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Board Game Publisher Asmodee Offering Free Print & Play Versions

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In an effort to help support the many people around the world who are self-quarantining and social distancing due to the global pandemic, Asmodee, publisher of major board games like, well, Pandemic, are offering six of their simpler, family-friendly card games as free Print & Play versions.

Print & Play is a board game term for games that can be downloaded and printed out for free on sheets of paper. The quality won’t be quite as good as store-bought (the box version of Combo Color uses erasable boards and markers, for example), but they’re free to download and you can avoid the store (or shipping costs).

“In these difficult times due to the Covid-19 worldwide crisis, we at Asmodee are happy to offer families a way to play together from the comfort and safety of their home” said Stephane Carville, CEO, Asmodee. “We hope that these free ‘Print & Play’ games can offer some measure of relief, adventure and fun for everyone while staying safe at home.”

The following six games are available in Asmodee’s Print & Play program. Note that some of them are available in limited demo formats.

  • Spot It! – Matching card game involving symbols. Ages 6+.
  • Dixit – Guessing and Bluffing game based on cards with various images. Players tell a story and others guess which card image they’re drawing from. Ages 8+.
  • Unlock! – Co-op escape room using cards to search scenes, find clues, and solve puzzles. Uses a free mobile companion app to track clues and monitor time.
  • Timeline Classic – Players need to correctly place cards on a timeline in the correct order, including major historical events and inventions. Ages 8+.
  • Cortex / Braintopia – Compete in eight different brain teasing challenges, including logic tests, mazes, and color puzzles. Ages 8+.
  • Combo Color – Expand your territory by coloring boxes, while also collecting and combining items to score extra points. Ages 8+.

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Digital Board Games Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne Free on Epic Games Store

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This week, from Feb. 6 to Feb. 13, you can get two excellent digital board game adaptations for free on the Epic Games Store: Ticket to Ride, and Carcassonne: The Official Board Game.

“We leverage our board game DNA, combined with our specific digital expertise to immerse players into amazing stories. Combining the two most thriving categories of entertainment, board and video games, our titles are intellectually rewarding, driven by player choices and set in awe-inspiring universes,” said Pierre Ortolan, CEO, Asmodee Digital. “Because we love to play, craft and publish these kinds of games, we aim to get more and more people on board with our passion. That’s why we’re so excited by our partnership with the Epic Games Store as it enables us to introduce new audiences to the genres we love. For the launch we have selected major iconic digital board game adaptations, offering a premium experience for free.”

To nab the free games, you’ll need go login with your Epic Games account. Then simply scroll down on the store page to the Free Games section. Both games also feature optional paid DLC.

In Ticket to Ride, players take turns drawing train tickets to complete their destination goals, forming routes along the US map. It’s considered a popular gateway game with its simple gameplay and family-friendly theme. You can play single player with bots, or multiplayer online and locally.

Carcassonne is the original tile-laying game where players collectively build up a French countryside, using their meeples to score points off of completed roads, cities, and monasteries. Carcassonne also features single player as well as local and online multiplayer.

The press release also announced Pandemic: The Board Game as a third offering, but it has since been removed, and can no longer be found on the Epic Games Store at all.

The Asmodee Digital version of Carcassonne is also available on Steam PC, Android, and Nintendo Switch. Ticket to Ride is available on iOs, Android, Steam, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

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Pixelkin 2019 Holiday Gift Guide: Board Games

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Despite (or perhaps because of) video gaming’s incredible popularity, board and card games continue to ride a golden wave of success. Like their digital counterparts, tabletop games come in all shapes, sizes, genres, and age groups.

Below you’ll find our list of some of the hottest new games of 2019 divided by Kids (~8-13) and Teens (14+). Note that “Kids” doesn’t mean Teens and Adults won’t love them too!

Kids

Invasion of the Cow Snatchers

invasion of the cow snatchers

Invasion of the Cow Snatchers is more a series of puzzles than a board game. Fences and disc-cows are assembled in a small grid, and players must carefully navigate their magnetic UFO to pick up cows and avoid getting stuck behind fences. The box includes 60 puzzles divided into five difficulty levels, making it a brain-teasing winner for kids and adults.

The Mind

The Mind is a simple card game with a hilariously devious premise. Players need to play their randomly dealt number cards (1-100) to the center of the table, in ascending order. Play the wrong card, and you lose a precious life. The catch is that no one can talk to each other, forcing lots of furtive looks and telling grunts. The Mind features 12 levels of increasing difficulty, as each player must calculate a larger hand size.

