Mole Rats in Space


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.


Play Library, which started with a popup in the Globe Gallery, Cincinnati, opened last week at a permanent location in Over-the-Rhine. Games can be played on-site for free or they can be checked out and taken home with a paid membership. The cost depends on the number of games a member wishes to check out at the same time. Play Library is also seeking sponsors for low-income memberships.

After hosting a series of Magic: The Gathering tournaments in a local coffee shop, Dice City Games wants to open an all-around geeky shop in Wheaton, Maryland. [Hey, that’s just up the street from my house!] The proprietors are seeking support via Indiegogo and have already built up some inventory tabletop games, videos, video games, vinyl albums, and pop-culture doodads.

Kingmakers of Columbus has opened a second location in Indianapolis. It’s a board game lounge that serves drinks and charges $5 for access to the game library.

Board game cafe Well Played opens this weekend in Asheville, North Carolina. The space fits over 100 people. The fare is updated kid food—house-made hot pockets, fresh-baked cookies, mason-jar puddings, grilled cheese, and charcuterie made to look like Lunchables.

Games Inn, a shop which launched four years ago in Hobart, Indiana, has opened Dark Ground Cafe. The attached dining option will focus on healthy dishes and ramen noodles.

South Hill Games recently opened in South Hill, Washington. Though trying to stay small, the shop still has some play space in the back.

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesThe latest deal at Bundle of Holding is for Traveller20, the d20 adaptation of Traveller and a fantastic resource for any version of the game. The Player’s Collection is priced at $12.95 and is already a pretty good deal but it’s the Referee’s Collection that really ramps up the value, which starting at $27 includes the full rule set, several setting books, more starship guides, separate adventures, and a campaign book.

For the month of March, Academy Games is bundling Fief, the Fief Expansions Pack, and Fief Buildings Pack for $130.

Dog Might Games is offering free worldwide shipping on all its wood boxes and trays this week only. It’s also giving away a $180 flaming birch Adventure Case on April 1st.

Apps from Asmodee Digital are on-sale at discounts of up to 60% for the next several days. Ticket To Ride, Small World 2, Splendor, Mysterium, Potion Explosion, Pandemic, and Colt Express are all included (Android, iOS, and PC), as are even some in-app purchases. Mysterium on Steam and in-app Ticket to Ride USA 1910 are excluded, however.

Until the launch of Mora Games’ crowdfunding project, the company is collecting email addresses for a giveaway of three copies of Wages of War.

Susan Polgar’s The Polgar Method of video Chess lessons is 60% off.

With Passover approaching, Amazon has a coupon for an additional 15% off TorahLine from 613 Games.

Other Amazon deals:

Savage World Bennies are 15% off direct from Pinnacle Entertainment.

EverythingBoardGames is giving away The Village Crone from Fireside Games and, along with the Crazy Like a Box Board Game Community, is giving away one-year memberships and a copy of Rising Sun (currently on Kickstarter).

Hasbro’s Toilet Trouble and Fantastic Gymnastics are $2 off at Toys “R” Us.

For the game’s 15th anniversary, Spectrum Games has a complete bundle of Cartoon Action Hour ebooks for 80% off.

March Madness means 30% off on basketball products from Strat-O-Matic. And the start of spring training means 25% off on card sets for select baseball seasons.

The prices on printed versions of the Ghastly Affair Player’s Manual and Ghastly Affair Presenter’s Manual have been reduced $5.

Complete ThinkFun’s customer survey to be entered in every future monthly giveaway by the company. And don’t forget to mention Purple Pawn as one of your sources for information.

Starfinder RPG Update

With the launch date for Paizo’s Starfinder Roleplaying Game approaching this summer, the company has revealed some additional detail regarding the products being released. Starfinder is a science-fantasy game based on the Pathfinder RPG, set in space, and compatible but stand-alone.

