Loopin’ Louie, that beloved dexterity game with the airborne chicken-thief, is moving from Hasbro to Spin Master. The new publisher says that gameplay remains exactly the same but Louie’s flying mechanism spins a moderate 15 percent faster to keep up with modern audiences.

Loopin’ Louie from Spin Master will hit retail in August at $20.

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Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesAmazon deals:

A Dragon Age and Fantasy Age bundle at Bundle of Holding includes Fantasy Age in the starter collection and Dragon Age and Titansgrave in the bonus collection.

Starry Knight Press is giving away OSRIC RPG modules. Follow and retweet for a chance to win one of three.

Everything Board Games is giving away Infinities: Defiance of Fate from Vatal Entertainment Studio, two copies of War of Supremecy from Lost Treasure Games, and Robin Hood and the Merry Men from Final Frontier Games.

Roxley Games is giving away four pledge levels to its Dice Throne Kickstarter project and one copy of Santorini Zeus Edition.

Board Game Revolution is giving away a Kickstarter project pledge level to City of Gears from Grey Fox Games.

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Toy Fair 2018—Playmonster

Party games were the focus at Playmonster this year, along with some cute spin-offs of earlier kids games.

Relative Insanity ($25 retail, available now) is a party game written by comedian Jeff Foxworthy. It applies the now-familiar structure of one-player-the-judge and applies it to joke writing with 100 Setup cards and 400 Punch Line cards.

In Dictitious ($25, now) everyone votes on player-submitted definitions for fake words.

Utter Nonsense ($25, now), available in Family and Naughty editions, is a game of accents and special voices in the one-player-the-judge, party-game category. These were previously independently published and Target exclusives but were recently acquired by Playmonster [interesting, considering the company also sells Accentuate].

Chrono Bomb! Night Vision ($30, fall) takes the company’s previously released spy-themed activity game of dodging laser security systems (actually strings tied to timers) and adds UV goggles so kids can play in the dark.

Pass the Pup is a combination of hot-potato and action game. Press the dog’s paw to start the music. Whomever is holding the pup when the music stops must do what it says on the next action card.

Already in-print but now getting a refresh is Don’t Rock the Boat ($22, now), a balancing challenge with pirate penguins. In this new version, the individual penguin figures will represent distinct characters and have different weights.

As a follow-up to the absolutely fantastic Yeti in My Spaghetti, this year Playmonster has Yeti, Set, Go! ($22, summer). Each player gets a yeti and by bopping them on the head, kicks meatballs up the mountain. Points are totaled depending on where the meatballs land. Though not a licensed product, expect some cross-promotion with the movie, Smallfoot, scheduled for September.

And finally, not games but still very cool, Playmonster is adding two more machines to the Marbleocity line, Chaos Mountain and Archimedes Screw ($25 each, spring). They can be hand-cranked or motorized and linked to other elements of the series.

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Toy Fair 2018—Star Wars Toys

Here are a few pictures of Star Wars toys from New York Toy Fair. Not games but I thought you might enjoy them nonetheless, including the Lego Kessel Run Millenium Falcon ($170, April), Hasbro’s Furreal Friends Chewbacca, and the 4 foot long Jabba’s Sail Barge available via HasLab crowdfunding. [Click for even larger images.]

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan has presented that country’s People’s Honor Award to two board game champions, Mr. Yoshiharu Habu and Mr. Yuta Iyama. Habu secured the lifetime Ryou title and is the first to have earned all seven major titles in Shogi, or Japanese Chess. Iyama is ninth-dan ranked in Go and last year secured the seven major Japanese titles of that game for the second time.

The People’s Honor Award has been given now 26 times since 1977, recognizing achievement in sports, entertainment, and culture.

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On display by Games Workshop at New York Toy Fair were two new board games representing an effort by the company to provide a fresh point of entry for “the hobby”. The games, which feature less violent language and imagery and somewhat simplified rules, are being promoted to specialty toy retailers and mid-tier mass-market sellers as a way to expose new players to Games Workshop’s most popular IPs.

Both are planned for release later this year at a price point of around $40-50.

Blitz Bowl is the no-death version of Blood Bowl. It’s still a fantasy, full-contact version of American football, just with less blood and players being “taken out” instead of killed. The concept behind this version is monsters playing a scrimmage game while trying out for the main team.

Blitz Bowl’s rules are streamlined from the original (it’s supposed to play in about 40 minutes). Also, in addition to scoring touchdown’s for the win, completing certain objectives randomly selected each game (for example, three monsters making run actions) unlocks various benefits for the team.

Space Marine Adventures: Labyrinth of the Necrons is a Warhammer 40,000 dungeon crawl with a squad of marines drawn from those troops’ various chapters. The game is cooperative and scenario-based, the first of which is a tutorial and the last of which is a “massive labyrinth adventure” that can be adjusted for difficulty level. Each player gets a plastic space marine figure but the enemy necrons are represented by cardboard tokens.

Inside both game boxes, as alternatives to the standard rule books, are series of cards with instructions that work like game tutorials.

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Following up on its recent launch of the adjustable Beyblade Burst Switchstrike line, Hasbro revealed at New York Toy Fair this week remote control Beys, a multilevel stadium, and the most powerful launcher yet, all to be released in the fall.

Beyblade Burst Digital Control Kits feature Bluetooth-connected tops that allow players to speed-boost their Beyblades mid-battle, switch spin-direction left or right, and initiate an Avatar Attack accompanied by flashing lights. Included in each kit are a Command Launcher, a Battle Platform, and one remote control Beyblade Burst Top (either Valtryek V3 or Fafnir F3) for $40.

The Beyblade Burst Evolution Switchstrike Battle Tower is a two-level battle stadium for two players on one side and a two-level stadium for four players flipped to the other side. For $50 retail, the tower comes with two tops and two launchers.

