Grand Prix International

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.


Board Game Stamps

Singapore Post recently issued a set of stamps featuring traditional board games: Chinese Chess, Diamond Game, Aeroplane Chess, Snakes & Ladders, and Checkers.

SingPost Traditional Board Game Stamps

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesGames Workshop is giving away—though an $85 minimum purchase is required—three prize bundles that each include paints and other supplies, terrain, and $3,300 worth of miniatures (winner’s choice).

Everything Board Games is giving away Star Wars Rebellion from Fantasy Flight Games, Blend Off from Thunderworks Games, and two copies of World’s Fair 1893 from Renegade Game Studios.

The Giveaway Geek is giving away Aether Captains from Mage Company and two copies of The Foreign King from Giochix. Also Blood Rage from Minos Games and Codenames from Czech Games Edition, separately but in a single giveaway.

Amazon has Z-Man Games’ The Swarm for 70% off and Skyline 3000 for 89% off.

Eagle Games’ Tracks & Trains Sale features everything rail-related at 25-50% off.

Get every book of the 1990s Castle Falkenstein steampunk RPG for about $20 in the latest Bundle of Holding.

Educational Insights’ games are 20% off at Toys “R” Us.

Use coupon code “MAYRESTOCK” for $5 off Mayday Games’ recently restocked Viceroy, Meteor, and Dead Man’s Draw.

For May, Osprey Publishing is discounting Men-at-Arms and Elite series books 20%.

Fantasy Flight Games’ Anima RPG will be withdrawn from DriveThruRPG on May 16th but until then can be purchased for 30% off.

WizKids is partnering with Star Trek Online to give away prizes that include a Starter Set, Borg Cube, and Weapon Zero for Star Trek: Attack Wing.

Miguel Zavala has offered up for free 300 fantasy miniature models for 3D printing.

Kickstarter Preview—Tak

Tak

I hesitated for a while to write up Tak. Given the few games I’ve played, I’ve clearly just scratched the surface. But then again, that’s what I already enjoy about the game. With such simple rules, there’s so much to explore. Tak is one of those abstract games that manages a lot of challenging play in a very uncomplicated package.

I’ve also never read the novel from which the game is derived, The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. And yet, perhaps even more than the interesting game play, it’s the imagined history and culture of Tak that has me so engaged.

The game works like this… On your turn you either place a piece (called a “stone”) on an empty square—standing up or laying flat—or you move a single stack of stones already on the board in a straight line, dropping some from the bottom of the stack in every space along the way. Generally, you can’t place a stone on top of a standing stone, that is, unless you do so with the special capstone piece to flatten it. Winning is accomplished by connecting any two board edges with a contiguous line of flat stones, and that is called a “road”.

Tak players of antiquity played with hand-carved pieces of various shapes and sizes. Some were just wooden squares or rounded stones; some were intricately decorated. Standard colors, shapes, and sizes for the pieces vary from time to time and place to place. Travelers typically played 5×5, using simple wooden pieces and an improvised board (or no board at all). Court players typically played the larger 6×6 game. Capstones could be highly specialized, and Tak players often carry their own personalized capstone, even if they don’t carry a whole set.

…So the instructions go, interspersing rules with brief lessons on the game’s archaeology, etiquette, unique terminology, and varying styles of play—short but one of the most enjoyable board game rule books I’ve ever read.

Cheapass Games’ Kickstarter project for Tak has just 10 days to go but is already funded 10 times over. Backers have options for different stone sets, beautiful wood boards, and a book with more on the game’s fictional history.

CT FIG – Small Cave Games

CT FIGSmall Cave Games was showing off three games at CT FIG, two of which I had a chance to play at the show.

The first game I played, GATUCA, is a DNA dice-building combat game. Players roll dice, match up their results to items they wish to buy on their boards, and resolve those actions. There’s combat actions, defensive actions, and actions that let you purchase, alter, or reroll your dice. By the end of the game each player is rolling massive amounts of dice and trying to break through their opponent’s defenses.

Next was This is Just a Test, a game about stockpiling resources with a cold-war era theme. It’s sort of a worker placement, resource management game where you need to make sure you get the best stuff, hoard it, and hope you’re prepared for one of three outcomes: nothing happening, the dropping of the bomb, or a Russian invasion. Each turn event cards are played that can either further along the maturity of your items, or end the game immediately depending on the draw. It’s tense, with a lot of tough choices.

The last game at the table, Ophidian Wars, is a card battle game that’s already making some waves over at The Game Crafter. It’s a game of sci-fi gladiatorial combat that uses a unique flow mechanic. As long as you play positive (+) cards you can continue to act. As soon as you play a negative (-) card, the control of the game now moves to the opponent. The 69 card deck contains everything two players need to play the game, or each player can customize their decks with multiple copies of the game. I took a copy of this home to review, so I’ll have more to say on this later.

Overall a really strong looking line up!

 

PAX East 2016 – Super Hazard Quest

paxeast2There’s a lot of 8-bit inspired board and cards games out there right now, and Super Hazard Quest knows that. What they’re hoping to do is provide you with a play experience that actually feels like and old 8-bit video games. Players will explore explore randomly generated dungeons where they’ll have to complete the right actions to move through the rooms and reach checkpoints. Can’t do it? Back to the start with you. Of course there’ll be enemies along the way. Bosses to. Oh, and the other players.

The SHQ team currently has a Kickstarter campaign going with 15 days left. The game is already funded, so now they’re working on stretch goals. A $25 pledge will get you a copy of the game, while higher levels will get you expansions, and even a prototype of the game right now.

