Power Grid Deluxe

RIO506Rio Grande Games is releasing a deluxe version of Power Grid for the 10th anniversary of the game. The game isn’t just a reprint, however. Everything has been super-sized and upgraded. The board is double sided, and contains all of North America on one size, and all of Europe on the other. All the wooden parts have custom shapes for each resource, and natural gas has replaced garbage. Power plants have been changed too, and resource refill cards have been added to make refilling the resource table easier.

Rio Grande is making sure players know that this is still the same old Power Grid we know and love, just with a bit of extra love.

MSRP will be $79.95 and it should be hitting shelves soon.

Aerial Assault – A Card Game About FIRST Robotics

Right off the bat the tag line of Aerial Assault has me hooked. A card game about FIRST Robotics? Sold.

The game has you building a robot, training the drivers, and competing against other teams in around the 30 minute time range.

There’s 2 versions of the game you can snag for your pledge. The basic version for $25, and the Deluxe version for $35.

Included in each version is:

Basic (2 to 4 players, 4 robots)

  • 4 Team Cards
  • 16 Basic Action Cards (4 per team)
  • 52 Robot Part Cards (13 per robot)
  • 24 Special Action Cards
  • 6 Playing Field Zone Cards
  • 2 Scoring Cards
  • 4 Alliance Selection Cards
  • 2 red ball tokens and 2 blue ball tokens
  • 4 six-sided dice

Deluxe (Basic Game plus items below, 2 to 6 players, all robots)

  • Extra Team Cards (depends on number of backers)
  • 8 Basic Action Cards (4 per team)
  • 26 Robot Part Cards (13 per robot)
  • 12 Special Action Cards
  • 2 Alliance Selection Cards
  • 1 red ball token and 1 blue ball token
  • 2 six-sided dice

The Kickstarter project currently has 9 days left, and is about halfway to their goal. Hopefully this one gets funded!

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesPaizo’s Great Golem Sale features mostly RPG products but also board games, miniatures, and accessories for some major discounts (officially up to 90% off).

d20 Monkey is giving away a Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set.

Nonperfect Parenting is giving away Show Me the Kwan from Griddly Games.

pokemon_logoThat’s right! Read Purple Pawn? Play the Pokémon TCG Online on an iPad? You can snag a free booster with the following code!

PURPLEPAWN-POKEMON-TCGO-APP

This code will only 1 once per Pokémon TCG Online account. Once redeemed, you’ll have access to a free random pack from one of the following sets: Pokémon TCG: Black & White‹Legendary Treasures, Pokémon TCG: XY, XY‹Flashfire, or XY‹Furious Fists.

Enjoy!

UPDATE: This code is only valid until October 10th, so use it while you can!

UpWorks Modular DiagramThe creator of True Dungeon and former president of Dwarven Forge has a new terrain idea to set miniatures gamers drooling. UpWorks is a modular system for building castles in three dimensions—that is, building up multiple levels with modular components. A full castle set, however, requires backing at $590. Curved towers are an extra $90 each.

Not modular but just as drool-worthy is the castle project from Miniature Building Authority. Buildings and wall sections come complete and highly-detailed with furnished interiors, working drawbridges, removable roofs, slide-out floors, and other features. Various buildings are available separately but the incredible large castle setup requires a $2,600 pledge.

The gangster-themed card game, Gang Up!, has players recruiting each other as partners in the commission of crimes. Influence cards, however, allow other players to affect crimes in progress. Partners too, may turn on those who recruited them. Frankly, the project hooked me with the big-band music playing in the video.

Arknight’s Flat Plastic Miniatures look to be a nice step up from paper minis. Printed on thin sheets of clear plastic and pre-cut, these will have a transparent background and be more durable. A $75 pledge gets at least 186 figures plus bases (more with stretch goals), so about 40¢ each.

Flat Plastic Miniatures

Nord is a game about competition among Viking settlements. Players get three meeples a turn to claim the resources of forest, mountain, and ocean spaces, or to attack and occupy neighboring settlements. The board reflects an island but is made of tiles that can be configured differently each game.

The first non-RPG project from Triple Ace Games, Rocket Race is a slightly comical steampunk space-race card game. The basic rules have players bidding cogs on rocket component and event cards. Using the advanced rules, players will have to manage resources in three scientific disciplines to purchase components.

Wyrmwood Gaming hand-makes dice and card storage boxes and dice trays, each available in a varieity of natural woods, including maple, mahogany, rosewood, cherry, walnut, and bubinga. Of course these beautiful accessories do not come cheap. An extra-large deck box (which will hold 120 sleeved cards) runs $200 in Gabon Ebony.

Poetry Via the Scrabble Dictionary

101 Two Letter WordsSinger-songwriter Stephin Merritt has penned a book of poetry based on The Official Scrabble Player’s Dictionary. 101 Two-Letter Words features a four-line rhyming poem for each of the two-letter words in the last edition of the dictionary (not the additional words in the new edition just released this summer).

roborallyThe creator of Netrunner and Magic: The Gathering has said he wants to return to and refine his first game design, RoboRally. Richard Garfield has stated interest in licensing or purchasing the rights back from Wizards of the Coast, the current owners of the property. “I am bothered by some design issues as only the designer can be,” he posted on BoardGameGeek.com’s forum, reflecting on the twenty-year old game. RoboRally Rebooted would play faster with less downtime and is “a bit crazier”.

