Gran Prix International

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.

Epic Nerd CampCafe Mahjong in Moscow, Russia offers selections from a variety of Asian cuisines, as well as Mahjong sets to play at the table and even lessons for those new to the game.

Epic Nerd Camp is a summer camp for adults in the Pocono Mountains. Among the many activities it offers to campers is gaming—lots of gaming.

The owners of two laser-tag and mini-golf centers in Cincinnati are getting in to board games, opening The Rook board game bar in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Borrowing one of their 800 games is free as long as you’re drinking.

Tiki Tiki Board Games of Woodbury, New Jersey is relocating to the historic Polsky’s building. The new space’s 5,800 square feet (Tiki Tiki’s current store in 1,400) will be shared with Luke & Cade’s Toy Chest.

Two friends who met online are opening the first board game cafe in Bristol, U.K., Chance & Counters. They’re getting custom made gaming tables with out-of-the-way storage space for boxes and other bits.

Fellow Pawn, Robert, is blessed with two new game shops near his home in Connecticut, Games In Real Life and Silver Eagle Games.

Club Sosay in Paddington, near Brisbane, is a board game cafe that took over space from a wine bar. The chef’s specialties include South American empanadas. A second location for the cafe is already in the works.

Eastern-Mediterranean restaurant, Tawla, recently opened in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco, offers patrons Backgammon sets to play while they wait for their food to appear.

Soon to open in Lafayette, Indiana is board game cafe, Merlin’s Beard.

Amazon’s new Handmade marketplace includes a Games section, where you can find such things as a Bubinga wood Cribbage board and hand painted 25 mm fantasy miniatures.

Game Exchange BoxA brother and sister pair, 10 year-old Liam and 8 year-old Claire Goodowens, have set up three Game Exchange Boxes around Winter Park, Florida. The repurposed newspaper boxes are stocked with board games free for the taking, though leaving one of your favorites for the next person to enjoy is the general idea.

The general manager of Kimpton’s new Mason & Rook Hotel in Washington, D.C. holds weekly game nights with guests.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesAll Bridge books are on-sale for 25-75% off at The Bridge World.

Two Malhavoc Press deals are running simultaneously at Bundle of Holding, one with Ptolus and one with Arcana Evolved. Another deal at the site is for the water-world-set Blue Planet.

Sign up for AEG’s email list for a chance to win one of three copies of Mystic Vale.

Tinkerbot Games is raffling off the opportunity to be featured as a character on one of the cards in the company’s upcoming game, Ghostel. Half the $5 price of each ticket goes to charity.

The Giveaway Geek is giving away FAITH: A Garden in Hell from Burning Games and (separately) Cosmic Encounter from Fantasy Flight Games.

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesAn inmate at the Dane County Jail in Madison, Wisconsin used a shiv made from a Scrabble game letter tray to threaten a deputy and lock him in a cell.

SCS Direct, publisher of the Humanity Hates Trump card game, is suing Cards Against Humanity for blocking the former’s Kickstarter project. According to SCS, the company made a number of changes to accommodate CAH but remaining at-contention is the black-and-white color scheme for cards.

The conflict over the Villains & Vigilantes RPG has finally been resolved with a settlement of the case that allows Jeff Dee and Jack Herman to publish the game while citing Scott Bizar as trademark owner.

Two class-action lawsuits were filed against Wizards of the Coast, claiming that Magic: The Gathering judges are employees entitled to wages, breaks, and other benefits. WOTC, of course, disagrees. Shortly thereafter, the company announced a restructuring of payments to participants in its professional tournaments, reducing Pro Tour appearance fees and increasing the prize pool for World Championships. A few thought the move might be connected to the lawsuits. Many thought it unfair, coming as it did in the middle of a season where players had already spent considerable money and effort trying to qualify for the payments. Just 2 days later, WOTC acknowledged the change a mistake and reversed its decision.

A former chairman of the Local Water Utilities Administration in Manila has been indicted for improperly funneling 1.5 million pesos to the National Chess Federation of the Philippines. The money was designated for a tournament but according to prosecutors, the utility had no business sponsoring such events. Instead, they say the gift was a result of the chairman’s personal connection to the organization, which had agreed to name the tournament in his honor.

