This category includes posts about games that don't fit into the other categories - such as about alternate reality games - as well as general game discussion and related news, such as TV shows and books.


Star Wars Game Construction Kit

New from Mattel is Star Wars Bloxels, a video game construction kit. As with the original Bloxels, the kit enables anyone to build a video game by assembling physical blocks that represent terrain, power-ups, enemies, coins, hazards, and more. After that, all they have to do to capture the layout is take a picture with their mobile device.

With Star Wars Bloxels, games can be designed for any of four environments: Tatooine, Hoth, Endor, and Death Star.

 

Earlier today, in a ceremony held at The Strong’s National Museum of Play, Clue, the Wiffle Ball, and paper airplanes were inducted in to the National Toy Hall of Fame. Selection for the Hall of Fame recognizes toys that have “inspired creative play and enjoyed popularity over a sustained period.”

Clue, modeled after murder-mystery dinner parties, was invented by a British couple during the war years but did not see publication by Waddingtons, under the name “Cluedo”, until 1949. The game was soon thereafter purchased by Parker Brothers and released in the United States as “Clue”.

The Wiffle Ball, a hollow, plastic baseball replacement, was invented in the 1950s. Holes cut in the plastic ball slow its movement, allowing play in more cramped spaces and with fewer broken windows, as well as some mean curves even by amateur pitchers [all still important features when we played on 180th Terrace back in the late 70s and early 80s].

The origin of paper airplanes is said to date back to 1909, just a few years after the Wright brothers’ first flight.

These three toys were chosen by a panel of industry judges from a field of 12 finalists. Among the 62 previous inductees are marbles, Dungeons & Dragons, the Slinky, Barbie, puppets, and alphabet blocks.

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesFirst off, a reminder that we’re giving away a copy of D&D Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.

Amazon deals:

Buy two board games, get one free from Target.

For 25-40% off in Compass Games’s Holiday Sale, use coupon code “HOLIDAY17”.

Privateer Press is the latest to partner with Humble Bundle. Get nearly $400 in Hordes, Warmachine, and Iron Kingdoms books, plus coupons for physical products, for just $15.

Not its first time, Paizo is back on the Humble Bundle platform, this time contributing various Pathfinder products to an Extra Life fundraiser.

At Bundle of Holding, the latest is another Old School Revival Bundle.

Retweet D&D Character for a chance to win one of two Deep Magic series PDFs from Kobold Press.

The grand prize in the Meccano Sweepstakes is a fully paid trip for four (including airfare, hotel, and event tickets) to the 2018 Maker Faire in Sane Mateo.

Neon Rival is giving away the Tomb of Annihilation adventure for Dungeons & Dragons, plus dice and other accessories.

The Monster Man podcast is holding a monster design contest. Prizes include RPG PDFs and miniatures.

Eagle-Gryphon Games will give away a copy of Isaribi Deluxe to one of its Twitter followers as of November 24th. An additional entry can be earned by subscribing to the company’s newsletter. The company is also running a sale on miniatures and other components.

One of University Games’ Twitter followers can win a Pete the Cat: The Missing Cupcakes Game today for the cost of a like.

Multi-Man Publishing’s Veteran’s Day Sale starts Thursday (November 9th) with discounts around 45%.

As usual, EverythingBoardGames is doing several giveaways.

Blue Orange Games is giving away two copies of Photosynthesis via Facebook likes.

Inside Voices is giving away Stop Thief! from Restoration Games.

Board to Death is giving away Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate from WOTC.

Rolling Dice & Taking Names is giving away Massive Darkness from CMON and up to four future products from Restoration Games, depending on the ability of contestants to guess the games connected to Restoration’s project code names.

Sahm Reviews just started a 150-day series of giveaways and so far has listed Atari Centipede from IDW, Just Desserts from Looney Labs, and Rubik’s Flip from University Games. Sahm Reviews also has ongoing giveaways for Zoo Ball from Osprey Games and Aura from Breaking Games.

ChiTAG’s Hot New Toys giveaway includes five different games from Spin Master, Goliath, Pressman, and Play Monster.

Space Cowboys is giving away one (winner’s choice) of three new Unlock! Mystery Adventure games.

Board Game Revolution is giving away a Monster Slaughter Kickstarter pledge.