Funkoverse Strategy Games

Fans of the bobblehead-like Funko pop figures can throw down the gauntlet in this new series of tactical Funkoverse Strategy Games. At launch you can find DC, Harry Potter, and Rick and Morty packs in 2-character and 4-character sets, and each come with exclusive Funkopop figures.

Wayfinders

In Wayfinders, players place their workers on hangars to gain resources, then use them to move their plan among a randomly generated set of islands, building airstrips and gaining victory points. It’s an easy-to-teach gateway game to the wonderful worker placement genre.

 

Teens

The Blockbuster Party Game

The Blockbuster Party Game is the ultimate movie trivia game, featuring multiple party game trivia modes, including head-to-head categories, quotes, and even silently acting out movie scenes, and it’s all wrapped up in a nostalgic VHS tape package.

Clank Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated

We love the Clank games for combing dungeon crawling with deck building. Clank Legacy combines two more of our favorites: the overarching campaign RPG structure of a legacy game, and the hilariously fun machinations of the Penny Arcade D&D group, Acq Inq!

Disney Villainous: Wicked to the Core and Evil Comes Prepared 

If you followed our advice and got the excellent asymmetrical game Disney Villainous last year, you’re more than due to check out the two new expansions, each adding three new villains that feature their own unique and thematically appropriate paths to victory.

Game of Thrones: Oathbreaker

oathbreaker

Game of Thrones finally ended earlier this year, but you and your friends can carry on the backstabbing and subterfuge with Oathbreaker, which takes the hidden role system of many a party game and divides players into two teams of loyalists and conspirators, and a paranoid king who must determine which is which.

Jaws Board Game

Who would’ve guessed a board game based on the seminal 1975 film would be so darn good? The Jaws Board Game is two games in one, with the first act featuring the human players scrambling to find the shark before it eats too many swimmers. The second act takes place entirely on the boat, as the shark destroys it (and the humans) while the humans try to guess where it will surface and attack. For a game where one player plays a man-eating shark on a team of their own, it’s surprisingly well-balanced and wonderfully tense.

Wingspan

One of the best reviewed board games of the year is about bird-watching, and collecting birds for your personal wildlife preserve. Wingspan features over 150 bird species, gorgeous artwork, colorful egg tokens, large player mats, and an awesome bird-feeder dice tower.

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Sponsored Post: A Basic Guide to Backgammon

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The game of backgammon is over 5,000 years old, which makes it one of the oldest board games in history. It was first created by people living in the Middle East at the time, but today it’s played all over the world.

If you ever saw what a backgammon game looks like, you might have been confused as to what the rules are. In fact, it’s hard to tell what the rules are just by looking at how the game’s played. But don’t worry—you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out. Nevertheless, you will need some sort of a tutorial to understand the basics of backgammon, and that’s where we come in.

Also, if you don’t own a backgammon board, you can play the best free backgammon game online instead. But first, you should read the following guidelines carefully and learn how to play backgammon with your friends. Let’s start!

The Setup

Backgammon is a two-player game played on a board containing 24 narrow triangles called “points”. The points are separated into four quadrants of six, with a bar in the middle.

Each player starts with 15 checkers. Checkers come in two different colors–usually, one player has white and the other one has black. One player moves his or her pieces in a clockwise direction while the other player starting on the opposite side of the board moves counterclockwise.

The quadrant that you will be moving towards is called your home board (bottom right or bottom left depending on your position), and the board adjacent to it is your outer board.

In order to start, each player will need to put all of his or her checkers on the board. Start by putting five checkers on your 6th point, three checkers on your 8th point, five checkers on your 13th point, and then put your last two checkers on your 24th point. The opponent will put their checkers in an exact mirror image of yours.

To learn more about how the points are numbered, take a look at this awesome beginner backgammon tutorial.

Moving the Checkers

Each player receives two regular dice with six sides that he or she throws to indicate the moving of the pieces. So, for example, if you roll a four and a two, you will get to move any of your checkers for a total of six times. You can move one checker six times, or you can move one checker four times and another one twice. Remember that you can only move the checkers in one previously determined direction towards your home board. The goal is to reach the end of your home board with all 15 pieces.

