Wits & Wagers Epic Geek Edition

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.

North Star GamesNorth Star Games’ flagship title is getting a new edition, one designed specifically to honor the geeks that helped drive the game’s early success. The company’s Dominic Crapuchettes explained it this way:

The BoardGameGeek community enthusiastically embraced Wits & Wagers from the start, and for this I feel a deep sense of gratitude.  It was because of their fanatical support that Wits & Wagers snowballed into a breakout hit.  It has now won more awards than any party game in history and sold over a million copies!  So we’re celebrating the 10 year anniversary with a version designed specifically for our biggest supporters: Geeks!  This version is the be-all, end-all edition of the game.  It has over-the-top components, stunning art, and unique in-game powers that create a new layer of interactive fun.

I visited North Star Thursday to get the lowdown on this new Wits & Wagers Epic Geek Edition. The game is distinguished from original Wits & Wagers in three ways.

First, Epic Geek comes with an entirely new set of questions, every one of which is focused on a major geek brand or topic—Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Marvel superheros, and more. The idea is that the questions will cover things that are not only geek favorites but also are now well-known enough in the general culture for geeks to be able to share the game with their family and friends.

Second, the player boards, on which individuals or teams write their answers, have received a major upgrade. Epic Geek player boards are both larger (8×5 inches) and decorated with original work from famous geek artists such as Boris Vallejo and John Kovalic. The board art and associated betting tokens have each player representing one of six genres: fantasy, science-fiction, vampires, parody, superheros, or zombies.

Third, the genre each player represents confers a unique thematic power. The superhero player, for example, is able to move another player’s betting token to the correct answer, and in return for helping the downtrodden is awarded a bonus token by the figurative town mayor. The fantasy player has the power of dragon flame. Once per game, they can burn down another player’s wager, removing all their betting chips from the board. The parody player is the “wizard of odds” and can switch any two payout ratios.

Mockup Box for Wits & Wagers Epic Geek Edition

North Star is planning to have the game in time for Gen Con 2016 (actually the company’s 11th anniversary and apparently a reference to This Is Spinal Tap) but in the meantime will be running a Kickstarter project to fund some very cool enhancements. As an exclusive for Kickstarter backers, there will be a series of Epic Geek cards with questions and answers provided by designers, including Alan Moon, James Ernest, Andy Looney, and others—one personal question each and one question about the person’s favorite geek subject. Among the stretch goals planned are:

  • A seventh player board, most likely representing either a cartoon or monster genre.
  • Specialized question packs—seven cards, each with two questions about science, music, or extra geeky topics like Firefly or Dr. Who. (These’ll be grouped in to “Super Geeky” and “Ludicrously Geeky” packs.)
  • A collection of cards with every question from every edition, plus a larger box so all of it can be stored together.
  • Miniatures (a dragon, a vampire, a zombie, etc.) to help ID the genre being represented by each player.

North Star Games’ goal with the Wits & Wagers Epic Geek Edition Kickstarter project is to raise $100,000. The project is scheduled to launch this Sunday, the 8th Wednesday, the 11th. However, North Star is also soliciting fan input regarding genres, topics, and potential questions via a GeekList on BoardGameGeek. There are even cash prizes for participating.

North Star Games is a Purple Pawn advertiser.

UPDATE: Revised launch date for the Kickstarter project.

Kickstarter Preview—Boogie Dice

This preview is a long time coming, mostly because the package containing the prototype die had gotten lost in the mail! I finally received the die, in perfect condition thankfully, thanks to some helpful contractors working at the house it was actually delivered to!

The die is really cool. It doesn’t just roll by itself. It lights up, and can be programmed for different games by using generated tones. The game that came with my die, Bots Battleground, uses the die in a pretty cool way. The die dictates how a round plays out by using color, and timing it’s own rolls. The game not only relies on how well you play your cards, but your careful monitoring of the die and your timing.

