News from the Bottom Shelf

The Origins Game Fair has come and gone and with it summer has officially started. And what better way to celebrate longer days and nicer weather than to stay indoors and play board games? 


One of the mainstays of the Origins Game Fair is the the Origin awards. It's been met with some criticism in the past, but this year's lot of winners appear to be ... winners. Of particular note is the winner for the best board game, Trains. As a fan of Trains, I'm happy to see it catch on. This can only bode well for the amount of support we will see in the future in terms of expansions. 

And while Origins isn't a hotbed for new releases when compared to GenCon or Essen, there is always a lot excitement around upcoming releases. Luckily, The Dice Tower has you covered with their massive preview coverage on the show floor. With over 60 videos, there's a lot to wade through but there are some real gems such as the 7 Wonders: Babel expansion and Dead of Winter preview.

Fighting for top billing in this week's news recap is the results of the first ever Bottom Shelf Contest! Thank you everyone for participating and congratulations to Alex Hong on winning a copy of 2013 Spiel des Jahres winner, Hanabi. For everyone that submitted questions, they will be answered in a future mailbag article shortly.

GoG is taking signups for beta testers for the digital version of upcoming game, The Witcher Adventure Game which is based on The Witcher video games which, in turn, are based on a series of Polish novels.. You can guarantee beta access by pre-ordering the video game if you're the sort.

Ordinarily board games based on video game licenses would warrant some suspicion, but there are a couple of things of note for this particular one. It's not often when the digital version is being developed alongside the physical. Perhaps this is the beginning of a future trend? Also of note, The Witcher Adventure Game is being designed by Ignacy Trzewiczek, an established designer with a strong pedigree. Ignacy is known for creating board games that tell stories which should be a perfect for the source material.

The winner of Tabletop Deathmatch was announced and the results were a bit surprising. If you're unfamiliar with Tabletop Deathmatch, it is a contest were aspiring board game designers present their designs to established board game veterans with the goal of getting published. The winner will receive funding to aid in the first printing and you can catch up with the entire process if you missed it before. Unfortunately, the deadline to submit for this year's competition have already passed, but that just gives you an extra year to polish up your designs for next year.

Ticket to Ride is enjoying it's 10th anniversary with a special deluxe edition. It's an elaborate production with a huge, beautifully illustrated map and wonderfully sculpted and painted plastic trains. $100 is a lot to ask for a board game, but this one may just warrant it.

Bonus: The guys over at the On Board Games podcast have an interview with Alan Moon, the designer of Ticket to Ride. He's had quite the ride in the board gaming industry and the interview is well worth the listen.

Grantland contributor David Hill has written a sordid tale of deception, betrayal and board games. It can be nothing other than Diplomacy. David participates in World DipCon, an international tournament and recounts his experiences as well as the history of the game itself. As someone who enjoys the idea of Diplomacy more than actually playing it, I couldn't ask for a better read.


Board gamers are a special breed. We discuss the correct way to punch cardboard tokens. We argue the merits of putting cards in plastic sleeves. And now, we study the effects of shaking a sand timer. Michael Domeny over on The League of Game makers has put the sand timer through the scientific wringer to find out how exactly shaking sand timers affects a sand timer. So if you're looking to get a leg up on sand timer manipulation be sure to check it out. 

Be sure to leave any news stories that you feel merited mention in the comments below. And don't forget to drop your questions in the Mailbag to be answered in a future mailbag article.