Greenbrier Games is giving away a copy of Folklore: The Affliction with expansions, accessories, and Kickstarter “exclusives”.

We Are Teachers is giving away copies of a Chutes & Ladders inspired social studies board game to 50 educators.

Rolling Solo is giving away Perdition’s Mouth: Abyssal Rift from Dragon Dawn Productions.

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesFor Halloween, Indie Press Revolution is running a sale, 50% off on all Onyx Path Publishing products (including World of Darkness and Chronicles of Darkness but excluding Pugmire).

The winner of The Toy Insider’s 2017 Room Full of Toys Holiday Sweepstakes will receive over $1,000 of toys. Three runners-up will receive boxes with $200 worth of prizes.

TTPM’s next weekly live giveaway event (Wednesday at 1:00 PM ET) is for a bunch of Hasbro’s newest games.

ThinkFun is giving away free coding games to teachers.

Bundle of Holding’s latest deal includes the entire Savage Worlds Rippers and Rippers Resurrected lines of Victorian monster-hunting games, plus the Savage World Deluxe rulebook and Horror Companion, for just $20.

Big G Creative is giving away How to Rob a Bank. Tweet and follow to win.

Sometime today, ThinkFun is giving away an Escape the Room game.

Also ending today is USAopoly’s Ghoulish Games Giveaway.

A 30% discount on Julius Caesar by Columbia Games ends tomorrow.

To commemorate the Battle of Cambrai during the First World War, Multi-Man Publishing is discounting Breakthrough: Cambrai 50%.

Dog Might Games is discounting gift cards 20%. Get one for yourself.

Moe’s Game Table is giving away White Star Rising from Lock ‘N Load Publishing.

In its Halloween Giveaway, Goliath Games is giving away Greedy Granny and Catch the Fox. In a separate Halloween Giveaway by the company’s Pressman subsidiary, the prizes are Rummikub Twist and Your Worst Nightmare.

For 15% off in a special Toys “R” Us 4-day cyber sale, use coupon code “SAVE15”.

Mayday Games is running a Halloween Myth & Magic Sale with discounts up to 65% off. Plus, for an additional 20% off card-sleeve bundles, use coupon code “mythandmagic2017”.

To encourage voting in the Beasts of War Gaming Awards, Firelock Games is giving away Blood & Plunder galleon ship model.

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ThinkFun has been acquired by international toy company Ravensburger AG. ThinkFun, perhaps best known for its logic puzzles, such as Rush Hour, also produces educational games like Math Dice and the new //CODE series, and recently acquired Khet: The Laser Game.

ThinkFun will join the Ravensburger North America division along with Wonder Forge and Brio. The company, however, will continue to operate out of its Alexandria, Virginia offices and will retain current staff.

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When a mid-10th century Viking grave was excavated in Birka, Sweden in the 1880s, the warrior remains within were assumed to be those of a man, despite some contradictory skeletal traits. Using DNA analysis, however, researchers with Stockholm and Uppsala Universities have now established that the occupant of the grave was a woman. The individual carried two X chromosomes and no Y chromosome, demonstrating that the women warriors in Viking poetry and art were no myth.

As befitting such a leader, the individual was also holding a board game.

The grave goods include a sword, an axe, a spear, armour-piercing arrows, a battle knife, two shields, and two horses, one mare and one stallion; thus, the complete equipment of a professional warrior. Furthermore, a full set of gaming pieces indicates knowledge of tactics and strategy, stressing the buried individual’s role as a high-ranking officer.

[via EurekAlert]

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Game Blotter

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with games

Someone pilfered uncut sheets of unreleased Magic: The Gathering cards from the factory and posted them for sale online with images. The alleged thief has been arrested and the card sheets recovered. However, with card images already circulating, Wizards of the Coast has ramped up previews for the Ixalan set.

A 31 year old man from St. Cloud, Minnesota was arrested for stabbing his 20 year old Magic: The Gathering opponent seven times in the neck, and for hitting him in the head with a mallet. The suspect has a previous conviction for possession of explosives with criminal intent.

