Table for Two Show

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesHappenate is giving away board game packages to three people who use the service to start a board game get-together—Pandemic, Sentinels of the Multiverse, and Mice and Mystics.

For 20% off purchases at Toys “R” Us online use coupon code “FRIEND20“. For discounts in-store, print this coupon.

Troll In The Corner is giving away three copies of Village Idiot.

Nordic Larp, the book that received the 2012 Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming, is now available in digital form for free.

Atlas Games is giving away 20 copies of the TableTop Gloom Expansion to people who can’t attend International TableTop Day events.

The Army Painter is giving away one of everything, it’s whole line of miniature painting tools.

Enter for a chance to win tickets to GSummit San Francisco (gamification).

Allegiance: A Realm Divided

Allegiance: A Realm Divided is a fantasy-themed game of combat for 2 to 4 players, and takes between 30 and 60 minutes to play.

In Allegiance, each player assumes the role of one of 10 powerful heroes fighting in a realm divided by war. Each hero represents a different fantasy character class, and plays according to that character’s style, strengths, and weaknesses. Players can customize and level-up their hero’s unique abilities, enlist allied units, and play tricky action cards to defeat their enemies. Hero abilities can be used many times during the game, and each has an associated cool down rating that determines how often the ability can be used. With a high degree of player-interaction built in and a wide range of strategic moves to choose from, a game of Allegiance will never play out the same way twice.

Underground Games is currently trying to raise $50,000 CAD to produce the game, and has already met 43% of their goal with 28 days to go on their Kickstarter project.

Pokémon America! Pokémon TCG: Charizard-EX Box

charEXHitting shelves on May 7th for $19.99, the Charizard-EX Box includes:

• Charizard-EX as a new foil promo card
• 4 Pokémon TCG booster packs
• A giant foil promo card featuring Charizard-EX
• A BONUS online code card for unlocking a Charizard-EX promo card in the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online!

Viswanathan Anand at 2014 FIDE World Candidates TournamentThe 2014 FIDE World Candidates Tournament has concluded in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia with Viswanathan Anand in the lead, thus qualifying to challenge Magnus Carlsen for the World Chess Championship this coming November. Anand, the immediate past World Champion, lost the title to Carlsen in a disappointing performance last November. The Candidates Tournament, however, saw Anand return strong, starting off with a win against Levon Aronian, whom many had considered the favorite going in to the event, and finishing undefeated.

The final standings of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament were: Viswanathan Anand in first place with 8.5 points out of 14; Sergey Karjakin in second at 7.5 points; Vladimir Kramnik, Dmitry Andreikin, and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov following, tied at 7.0 points; Peter Svidler and Levon Aronian at 6.5 points; and Veselin Topalov at 6.0 points.

Second Look—Chess Set

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.So there I was, an avid gamer, writing about Chess, reporting on Chess tournaments, and yet, without a Chess set of my own to play. Finding one I liked, though, proved difficult. Perhaps I was being a bit picky but I wanted a set that was both good for playing and nice to display.

While I continued to look, I was, by coincidence, contacted by The Game Supply, an online retailer that focuses mostly on classic board games like Chess, Backgammon, Mahjong, and the like. The company was, of course, looking to promote its offerings. But seeing as we were having the same problem from opposite perspectives—mine: how to evaluate a unbranded product online; the company’s: how to convince online shoppers of the quality of its generic games—I agreed to accept a wood Chess set sample for review.

Cutting to the chase, if like I was, you’re looking for something in between plastic tournament and sculpted marble, the Black Mustang wood Chess set from The Game Supply is a fine choice. The set, which is currently on-sale for $195, is classic-looking, solid, and smart. Players especially will appreciate the traditional, instantly recognizable shapes and weighted pieces.

Chess Pieces

This is not to say that there are no trade-offs with the Black Mustang set. While I would still call it a player’s set, at 17 inches square, the board is not particularly convenient for carrying to the park, or really transporting on any regular basis. Nor does it come with any kind of storage beyond the cardboard box. Also, unlike many tournament sets, the Black Mustang doesn’t include extra queens.

On the other hand, the set is not only playable, it looks impressive on the table. The pieces are large (the kings stand at 3.75 inches tall), the carving is well-done (smooth, consistent, and appropriately detailed on the knights), and the staining is beautiful.

Overall, the Black Mustang Chess set is one I enjoy playing and also am proud to leave on display.

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David Trampier Has Passed Away

AD&D Player's HandbookDavid Trampier, artist, game designer, and man of mystery, died Monday at the age of 59 in Carbondale, Illinois. Trampier’s art was all over early versions of Dungeons & Dragons. His cover for the AD&D Players Handbook inspired untold numbers of gamers.

Trampier also co-designed the board game Titan and drew my favorite comic strip of all-time, Wormy.

WormyUnfortunately, Trampier had a falling-out with TSR in the 1980s, after which he separated himself from the game industry and refused all attempts at contact. A thawing of that relationship seemed to be in the works in recent years but that was put on hold when he fell ill.

Jennifer Shahade is a former U.S. Women’s Chess Champion, a FIDE-rated (2322) Woman Grand Master, the author of Chess Bitch, a Chess tournament commentator, an advocate for women in Chess, and also a Poker player. In fact, Shahade recently signed on as an ambassador for PokerStars, on behalf of whom she will be “commenting on poker/chess synergies, strategies and skills.”

Here she is at a recent TEDx event in Baltimore talking about intuition versus deliberate thought in Chess, Poker, and life:

Animal Trackers

Animal Trackers, the latest cooperative title from Family Pastimes, is a matching game for kids ages 4 to 7. The goal is to fill each forest card with matching animal footprints, then flip the card and read about the animal in its den.

Animal Trackers


CorporiaCorporia is an urban fantasy RPG that imagines reborn Arthurian knights fighting evil in the form of mega-corporations and chaos magic. Spells, ancient melee weapons, and for good measure, cyberpunk-style hacking all make an appearance.

In terms of mechanics, the game features stats, skills, character archetypes, and a 2d6-based task resolution system. The book’s art consists mostly of modern photographs.

Second Look—Feed the Woozle

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.The Woozle is hungry, and it’s your job to feed him all the nasty snacks that he loves to eat. Chocolate-covered flies and hairy pickles? Yum. Sounds like a good time to me.

Feed the Woozle is a preschool game by Peaceable Kingdom. It’s a cute little dexterity game for kids 3-6, though my older son had a blast playing with his younger siblings. The object of the game is to walk a spoon full of 1-3 food tokens over to the Woozle, and put them in his mouth without dropping them along the way. Roll the die, put that many foods on the spoon, and off you go! Well, almost. Older kids have the challenge of spinning a spinner to see if they have to bunny hop, hula, spin, go crazy, or walk backwards while trying to feed the Woozle. Blindfold even older kids for an extra challenge.

My kids got a kick out of reading off all the gross foods the Woozle likes to eat. They had even more fun trying to come up with more challenging ways to get to the Woozle. Bunnyhop and spin at the same time? Crabwalk? Carry the spoon in your mouth with your hands behind your back? It’s all fair game.GMK2_FeedtheWoozle_SPREAD_R

Like all Peaceable Kingdom games, Feed the Woozle is cooperative. Get 12 foods in his mouth before you run out of them, and everyone wins. It makes it low stress, with the kids all rooting for each other to complete their task for their turn. Got young ones in the house? You can’t go wrong with this one.

A copy of Feed the Woozle was provided free for review by Peaceable Kingdom.

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