Glass Road appThere’s a Call of Cthulhu computer RPG coming in 2017.

Expected sometime this month is a VR version of Reiner Knizia’s Lost Cities card game. When networked head-to-head play is offered (it may not be at launch), the idea is to have head movements tracked so one can see which card an opponent is staring at.

Ubisoft studio, Red Storm Entertainment, is making a VR version of Werewolf where the system will cause a player’s in-game character to move and make hand-gestures based on the position of their head and the tone and volume of their voice.

The Uwe Rosenberg title, Glass Road, is now available on Android and iOS, featuring online play and graphics from the board game version.

Another Uwe Rosenberg title, Patchwork, recently launched on iOS, Android, and Windows PC/Phone.

An unofficial but designer-approved Eminent Domain: Microcosm Scoring app is available on Android.

Sagnithi Systems is seeking support on Steam Greenlight for a computer version of Snakes & Ladders that’s a first-person shooter!

Another board game Greenlight project is for a single-player version of Stratego.

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The very popular game of Splendor, which is distributed by Asmodee, will see release in digital form this summer (Android, iOS, Steam) by another Asmodee subsidiary, Days of Wonder. The companies promise a faithful adaptation of the tabletop game, which is nominally about Renaissance merchant houses. Really though, I can see the simple but fairly abstract mechanics of this game working well as a nice distraction on a cell phone or tablet. In case you haven’t played, it works basically like this: each turn a player may either collect income, in the form of gemstones of various colors, or purchase a card, which provides either victory points, recurring income, or both.

Stratego Single PlayerYoudagames and Royal Jumbo recently launched Stratego Single Player (iOS and Android) with options for the classic 40 vs. 40 battle, a shorter 16 vs. 16 battle, and even a campaign mode. The skill of the computer opponent can be adjusted and there are new unit ranks available. App price is $1.99.

Battling the latest killer virus is your job as director of the New York City field office of the Department of Plague Control in Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp (PC, Mac, iOS). The decisions you must make include where to focus research, whom to hire, and what equipment to purchase. Infection is a solitaire game based on the same title from Victory Point Games. The apps are priced $10 desktop and $5 mobile. Fourteen different virus challenges are included.

Up to five players can play live with Apples to Apples now on iOS. The game also connects to social media, so players can share their silly card combinations and challenge friends via Facebook. The basic game is free but of course there are in-app purchases.

Not a game in and of itself, Tabletopia rather is a platform, still in development, for digital publishing of board games. The system is supposed to be accessible from PC, Mac, iOS, and Android, and emphasizes replicating the function and appearance of the tabletop as closely as possible. Interested designers and publishers can sign up for beta access now.

Terra Mystica Tabletopia

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Toy Fair 2014—Patch Products

Toy-Fair-2014-logo-150wideHaving taken over as of January the license for Stratego in North America, Patch Products had on display at Toy Fair four games tied to the classic title. Two, Stratego Original ($30, available May) and Stratego Sci-Fi ($20, available March), look and play the same as versions last published by Spin Master (I was told the artwork belongs to Royal Jumbo). One, Stratego Master’s Edition ($50, due in August), is just a deluxe version of Original. But one, Stratego Battle Cards ($10, available July), is a new game. Players lay out five cards as their front lines—there are cards for every traditional unit type—and then attack head-to-head.

Patch handles distribution of Perplexus (to specialty stores) and so was also showing Perplexus Warp, which introduces two new features to the 3D maze series. Number one, its shape is something the company is calling a “spherical octahedron”—still roughly round but now with eight somewhat flattened sides—designed to be easier to hold and less likely to roll off the table. Number two, there’s an external slider for manipulating the ball inside. This piece is given the name “warp drive”.

For 2014, Patch is also planning a The Game of Things 10th Anniversary Limited Edition, which at $40 will include a full new set of cards.

In Yowza ($8), players take turns flipping cards and chanting “Zap”, “Zoom”, “Boom”, “Bam”, “Wham”, and “Yowza”. Should the card a player flipped match the word that player chanted, then the whole discard stack becomes theirs. But of course the goal is to get rid of cards, not collect them.

And saving the best for last… Stinky Pig ($10, June) is a Hot Potato game. A die-roll tells players which way to pass the pig. They know time is up when the pig farts.

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Stratego Jumps to Patch

Stratego Original JumboPatch Products will be taking over distribution of Stratego in the United States and Canada beginning January 1st. The company announced this week an exclusive regional license with Royal Jumbo, the game’s Dutch owner.

Stratego, of which over 20 million copies have been sold, was for 50 years licensed to Hasbro. Then in 2010, Jumbo moved the license to Spin Master. Describing the latest move, Jumbo’s CEO, Arend Smit, said:

We’re excited to start our cooperation with Patch Products for our famous and much nurtured Stratego brand. After launching our online version last year this is another big step for the brand.

Patch’s announcement explained that the company planned to “offer unique products for both the mass and specialty channels.”

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Spin Master is by no means giving up on the mass collectible market, but they did confirm at the show their strong interest in traditional board games. The company’s plans include both extending existing brands and further acquisitions. While they wouldn’t give any specifics regarding potential acquisitions, Spin Master did feature board games prominently in their booth (actually, more like a walled-off compound). Most interesting, at least to me, were the company’s samples for Stratego, a license which they were quite proud to have stolen from Hasbro.

Spin Master will be offering Stratego in two versions, one for specialty shops and one for the chain stores. For the specialty shops, Stratego will come in a 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition at a suggested retail price of $40. It will feature a leather-like cover, a divider board to make secret setup easier, and artwork with a Napoleonic theme. The $25 mass market version of Stratego is based on a science fiction theme.

Stratego License Goes to Spin Master

The 50 year-old license for Stratego, lost by Hasbro, has been awarded by Jumbo Diset to Spin Master (who’s otherwise best known, I think, for Bakugan). I love this comment by Jumbo Diset’s Arend Smits, quoted by Playthings:

We regard Spin Master as a totally marketing driven toy company.

Hasbro Loses Stratego License

Betcha didn’t even know that Hasbro (ala Milton Bradley) doesn’t own Stratego, but licenses it from Jumbo Diset. Well, after 50 years of partnership, JD is not renewing Hasbro’s license to the game, which is set to expire at the end of this year.

Why are they parting ways? “Different strategic views” between the companies, whatever that means. (Hasbro wants a Dora the Explorer version and JD told them to suck it? I’m just guessing here.) The World Championship for Stratego (next one is in August) is already handled by Jumbo.


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The International Stratego Federation

The International Stratego Federation organizes international and national tournaments, promoted Stratego in various countries, and liaisons between national Stratego clubs in different countries.

They just had a World Championship this week in Kiev, and a Dutch woman, Roseline de Boer, took the title (first time for a woman). Her brother won last year.


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Stratego: Republicans vs Democrats

Next up in board games for the political season: USAopoly will release a 10,000 set limited edition of Stratego: Republicans vs Democrats. It will be available by July 4 in select locations, or you can pick up a copy at Victory Stores.

Instead of skirting your way around two lakes, you get to maneuver your way around political issues.


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