Yehuda Berlinger. Thank you, Yehuda, for letting me keep it going when you decided to move on to other game-related endeavors!

Thank you also to our various contributors over the years: Ben Clark, Thomas Deeny, K.C. Lee, Lory Gilpatric, Phil Kilcrease, Randy Snyder, Richard Bliss, Josh Street, Rob Kalajian, Sam Mercer, and Tracy Tang! In the early days it was Yehuda as the snarky commentator, Josh as the fanboy, and me as the straight-man. Ben provided an amazing inside look at the business side of games with the Paper Money podcast. Sam gave us some cool graphics. Rob—who, other than Yehuda and I, was with Purple Pawn the longest—was of tremendous support to me personally, did a wonderful job of covering the independent publishers, and also solved many technical problems behind the scenes. Thomas, who is still with Purple Pawn, has an amazing knack for identifying the hot trends and controversies.

And of course, thank you to our readers!

As I reported before, board and card games have been known to cause seizures. But are board games also a factor in physical injuries?

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the answer is yes. Based on reports to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), there were an estimated 28,000 game-related hospital emergency room visits between 2012-2016. Another 38,000 visits were specifically associated with marbles.

About half the patients were children under 10 years of age. And in approximately 10 percent of cases, the patients were admitted following initial treatment.

The most common types of injuries involved:

  • Infants and toddlers swallowing game pieces.
  • Stepping or slipping on game pieces left on the floor.
  • Dealing playing cards or rolling dice that end up hitting people in the eye.
  • Wrist sprains from slapping cards down on the table.
  • Games that fall off the shelf and hit people in the head.
  • Dizziness and back pain from sitting too long.
  • Numbness, bursitis, or pain in the arms, neck, and shoulders from long hours of playing and dealing cards.
  • Falling off one’s chair.

However, some of the more unusual reports include:

  • “11 year old female slipped on a playing card and slid down 20 stairs on butt”
  • “2 year old female with a plastic bone in nose from the game Operation”
  • “3 year old female was choking; swallowed one of the little plastic balls that the Hippos eat”
  • “8 year old male fell onto Jenga game blocks and hit his mouth; there was damage to hardwood floor”
  • “16 year old female; patient was home playing <REDACTED>; hit nose onto boyfriend’s knee; diagnosis nasal trauma with [nose bleed]”
  • “Foreign body pubic region; 36 year old male embedded domino in penis ‘to please the ladies'”
  • “45 year old white female at home having rough sex and playing naked <REDACTED>; partner’s knee hit patient’s elbow; diagnosis elbow dislocation”
  • “42 year old male, 1 year ago carved down piece of domino, incised penis, inserted domino piece into penis; now wants it removed”
  • “42 year old male hit in head with Jenga block playing and now has closed head injury”
  • “19 year old male complaining of shoulder pain after doing extreme motions playing Charades at home tonight; diagnosis dislocation right shoulder”
  • “51 year old male with abrasions to scrotum; notes was sitting down playing cards for hours”
  • “32 year old male playing a game and jumped up hitting light fixture to head; diagnosis lacerated scalp”
  • “13 year old female was dancing on a table when she slipped on a board game and fell and injured her right foot”

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Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesWielding a screwdriver, a robber in Osaka Prefecture, Japan stole $450,000 of Shogi game pieces from a manufacturer’s exhibit space. The man threatened an employee with the screwdriver, tied them up, and smashed the glass display cases. Forty sets of Shogi pieces were taken, some made of expensive boxwood.

Lucasfilm and Ren Ventures are in court arguing over trademark rights for the word “SABACC” in relation to card games. SABACC was supposedly the card game that Han Solo and Lando Calrissian were playing when Han won the Millennium Falcon. But that was just an imaginary game from Star Wars. Ren later produced a card game app with the same name and registered the trademark in Europe. Neither has a registered trademark in the United States.

In Bathurst, Australia, a man was arrested by police for threatening to bash a woman’s car with a mattock unless she agreed to return his board game or pay him $60.

In December, we were hopeful that the selection of Saudi Arabia as hosts for the World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships represented a diplomatic milestone between the Kingdom and the State of Israel. Unfortunately, while Saudi Arabia did grant visas to players from Iran and Qatar (with whom the country also lacks diplomatic relations), they refused to permit players from Israel to attend. Even more disappointing, though, is the complicity of FIDE [PDF], which refused to stand up for the principles it claims to represent. Instead, the organization was satisfied with changing the name of the event to the King Salman, Peace and Friendship tournament and the promise that things would be better next year.

Organizers of the next World Chess Championship (November 11-30 in London) revealed a logo for the event that’s being called vulgar and inappropriate. World Chess says that the controversy was intentional, a way to shake up the staid world of Chess.