Several FIDE-affiliated individuals and corporations, including Anatoly Karpov, David Kaplan, Chess Lane, Chess News Agency, and the late Bobby Fischer, have been mentioned in the Panama Papers. The Russian Chess Federation sent me an email to let me know that the Andrey Filatov mentioned was not its president.

FIDE has suspended the Ukranian Chess Federation for failing to pay the world body its fees for the Women’s World Championship held in Lviv. This prevents players associated with the Ukranian federation from participating in any tournament that leads to either the World Championship or Olympiads, and it means that their rating numbers have been removed from FIDE’s official rosters (and website).

Someone has been trying to con board game companies out of free copies, claiming games were stolen from his car and asking the companies to replace them. In fact, it appears that he may have never have owned them in the first place.

In Chongqing, China, a 6 year old boy died after falling from his family’s 21st floor apartment while his mother was out playing Mahjong.

Also in Chongqing, an 11 year old girl twice within 3 days lodged complaints with police that her father was too obsessed with Mahjong to stay home and take care of her. After the second time, she refused to go home with him and was picked up by an uncle. The father admitted that he enjoyed Mahjong and was hoping that his ex-wife would take the girl.

For the first time, Japan has granted work visas to e-sports professionals. Two video game players from Korea were awarded category 3 entertainment visas, the same given to professional athletes.

However, the Japanese magazine, BUBKA, criticized paid professional gamers and said that playing Magic: The Gathering is childish and Shogi a waste of time.

As I reported last month, a longstanding Chess group was told by mall management not to play any more in the food court of the Park Royal Shopping Centre in West Vancouver, British Columbia. Since then, local support, including a telephone call to mall management from West Vancouver’s mayor, an offer for alternative play space from a grocery store and a restaurant, and a planned a sit-in by a local church, has the mall backing off total eviction. A new designated Chess space will be provided in the mall, just not in the food court.

Not far away, in Sechelt, BC, another group of Chess players was evicted from the public restaurant of the private Sunshine Golf and Country Club.

Responding to an FBI probe of possible corruption in the New York City police department, two officials claimed that they paid a businessman back for travel expenses by purchasing him a $5,000 backgammon set.

Cellbrite, the Israel-based digital forensics company that helped the FBI crack the iPhone belonging to the attackers in San Bernardino, California, is actually a subsidiary of a Japanese company that makes Pachinko equipment.

A backpack with a sizeable collection of valuable Magic: The Gathering cards was stolen at Grand Prix New York. But police got a pic of the culprit off surveillance video.

Ax murder at a Dominoes game—except the murder wasn’t about the game but rather over a $50 lottery ticket.

A San Francisco police officer claimed that the man he arrested for carrying a gun was playing dice on the street, then ran when approached. Video from a nearby security camera shows otherwise.

Noticing a lack of professional affiliations for the female characters in Clue (A.K.A. Cluedo), while the male characters include a professor and a colonel, John Chaneski posted online a petition that asks Hasbro to change Mrs. White to Dr. White.

A con-man pretending to be the director of a provincial development committee in China would bet big at a Mahjong parlor to impress his potential marks. The thing is, the man forgot that his assumed identity was fake and started telling his family and police that he was part of the committee.

A Federal Circuit Court judge in Australia has ordered the Tiy Loy Mahjong club in Sydney to pay more than $50,000 in penalties and $400,000 in compensation for reducing a tea-server’s working hours after he filed a worker’s compensation claim for a leg injury.

A member of the Richmond City Council was caught playing Scrabble on their tablet during an important budget meeting.

One man stabbed another man to death during a dice game in Pretoria, South Africa.

The alleged perpetrator of a dice game shooting in Birmingham, Alabama is being charged with capital murder.

A group of people were playing dice indoors in Kansas City, Missouri, when several others burst in and started shooting. One of the players was hit in the head, another in the leg.

In Memphis, Tennessee, a man sitting on the front porch with his friend was hit by gunfire from two people who had just gotten out of a car arguing about a earlier dice game.

Police in Flint, Michigan arrested 16 people on drugs, guns, and illegal gambling charges after breaking up a dice game in the driveway of an vacant house.