Cary Young is suing Rob Elliot in Victorian County Court (Australia) over royalties he says are owed for contributing 4,000 trivia questions to the board game Smart Ass. Young is a master at trivia who had a legendary run on the television game show Sale of the Century. Elliot, creator of the board game, was also host of Wheel of Fortune.

James Damore, the Google engineer fired by the company after circulating a memo critical of the company’s diversity policies, claims to hold the Chess rating of FIDE Master but no evidence supporting this has been found or provided.

The National Chess Federation of the Philippines banned player Jomel Sinagula for life “for recidivist cheating and identity theft.” Sinagula adopted various aliases for team competitions in order to position himself against lower ranked players. Several of Sinagula’s teammates were banned for 6 month periods for collaborating with the scheme.

Chess player Fernando Alberto Braga has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport a decision by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) not to grant him the title of Grandmaster. Central to the question of Braga’s qualification is whether a rule change made in 2005 should apply to the counting of games he played in 1992 and whether his brief stint with a 2500+ rating in 1998 took place too long ago to meet the requirement.

The U.S. Embassy in Iraq has returned to the Ministry of Culture an antique Chess set formerly owned by Saddam Hussein and stolen in 2003.

At the 2017 Canadian Chess Championship, GM Bator Sambuev and IM Nikolay Noritsyn were in the second blitz game of a tiebreak series to determine the winner, when Noritsyn attempting to promote his passed pawn couldn’t find a spare queen next to the board. So instead, he called out “queen” and replaced the pawn with an upside-down rook (common practice in non-tournament settings). At that point, an arbiter interrupted and ruled the upside-down piece to be a rook, not a queen, noting the presence of a queen there at the side of the board. Later review of video recorded at the tournament, however, revealed that at the time Noritsyn was looking for the queen piece, it was in the hand of his opponent.

Effective July 1 under the FIDE Laws of Chess it became illegal to make a move with two hands (such as when castling or promoting a pawn). Making such a move has the potential to cost a player the game, though in several high-profile games (including the Canadian one mentioned previously), arbiters have failed to intervene over the issue.

A burgler was caught on surveillance video breaking in to a Bronx, New York apartment and stealing board games. Police are looking for help in identifying the culprit.

Recently released government records reveal that in the mid-1990s, conflict and accusations within a San Francisco-area group of Dungeons & Dragons players triggered an investigation by the FBI. Agents were looking for the Unibomber but found just “that the typical war gaming enthusiast is overweight and not neat in appearance.”

Eighteen people were arrested for gambling at cards in Anlong Veng, Cambodia. Police in the village, known for being the last holdout of the Khmer Rouge and final resting place of Pol Pot, took the players back to the station and “educated” them on the dangers of their habit.

A Muslim Cricket player in India suffered harassment online after posting to Facebook a picture of himself playing Chess with his son. The harassers apparently side with the Muslim televangelist in Turkey who said that “playing Chess is worse than gambling and eating pork.” Several Indian Muslim clerics, though, have come to the Cricketer’s defense, saying that there is nothing wrong with playing Chess as long as gambling isn’t involved.

A homeless man was playing Chess in Union Square Park in Manhattan at 3:30 AM when three other men approached and got in to an argument with him, and then one of them stabbed him in the chest.

In Santa Monica, California’s Chess Park, two players were assaulted by a couple of homeless men, who were apparently drunk and raving about some drug dealer. “I bitched to the police about losing our beloved chess park to these roving bands of dangerous homeless, but didn’t see the point in pressing charges given the reality of our legal system.”

Rubik’s Brand Limited is suing in U.S. federal court Duncan Toys and Toys “R” Us for trademark infringement. Rubik’s claims that the appearance of Duncan’s Quick Cube puzzle, sold at Toys “R” Us, copies the trademarked design of the Rubik’s Cube without permission and will cause confusion among consumers. There is no patent claim in the suit.

To fight the counterfeiting of board games, Ad Magic and Breaking Games have started applying 3D photopolymer authentication labels to their products. The labels are produced by De La Rue, a U.K. company, and include parallax images and unique 8 digit serial numbers. The labels can even be authenticated with standard mobile apps.

Reaper Minis was dragged in, or involved itself in (depending on how you look at it), some controversial social-media postings by one of its employees. Ed Pugh, Reaper’s CEO, said that the company was “reviewing the matter and taking appropriate action,” which made other people upset that Reaper felt it should have a stake in what one of its employees said outside of the workplace.

