Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesGet one pack of TPK Tissues for every $25 ordered from Goodman Games.

Blue Orange Games is giving away Clear for Takeoff.

Evil Hat is giving away one copy of The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game plus all expansions before it hits retail. Twelve people will win other prizes.

Get a free copy of the Wild West Exodus second edition rules when they’re released for posting on social media a photograph with a first edition rulebook.

Select Paizo PDF products are 25% off.

CoolStuffInc is running a Mother’s Day Sale on 183 products.

Dog Might Games is offering a 25% discount to anyone who feels they’ve been shortchanged or let down by someone else’s woodworking Kickstarter project.

Collins Epic Wargames has various Spearpoint 1943 games and expansions on-sale and is also discounting preorders for Polyversal.

In celebration of the company’s fifth anniversary, DramaScape is offering a bundle of its Modern Floor Plans (sold separately for $239) for 75% off.

For 10% off purchases from Precis Intermedia, use coupon code “AJZJ7R8SSM”.

The 20th Anniversary Edition of White Wolf’s Vampire: The Masquerade is currently featured at Bundle of Holding with a deal starting at $14.95. Also at Bundle of Holding (actually returning after a previous engagement) is a deal for 13th Age.

EverythingBoardGames is giving away Gardens of Mars from Big Kid Games and Honshu from Renegade Game Studios.

The prize pack in Casual Game Revolution’s Big Box O’ Games giveaway includes seven games.

A group of reviewers has gotten together also to give away a bunch of games.

The Giveaway Geek is giving away Above and Below from Red Raven Games.

Sahm Reviews is giving away Fantasy Fantasy Football from CSE Games and New York Slice from Bezier Games.

For an extra 20% off in-store clearance purchases from Toys “R” Us, print this coupon.

Amazon deals:

Rise of the Dungeon Master

Releasing today is Rise of the Dungeon Master, a graphic novel about the life of Gary Gygax and development of Dungeons & Dragons. The book, written by David Kushner and illustrated by Koren Shadmi, is 144 pages and available in paperback or Kindle format.

Like the game itself, the narrative casts the reader into the adventure from a first person point of view, taking on the roles of the different characters in the story.

 

Dunk Hat

Dunk Hat ($20 retail) is Hasbro’s latest entry in to the wacky action game category. It’s basically a portable version of the carnival dunk tank. One person wears the water-filled reservoir on top of their head. When either target is hit with one of the included foam balls, the reservoir tips and spills water down the wearer’s face. In addition to the reservoir and targets, also part of the wearable contraption is a pair of goggles, so no one gets hit in the eye.

Dice Guards

If dice are the weapons of a fantasy gamer, then maybe they deserve these new Dice Guards from Dog Might Games. They’re handcrafted wood dice storage boxes in the form of fantasy armament: hammers, axes, and maces. Normally, they retail for $80-100, depending on the choice of wood. However, the company does have a few in-stock at 20-40 percent discounts.

 

Okay, this is strange.

So there’s Shut Up & Sit Down, a games review site that publishes game news, and they’re kind of a big deal. Like, crazy big in the general gaming otherspace that’s not actually involved in designing or publishing games. Over 50,000 people are subscribed to their YouTube channel with several review videos having over 100,000 views.

Now they’ve decided to leverage their brand to launch a quite small gaming convention in “annoyingly beautiful” Vancouver, Canada on October 6th through October 8th of this year. Aiming to sell 740 tickets to a board game convention based in a downtown hotel (The Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown), they’re bringing the Seattle Megagames Society to run a few events over the weekend and a few select publishers (some small people, like Fantasy Flight Games and Plaid Hat Games) to run demo areas. Mainly funded by ticket sales instead of exhibit hall rental space, Shut Up & Sit Down is hoping that the US$150 admission price will help fund this show and lay the groundwork for future SHUX shows.

In particular, they’re using the funds to pay for flights and hotels for SHUX’s special guests. “You would be shocked by how few conventions do this,” SU&SD writes. SU&SD co-founder Paul Dean responded to that thread on their website:

…We constantly get invited to speak at or put on events at other cons, ones with far bigger budgets, without any offers of accommodation or travel assistance or fees for our time/preparation/work. That basically boils down to people saying to us “Please be an attraction we can advertise at our con for free,” while we look at air fares and hotel costs running into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

That sucks and we don’t want to do that to other people.

The mainly UK-based media company said that one of the reasons they chose to debut SHUX in North America is that continent has about 70% of their audience. “The UK is 15% of our audience, and has been from day 1,” was posted on Shut Up & Sit Down’s twitter. “70% of our donors are US and CA. If anything, it was the USA that gave us our start.”

Crowdfunding Highlights

Cam Banks’ Magic Vacuum Design Studio has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Cortex Prime, the newest version of the Cortex Plus system. Cam was the lead designer and developer of the Cortex Plus system, which was used in the Smallville, Leverage, Firefly, and Marvel Heroic Roleplaying games. Two different books are offered, a 152+ page roleplaying game, and a basic system reference guidebook. A $10 pledge gets you pdf versions of both books in January while physical copies begin at $25, arriving in April of 2018, with a hardcover Cortex Prime book only available during this campaign starting at $35.

