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.

NFL Electric Football

As the football season approaches, a new licensing agreement with the National Football League has Tudor Games now producing NFL Electric Football and NFL Team Action Figure sets.

NFL Electric Football

While the basic concept of Electric Football—a vibrating field that moves miniature figures (hopefully) toward the goal—hasn’t changed since the game was first released in 1947, new features for 2014 aim to provide players a greater level of control. Invisibase Cleats are translucent bases that are available in speed and strength versions, and can be switched out to fit the play being run. SpeedTurf Fields replace the noisy metal surfaces of the past with something more natural looking (or at least more artificial-turf like). And PlayAction Remote Controls provide for selection of variable speeds.

Invisibase Cleats for Electric Football

The battery-operated NFL Electric Football game is available in three field sizes at suggested retail prices of $60-$130. NFL Electric Football Action Figures are available in 11-player sets at $12 for each team’s home and away uniforms.

Potions Class

E541B99E-179C-11E4-9740-92310A4FC2F7Phantom Nimbus Games has just announced Potions Class over on The Game Crafter. The game uses dice in a press-your-luck mechanic that has you trying to complete potions in class before the other players do. You can play it safe, or try to push yourself harder with the chance of everything falling apart.

Potions Class is $19.99, plays 2-6 players in under 60 minutes, and has a pretty cool artistic vibe. In traditional Game Crafter fashion, the rules are freely available to download.

Seal of the President of the United StatesThe Protocol Gift Unit of the U.S. Department of State tracks gifts received by executive branch employees from foreign sources. Looking at the data for 2009-2012, The Washington Post published its ranking of the best and worst gifts received by President Barack Obama, and wouldn’t you know it, a few games showed up on the list.

But of course, I couldn’t leave it there. So, below for your inspection is a full list of all game related gifts received by all employees 2002-2012.

A study of the list reveals that Jalal Talbani, current President of Iraq, and the Sultan of Brunei are particularly fond of giving games. The most commonly gifted game object by anyone is a Chess set, though the Sultan has also gifted Shut-the-Box by Front Porch Classics, Forgotten English: Knowledge Cards, and Horse Race Derby: An Action Marble Game.


  • Handcrafted painted game table—President Obama from the Sultan of Brunei
  • Chess set—unnamed employee of the CIA from unnamed donor


  • 10″ x 10″ Chinese checkers plate and 15″ x 15″ glass plate with game board painted on it—President Obama from the Sultan of Brunei
  • “Witcher 2″ playing cards, and 5 wooden die in black sack with “Witcher 2″ emblem—President Obama from the Prime Minister of Poland
  • Lacquered folding chess/checkers board with backgammon, filled with carved wood pieces. The board is dark wood, roughly a square, but with decorative rounded edges, closed by brass clasps—White House staff member, Michael McFaul from the President of Kyrgystan
  • Large decorative Chess set—Director of the CIA, Leon Panetta from unnamed donor
  • Burlwood and satinwood hingedtop chess set—Deputy Director of the CIA, Michael J. Morell from unnamed donor


  • 16″ × 16″ walnut chessboard with walnut and sterling silver chess pieces, presented in a wooden presentation box—President Obama from the President of Armenia, 2010
  • Wooden folding chess/checkers set with carved details, presented in a black nylon carrying bag—White House staff member, James Jones from the President of Iraq
  • 32 piece hand-made porcelain chess set—Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates from the Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan


  • 14″ x 14″ Bauhaus chess set, with a lightly-colored wood board and pieces carved into the shape of their allowed movements on the board, contained in a carrying box with sliding top, designed by Josef Hartwig—President Obama from the Head of Protocol of Thuringia, Germany
  • Fiorentina Italian leather backgammon set, presented in a 17″ × 9″ presentation box—President Obama from the Sultan of Brunei


  • Wood chess set game box, stamped inside ‘‘KURDISTANSANANDAJ’’, being a hinged box, the outside convex walls with incarved rosettes and foliage, encompassing inset of 2-tone marquetry chess playing board, the box opening to disclose veneer work and game board plus dice plus wood playing pieces for chess and checkers, 21¼″ square, in custom-made zippered green nylon carrying bag—Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates from the President of Iraq
  • Wooden Chess set game box, interior marked ‘‘Kurdastan-Sanandaj’’, marquetry of multiple types of wood, having ridge lined playing board for Chess/Checkers, outside edge of incarved rosettes/ leaves, 21½″ square, plus
    turned wood playing pieces, in green nylon zippered carrying bag—Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense, Mary Beth Long from the President of Iraq
  • Wooden Chess Set #077 BC#992504—light wood stained dark including high relief carving of rosettes and leaves on sides, plus polished marquetry playing board, opening to disclose light color and dark-stained playing
    pieces for chess and backgammon/checkers; in zippered cusom fitted green nylon bag—Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates from the President of Iraq


  • Wood Chess Set, Assorted Treats in a Wood Box—Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld from the President of Iraq
  • Onyx chess set on onyx board—Assistant Secretary of Defense, Paul McHale from the Secretary of the Navy of Mexico
  • Three Chess sets with chessmen, each side of different color, board of various inlaid and carved woods, 211⁄8″ x 21″, exterior and interior of board inlaid—three unnamed employees of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence from an unnamed donor


  • Game: Shut-the-Box by Front Porch Classics—President Bush from the Sultan of Brunei
  • Collectable: 12″ x 12″ silver and dark wood chess set with silver and gold-tone pieces—President Bush from the Prime Minister of Egypt
  • Chess Set in wooden case w/inlaid wood design of man and woman—Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers from the President of Iraq
  • Chess Board, Onyx 20″ x 20″, 7⁄8″ Thick. Of The Brazil Origin, It Is Black And White—Secretary of Energy, Samuel Bodman from the Minister of Mines and Energy of Brazil