The number of private card rooms in Texas is growing. To avoid anti-gambling laws, instead of taking a stake in the wagers, they collect membership and seat rental fees.

The World Series of Poker has been having a problem with card quality, leading to complaints by many participants about card marking, intentional and unintentional.

Police raiding a Mahjong game at a home in Cape Town, South Africa ended up arresting fourteen people for possession of shark fins and abalone.

New York City Chess school Chess at 3 is suing Hugh Kramer, one of its former instructors, claiming that he violated the terms of his employment contract by taking with him 24 students. The school is asking for $100,000 in damages.

A Chess instructor in Malaysia is facing criminal charges for allegedly groping his young charges. In Mumbai, a Chess coach was arrested for molesting a sister and brother pair of students, 10 and 7 years old. Once in custody, charges were added for beating a student aged five.

The State of Florida finally settled its dispute with the Seminole Tribe over banked card games. Tribal casinos will retain exclusive rights to run card games for another 13 years and the state will get $340 million. To enforce the bargain, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation has filed administrative complaints against the Sarasota Kennel Club and Pensacola Greyhound Racing for failing to comply with rules on designated-player games in their Poker rooms.

Cantina, a bar in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, was fined for hosting dice games with gambling.

The proprietor of a martial arts gym in Singapore was arrested for renting Mahjong tables and allowing gambling inside his facility.

Police believe that a man who showed up at an Annapolis, Maryland hospital with a gunshot wound had gotten in to an argument at a dice game, took a taxi home to get his gun, then took the same taxi to the hospital after he was wounded. They arrested him on weapons charges, theft, and failing to pay the cabbie.

A man returning to the scene of a dice game argument in Birmingham, Alabama, brought in the car with him a friend and his 4 year old daughter. The friend pulled a gun, so did the person they were going to see, but it was the girl and an elderly woman in another vehicle who ended up shot. The girl later died.

stray bullet originating at a dice game in Louisville, Kentucky struck and killed a 7 year old boy eating a bedtime snack in his home nearby.

The 1 year old hit by three stray bullets from a dice game shootout in Washington, D.C. survived and was, in fact, discharged from the hospital the next day.

Other dice game shootings occurred in Riverdale, Georgia; Phildelphia; Brooklyn; the BronxJacksonville, Florida; Edwardsville, Illinois; again in the Bronx; Baltimore; St. Louis; Detroit; and Shreveport, Louisiana.

A man who shot three people in a Las Vegas home over a game of Dominoes forgot his car keys when he left the scene, then pounded on the door expecting to be let back in.

A man in Hanover, Jamaica was shot and killed while playing Dominoes.

In Stratford, Connecticut, a man pulled a gun on his cousin because he thought he was being cheated at a game of Dominoes.

In High Springs, Florida, a woman shot at her husband while he was playing Dominoes in the park. Why was not revealed.

In Owatonna, Minnesota, a woman was arrested for attacking her boyfriend and other players during a game of Dominoes, with a knife and a shard of glass.

Hot Jobs

Mattel in Frankfurt, Germany has an opportunity for a Marketing Intern – Brand Activation Games to support the company at Essen Internationale Spieltage, test and proofread prototypes, plan advertising, manage social media, and conduct market research.

Wizards of the Coast is recruiting for a Senior Game Designer to join Magic: The Gathering’s R&D team. Requires 3+ years design experience, passion for MtG, ability to lead teams, and familiarity with other CCGs.

Spin Master is looking for someone crafty, outgoing, and comfortable with social media to fill the role of Sand Castle Maker. The position is a 1 year, $50,000 contract to build “imaginative creations” with Kinetic Compounds. Must make at least one video a week, with children.

CENTRA Technology, a consulting firm in Arlington, Virginia (just outside D.C.), has an opening for a Wargame Analyst. The job of the analyst is to organize and implement simulations and exercises involving such topics as space policy, military technology, cybersecurity, and regional affairs.

Goliath Games in Plano, Texas needs a Graphic Designer to design game packaging and layout instruction manuals and game boards. Five or more years of experience is required.