Posthuman Studios has announced a second edition of Eclipse Phase, launching a funding campaign last week. The science fiction roleplaying game is set in a quite advanced future: your mind can inhabit different bodies, death is something that can be easily avoided, and need is alleviated. However, transhumanity has fled Earth following a war against artificial intelligences, dispersing thoughout the solar system (and beyond) for survival. The new edition features faster character creation and resleeving (switching from body to body), an updated ruleset for quicker and simpler play at the table, and a redesigned layout to minimize flipping through the book to find relevant rules. Already funded, a $60 pledge gets you a copy of the physical book around October; a pdf-only reward is available down at a $20 pledge.

The story of Brass is a long and troubled tale, but finally Brass is being reprinted in an updated version from Roxley Games. Brass, now titled Brass: Lancashire, is part of a funding campaign that also is producing a sequel game, Brass: Birmingham. Both games have updated artwork (the best art I’ve seen in any edition of Brass, frankly). Lancashire features updated 2- and 3-player rules to “provide an experience more consistent with [the 4-player gameplay]”. Birmingham has a dynamic board setup with new canal and rail scoring (plus an evocative nightscape map). Crazily over-funded and with several upgrade stretch goals already unlocked, you can get either one of the games for about $60 or both as a reward for backing at the $100 level. (Funding levels are in CAD.) Final versions of the games are expected in January of 2018.

Back when I was heading up a rather large monthly game day event, it seemed that every third attendee was a budding game designer. Gameplaywright and Atlas Games are creating a great product for these designers: The White Box. This project comes with components for prototyping and development, a book of essays about how to make games, and a gift certificate for The Game Crafter, a small press board game printer that is commonly used for prototyping. A $30 pledge gets you a copy of The White Box in October. Higher level pledges get you a consultation on your game design.

Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition Announced

Games Workshop has announced plans for a new edition of Warhammer 40,000 due sometime this year. With just 3 years since the last revision, GW promises that every figure and all current armies will be supported in the new edition. The setting will remain the same, though some advance in the story line is expected. And a version of the core rulebook will be free.

The company’s main goal for a new Warhammer 40,000 appears to be to streamline game-play significantly, bringing a typical game down to 1½-2 hours and much easier for new players to learn. At the same time, veterans will have options for adding depth and complexity. Among the new elements being added to the game are command points rewarding players with special abilities for thematically-built armies.

Sailor Moon Games

Dyskami Publishing has secured a license from Toei Animation for a line of board games based on the Sailor Moon Crystal series. The first game planned is Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge, scheduled for late summer this year. This one is being designed by James Ernest based on his Button Men game. The next release, planned for 2018, is a “tile-passing-and-bluffing game”, Sailor Moon Crystal Truth or Bluff.

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Selling to Walmart

On June 28th, Walmart is conducting an Open Call event at its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, where potential suppliers will have an opportunity to pitch their products to company buyers. The theme of this event is made-in-the-U.S.A., meaning Walmart will be focused on identifying new products in all categories produced domestically.

Applications to participate in Walmart’s 2017 Open Call are due May 18th but space is limited.

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Eh. After watching three episodes of The Toy Box, the toy-focused, Shark Tank like television show on ABC, I’m not impressed. Though, perhaps I’m jaded from 9 years attending Toy Fair… Actually, some of the toys in the first three episodes of The Toy Box weren’t bad. But not bad just doesn’t cut it. I mean, Mattel, who promises to produce the winning toy, doesn’t need a televised national competition to come up with dolls that have ballet costumes and a couple of extra degrees of articulation.

Not that a decently made new doll, or nested foam sports balls, couldn’t find some room in the marketplace. These ideas, though, do nothing for a large established toy company like Mattel, which has many designers on staff, as well as existing relationships with experienced outside inventors. Frankly, I don’t think the average viewer either is going to be much impressed.

The concept, I believe, has a lot of potential but the first three episodes so far haven’t realized it. The mentors representing the first on-screen evaluation stage are far too calm and gentle. Here’s a guy who sold his house and moved back in with his mother to finance production of a kind of plush he didn’t realize was already in the market from a different company. Another contestant’s brilliant idea is to make a stiff curved swing-set seat specifically for kids to stand on. Does that really require $130 specialized equipment? Definitely not. But throughout, the panel of expert mentors is calm and polite and barely challenges the inventors other than to express “concerns”. Liven it up guys!

By the way, let me say from personal experience, with an emergency room visit and stitches to the head, that standing on a swing-set seat is not a safe activity for children!

The second evaluation stage in each episode—before a panel of four children judges—you’d think would be a lot more fun to watch. Unfortunately, it just isn’t. Eleven year-old actors paid to look young and recite adult lines are lacking in chemistry and spontaneity.

Now maybe you think differently. Maybe you have more confidence in what will come out of this series. If so, you should know that the final chosen toy—whatever that will turn out to be—is already in production and will be sold exclusively at Toys “R” Us beginning May 20th. Toys “R” Us is also running a sweepstakes, where the grand prize includes travel for four to Los Angeles, a tour of Mattel headquarters, $1,500 in gift cards, and a meeting with the show’s winning inventor.

Also, if you think you have the perfect toy or game for Mattel, MysticArt Pictures is already casting inventors for a second season. And a U.K. version of the show has been licensed to Electus International. Maybe that one will be better. I hope so.

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