To indicate who starts first, both players will throw dice at the same time. Whichever player gets the higher number, he or she moves first by a total number of two dice combined. For example, if you get a three and your opponent rolls only a one, you will get to move your pieces three times and then once more. If both players roll the same number, the throwing of the dice repeats.

You can land a checker on any point that is empty or that has only one of the opponent’s pieces. You can’t land your piece onto a point that has two or more opponent’s checkers.

If you land a double, let’s say double twos, the total number of your moves will double as well, so you will get eight moves instead of four in this case.

Hitting Opponents and Bearing Off

If you land on a point where the opponent only has one checker, you will send that checker to the bar. The opponent will then have to roll the dice to put his piece on the bar back into the game, beginning from his starting point. The opponent cannot re-enter the game unless he or she rolls the number that puts them on a point where they can actually land —they cannot land on points where you have two or more pieces at a given time.

As we mentioned before, the goal of a backgammon game is to finish the board with all of your pieces. Once you get near the end, you will hope to roll a number that exceeds the last point. You can only finish with one piece at a time and only if all of your pieces are in your home board. That is called bearing off.

Whichever player removes all of his or her checkers first wins the game.

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Dire Wolf Digital Bringing Six Hit Board Games to Digital

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Dire Wolf Digital announced an exciting lineup of board game digital adaptations from some of the hottest tabletop games of the last several years. The digital versions will include PC and mobile versions, starting with Raiders of the North Sea (Renegade Game Studios) in the next few months.

Dire Wolf Digital are the developers of digital collectible card game Eternal and co-developers (with Renegade Game Studios) of the Clank! board game series. They’ve previously adapted board games Lanterns: The Harvest Festival and Lotus to PC and mobile.

“Bringing some of the hottest fan-favorite tabletop games to digital platforms is an exciting opportunity, and doing it in partnership with some of the industry’s best and brightest is an honor and pleasure,” said Scott Martins, President and founder of Dire Wolf Digital. “These are the games we’re playing ourselves, so making sure they come to life in digital form in a way that’s as great as they are on the table is our focus and an absolute must for us.”

At this time only Raiders of the North Sea was given a tentative release window. Other announced adaptions include: Mage Knight (WizKids), Root (Leder Games), Sagrada (Floodgate Games), Yellow & Yangtze (Grail Games), and Wings of Glory (Ares Games).

Mage Knight is sprawling, dense, but rewarding RPG simulator by renowned board game designer Vlaada Chvatil. Players take on the role of the titular mage knights and explore new territory, battling monsters, leveling up, and building their deck of spells and abilities. Dire Wolf’s partnership includes all of WizKids’ properties, such as Dice Masters and HeroClix.

Root is a war game featuring four asymmetrical woodland forces vying for domination. Sagrada is a dice-drafting game where players build their own stained glass window using colorful dice to fill out their own unique puzzle. Yellow & Yangtze is a tile-placement strategy game from legendary designer Reiner Knizia, a modern evolution of his own 1990s strategy game Tigris & Euphrates. Wings of Glory is a miniatures war game featuring biplane dogfighting in World War 2.

Dire Wolf Digital also recently announced a partnership with Penny Arcade to produce a new physical Clank! board game based on Acquisitions Incorporated. The new version, Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated, will feature an ongoing campaign.

Pixelkin 2018 Holiday Gift Guide for Gaming Families

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When the most popular game on the planet is free to play on every available platform, including phones, what’s a parent or relative shopping for games to do?

Despite its popularity, Fortnite isn’t the end all of video games. This year saw huge new franchise releases in a variety of genres, such as Assassin Creed Odyssey, God of War, Dragon Quest 11, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Digital gift cards such as the Nintendo eShop gift card make easy and effective gifts (and fine stocking stuffers) as indie games continue to fill the in-between gaps, including Dead Cells, Celeste, Two Point Hospital, Moonlighter, and Octopath Traveler.

And 2018 marked our first full year with the Switch, adding dozens of high quality indie games as well as first party releases such as Super Mario Party and Pokémon Let’s Go. Nintendo is also the only major game company truly thinking outside the box with the release of the Nintendo Labo kits.

Below you’ll find links to our 2018 gaming gift recommendations, organized by system and age rating: Young Kids (under 10), Kids and Teens (10-16), and Mature Teens (17+).

For the first time this year we’re also adding a board game category, recognizing the rising popularity of tabletop games for kids and adults of all ages. In an age of increasing reliance on digital distribution, opening a physical board game for the holidays would make for a very satisfying gift.

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