Super Mario Run

First Pokemon came to the smartphone and now Mario will, too, in the form of Super Mario Run. If you’ve got bad knees, don’t worry — unlike Pokemon Go, it doesn’t require you to run or actually do any physical activity. Instead, this platformer has Mario constantly moving forward through worlds, overcoming obstacles and enemies with various jumps triggered by timing your screen taps in different ways. There’s a single player mode where you gather coins, a challenge mode that pits you against other players’ records, and a third creative mode that lets you blow accumulated loot to build your own Mushroom Kingdom to your liking. For now it’s coming to iOS in December and Android at some point after that. What these recent games entail for Nintendo’s hardware in the long run is unknown, but all we know is Pokemon Go made us want to bust out our Game Boy Color and play some old school Blue.

Learn more at Super Mario Run – $Free

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Pokémon GO

Few games stir up nostalgia like Pokémon — not to say there haven’t been plenty of releases since we first played Blue, and we’ve lost track of the official count. That said, Pokémon GO is the first to change up the way the game is played — and also the first that’s not on a dedicated Nintendo console or portable. Instead of stalking out rare Pokémon in a virtual digitized world Pokémon GO makes use of augmented reality to let you see them in your actual environment through your smartphone’s camera. Push notifications ping you about nearby Pokémon as you go about your daily commute, catchable with Poké Balls, if you react quickly enough. Different pocket monsters can be found near different landmarks — for instance water Pokémon near bodies of water — as well as various empty gyms ripe for the taking. And though it’s free to play a Pokémon GO Plus device makes it easier to catch ’em all by notifying you of events, for instance nearby Pokémon, and letting you simply press its button to catch them.

Find it on Google Play or the iOS App Store – $Free


Preset Chess

Kicking off a game of chess typically involves digging through a mountain of pieces to set them up right. Not Preset Chess, which is instead ready to go right out of the box. To set up, just flip the box upside down and press in the thumb holes to release: each piece sits in its slot and sticks to the board magnetically to make things easy. When you’re done a round, place the pieces back in their correct slots and then pop the board on top to cap it. Icons next to each non-pawn pieces make it easy to remember what goes where, and the board — as well as all  felt-padded pieces — are crafted from hardwoods to make the game feel more far more luxurious than plastic sets.

Find it at Kickstarter – $70


Game of Thrones Clue

As any loyal viewer knows, death and Game of Thrones go hand in hand. Initially created as an April Fool’s prank by Think Geek and now made real, Game of Thrones Clue features twelve characters — all/most/some/none (no spoilers) still alive as of the latest episode — as well as six metal weapons that include a poison vial, battle axe, Faceless man, crossbow, and catspaw assassin dagger, to play out like a classic game of Clue. The game board is double-sided to let you play in either The Red Keep in in Meereen. Frankly, all murders in this game are plausible, so we’ll take the GoT gang over a bunch of characters with color-inspired names and furtive motives.

Pick one up at Amazon – $45


Goblin Deuce Double-Barrel Paintball Gun

Hiding extra gun never hurt anyone (except the guy on the receiving end). Likewise, packing a Goblin Deuce Paintball Gun is a safe bet that equips you with a couple extra covert backup shots for a well-timed sneak attack. The pistol is powered by two air cartridges and features a selector switch that lets you set it to fire both barrels simultaneously or each one separately. Each is decked out with imitation wood trim and comes with a fitted tactical holster. And in case you already own a Goblin Solo, a conversion kit with the double-barrel assembly can transform it into a Deuce.

Learn more at Goblin Paintball – $87 [via]


Game of Thrones Playing Cards

Some abstract royal family we’ve never heard of won’t cut it anymore. Game of Thrones Playing Cards instead put far more familiar faces on a traditional 52 card deck. The four kings are taken from the four characters second book in the Song of Ice and Fire series that claim to be the rightful king — Joffrey Baratheon, Stannis Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, and Robb Stark — one per suit. Plenty of other noltables made it to the face cards as well including Daenerys Targaryen as a Queen, Tyrion Lannister as a Jack, and both Petyr Baelish and Varys as, fittingly, Jokers. They’re also printed on durable 300gsm heavy cardstock that boast the size and feel of casino-quality Bicycle cards.

