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.

Gen Con 2014—Mayfair Games

Gen Con logoUnder the watchful eyes of Bob & Angus, in a demo area thronged by ribbon-seekers, Mayfair Games gave me the lowdown on a variety of recent and upcoming releases.

Beadpans & Broomsticks, which shipped in June ($35), puts most of the players in the role of old folks trying to escape a retirement home. One player, though, runs the nurses, who try to stop them. Each retiree player gets two tokens, one for the actual patient and one as a decoy.

Villainy (at retail for $50 later this month) is a supers game where the players are up-and-coming bad guys. Starting with petty crimes like putting a kitten in a tree, and working their way up to bigger, nastier plans, such as decaffeinating the world’s coffee, players build skills and recruit henchmen with the ultimate goal of defeating Fantastaman.

Johari is a push-your-luck, set-collection game about buying and selling gems. Counterfeit gems are part of the mix, though players try hard not to get caught selling them.

Catan Collector’s Edition Ancient Egypt (November, $70) builds on Settlers of Catan (obviously) but incorporates the Nile river running through the board. Resources in the game are cattle, papyrus, and stone. With them players collectively build the Great Pyramid. And ten god cards work similarly to the Helpers of Catan scenario, each providing a unique ability to the player who holds it.

Among the games Mayfair has planned for release in 2015 are Extra Extra and Flea Market. The former has players running competing newspapers. They build stories (with a card drafting mechanism), sell adds, and do layout. Somewhere in that mix there’s also supposed to be worker placement and a lot of player interaction. The latter is a quick, silly dice game that has players collecting artifacts, sometimes from the center market and sometimes taking them away from other players.

Participating in Mayfair’s booth was Lookout Games, with whom Mayfair has a distribution arrangement in the United States. Lookout’s Gold Ahoy is a two-player tile-laying game, where the winner is the player with the most gems in a network of connected tunnels. Patchwork is a game about quilting that uses pentomino or Tetris-like pieces with 9×9 player boards. Players try to fill their boards by collecting pieces. Each piece, though, has a time value and a button value. Buttons are victory points but quilting time is limited.

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Red Dragon Inn Two New Allies expansions.

BB09-color_final_2SlugFest Games has just announced two new expansions for Red Dragon Inn that will be available in stores in a few weeks.

Ozrik the Adept:

“The Red Dragon Inn: Allies – Ozrik the Adept expands the party at the Red Dragon Inn with a brand new elementalist who is a master of manipulating his abilities. Many of Ozrik’s cards have more powerful effects if you discard other cards from your hand. Carefully managing your hand to build these powerful combos will be the key to victory in any tavern brawl!”

Brother Bastian:

“The Red Dragon Inn: Allies – Brother Bastian expands the party at the Red Dragon Inn with a brand new character! Bastian brings powerful prayer cards with him, giving him great flexibility. Making sacrifices throughout the game so you can use your prayers at the perfect moment will lead you to victory!”

Each new Ally contains:

  • 40 Card Character Deck
  • 1 Player Mat
  • 12 Gold Coin Tokens
  • 1 Alcohol Marker
  • 1 Fortitude Marker

The Brother Bastian pack also includes 12 Prayer Tokens.

Each expansion will be $15.

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesAfter all the hype and controversy, the election for FIDE president wasn’t even a close one. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov defeated Garry Kasparov by a vote of 110 to 61.

A member of Guyana’s Chess team was denied a visa to attend the World Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway because his name and birth date were on an international terrorist watch list. The Russian women’s Chess team was allowed to register for the Olympiad even though it had missed the deadline. The team may have intentionally delayed registering in order to allow one prominent player to transfer from Ukraine. Two players who made it to the tournament did not make it home. One, from Uzbekistan, was found dead in his hotel room. The other, a member of the Seychelles team, collapsed during a game and was pronounced dead at the hospital. A Zambian Chess official believes that his team’s improved performance at the World Chess Olympiad is partially due to the higher price of beer in Norway.

After an unsuccessful challenge by a competitor, Choon’s Design’s patent for Rainbow Loom has been upheld.

Certain boxes of unlicensed charms for Loom bands have been removed from store shelves after testing positive for phthalates.

So far, Magnus Carlsen has refused to sign a contract for the Chess World Championship (re)match against Viswanathan Anand. The series is scheduled to take place in November in Sochi, Russia but Carlsen’s manager wants to have the event pushed back to 2015. Anand, however, did sign the contract. Not that we expect this situation to persist. Nevertheless, if Carlsen continues to refuse, eventually Sergey Karjakin would take his place.

[I love this headline...] “Athens Cop Encounters Suspected Dice Game“—Though the people the police officer thought were playing dice gathered up all the evidence before he was able to confirm his suspicions, he was able to arrest one of them on trespassing charges.

