A program of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association offers certification as a Play Expert. Training and testing for the certification is available online ($600) and in-person ($800) and consists of modules on child development, types of play, play advocacy, and more.
Certification as a Play Expert is open to all but ASTRA also has a program just for retailers, Certified Master Retailer, and is planning to launch soon programs for Certified Toy Manufacturer and Certified Toy Sales Representative.
Nissan is sending out free copies of its promotional game, Altimatums. The game is packed to fit in a cup holder and includes two decks of cards.
The driver draws a destination card, and the passengers draw Altimatum cards with interesting activities to do when you get there.
Nissan’s example: “Drive to the busiest spot in your neighborhood,” and, “Hug the next stranger you meet.”
At the recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Chrysler’s press kit for the Pacifica minivan was built around a board game. It was a roll-and-move game called “Race to the Family Reunion” and featured a board with Detroit landmarks, a deck of event cards to draw on marked spaces, and minivan-shaped pawns.
Strat-O-Matic is adding a new option to the digital versions of its card game baseball simulator, one that will update player stats on a daily basis.
A different sort of baseball card game, Baseball Highlights 2045 by Eagle-Gryphon Games, is now available for iOS devices.
Duels, a new feature of digital Splendor, is a competitive version of Challenges, which are supposed to be more puzzle-like and up until now were single-player. Duels are played against the AI. Still no online multiplayer.
Exploding Kittens’ new iOS version is not just a simple port. Nope cards are gone, others are in their place, and there’s a probability meter that shows how likely the next card is to be TNT.
Pathfinder Adventures, the digital version of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, is due in March.
Sad news for Golem Arcana fans. The latest expansion, Durani: Champions of the Western Wind, will be the last released for the game. Harebrained Schemes has achieved a lot with the game, and broke some new ground with their product. Sadly, sales haven’t kept up with the money put in to support the game with new releases, app updates, living world campaigns, etc…
To show their appreciation to their fans for all the support they’ve given, Harebrained will be running a 50% off sale on Golem Arcana products until the end of February.
The last of the Sentinels of the Multiverse expansions, OblivAeon, will launch on Kickstarter on February 9th. The final installment of the popular superhero card game will include addons and lots of stretch goals., like the limited edition hero promo cards, previously only available as convention and Kickstarter exclusives. “We have been pretty public about the fact that the story we’re telling has a beginning, a middle, and an end,” said Christopher Badell. “And we’re finally nearing that end.”
Greater Than Games had announced that they were moving away from Kickstarter to a pre-order system for expansions for their games, only using the crowdfunding platform to launch new titles. With the announcement for OblivAeon, Badell says they are heading back to Kickstarter to help organize the launch of that product. Citing technical difficulties and issues with some international orders during last year’s self-hosted preorder for Villains of the Multiverse, he said past experiences with Kickstarter campaigns help to avoid those issues. “We wanted to include a number of products [with OblivAeon’s launch] that have been long-promised and long-anticipated, and we didn’t want them to get lost in the shuffle with a preorder,” he said.
Number 1 in this week’s Highlights isn’t a game. I’m not even sure the campaign is thinking about games rather than just toys. But it’s a cause worthy of our support. And that cause is #ToyLikeMe, an effort to have better representation of people with disabilities in children’s toys. The #ToyLikeMe campaign has already brought Playmobil around to the idea of producing figures with disabilities. And just today, Lego revealed a minifigure in a wheelchair. To help keep the campaign growing, though, its organizers are asking for £16,000 to develop a professional website and associated resources. Drop a little in the hat, will you?
Crowdfunding campaign number 2 this week is for a card game version of Manhattan Project, Minion Games’ title about developing and building nuclear weapons. I love the original and Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction looks to be a great translation. Of course all elements of the game—workers, resources, buildings, etc.—are now represented by cards. A more interesting difference, however, lies in the fact that at the end of each turn, a player has to discard every factory, every university, everything that’s not a resource or a bomb. This means that the industrial engines that players chain together will now constantly need to be refreshed.
Thief’s Market from Tasty Minstrel Games is about dividing and spending loot. The loot is represented by dice, which the players take turns either selecting from the center or grabbing from one of their fellow thieves. Then when the dice are all split up, they can be spent on finery, useful items, or henchmen, each of which confers some later benefit. At the end, the thief with the most notoriety wins. That is campaign number 3.
Number 4 is Fabulous Beasts. This one, at first, looks like a typical stacking game. Three-dimensional animal figures are placed on top of each other until something gives and everything falls. But that’s not actually the whole deal. Fabulous Beasts also integrates a sensor platform, such that as the animals are stacked a unique virtual world and story unfolds in a linked tablet app.
Finally, at number 5 is Olympus Inc, an urban fantasy setting book for the Savage Worlds roleplaying game. Olympus Inc is the story of a magical war between Titans and Olympians taking place in, but hidden from, modern society. With Olympians developing their power through corporate intrigue and the magical war hidden from the perception of ordinary people, Olympus Inc has a distinct cyberpunk element as well.
Spin Master Corp. of Canada is acquiring the entire game portfolio of Italian company Editrice Giochi. The latter’s most popular titles are Risiko, a variant of Risk, and Scarabeo, which is strikingly similar to but not officially a version of Scrabble. The purchase also includes the Editrice Giochi brand.
Spin Master did not reveal a price for the transaction but did state that it continues to be in the market additional acquisitions.
The long-awaited return to Innistrad is right around the corner! On April 8th, Wizards of the Coast will be releasing the set fans have been eagerly awaiting, Shadows over Innistrad. The 297 card set will be released in booster packs, fat packs, and intro decks. Also, in May, we’ll see this year’s gift box with a Shadows of Innistrad theme.
All of Dog Might Games’ inventory—every wood deck box and dice tower—is 30% off.
Atlas Games is clearing out copies of Once Upon a Time second edition for $15 (shipping included in the U.S.).
Mayday Games is giving away a copy of Captain Carcass.
Boards Alive is giving away a copy of Dead Drop from Crash Games. Listen to their podcast episode for the details.
For $10 off purchases of $50 or more from HasbroToyShop, use coupon code “SAVE10”.