Table for Two Show

RPGs are role-playing games, where components are usually dice and rulebooks, games are typically open ended, and story and playacting often take a large role.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesThe Order of the Iron of the Crown is Iron Crown Enterprises volunteer program. Participants can earn points toward ebooks and branded products. For example, running a demo session and having two people sign up for the ICE forums as a result will earn $5 off an ICE product at DriveThruRPG.

paxeast2StoneBlade Entertainment

The creators of Ascension Chronicle Of The Godslayer have just put a new electronic CCG for the PC and iOS devices called SolForge. The game is a line-based battle CCG with Richard Garfield on the design team. It’s free-to-play, but you can purchase more cards and tournament vouchers as in-app purchases. I was able to fool around with it for a bit, and even try a draft tournament out. It’s very solid, with great art and gameplay. As you use cards they’re discarded, leveled up, and eventually brought back into your hand later. Combining this deck-building mechanic with traditional CCG play is a great combination.

Mantic Games

2493.1.368.368.FFFFFF.0One of my favorite games at the show that I saw was DreadBall from Mantic Games. DreadBall is a sci-fi sports games where players are trying to get a 200mph, weapons-grade ball into one of three goals. There’s a bunch of teams available to purchase and play, and an in-depth set of rules that can scale up or down depending on how complex you want the game to be.

There’s a couple ways to get into the game. There’s the base set, or you can buy one of the rulebooks and a few teams to get started.

I’m by no means a sports fan, but I can’t deny how much fun I had demoing this one.

Mayfair Games

IMG_0581Mayfair had a few things to show, but most has been seen before. What new game I did get to see and demo was Mad City. It’s a light game where you’re drawing 9 random tiles from a bag and trying to group the colors of the city pieces together to score the largest chains before the minute sand-timer runs out. There’s also bonuses for large parks and the longest road. It almost feels like speed Carcassonne where you’re only scoring the farmers. A single round plays and scores in 2-3 minutes, which makes this a great filler game.



This year is the first year I’ve had the opportunity to attend PAX East in Boston, MA. Mostly known as a convention for video gamers, there’s a large, and growing, tabletop  component to the show. Though I only attended the show on Friday, I was able to see a LOT of great stuff for the tabletop, and even demo a few new games. Since there was a lot to see, I’ll be breaking this up in to several posts over the next few days so as not to overload everyone.

Wizards of the Coast

My first stop was the Wizards of the Coast booth were they were showcasing the 2015 version of Duels of the Planeswalkers. While none of the new cards have been added to the alpha build yet, I was able to check out the new UI and tweaks to the game overall. While 2014 was a vast improvement over 2013, 2015 is just a more polished, smooth update to 2014. The new deck builder is supposedly more robust, but wasn’t available yet. Overall I was impressed with what I saw, and can’t wait to get my hands on a finished version with all the new features and cards.

Wizards also had a demo station set up on the tabletop floor for Kaijudo, where they were explaining the new draft format, and had samples of their new competitive decks. These decks are constructed to be a bit more competitive than current pre-constructed decks, and make for much more exciting play. I was able to get one to bring home, and will soon be testing it out with the kids. One of the most exciting aspects of the draft format, coming out this May, is that the number of cards in booster packs is going up from 9 to 14. The price will stay the same. Now you’ll be able to buy 3 boosters per person to host a draft game.

Privateer Press

Privateer Press’s booth had several things going on, but the main two attractions were Zombies Keep Out and Warmachine Tactics.

IMG_0579Zombies Keep Out is a cooperative board game for 1-6 players where everyone is trying to keep zombies from breaking down the barricades to a goblins’ workshop. Players work together to try and build crazy contraptions to stop the zombie horde before they break down the barricades and invade the workshop. One of the cooler mechanics of the game is that players who suffer zombie bites have to slowly start acting like zombies. 1 bite means a player has to start slurring their speech while playing. They also can’t trade cards. More bites start making the player have to moan and point, instead of speaking.

Privateer was also showing off Warmachine Tactics, a PC game of the popular miniatures franchise. The game looks pretty amazing, and feels solid. The really cool part of the game will come to a future update of the build. Players will actually be able to paint their units. Not just color them, but paint them. Since the data will be stored procedurally, it takes very little power to send your unit customizations to another player over the internet, so any player you play against will see your custom units on the field. The game is currently still in development, but will see a release around the end of the summer.

Geek Chic

One of the most amazing things I saw at PAX was the Geek Chic book. We’ve covered their tables in the past, but I’ve never gotten a chance to see one in person. Flat out, these are some of the most amazing, beautiful pieces of furniture I’ve ever seen. They’ve got tables in every size and shape to meet the needs of gamers in all stages of life. From coffee tables and GM desks to kitchen tables and the famous Sultan, these tables just ooze class.