I have to admit that if this was just a self rolling die I wouldn’t be too impressed. The ability of the die to change color, and be programmable, put into the “very cool” category.

As of this post the Kickstarter project has 7 days to go, but it fully funded. Put in your pledge, and you’ll be guaranteed some dice depeding on your pledge level. $22 will make sure you get a die, charger, and all of the stretch goals.

I can’t wait to see the finished product, and what kind of games are made to take advantage of the dice.

A prototype Boogie Die, along with a copy of Battle Bots, were provided free for preview by Saar Shai.

Hasbro Gaming LabHasbro Gaming Lab has selected the five finalists in its search for the next big face-to-face party game. More than 500 entries were submitted to the competition launched in August and the chosen games, now soliciting funds on Indiegogo, are:

Warning! Signs—Which has players coming up with funny explanations for difficult-to-interpret pictographs.

Irresponsibility: The Mr. Toast Card Game—In which players get points by playing cards that allow Mr. Toast to have fun but lose points when others play cards that burden Mr. Toast with typical life responsibilities.

Hexes!!—An action game for adults. That means for example, play a particular card on someone and force them to sing everything they want to say or be out of the game.

Sunk!—Which combines an action game with a physics/dexterity thing. Players on their turns pour drops of water in to a floating cup and hope it doesn’t sink.

Touchy Feely—Also an action game but played in the dark. Cards with action challenges (like standing on one’s head) are passed around while the lights are still on. Then someone flips the switch and everyone has to complete their actions in a way they’ll be able to prove when the lights come back.

Star Wars RebellionApparently no longer limited by its license to roleplaying and miniatures, Fantasy Flight Games has revealed plans for its first straight-up Star Wars board game. Star Wars: Rebellion, set during the period of the original movie trilogy, incorporates both military and political conflict. It also embraces asymmetrical gameplay. The Imperial player benefits from a stronger military with a goal of locating and rooting out rebel forces. The Rebel player needs to focus on more strategic military targets while building public support for full-scale revolt.

Star Wars: Rebellion is scheduled for release in the first quarter of next year at a retail price of $100. The game is supposed to accommodate 2-4 players and take 3-4 hours.

Star Wars Rebellion Setup

7th SeaThe 7th Sea roleplaying game will be returning at the hand of one of its original designers. Alderac Entertainment Group announced the sale of the game property to John Wick, who’s company, John Wick Presents, will produce a new version of the game on an unspecified timetable.

According to the announcement, the deal also allows AEG to “publish a number of products within that line over the next few years.” I suspect these would be board and card games tied to the 7th Sea setting, though apparently the specifics are still under negotiation.

Sentinels of the Multiverse AppJust launched is Sword Coast Legends, a Dungeons & Dragons video RPG available for PS4 consoles and PC or Mac via Steam. Based on D&D’s 5th Edition rules and set in the Forgotten Realms, Sword Coast Legends features a Dungeon Master Mode, which allows a user to not only create new adventures but also to adjust them in real time in response to player actions.

The Exodus: Proxima Centauri Companion app (iOS) will calculate costs for working through the technology tree, plot fleet movement, and roll dice. Not yet but soon, it’ll provide a victory point calculation tool as well.

Another new companion app available on iOS devices substitutes for the Crossroads deck in Plaid Hat Games’ Dead of Winter. The app, though, forces the players to decide on which actions to take without the benefit of advance knowledge of the results.

A recent update to Sentinels of the Multiverse for iOS adds support for online cross-platform multiplayer games. There’s also now a free learn-to-play edition of the game (with limited content, of course) available for both iOS and Android.

Monopoly and Yahtzee join Catch Phrase as Hasbro games playable via Chromecast.

Family Fun Board Games’ The Postal Game is now available to download for PC or Mac, as an online browser game, for iOS, and for Android.

The City expansion for Talisman: Digital Edition adds a new region, six characters, 82 city cards, and three alternative ending cards.