Andromeda Simulations International, which runs board game based training programs on business, finance, and strategy, needs a Marketing Director. The goal is to “focus on solution design and content development,” such as blogging, social media campaigns, email campaigns, and trade shows and conferences.

Cartamundi has a number of openings at its board game manufacturing plant in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Some are shift-based production positions. Others are for IT and logistics.

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D&D’s Tomb of Annihilation

One of the things about Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition is it’s a bit difficult to kill off adventurers. And if they do die, it’s somewhat easy to magically bring them back to life. The new adventure storyline, Tomb of Annihilation, looks at that and… makes it not so easy. The storyline kicks off with the discovery of a curse that afflicts people who have been raised from the dead: their bodies slowly deteriorate until they’re virtually corpses once again. All signs point far away from 5e’s Sword Coast setting to the jungle peninsula of Chult, where heroes must brave the uncharted where “a horrifying villain awaits with a familiar visage.”

But we all know it’s Acererak from Tomb of Horrors.

I mean, the name “Tomb of…” echoes the original Tomb of Horrors adventure, the advertising imagery is that green devil face with the Sphere of Annihilation stuck in it, and — let’s be honest — the adventure storylines pull heavily from past edition adventures for inspiration.

Also, he’s right there on the cover.

What’s confusing about this is a 5e-statted Tomb of Horrors was featured in recently-released Tales from the Yawning Portal (review). Will Annihilation contain an Tomb of Horrors-inspired dungeon, like Princes of the Apocalypse contained a re-imagined Temple of Elemental Evil?

What makes this interesting is the way the storyline was announced, via streamed gaming venues on twitch, where the D&D Twitch channel will be previewing “just how deadly the adventure will be” all summer long, starting in July.

Oh, and how easy it is to not die in 5e? Well, death saves will be moved up to DC 15 checks for ‘hard mode’.

Also announced is Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, a supplement for the core game with expanded options for players and DMs, including more than 20 new subclases, dozens of spells, and more.

Somewhat related: There’s a D&D themed Betrayal at House on the Hill called Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate, available on October 6th for $50.

Tomb of Annihilation will be released in September, in select game stores on the 8th, worldwide on the 19th. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything will be available November 21st, with a special alternative cover edition in game stores on November 10th.

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The Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming’s shortlist was announced this afternoon. The nominees are:

  • The Beast, a single-player unsettling erotic game of imagining you are having sex with the Beast by Aleksandra Sontowska and Kamil Węgrzynowicz
  • End of the Line, a LARP set in the World of Darkness’ Vampire setting, a “cross-pollination [of Nordic and traditional LARPing styles] proved rejuvenating for the twenty-five year old system” by Bjarke Pedersen, Juhana Pettersson and Martin Elricsson
  • Gen Con, a gaming convention in its 50th year
  • Gloomhaven, a legacy-style miniature boardgame with roleplaying influences by Issac Chidress
  • The Romance Trilogy, a series of roleplaying games and a freeform LARP by Emily Care Boss
  • Terraforming Mars, a long scope boardgame about making Mars habitable by Jacob Fryxelius

Diana Jones AwardThe award ceremony is considered the unofficial kickoff to Gen Con Indy, with the lucite pyramid trophy handed out during a gaming industry-only event the Wednesday night before Gen Con Indy officially begins. Past winners include Geek & Sundry’s Tabletop web series, Jason Morningstar’s Fiasco roleplaying game, and Donald X. Vaccarino’s Dominion deckbuilding card game

The award, named for the still-readable part of the burnt Indiana Jones Role-Playing Game logo encased in the pyramid, was originally awarded to Peter Adkinson in 2001. The Diana Jones Award trophy is returned each year to the DJA Committee for the next award ceremony. This is the fifteenth year for the award ceremony.

The trophy itself is a lucite pyramid mounted on a wooden base, created to “commemorate the expiration of [TSR UK’s] licence to publish the Indiana Jones Role-Playing Game and the subsequent destruction of all unsold copies of the game.” Within the pyramid are burnt pieces of the last copy of TSR UK’s Indiana Jones RPG logo and game elements, including the infamous Nazi™ cardboard tokens. The DJA site claims the award was liberated from the TSR Hobbies office by “forces unnamed” before winding up in the hands of the Diana Jones Award Committee.

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