Located just south of the Plaza neighborhood on the University of Missouri campus in Kansas City, this gem is a must-see for fans of historic toys and games. The Toy & Miniature Museum of Kansas City was founded by a pair of women, one of whom collected doll houses and the other of whom collected fine scale miniatures. Over the years, the museum has added collections of toy soldiers, games, dolls and stuffed animals, model trains, tin toys, and especially marbles.
While it’s the scale miniatures that are the most professionally displayed in the most modern rooms, in terms of sheer volume, doll houses clearly lead the museum’s collection. I didn’t count, but there are probably hundreds on display, including many of European manufacture dating back to the 19th century. There is one 9 feet tall and one made of glass. My favorite was a windmill, who’s wood construction I found striking.
In terms of games, the Toy & Miniature Museum holds many wonderful examples from the mid-20th century—such as some of us might remember from our childhoods—as well as a number from the mid-to-late 1800s. Marbles in particular are a focus of the museum. Thousands are displayed in their own gallery.
I was a bit disappointed that most of the museum’s displays were unlabeled and presented without any background information. I would very much like to have learned more about the historical context, construction, and artistic styles of what I was looking at. Nevertheless, there is definitely much to appreciate, even without educational material.
Also a word of caution for those considering bringing young children. Many of the museum’s doll houses are displayed within easy reach. Adults will understand not to touch but little kids may find it difficult to resist.
The museum is housed in an old mansion that has been added on to multiple times. Most of the rooms are not large, but they are packed full! The layout adds to a sense of discovery wandering around the building. Various nooks (probably former closets) hold some great treasures.
Spend an afternoon next time you’re in Kansas City discovering the Toy & Miniature Museum for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.
That doesn’t mean I’m not excited about this one.
High Command is for 2-4 players, and takes place in the iconic, steam-powered, fantasy world of the Iron Kingdom.
There’s already talks of expansions.
MSRP will be $44.99, and you can expect to see it in stores come August.
Crown & Castles is a new print-and-play card game still undergoing some testing, and available for free.
The developers are looking for people to download and play the game before they launch a Kickstarter to fund a print-run of the game.
From what I’ve seen so far, it look promising! I recommend printing it out and giving it a shot.
A report in The Hindu accused the Andhra Pradesh Chess Association of shenanigans at a recent tournament. Supposedly, FIDE was told 200 players would participate in the event, while actually the number was closer to 30. Further, a few rated players from Mumbai were paid to appear and throw their games in order to “help the local talent”. Meanwhile, the Association’s own website features the following warning:
Andhra Pradesh Chess Association (APCA) cautions all affiliated chess players are not to participate in unauthorised tournaments and interested players must participate in preceding selections to participate in succeeding championships. Disobeyed will attract disciplinary action, hence are disqualified for further official events.
A 25 year old man in Bournbonnais, Illinois was arrested for allegedly throwing an 11 year old boy to the ground when the boy refused to trade Pokemon cards with him.
Russian and U.S. prisoners played against each other in a Chess tournament over the internet. The final tally: Russia 14 wins, the United States 5.
A rehabilitation program in a Kentucky jail is switching its game-of-choice from Poker to Chess.
Two armed men tried to rob a dominoes game in Ft. Lauderdale. The victims were able to escape because one of the robbers dropped his gun down his baggy pants.
A man playing Mahjong in the Philippines was shot several times by an attacker with an M16 rifle. The victim died.
Singapore police raided an illegal Mahjong gambling den in an apartment.
Mahjong, specifically Japanese-style Mahjong, is gaining popularity in Russia, aided by an anime show featuring the game. At a recent tournament in Moscow, the top-placing Japanese participant placed second.
A game of Mahjong was recently played atop the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia—not just on the road but on top of the superstructure!
In fact, the game has been gaining so much popularity in Australia that the World Series of Mahjong was also supposed to take place in Sydney, instead of the usual Macau. Unfortunately, the event was canceled for lack of time to plan.
At a Mahjong tournament in Toulouse, France the Chinese players were beaten out by three French, two Italians, and a Dutch. Apparently this caused some major consternation in China.
Sometimes it’s the little things that leave lasting impressions of a game. With The Game of Things, it was the smell of the wooden box upon taking off the shrink-wrap. The box is just beautiful, and has a nice, woody smell.
Of course I’m here to talk about the game, not how good the box smells. (Did I mention that it smells really good? It does)
OK, on to the game!
The Game of Things is a party game with a very simple mechanic. A player draws a card with a statement. Some example statements are “THINGS you wouldn’t want to do naked”, and “THINGS you love to eat.” All the other players have to write down a thing, fold up their paper, and hand it to the reader. All the answers get read, and people try and guess who wrote each answer.
That’s pretty much it.
There’s rules in the box on how to eliminate players for people who feel they need to play a game to win, but Patch pretty much knows the audience they’re playing to here.
So how does it play? Quick, and hilarious with the right group of people. It’s the type of party game you can open the box and get people playing in a few minutes. It may not be for everybody, but like I said, Patch knows the type of party game players they’re targeting here
The Game of Things was provided free for review by Patch Products.
I’m continuously impressed with every Rebel Minis release. This time it’s a set of URSA-Mechs: An Assault Team, Commander, and Rifleman. The commander is 45mm tall!
The Assault team comes with 3 minis for $32.95. The Commander Riflemen are $11.95 each.
These would make excellent additions to any sci-fi game.
Kickstarter aficionados Tasty Minstrel Games have announced that they are now full time publishers. Co-owner Michael Mindes and developer Seth Jaffee were, like many other smaller publishers, running on a part time / semi-professional basis. Today after 4 years of work, they have declared that they are stepping into their roles full time. TMG is responsible for many Kickstarter titles, leading the way in modern crowd funding. Well what does this mean for us? No doubt we can expect more games like Kings of Air and Steam, For the Win, Eminent Domain, Belfort, City Hall, and the newly successful Dungeon Roll (drawing in just over a quarter of a million dollars in funding) to grace our shelves in bot the short term and long term with more support around their games and expansions.
Customeeple is at it again! This time they’re planning on a set of Game of Thrones themed meeples. The pieces are set to be 4mm thick, with the tallest piece hitting 15mm.
They’re looking for suggestions on this set before it goes into production, so if you feel you have a good idea, let ‘em know!
Wizkids continues to crank out the hew sets for their heroclix game system, and this week they are announcing the latest addition to the lineup, Bioshock Infinite.
Based on the highly successful Bioshock videogame series from Irrational Games (published by 2K Games,) the Bioshock Inifinte Heroclix line will include a starter set with 6 figures, and random mini packs of 14 more figures. The setting is early turn of the century America, and the genre is steampunk. Expect to see a motorized patriot in the shape of George Washington, carrying a Gatling gun, with the flag draped across his back.
Playable as part of your existing Heroclix world, or as a stand alone world, this will be available for purchase this summer, and is available for pre-order now. So go to your local game store, and get your vigors.