W. Eric MartinUnited States
• Designer Reiner Knizia has started a Twitter page, with tweeting to commence on April 4, 2011. The good doctor can turn out new games in a flash, but good tweets take time, I suppose...
• Designer Alexander Pfister offers a new two- and three-player variant for The Mines of Zavandor.
• Speaking of Herr Pfister, his Africa 1830 design took first place in the 2011 Hippodice design contest. Head to the Hippodice site for a complete rundown of winners, a listing of the jury members, and pics of the best-ranked games.
• Solve the four "hex-aches" presented from the about-to-be-released Neuroshima Hex Puzzles app, and you'll have a chance to win one of ten copies of the app. Deadline for entry is March 18, 2011.
• Issue #27 (PDF) of the Z-Man Games newsletter has been released, featuring overviews of Yggdrasil and Mermaid Rain.
• On Illuminating Games, Chris Farrell writes about the problem of creating narratives in board games:Quote:Mansions of Madness is trying to tell stories that are narratively mysteries while using the standard boardgame tools of conflict, risk, and resource management. In my opinion, this is a case of "when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail". The common core mechanics we have in boardgames (and RPGs) are simply not amenable to mystery stories, and Mansions of Madness ends up being a nail, in this case a glorified dungeon crawl.
• In his blog Death of Monopoly, Eric Martin – no, not me; another Eric Martin – pushes back against the negativity directed at Friedemann Friese's Black Friday – "a great game, brilliant even, and one of the most cunning market simulations I've ever seen" – while agreeing that the game is unplayable with the rulebook provided.
• On the "iOS Board Games" blog here on BGG, Brad Cummings writes about why board game publishers must embrace digital media. I know to whom Cummings refers to in his "one of the largest board game publishers" anecdote and can practically hear the sound of those executives laughing at the need to digitize and repackage the games they publish. The publisher's record of success is solid, though, so perhaps they have reason to laugh.
• DiceHateMe features an interview with Trollhalla designer Alf Seegert, who drops word of his next release – The Road to Canterbury, from Gryphon Games in 2011 – in addition to talking about being a literature professor and guitarist.
• In other cardboard-to-digits announcements, Christian Freeling's abstract strategy game Crossfire is now playable online at Boardspace.net; Martin Schlegel's Bangkok Klongs has been added to online game site Yucata.de; and Earth Reborn can
nownot be played on Vassal. (Update, March 18: Gaëtan Beaujannot from the Vassalforge team informed me that the author of the Earth Reborn module did not get approval from the editor, so links to this module have been removed. In other news, Gaëtan says, "VassalForge will do the module of Québec from Le Scorpion Masqué for Essen.")
• G4 reports on the tabletop gaming that took place at PAX East in March 2011.
• Game historian and translator Bruce Whitehill has overhauled his Big Game Hunter website.