The National Chess Federation of the Philippines has refused to release GM Wesley So, who would prefer to transfer his FIDE registration to the United States. So is currently a student at Webster University in Missouri and ranked 14th in world by FIDE. Without the transfer of registration, So will be excluded from FIDE tournaments for 2 years.

Some time ago, DaVinci Editrice sued Ziko Games, claiming that the latter’s Legends of the Three Kingdoms game copies DaVinci’s Bang. In a recent ruling on the case, a federal District Court judge has refused to grant DaVinci’s request for a preliminary injunction and has also dismissed the company’s claim of unfair competition and unjust enrichment under Texas state law. The judge, for now however, did uphold DaVinci’s claim of copyright infringement, finding that though game mechanics can not be copyrighted, there were enough similarities between the characters in both games for the case to go to trial.

A pair of teachers idled by a labor dispute in Vancouver, Canada launched a board game project on Kickstarter as a political statement. In Christy’s World, players move their pawns around a map of British Columbia collecting unpopularity points for closing schools and privatizing industry.

A day after a man and a woman in Las Vegas argued over a dice game, the woman allegedly returned to the man’s apartment and killed him. The woman was later arrested in Utah and is awaiting extradition.

Two men in Buffalo were on their way to seek revenge for a dice game argument earlier in the evening when they were attacked in their car and killed first.

A man in Erie, Pennsylvania told police that he was gambling on dice at 4:00 AM on a Sunday morning, when another player, who the original article describes as a “disgruntled opponent“, hit him on the head with a gun.

The CEO of Hasbro, Brian Goldner, was diagnosed with prostate cancer but plans to stay on in the position. Sylvia Hassenfeld, the matriarch of the family that founded Hasbro, a philanthropist, and a leader of international social aide organizations, died August 16th at the age of 93.

In Rockford, Illinois, a man pled guilty and was sentenced to 13 years in prison for shooting his opponent in a game of Dominoes. The two had gotten in to a fist-fight but the other man was getting in to his car to leave when the first man shot him.

Scientific Games’s new Yahtzee slot machine is the first online casino game based on a Hasbro-licensed game property.

Police in Detroit say that the shooting of a teen and two men (one of whom was killed) was the outcome of an argument during a dice game.

A man in Plainfield, New Jersey is being held on $1 million bail after being arrested for allegedly killing someone that he was playing dice with.

A man in Malaysia collapsed and died watching a game of Mahjong.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesTo celebrate 5 years in business, Avalon Games has temporarily discounted all its products to $1.00.

Troll in the Corner is giving away two copies of Zombie: Shambling and Hungry.

The Cardboard Jungle Podcast is giving away Sheriff of Nottingham.


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

The winner of the U.S. National Scrabble Championship was amazingly not Nigel Richards. Rather it was Conrad Bassett-Bouchard of Portland, Oregon who finished with a record of 22-9 and a point spread of +812.

Two tournaments took place as part of the Colombo Scrabble Festival in Sri Lanka. The winner of the Open International Scrabble Championship was Nigel Richards (with 19.5 wins and a positive spread of 2299), while the winner of the World Youth Scrabble Championship was Jack Durand of the UK.


Magnus Carlsen claimed both titles at the FIDE World Rapid & Blitz Chess Championship in Dubai, meaning he now wears all three world championship crowns. In the Rapid tournament, Carlsen finished with 11.0/15, just ahead of Caruana at 10.5. Also at 10.5 but trailing on tie-breakers were, in order, Viswanathan Anand, Levon Aronian, and Alexander Morozevich. In the Blitz tournament, Carlsen led with 17.0, while Ian Nepomniachtchi and Hikaru Nakamura tied for second with 16.0.

The World Open tournament in Arlington, Virginia finished with three people tied for first place: Ilya Smirin of Israel, Ilia Nyzhnyk of Ukraine, and Conrad Holt of the United States. Actually, that was down from last year, when 11 tied for first. Each of the three claimed prizes of $9,891. Smirin earned an extra $254 for beating Nyzhnyk in a tiebreak game.

In the open section of the World Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway, China claimed the gold medal with 19 match points, Hungary the silver with 17 points, and India the bronze also with 17 points. In the women’s section, the winner of the gold medal was the Russian team (20 points), while the silver went to China (18 points), and the bronze to Ukraine (18 points).

FIDE has announced the schedule for the Grand-Prix 2014-2015 series and issued invitations to 11 players and three alternates. Tournaments will take place in Baku, Azerbaijan October 1-15; Tashkent, Uzbekistan October 20-November 3; Tehran, Iran February 14-28; and Moscow, Russia May 13-27. The top two players in the series will qualify for the Candidates Tournament, which leads to the World Chess Championship.


