2-fer-1 boardgames at Amazon and ToysRUs

Battle Ball is US$7 on Amazon right now, and if you do the two-for-one Hasbro/Milton Bradley special and checkout codes, you get free shipping!

Also, if you go to a bricks and mortar ToysRUs, you can supposedly talk them into including Avalon Hill games (think Risk 2021 A.D. or RoboRally) by pointing to the Hasbro label on the box and holding your breath until you turn blue.

Thanks to Board Game Geeks for these tips!

Gears of War: Halo-killer?

Just so you don’t think we’re completely ragging on the Xbox 2…er 360, we’re pretty excited about Epic’s “Gears of War,” a next-gen Xbox game that’s enjoying a huge buzz at E3.

Built on the Unreal 3 game engine, Gears of War takes place on a retro-futuristic world that’s very reminiscent of Warhammer 40,000, with dark gothic atmosphere, and a mix of WWII-era, modern, and futuristic tech elements.

One of the coolest gaming features is realistic behavior regarding cover. If you (or an opponent) take cover behind something and an opponent starts hammering away at your position, the cover will react as real material might (e.g. a brick wall will chip, shatter, and eventually, fall away, leaving you exposed).

Click on the image above to see a larger version.
Click here to see IGN’s full coverage of Gears of War, including trailers.

Mark Interviewed About MAKE

Street Tech Patron Saint, and Editor in Chief of MAKE, Mark Frauenfelder, was on G4TechTV’s Screen Savers program on Tuesday. The show’s website has an interview with him about the new magazine. BTW: I’m now writing for MAKE (and am on their Board of Advisors) and will have articles and reviews in issues 2 and 3. The first issue of the magazine looks amazing and I assume will be well received in the “modders” community.

Remote Control Phreak

If your idea of true universal remote CONTROL is the power to turn off the television, ANYBODY’S television, then you’ll want to check out TV-B-Gone, a remote that has one button, Off, and can turn off nearly any model of TV from up to 50 feet away. How much fun would it be to take a stroll around the neighborhood, turning off everybody’s set as you go?

Attack of the Vinyl Robots

If you don’t have the bug for collecting Asian vinyl toys, you might after visiting Kid Robot. Actually, these types of “action” figures are far more interesting in person. The colors and paint jobs are amazing, the characters are often based on obscure comics or underground folk heroes, and the packaging is often as compelling as what’s inside — in other words, typical Japanese pop cult products. As you might imagine, these figures also make perfect monitor pets. I got a couple of the Ken Fowler Monsterisms years ago, and I still love to mess with ’em when I’m bored.

Downloadable Role-Playing Games

Steve Jackson Games, which gets our vote for the best, most under-appreciated game company on the planet, has launched an innovated electronic publishing venture where you can purchase and download PDF versions of many of their role-playing game materials. One cool feature of the project, called e23, is that you can re-download files after you’ve purchased them, in case you lose them, want to access them from another location, etc. As you might imagine, many of the materials are for GURPS (Generic Universal Role-Playing System).

The latest offering (an exclusive to e23), for GURPS WWII, is called Michael’s Army. It explores the strange role of Romania in the war. Romania started out as part of the Axis powers (hoping Hitler would help them reclaim land lost to Russia after WWI), but switched sides (using Germany’s own weapons against them) when they realized that Hitler was not big on sharing. Who knew that Romania had a navy, with a submarine, even!

Public Moblog: Have You Seen This Scarf?

If you haven’t got a moblog yet, you’re way behind the times. And you’re not alone. I only just got around to starting my own moblog on TextAmerica. It’s pure silliness: I’ve set it up as a sort of scavenger hunt, with this month’s target being pictures of Burberry scarves or other accessories that seem to be all over Washington D.C. these days. For some reason they started to annoy me, so I thought it would be a good topic for a public moblog. You can see the pics at weatherman.textamerica.com, and you can submit your own pics directly to weatherman.cirrus(at)tamw.com.

Being told what the MatriX is…

EasyBuy2000, sellers of cutting-edge cheap Asian electro-crap, are now selling the The MatriX (US$60), a.k.a. Xodus, an XBox add-in chip that allows your ‘Box to play games in JAP and PAL formats. To get around legal “issues,” the chip is shipped unflashed — you add the FlashRAM yourself when you get it, so YOU’RE breaking the law, not them.