Category Archives: News

Boardgames in the News: The Museum of Board Games in Newent

On 28th August, in the small Gloucestershire market town of Newent, a The Museum of Board Games opened its doors for the first time.  The owner-curator is Tony Boydell, highly regarded designer of Snowdonia, Ivor the Engine, Guilds of London and Scandaroon amongst other games.  The exhibition is largely the boardgame ephemera he has been collecting over years of designing and playing games with friends and family.

Museum of Board Games in Newent
– Image by boardGOATS

At first sight it doesn’t seem like much—it is very compact, but actually contains a really surprising amount, and the games table front and centre, draws in unsuspecting visitors.  There are always a couple of games out on this table for people to fondle and play.  This could be anything from the fantastic War of the Daleks to Tiddley-Golf or Froschkönig.  As well as exhibits available to play, there are also little quizzes to encourage people to explore the displays and everything is labelled and tagged by the museum cat.

Museum of Board Games in Newent
– Image by boardGOATS

For the most part The Museum of Board Games comprises games from the 20th century, but there are also copies of The History of England (until George III) from 1803 and more recent games like Glory to Rome and Ticket to Ride: The Card Game.  The most unusual and rare pieces are on display in cases, but one of the nicest things about the museum are the stacks of game boxes ready to be taken off the shelf and looked at in detail.

Museum of Board Games in Newent
– Image by boardGOATS

When anyone shows an interest in something, it will readily will come out of its box for closer inspection.  There is a remarkable number of games with a tie-in to TV shows, but also unusual items like a beautiful home-made copy of Monopoly themed round Richmond (London) and copies of L’Attaque! (which became better known when it was reimplemented as Stratego).

Museum of Board Games in Newent
– Image by boardGOATS

In recent years, there have been exhibitions at the V&A Museum of Childhood and The British Museum, but this is a much better experience.  Although the exhibits are (of course) the centre of the museum, what makes a visit really special is the curator, Tony Boydell himself, and his remarkable knowledge of the games on display and of games in general.  Tony can talk for hours on the subject (and he will, if you let him), and as conversation meanders, he will reveal more treasures from the nooks and crannies of the museum.

Museum of Board Games in Newent
– Image by boardGOATS

As an afternoon out, the Museum of Board Games is well worth a visit, though speculative visitors should be aware that it is currently only open on Fridays and Saturdays (10am-4pm).  It is also exceptional value, but anyone who really wants to support the venture, should visit the museum’s Patreon page.  For those who can’t visit in person, there are a couple of reports on the BBC as well as Tony’s Blog on Board Game Geek.

Museum of Board Games in Newent
– Image by boardGOATS

Goats in the News: The Danger of Goaty Selfies

Over the last couple of years, Llandudno has made the news thanks to visits from a flock of Kashmir goats.  The infamous goats are once more causing problems, but this time it is a result of their newfound fame.  The goats have returned to the Great Orme peninsula, a nature reserve in Conwy, but their notoriety has attracted tourists taking selfies inspiring the Llandudno Coastguard to comment:

We are particularly concerned about reports that people are placing themselves in danger to view the goats up close and to take photos.  The goats are safe, they aren’t trapped and are just exploring a new part of the Great Orme.  We urge you not to place yourselves in danger to view the goats and to stay on Marine Drive where it is safe and a great vantage point to see the goats.

Llandudno Goats
– Image from facebook.com

Next Meeting, 9th September 2021

Following the test event at the Horse and Jockey and much discussion, as the pub are not currently serving food on a Tuesday, we have decided to move to Thursdays for the time being.  Therefore, our next meeting will be on THURSDAY 9th September 2021.  We will start playing shorter games from 7.30pm as people arrive, until 8pm when we will start something a little longer (table is booked from 6.30pm for those who would like to eat first).

This week, the “Feature Game” will be Fossilis, which is a game about palaeontology with players digging for dinosaur bones and collecting fossils.

