It’s All Fun and Games…

11/9/06 2:31 PM 0 Comments

This post may be boring for some, but I wanted to give you all some info on games and things that could come in handy during the holiday season - either as gifts or as ways to spend time with your loved ones without wanting to strangle them.

Until someone makes an unlicensed third-party controller.

Recently, Red Octane and Activision (its parent company, abbrv ROA) have been facing off with The Ant Commandos (TAC) over controller sales for the popular game Guitar Hero. Basically ROA don’t want TAC cashing in on their game series. Fingers have been pointed and designs have been shifted.

TAC began making controllers in the flying “V” style which attracted many GH enthusiasts. ROA were not pleased about TAC splitting their customer base. Guitar Hero II was just released, and many TAC customers found themselves with controller incompatibility issues. TAC had developed a sweet wireless version of their controller too, which made the incompatibility sting. ROA came back with an announcement that they will be releasing their own wireless controller. The funny part of this is that both companies are guilty of making unlicensed third-party controllers for game systems. ROA still sells their knock-off pad for the Dance, Dance Revolution series. Also, Konami (TAC’s parent company) has been selling a game similar to Guitar Hero, called Guitar Freaks, for a few years now. After suits were filed by both companies, a court judge has granted them a delay to try to iron out their problems.

While they’re working on their problems, fans of the game and Strong Bad can at least look forward to one special unlockable track on GH2: Trogdor the Burninator. Yes, Trogdor and Strong Bad will finally get the rock fame they deserve! Along with some great tracks by popular artists, this game should deliver. You can purchase Guitar Hero II and other components for the game here.

At North Star Games.

Having personally met Dominic Crapuchettes and Satish Pillalamarri on two separate occasions (I have pictures to prove it!), I can tell you that these guys are all about fun and games. Right now, North Star Games only has two offerings: Wits & Wagers and Cluzzle. Both games have received many awards and accolades from industry professionals and consumers.

Wits & Wagers combines trivia and gambling in a format that makes it easy, fun, and fair for all players. It’s a trivia game where you don’t have to know the correct answer to win. Cluzzle is all about sculpting poorly. When was the last time being bad at something made you a winner? I look forward to seeing other offerings from this company in the future.

Both games are currently on sale at Fair Play Games for 50% or more off the MSRP. If you’re looking for a game to buy as a Christmas present, either of these games is an excellent choice.

At Mayfair Games.

Ever played Settlers of Catan? It’s a very addicting euro-game from Mayfair Games. Ever wanted to make your food look like a board game? Well, now Mayfair has an incentive for you to do that also. It’s the Catan Food Contest. From now through December, everyone is encouraged to create a Catan-themed culinary masterpiece and submit pictures of it. The best part is that every participant receives a small souvenir and for each submission Mayfair will donate one dollar a charity which specializes in food drives for the homeless nationwide (donation maximum will be $1000). Find more details here. If you don’t own the game and would still like to submit a dish, you can find tons of photos of the game and components at Board Game Geek. Check out Mayfair’s offerings here.

At Days of Wonder.

Ticket to Ride is one of the best euro-games on the market. It’s a fast and fun train game. The original addition includes a map of the US and features tracks between major cities. Days of Wonder has recently released an expansion for this game that refreshes the original without too many new mechanics. Check out these games here.

At Z-man Games.

Fairy Tale is quickly becoming one of my favorite games. It’s a non-collectible card game featuring a card draft. It’s a quick game to play once you understand how the cards work together and what the symbols mean. For $15.00 MSRP, it’s a steal. Check out Fairy Tale and Z-man’s other games here.

At Rio Grande Games.

Rio Grande is one of my favorite game companies. I didn’t realize it until I looked at a full list of their games today and noticed that most of the games we have from this company are my favorites to play. My top three picks from their offerings are Carcassonne (Meeples are so cool!), Elfenland (AKA “Puff of Cloud”), and Niagara. The have excellent components and great mechanics. Rio Grande re-publishes a lot of German games for the American audience. Check out their offerings here.


I just can’t get enough of the meeples. Power to the Meeple! It’s good to know there are other folks as crazy about meeples and euro-games as we are. For meeple and other game-themed merchandise, check out I’ve ordered some of their products already and have been impressed with the quality of the items. I’m proud to be an affiliate and send some more people their way. Check them out here.

At Fantasy Flight Games.

Last but not least, I have to include Fantasy Flight Games. Their games include some of the best fantasy artwork in the industry. Two of their games are spectacular: The Lord of the Rings Board game and the Game of Thrones Board Game (which I wish we could get more people to play). The Lord of the Rings Board Game is a cooperative board game where the players work together to defeat Sauron. The strategy is similar to Shadows Over Camelot. The Game of Thrones board game is based on the best-selling A Song of Fire and Ice a series by George R. R. Martin. In this game, players battle each other to gain control of the Seven Kingdoms. Both games closely follow the literature their based on (Game of Thrones features expansion packs to include each novel) and feature spectacular artwork. Check out FFG’s games here.


“If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story.” – The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents