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REVIEW: Content is king in 'Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics' – The Chronicle Journal

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TORONTO – While video games may occupy an outsized piece of today’s entertainment landscape, they have not extinguished the appeal to their ancestors. A visit to a board game cafe, casino or even a cottage on a long weekend will provide ample evidence of traditional games still being enjoyed in all their tactile glory.

Restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, have made enjoying a live board game or round of cards more difficult. Some potential players might be isolating on their own while others might not have an old chess set or backgammon table to help pass the time. In addition, many places where game enthusiasts would normally congregate to match wits remain closed.

The release of a video game compilation of popular board and card games would seem well-timed, given current circumstances. “Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics,” out this week for the Nintendo Switch, collects some of the all-time legendary pastimes — checkers, chess, backgammon, poker — and bolsters the package with a diverse selection of popular games from around the world.

Digital versions of classic games are far from a new idea — the “Clubhouse Games” brand itself debuted in 2006 on the handheld Nintendo DS system — but the roster included in this title as well as the options for solo or multiplayer competition are impressive.

Many of the games on offer will be familiar, including dominoes, Chinese checkers and versions of “Connect 4,” “Mastermind” and “Yahtzee.”

There are also some that might be new to North American gamers but have large followings elsewhere in the world, including: Mancala, a centuries-old strategy game; Ludi, a game of Indian origin; and Shogi, also known as Japanese chess.

The 11 card games available include casino classics Texas Hold ’em and blackjack, as well as Japanese favourites Pig’s Tail and Hanafuda.

Pool (both 8- and 9-ball varieties), darts, golf, bowling and air hockey are among the sports offerings. Solo gamers can play three types of solitaire as well as a sliding puzzle.

A slot-car racing simulator is also included. If you have access to multiple Nintendo Switch consoles, they can be placed next to each other in ‘mosaic mode’ to allow for increasingly complex track designs to stretch across the screens.

The individual games are well presented with easy-to-use controls, and each has a comprehensive tutorial to help players unfamiliar with the concept or rules quickly learn the ropes.

Not confident in going head-to-head with a human opponent? The games can also be played against opponents controlled by the game’s artificial intelligence, with different difficulty settings available.

Games can be played by multiple players either online, by sharing a Switch console, or on multiple Switch consoles on a local area network. Some games like Texas Hold ’em, which require players to keep their cards concealed from their opponents, cannot be played on a single Switch.

While the game is heavy on content, it also comes with an attractive sticker price. Nintendo’s website lists the suggested retail price at $49.99 — around $30 cheaper than a triple-A new release.

Of course, a video game can’t duplicate everything that playing a game head-to-head with a live opponent offers.

There is no real substitute to looking an opponent in the eye as you make the last checkers jump or declaring “Checkmate” while placing your winning piece with a declarative thud.

But this compilation has plenty to offer at a fair price, and at least no one has to put all the pieces away when the game is over.

“Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics” is rated E for all audiences. A copy of the game was provided to The Canadian Press for review.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2020.

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Britain in talks with 6 firms about building gigafactories for EV batteries

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Britain in talks with 6 firms about building gigafactories for EV batteries

Britain is in talks with six companies about building gigafactories to produce batteries for electric vehicles (EV), the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people briefed on the discussions.

Car makers Ford Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co Ltd, conglomerates LG Corp and Samsung, and start-ups Britishvolt and InoBat Auto are in talks with the British government or local authorities about locations for potential factories and financial support, the report added .

 

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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EBay to sell South Korean unit for about $3.6 billion to Shinsegae, Naver

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eBay Sells Classifieds Business For Nearly  Billion – WebProNews

EBay will sell its South Korean business to retailer Shinsegae Group and e-commerce firm Naver for about 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion), local newspapers reported on Wednesday.

EBay Korea is the country’s third-largest e-commerce firm with market share of about 12.8% in 2020, according to Euromonitor. It operates the platforms Gmarket, Auction and G9.

Shinsegae, Naver and eBay Korea declined to comment.

Lotte Shopping had also been in the running, the Korea Economic Daily and other newspapers said, citing unnamed investment banking sources.

South Korea represents the world’s fourth largest e-commerce market. Driven by the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce has soared to account for 35.8% of the retail market in 2020 compared with 28.6% in 2019, according to Euromonitor data.

Shinsegae and Naver formed a retail and e-commerce partnership in March by taking stakes worth 250 billion won in each other’s affiliates.

($1 = 1,117.7000 won)

 

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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Canada launches long-awaited auction of 5G spectrum

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Canada launches long-awaited auction of 5G spectrum

Canada is set to begin a hotly anticipated auction of the mobile telecommunications bandwidth necessary for 5G rollout, one that was delayed more than a year by the pandemic.

The 3,500 MHz is a spectrum companies need to provide 5G, which requires more bandwidth to expand internet capabilities.The auction, initially scheduled for June 2020, is expected to take several weeks with Canadian government selling off 1,504 licenses in 172 service areas.

Smaller operators are going into the auction complaining that recent regulatory rulings have further tilted the scales in the favour of the country’s three biggest telecoms companies – BCE, Telus and Rogers Communications Inc – which together control around 90% of the market as a share of revenue.

Canadian mobile and internet consumers, meanwhile, have complained for years that their bills are among the world’s steepest. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has threatened to take action if the providers did not cut bills by 25%.

The last auction of the 600 MHz spectrum raised C$3.5 billion ($2.87 billion) for the government.

The companies have defended themselves, saying the prices they charge are falling.

Some 23 bidders including regional players such as Cogeco and Quebec’s Videotron are participating in the process. Shaw Communications did not apply to participate due to a $16 billion takeover bid from Rogers. Lawmakers and analysts have warned that market concentration will intensify if that acquisition proceeds.

In May, after Canada‘s telecoms regulator issued a ruling largely in favour of the big three on pricing for smaller companies’ access to broadband networks, internet service provider TekSavvy Inc withdrew from the auction, citing the decision.

Some experts say the government has been trying to level the playing field with its decision to set aside a proportion of spectrum in certain areas for smaller companies.

Gregory Taylor, a spectrum expert and associate professor at the University of Calgary, said he was pleased the government was auctioning off smaller geographic areas of coverage.

In previous auctions where the license covered whole provinces, “small providers could not participate because they could not hope to cover the range that was required in the license,” Taylor said.

Smaller geographic areas mean they have a better chance of fulfilling the requirements for the license, such as providing service to 90% of the population within five years of the issuance date.

The auction has no scheduled end date, although the federal ministry in charge of the spectrum auction has said winners would be announced within five days of bidding completion.

($1 = 1.2181 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by David Gregorio)

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