The initial slate of Starfinder releases scheduled for Gen Con will include a Core Rulebook ($60), GM Screen ($20), and Player Character Folio ($10). Also available at the same time will be the first part of a Starfinder Adventure Path, Incident at Absalom Station ($23), as well as the usual adventure path accessories, a pawn collection ($25) and flip mats ($15-20). The core rulebook runs 560 pages and includes several new races, seven classes (technomancer, mechanic, soldier, envoy, operative, mystic, and solarion), science-fantasy equipment, spells, and rules for starship construction and combat.

Following in September will be Starfinder Condition Cards ($13). In October will be Starfinder Alien Archive ($40) with rules for both creatures as adversaries and creatures as player-characters.

Paizo also has in the works a Starfinder organized play program. The Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild will be separate from but similar to the Pathfinder Society—the major difference being that Starfinder characters will be able to be members of more than one faction at a time, sort of like multi-classing.

To accommodate third-party products, Paizo has already published a Starfinder Compatibility License. It’s also licensed Syrinscape to produce official Starfinder sound-effects and is working with Ninja Division on Starfinder prepainted miniatures.

Official Dungeons & Dragons Digital Tools, Take 2

On its way is D&D Beyond, a new official digital toolset for Dungeons & Dragons. Wizards of the Coast is partnering on development of the product with Curse Entertainment, a subsidiary of Twitch. D&D Beyond will provide an electronic rules compendium, character builder, character sheets, monster tracking, and other services.

Access to SRD content and the ability to maintain some small number of characters will be possible with a free account. For more than that, Curse says there’ll be “flexible purchase options” allowing users to “pay only for the D&D content you need.” For example, a player might purchase only the options related to particular race and class selections. Alternatively, a monthly subscription will allow broader access, the ability to manage more characters, and the possibility of integrating “homebrew content.”

D&D Beyond is not WOTC’s first go at digital tools for 5th Edition. An earlier project with Trapdoor Technologies, DungeonScape, was cancelled in 2014.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesJon Brazer Enterprises has bundled up every one of its Pathfinder ebooks (that’s more than 60 products) and is selling the package at a 90% discount.

For $5 off purchases of over $35 from Fat Brain Toys, use promo code “RO-2429”.

For 15% off “most items” from Hasbro Toy Shop, use promo code “SPRING17”.

And for 20% off Spin Master’s Toy of the Year winners and finalists (excluding Hatchimals), use promo code “TOTY20”.

Chanegling: The Lost makes an appearance at Bundle of Holding. The Player’s Collection is $17.95 and includes the World of Darkness rulebook, Changeling: The Lost, and three other sourcebooks. At the threshold price of $29, six more books are added.

Amazon deals:

EverythingBoardGames is giving away The Refuge from B&B Game Studios and Castle Dukes from Medieval Lords.

Flying Pig Games has Night of Man on-sale for 25% off.

For baseball’s spring training, Strat-O-Matic is offering 25% off select seasons of cards.

Toy Fair 2017—WizKids

WizKids has a packed booth at Toy Fair with lots of items from their Dungeons & Dragons line on display as well as more Heroclix items and some standalone games.

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the wall of unpainted Dungeons & Dragons miniatures. In the first wave of miniatures (this month, $2.99 each), sixty different miniature packs are available with some coming in with multiple figures. Also planned: Pathfinder miniatures! (No date or price on those as of yet!)

But if you like painted miniatures, they’ve got you covered with the Adventurer’s Campsite as part of the Icons of the Realms’ Monster Menagerie II line. This $50 box comes with a painted covered wagon, two saddled horses, three treasure chests, two kegs (of course), and all the little things: sacks, camp fires, bedrolls, spellbooks, scrolls, bags of holding…

And just released the day of the show, Assault of the Giants. This newest entry into the line of D&D boardgames comes in a standard edition for $80 or a premium edition with fully-painted miniatures for $130.

Coming soon in Heroclix are two new lines: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Return and Marvel’s Deadpool & X-Force. TMNT will come in blind bags for $3 each. Deadpool & X-Force will be available in a brick of boosters for $130, which is probably your best bet at obtaining that Deadpool riding the unicorn ultra-rare piece (one is available in approximately every four cases).

