Around the World of Board Gaming October 2017

One of our ongoing columns, Around the World of Board Gaming, is quickly becoming one of my favorites. In this month’s installment, we will be looking at the Magic: the Gathering class action suit, the upcoming Catan movie, and Toys R’ Us’ bankruptcy and how that will affect our hobby. We will wrap it up with our Closer to Home section. Enjoy!

Around the World of Board Gaming October 2017


Judge in California throws out class action suit regarding lost wages to M:TG judges

Around the World of Board Gaming October 2017
Magic: the Gathering


In October 2015,  a group of judges for Magic: the Gathering filed a class action suit against Wizards of the Coast. The judges claimed they were employees of Wizards of the Coast and thus should be paid for their services. A second class action suit was filed in April 2017.

Wizards of the Coast claims the judges are more or less volunteers who take on these roles because of their love of the hobby. Because the term “volunteer” has legal meaning, WotC doesn’t actually use it. A volunteer is someone who works for civic, charitable or humanitarian endeavors, and God knows Hasbro, Wizard’s parent company, is none of those things. But still, the judges agree to the terms of service which is a pittance of compensation.

Judge Edward Davila threw the case out. He said the terms are voluntary and no mention of compensation was ever made. He sympathized with the amount of time the M:tG judges had to undergo to become certified but said the plaintiffs could not adequately show how many “hours” they had worked, among other deficiencies in their case.

The second class action suit, which is likely to have a greater impact, is still working its way through the court system. I’ll keep you posted with any developments.


Sony is producing a Settlers of Catan movie

Settlers of Catan is a classic board game that Muskegon still enjoys.
Settlers of Catan

The Hollywood Reporter said Sony is making a Catan movie. Sony is hoping this will be a franchise starter. With all the flops coming out of Hollywood, maybe a movie adaptation about a board game will be successful.

Sony is lining up some decent talent behind the project. Gail Katz, who produced Air Force One and Dan Lin who produced The Lego Movie, are being tapped to produce the flick. Gail Katz currently owns the rights to the film (long time followers of this blog know Asmodee owns the board game rights). Sony is aggressively pursuing the rights.

Normally, board games use movies as inspiration for their themes. It’s unusual for a movie to use a board game as its inspiration. There are two notable examples: 1985’s Clue and 2012’s Battleship. This author hopes the move is more like Clue than Battleship.


Toys “R” Us files for bankruptcy protection

Toys "R" Us in Muskegon
Toys “R” Us in Muskegon

The largest toy retailer in the US, Toys “R” Us filed for bankruptcy protection under chapter 11. To read the story in CNBC versus the New York Times would make the casual reader think two different events were occurring. CNBC said the filing was good news for Toys “R” Us since it allowed them to leverage their debt and remain prosperous. The Times said Toys “R” Us was crippled by online competition.

But our focus here isn’t on bias in journalism. It’s how will this bankruptcy affect our hobby. The answer is: not much. Toys “R” Us will not be shuttering any stores. The company has said they will be working closely with Hasbro and Mattel to ensure a smooth holiday sales. With the new Star Wars movie coming out this Christmas along with strong consumer confidence in the economy, gamers shouldn’t fear this news.


Closer to home

The Griffin's Rest
The Griffin’s Rest

The folks at Griffin’s Rest Games are making progress. The upcoming store has turned the hull of its 3rd Street location into a beauty. The floors are getting worked on this week.

There is still no firm date of when the store will be opening. As soon as I know something, I’ll pass it on to all three of  my readers.

Because they haven’t been able to firm up the date of their grand opening, the Extra Life event  probably can’t be held there. We’ve reached the make-or-break point so The Gaming Annex will be hosting an Extra Life event on November 4th.

Extra Life logo
Extra Life logo

We will be having our 24 hour event starting at 8am. The event will cost $35 per person. All proceeds will go to Helen DeVos charity. Your $35 will include three meals, a goody bag and as much gaming as you can pack into that time period.

I think the goody bags alone will be worth the price of admission. But there will be a raffle too. There are five games up for grabs including Sword & Sorcery, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past and Tiny Epic Quest.

Sword & Sorcery
Sword & Sorcery

I couldn’t do this alone. Brandi has been a great help. So much so I gave her the honorific “Special Event Coordinator”. She’s taken the title to heart too. She went to extravagant lengths to help make our recent “Death Wears White” game work so well. And she’s planning our Kids’ Gala V which is this coming Saturday.

In other club news, Nick Sima is now one of the official key members of The Gaming Annex. What is a key member? It is literally a member who has a key to the door. He joins Dusty, [name redacted] and yours truly. Nick Sima will be in charge of maintaining the facility–a task he won’t know he’s been charged with unless he reads this blog.

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