Halo 5 is here


Last night at midnight, Halo 5 launched. Will this be the last epic adventure for video gaming's mightiest champion? The Master Chief is back, but all the cockamamie advertising colors our hero as the bad guy.

I wish I could tell you if this game is any good! I've certainly been waiting a long time to play it! I purchased my Xbox One at launch, anticipating that Halo 5 would shortly follow. My Xbox has been around for two years now, with nary a Chief sighting. I could have played the Master Chief collection, but I heard poor reviews of its translation to the Xbox One.

The only game I've really enjoyed in the interim has been Destiny, which was developed by Halo creators Bungie. There is no small amount of question, in my online Destiny circles, around Halo killing Destiny. Destiny has also felt like Halo, without the amazing backstory and hero. Bungie is creating a backstory, and thus far it is pretty much a dud. The game play, and its mesh of FPS with MMO queues, like farming (sigh) are addictive but it is not Halo. I miss stickies. I long to gloriously dual wield the needler, or have a hell bent for leather Warthog chase! Will Halo 5 kill Destiny?

Large online teams of 12 players, mashed with an insane gameplay frame rate, and 4 player campaign mode all sound wonderful! I'm far more interested in the story, however. I have not read any Halo fiction, I have simply played the games, and the Master Chief is my ultimate video game hero. Read the rest

Marxism triumphs over capitalist pixels


VEC9 is the first vector arcade game to be released in 30 years, the only true 3d vector arcade game to be released besides Star Wars -- and the only one to let you smash capitalist aggression for the glory or Mother Russia. Read the rest

Illegible minimalist dominoes


I would go bonkers trying to play dominoes with these, a perfect gift for the person in your life who has a nice set of dominoes already but would like to have something fancy out.

Edge Dominoes are made in the USA, come as a 28-piece set, and are "meticulously crafted from durable aluminum with no material wasted."


Edge dominos are made differently from any other domino set. Every tile is extruded from a solid block of aluminum, which is a zero waste process and the material is 100% recyclable. The metal flows into shape, is then cut to length and finished with a durable matte black anodized coating. Each unique number pattern in the 28 piece set is laser engraved onto the tiles, creating bright, white and everlasting dots. The result is a quality domino that looks great, plays well and is 100% made in the USA.
[via Uncrate] Read the rest

Juxtabo – Create patterns with colored chips for a fast-paced mental workout


See more photos at Wink Fun.

Funnybone has yet another award-winning strategy game available for your enjoyment – Juxtabo. Much like a colorful, 3D version of dominoes, Juxtabo has simple rules that allow children as young as six years old to play. The strategy encourages development of quick pattern recognition, but also flexibility as you plan, since the “board” changes with every turn. Juxtabo allows up to four players to compete with one another. 

The playing pieces are two-sided chips, each side a different color, arranged in a 5x5 configuration. Players draw their own chips, as well as pattern cards. Players win pattern cards by creating that pattern on the board with chips in their hand. The catch? To stack a chip on the board, you must match the color facing down on your chip with the color facing up on the “board.” With a timer included, it's a fast-paced mental workout. 

 If the description alone doesn’t intrigue you, Juxtabo is the recipient of the 2015 Academics’ Choice Brain Toy Award (among others). That means this game has been approved by parents, educators, students and children, scientists and artists alike. The game comes highly recommended, of course, but avid puzzlers beware – Juxtabo just may prove addictive! – Chloe Quimby

Juxtabo Funnybone Toys Ages 6 and up, 1-4 players $30 Buy a copy on Amazon Read the rest

How to play chess like an asshole


I was raised to play chess in the most boring way imaginable, with both sides developing their pieces into a big symmetrical knot before anything even gets taken. Worse, most chess books basically imagine you to play like a master, preparing your openings and exulting them on the basis of their success and failure at the international level.

Instead, everyday players should learn the flawed but brutal attacks of their ancestors, dashing gambits, and all the dirty tricks.

Here's a video of the Top 7 Aggressive Chess openings. The "unfashionable" King's Gambit comes in at #4 and is a great place to start for people wanting to rediscover chess as a brutal game of wits. It's the chess equivalent of kicking down a door and dashing in, arms windmilling at the enemy.

The first thing to know in being a chess troll, though, is to avoid the two tricks usually associated with cheap victories: Fool's Mate and Scholar's Mate. These don't even happen in pubs, are no fun at all, and the attempt is liable to make you the fool.

If you just want a ploy to get hated for, instead learn the Fried Liver Attack. This is your One Weird Trick for getting into fights at the kind of fancy parties where chess boards come out.

(If you're playing black and looking to deal with white smugly trying to Scholar's mate you, here's how to nail them.)