After discovering that a Magic: The Gathering tournament judge had been convicted of a sex crime, Wizards of the Coast has instituted a new policy requiring background checks. The requirement applies to all personnel who interact with the public on behalf of Wizards Play Network stores and tournament organizers.

Herrick Productions is suing Mattel, claiming that the toy maker stole their idea for a reality TV show. Herrick claims that it proposed a show called Playmakers, in which people submit their toy and game inventions to a panel of judges and the winner would be produced and sold by Mattel. The company did not go with Playmakers but did launch The Toy Box with a similar concept—the panel of judges in this case being children.

In the case of Shlasinger and Gerardi vs. Yarrington and Myriad Games over a failed Staten Island game shop, a federal court jury found breach of contract by the defendant [PDF] but awarded the plaintiff zero dollars in damages.

Arbiters at a Chess tournament in Spain searched an amateur participant playing above his rating and found an electronic device that looked kind-of like a television remote control. As a result, the player was ejected from the competition.

The World Cube Association has decided to outlaw all Rubik’s Cubes with logos from blindfolded solving attempts. The organization received complaints about logos on overlay stickers influencing the results of recent world record solves of 4×4 and 5×5 puzzles. Though the WCA ruled that those specific results would stand, it made the change going forward.

A doctor in Heilongjiang Province, China was fired after she was caught on video playing Mahjong on her phone while at the same time operating a CT scanner.

Police in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia arrested 46 people at an illegal Mahjong parlor where gambling was taking place.

Police in Cebu City, Philippines arrested five for operating an illegal gambling den that hosted Mahjong and Poker.

A Mahjong parlor employee was arrested in Tokyo for accosting a regular customer in the elevator and attempting to rob the elderly woman of her bag. The assailant ran away empty-handed when the woman resisted but later admitted to the crime.

In Singapore, police arrested a man for throwing things out the 16th floor window of his apartment building, including a Mahjong table that landed on a playground.

Northumbria police are asking for the public’s help in finding the person who assaulted a man playing Dominoes inside a Houghton-le-Spring, UK social club.

A Cicero, Illinois man is in custody for allegedly shooting his girlfriend 11 times during a game of Dominoes.

Shootings associated with dice games took place in Atlanta and Newnan, Georgia; Beaumont, Texas; Memphis, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; St. Louis, Missouri; and South Bend and Indianapolis, Indiana. In Glendale, Wisconsin, a man was beat up at a dice game. In Gary, Indiana, a man is wanted by police for sexually assaulting a woman after a dice game.

Four youths were playing dice and gambling in the basement lounge of a Cleveland recreation center when a gun in the pocket of a 13 year old accidentally went off. No one was injured and everyone in the room left the scene before police arrived. On surveillance video, though, police noticed that another person in the room also was carrying a gun.

When accused of trying to use counterfeit $20 bills to buy lottery tickets, a man in Fort Wayne, Indiana said that he had just picked them up as winnings in a dice game.

An elementary school teacher and Chess coach in Flagstaff, Arizona was arrested on suspicion of sexual conduct with a minor. A second charge of child molestation was later added.

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Retail Games

Major League Baseball player Hunter Pence and cohost of AMC’s Comic Book Men Ming Chen opened a coffee shop and board game venue in Houston this past week. Coral Sword also has a private booth for recording podcasts and gaming sessions.

Breakfast cereal and board games are the specialties of Tiny Rick’s in Liverpool, U.K. Along with board games, the restaurant serves cereals from around the world, mixes specialty cereal cocktails, and offers a variety of other breakfast foods, such as toast and Pop Tarts.

Eve’s Coffee Shop in Thiruvananthapuram, India is a board game cafe where the board games are free. Also featured at the shop is an extensive book library and adult coloring books.

After following his new wife to the U.K., Ryan, originally from Canada, decided to open the board game cafe he’d been dreaming about for years. His shop, Hexagon, is the first such venue in Taunton.

Ticket to Play is opening shortly in Salem, Oregon. Food will be served but with evening hours only, the space is primarily for playing games.

Undergoing bankruptcy proceedings, Toys “R” Us is shuttering 182 of its stores in the United States and another 25 stores in the United Kingdom.

BC Comix is consolidating three separate locations in to one larger retail space in Genoa Township, Michigan. The new space will also allow them to host bigger game events.

House of Cards is opening a second location in Cloverdale, British Columbia. The owners plan to hold Magic: The Gathering events every day in the new space.

The owners of Bonus Round Game Cafe, opening soon in the Lakeview area of Chicago, do not intend the space as a service to established gamers but rather as a place that’ll introduce the fun of board games to new people. Wi-fi will not be available.

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