Second Look—Giant

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.6 giants roam the land, and it’s up to you to bring them down.

Giant is a card drafting game where players use tokens to draft troops and try to take down giants. Each giant is a large cardboard stand up with punch out circles representing parts of their bodies, and overall health. Tokens come in 3 forms: gold, magic, and weapon. Gold is used to draft troops, magic is used to fuel wizards’ attacks, and weapon tokens are used for warriors to fight. Players earn punch tokens for taking out giant parts, and when a giant is killed the loot is divided up based on how many punch tokens a player has. Players need to be careful, though, as if their token numbers equal 7 or above they lose a troop to the battle.

pic2221932_mdThe game is simple to learn, and a blast to play. The giants themselves are great pieces to have on the table. Players work together to take them down, but you always have your best interest at heart which makes for a very tense game at times. The giants scale in difficulty, so while it seems a bit too easy at first you’ll soon be struggling to field troops with enough power to take down the latter giants.

In the end my kids and I have a great time with this one. I hadn’t heard of it until I saw a post about how the designer was looking for reviews,. Giant is a fantastic little game that could have completely passed me by. The game was recently fully funded on Kickstarter, and I’m glad for it! This is one that definitely should be in a gamer’s collection, especially if they have kids.

A copy of Giant was provided free for review by Joe Magic Games.

Supreme Court of IndiaThe Supreme Court of India is set to consider the question of what differentiates a game from a puzzle or toy. That issue is the subject of a petition filed by toy company, Funskool India, in appeal of a finding by the Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT).

In India, games are subject to a 16 percent import duty, while toys and puzzles may be imported duty-free.

The decision by assessing officers that Snakes & Ladders, Monopoly, and Upwords are games has been conceded by Funskool. The company, however, contests the status of 18 other products, including Travel Ludo, Travel Chess & Draughts, Travel Snakes & Ladders, and Junior Monopoly. These, Funskool says, are designed to be played with by children.

[via The Economic Times]

Lagoon: Land of Druids

3HG1013 Hares Games has just released Lagoon: Land of Druids, a game about forging the destiny of a new world. Players use their druids to take control of the three energies of the world and try to sway sites around the world to those energies. The energy type with the most sites around the world becomes the new world destiny, and players who are aligned with that energy emerge victorious.

Lagoon is for 1-4 players, plays in an hour, and costs $35.

Game Blotter

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesWizards of the Coast has revoked Jared Boettcher’s Magic: The Gathering Rookie of the Year title after an investigation found that on multiple occasions he manipulated opponents’ decks while shuffling. Jared was also banned from official tournaments for 46 months.

MGA is suing Hasbro for stealing employees. MGA claims that Hasbro’s unfair business practices gave it an advantage in the competition for the license to produce dolls based on Disney’s Frozen movie.

At the behest of Games Workshop, the court has frozen the assets of Chapter House Studios, which was selling miniatures and parts compatible with the larger company’s Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000.

In a case that could have far-reaching implications for gambling in India (both in-person and online), the Supreme Court of the that country is considering an appeal by the Mahalakshmi Cultural Association over whether Rummy is a game of skill or chance, and whether wagering on the game is an appropriate factor in making that determination.

Police in Imphal, India are allegedly allowing gambling in street games of Lagao dice during Diwali in exchange for protection payments. One game under the watchful eye of police turned violent. When the organizers of the game refused to refund a man’s losses, the man’s friend pulled a gun and began shooting.

Burokratopoly, a protest board game that mocked political corruption in the former East Germany, is being republished as an educational tool.

At the Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir event in Honolulu, a participant from Hong Kong named his deck “Umbrella Revolution” after the political protests he was involved with at home. Official tournament coverage, however, refused to recognize that name.

Back in Hong Kong, Triad members (local organized crime) attempted to disrupt the protests. Police suspect that the Triads were concerned about business at their Mahjong parlors in the area.

Amid a growing scandal in Japan over the improper use of political funds, stories have come to light of lawmakers spending large sums of money in Mahjong parlors and offering large prizes in Mahjong tournaments.

A multilingual board game, Make a Move/Toma el Paso, is being used to educate unaccompanied immigrant minors in Miami about the legal options available to them. One of the professionals that uses the game explains that it is intentionally ambiguous and complicated, so as to simulate the experience of living in a shelter.

The Washington Way With Steve Southerland is a board game developed by the Florida Democratic Party to challenge the performance and policies of the incumbent Republican congressman. In reply, Southerland’s spokesman accused his opponent of being “more interested in playing games than finding solutions.”

In Lancashire, UK, a convicted pedophile is back in jail after being caught with a homemade child-abuse themed board game.

Despite the many great and honorable projects, Kickstarter remains a good source for stories of questionable game businesses. Ice Age Miniatures funded just this past June with an estimated fulfillment date of September. Not surprisingly, the project is behind schedule. Many backers question the honesty and intentions of the project owners. In fact, they’re questioning the identity of the project owners. The owner of Dragonwars of Trayth didn’t respond well at all to negative opinions posted by a blogger. He threatened legal action for slander and alleged copyright violation.

