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.

Retail Games

Beirut, Lebanon has two escape room locations, Exit Beirut and Escape the Room Lebanon, each with two individual rooms to escape. Also recently opened in Beirut is the game, pop-culture, and comic shop, Multiverse.

On Kickstarter, Keiran Franklin is raising money for a game cafe in Brighton City Centre, UK. At 8BitBoards, customers will be able to play both board games and retro console games.

Game Kingdom Games & Hobbies in Bullhead City, Arizona does sell some board games but is primarily a public play space for tabletop and video games.

Milwaukee-area retailer, Board Game Barrister, is opening its fourth location March 1st in the Mayfair mall. It’ll be a relatively small location for the chain but will still have play space.

Opening soon in Rochester, Minnesota with 1,900 square feet of retail and play space is D6 Games.

BlackWater Roasters and Gaming Cafe opened on the east side of Cleveland last week. It serves pastries, sandwiches, fresh roasted coffee, and of course, board games.

After running pop-up shops, convention booths, and special events, B&E Games recently opened a retail location in San Jose, California.

Play Fair, which began as an open-to-consumers auxiliary event at New York Toy Fair 2016, is moving to a fall show and will take place this year on the weekend of November 4th and 5th. It will remain, though, at the Javits Center in Manhattan.

At the inaugural event last year, 20,000 people attended Play Fair. Among the exhibitors already signed on for this year’s Play Fair are LEGO, ALEX Brands, K’Nex, Snazaroo, SCS Direct, VTech, Mattel, Hasbro, and Safari.

Play Fair is hosted by the Toy Industry Association and LeftField Media.

Google Exec to be New Mattel CEO

Margaret “Margo” Georgiadis, most recently President, Americas at Google, will become the new CEO of Mattel effective February 8th. She will also join the Board of Directors.

Vacating the CEO position is Christopher Sinclair, who joined Mattel’s board in 1996 and took over the CEO position from Bryan Stockton in 2015. Sinclair is credited with helping turnaround the company, which in recent years lost its #1 position in the industry to Lego and the Disney princess license to Hasbro. He will stay on as Executive Chairman of the Board.

Stockton received good news recently when a Deleware court put an end to a Mattel shareholder suit that sought to force the company to seek the return of $10 million in severance that was paid when the former executive was let go.

In addition to Google, Georgiadis held past positions with Groupon, Discover Financial Services, and McKinsey & Company. Her hiring comes as Mattel puts more effort in to technology-based products, including a 3D printer and a personal assistant appliance.


Score Board - Boardgame tournaments, competitions and championships results and scoresThe Google-sponsored AlphaGo computer program, which had previously defeated world Go champion Lee Sedol, racked up 59 wins playing anonymously online against a variety of masters.

Sergey Karjakin, who had lost the recent World Chess Championship to Magnus Carlsen in tiebreak games, managed to best his rival on tiebreak criteria to claim the top position in the World Blitz Championship. At the same tournament, Vassily Ivanchuk won the World Rapid Championship, while Anna Muzychuk won both rapid and blitz titles in the women’s section.

Wesley So won the London Chess Classic, putting him at the top of the four-stop Grand Chess Tour. His total prize winnings on the Tour: $295,000.

University students in Wageningen, Netherlands created the world’s largest Monopoly board, along with dice and houses all to-scale. Made with the support of Hasbro and certified by Guiness World Records, the board measured 900.228 m² (9,689.97 ft²). The previous record, set in the United States earlier this year, was 744.867 m² (8,017.69 ft²).

It was two Dutchmen who faced off in the World Draughts Championship. Roel Boomstra came away the winner.

In December, Feliks Zemdegs solved a 6×6 Rubik’s Cube in a world record 1 minute, 32.47 seconds. Then in January, he beat his own record with a 1 minute, 27.85 second solve.

Here’s a machine solving a standard 3×3 Rubik’s Cube in 0.637 seconds:

New fellowships are available for research at the The Strong’s National Museum of Play. The idea is to support researchers accessing the museum’s library; collection of toy, doll, and game artifacts; and video and electronic game resources. The G. Rollie Adams Research Fellowships will provide academic professionals, independent scholars, museum scholars, and advanced graduate students at the masters or doctorate level with $500 per-week stipends. Applications are due April 20th.

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesIn the Hunan province of China, a mother allegedly locked her 3 year-old son in a dog cage so she could play Mahjong undisturbed. The woman admits she put her son there because he was being noisy but says she wasn’t playing Mahjong and someone else locked the cage. The person who found the boy said, “I don’t know who his parent is. After I shared the news on social media, I hurried to get someone to open the cage.”

