This looks amazing! I'm really liking all the changes being released for the upcoming Pathfinder 2 and am looking forward to it.

Link: Kingmaker Campaign

Picture of Magic: The Gathering from MIT Technology Review

Computer scientists have tested Magic: The Gathering and have determined it is apparently impossible for a computer to brute force determine a winning strategy. Maybe we'll need a quantum computer to solve the game...

Link: MIT Technology Reveiw

Good Old Games is a favorite website of mine for getting classic games from my youth back to play on my modern PC. I also enjoy introducing my children to PC gaming history. The kids like seeing the progression that games have gone through.

But finally, three grail games for me have just been released on Good Old Games!. The three games that originally put Blizzard on the map are back, Warcraft I, Warcraft II, and Diablo I. The games are faithfully upgraded to work on modern PCs with all of their original functionality working. That means I and my children will be able to play them together on our LAN. Woohoo!

They are selling a bundle of the two Warcrafts for only $15. Diablo I is only $10. That's a steal.

So, what are you waiting for? Get busy gaming!

Link: GOG.com

Splat Attack! box cover

Splat Attack! Is a new miniatures combat board game put out by IDW Games. It features characters from four different Nickelodeon cartoons (SpongeBob Squarepants, Rugrats, Hey Arnold!, and Invader Zim) in the base game. It may serve as an easy introduction to the genre of grid-based miniatures combat gaming. As such it is entering the arena of Shadespire and Aristeia, for older players, as well as Krosmaster Arena, HeroClix, and Super Dungeon Explore PVP Arena, for younger players. So how does it compare to the other members of this growing segment of board gaming? What do my own children think of it? Is it suitable for school clubs? Read on to find out!

Here's a great interview with Sophie Williams, the designer of the new boardgame Hellboy coming from Mantic Games. In the interview she talks about what led her to becoming a game designer and gives advice for people looking to find a career based on the things they love.

Interview: Beasts of War link

Blitz Bowl Cover

Blitz Bowl is one of Games Workshop’s three new family oriented games that are being sold exclusively for the time being in Barnes and Nobles. These games are part of GW’s push to expand their customer base into the family market. The other two games are Space Marine Adventures: Labyrinth of the Necrons and The Lord of the Rings: Quest for Mount Doom. Each of these games can be seen as a gateway game for younger players to be exposed to the worlds of GW’s standard line of games for older customers. In each case, the miniatures are the same style and size of the miniatures used in their main games and are completely interchangeable with those games. These new games for families are accompanied by a line of fiction books, written for pre-teen children, set in the 40K and Age of Sigmar universes of GW’s two most popular games. As a parent of pre-teen children and a teacher who runs a school gaming club, I’m very happy to see GW pushing in this direction. So how do they do with their new family friendly initiative and Blitz Bowl? Do I recommend it to other teachers running school gaming clubs and parents looking for beginning miniatures games to play with their children? How do my own children like it? Let’s take a look!

ancient board game 58 holes

Here's a very cool archeological finding in Azerbaijan. It's a copy of the ancient game called 58 Holes or Hounds and Jackals today. This instance of the game appears to be about 4000 years old. An example of the game was found earlier in the tomb Egyptian Pharaoh Amenemhat IV from 1800 BCE. So the game was apparently a popular one, as it obviously spread around the ancient world throughout the Middle East.

No one is exactly sure what the rules were, but it appears to have been some sort of racing game with markers moving around a track. It looks somewhat like backgammon, although it has no real relationship to that game. Backgammon comes from a Roman game much later on.

I like what Walter Crist has to say about the role of games in society:

"People are using the games to interact with one another," he said. Games were "kind of a uniquely human thing, kind of an abstraction — moving stones in blank spaces on the ground has no real effect on your daily life, except for the fact that it helps you interact with another person.

"So, a game is a tool for interaction, kind of like language — a shared way of being able to interact with people," Crist said.

Check out the article here.

Riot Quest is a new grid-based skirmish game being released next fall. It is being put out by Privateer Press. In it players will have a squad of around 10 "trigger-happy, fortune-hunting mercenary characters with an aresenal of insane gear" that they can pull from to field a 4 character team. The goal will be to run around the grid map battling and collecting "piles and piles of shiny loot" while also completing changing bounty objectives. The characters will be mercenaries in the Iron Kingdom realm and will thus be compatible with the Warmachine and Hordes games. It will allow 2 to 4 players to compete in a game that lasts a little over half an hour.

This sounds like it may be the perfect game to introduce to an afterschool gaming club that wants to bring in a game with real paintable miniatures. Hopefully they keep the game at the same school and family friendly level of thematic content as their other grid-based game, Monsterpocalypse. Monsterpocalypse is my current favorite grid-based, family and school friendly, skirmish game, so I have high hopes for this one. It looks like Privateer Press is keeping the game firmly in the humorous, yet still cool, camp of Mosterpocalypse, where the theme and gameplay push players of all ages to end up genuinely laughing, giggling, and joking while playing. They are describing Riot Quest as a "hilarious and chaotic brawl." This is exactly what I and my children love about Monsterpocalypse. My children think the concept art looks very cool and the gameplay description sounds fun. Mosterpocalypse nailed that approach to a miniatures game.

Riot Quest Tinkerer concept art Riot Quest Pygmie Tank
Riot Quest Necrotech

War Chest box

War Chest is a new chess-influenced abstract game by Trevor Benjamin and David Thompson, distributed by AEG. I happened to find it on a ding and dent table in my local store and picked it up. I'm very glad I did. It has added in a modern deck-building mechanic to classic gameplay, among other things. It sports high component production values and easy to understand rules with strategic depth. I'm always interested in modern variants of classic abstract games for my after school gaming club. It has some similarities with two earlier chess-like abstract games which are favorites of my children and I, The Duke and Onitama. So how does it compare with its closest modern cousins? Which one do I and my children like the best? Read on to find out!