Fossilis
– Image by boardGOATS

And speaking of palaeontologists…

Jeff was the palaeontologist at an archaeological dig.  With no bones to study, he’d had little to do so had been set to work in the least exciting corner of the site.  He’d been shifting soil for weeks and found not so much as an old penny, when suddenly his luck changed and he found a leg bone. He was so excited about what he’d found, that he invited all the other archaeologists over to help him remove it.  It turned out to be quite a shin-dig…

Boardgames in the News: Harshad Gothankar’s Flicking Amazing Feet

Harshad Gothankar from Mumbai was born without arms, so he does everything with his feet—including playing Carrom.  Carom is a flicking game played in south Asia that is similar to the north American/Canadian game Crokinole and more modern descendents like Flick ’em Up!, ICECOOL, Subbuteo and PitchCar (or Carabande).

Harshad Gothankar
– Image by Mumbai Games on facebook.com

Harshad Gothankar has always been a remarkable young man with a passion for playing the national sport of cricket and is now also a state Carrom champion.  He recently became an internet phenomenon, however, when cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar highlighted his determination in a post on his social media feed.

– From twitter.com

Next Meeting, 17th August 2021 – Online!

Although the test event at the Horse and Jockey was very successful last week, we have decided to continue online this week.  Therefore, our next meeting will be on Tuesday 17th August 2021; we will gather from around 7.30pm, and start playing at 8pm.

One of the more popular games that we have played online was the “Roar and Write” type game, Welcome to Dino World.  We have only played the “Lite” version, so this week, the “Feature Game” will be “Dinos in Danger Mode”.  This is much nastier and altogether more likely to lead to an Isla Nublar type incident…

Welcome to Dino World
– Image by boardGOATS

And speaking of Dinosaurs…

Jeff and Joe had just finished watching Jurassic World and as they watched the credits, Joe said commented that he thought it was a fantastic film.  Jeff was less impressed.

Joe enthused, “But just look at what they made those dinosaurs do!”

Jeff replied, “Yeah, it’s great—they were able to train raptors. Still, that’s not as impressive as the Flintstones convincing a bird to be their record player…”

Boardgames in the News: TMG on the Brink

One of the leading designer games companies, Tasty Minstrel Games (aka TMG) is reportedly on the brink of demise. Working closely with the Reiner Stockhausen’s dlp Games, they have been responsible for the US editions of Orléans, Yokohama, Citrus and Bohemian Villages.  Well known for their “Deluxified” editions of games, they’ve also collaborated extensively with many other European companies leading to US editions of Village, Belfort , Gùgōng, Gentes, Guilds of London, Eminent Domain and The Oracle of Delphi, and re-releases of popular games like Luna, Colosseum and At the Gates of Loyang. They have not been simply “partners” reproducing other games, developing Scoville, Captains of Industry, and Crusaders: Thy Will Be Done.

Orléans
– Image by boardGOATS

A few years ago, TMG controversially raised over $150,000 selling shares online, but it seems these funds have now run out.  According to an email sent out by TMG to stock holders discussed on a recent Dice Tower News, their “book value is in the negative” which they describe as “virtual bankruptcy”.  As a result, in an attempt to save the company they are laying off staff and have called a halt to game development for the next “two to three years”.  The most recent KickStarter campaign is also being abandoned with backers receiving a refunds.  In the immediate future, the company will be focusing on selling its existing stock hoping that they will “eventually being able to start up again”.

-Video by the Dice Tower

Indications that TMG have been struggling have been there for a while, with allegations they delayed payment to some of their designers and most recently when they failed to renew the publishing rights to their highest rated game, Orléans.  The question is, why has this happened?  Of course, the global pandemic will have played its part, as will the recent sudden increase in shipping costs.  However, these are probably only another nail in the coffin.  The underlying cause is almost certainly the increased pressure caused by a market saturated with high quality games and a lot of noise generated by a conveyor-belt of crowd-funded products.  Sadly, it looks like TMG simply ran out of road, and money.

– Image from playtmg.com

UK Games Expo 2021 – Surviving Covid

Last weekend was the forteenth UK Games Expo after the cancellation of last year’s. Sometimes known as UKGE, or simply Expo, UK Games Expo is the foremost games event in the UK, but like so many events, fell victim to the pandemic in 2020.  This year was quieter than usual, with everything more spread out and some notable absentees (most obviously Asmodee).  The UK Games Expo Awards were handed out as usual, and those that went enjoyed themselves and found the “Covid Measures” sufficiently secure without being too onerous.  None of the group regulars went this time, but that was largely due to other circumstances, so we are looking forward to next year.

