Operation inventor doesn’t have a ‘Broken Heart’ over lack of royalties

The game Operation is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The game Operation celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
Photo: Board Game Geek

John Spinello stuck a safety pin in a light socket. He was 3 and never forgot how the shock “flipped me over backwards.”

As an adult, he turned that moment of mischievous curiosity into a board game that shaped the lives of millions of kids around the world.

Any “dopey doctor” who has played Operation knows the loud buzzing sound when you’ve botched your attempt at removing the patient’s funny bone. It first went off 50 years ago this year. Kids today play the game, adults still hear the buzzer from their childhood and some actually credit it with their pursuit of a career in medicine.

Innovative mobile game will get you stabbing buddies in the back

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Both scheming and strategy will help you win in this game. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Both scheming and strategy will help you win in this game. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Remember when you’d hang out with your pals all night long, scheming and swearing and stabbing each other in the back as you played board games like Monopoly, Axis & Allies or Risk for hours on end?

The developers of upcoming mobile strategy game Subterfuge want to recapture that competitive and fun gaming magic on the iOS era’s platform of choice.

“We started with the idea of making a game that would give you a shared, epic experience with your friends,” designer Noel Llopis told Cult of Mac. “We’re hoping Subterfuge provides something like that,” Llopis says, “but in a way that meshes with people’s real lives.”

You don’t have to be a geek to play Golem Arcana, but it helps

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This colossus figure towers over all comers. Photo: Hunter LeFebvre, Cult of Mac
This colossus figure towers over all comers. Photo: Hunter LeFebvre, Cult of Mac

SEATTLE, Washington — Table top miniatures are some of the geekiest board games, coming as they do with thick rulebooks and complicated sets of play mechanics. Developer Harebrained Schemes, the folks behind video games Shadowrun Returns and the more recent Shadowrun: Dragonfall, has decided to bring this arcane, geeky gaming genre to players who might want to try it out without having to fight their way through an extreme learning curve.

With the time we spent with the game at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle this weekend, we’ve got to say, we’re pretty impressed. While there’s still quite a bit of learning that has to occur in order to fully and deeply play this fantasy-themed miniatures game, even players as young as four can grasp the basic concepts of move, battle, and conquer that the game’s iPad app and bluetooth-connected stylus allow.

“There are a lot of rules to these kinds of games,” said Harebrained Schemes’ Ray Winninger. “Sometimes there are these giant, thick rule books and that sort of thing. It’s especially hard to bring someone in who’s never played before and to just kind of plop them in the middle of it. So, we’re trying to manage all of that for you.”

Roll Them Bones – Digitally – With Bluetooth-Powered Dice+ [Review]

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Board games have enjoyed quite the resurgence on the iPad, with digital versions of just about any game folks can think of, including Monopoly, Risk, Ticket To Ride, and Small World, just to name a few.

Many of these games have excellent pass and play gameplay, which lets gamers play a turn and then hand the iPad over to a friend to take their turn. What’s been missing, though, from many of these games, is real-world dice. There’s something delightful about the randomness of the analog cube, used in all kinds of board games from Backgammon to Yahtzee.

Dice+, then, aims to remedy that with a big, lovely, bluetooth-powered die, ready with its own app full of dice games that will work with the plastic die. Suffice it to say that playing a digital game with a real-world die is, simply put, sublime.