Category Archives: News

Boardgames in the News: A UK Games Company in Trouble

Et Games is a small Hampshire games company that is in trouble largely thanks to red tape.  The company started life as Pucket Enterprises in 2009 and since then have won investment through the investment TV program Dragons’ Den and have published three wooden dexterity-type games, Pucket, Bridget and Rollet.  These games are made in India out of sheesham wood (Dalbergia sissoo) from managed plantations.  Unfortunately, sheesham wood looks similar to some endangered rosewoods, so a recent change in the rules means Et Games now require an import permit for each shipment.

Bridget
– Image from etgames.co.uk

According to Et Games’ website, delays by the Indian authorities in providing the necessary export permit for a recent shipment, meant Et Games were unable to apply for a UK permit until shortly before the goods arrived. The UK Animal Plant and Health Authority (APHA) say this was too late, so they have confiscated the whole shipping container worth £20,000 which will probably end up being destroyed.  With other costs and forgone profits, this small business has effectively lost up to £40,000, putting the company in peril.  In an effort to save the business, Et Games are trying to get the support of their local Member of Parliament, Damian Hinds, and persuade him to write to the relevant junior minister (Therese Coffey) to refer the matter to the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman.  Anyone who wishes to support Et Games and help to raise the profile of their plight can sign their petition on change.org.

Petersfield Post
– Image from etgames.co.uk

Next Meeting – 22nd January 2019

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 22nd January, at the Horse and Jockey pub in Stanford-in-the-Vale.  As usual, we will be playing shorter games from 7.30pm as people arrive, until 8pm when we will start something a little longer.

This week the “Feature Game” will be Auf Teufel komm raus, a fun, push-your luck game with a betting element.  “Auf Teufel komm raus” literally translates as “On Devil come out“, but roughly means “by hook or by crook” or according to rule book, “The Devil with it” (as the title is officially translated).  None of these really give any information about the game though where players are betting on how many coals they can pull out of the fire without getting caught by the Devil.

Auf Teufel komm raus
– Image by boardGOATS

And speaking of the Devil…

St. Peter and Satan were planning a football match, but there was a bit of a dispute.  The Devil wanted home advantage, but St. Peter felt the brimstone would be a significant disadvantage for anyone from Heaven.  In the end they agreed the match would be played on neutral turf between a select team from the heavenly host and a band of Satan’s hand picked players.

“Very well,” said the gatekeeper of Heaven. “But you realize, I hope, that we’ve got all the best players and the smartest coaches.”

“I know, and that’s all right,” Satan answered unperturbed. “We’ve got all the referees.”

Boardgames in the News: Gaming & Mental Health

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives and around half a billion people suffer from such conditions at any one time.  A year ago, the WHO announced their 11th International Classification of Diseases was to include the condition “gaming disorder“.  This is characterised by “increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”  Although there is no doubt that there are some boardgamers to whom this might be applied, the WHO specifically meant “digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”; in fact, anecdotally there’s lots of evidence that boardgames can help with depression.

Asmodee
– Image from who.int

There is more evidence, indeed research by Colin Camerer, of the California Institute of Technology, suggests that when players are doing the best that they can to “win” their brains tend to show a high degree of co-ordination between the “thinking” and the “feeling” regions.  A boardgame group at a mental health recovery centre is reported to have had a positive impact on its clients, building their social and communication skills as well as their self-esteem and helping to reduce social isolation. Now, Billy Brown is taking this one step further. Billy was an agoraphobic who spent seven years in his dressing gown just sitting at his computer, only going outside for doctor’s appointments.  Now he is designing a role-playing game to help young people build their social skills.  So, it would seem that as every boardgamer knows, playing boardgames really is good for you.