Another classic, Titan, previously available for iOS, is now also available for Android.

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesFrom November 27th to December 23rd, McDonald’s Happy Meals will include one of eight Pokémon figures (either Pikachu, Primal Groudon, Primal Kyogre, Lugia, Rayquaza, Mega Latios, Wobbuffet, or the new Mythical Pokémon Hoopa) and one of twelve Pokémon TCG cards. Customers will also be able to get the Hoopa for their Nintendo 3DS game by logging in to McDonald’s wifi.

Lone Wolf Development’s Hero Lab Sale covers products for Pathfinder, Shadowrun, and Mutants & Masterminds for up to 50% off.

For 20% off all games from HasbroToyShop.com use coupon code “GAMES20”.

Use this coupon when spending $75 or more in-store during November to get a $10 Toys “R” Us gift card valid during December. Or play The Geoffrey Shuffle mobile app game for an entry in to the Geoffrey’s Awesome Christmas Sweepstakes and a chance to win either a $2,000 Toys “R” Us shopping spree or a 5-day Beaches Resorts family vacation.

Most products in Triple Ace Games’ Halloween Sale are 30% off.

Bundle of Tentacles +3 from Bundle of Holding includes the Cthulhu Live! LARP and various Call of Cthulhu adventures for a starting price of $9. The bonus collection, available at a price payments of (currently) $20.50 or more, includes adds World War Cthulhu from Cubicle 7 and other stuff.

Bundle of Holding is also running an Essoterrorists deal with a Player’s Collection for $9 and a Gamemaster’s Collection currently at $17.

Toy Vault gives away stuff every Tuesday on Twitter.

Amazon deals:

Use coupon code “SchleyCoast” for 15% Mike Schley’s maps and prints.

Rogue Genius Games PDF products are 51% off at Paizo.

To celebrate the company’s 3rd anniversary, Ennead Games has discounted everything 30%.

Preorders from Stronghold Games go for 30% off MSRP. Preorders are currently being accepted for 504, New Dawn, Stronghold 2nd Edition, and more.

Get free shipping of Terminator miniatures from River Horse with coupon code “Icanshowyoutheworld” and orders over £50 in the UK or £80 internationally.

A number of Backgammon tournaments offer $1,000 bonus prizes to winners who are also members of the U.S. Backgammon Federation.

In anticipation of removing Ticket to Ride Europe Pocket soon from iTunes (to be replaced by something unnamed), Ticket to Ride Pocket (the U.S. map version) is currently free.

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesWhen a 19 year-old man man brandishing two knives burst in to a library Chess class for kids and threatened to kill everyone, instructor James Vernon first tried to talk him down. However, as one of the mothers started escorting the children out, the man lunged and stabbed Vernon in the hand. It was then that the 75 year-old’s basic army training from 50 years ago took over. He flipped the attacker over on to a table and subdued him until police arrived. None of the children were injured.

The body of a 22 year-old murder victim was dressed in a blue track-suit by his mother and propped up to play Dominoes at his own wake. The bizarre scene (pictured below) took place at the mother’s bar (also the location of his murder) in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico.

Playing Dominoes at His Own Wake

National news outlets made a big deal of a dice game shooting that left one dead and three injured on the campus of Tennessee State University. Other incidents of dice game violence that did not get such attention took place in Memphis, Nashville, Austin, and Wellston, Missouri. A dispute over a dice game also turned in to a deadly shooting in Pretoria, South Africa.

According to witnesses, police in Heingang, India attempted to break up a dice game by firing in to the crowd. Two people were injured.

Parents in Spenge, Germany attempted to paint a Mensch ärgere Dich nicht game board (similar to Ludo or Pachisi) on the playground of a local school. When they started running out of space, they kind-of twisted the board to make it fit. Neighbors noticed and called the police. Why? Because the reconfigured board looked like a Nazi swastika, which it is against-the-law to display in Germany.

