Category Archives: Games

Monopoly: The Cheaters Edition

What took them so long?

Hasbro has announced a new version of Monopoly: The Cheaters Edition. In this one, players aren’t merely allowed to steal from the bank and “accidentally” mis-count the number of moves determined by dice rolls, they’re encouraged. Hasbro claims that nearly half of game players attempt to cheat during Monopoly anyway, so there should be a healthy market for the cheaters edition.


If you get away with cheating, you’ll get a reward, but if you get caught, you’ll wind up in jail, handcuffed to the Monopoly board. (See picture above.) This version introduces 15 “cheat cards” describing possible cheats, along with the rewards for success and the punishments for failure.

I’m probably naïve, but I don’t remember a lot of cheating on games like Monopoly and Risk when I was young. About the closest my family came to deceptive practices was when someone would hide the final piece of a jigsaw puzzle, for the honour of making that last placement. That strategy gradually escalated until so many pieces had been hidden by so many people that the puzzles were never finished.

Monopoly: The Cheaters Edition will cost $19.99 and is scheduled to be released this Fall, in plenty of time for Christmas.

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More Game of Thrones Goes Postal — Giants and Direwolves and Dragons, Oh My

The British Royal Mail isn’t ignoring the non-human players of the Game of Thrones. In addition to the 10 contestants in the set of postage stamps that I wrote about yesterday, the Royal Mail is also issuing a sheet of stamps featuring some of the less hominoid characters in the Game.

There are direwolves, who are friends of the good guys…

…giants and dragons, who play both sides of the field…


…and, of course, the Big Bad himself, the Night King.


At the center of it all, the Iron Throne.

The stamps will be sold at UK Post Office branches starting on 23 January 2018, and are already available for pre-ordered on the Royal Mail website.

Game of Thrones Goes Postal

Imagine this: There’s been an incident in King’s Landing. Two or three royals die of festering paper cuts, a deranged pig farmer blows up the national cathedral, the Queen announces that she’s pregnant by her six-years-dead husband, flying monkeys attack the scarecrow, the tin man, and the cowardly lion, whatever. Just another day in Westeros, really, but you feel an urgent need to get word of the event to the Watchers at the Wall.

You go to your aviary, only to discover that your fastest, most reliable raven is lying motionless at the bottom of his cage, little claws in the air, pining for the fjords. What to do?

British Royal Mail to the rescue!

On 23 January 2018, UK Post Office branches will begin selling stamps celebrating characters from the world’s most popular TV show, Game of Thrones. Even better, the stamps are available for pre-ordered on the Royal Mail website.

The stamps depict 10 characters, eight of whom are played by British actors.  Here’s are close-ups of the individual stamps:

Beautifully done, aren’t they?

Ready Player One – Official Trailer 1

The official trailer for Ready Player One, Steven Spielberg’s film version of the Ernest Cline’s novel of the same name, hit the Net today.

Here’s what I wrote about Ready Player One last summer, when an earlier version of the trailer played at Comic-Con:


Ernest Cline’s science-fiction novel, Ready Player One was the fanboy must-read book of 2011. It’s set in the unhappy and decaying United States of 2044, when a decades-long recession, a trashed environment, and the general collapse of civil society have driven many people to spend much of their time hooked into a virtual reality universe called the OASIS. When there’s a two-year waiting list for jobs at Burger King, escapism is a logical choice.

As our hero and narrator, Wade Watts, known in the OASIS as “Parzival,” points out:

“Now that I was eighteen, I could vote, in both the OASIS elections and the elections for U.S. government officials. I didn’t bother with the latter, because I didn’t see the point. The once-great country into which I’d been born now resembled its former self in name only. It didn’t matter who was in charge. Those people were rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic and everyone knew it. Besides, now that everyone could vote from home, via the OASIS, the only people who could get elected were movie stars, reality TV personalities, or radical televangelists.”

[Keep repeating, “It’s only a movie. It’s only a movie. It’s only a movie.”]

Anyhow, the now-dead creator of the OASIS was a man named James Halliday who, not unlike many of the readers of this book, was a 1980s obsessive. You know, the kind of person who goes nuts over spotting the 80s allusions in Stranger Things….

OASIS made Halliday very, very rich. When his will was read, it revealed that he’d hidden three “keys” in OASIS and that the first person to find them, and solve the puzzles linked to them, would be the sole inheritor of OASIS and of Halliday’s massive fortune. All that would be required to solve the puzzles was an encyclopedic knowledge of the movies, music, video games, and TV shows of the 1980s.

Enter Parzival.

I liked the book, but didn’t love it. It’s a fast, easy, enjoyable read, full of Easter eggs for those of us who have, well, “an encyclopedic knowledge of the movies, music, video games, and TV shows of the 1980s,” but it was definitely light reading, without much depth or meaning. It’s a book that’s the perfect source for a big spring/summer movie.

Steven Spielberg (who else?) is directing. The film is scheduled to be released on 30 March 2018.


The fanboys are already salivating over this one. Ready Player One might be the first blockbuster of 2018. It’s certainly one of the most anticipated movies of the new year.

Better Than a Hoverboard!

Remember those hoverboards that Back to the Future promised we’d have by 21 October 2015?

Were you as exasperated as I was when 21 October 2015 came and went, without the slightest need for public service announcements warning kids to always wear a helmet when hovering? Once again, we’d been deceived by the powerful and secretive Media/Flying-Transportation Complex, just as earlier generations had been deceived when they were promised jet packs and flying cars, and taken in by those fake “1969 Moon Landing” movies that were filmed in a North Carolina studio.

We won’t get fooled again.

Because this time, it’s for real. Our wait is over.

Here’s how the game ball was delivered at Portugal’s Cup Final on Sunday:

When Amazon offers a pre-order option, I’ll be the first to sign up.

Game of Thrones Season 7 — Official Trailer

And once again, I’m reduced to quivering fanboy status, unable to come up with anything more insightful than “Oooooh! Oooooh! Oooooh!” I feel the same way I did when Breaking Bad reached those final two seasons: I couldn’t wait to see the next episode, but at the same time, I dreaded the approach of the end of a masterpiece.

I’m not the only one feeling ambiguous about the completion of Game of Thrones. Word is that George R. R. Martin, always eager for an excuse to avoid finishing the Song of Ice and Fire book series on which the show is based, is working with HBO on four or five possible Game of Thrones spinoffs.

Better Call Littlefinger, anybody?

Brilliant trailer, btw, but of course it is.

The penultimate series of Game of Thrones will begin airing in the US on 16 July 2017, with a simultaneous screening in the UK, where it will be 2 AM on the 17th.