Find it at Etsy – $20


Coconut Paddle

There are only so many effective ways to hold a standard table tennis paddle, though that’s not for lack of trying. Coconut Paddle changes the hold completely with amber edge grain bamboo wood that’s precisely trimmed, drilled, and fitted with a custom foam insert for comfort. Grip it by sticking a finger through the hole and clamping your hand on the hold, effectively making the paddle a direct and parallel extension of your arm. Both sides of rubber are affixed with speed glue, making them easy to swap out when worn, and it suits both right and left handers: just flip the paddle around.

Learn more at Coconut Paddles – $108


A Tiny Game of Pong

Initially amongst the earliest video games, Pong is back, this time in a wrist-borne variant titled A Tiny Game of Pong. The game uses simple, intuitive analog controls by way of your Apple Watch’s Digital Crown: turn it to move the paddle and defend your side of the screen from a progressively faster moving ball. Play standalone on your watch against an AI opponent or against a friend on your paired iPhone. The app tracks high scores in Game Center to let you compete against friends and also offers an in-app purchase to unlock ten custom theme colors — red, green, blue, and the like — to match the game’s minimal interface to the style of your Apple Watch.

Read more at A Tiny Game or download from the App Store – $Free (for now)


CUBi Dice

Chances are your everyday carry is deprived of a pair of dice for obvious reasons, namely the inconvenience of lugging two fairly large, easy-to-lose plastic cubes around loose in your pocket. And that’s why CUBi Dice were created. Machined of titanium to exacting precision and measuring just 5mm across, these minuscule, sharp-edged dice are incredibly light and ridiculously durable. Better yet they’re small enough to carry in their stainless steel tube keychain – up to six at a time – which is barely over an inch and a half in length.

Grab a set at Kickstarter – roughly $23


Foosball Coffee Table

It’s a coffee table. And, simultaneously, a foosball table. The Chicago Gaming Signature Foosball Coffee Table is a relatively subtle way to get a foosball table — and a conversation piece — into your living room, at least compared to other, typically flashy options. An elegant wood frame surrounds the playing surface while a glass surface makes the table useable as an actual coffee table, as well as the standard shelf underneath for storing stacks of magazines you’ll never get around to reading. Otherwise, the hand-painted foosball men are controlled via three separate wooden handles per side and a set of wooden beads on each end lets you keep track of the score.

Pick one up at Amazon – $540


Ti Dice

Dubbed the strongest dice on earth, there’s a good chance you couldn’t break a pair of Ti Dice if you tried. Every die is precision machined of Grade 5 titanium for an extremely high strength-to-weight ratio, also making them hypoallergenic, non-corrosive, and resistant to chemical damage. Simple straight lines instead of circles enumerate each side from one to six, laid out in a manner to maintain perfect balance and performance. Available in three finishes: mirror, stonewashed, and sandblasted.

Grab a pair at Kickstarter – $44

Food & DrinkGames

Hexcup Beer Pong Cups

They look way cooler than traditional red solo cups, but Hexcup Beer Pong Cups aim to solve several problems encountered in beer pong. For one, they rack way easier and leave no gaps between cups. They also don’t move during play thanks to an anti-ghosting base and boast improved durability granted by reinforced corners plus a polypropylene build that’s top rack dishwasher safe. Each set comes with 22 hexcups and 3 hexcup balls, i.e. plenty considering they’re designed to last awhile.

Find it at Kickstarter – $15+


Loop Pool Table

When an incident ray meets the surface of a curve, the angle it makes with the tangent to that point is equal to the angle between the reflected ray and the tangent. Once you understand this concept you’re ready to tackle Loop, the game of pool on an ellipse. Loop is more than pool spelled in reverse: it’s a game of angles like its rectangular counterpart, but more trigonometric. The rules are simple but the gameplay is exacting. Played with only three balls and a cue ball, the player need only sink a colored ball and the eight ball. But the key to Loop is always to calculate the angles by considering the positions of the focus points. The concept is easy enough to understand but hard enough to master, making Loop a challenge to even the most analytical mind.

Learn more at Loop – $TBA