Around the World: Board Games in the News

It seems that board games are popping up  in the news with greater frequency. And I don’t just mean on boardgamegeek.com. Board games seem to be reported semi-regularly at CNN and the like. I’ve settled upon a new column where I will keep all our readers (namely my mom and Nick Sima) abreast of these breaking developments.

Around the World of Board Games

 

  1. The CIA uses board games for training

Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency

The CIA has started using board games to teach its officers and political analysts. It seems games are an excellent method for teaching analytical skills,  team building skills and keeping the trainees engaged.

At SXSW Conference (South by Southwest for you noobs), the intelligence community gave a panel discussion called, “Cloaks, Daggers, and Dice: How the CIA Uses Games.” The designer of Cuba Libre and Andean Abyss, Volko Ruhnke, is a former intelligence trainer. He was at the recent tech panel where these training techniques were discussed.

Collection by the CIA
Collection by the CIA

The brainchild of this new board game initiative is David Clopper. Clopper too is a game designer, albeit unpublished. He makes games for the CIA trainees to play. He assesses their performance based on plausible scenarios. Seen here is “Collection”, one of his games. The trainees must work together a la Pandemic to resolve three world crises.  And the roles the players take on are “economic analyst” or “political analyst”. The must gather intel on these crises without allowing the world to descend into chaos.

By all accounts, gaming is not going away as an intel training paradigm. The CIA has said they will be using VR games as a tool very soon.

 

Monopoly reimplements its tokens

New Monopoly pieces
New Monopoly pieces

Hasbro has given the Monopoly tokens (another) makeover. Hasbro conducted a poll across 100 nations to find out what the next generation of Monopoly tokens should be. In its wisdom, Hasbro has removed the boot, the thimble and the wheel barrel, replacing them with a rubber ducky, a T-Rex and a penguin.

Monopoly cat replaces iron
Monopoly cat replaces iron

This is after the inclusion of the cat. In 2013, Hasbro, following this same script, conducted a poll to find out which token to include. The iron was cast into the dustbin of history to make way for a cat with a large “M” flea collar.

Given that Hasbro has been replacing the inanimate objects (iron,, boot and wheel barrel) with animal tokens (cat, tyrannosaurus, penguin and duck), I’ll make a bold prediction. In 2020, Hasbro will conduct another survey, after which they will replace the famous Monopoly top hat with an earth worm.

 

The Day a Board Game Broke Kickstarter

Rising Sun crashes Kickstarter
Rising Sun crashes Kickstarter

What happens when the designer of Blood Rage decides to launch a sequel set in feudal Japan? If you said, “It breaks Kickstarter”, you would be correct.

The Kickstarter project was launched on March 7. It required $300,000 to be fully funded. It met that goal in 30 minutes. It then met a server error from so many gamers chomping at Eric Lang’s bit. The error 503 screen appeared before disappointing gamers who wanted to nab a Rising Sun early bird promo.

Kickstarter was able to resume its website eventually. This has allowed Rising Sun to reach 11X its required goal.

 

Cards Against Humanity designer is not a fan of ISP’s buying our internet histories

Cards Against Humanity
Cards Against Humanity

Bill SJ Res 34 has caused a lot of stir. It essentially says that Comcast et. al., can sell your browsing histories to third parties. Presumably third parties want this information so they can market to you more effectively..

But Max Temkin is one of the bill’s more creative critics. Max is the co-designer and publisher of the ubiquitous naughty party game, “Cards Against Humanity”.  Max has put his sharp wit to use in recent days. He has lashed out via twitter about this bill. He said if congress passes this, he will buy and publish the internet histories of all the members of congress.

While the bill nor the ISP’s would allow such a quid pro quo sale, Temkin said he would buy all the histories within the congressional ZIP codes and piece together which histories were which members of congress.

 

Closer to Home

The Griffin's Rest
The Griffin’s Rest

I continue to be amazed at the pace Kiel and his crew have set for themselves. Kiel’s aggressive plan to open his Griffin’s Rest Game Center on 3rd Street is a growing reality. The store almost looks legit now.

The date for opening has not yet been set in stone. But I’ll notify all of you when I hear word of it.

As far as The Gaming Annex goes, I’ve been working part time with a internet consultant to improve our online presence in the hopes that we continue to have a strong base of gamers. To this end, the Muskegon Area Gamers now has an instagram account. We also will be improving our websites and SEO a bit.

 

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  1. Closer to home