The Open European Mahjong Championship in Strasbourg, France was dominated by Japanese players, who claimed four of the top five spots. First place went to Yoshihiro Suzuki of Japan, second place to Michael Zahradnik of Germany, and third to Kazutoshi Miyake of Japan. The highest result for a Chinese player was 30th place.


Yitien Chan’s trophy at the World Amateur Go Championship represents the first time on top of that event for Chinese Taipei.

The winner, on tie-breaking points, of the Toto Cup International Junior Go Championship was Nishimura Ryotaro of Japan. The runner-up was Ren Yihua of China.

Hong Seok-ui, formerly of Korea but now a resident of Japan, successfully defended his title in the Japanese Amateur Meijin tournament for the third straight year. He also won the Amateur Honinbo tournament for the second year.


Freddy Loko of the Democratic Republic on Congo is the new African Draughts Champion.


Taking home the trophy at the World Backgammon Championship in Monte Carlo was Akiko Yazawa of Japan.

The winner of the inaugural U.S. Backgammon Federation Masters Divisional tournament is Peer Toftsoe.


Charlie Worrall, age 10, won the Top Trumps Schools Tournament in London and is the first girl to have done so. In fact, this year, five of the 12 contestants in the Grand Final were girls. Charlie won on a Kylie Minogue Pop Stars card.

At the Ticket to Ride North American Championship, Kenneth Heilfron won seven straight games to claim the top position. Both he and runner-up, Scott Scribner, move on to the World Championships in Paris.

A world record for toppling mini-dominoes was achieved in Büdingen, Germany. The chain of 2,000 was set up on one table. Halfway through, the table was bumped (or someone breathed too hard) and the whole setup had to be started over.

New Rubik’s Cube world records were established for:

  • 3×3 blindfolded (average)—28.43 seconds by Kaijun Lin at the Guangzhou Wushan Open
  • 3×3 blindfolded (single)—23.68 seconds by Marcin Zalewski at the SLS Chorzow
  • 3×3 one-handed 12.56 (average)—12.56 seconds by Antoine Cantin at the Toronto Open
  • 4×4 Cube 24.33 (single)—24.33 seconds by Sebastian Weyer—and 3×3 fewest moves (average)—25.00 by Sébastien Auroux—at the Velbert Easter Open

Colombo Scrabble FestivalAt the Sri Lanka Open International Scrabble Championship, 9-year old Hasham Hadi Khan of Pakistan scored a world record 878-point single game of Scrabble. His opponent in the game, Matheesha De Silva of Sri Lanka, scored 151.

Hasham’s feat included at least four bingos: “sheriat”, “retsina”, “headers”, and “gruntles” (the last also a triple-word-score).

[via The Express Tribune]

Tardis Run

tardisrunThe joke has already been made about how this 3D printed Doctor Who game is bigger on the inside, so I’ll refrain from making it again.

Tardis Run is a Doctor Who board game that comes wrapped in a Tardis. The iconic time travel device unfolds to create the board on which 2 players will play. One player takes control of a team of 4 of the Doctor’s incarnations, of which there are 12 to choose from. The other player plays a team of 4 classic villains. There are 11 to choose from here, including a Dalek, a Cyberman, a Silurian, a Silence, and a Weeping Angel.

The game is described as a cross between Backgammon, Parcheesi, and Senet. Players take turns rolling paddles and trying to move their pieces around the board and to the exit.

You can purchase the game pre-printed from designer Joseph Larson’s Etsy shop for $35, or you can snag the plans from YouMagine if you have your own 3D printer.

The whole concept of the game folding up into a Tardis is enough to get me on board, but I’m actually interested to see how it plays out.

[via c|net]

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesIn honor of the 10th anniversary of the game’s fourth edition, GURPS products are 23% off at Steve Jackson Games’ Warehouse 23 online store.

For 25% off Smart Play Games products at DriveThruCards, use coupon code, “SP2014GC“.

To promote the company’s Kickstarter project, Necromancer Games is running one of those Rafflecopter giveaways. The prizes are $400, $200, and $100 worth of product.

GameWire is giving away one or more play mats for Machi Koro.

Every month, Meeple Monthly gives away five copies of a game. This month the game is Fresco (Big Box) from Queen Games. Entering, however, does require answering trivia questions out of the magazine.

A series of Dungeons & Dragons Legend of Drizzt audio short stories is available to download for free.

Hasbro logoHasbro, which recently initiated a program that allows fans to sell 3D-printed My Little Pony designs via Shapeways, is now expanding that program, called SuperFanArt, to three game brands: Dungeons & Dragons, Monopoly, and Scrabble.

Independent artists will have to sign a SuperFanArt (Hasbro) Artist Agreement but can set their own prices.

To be featured in the launch of the new game brands, artists should submit their designs by September 9th.

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