Score Board - Boardgame tournaments, competitions and championships results and scoresOpen source Chess engine Stockfish won’s Computer Chess Championship, clearly leading the 10-engine, 90-game round-robin and then edging out runner-up Houdini in a superfinal that included 20 rapid, blitz, and bullet games.

Stockfish, though, may be on the way out as grand computer Chess champion. AlphaZero, an algorithm developed by Google’s DeepMind subsidiary, with nothing more than the basic rules to get started, taught itself Chess well enough in 4 hours to beat Stockfish handily over a 100 game series with 28 wins, 72 draws, and zero losses. Though some questions remain about the conditions of the contest, AlphaZero’s play was amazing not only for its performance but also for its style.

Artist Ara Ghazaryan of Los Angeles has assembled the world’s smallest handmade Chess set with a board measuring 15.3 x 15.3 mm and a king piece standing 4.8 mm tall. Ghazaryan used Brazilian cherry wood, 18 kt. yellow and white gold, and diamonds in building the set.

The current general World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen, won the World Blitz Chess Championship. The previous World Champion, Viswanathan Anand, however, demonstrated that he still retains the competitive spirit, taking home the trophy of the World Rapid Chess Championship.

Kacper Piorun of Poland won the World Chess Solving Championship for the fourth year in a row. The Solving Championship presents competitors with a variety of Chess-game puzzles, such as how to guarantee White a mate in a limited number of moves. There are also helpmate challenges, which require figuring both Black and White-side moves to arrive at mate in a set number of turns, and selfmate challenges, a kind-of suicide puzzle, where the goal is to move White such that it forces Black to mate.

At a Rubik’s Cube event in Chicago, Seung Beom Cho solved the 3×3 puzzle in a world-record 4.59 seconds. At an event in Plano, Texas, Max Hilliard did it blindfolded in 17.87 seconds (also a world record).

Carter Pfeifer Mattig of Chicago won the Merit Open International Backgammon Championship in North Cyprus, taking home a prize of €77,600.

In Sulaymaniyah, in Iraqi Kurdistan, two brothers played Backgammon several thousand feet in the sky, while paragliding.

Eight year-old Zack Barnett, the youngest player ever to do so, won the title of Top Trumps Champion.

There was a Klask World Championship (the first) in Copenhagen. The winner was Kevin Reder of Michigan.

A Pandemic Survival World Championship was held in Amsterdam, where the team of Sébastien Roy and Sébastien MacKenzie Faucher from Canada were declared the winners. Pandemic Survival is a scenario-based version of the game and the tournament rules limit player turns to one minute.

David Eldar of London claimed the top trophy and a £7,000 prize at the World Scrabble Championship in Nottingham, U.K., finishing 3-0 in the best-of-five final series. His last play was the word “carrels”.

Marty Gabriel of Charleston and Scott Garner of Memphis received recognition from Guinness World Records for the highest Scrabble score in 24 hours (two players). Over the course of 240 games (averaging just under 6 minutes per game), the pair scored a total of 216,439 points. As soon as each game was finished, assistants removed the just-played board for documentation and provided the pair a new board already set up for play.

A team in Michigan toppled 245,732 dominoes in a setup that paid homage to various board games. The project also broke the U.S. domino records: largest domino field, largest domino structure, and largest overall domino project.

In Germany, Sinners Domino Entertainment broke the world record for most dominoes toppled underwater, 11,466.

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Crowdfunding Highlights

Scott Almes’ Heroes of Land, Air & Sea is much bigger than the Tiny Epic games he’s designed, but retains the epic-ness. In this 4X boardgame set in a fantasy world, 1-4 players try to take over as much as possible, collecting resources, building structures, and conquering regions. The base game from Gamelyn Games comes with four factions, the 5-6 player expansion comes with four more factions. The base game is a reward for a $79 pledge while a $139 pledge gets you that and the expansion next March. Is it already funded? Each box comes with 80 miniatures: of course it’s already funded.

Are you a fan of the series of games where villagers trying to uncover werewolves in their midst? You’ll want to check out Werewolf Coins by Home Run Games, where roles are stamped onto twenty-eight (base set: more added as stretch goals) different quarter-sized coins, fitting in a synthetic suede pouch. Um. That’s pretty much it. They’ll retail for $30 for the base set, but you can get one as a reward this summer for a $22 pledge to make the product happen. Will it happen? As I type this, they’ve blown past their goal by 2500%.

Dude. Ties. With d20s on them. Do I need to write more? A $15 pledge gets you a d20 tie in red, black, or blue in July. Again, already funded, with about $2500 of the $1000 needed to make this product happen. If Kaleb Mankey gets up to $3000 in backer support, they’ll add yet another color to the line. Unsurprisingly, we’re hoping for purple.