UK Games Expo Logo
– Image by boardGOATS

Spiel des Jahres Winners – 2021

The 2021 winner of the coveted German Game of the Year or Spiel des Jahres award has been announced as MicroMacro: Crime City.  This is an unusual choice in that it is very different to most traditional games and arguably is more a cooperative crime-solving activity using the medium of “Where’s Wally?“.  The “game” is played on a large monochrome map, with a deck of cards.  The cards ask questions with the answers to the questions on the map.  In turn, these lead the players to the solution to each of the sixteen cases.

– Image by BGG contributor Hipopotam

As a family challenge, MicroMacro: Crime City can certainly be a lot of fun, though it might not be seen as a game in the traditional sense.  There has been an increasing tendency by the committee to reward games that challenge the conventional idea of a game, with notable nominees including the 2018 Spiel des Jahres nominee The Mind, 2019 Kennerspiel nominee Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game, and the 2017 Kennerspiel winner, the Exit: Das Spiel series.  While this may make games more relevant to more people, it also means the Spiel des Jahres awards increasingly are less applicable to more traditional gamers.

– Image by BGG contributor kalchio

As usual, the Kennerspiel des Jahres was awarded at the same ceremony. This award honours slightly more challenging games and this year went to Paleo. This is a co-operative campaign game, where players try to keep the human beings in their care alive while completing challenges. The Kinderspiel des Jahres award winner was announced last month and went to Dragomino, a children’s version of Kingdomino where players are hunting dragon eggs.  As usual, congratulations to all the winners and nominees, in what has been a very difficult year for everyone.

MicroMacro: Crime City
– Image adapted by boardGOATS from the
live stream video on spiel-des-jahres.de

Spiel des Jahres Nominations 2021

The nominations for the Spiel des Jahres have been announced.  There are three categories, the Kinderspiel (children’s game) , the Kennerspiel (“expert’s” game) and the most desirable of all, the family award, the Spiel des Jahres.  The nominees for this year’s awards have been announced as:

  • Kinderspiel des Jahres
    Kinderspiel des Jahres 2019Dragomino by Bruno Cathala, Marie Fort and Wilfried Fort
    Fabelwelten (aka Storytailors) by Wilfried Fort and Marie Fort
    Mia London by Antoine Bauza and Corentin Lebrat

Last year, the winner of the Spiel des Jahres was Pictures, a game where players model the picture on their card using the available components, e.g. shoelaces, coloured cubes, etc.; players get points for correctly guessing other players images and for other players guessing their image.  This is considerably lighter than some of the earlier winners, notably, Tikal and El Grande, or even some of the best known winners like The Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne or Ticket to Ride.  As the main award winners have become lighter over the years, we have found the Kennerpiel des Jahres better fits to our tastes.  The Kennerspiel nominees are not especially complex games, but are typically a step up from the light, family-friendly games of the main prize, the Spiel des Jahres.

– Image by from spiel-des-jahres.de

Last year the Kennerspiel award went to The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine a game we have still been unable to play thanks to the global pandemic.  The Crew beat our preferred choice, Cartographers.  In contrast to The Crew, as a “Roll and Write” game, we have played Cartographers a lot.  So far, we are unfamiliar with the nominees this year and likely won’t get the chance to play any of them until some time after the winners have been announced (19th July in Berlin for the Kennerpiel and Spiel des Jahres Awards; 14th June for the Kinderspiel des Jahres).

Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale
– Image by boardGOATS

 

Goats in the News: The Goats are Back In Town…!

Last year, a group of Kashmiri goats went on the rampage in Llandudno.  It is actually not uncommon for them to visit the town when food is scarce, but now they are back, and thanks to a lack of contraception caused by the pandemic, there are more of them than ever.  Apparently they’ve been caught queuing at the chippy, waiting for a bus, and going to school—they are a very popular sight kidding around in town.

– Video by 5 News on youtube.com