And for a 50 percent improvement in launch speeds, there’s the Beyblade Burst Xcalius Sword Launcher. It’s part of the Beyblade Burst Evolution Xcalius Set ($20), as is a right-spin Xcalius X3.

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After reporting in its recent financial results an 8 percent revenue growth for the overall gaming category in 2017, Hasbro on Friday said that Dungeons & Dragons sales were up 80 percent. That performance made 2017 the best year for D&D ever.

A new agreement with Paramount will have Hasbro participating to a greater degree in funding its movie franchises but will also provide more reliable release dates. The Dungeons & Dragons movie is scheduled to hit theaters in 2021.

Star Wars revenue was down in 2017 but Hasbro remains positive about the license, saying the decrease represents a transition to more consistent sales, rather than surges tied to individual movie releases. One of the new Star Wars products that the company is planning for this year is a Furreal Friends Chewbaca.

Citing data from NPD,  Hasbro claimed 13 of the top 20 face-to-face games in G10 markets, with Monopoly the number one overall games property.

Online retail accounts for 20 percent of the company’s toy and game sales.

Magic: The Gathering had the best year on record of new player growth.

Hasbro is launching HasLab to “put the power of innovation in the hands of fans.” Actually, HasLab is a crowdfunding platform for premium products not suitable for normal retail channels. The first campaign is for a toy model of Jabba the Hut’s sail barge in the scale of the company’s Star wars Vintage Collection. That makes it over 4 feet long! Five thousand backers at $500 each are required to go to production.

A new Dungeons & Dragons mobile game, Warriors of Waterdeep, is in development by Ludia.

Wizards of the Coast is working on other projects besides just Magic and D&D. The Hasbro subsidiary is developing a Transformers TCG and an Axis & Allies and Zombies board game.

Digital listening is driving development in Hasbro’s gaming category, whether games based on online trends or games designed for online sharing. The company has even put together a “quick strike team” for rapid development and speed to market with social listening.

Hasbro also has weather-targeted games marketing, running additional ads when its raining.

Hasbro sees location-based experiences as a key growth opportunity. This includes live shows, hotels, cruises, and family entertainment centers. Coming soon from Marriott are My Little Pony and Transformers hotels in Shanghai.

The company will launch on Earth Day a partnership with Terracycle to recycle toys and games.

WOTC will soon launch a Magic: The Gathering companion app called Portal, which in addition to a rules reference and life-tracker, will feature a matchmaker of sorts to connect players with new people for face-to-face home games. Netmarble is developing a mobile-to-mobile MtG app.

Hasbro has snagged the master toy license for Power Rangers. Products will begin arriving on shelves in 2019.

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Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesFor a limited time, every print order direct from Goodman Games gets a free vintage copy of Dragon Magazine.

Renegade Game Studios is giving away Byzanz.

Blue Orange Games is giving away a package of Kingdomino and Queendomino. And Board Game Revolution is doing the same.

Use coupon code “rain18” to get Paizo’s Rainy Day Discount of 10% on a single order.

Through the end of the month, $600 of LPJ Design Pathfinder products are available in one 95% off bundle ($30) at DriveThruRPG.

For the relaunch of Button Men, arriving at retail this month, Cheapass Games is giving away multiple copies through an online quiz that matches participants with the game’s criminal masterminds.

Orders placed today from HasbroToyShop ship free with promo code “LOVE2018”.

Also today (ending midnight MST), save 30% on card sleeves from Mayday Games with discount code “chinesenewyear30”.

In recognition of February holidays, Skirmisher Publishing has bundled, at a 90% discount, RPG ebooks representing Valentine’s Day, Black History Month, Chinese New Year, and Presidents Day.

A Traveller: The New Era bundle is available at Bundle of Holding. Just $26 gets you everything.

Alone in the Jungle, Flying Pig Games’ solitaire expansion for ’65 Squad-Level Combat in Vietnam, is 30% off, direct from the company through today.

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Second Look—Munchkin CCG

Launching at retail next week is the Munchkin CCG from Steve Jackson Games. And to jump right away on your first question, no, it’s not just the Munchkin card game in new packaging. The CCG would be better described as Munchkin-inspired. The game features similar humor and artistic style and borrows many thematic elements. It’s still a parody of fantasy roleplaying. Levels and loot are part of the game. And traditional Munchkin-y things show up on various cards—ducks, chainsaws, and gazebos are just a few.

Gameplay, however, is quite different. It is a CCG, so the essential idea is to attack your opponent and reduce their hero’s life points to zero. The way cards work together, too, is an important part of the game. In fact, each player chooses a hero of a specific class (elf thief or dwarf cleric, for example) and the cards of their deck are all supposed to either belong to that class or be neutral. The cards of each class type, of course, build on a common theme. Cleric cards allow the player to resist damage or heal. Thief cards lean toward the Mischief type (special actions or attacks that can be played out of normal order).

All that is fine and good. But what makes the Munchkin CCG outstanding is how brilliantly it pairs serious game with silly humor and take-that attitude. To attack your opponent, you send out one monster at a time with the money to pay for it. The card you put forward, however, goes face-down and need not even be a monster, or maybe you paid too little, or too much. Your opponent then has a choice to make, whether to defend, or runaway, or simply stand and take the hit—all while trying to read your bluff. “Cheating,” as it’s called (attacking without a monster or the money to pay for it), is part of the game, and part of the strategy in getting past an opponent’s defenses.

Bluffing and cheating also makes the Munchkin CCG much more than just playing your cards against your opponent’s deck. You’re really playing your opponent.

At launch, the Munchkin CCG will be available in two-deck Starter Sets (Cleric/Thief, Wizard/Bard, Ranger/Warrior) for $20 and 12-card boosters for $4.

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