W. Eric Martin
• For those not scouting the Merchant of Venus and Magic Realm game forums, BGG users Will Crane, Scott Lewis, and others have been scouring U.S. trademark records (as covered in this thread) to uncover details of who might own what.
On October 24, 2011, for example, Stronghold Games filed a trademark registration for "Merchant of Venus", but on February 9, 2012 a "suspension letter" was written and emailed to Stronghold Games, noting that Wizards of the Coast (aka Hasbro) owns the trademark "Merchant of Venus". Since Fantasy Flight Games announced in October 2011 that it had "signed an exclusive licensing contract with Wizards of the Coast, LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc.", if WotC is indeed the owner of the trademark "Merchant of Venus" (and it filed for the trademark three days before Stronghold did), then Stronghold could not publish a game under that name. (Well, it could, but fire and brimstone would rain down from the skies over New Jersey.) Thus in all likelihood, although neither publisher has announced anything along these lines, FFG will indeed be the publisher of the new edition of Richard Hamblen's Merchant of Venus.
That said, on October 27, 2011, Stronghold Games filed for trademark registration of "Magic Realm", and as of April 3, 2012 the status of that trademark is "published for opposition", which means that parties have thirty days to oppose the issuing of the "Magic Realm" trademark to Stronghold.
Now does this mean that Stronghold will in fact release a new version of Hamblen's Magic Realm as such a filing would seem to suggest? Who knows? I sent Stronghold's Stephen Buonocore a link to the trademark registration and asked whether the company would be releasing a new edition of Magic Realm. His response: "Man, you really are a boardgamegeek journalist, aren't you? How did you know of this?" Scanning hundreds of sites and pages, Stephen, endless obsessive scanning...
• The second printing of Touko Tahkokallio's Eclipse – with an updated rulebook, orange-ier Storage Markers, and correct Starbase tiles, as noted here – is nearly complete, according to Toni Niittymaki at Finnish publisher Lautapelit.fi, but "the wood parts, more precisely the orange ones, were not what we had ordered. They need to be fixed before the final assembly can take place. This will delay the shipping of the games for about ten days, which will push the expected arrival time the same." Thus, the game will likely hit retailers in early June 2012 instead of late May.
And as a corollary announcement, Stefan Brunell at Asmodee – which is distributing Eclipse in North America and in much of Europe – notes that the Eclipse: Supernova expansion will be back in stock in the BGG store at about the same time that the second printing hits the market.
• Linda Schmidt at Cat & Mouse Game Store in Chicago, Illinois reports that Donald X. Vaccarino's Nefarious is now in stock – due to Chicago being the hometown of publisher Ascora Games – with copies headed into the general U.S. distribution system for likely release before the end of April 2012.
• Stefan Feld's Trajan keeps shifting closer and closer to the U.S. market. Marie-Ève Lupien at Canadian publisher FoxMind has informed me that FoxMind has a non-exclusive agreement to distribute the game in North America, "but for the moment [is] the only one" that will actually be distributing it in that location. Says Lupien, "We are looking to solve the safety testing issues in order to be able to sell in the United States as well, but in the meantime, the game will be available in Canada in May (and if something goes wrong, in June). It is nearer than France, at least..."
• Mayfair Games' version of Klaus Teuber's Catan: Junior has an estimated U.S. street date of April 26, 2012, while the fourth edition of Frank Chadwick's A House Divided is currently scheduled for release in the U.S. on June 21, 2012.
• The Kickstarter-related game this time around is Tom Jolly's Got It!, originally released in a print-on-demand version of one hundred copies and now destined for a thousand copy print run – assuming the funding works out, that is. Here's a description of the game:
The math game Got It! – which had a working title of Fermat – accommodates as many people as fit around the table. What they're looking at on the table is a 6x6 grid of cards, with half the cards numbered 1-14 and the other half bearing mathematical operators. To set up the game, these cards are placed randomly checkerboard-style, with numbers and operators placed adjacent to one another.
Everyone plays simultaneously, with players trying to find a five-card formula that results in the number shown on a goal card, with goals ranging from 1 to 40. The solution must consist of orthogonally adjacent cards, though not necessarily in a straight line, and a player can't use a card twice in a formula. If a 12 is turned up as the goal, for example, one might find "8+4x1" in the grid, then shout out "Got It!" Players can mentally insert parentheses into a formula, so "7+2x3" can result in (7+2)x3 (=27) or 7+(2x3) (=13).
The first player to shout with a correct formula – and the grid might contain many – claims the goal card. The player who collects the most goal cards wins!
An easy version of Got It! can be set up for younger players, with a 5x5 grid that contains only the numbers 1-9 and only addition and subtraction as mathematical operators.
Jolly's Kickstarter extra is a special "Math Geek" expansion that increases the grid to 6x8 with numbers 15-20 and six additional operators: "Exponentiation (3^2=9), Modulo (17%4=1), Integer Division (9\7=1), Concatenation (3&4=34), Factorial Division (5!/3!=20), and Base (11 BASE 2 = 3)." As a math geek myself who received his B.S. in mathematics before becoming a writer, I say, "Concatenate me, baby!" (KS link)