W. Eric Martin
• Ben Parkinson is overseeing crowdfunding for the third Uganda Village Boardgame Competition, which is scheduled to be held May 22-25, 2019 in Koro Barogal, which is in Gulu District in Uganda. From the description of the crowdfunding project: "In 2018, we housed over 200 people at the Convention and it is hoped that this year we can work with even more, if we can raise enough money. For 2019 we also hope, with your help, to expand our reach into new areas, through board game outreach sessions, which will take place ahead of the Convention itself."
The 2019 event is scheduled to have a demonstration game of Twilight Imperium, a Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game, a "how long can you last" competition in This War of Mine, and a board game design workshop, with Tony Boydell being one of the judges of this event.
What's more, Boydell has developed a new game titled Firebox with Ben Bateson and Matt Green, and he will ship copies of this game to anyone who donates at least £30 to UVBC. Boydell details his offer and gives a briefing of Firebox in this BGG blog post.
• On The New Yorker, Samanth Subramanian writes about Fifty-eight Holes, one of the oldest board games in the world: "In the second millennium B.C., Fifty-eight Holes was the most popular game of its kind across Egypt, the eastern Mediterranean, and the Middle East, and roughly eighty boards of the game, in various degrees of incompleteness, rest in museum collections around the world." An excerpt:
Like every other ancient board game we know, Fifty-eight Holes is a "race game," capturing the heat of the most basic forms of human contest. "It's like a horse race or a running race, reduced to miniature," Irving Finkel, an Assyriologist at the British Museum, said. Finkel, who has a blizzard of a beard and hair to match, writes children's books with titles like "Swizzle de Brax and the Blungaphone." He is also arguably the world's foremost expert of bygone board games. "The race-game class is the first one we have," he said. When boards of Fifty-eight Holes were first retrieved from tombs, they were imbued with the symbolism of their funerary surroundings, their circular nature compared to that of life. The truth, Finkel said, is simpler. "It was often too hot or too difficult, or there were long periods of time when there was bugger all to do," he said. "Board games were played to fill time — for fun, for pleasure."
Fifty-eight Holes (image from The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
• Italian publisher dV Giochi has posted details of the 2019/2020 Gioco Inedito, an annual game design competition in which the games must all fit a theme and in which the main prize is publication in the following year. The theme for this year's competition is Leonardo da Vinci, and designs must be submitted by June 24, 2019. The winner of the competition will be announced at the 2019 Lucca Comics & Games festival in November 2019, with publication in 2020. More details on the competition, in Italian and English, are available on the Lucca website.
• The Pion d'Or — or Golden Pawn — is a new designation from l'Union des Éditeurs de Jeux de Société that's intended to be "a neutral and independent indicator of the economic performance of a board game". As such, the designation indicates only that a certain sales volume has been reached by that particular title, with the different levels of the award being the Silver Pawn (100,000 copies sold), the Golden Pawn (250,000 sold), the Platinum Pawn (1,000,000 sold), and the Diamond Pawn (3,000,000 sold). These designations are cumulative, so a game reaching a half-million copies sold would be labeled "Double Golden Pawn".
With this designation coming from a French organization, it's no surprise that the initial fourteen titles recognized all have a strong presence on the French market, with 6 nimmt!, Time's Up!, and Dixit sitting at the top with Diamond Pawns.