A man in Saskatchewan who operates an online card game and claims a trademark over the game’s name, Kaiser, is suing the developer of a card game mobile app, also called Kaiser. Card players in Saskatchewan find this strange, as they claim to have been playing the physical card game, Kaiser, for 60 years or more.

A Syracuse, New York man who was hosting a dice game in his driveway was arrested by police and charged with gambling, as well as possession and intent to sell cocaine.

In Newark, New Jersey, when police approached a street dice game, the players fled. One was seen tossing a handgun over a fence as he ran. So the police arrested him.

As a community-relations program, the New York City police department invited inner-city public school students to a Chess tournament.

Two men in Little Rock, Arkansas shot each other over a dice game.

When a group of men in Birmingham, Alabama mixed games of Dominoes and dice an argument erupted and one ended up dead. Another Dominoes player was killed in Selma.

The first campaign in the Living World of Golem Arcana has begun! Over the next 2 months there will be 3 different scenarios available to play in the Shadow of the Khan campaign. The first, The Battle of Two Rock, will run until November 12th.

This is another great thing about having a digital aspect to Golem Arcana. Players can pledge their 1000 point army to the Dominion or Empire and have their victories, quests, character interaction, and more affect the world of Eretsu.

The next two Story Scenarios will be The Caves of Metis running November 19 – December 3 and The Lords of the Line running December 10 – December 24.

Mahjong tilesTuesday, the Communist Party of China called on government officials to stop playing Mahjong. A statement made in the People’s Daily condemned the game as an “extravagance” and referred to the practice of wagering on games in order to “add a little stimulation.”

This move follows a ban instituted on Mahjong this past May for officials in Guangzhou and Leishan.

[via: South China Morning Post]

Clash Fighter – Hyper Fast Real Time Fighting Game

Ross86 Games has a Kickstarter project ending very soon, but I’ve only just heard about it. The game, Clash Fighter, caught my attention today due to a post about their commitment to keeping the negative female stereotype out of their upcoming fighting game.

The latest update highlights newcomer Jane Austen. That alone is awesome enough, but a look into what the game is all about really pulled me in.

Clash Fighter strives to emulate 2D video game fighters. Players need to use light, medium, and fierce attacks, along with fighter movement and chain combos, to overcome their opponent.

The game has 4 days left in its campaign, and it’s almost funded. Let’s see Clash Fighter, and Jane Austen, go the distance!

Ultra Pro Gamers Bag

gamerbagThis December Ultra Pro is releasing a messenger-style bag designed with the CCG player in mind.

The bag will go for $79.99 and has the following features:

  • A pocket for a PRO-Binder
  • Laptop pocket
  • 3 Elastic holders for deck boxes
  • A side pocket for a water bottle of rolled up play mat
  • Blue or Red accent colors

I’m actually not to sure about this one, and would really like to see one before I make an final calls on whether or not this bag would suit me. At $80, that’s a big investment.

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesTime to Play Magazine is giving away games from Spin Master: Shark Mania and Moustache Smash.

Playdek’s Halloween Sale includes Nightfall, Lords of Waterdeep, and Ascension—iOS and Android versions—33% to 66% off.

DriveThruRPG’s Halloween sale has 561 items at 33% off.

Precis Intermedia is also offering Halloween discounts, directly on the company’s website.

Calliope Games is holding a pumpkin carving contest. Game-themed carvings have an advantage, though the prizes haven’t been specified yet.

Housewife on a Mission is giving away Pictopia: Disney Edition from Wonder Forge.

EverythingBoardGames is giving away Made in the USA: The Game.

And then there’s SportAccord’s mind games photo contest. The best photographs of Chess, Bridge, Go, Xiangqi, or Draughts uploaded to Instagram will win prizes that include a tablet, watch, and $100 gift card.


Score Board - Boardgame tournaments, competitions and championships results and scoresChess

First place at the Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan was shared by the rising young star and established older veteran pair, Fabiano Caruana and Boris Gelfand. During one game of the tournament, Caruana was aided by an equipment failure. His opponent, Sergey Karjakin, lost 15 minutes of time when taking a break in the rest room he failed to notice that the monitor did not update for Caruana’s move.

The World Junior Chess Championship in Pune, India finished with 19 year-old Lu Shanglei of China at the head of the open section. Four players went in to the final round with 9 points but only Shanglei won his final game. The girls’ section was clinched a round earlier by Aleksandra Goryachkina of Russia. As a result of their wins, both qualify for positions in the 2015 World Cup, part of the World Championship Cycle.

Magic: The Gathering

While variety was the predominant story for most of Grand Prix Los Angeles, in the end it was California local Daniel Scheid’s traditional red green monster deck that propelled him to the top.

At Grand Prix Stockholm, veteran competitor Matej Zatlkaj of Slovakia claimed the trophy with a Jeskai deck.

Settlers of Catan

Sander Stroom of Estonia won the Catan World Championship.

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