In Hong Kong, a 62 year-old man is under arrest for allegedly stabbing to death the friend with whom he often played Mahjong. Police suspect there was a debt involved.

The Japan Shogi Association, which had previously banned 9th-dan-ranked Hiroyuki Miura for possible cheating (noting that he had left his seat an unusual number of times during a tournament), has now apologized for the action and reinstated the player. A third-party investigation found no evidence of cheating. The association’s three executives also promised to take a 30 percent pay-cut for 3 months.

Someone broke in to All Aboard Games in Kamloops, British Columbia and stole X-Wing Miniatures figures. The getaway was caught on video.

A man who robbed a Mahjong parlor at gunpoint in Zhengjiang, China claims that he intended to get caught. Police traced his getaway vehicle and in his home found the 10,000 yuan he stole, as well as the gun he used, which turned out to be fake. The man then told police that being sent to jail was the only way he could figure to avoid a 300,000 yuan debt to a loan shark. The money he borrowed, by the way, he used to finance his own high-interest loan. It was after his debtor failed to pay up that he concocted this brilliant plan with the fake gun.

The government of Venezuela raided the warehouse of toy distributor Kreisel, confiscated its inventory, and then promised to give the toys away free to the public. As explanation for the action, the government claims that the company was hoarding toys during a period of rapid inflation.

In 2012, professional Poker player Phil Ivey, along with a woman, Cheng Yin Sun, who had learned through many hours of study to spot subtle variations on the backs of certain playing cards, managed to win $9.6 million playing Baccarat at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City. Relying on the same skill, they later also did well at a London casino. The London casino, though, withheld their winnings and a British judge ruled their actions cheating. After hearing of that case, the Borgata sued to recover its money. Now, a U.S. federal court judge has ruled that what they did in Atlantic City wasn’t fraud because it didn’t break the rules of Baccarat. However, the judge did find them to have violated New Jersey’s Casino Control Act “in complete contravention of the fundamental purpose of legalized gambling” and he’s ordered the pair to return their winnings.

Military police in Phuket, Thailand raided a townhouse that was set up to host illegal gambling on Mahjong. Eleven people were arrested.

After a Lords vs. Commons Chess match several MPs in the U.K. are resurrecting efforts to have Chess recognized as a sport and, therefore, exempt from VAT. Some say they would accept the alternative of defining Chess as a “mindsport”, so that it would not conflict with the Council of Europe’s Sports Charter.

Someone stole the Franklin Mint Civil War Chess set that a woman inherited from her grandfather. It was taken from the trunk of her car as she was preparing to move out of West Jordan, Utah. About a week later, after the theft was reported on local TV news, the set was anonymously turned in to local police.

A 39 year-old man is under arrest in South Carolina for showing up at his girlfriend’s house drunk, throwing her board game to the floor, and flinging the pieces around the room—also for allegedly putting her friend in a hammerlock when she asked him to pick up the mess.

A Bristol, UK jury has cleared a man of sexual assault charges. A woman had claimed that he attacked her during a game of Scrabble.

Escape Room World Championship

Red Bull TV is sponsoring a mind games tournament they’re calling the Escape Room World Championship. Scheduled for March 25th in Budapest, the event will see 20 international teams compete in a room based on “quantum logic” designed by Scott Nicholson.


Kickstarter Alert – Knight Light

POPsnacks, creator of the Knight Light, actually reached out to me today with some cool pics of this lamp/display shelf. After a bit of back and forth they linked me to their Kickstarter page where they’re trying raise enough money to make these available to consumers. They even provided a pre-written interview with Daniel Cytrynowicz. I mean, why not?

Can you talk a little on the process?

First we had to hand-make the acrylic trays right here in Los Angeles using a laser-cutting machine and also make a metal mock-up of the gear component, placed on the base. We then sent those parts abroad to have molds made. Finally, we received a couple samples, made a couple modifications and the base was ready for manufacturing. The shades are printed (high-res) and made in-house and in-demand in our studio/workshop in Los Angeles. The packaging is also made locally. The box turns into a waste-paper basket!

What gave you the idea of Knight Light?

We’ve been designing and manufacturing lamps for around 20 years. We always had special requests to make personalized lamps, lamps that spoke directly to customers’ tastes, lifestyles and passions. We finally decided to create a line of lamps that would make rooms brighter in more than the traditional sense. Light and dreams, style, memories, passion and smiles.

How did you make it?

We first created the shades, by printing translucent material with non-fade archival inks, using state-of-the-art printing processes. Ultimately customers will order shades printed with their own content for the ultimate shade! This particular base was created to house a small collection of treasures, in order to transport the customer to his/her favorite place, state-of-mind or hobby. Instant gratification and maximum pleasure!