I briefly had a change to see the game at PAX, and got a bit better look at CT FIG. I’ll be interested to really give the game a good sit down and play to see what it’s like with a group. I’m a sucker for the style. Let’s hope I’m a sucker for the gameplay, too.

CT FIG – Elements by Rampage Games

CT FIGRampage Games was one of the first booths I sat down at during CT FIG, and their game Elements was my first play of the day. I actually sat down to play while they were counting down the end of their successful Kickstarter campaign, so this is a game we’ll hopefully be seeing available to sale soon.

Elements is a card game where you’re trying to use base elements to create an object. Each object is worth points, and the more complicated it is to make, the more points it’s worth.

Elements

Each turn a player will draw a card, roll the dice, choose one of the actions available based on their rolls, and work on laying cards down to build their item. There’s also gems that can be earned that will count as an element, can be combined to become a more complex element, or even give bonuses to completed items.

Elements was really quick to learn, fairly light, and very entertaining. It’s minimal design works well, and there’s plenty of opportunities to mess with other players, so it never feels like you’re playing a game of solitaire while racing to see who wins first. It’s a game I’ll be adding to my shelf, as I think it’s one I could get a lot of play in with the kids.

Rampage was also showing off a bunch of their Game Crafter produced games: Aurora, Iron Horses, Woodland, and Adrift. I didn’t get a chance to play any, but got the rundown on each of the four. Out of all of them, Aurora really caught my eye. It’s a game about building a star system to support intelligent life. I’ll have that one in for review soon, so I’ll see if lives up to my expectations!

 

CT FIG – Guardians Of AsunDur by DPH Studioz

CT FIGWith a beautiful design, and excellent cooperative gameplay, it’s no wonder Guardians of AsunDur was a runner-up for CT FIG‘s Best in Show award. While still unpublished, the game shows great promise, and is already playable and enjoyable.

In Guardians Of AsunDur players take control of six angels working together to restore Virtue in a world that’s being corrupted by Vice. All six angels are always in play, no matter the amount of players (the game handles 1-6 players). This means that angels are as evenly distributed as possible between all players. Players choose the order in which angels are activated at the start of the game, then move around the board trying to construct Light Strongholds in the spaces. If the players get to 7 points before the forces of Vice do, they win.

goe_setupOf course it’s not that simple. Dark Entities can enter the board through card draws, pushing the dark score up each time by the amount of previous Entities on the board. Also, each turn there’s a Vice stage where more corruption enters the board, and can spill over into other spaces a la Pandemic’s Outbreak mechanic. Thankfully each angel also has a special ability they can use once per turn. Actually, let me correct myself. Guardians uses an interesting mechanic where only another player in the same space as an angel can ask to use it’s special power. The player controlling that angel can’t activate their own. This really forces the players to interact, plan their moves, and work together towards victory.

Unfortunately when I played we lost, not paying attention to Dark Entities entering the board until it was too late.

I’m really looking forward to more games of Guardians of AsunDur, and I’m interested to see which publisher is going to pick it up. It was originally picked up by Game Salute under the name Feather and Flame, but the design is now back in the hands of Darrin Horbal, the game’s designer.

 

ft_thieves

Days of Wonder has just announced The Thieves of Naquala, a mini-expansion for the excellent Five Tribes. The expansion contains 6 Thieve Cards and 1 new Djinn Card. Thieves work similarly to Djinns, but are less powerful.

The expansion should be on shelves in June, and will retail for around $6. You can check out the rules for the expansion here.

 

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesMeeple Source has put a number of products on clearance, including Camo Meeples for 60% off, Giant Meeples for 20% off, Saxon Meeples for 60% off, and Meeple Earrings for 20% off.

For 6 days starting tomorrow, Gypsy Knights Games’ PDF products will be 35% off.

The News Wheel is giving away Monza and Crash Cup Karambolage from HABA.

Get a free gift with purchase direct from Set Enterprises when using promo code “FREE16”.

Bundle of Holding’s latest is for the dystopian superhero RPG, Brave New World.

Sahm Reviews is giving away 10 Down from CSE Games.

Cool Stuff Inc. is running a Mother’s Day Sale.

Diversions Puzzles & GamesThe city of Dunsmuir, California (population 1,500) has a new board game cafe called The Wheel House.

Columbus, Ohio is getting one this summer. Tabletop Game Cafe will specialize in Argentinian empanadas so gamers can play with one hand while eating with the other.

Recently opened Elm City Games in New Haven, Connecticut shares space coffee shop, The Happiness Lab.

The Game Chateau in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania opened in March a stone’s throw from I-81 and therefore a convenient rest stop on my next drive to Central New York. Brother-sister owners Chris Moore and Elle Hammond settled on the cafe concept while investigating the challenging economics of hobby game retail.

An Exeter, U.K. brother-sister pair had a pop-up over one weekend last month but were forced to close it for lack of financing. Now with funding through Kickstarter, they’ve been able to reopen their cafe, simply called “Board“, just a block down the road.

Card Table Republic, recently opened in Davison, Michigan, is a board game lounge, meaning it’s a pay-for-play-space with a 500 game lending library.

Ludorati Cafe in Nottingham, U.K. went for a sophisticated, modern style and hopes to become a tourist attraction.

Diversions Puzzles & Games shop of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is adding a second location, in South Portland, Maine.

Younger’s Turkish Cafe in Hull, U.K. has received permission to stay open until 4:00 AM so that it can host Dominoes and card games.

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