In Vallejo, California, two men, impatient for a third to pay-up after a just-completed dice game, beat him and stole his car while he was on his way to a bank to withdraw money. Police didn’t have any trouble finding them, though. They had taken the car back to the hotel that was the scene of the game.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesGames Workshop is giving away—though an $85 minimum purchase is required—three prize bundles that each include paints and other supplies, terrain, and $3,300 worth of miniatures (winner’s choice).

Everything Board Games is giving away Star Wars Rebellion from Fantasy Flight Games, Blend Off from Thunderworks Games, and two copies of World’s Fair 1893 from Renegade Game Studios.

The Giveaway Geek is giving away Aether Captains from Mage Company and two copies of The Foreign King from Giochix. Also Blood Rage from Minos Games and Codenames from Czech Games Edition, separately but in a single giveaway.

Amazon has Z-Man Games’ The Swarm for 70% off and Skyline 3000 for 89% off.

Eagle Games’ Tracks & Trains Sale features everything rail-related at 25-50% off.

Get every book of the 1990s Castle Falkenstein steampunk RPG for about $20 in the latest Bundle of Holding.

Educational Insights’ games are 20% off at Toys “R” Us.

Use coupon code “MAYRESTOCK” for $5 off Mayday Games’ recently restocked Viceroy, Meteor, and Dead Man’s Draw.

For May, Osprey Publishing is discounting Men-at-Arms and Elite series books 20%.

Fantasy Flight Games’ Anima RPG will be withdrawn from DriveThruRPG on May 16th but until then can be purchased for 30% off.

WizKids is partnering with Star Trek Online to give away prizes that include a Starter Set, Borg Cube, and Weapon Zero for Star Trek: Attack Wing.

Miguel Zavala has offered up for free 300 fantasy miniature models for 3D printing.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesMeeple Source has put a number of products on clearance, including Camo Meeples for 60% off, Giant Meeples for 20% off, Saxon Meeples for 60% off, and Meeple Earrings for 20% off.

For 6 days starting tomorrow, Gypsy Knights Games’ PDF products will be 35% off.

The News Wheel is giving away Monza and Crash Cup Karambolage from HABA.

Get a free gift with purchase direct from Set Enterprises when using promo code “FREE16”.

Bundle of Holding’s latest is for the dystopian superhero RPG, Brave New World.

Sahm Reviews is giving away 10 Down from CSE Games.

Cool Stuff Inc. is running a Mother’s Day Sale.

Diversions Puzzles & GamesThe city of Dunsmuir, California (population 1,500) has a new board game cafe called The Wheel House.

Columbus, Ohio is getting one this summer. Tabletop Game Cafe will specialize in Argentinian empanadas so gamers can play with one hand while eating with the other.

Recently opened Elm City Games in New Haven, Connecticut shares space coffee shop, The Happiness Lab.

The Game Chateau in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania opened in March a stone’s throw from I-81 and therefore a convenient rest stop on my next drive to Central New York. Brother-sister owners Chris Moore and Elle Hammond settled on the cafe concept while investigating the challenging economics of hobby game retail.

An Exeter, U.K. brother-sister pair had a pop-up over one weekend last month but were forced to close it for lack of financing. Now with funding through Kickstarter, they’ve been able to reopen their cafe, simply called “Board“, just a block down the road.

Card Table Republic, recently opened in Davison, Michigan, is a board game lounge, meaning it’s a pay-for-play-space with a 500 game lending library.

Ludorati Cafe in Nottingham, U.K. went for a sophisticated, modern style and hopes to become a tourist attraction.

Diversions Puzzles & Games shop of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is adding a second location, in South Portland, Maine.

Younger’s Turkish Cafe in Hull, U.K. has received permission to stay open until 4:00 AM so that it can host Dominoes and card games.