Now, here's a favorite.

The Halloween Gambit is a good one to play in those generic "everyone calmly develops their knights" chess games that happen when all either player really knows are the rules. Read the rest

Golem Arcana – Conjure mighty golems and send them into combat in this hybrid miniatures and computer game


See sample pages from this book at Wink.

“The Great Khan is dead.” So begins the rich backstory to Golem Arcana, an exciting new hybrid miniatures and computer game. The world of the game, Eretsu, is thrown into turmoil at the death of its powerful leader as the Khan's Gudanna Dominion attempts to retain its power while the neighboring Durani decide that it's time to try and seize control of a now-fractured world.

The golems in the title refer to monstrous magical constructs that each empire summons to prosecute its wars. Knights ride into battle upon these giant, terrifying creatures. Each of the factions in the game use different substances as the material basis for their golems – bone, flora, blood, stone – and this gives each of them slightly different abilities, limitations, and appearance. The materials also influence the color schemes of the armies (e.g. blood magic-made golems are red, stone golems are gray, etc.). This helps keep the miniatures straight on the board (there are also banners and banner poles that you can use to further identify your forces).

While Golem Arcana is a pretty straight-forward tabletop wargame where you build and field points-based armies, play out various attack and defend scenarios, and resolve combat with percentage dice, there is something very special going on with this game. In addition to the six gorgeous pre-painted miniatures and very lovely game components and terrain tiles, you also get a Bluetooth-connected wand which communicates with a free app you download to your phone or tablet. Read the rest

An adventure game you play without ever leaving Twitter


If you like adventure games and have a few minutes to spare, the latest creation of Leon Chang should be your next distraction—and you don't even have to leave Twitter to play it.

Just watch the animated GIFs, and click on the links to make important, heroic choices about whether or not to pet cats, fight turtles, or go to the bathroom.

Read the rest

An ARG to celebrate open access week, courtesy of the University of Toronto library


Bobby Glushko writes, "Something's going on at the University of Toronto's Robarts Library. A concerned group of citizens is investigating a conspiracy hiding facts about the mysterious and controversial past of this masterpiece of brutalist architecture. At the same time a noble, if shadowy, society is working to keep its secrets hidden." Read the rest

Mysterium – A spirit and murder game spooky enough for Halloween fun


It’s like Clue meets Password, with a little Where’s Waldo thrown in, but with the addition of dreams, interpretations and séances. In Mysterium, a person was murdered in a house and their ghost now haunts the grounds. The ghost needs to communicate with psychics to solve its murder in an effort to be set free. The trick is, the spirit can only communicate through visions and dreams. These dreams are rather vivid and unique as you can see in the cards.

One player takes over as the spirit, and it is their job to communicate with the living through dreams, which are represented with a set of beautiful and imaginative illustrations. The spirit draws cards each turn and passes those dreams to the players in an effort to give them each clues. The other players play the role of spirit mediums who must deduce the following, using only the images on the dream cards:

who killed the spirit’s mortal form what room the horrid event took place what foul instrument of destruction was used

While the spirit is not allowed to communicate with the mediums or give any clues beyond the cards, the other mediums may talk amongst themselves in an effort to deduce if that dream card about the Knight and the tower means that the Magician was the Killer, or does the dream card with the ship in the tub in the ocean signify poison was used? Trying look for the hidden clues that the Spirit is using to communicate with you gives the game the Where’s Waldo aspect. Read the rest

Pengoloo – An adorably designed memory and luck game for young players


See more photos at Wink Fun.

Pengoloo is a fun game that encourages memory and color recognition. Young players will love the game design, with 12 adorable penguin characters and colored eggs (6 colors, 2 of each). The penguins are hollowed out wood pieces that sit on top of the eggs to hide them. Players take turns rolling two colored dice to determine what color they’re looking for. Then they pick up two penguins to see if the eggs underneath match the dice. You put matching penguins on your iceberg scoreboard; the winner is the first player to fill their iceberg (or whoever has the most after all the penguins have been picked). The game gets more fun as you try to memorize egg locations to gain an advantage.

Both kids and adults will enjoy Pengoloo. Kids get a kick out of the cute little penguins and the thrill of finding the right color egg. Even children who don’t fully grasp the memory aspects of the game will enjoy playing with the penguins. Adults will like playing a game without having to compensate for their child’s lack of skill; luck is just as important as memory and it’s entirely possible for your child to win just by picking up penguins at random. This makes the game enjoyable for children of all ages and skill levels.