Kobold Guide to Magic

Kobold Guide to MagicSummoning, invisibility, divination, and secret societies are just some of the subjects covered in the Kobold Guide to Magic. Kobold Press’ latest game design guide also includes chapters on “Making Magic Believable” and “Putting the Magic Back Into Magic”.

With chapters penned by 20 different game and fiction authors, the Kobold Guide to Magic is 160 pages of fantasy gaming advice.


Rebel Minis’ new Dark Hold fantasy figures include some very nice lizardmen.

Rebel Minis Lizardmen

Gamesmith’s Pirate Den is a simple game of playing cards and stealing treasure, sometimes from merchant ships and sometimes from each other. The game has a bluffing element too, as cards are played simultaneously. Occasionally, players bury their treasure, which in game terms means protecting victory points from being stolen.

Goodman Games is raising funds to reprint the original Metamorphosis Alpha roleplaying game, plus new adventures, in a single hardback book. This project is unrelated to an earlier one that funded a fifth edition of Metamorphosis Alpha from Signalfire Studios.

Another early RPG product being resurrected is City State of the Invincible Overlord, which Judges Guild wants to update for the Pathfinder RPG.

Real-time is a hot trend and Chronos Conquest certainly targets that style of play. But it does so with a twist. Instead of one timer setting a limit on everyone’s moves, Chronos Conquest gives each player 2-3 sand timers. They then slap down those timers on card stacks in order to lay claim to the top cards when those specific timers expire.

Another trend-follower with a twist is the zombie miniatures game, Zed or Alive. Its combat rules are based on Savage Worlds: Showdown but it also includes a campaign system that allows players to create their own mutating virus strain.

Talking Cartoon Rabbits bucks trends with its Triptych project. The game is a CCG without a theme. Subtitled “Anything vs. Everything”, Triptych’s cards feature fantasy creatures, characters from classic literature, superheros, historic figures, and everything else you can imagine.

Mobile Frame Zero Alpha BanditMobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit is a set of rules for running miniature battles with spaceships made of Lego construction bricks. A copy of the robot combat rules, Mobile Frame Zero: Rapid Attack, is required (but available to download for free). If you act quick, you might still be able to grab one of the $650 reward tiers that includes a fleet of custom built ships.

El Generale has players acting as dictators, each with their own real-world country. During the course of a game, a general has to balance internal infrastructure development with external military conflict. But at the end of the game, the goal is to escape the inevitable revolution with the largest stash of cash.

In Highway Hustle, Blue Room Games looks to pair the themes of road construction and battling bands in a tile-laying game because… why not!?!

Legendary Games is working with Kobold Press, Rogue Genius Games, and Dreamscarred Press on a major expansion to the Mythic Adventure rules of the Pathfinder RPG. The group is producing a Mythic Hero’s Handbook, a Mythic Monster Manual, and a Mythic Spell Compendium—they’re calling the project Mythic Mania. $2,300 more and all three books will be in-print.

Coup Reformation is an expansion and its project page says barely a word about the game’s contents. Yet with 13 days to go, it’s already raised more than $80,000 (over eight times it’s goal). So clearly, that’s all you need from me.

Not having as easy a time of it, R&R Games is raising funds for an electronic version of its 1st & Goal football board game.

Troll Hunt is a game about being mean to trolls. First players summon them in to a walled compound, then with lanterns and mirrors shine light in their eyes to petrify them. Something like those laser puzzles but without the laser. Poor trolls!

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesIn Pakistan, a man died after consuming more than a dozen bottles of soda to satisfy a wager over a game of Carrom.

In Chonggu, Qingpu district, China a man intended to torch a Mahjong parlor but ended up setting fire to himself and two others. The man was upset because he believed that his wife was having an affair with someone from the club. However, while he was dousing the parlor’s gate with gasoline, the father and son owners of the parlor rushed him. During the struggle, all three became soaked. Then the arsonist ignited his lighter.

A 16 year-old caught cheating during the 2013 Cork Chess Congress (he was found consulting a computer in a bathroom during a game) has been banned from tournament play for 4 months by the Irish Chess Union. However, the adult who found him in the bathroom and accused him of cheating (who was also the teen’s opponent) was banned from all activities for 10 months.

Legislators in South Carolina are considering a bill that would legalize games played by clubs and social groups in homes and community centers. Strict reading of a still-on-the-books 1802 law forbids all games involving cards or dice. In fact, just last May a retirement community banned Bridge and Canasta groups from meeting rooms after being warned by state police that the games were illegal. But not everyone supports the bill. Some are concerned that changes to the law may inadvertently legalize gambling. In response, the state senator who sponsored the bill has threatened to sue and have the whole gaming law thrown out if his more careful revisions aren’t passed.

