chess

Multi-game sets have garnered a funny reputation over the years. Everyone knows of them, easily recognizable from their inclusion of Chinese Checkers and other such boards and pieces allowing anywhere from 3 to 30 abstract games to be played. Yet despite a decent value-for-money proposition they are never very popular products, often fated to wind up has coffee table pieces and rarely talked about within our board gaming hobby with any amount of affection. Playford Games seeks to change that a bit by making one such set that’s bursting with theme and uniqueness, and also bringing some new abstract games into the mix with their newest release, The Ancient World Multi Game System. It comes packed with 25 different games, supporting anywhere from 2 to 8 players, all the while showing off images and flair from the Age of Antiquity. As described via press release:

“The Ancient World Multi Game system was designed to capture the beauty and simplicity of classic strategy games like Chess and Go and infuse them with more player interactions to create a shared social experience.The system consists of modular sets of double-sided wooden game tiles that can be used to play up to 25 different abstract strategy games. Each game draws its theme from a different civilization or event in the Ancient World, from the wars of Ancient Egypt and Rome to the Silk Roads of China and the court intrigue of Byzantium.”

What’s even better is that these games support a wide variety of ages and learning levels making this fantastic for families. Each game with The Ancient World‘s 4o page manual is marked with a difficulty level and highlights the story, skills needed, and the level of competitiveness or cooperation required. Looking at it’s lovely, carefully designed aesthetic and uniquely crafted games reminds me of a lot of Looney Labs’ Pyramid Arcade and how unique and fun it accomplished to be, which is good news for Playford Games because that’s a good comparison to make and I doubt I’m the only one that will do so.  If you are interested in learning more about The Ancient World Multi Game System, check out their website where you can read about all the models and games included, and if you’re at Essen be sure to check out their 5H115 where they will be demoing and selling them.

The 2017 entries into the National Toy Hall of Fame have been announced, and Clue is the latest board board game to receive the award. The other 2017 entries include Paper Airplanes and the Wiffle Ball.

In 1943 pianist Anthony Pratt and his wife Elva Pratt developed a board game version of the fancy murder mystery parties that were popular between the two world wars. In their new game, Cluedo, players move around a board to eliminate possible locations, weapons and murderers to answer the questions of who the killer was, what room was used, and what the weapon was.

In 1947 the Pratt family was given a patent but post-war shortages of material made production impossible. Once material starting becoming readily available Waddington’s Games in London published the game as Cluedo in 1949, and Parker Brothers released Clue the same year.

From the National Toy Hall of Fame announcement:

Americans in the 1950s loved mysteries, whether encountered in Agatha Christie novels or Alfred Hitchcock films. And designers gave Clue an appropriately puzzling mansion, Boddy Manor, with many rooms in which to commit murder. The aptly-named victim, Mr. Boddy, is surrounded by the familiar, suspicious manor guests. Was it Miss Scarlet with the rope? Is Mrs. Peacock hiding the lead pipe? Does Colonel Mustard carry a revolver? And what is it with Professor Plum? With a fixed number of potential murderers, weapons, and locations, Clue offers 324 different murder scenario combinations—so the game plays differently nearly every time. Clue’s enjoyable, repeatable play ensured its success during the years since its introduction. It remains one of the 10 best-selling games.

Previous notable board games to be inducted include:

Monopoly was introduced in the inaugural class of 1998.

The Strong

The Strong, located in Rochester New York,  is an  interactive, collections-based museum devoted to the history and exploration of play. It houses the world’s largest collection of historical play material and is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the World Video Game Hall of Fame, and the American Journal of Play. Each year new toys, including board games, are introduced into the National Toy Hall of Fame.

praggnanandhaa

R Praggnanandhaa, a child from Chennai, India, has had Chess around him for his entire life, going all the way to back to watching his sister win championships when he was just two years old.  So it was only natural that as he got older he wanted to play Chess and get good at it, and boy did he get good at it.  Becoming an International Master in Chess is no small feat, and at the age of only 10 years and 9 months he accomplished this feat, a full 14 months earlier in his life than the next youngest IM.  His parents and sister are proud of his achievement and he is well on his way to becoming a Grand Master, but at this point what he needs is exposure, and to get more exposure you have to play aboard which is not cheap.  We wish him luck on his endeavor, and you can read more about his story on the New Indian Express news site.

melting chess

If you take Kamisado, Hey That’s my Fish, and Chess and blend them all up you would most likely get Melting Chess.  Melting Chess, from Nextor Games, doesn’t play like Chess but utilizes the movement rules of the different chess pieces. Your determined location is similar to Kamisado, and it has the shrinking board effect of Hey That’s my Fish.

To play you and your opponent have a single piece that you start with on the board, which is made up of 48 tiles.  How you move your piece is dependent on which orthogonally adjacent tile you choose.  Choose a rook and you move like a rook in chess, and so on and so forth. However, when you move, the tile you were on disappears, shrinking the board and your movement options.  You keep going until one person is unable to make a legal move, at that point their opponent is the winner.