The game is also well put together for something so simple: you get 12 penguins, 12 eggs, 4 scoring icebergs, and 2 dice in the box. Read the rest

A chess-set you wear in a ring


The tiny board, made from fossil ivory and ebony, flips up on wincy hinges to reveal 32 minuscule chess pieces. The ring itself is sterling silver, and there's only one of them, made by Arduosity, who notes "I can tell you it is impossible, near imposible to set up." Read the rest

Fury Road as a vintage run-and-gun side-scroller

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8-Bit Cinema's vision of Mad Max: Fury Road as a vintage Sunset Riders-style side-scroller looks like possibly the greatest game ever. It's a good thing that this wasn't a) real b) 25 years ago, or I'd have taken ten years to get out of high-school instead of seven.

Mad Max: Fury Road - 8 Bit Cinema

(via Kotaku) Read the rest

Kickstarting a new edition of Kill Doctor Lucky, the very first Cheapass Game


Carol writes, "The first Cheapass Game ever was Kill Doctor Lucky, back in late 1996. After multiple editions, and being licensed out for a number of years, it has come back home to Cheapass Games, and we're sprucing it up, just in time for its 19.5th Anniversary. It's now available for pre-order through Kickstarter, with some nice extras, until Friday, November 13th. 'Someone is going to kill Doctor Lucky... it might as well be you!'" Read the rest

A dice game where you try to take over the Milky Way


See more photos at Wink Fun.

Roll for the Galaxy is a dice game where you and up to 4 other players can expand across the galaxy, conquering worlds and utilizing your citizenry. The individual dice represent the citizens in your empire, and each color has a different chance of coming up with a different action that you can use. They range from exploring for money or new worlds, to helping to colonize those worlds, research technology, or produce and sell goods for more money to hire more citizens.

The action selection system relies on a shield that everyone hides their initial picks behind, after which they’re revealed and only certain phases will take place that round. All other dice allocated to phases that won’t be occurring go back into your cup for the next round. The tile selection system is superb as well, drawing them from a black bag, because they’re double sided with planets and technologies.

You start out with an initial double wide tile that decides your faction, and a home world tile, between which there are 81 possible combinations. From that point out, the path you take to victory is varied. The end of the game is triggered by someone getting 12 tiles on the board or all of the victory point chips being exhausted. After that, the player with the most victory points from chips, values of worlds and technologies and bonuses from certain cards wins.

The number of dice in this game is staggering, and rolling the mounting number of them from your cup is intensely satisfying. Read the rest

Chtulhu Yahtzee and Monopoly


They're available for pre-order from the Big Bad Toy Store, with delivery estimated for Christmas 2015. They Yahtzee ($35) features a Cthulhu figure dice cup; while the Monopoly ($45) has a selection of Cthulhu player-tokens, Cthulhu money; and Lovecraftian properties. Read the rest

Read: Austin Grossman's moving text-adventure story "The Fresh Prince of Gamma World"


Press Start to Play is an anthology of video-game-related science fiction, edited by John Joseph Adams and Daniel "Robopocalypse" Wilson, with stories by some of Boing Boing's favorite SF writers: Ernie Ready Player One Cline, Charlie Jane Anders, Rhianna Pratchett, Catherynne Deathless" Valente, Hugh "Wool" Howey, Austin "Crooked" Grossman, and...me! (the anthology reprints my story Anda's Game, which was adapted into last year's bestselling graphic novel In Real Life). Read the rest

I love arcades, I love board games, I love pixel art, and Kemble's Cascade ties them all together beautifully


See sample pages from this book at Wink.

I love arcades, I love board games, I love pixel art. And Kemble's Cascade ties them all together beautifully with a unique game mechanic that simulates a scrolling video game playfield. Everything in the box is made with a love for classic games and it shows. From the Manual, to the Player Cards, to the fake wear of the Box, to the variety of enemies. Kemble's Cascade was my surprise board game discovery of the summer. If you die, you can just insert another quarter and play some more.

The playfield is constructed from cards placed in a set of expandable, plastic troughs. Some of the cards are blank, others contain threats: asteroids, black holes, aliens. Each player gets glory points for destroying the threats on screen, and at the end of each round the board "scrolls" downward. All of the cards slide down (in their well-designed troughs). The bottom set of tiles are removed (along with any players on it) and a new set of tiles and enemies are put at the top.

This game has everything a modern gamer would expect, but in board game format:

• Achievements: just as in all modern video games, you can earn extra points by completing specific tasks you are assigned (destroy X asteroids, scroll off the board, upgrade weapons, etc.).

• 16 Bit Pixel Art: The art feels like it was taken from an unreleased Wing Commander seuqel.

• Scrolling: The scrolling gameplay mechanic really shines in the boss battle at the end, when the scrolling game field is no longer refreshed, making the game board small and smaller with each round. Read the rest

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