– Image from bbc.co.uk

Golden GOAT Award Winners – 2018

The inaugural Golden GOAT award was announced at the boardGOATS annual “Un-Christmas Dinner”.  There was also an award acknowledging the worst game of the year, known as the “GOAT Poo” award.  The rules were quite simple, only games played at a GOATS games night in 2018 (i.e. appearing in the log book) could be nominated, and everyone got just one vote in each category.  It was clear from the audience response that many of nominees were very popular choices, including Yokohama and Keyflower: The Farmers.  A couple of games managed the feat of appearing in both lists winning the unofficial “GOAT Marmite-factor” Award, namely Endeavor and Yardmaster.  The winner of the “GOAT Poo” award was Queendomino, with one third of the group nominating it (remarkable since only four people had actually played it).  There was also a special award for “possibly the best and worst moments of the year” which went to Purple and Green’s inability to play Rock-Paper-Scissors (during Walk the Plank! a few weeks back), and Burgundy appearing as the perennial Saboteur at the end of November.  The deserving winner of the “Golden GOAT 2018”, however, was Altiplano which turned out to be a very popular choice.

Golden GOAT - 2018
– Image by boardGOATS

Christmas GOATS 2018 – Calendar Update

Merry Christmas!
– Image from imagefully.com

The Calendar has been updated, but here is a quick summary of the key dates for GOATS and Didcot Gamers:

Christmas 2018
Tuesday 11th December 2018
(Last normal meeting of the year)
“Un-Christmas Dinner” meeting at 7pm;
Festive and Wintery games from 8.00pm(ish) at the
Horse and Jockey pub in Stanford-in-the-Vale.
Friday 21st December 2018
(Didcot Gamers)
Games, at The Loop.
Thursday 27th December 2018
(GOATS do the Quiz)
Quiz Night at the Horse and Jockey pub
in Stanford-in-the-Vale from 9pm, with
food from 8pm.
Saturday 29th December 2018
(Monster Games)
Something longer
in the afternoon at Barney’s House.
Monday 31st December 2018
(New Year Party)
Games and food from 7pm until
the early hours at Barney’s House.
Friday 4th January 2019
(Didcot Gamers)
Games at The Loop in Didcot
(back to normal).
Tuesday 8th January 2019
(boardGOATS)
Games from 7.30pm at the Horse and Jockey pub
in Stanford-in-the-Vale (back to normal).

Boardgames in the News: Drawing Out the 2018 World Chess Championship

The World Chess Championship is run by the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE), and in recent years has been settled on a two year cycle with the reigning champion playing against the winner of the Candidates Tournament.  The Candidates Tournament is an eight player double round-robin tournament and this year was won by Fabiano Luigi Caruana, an Italian-American Chess prodigy.  Currently number two in the world rankings, Caruana become the youngest ever Italian or American Grandmaster, earning the title in 2007 at the age of 14 years and eleven months.  Caruana is playing Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen (known as Magnus), a Norwegian Chess Grandmaster.  Carlsen is currently number one in the world rankings, a position he has held since 2010, when the became the youngest person to achieve the highest rank at just nineteen.  In 2013 Carlsen won the World Championships for the first time, retaining the title in 2014 and 2016.

Chess
– Image by Unsplash contributor sk

This year the protagonists are very evenly matched, ranking one and two in the world and separated by just eighteen months.  What is remarkable though is just how evenly matched their Chess has been:  the World Chess Championship is a twelve match game played over three weeks, and for the first time in history, all twelve matches have ended in a draw.  Each of these matches was played against the clock with a maximum possible time of over three hours.  Since these ended in a tie, the players will be challenged further by increasing the speed of play, increasing the chance of errors.  Thus a series of four “speed chess” tie-breaks will initially be used to decide the match each taking approximately half an hour.  If this fails to separate the combatants, there will be up to five mini-matches of best-of-two blitz games (five to ten minutes each).  If the match is still tied, this will be followed by an an “Armageddon” game where White starts with five minutes on the clock and Black with four minutes, with both players receiving a three second increment after sixty moves.  In the case of a draw, Black wins.

Chess
– Image by Unsplash contributor Felix Mittermeier

The tie-breaks will be played on Wednesday 28th November, with the winner taking 55% of the €1,000,000 prize pot, and of course, the title of “World Chess Champion”.