Currently the game is only available through Nestor Games’ site so you can head on over there to order is this sounds like an interesting game to you.

Computers have been able to beat humans at Chess for a while, but until now, they haven’t come close to beating professional Go players because of all of the possible combinations in the game. But now, in a major breakthrough, Google has developed AlphaGo, an AI that beat the European champion, Fan Hui, five games to none.

Since Go is a game that has a lot of intuition and feel, computers are generally worse than the professional human players. In order to make AlphaGo competitive against professionals, the software analyzed millions of moves from games played by humans. It learns patterns, and through analyzing and playing games it gets better and can have more intuitive knowledge about what positions are good. This is a great breakthrough for AI and machine learning.

In March, Google will test AlphaGo against Lee Sedol, the world’s top Go player.

For more information, read the full article here.

twister banner

This year in the National Toy Hall of Fame, a board game was selected as one of the three inductees! Twister, Puppet, and Super Soaker were the three selections from the twelve finalists, which also included another board game – Battleship.

The National Toy Hall of Fame® at The Strong, established in 1998, recognizes toys that have inspired creative play and enjoyed popularity over a sustained period. Each year, the prestigious hall inducts new honorees and showcases both new and historic versions of classic toys beloved by generations.

Other board games have also been included over the years – Chess, Candy Land, and Scrabble to name a few. It’s nice to see board games included in the list of ‘classic toys beloved by generations,’ and hopefully the board games we have now will have the same lasting popularity as the older board games have seen.

To learn more about the three inductees (apparently Twister was originally invented as a shoe polish promotion), check out the article from The Game Aisle here.

courtesy "Nuno Silvez" BGG

courtesy “Nuno Silvez” BGG

The Wall Street Journal posted an interesting essay on friday that discusses the development of strategy among those that play eurogames.  The essayist contends that these games which tend to have many more choices and decisions to be made than chess does will have complex strategies developed for them akin to what you see within the chess community.  This kind of essay adds to the legitimacy our hobby has started to take within the non-gaming community.

It is interesting though that the essayist looks for the printed book to offer up the strategy that they are looking for.  When in reality a site like boardgamegeek.com is more likely to provide that kind of complex strategy.  Strategy in the form of a 300 page tome seems to be fading out.  This seems to be especially true when it comes to board gaming because of the ever iterating nature of the industry.  Chess which is a complex game that has relatively easily explained rules was the big game in town for such a long time to allow for these ultra complex strategies to develop.

Within the essay it is contended that the development of this strategy has not occurred simply because of the newness of many of these games but if you were to turn the clock forward 100 years that there would be many competing strategies for becoming a “Catan” or “Ticket to Ride” Grand Master.

Part of the appeal of chess lies in the notion that one can spend a lifetime mastering its complexities. Eurogames can sustain the same sort of attention. With millions of players online and the potential for computer simulation, the theory of these games could develop at a rapid pace.

For the full essay head over to the WSJ site here (paywall possible)

Knghtmarechessbox

Knightmare Chess

Knightmare Chess is chess played with cards!

The cards break the rules in wild and unpredictable ways. Some affect a single move, and some change the entire game. Knightmare Chess plays quickly out of the box, but it also includes variants, and it’s easy for players to customize. The possibilities are endless, and so is the fun!

This new edition includes Knightmare Chess 2, for a total of 158 beautiful cards, each painted by Rogério Vilela. Bonus: two blank cards for those who want to create their own fiendish, clever rules.

Note: Knightmare Chess requires a working knowledge of chess and a chess set to play.

mars attacks

Mars Attacks The Dice Game

Destroy the humans! Take their cities! Conquer Earth!

In Mars Attacks — The Dice Game, lead your team of Martian invaders to conquer Earth. Destroy cities, get your picture taken in front of famous monuments, and be the Martian with the most Earthling kills! But watch out, because the Earthlings might nuke you . . .

Mars Attacks — The Dice Game is a fast-playing, tactical dice game based on the Mars Attacks trading cards by Topps.

munchkin halloween

Munchkin Halloween Pack

Rather than rot the teeth of your trick-or-treaters this year, why not rot their minds with a Munchkin Halloween Pack? Each of the twenty packs contains four Munchkin cards and a quick explanation of the game. And no one has to have a bellyache in the morning!

Includes twenty identical card packs!

munchkin legends 3

Munchkin Legends 3 – Myth Prints

See Ya Later Gladiator

For the third time, Munchkin ruins explores your favorite myths and legends! Munchkin Legends 3  Myth Prints introduces the Gladiator . . . they get tougher when their lives are at stake! This 56-card set has new monsters to fight, new Treasures to gain, and dozens of new jokes to enjoy! (Or groan at — your choice.)