Challenge Games

Last year we got mouth guard and bottle flipping games. So what new games inspired by social media do we have for this year?

Based on the whisper or lip-reading challenge, Hasbro has for us Hearing Things ($15). In the box is a set of headphones that plays garbled sounds of people speaking, thus masking the sounds of actual people speaking when they read phrases off the included cards. Otherwise, game play is the same.

From Hasbro and Mattel both we have no-thumbs challenge games. Hasbro’s is called Get a Grip ($20) and comes with four cloth wraps to immobilize players’ thumbs, 60 challenge cards, two cans of sculpting clay, and two drawing pads. Mattel’s is called simply No Thumbs Challenge ($20) and comes with 56 cards (112 challenges) and eight plastic thumb straps, each with a silly plastic thumb unhelpfully sticking out to the side (but for safety, a player’s actual thumb is held securely to the palm). In either case, the goal is to complete the task as best one can without the benefit of an important evolutionary trait, opposable thumbs.

BattleClaw

BattleClaw is Mattel’s latest entry in to the cartoon/collectible-toy-battle-game genre. The property originates in China, where it launched late last year, and is now arriving in North America with videos on YouTube and products at Toys “R” Us.

The BattleClaw story is one of a teenage boy (natch) who, following a prophesy, takes up a combat sport involving trapping elemental creatures and sending larger beasts in to battle, as a way to fight off a supernatural evil.

BattleClaw, the game, has players using claw-like grabbers to snag little plastic animal figures (the elemental-aligned Jinlin) needed to power beast cards. The beast cards, sometimes with the help of action cards, are then used to attack one’s opponent. A beast requires two Jinlin matching the elements on the card to power an attack and two more to revive from being tapped after it has attacked. Players can also use captured Jinlin to power-up an attack or draw extra cards. The first person to defeat four of an opponent’s beasts is the winner.

From the collectible perspective, there are several styles of grabbers, Jinlin that vary in shape and color, and already 115 different beast and action cards. Players build their own deck of cards for each game, and also contribute their own selection of Jinlin to the central play space.

BattleClaw is available in $10 Starter Packs, $15 Tournament Packs, and $20 2-Player Battle Packs.

Coco Movie Games

Disney Pixar’s Coco movie opens in a couple of weeks. Two Coco card games are available now.

There’s Coco Remember Me from USAopoly, which is a traditional Lotería game illustrated with images from the movie. Lotería, common in Mexico, is pretty much the same as Bingo but with pictures instead of numbers, and cards instead of balls or other drawing lots.

From Mattel there’s Coco Uno. Gameplay is mostly unchanged. However, the deck does include a Remember Me card. Throwing that down forces the next person to draw three cards unless they can identify from memory the previous two cards played.

My Little Pony Movie Games

With My Little Pony: The Movie in theaters, it’s time for the licensed games in stores.

There are, of course, Hasbro’s My Little Pony: The Movie Monopoly Junior ($17), My Little Pony: The Movie Guess Who ($17), My Little Pony: The Movie Pie Face ($20), and My Little Pony: The Movie Candyland ($20), all available now, the first three exclusively at Toys “R” Us.

Releasing to retail November 24th is Seaquestria & Beyond, the ninth set for the My Little Pony CCG from EnterPlay. It adds new keywords, Traveler and Transform, new Mane characters, and elements from the movie, such as the Friendship Festival and The Storm King’s reign of terror. Single packs with 12 cards will be $3.49.

And then there’s The Official Movie Sourcebook ($20) due later this year for Tails of Equestria, the My Little Pony roleplaying game from River Horse. With this, players get new playable races (cats, parrots, hippogriffs, and lizardfolk), NPC stats from the movie, a new adventure, details for areas outside of Equestria, and rule options for factions, reputation, and vehicles.

 

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.

Xanathar’s Giveaway

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, the first major expansion to Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition, releases in game stores next Friday, November 10th, and to general retail November 21st. The book contains a variety of resources for both players and Dungeon Masters—among them new character class options, spells, and racial feats for players; magic items, encounter guidelines, and downtime activities for the DM.