Looking to upgrade those wooden shapes in your games? Meeple Source (a past advertiser on Purple Pawn, although that doesn’t weigh into us highlighting them this week), has painted upgraded wooden tokens and custom-shaped pieces for games such as Camel Up, Pandemic, Colt Express, Above and Below, Catan, Carcassone, and more. Reward levels start with pledges as low as $10 for a single-color set for some games with expected delivery times of October and December of this year.

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Pandemic: Iberia

The latest game in the Pandemic series has just been announced! Set in the Iberian Peninsula in 1848, Pandemic Iberia asks you to take on the roles of Nurse, Railwayman, Rural Doctor, Sailor, and more to find the cures to malaria, typhus, the yellow fever, and cholera. The game will have you building transportation routes to deliver clean water and help prevent the spread of these deadly diseases. This will be a limited edition game, with only one print run.

This sounds really exciting, and I’d love to see more historical Pandemic games in the future.

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Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu

Pandemic: CoC

I don’t know how I missed this, but I just saw an entry pop up on BoardGameGeek for Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu. The game is being released by Z-Man games and uses familiar Pandemic rules with a Cthulhu Mythos flair.

There’s not much info I can find. A post by W. Eric Martin indicates an official announcement from Z-Man on the 15th of this month, with a debut of the game at Gen Con this year.

How many versions of Pandemic is too many to own? I have the original printing, am looking at getting Legacy, and now am going to have to snag this when it comes out.

It looks way too cool to pass up.

Ticket to RideThis Sunday, families will be gathering to celebrate Easter. If you dread family time, maybe you just need a good game to entertain the horde. We’ve got a list of non-classic board games we think will win you over with Uncle Fred, but won’t make cousin Cindy feel left out.

Ticket to Ride is easy to learn and doesn’t take up too much of your time. Players race against each other to be the first to travel the world in only seven days via railway. It is suitable for ages eight and up, takes between 30 and 60 minutes, and supports up to five players. The light-hearted theme of world travel keeps competition friendly.

Loaded Questions is the perfect game for people you think you know well. One person asks a question like, “What is your favorite super hero?” while the rest of the players write down their answer. The person asking the question then has to guess who belongs to each answer in order to advance on the board.

Zooloretto is fun for family get-togethers. It is a zoo-themed simulation game where players try to generate more visitors by collecting as many animals as possible. Play cardboard tiles within your zoo’s peramiter. Don’t overstock with too much of the same or your visitors will be bored. It plays well with between two and five players and takes about 45 minutes.

DominionDominion’s base game is perfect for players of all ages. If you build up the game with the expansions, it may get too complicated for those with a short attention span. So, stick to the basics. In this tactical card game, players buy up land and use special cards to earn the most victory points to win the game. It works well with two to four players and takes about 30 minutes to get through one game.

Pandemic is great for a family setting because it is cooperative. Players work together to stop four deadly diseases from spreading across the globe. By selecting different types of characters, the team can spread out the work, the Scientist researches a cure while the Operation Specialist builds research stations. The game is suited for two to four players and takes about an hour to get through.

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Pandemic Parties Combat Ebola

Global Pandemic PartyWith the goal of raising $100,000 for Doctors Without Borders to combat Ebola in Africa, game designer Matt Leacock has invited people around the world to host Pandemic Parties. The idea is to use his game about fighting the worldwide spread of disease as a fundraising tool for the real thing.

Many such events will be taking place this coming weekend for what’s been dubbed the Global Pandemic Party. The overall campaign, however, is scheduled to continue through January 31st. More than 60 events are listed on the campaign website, most of them open to the public.

For those interested in hosting their own Pandemic Party, the website also provides supporting materials, such as printable flyers, donation cards, and a special Pandemic scenario with role cards.

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Pandemic may be the most popular gateway co-op game out there.  It has been successful for years, has expansions to make the game more or less challenging, just came to iOS and even adds a traitor mechanism for those who think pure co-op isn’t exciting enough.

Now Z-Man Games reveals that they have a high speed, dice based version of the game coming out the second half of 2014.  Previews can be seen at BGG.con for those of you headed to Dallas in the next week.

Check it out, here.

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Pandemic Scenarios

Pandemic Second EditionZ-Man Games has begun releasing a series of free scenarios for Pandemic, with the first one titled, “Isolation”. The scenarios will present unique situations for the players to overcome, incorporating special disease cube set-ups and available roles, as well as changes to some basic rules of the game.

Isolation represents a case in which Western countries, focused on other issues, have chosen a strategy of isolation to avoid infection.

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