W. Eric Martin
• Tom Rosen at Opinionated Gamers has a loooong preview of four new games coming from Czech Games Edition in 2011 – Dungeon Petz, Last Will, "Galaxy Trucker Expansion #2" and Pictomania – along with a Vlaada Chvátil design from WizKids called Mage Knight.
• Designer Michael Schacht highlights a preview of the PC/Wii adaptation of his Zooloretto. Amazing how long the legs are on this animal...
• And for more on modern strategy games seeping into mainstream culture, check out this clip from CollegeHumor.com on Settlers of Catan: McDonald's Edition.
• Dice Hate Me interviews designer Konstantinos Kokkinis about Drum Roll, which he co-designed with Dimitris Drakopoulos and which will debut at Spiel 2011 in October.
• Publisher Cryptozoic Entertainment is starting a traveling game convention that will be held in various U.S. cities each year. Head to the Epic Con website for details on the Las Vegas and Philadelphia cons being held in 2011.
• As further commentary on the "games as art" debate, an article on The Escapist notes that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) – a U.S. government agency that funds art projects "to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities" – has adjusted its criteria for projects that can receive federal funding in 2012 to include "interactive games". Cue Congressional investigations into whether certain games qualify as multiplayer solitaire and are therefore off-limits for NEA grants. (HT: Matt Carlson)
• In 2010, UK publisher Mattel released a version of Scrabble - the special "Shameless Bid for Attention" edition – in which players could legally play proper nouns. (Details in this BBC article.) For 2011, Toronto's The Globe and Mail reports that Collins Official Scrabble Words has added almost 3,000 new words to the long list of legal plays, including "grrrl", "webzine" and "thang". (HT: Wild thang Dale Yu)
• To follow up on an earlier note about Haggis now being playable online at Board Game Arena, Indie Boards and Cards publisher Travis Worthington is giving away five copies of Haggis; to be eligible for entry in this giveaway, you must be ranked higher than designer Sean Ross on June 15, 2011. It's on!
• A similar challenge is underway on igGameCenter with a copy of nestorgames' Hippos & Crocodiles up for grabs. Beat the bot continuously, then strut your stuff.