A final ruling has been issued on the English Bridge Union’s request to have their favorite card game declared a sport, and the answer by the British court was no.

Some guy lost his $60,000 collection of Magic: The Gathering cards at New York Comic Con. The cards were found by a teenager, who considered keeping and selling them, but instead decided to find and return them to their rightful owner. This he accomplished by posting news of his find to Reddit. No crime involved at all—I just thought it nice to have a good news story here on the Blotter!

Newlyweds Nick and Aggie in Hutton, U.K. stashed £1,500 of gift vouchers in a Pictureka! board game box for safekeeping. [I think you know where this is going…] The problem was it didn’t take them long to forget about the vouchers and donate the game to a local charity shop. From there the game was picked up by a teacher and brought back to the Brentwood County High School for her students. The students discovered the vouchers and with a bit of modern detective work that included social media were eventually able to return them to their rightful owners.

Found in Helena, Montana, Poker chips and a Backgammon set. If they’re yours, contact the Helena Police Department, who have recovered them for safekeeping.

A teenager in Chosica, Peru was rushed to the hospital by her family for convulsions, foaming at the mouth, and calling to the devil. She claims she was possessed by the devil after playing with a Ouija board mobile phone app.

Having been found guilty of violating FIDE’s Code of Ethics, Garry Kasparov and Ignatius Leong were banned from holding any office in the organization for 2 years.

The Malaysian Chess Federation has postponed its “annual general meeting” for at least a year. Activist Peter Long laments the Federation’s many failures to promote Chess, while still requiring that members pay their membership fees.

Veteran Chess grandmaster Nigel Davies was so fed up with infighting at the English Chess Federation that he’s defected to play for Wales.

The U.S. Backgammon Federation declined to establish formal rules for decorum at tournaments.

Hasbro’s response to the lawsuit recently filed by FOX News anchor Harris Faulkner basically says that no one would reasonably connect the company’s toy to Ms. Faulkner, despite them sharing a name, because one is a human being and the other a toy hamster.

Five men from Saginaw, Michigan are facing up to five years in prison on illegal gambling charges for playing dice outside a home on the south side. They were caught by a special police detail funded by the Safe Neighborhoods Project of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Two men were given tickets for illegal gambling while playing Dominoes in Putnam Triangle in Brooklyn. According to the men ticketed, police had tried to break up the game earlier but backed off when the men asserted they weren’t doing anything wrong. Then when one gave the other some money to go to the nearby bodega, seven officers surrounded them and issued the summonses.

A witness in the murder trial of Badri Khvedelidze in Tralee, Ireland, testified in court that the victim and alleged perpetrator had gotten in to an argument over a game of Backgammon.

The accused murderers of teenager Becky Watts in Bristol, U.K. told the court they were playing Simpsons Monopoly on the evening of her death.

About to hit retail are new 6¼ inch tall DC HeroClix figures with 3 inch bases—Batman (two versions), Superman (two versions), and the Joker. Clearly intended by WizKids and NECA more as collectors’ items than game pieces, Extreme HeroClix will be exclusive to Toys “R” Us and the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment eBay store, where they’re being paired with DC Comics DVDs for $30.

Batman Extreme HeroClix

Syrinscape Zombie SoundsA new bundle of creepy soundsets is being offered by Syrinscape just in time for the holiday. The Halloween Survival SoundPack ($20, a 16 percent discount off the sets sold separately) includes:

  • Abandoned Lunatic Asylum
  • Deserted Desert House
  • Mad Scientist’s Laboratory
  • Zombie Apocalypse
  • Quasi-Organic Vessel
  • Swarm Attack

With Syrinscape’s interface, you can program and mix the sounds of zombies eating, victims screaming, flamethrowers, creaking doors, psychotics laughs, insect swarms, and dozens of other elements. Consider it for your special Halloween game night or even just as background to greet trick-or-treaters.

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