An underground Poker club in New York City was raided by police and is also being sued by the city. The lead organizer of the club (who was present during the raid but escaped arrest) told a reporter that the club would continue because the potential earnings outweighed any risk of misdemeanor charges for promoting gambling.

Police in China broke up a con operation that would drug business men from Tongxiang and then convince them that they had lost money playing Mahjong. One man racked up debts of 2 million Yuan.

Hasbro finds itself the subject of a lawsuit over the abandonment of the National Scrabble Association. John D. Williams claims that in return for promoting the game and running tournaments, the publisher agreed to pay him $10,000 for each 1 percent increase in Scrabble’s sales. In court papers, he asks for $1 million and states that Hasbro has sold 150 million Scrabble games since 1982.

The Wilbraham, Massachusetts Board of Appeals denied Michael Farnham a permit to open a game store. However, board members indicated that it wasn’t the CCGs and RPGs they were concerned about, but rather the swords, knives, and paintball guns that Farnham also planned to sell there.

Two Germans are being stripped of their gold medals from the last world championship Bridge match. A recently concluded investigation by the World Bridge Federation, found that the two had surreptitiously communicated by coded coughs. In addition to losing their medals, the two men have been prohibited from partnering for life, and from playing even separately in any WBF tournament for 10 years.

Spin Master is suing two factories in China for making knockoffs of Flutterbye Fairy.

In Changning, China, a man was stabbed to death at a Mahjong and Chess parlor. Police have not caught the perpetrator but believe the incident started as an argument over a debt.

Two friends leaving a Chess match in Dallas were attacked by a man with a knife.

A professional Poker player was found beaten to death in his London home, just after an evening in which he had won £3,000 at a local casino. Robbery is the suspected motive, though there was no evidence of forced entry.

The BBC caused an uproar when characters in Jonathan Creek, a detective television show, used a derogatory term for people of color in an on-screen game of Scrabble.

Though Slide Martins (homeless and real name, Brian Glide) of Cambridge, UK thought that offering to play Chess with strangers would keep him from running afoul of the law, he was nevertheless convicted of begging… and also of urinating on a church building in public view. On the streets, he is accompanied by his dogs, Check and Mate.

The Parliament of Paraguay has passed a law requiring that Chess be taught in all basic and secondary schools.

A man was shot at a Dominoes game in front of someone’s home in Savannah. His injuries are not life threatening. A man shot while playing Dominoes in front of a home in Ft. Lauderdale, however, was killed. At least the perpetrator in the latter case was found and arrested.

Lincoln, Nebraska’s second murder of the year started with an argument over a dice game.

In San Francisco, seven people were shot during an argument at a street dice game. All survived.

When police in Syracuse broke up a street dice game, one teenage player ran, dropping a handgun. He was arrested after a short foot-chase and struggle.

In Texas, a man with a previous conviction was sentenced to 53 years in prison for breaking the jaw of a rival gang member and stealing his money at a dice game.

A Chicago man was sentenced to 75 years in prison for shooting another man in the back of the head while the two were leaving a dice game in 2011.

A Memphis man was sentenced to life in prison for killing another man in a dispute over multiple dice games.

Nashville police arrested a man for a dice game shooting that took place last September.

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesHappenate is giving away board game packages to three people who use the service to start a board game get-together—Pandemic, Sentinels of the Multiverse, and Mice and Mystics.

For 20% off purchases at Toys “R” Us online use coupon code “FRIEND20“. For discounts in-store, print this coupon.

Troll In The Corner is giving away three copies of Village Idiot.

Nordic Larp, the book that received the 2012 Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming, is now available in digital form for free.

Atlas Games is giving away 20 copies of the TableTop Gloom Expansion to people who can’t attend International TableTop Day events.

The Army Painter is giving away one of everything, it’s whole line of miniature painting tools.

Enter for a chance to win tickets to GSummit San Francisco (gamification).

David Trampier Has Passed Away

AD&D Player's HandbookDavid Trampier, artist, game designer, and man of mystery, died Monday at the age of 59 in Carbondale, Illinois. Trampier’s art was all over early versions of Dungeons & Dragons. His cover for the AD&D Players Handbook inspired untold numbers of gamers.

Trampier also co-designed the board game Titan and drew my favorite comic strip of all-time, Wormy.

WormyUnfortunately, Trampier had a falling-out with TSR in the 1980s, after which he separated himself from the game industry and refused all attempts at contact. A thawing of that relationship seemed to be in the works in recent years but that was put on hold when he fell ill.


CorporiaCorporia is an urban fantasy RPG that imagines reborn Arthurian knights fighting evil in the form of mega-corporations and chaos magic. Spells, ancient melee weapons, and for good measure, cyberpunk-style hacking all make an appearance.

In terms of mechanics, the game features stats, skills, character archetypes, and a 2d6-based task resolution system. The book’s art consists mostly of modern photographs.

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