Though I haven’t had an opportunity to study it in detail yet, Wizards of the Coast was kind enough to send me an advance copy. In fact, they sent me two! One is the standard edition, the other a beautiful alternative art cover (the one on the right) that will only be available through local game stores. But what do I need with two?

So while I’m reading through the book this weekend, leave a comment below with the name, race, and class of your favorite D&D character for a chance to win my extra book.

Leave your comment by Monday (November 6th) at noon Eastern Time. Sometime that afternoon, I’ll choose someone at random and contact them by email for a shipping address (U.S. only). Keep a watch out for the email. You’ll have 24 hours to respond before I choose someone else.

Good luck! You could have a copy of Xanathar’s Guide to Everything before it’s available in stores.

Update: The deadline has passed. Comments are closed. No more entries. I will select on contact the winner shortly.

Update: The winner was Grant and I’ve shipped out his book already. Thank you everyone for participating. I loved reading those character stories!

Though summer is generally considered the height of convention season, fall too provides some great opportunities for game events in the United States.

Several run through the upcoming weekend. Perhaps the biggest, certainly the most elaborate, is Play Fair, a consumer toy and game show Saturday and Sunday in New York City. At Play Fair, families will find demonstrations, activities, and character appearances from some of the largest brands. Look for a world-record slime, drone races, life-sized games, virtual-reality opportunities, and more. Tickets are generally $30 per person for a 4 hour session but a discount code (“TOYASSOCEMP5“) shared with us by the Toy Association will give you $5 off per ticket.

EuroQuest, an event put on by the Games Club of Maryland, begins Wednesday in Pikesville (just outside Baltimore). Featuring board game tournaments and an active and friendly open game room, EuroQuest is also a good place to catch some of the hot releases from Essen Spiel on this side of the Atlantic.

Gamehole Con, Thursday through Sunday (November 2-5) in Madison, Wisconsin, hosts nearly 2,000 scheduled events covering all types of tabletop games, including the live action True Dungeon.

Also starting Thursday (in Morristown, New Jersey), Metatopia is a convention for game designers, with scheduled playtests, seminars, and panel discussions. Gamers who haven’t yet been hit with the design bug are also welcome, to help with playtesting.

Friday through Sunday in Lancaster, Pennsylvania is Fall-In, which focuses on historical miniatures gaming. There’ll be tournaments and scheduled games for a wide range of periods and systems. Also, dozens of classes on painting and terrain-making.

Another war game-focused event follows the next weekend, Friday-Sunday (November 10-12). That is the San Diego Historical Games Convention, where in addition to open gaming and scheduled miniatures, attendees have access to a number of play-with-the-designer events, a large game raffle, and free table space in the flea market.

Con on the Cob takes place the following weekend (November 9-12) in Richfield, Ohio. This one includes all types of analog games, along with a healthy dose of art, music and comedy performances, cosplay, and partying.

Then just before Thanksgiving we get three major conventions all on the same weekend! BGG.Con November 15-19 in Dallas is sponsored by the Board Game Geek website. Its big draw is a large open gaming room and a library of hot new titles but unfortunately it’s been sold out for a while.

ChiTAG is an event in two parts. There’s the consumer show, the Chicago Toy & Game Fair, Saturday and Sunday (November 18 &19), with many large and small exhibitors welcoming the public to play. There’s also the Chicago Toy & Game Week track of professional conferences and networking events that begin on Thursday (November 16), such as meetings for inventors and educators and the TAGIE Awards Gala. A special part of ChiTAG is the Young Inventor Challenge, a design contest for children ages 6-18. Prizes include over $10,000 in scholarships. For tickets to the consumer show, discounts of 50% are available through Groupon.