CT FIG Winners and More

CT FIGYesterday I had the pleasure of attending, and judging at, the first annual Connecticut Festival of Indie games, hosted by Geek Fever Games at Elm City Games in New Haven, CT. Jason Miceli of GeekFever served as MC and organizer, while Matt Loter of Elm City Games (and Prettiest Princess Games) was the overly enthusiastic, yet charming, host.
The day was full of gaming, with loads of indie game developers showing off their designs to a building full of attendees. Every nook and cranny was filled with booths, and a lot of laughter good times were had all around. It was hard to believe when 4:00pm rolled around and it was time for the judges to meet and pick their favorite games in each category. It took about an hour of deliberation, but the winners were announced shortly after 5:00pm.

Best Artwork:
Dragoon, Lay Waste Games

Best 1st Impression:
Moon Quake Escape, Pair of Jacks

Most Innovative:
Depths of Durangrar, Creative Cove Games

Most Spirit:
Oh My Gods, Gameworthy Labs

Best in Show:  
Dragoon, Lay Waste Games

Best in Show runner-up: Guardians of AsunDur, DPH Studioz
Best in Show runner-up: Grab the Booty, Counter Meta Games
Best in Show runner-up: Originz the Superpowered Card Game, Flavor Faction

I’d like to congratulate all the winners. Competition was tough, and there was a lot of great games shown at the festival. CT FIG was a huge success, and I can’t wait until next year’s festival to see what it brings.

I’ll have some more coverage of what I saw at the show soon, so keep a look out.

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paxeast2Every year I go to PAX East I make sure to stop by the Geek Chic booth to torture myself. Their tables are absolutely gorgeous, and way out of my price range. That is, until now. Their latest table, The Drop Ship, is a pre-made budget table in their line of wondrous gaming tables. While still a good amount of money ($1600 + $200 shipping), the Drop Ship falls in line with a lot of dining room tables I’ve seen.

The tables features include:

• Choice of Hardwood (Cherry, Maple, or Walnut)
• Game Vault System
• Lightweight Vault Lid (dual sided)
• Geek Chic Roll-Out Game Layer
• 29 ½” leg height
• Rail System
• 4 Locking Cupholders (with new solid brass slide-lock mechanism!)
• Suction cup to lift the vault lid and clear acrylic layer

There may just be a Geek Chic table in my future after all!

Drop Ship

Pax East 2016 – Catalyst Game Labs

paxeast2Catalyst always has a table full of amazing looking books, miniatures, and games. This year there were several new products they were showing off. Three Shadowrun 5th Edition sourcebooks, and three tabletop games. Dragons, Deckers, Vikings, and more.

Shadowrun: Hard Targets

Hard Targets is a book about death. It’s got wetworks, gear, and tactical info. It also contains adventure hooks for an in-depth look at the city of Havana in the Caribbean League, a political and criminal hotspot that lends itself to all sorts of wetwork jobs.

Shadowrun: Data Trails

Decker’s delight in this sourcebook. Technomancer’s too. This book is all about the Matrix and the flow of information. There’s even a section in here for non-Matrix users, and how their actions can effect the digital world.

Shadowrun: Rigger 6.0

Vehicles. Jets, boats, and hot rods. This book is jam packed with everything a Rigger could desire, including detailed rules on vehicular combat.

Wrath of Dragons

Forget resource management. Wrath of Dragons is a resource destruction game. Players each control a dragon that constantly pillages and destroys various regions every century. The game features resource destruction, card drafting, and dragon leveling. I had a chance to play this one, and it was a ton of fun. I’ll have a more detailed review in the near future, but for now you can check out the rules here.


Based off the hit show on The History Channel, Vikings is a game of pillaging and plundering with all your favorite heroes from the show. Gather your resources in the Winter for your Summer raids.


Another game in the Vikings universe, Jarl is a tile laying, strategy game where the goal is to capture your opponent’s Jarl. Pieces move as indicated on their tile, and every time you move a tile it’s flipped, revealing a different move set.

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Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesTwo earlier Torg deals have returned to Bundle of Holding, Torg 1 for rulebooks and “essential guides”, Torg 2 for worldbooks and adventures.

Lots and lots of D&D 5e products are on-sale 25% off at DriveThruRPG.

I just learned that GMT has a Specials web page where the company lists sale prices on overstocked games. Check out Blackbeard at 42% off and Manoeuver at 47% off.

Club Fantasci is giving away a card carrying case from Quiver Time.

Columbia Games is offering free shipping with orders over $99.


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