What are your favorite games?

Although I do play some on-line games, I tend to favor old-fashioned board games such as Stratego, Battleships, backgammon and Chess.

Why are custom shades so cool?

Custom shades are cool because they are YOU! They are conversation pieces, they allow you to display your most prized artwork, they make you go back over and over again to your favorite vacation spot, they bring you closer to a geographically distant loved one, display your favorite game, or remind you daily of how much you love tacos. In any event, these printed shades are always communicating something…you’ll never feel alone!

The idea of the Knight Light is something I can get behind. As a lover of collectibles, miniatures, etc… this would be perfect to sit in my cubicle at work and display some cool goodies. I’m not completely sold on the shades, though. I’d have to create my own to fit whatever I was displaying and I’m not that great at that sort of thing.

Anyway, if you’re interested you can get in on the ground floor with $40 if the project gets funded.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesThe Giveaway Geek is giving away Solar Quest from Universal Toys.

Actualol will be giving away seven games. Watch the next video for details.

Dave Graffam Models has put 100 printable terrain products—buildings, bridges, boxes—on sale for $1 at Wargame Vault.

Mom vs. the Boys is giving away Star Wars Eye Found It from Wonder Forge and BuggaLoop from Ravensburger—one giveaway but prizes, one each, going to two separate winners.

Greater Than Games is launching new deals each weekend in December. This week, it’s a special on The Great Heartland Hauling Co. and other products under the Dice Hate Me Games label.

Toys “R” Us is giving away $1,000 and a Hatchimal from Spin Master every day but only to members of its Rewards “R” Us program who’ve made a purchase that day in-store.

Complete ThinkFun’s Social Media Survey and be entered in a prize drawing. For what, I don’t know. But why not?

For 20% off Columbia Games’ products under $25, use coupon code “santa”.

Suburban Wife City Life is giving away a package of six games, among them titles from Educational Insights, Wonder Forge, and MindWare.

Classy Mommy is giving away three games from Wonder Forge: Stick Stack, Suspicion, and Really Bad Art.

The Board Game Group is giving away The Manhattan Project Energy Empire from Minion Games.

Precis Intermedia has a Holiday Sale with discounts up to 50%.

Cakebread & Walton products at DriveThruRPG are 40-60% off.

From Strat-O-Matic, buy three season rosters and get a fourth free with coupon code “moremoremore”.

Donate to Worldbuilders and for every $10 receive an entry in True Dungeon’s giveaway of a complete set of 2017 tokens (even the ultra-rares).

Character-themed game rugs are on-sale 40% off at Toys “R” Us.

Everything direct from White Wizard Games is 10% off.

Most Werewolf PDF products are 50% off in the Rage Across the Holidays Sale at DriveThruRPG.

The newest deal at Bundle of Holding is for Through the Breach, an RPG set in Wyrd Miniatures’ western-steampunk-horror world of Malifaux. Get the whole shebang (nine books) for under $30.

Emily Reviews is giving away the Disney Princess Electronic Talking Magical Tiara Adventures Game from Wonder Forge.

In its Holiday Sale, Privateer Press is offering special discount pricing on core faction bundles and a buy-two-get-one-free deal on plushies.

In Eagle-Gryphon Games’ Holiday Blowout Sale Part II, discounts are 40-50%.

Get 25% off and free promos from Green Couch Games with promo code “greatlittlegames”.


Score Board - Boardgame tournaments, competitions and championships results and scoresThe 2016 World Chess Championship in New York ended with Magnus Carlsen of Norway still at the top, though as I watched the match proceed, I was starting to wonder if he had it in him. After seven draw games, the first win went to challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia. But two games later, Magnus scored a win of his own, and at the end of the 12 regulation games, all was tied. The tie-break rapid games were where Magnus showed his strength. The first two settled on draws but the next two went to the champion. Still, an impressive performance as well by Sergey and a very interesting series of games.

In the women’s Chess circuit, Ju Wenjun of China finished ahead of the Women’s Grand Prix, qualifying her to face Hou Yifan also of China in the 2017 Women’s World Championship.

Chris Cadman of Scotland took home the Silver Perudo Cup trophy of the World Perudo Championship (Liar’s Dice) in London.

The Top Chess Engine Championship was won by Stockfish. The score in the final 100 game match was Stockfish 54.5, Houdini 45.5. In third place was last year’s digital champion, Komodo.

Many Rubik’s Cube world records have fallen recently:

The team from Greece won the World Magic: The Gathering Cup surpassing other top 8 finalist teams from Finland, Australia, Ukraine, Panama, Belarus, and Belgium.

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