Finally, there’s PAX Unplugged November 17-19 in Philadelphia, where you might find me some part of the weekend. PAX Unplugged is a new convention from the organizers of PAX West, PAX East, etc. The series might be described as fandom events but this one is specifically focused on tabletop games. In its first year, it’s already seeing strong support from hobby game publishers. There’ll be a keynote address from the president of Wizards of the Coast, live performance Dungeons & Dragons games (Dice, Camera, Action! and Acquisitions, Inc.), open gaming, vendors, lots of board and card game tournaments, and a variety of panel discussions.

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesFat Brain Toys is celebrating 15 years in business with a promo code for 15% off: “PT-3967”.

Twist Gaming is giving away Millennium Blades from Level 99 Games and accessories for Kingdom Death Monster.

Daddy Stinks is giving away (appropriately) Gassy Cow from Drumond Park (UK).

Through Monday, Victory in Europe is 30% off direct from Columbia Games.

ACD Distribution is giving away Expedition: The Roleplaying Card Game from Fabricate.

Miniature Market is giving away Mansions of Madness from Fantasy Flight Games but only members of the Board Game Revolution Facebook group are eligible to win.

Rock Manor Games is giving away Brass Empire and its expansion soon to launch on Kickstarter, New Canton.

Buy one, get one 40% off all Pokemon cards and construction sets from Toys “R” Us, in-store only.

The Game Doctors is giving away board game inserts and accessories.

Pinnacle Entertainment (Savage Worlds, Deadlands) is starting its Holiday Sale early.

Medieval gothic horror RPG, Shadows of Esteren reappears on Bundle of Holding with the original offer resurrected from 2016 and a new one, Esteren +2, with the latest supplements, soundtracks, and a recipe.

Unfiltered Gamer is giving away 7th Continent from Serious Poulp and Story Bowl from Entrance Labs.

BoardGame Stories is giving away Valley of the Alchemists from Creativemaker, Monster Lands from Second Gate, three copies of Too Many Bones: Undertow from Chip Theory Games, three copies of OKKO Chronicles from Red Joker, and Gloom of Kilforth from Tristan Hall. All these are actually project currently up on Kickstarter, so to win the prize, the project must fund and deliver.

The Soup Dragon is giving away Mysterium from Esdevium (UK).

Stranger Things Board Games

In time for the second season, Hasbro has three new Stranger Things board games exclusively at Target.

In the Stranger Things Eggo Card Game (“Fortified with Eleven’s vitamins!”) players try to get rid of all their Eggo cards before the Demogorgon attacks. Depending on the card they play, they may switch between the Right Side Up and the Upside Down, cause other players to draw cards, reverse the turn order, or summon the Demogorgon.

Stranger Things Monopoly has players buying, selling, and trading locations and vehicles from the town of Hawkins while searching for Will Byers. It comes with two sets of tokens, one Right Side Up and one Upside Down.

Ouija: Stranger Things Edition links players to the Upside Down with letters highlighted by Christmas lights.

The Asmodee Group today launched new branding consisting of a new logo, new motto—”Great Games, Amazing Stories”—and new corporate website. The company described the changes as…

An expression of Asmodee’s ambition to offer a narrative transmedia experience around its intellectual properties, while continuing to develop and expand its premium physical and digital games catalogue.

After a series of acquisitions that’s united major game properties and design studios under the Asmodee umbrella, the company looks to be taking steps toward a broader business strategy. As an example, the company on the same day separately announced the formation of Fantasy Flight Interactive, a digital development studio “not just adapting tabletop games, but creating fresh, new digital experiences based on Fantasy Flight Games’ beloved brands.”

It was also recently reported by Variety that Sony Pictures is in negotiations to acquire the film rights to Catan from producer Gail Katz, with potential plans for a series. It’s not clear, however, what Asmodee’s role might be in those plans, as Katz’s acquisition of the movie rights dates back to 2015.

Asmodee’s new logo is meant to focus on the company’s B2B position in the industry. Branding for the group’s various publishing studios (Fantasy Flight Games, HeidelBear, Asmodee Studio, Space Cowboys, Days of Wonder, Plaid Hat Games, Ystari, Z-Man Games, and Pearl Games) will not change.

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