While news of a potential Settlers of Catan movie treatment made a big splash in recent days, another classic board game is also making its way into the headlines. Former Wall Street Journal writer Mary Pilon published The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game just last week. The book is a fascinating work that sets the record straight, tracing the true and at times complicated origins of the game back to more than a century ago.
Love it or hate it, Pilon’s look at one of the world’s most famous game titles appears a worthy read for gamers everywhere. You can read more about the book here.
You can play as the three-eyed raven, a White Walker, direwolf or even the Iron Throne, and locations on the board will be very familiar to fans — Castle Black, Winterfell and King’s Landing among them. Villages and keeps will replace the game’s houses and hotels.
The full choice of pawns is Dire Wolf, Dragon Egg, Iron Throne (don’t step on it!), Crown, White Walker and 3-eyed Raven. So players should be able to represent their favorite factions (except for the Dothraki, but they don’t have money).
No word on what the Chance and Community Chest cards will look like. Perhaps players will be able to draw such events as “You Won Second Prize in a Trial by Combat” and “Iron Bank Error in Your Favor — Collect 200 Silver Stags.”
No price or release date specifics have been announced, only that it will be available sometime in 2015. You can read the full NBCNews brief here, and view the product itself at the HBO store here.
The iconic game of Monopoly is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, and Hasbro of France wants to celebrate: by releasing a handful of copies of the game without the familiar, colorful paper money.
And with a full compliment of real euros in its place.
80 copies of the game released in France this year will have real euros for currency in differing amounts, ranging from having only 10s and 20s in real cash, to an entire bank drawer full of nothing but spendable currency.
With 20,580 euros at stake, opening a box of Monopoly will undoubtedly be bringing 80 people in France unparalleled thrills this year – even for the most discriminating gamer.
Best Choice Reviews dipped their toe into the world of board games with their 50 Greatest Card Games and Board Game of All Time, citing the growing popularity of the gaming hobby.
“Board gaming has experienced increases overall for the past several years, leading to many manufacturers and commentators to talk about the Board Game Renaissance. This list features the best of the old and the new in board and card gaming. These games are popular, influential, and loads of fun.”
Although we here at Dice Tower News are objective reporters and are able to push aside cognitive dissonance like professionals, it is important to remember that “fun”, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
With that out of the way, let’s reveal the contents of your next board game order:
#50 – Operation
#49 – Gin Rummy
#48 – Mouse Trap
#47 – Mancala
#46 – Metro
#45 – Battleship
#44 – Parcheesi
#43 – Yahtzee!
#42 – Carcassonne
#41 – Uno
#40 – Sorry!
#39 – Yu-Gi-Oh!
#38 – Pictionary
#37 – Chinese Checkers
#36 – Whist
#35 – Cards Against Humanity
#34 – Pandemic
#33 – Blackjack (21)
#32 – Cribbage
#31 – Snakes and Ladders
#30 – Candyland
#29 – Spades
#28 – Pokemon
#27 – Dominoes
#26 – Dutch Blitz
#25 – The Game of Life
#24 – Hearts
#23 – Connect Four
#22 – Trivial Pursuit
#21 – Diplomacy
#20 – Munchkin
#19 – Taboo
#18 – Axis and Allies
#17 – Ticket to Ride
#16 – Canasta
#15 – Stratego
#14 – Mahjong
#13 – Clue (Cluedo)
#12 – Scrabble
#11 – Apples to Apples
#10 – Settlers of Cataan
#9 – Backgammon
#8 – Magic: The Gathering
#7 – Poker
#6 – Risk
#5 – Draughts (Checkers)
#4 – Bridge
#3 – Monopoly
#2 – Chess
#1 – Go
There you have it, the 50 Greatest Card Games and Board Games of All Time. For more on these games and their ranks on this hallowed list, check out the full article.
Movie and television news site Collider sat down with producer Randall Emmett to talk about the upcoming Monopoly movie. Set to film this summer, Emmett described the daunting task of getting this movie off the ground.
“To land the rights was a huge challenge because no independent company had every gotten right from Hasbro.”
With a script nine months in development, Monopoly promises to be a family adventure that will appeal to adults as well as kids, much like the beloved 80s classic Goonies.
“[Goonies] is a perfect analogy to what Monopoly hopefully will be.”
More information including the director, cast, and plot details will be revealed in early February following the Sundance Film Festival. Meanwhile production will begin shortly with at least some of the filming happening in Atlantic City.
We all do our best to focus on the positive, but sometimes reflecting on those things that are lacking helps us grow, improve and push to make things better for everyone. In that light, it can be useful to take a look at games that aren’t getting the love from gamers, at least in reputation. In a recent article for FiveThirtyEightLife, Oliver Roeder shares his recent findings on what, according to the ratings on BoardGameGeek, are the worst board games ever invented.
In an analysis of over 15,000 games that had at least 10 ratings by users, Roeder identifies the games that lie at the “bottom of the heap”, including Tic-Tac-Toe, Monopoly, The Game of Life, and Candy Land. Roeder points out that most of these games tend to rely mostly or solely on luck (random card draws, die rolls, etc.), creating a boring and frustrating experience for players.
Chart from fivethirtyeight.com
Also presented in the article is a chart of the worst game for each decade, beginning with the 1910’s (Uncle Wiggly) and ending with the 2010’s (Angry Birds tabletop games).
It should be noted that while all of these games have very low ratings on BoardGameGeek, they get the most notice via one other criteria: they continue to be played by many people each day. Roeder calls these games “cultural touchstones”, and indicates that these games continue to be played for sentimental value rather than actual interest in the gameplay itself.