Mr. Garfield invites BGG users to take an informal poll regarding a new version, including a possibility of a reskinned game similar to the RoboRally-inspired Pirate Dice: Voyage on the Rolling Seas.

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesUnder pressure for failing to stop one of his 18 year-old team members from playing against an Israeli at the World Youth Chess Championships, the president of the Sudanese Chess Association resigned and issued an apology to the Palestinian and Sudanese people.

Eight people were fined for playing the game of Parcheesi after midnight in the town square of Malaga, Spain. Neighbors complained about noise made by the rolling dice. Responding police also told the players that they weren’t allowed to drink in the area. It wasn’t alcoholic drink, mind you, that was the problem. The players only had water and cola. Way to go, Malaga! Keep those ruffians off the streets!

Hasbro is claiming copyright on a list of words used in Scrabble tournaments. (To be clear, that’s just an electronically-stored list, not a printed book, nor a set of definitions.) Many believe the claim to be on shaky legal ground. However, the North American Scrabble Players Association and small enterprises that produce game-playing software aids are intimidated by Hasbro’s size and resources.

The Prime Minister of Norway has refused an invitation to attend and make the first move at the upcoming World Chess Championship (where the defending champion is Norway’s own Magnus Carlsen). The tournament is being held in Sochi, Russia and the Prime Minister has cited “international circumstances” as her reason for not attending.

In Detroit, a young girl, age 7, was caught in the crossfire between two cars speeding up the street with the occupants shooting at each other. What was the gunfire all about? What else? A dice game.

Someone in China is making a paper version of Blizzard’s Hearthstone CCG.

The Department of Labor investigated employment practices at the Game Manufacturer’s Association and found that the Association had misclassified several positions as exempt when they should have been hourly. GAMA is now distributing back pay for overtime.

According to Mexican authorities, Hasbro owes $250 million in back taxes because it allegedly improperly accounted for cross-border transactions.

Yet again, Outlaw Press stands accused of illegally copying roleplaying material and the artwork of others to sell it.

A New York City man who has sold flowers and taught children Chess on a Harlem street corner for more than 10 years has been put out of business by the Parks Department for lack of a vending permit. Of course, he could have moved down the street but he preferred the space available in Abraham Lincoln Playground.

A South Florida school district has been unable to launch its system-wide Chess program a month after the start of classes. The Chess sets it’s importing from China have been held up by customs. That may seem unreasonable but maybe it’s not. Chess sets have been convenient smuggling devices before.

An American Ebola patient in isolation was given a Chess set and NERF basketball hoop for entertainment.

Employees of the Aviation Club de France, a Poker club in Paris, were arrested on charges of money laundering for organized crime.

Project Sunshine is an outreach program of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association. Members organize a Chess tournament for inmates at the Cebu City Rehabilitation Center.

In Belize City, two men were playing Dominoes mid-afternoon, when another man drove up and shot at them eight times. One of the players was killed, the other injured.

In Scotch Plains, New Jersey, an 11 year-old highly ranked (candidate master) Chess player was shot and killed by his father, who also took his own life.

Second Look—Dungeons & Dragons

DnD Player's Handbook DnD Monster Manual

With Tuesday’s official release of the new Monster Manual, I thought now would be a good time to examine what the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons offers to new and established gamers. The last of D&D’s traditional three-piece core rulebook set, the Dungeon Master’s Guide, has been delayed until December 9th. However, between the Monster Manual and Player’s Handbook (and with the aid of the free Basic Rules) there’s more than enough to get started playing a game.

Overall this fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons is a fine entry in the game’s long legacy. Of course the first two books cover all the essential rules for running a traditional fantasy roleplaying game. The Player’s Handbook focuses on making and developing characters but also includes sections that explain the basic concepts of roleplaying, how and when to roll dice, what can be accomplished with different character abilities, how to resolve fights with monsters, and what it means to cast a spell. The Monster Manual catalogs hundreds of fantastic and terrifying creatures, many normal animals, and a nice selection of typical antagonists (bandits, priests, guards, etc.).

The books go beyond the essentials, however, presenting Dungeons & Dragons in a way that emphasizes the adventure and storytelling at the heart of the game. It’s an approach—a philosophy—that’s integral to the mechanics, options, and other material. Character backgrounds and ideals, inspiration, non-combat feats, advantage and disadvantage, equipment proficiencies, and lair actions are all rules that contribute to this focus. Even the creature descriptions in the Monster Manual share in this approach. Instead of field-guide-style, entries focus on what’s unique, special, or legendary about each monster.

For seasoned roleplaying gamers, no doubt there are things to quibble with, both mechanically and presentation-wise. For example, I’m not a fan of perception, investigation, and insight skills. Others have pointed out the obvious lack of a monster-by-challenge-rating list (though that is now available online). But in general, fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons appears to be a solid game—one with a consistent design philosophy that’s clearly rooted in old school but informed by modern experience. My best short description for those who know their way around RPGs is: “AD&D, fixed.”

For newbies, Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition presents a nice balance of modernity and tradition, of simplicity and detail, of rules and inspiration, of storytelling and game. It’s not that the new D&D is the best game around—there are others just as good in the market, maybe even others better suited to particular players. Most groups, however, will be well-served by Fifth’s quality mainstream roleplaying experience.

Copies of the Player’s Handbook and Monster Manual were provided free for review by Wizards of the Coast.

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