Recreating a classic oversized comic book I had when I was a kid, the Heroclix Superman vs. Muhammad Ali set comes with a boxing ring, the greatest, and a Superman wearing boxing gloves. Debuting in March, this set will retail for $50.

Three new games were also shown: The Banishing, Tower of London, and Tournament at Camelot. Relasing in March, the Banishing is a difficult strategy cooperative game where you’re banishing creatures. Tower of London is a zone control game available in April. Tournament at Camelot, a May release, is a trick-taking game with box artwork inspired from illuminated manuscripts. All three games will retail for $20.

Attending PAX East and want to know who is exhibiting at what tables? We’ve been given the list of exhibitors in the tabletop hall, which currently do not show up in the Guidebook app, the only version of the program and show’s floorplan available.

The tabletop booths will be along the right (north) edge of the space, near the skybridge. From the main Queue Room entrance on up to the Lenovo Legion PC Room, the following companies will have a presence in the tabletop hall:

  • Gamewright, Q-Workshop, Asmodee NA
  • Compleat Strategist (local game store), Steve Jackson Games
  • Battleground Games & Hobbies (local game store), Level Up Dice, Fun to 11, Tectonic Craft Studios
  • CMON, Wyrmwood Gaming
  • Burning Wheel, Japanime/Global Games Distribution, Greenbriar Games
  • Modern Myths NY (“local” game store), Armor Class 10 Shirts
  • Pandemonium Games (local game store), Crit Success, Dragoon/Lay Waste Games
  • Atlas Games, United States Professional Mahjong League
  • Drinking Quest, Aviary Games, SFR
  • AdMagic
  • Greater Than Games
  • Foam Brain Games (“local” game store)

Although the PAX 2017 program book that appears in the Guidebook app doesn’t break down the tabletop hall, PAX’s Tabletop Manager has said that this year a detailed map of the tabletop area will appear in the program.

Gale Force Nine has another Dungeons & Dragons board game in the works. Thieves Guild, scheduled for an October release, will see the players as thieves, competing to complete quests, develop renown, and achieve the highest rank in the thieves guild. The game’s action will be set in the Forgotten Realms with the board a map of Baldur’s Gate.

If you can’t wait for October, Gale Force Nine should also have this April two expansion cards sets for Tyrants of the Underdark, Aberrations and Undead.

Retail Games

Pi Social, a cafe in Karachi, Pakistan, has opened a board game section with a daily cover charge of 329 Rupees (about $3). Customers can also get a free drink for beating the bartender at Connect-4.

At Sanctuary Games, which opened this month in Hutchinson, Minnesota, the owner was going to use a back room for a computer repair business but demand for games has been so strong that he’s keeping it as play space.

After a hiatus of a couple of months, Dragon Tears Gaming is reopening under new management at a new location at the East Pointe Village Shopping Center in Dunn, North Carolina.

Satellite Comics & Games is moving from Chatham, New Jersey to Madison and is dropping comics in the process.

In the barroom of the newly opened The Wooly Public in the Woolworth Building in New York City, the tables are painted with game boards.

Coffee & Dice, a game cafe opening next month in Boscombe, UK, will have custom-built game tables, which feature space underneath to stash game boxes while playing.

The Toy & Miniature Museum of Kansas City has started hosting adult game nights.

Kathleen Miller is raising funds on Kickstarter to open the House Rules Cafe in Hudson, New York.

Experiment 7 is develop, with license from Wizards of the Coast, a Dungeons & Dragons-themed virtual-reality Chess game. Dungeon Chess (for Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift) will feature animated game-play, a variety of environments (like the Yawning Portal tavern), and iconic D&D monsters as Chess pieces (e.g, dragons as kings, beholders as rooks, drow as pawns, and mind-flayers as bishops).

Remote multiplayer and AI opponents will be available.

Release of Dungeon Chess is planned for later this year.

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