  • Two games: ‘‘Forgotten English: Knowledge Cards” and ‘‘Horse Race Derby: An Action Marble Game”—President Bush from the Sultan of Brunei
  • 20″ x 20″ multicolored wood chess set containing pieces carved in traditional Mongolian designs—President Bush from the President of Mongolia
  • Chess Set—Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz from Secretary General of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan


  • ‘‘The Tribal Heritage Collection’’ Chess set with 14½″ x 14½″ wooden board set on lid of box containing 32 ceramic chess pieces—President Bush from the President of South Africa
  • Silver Enameled Chess Set and a Chess Board—Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz from the Deputy Prime Minister of India
  • Chess set, Russian, wood box with hinged lid being a playing board with squares of light and dark amber chunks set in clear resin, surrounded by border of dark amber resin, with inset wood numbers 1–8 and letters a–h, 31⁄4″h x 161⁄2″w, box interior containing amber playing pieces including 4 horse heads, rest as turned round bottles/jars/urns—Secretary of Energy, Spencer Abraham from the Minister of Energy of Russia


  • Tooled leather chest board in Kyrgyz design, with a leather carrier. Wooden chess pieces depict the epic ‘‘Manas,’’ with dark-stained hats on one side and clear varnish hats on the opposition. Measures 18″ by 18″—Vice President Cheney from the President of Kyrgyzstan
  • Chess set, tooled leather case, camel bone chessmen, 20th/21st century—Secretary of State Colin Powell from the President of Kyrgyzstan
  • Silver plated and partial gilt chess set and board, modern. D of board: 20 inches. H of chessmen: 31⁄2 inches—unnamed employee of the Central Intelligence Agency from an unnamed donor

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesFor a chance to win a $500 (Canadian) game shopping spree, post a photo with a Lion Rampant-distributed game on the company’s Facebook page.

Newbie DM and Gator Games are giving away a Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook. Obsidian Portal is giving away five Starter Sets and a Player’s Handbook.

Queen of Savings is giving away Deluxe Super Scrabble from Winning Moves.

Some Amazon deals:

XCOM: The Board Game

box-XCOM-rightAw, yeah. This is what I’m talking about! Fantasy Flight has announced XCOM: The Board Game. Based off the widely popular reboot of the XCOM video game franchise, the game will have you taking care of an alien threat to earth by wiping out aliens, controlling worldwide panic, and researching new technologies to further mankind’s survival.

One interesting thing to note is that the game will require a digital companion app, or use of an online tool, to play the game.

The game will include:

  • 1 Game board
  • 16 XCOM soldiers
  • 8 Interceptors
  • 24 UFOs
  • 5 Custom dice
  • More than 200 cards and tokens

XCOM will play 1-4 players in around 1-2 hours. When it arrives late this year it’ll be $59,95. Fantasy Flight will be running demos of the game during Gen Con.

James Cook in Always Be RollingThrough August 23rd, comedian James Cook performs a board game themed stand-up routine at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Titled, “Always Be Rolling,” Cook’s show is participatory. Audience members join in a live game of Hungry Hungry Hippos, where they play the hippos (gobbling marshmallows instead of marbles)!

Cook has also set up a game to be played around Edinburgh during the festival. He’s hidden iconic game pieces for people to find at 10 sites in the city. At his show, audience members get a copy of the game’s rules, as well as a badge to wear, proclaiming their participation.

James Cook performs daily at 1 PM at The Laughing Horse at Bar 50. The show is free.

[via Coventry Telegraph]

7 Wonders: Babel


Despite an unexpected delay of more than a few months, 7 Wonders: Babel is still a much sought after expansion of the draft-based card game. Serving as the 4th installment of seven planned ones, 7 Wonders: Babel would not include any new wonder boards, but would inject two new elements, namely laws and taxes, into the base game and its previous expansions.

With the introduction of taxes, players need to be obedient to avoid being punished. At the start of each age, a law card is revealed to indicate the card color that would be taxed in the age, with tokens equal to the number of players placed on the law card itself. A token would be obtained whenever a player pays taxes; when the age ends, those who do not own a token, i.e. those who refused to obey the law, would need to bear their own consequences.

According to game designer Antoine Bauza, 7 Wonders: Babel is expected to be available at Essen 2014, which takes place October 16 – 19.

Zombies!!! Third Edition

Zombies-3rd-Edition-Cover-OnlyTwilight Creations has just announced Zombies!!! Third Edition. This new edition of the game adds new features such as playing Zombies as a team, cooperative play, and several new scenarios. There are also four new zombies figures, survivor tokens for scenario play and door tokens. All the rules and cards have been updated, but the game is still fully compatible with all other editions.

Release is set for September, which should give you plenty of time to snag it before Halloween.

Opened recently in Brooklyn, New York is the self-described hobby center, Nu Brand Gaming. It’s not a game retailer but rather an independent play space that caters to urban gamers with a shortage of room.

In wood-paneled and carpeted rooms, Nu Brand offers custom game tables, storage lockers, miniature-painting benches, terrain-building tools, and a snack bar. Clearly built with miniature war games in mind, Nu Brand also hopes to be a venue for board and roleplaying game gatherings.

Access can be purchased on an hourly basis ($3 for the first hour plus $2 for each additional hour per person) or as a monthly membership ($30, or $35 with locker space).

Nu Brand Gaming

Diplomacy With a Diplomat

On public radio’s This American Life, host Ira Glass spoke to reporter David Hill about his experience with the board game, Diplomacy. Hill took a real professional diplomat, Ambassador Dennis Ross, as an adviser to a Diplomacy tournament. Listen to the show to find out how it went.

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