Did you get any board games for Christmas? Or is that a rhetorical question?
Clever Move posted an article last week offering seven possible categories of gifts board gamers tend to get at Christmas. Quite interesting and admittedly humorous, I found myself relating to some of these. Examine your board game gift assortment from last week and see if anything falls into any of these categories (the one in parentheses is the example from the article):
The Perfect Little Game (Hanabi)
The High-Priced Game (Ticket to Ride 10th Anniversary)
The Expansion You Didn’t Want (Dominion: Alchemy)
The Expansion You Did Want (Settlers of Catan: Traders & Barbarians)
The Game You Already Have (Carcassonne)
The Expansion for a Game You Don’t Own (Thunderstone Advance: Caverns of Bane)
In a recent article by The Atlantic, there is a growing desire for people to fill the need for good ol’ face-to-face socialization that has developed over time as digitalized social media and networking have become the norm. Quick, shallow electronic blurbs thrown out to the world don’t really feed the need for meaningful human interaction. The article states that “we are tempted to think that our little ‘sips’ of online connection add up to a big gulp of real conversation. But they don’t.” Board gaming seems to be creating a shared experience that is becoming the centerpiece around which others can experience such interaction.
This recent increase in the popularity of board gaming has given rise to a growing need for public places where those seeking such social activity can congregate. Building on age-old social environments where people could gather to enjoy a beverage, a cozy corner and the company of a friend, a growing number of cafes and pubs are opening around the world where a healthy dose of tabletop gaming is added to that classic mix.
The article discusses the change in board gaming as a hobby from what it was decades ago, where classic games such as The Game of Life, Risk and Monopoly were great ways to pass the time. With the advent of the European-style game, the ways games work and the way players approach them are completely different:
Today’s games typically have fewer rules and more variability. As opposed to a single winning strategy, many games have multiple ways to approach them, or strategies that evolve depending on who the players are or how the game board comes together…Today’s game players do not want to do mundane things like purchase real estate, collect an allowance, or even take over Europe. They’re looking for bigger challenges. Today, when someone opens up a board game, it’s so they can travel to mythical islands, build cities with roads and infrastructure, and save the world.
We all knew that this was coming. When Fantasy Flight Games started releasing the gigantic ships like the Tantive IV and the Rebel Transport for the Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures game, we knew the Empire was going to bring in even bigger ships. Think about it. Darth Vader never lets the Rebellion Alliance have nice things. The Rebellion finds its only hope of survival, Luke Skywalker, and Vader does nothing but try to bring Luke to the dark side. When he didn’t get his way, he had a temper tantrum and cut off Luke’s hand. There’s no way Vader would let the Alliance be the only faction with over-sized ships.
The Tantative IV took up a lot of space (hah!) on the table, so of course there were questions about how massive ships like the Star Destroyer would be handled. We found out this week that the Star Destroyer would not be coming to the X-Wing Miniatures Game, but instead would be featured in the new Star Wars: Amanda. Although we don’t know much about the new game, we know it is a miniatures game much like X-Wing, but with miniatures on a much smaller scale. More details about the game will most likely be released during the next big gaming convention. Whenever that may be.
Power, Wisdom, Courage, Real Estate
Nintendo has been known for making some of the greatest games of all time. Just think about all of the classic characters they have. They’ve created Mario, Luigi, Link, Zelda, Star Fox, Samus, Donkey Kong, and Poo. Everybody loves Poo. It was announced this week that Nintendo’s next big hit will be Monopoly: The Legend of Zelda!
Of course, there are always those Nintendo naysayers who say the Legend of Zelda is a children’s game. Have there been any new games announced for the mature video game fans? As a matter of fact, there was one more exciting video game board game announcement this week. The predecessor to Assassin’s Creed Arena is coming soon. The game’s title has been revealed; it will be called Monopoly: Assassin’s Creed. Preorders will be going out soon, but the game will only be coming to Europe. So get your Abstergo Credits ready, imported games can be expensive.
Oh, and if you aren’t in the mood for Monopoly, Fantasy Flight Games announced XCom: The Board Game developed by Eric Lang (Star Wars: The Card Game, Kaosball, co-designer of Marvel Dice Masters). Fans of the video game series can take comfort in the fact that Fantasy Flight is pretty good about making gamesthatfeaturealiens. Not much is known about the game, other than the fact that it is a 1 to 4 player cooperative game that utilizes an app. We don’t even know if Fantasy Flight artist Henning Ludvigsen is going to make the Chryssalids even more terrifying than they already are. More information may be coming in the near future. Call it a hunch.
What’s New with the Dice Tower?
Was it mentioned that one of the biggest gaming conventions is taking place this week? You can expect nonstop updates from Tom Vasel, Eric Summerer, Ryan Metzler, and the rest of the team about all of the new games being released and demoed at the convention. Tom and Zee Garcia recorded a run of five videos detailing what to expect from each individual company attending the convention. Rob Searing of the Dice Tower News will be delivering written updates throughout the week. And don’t forget to tune in to the Dice Tower’s YouTube page to check out the long awaited review of Richard Garfield’s King of New York.
Yes, it is true. Legend of Zelda is finally sneaking onto tabletops but in the Monoply way. This exclusive edition is set to release September 15 and will feature a Hyrulian theme over the entire game…”Hyrule locations instead of the more familiar Monopoly properties, Monopoly money bearing pictures of rupees (in the wrong colours), Deku Sprouts and Deku Trees instead of houses and hotels, and Zelda-themed cards and game pieces.”