Inspired by an essay that Bez from Stuff by Bez published a few days ago on Board Game Geek, I thought I might also write about what board games mean to me. Unlike her, I'm not a designer. I'm a consumer of board games, often with a critical eye because I'm also a reviewer. So I'm coming at this from a different angle and of course, my experiences with and expectations of board games will be different to Bez's. Anyway, I hope you find it interesting and as always, it would be great to hear your thoughts on the topic.
We were going to leave our Scandinavian homelands to search for fortunes in new shores far beyond the horizon. However, before we could set off, we had to load our boat with provisions, equipment and a daring crew. The problem was, that it was a rough, windy day and our longships were dangerously swaying on the swell. Getting everything safely stowed on board was going to be tricky. It was almost like we were on a Viking See-Saw by Reiner Knizia from Itten Games.
I reckon most of us have heard about toxic behaviour in our hobby. Some of us will have experienced it directly. Many of us can probably name at least one bad actor who is still present in our community. There are also publishers who still work with these people, despite there having been public outrage about the person's behaviour or actions and the person not showing any remorse or accepting any responsibility. As a reviewer, my initial reaction is not to review games from those publishers, let alone if a toxic person has worked on them in any capacity. However, as I want to discuss in this article, things aren't always that black and white.
It was the 5th century BCE and we, the Athenians, had been victorious over the Persians. The Delian League was now under our military control and the income generated by federation fees had made us prosperous. It was time for an ambitious building programme and the most talented architects in ancient Greece were ready. We were going to build housing, temples, markets, gardens and barracks. Our planning rules were going to create a harmonious community, enhanced by plazas. We would create new quarries to provide the stone to stretch our city towards the sky. We were going to build our high city, our Akropolis by Jules Messaud from Gigamic.
Now don't get me wrong. I don't mind long games. I happily play the same game for two to three hours, as long as it keeps me captivated. Even when a game requires a lot of focus and concentration, I usually have no problem sticking with it for a few hours. One of the ways in which a game can keep players invested is by reducing the amount of downtime, that is the time it takes for a turn to come back round to you. Something that helps in this respect is overlapping turns, which I want to look at more closely in this article.
The living room floor was a mess, sort of anyway. Everything was neatly arranged in a grid pattern, but there was no order to it whatsoever. Books were next to plants, which were next to games, which were next to frames all while some of our cats were tiptoeing around everything. All of it was only temporary though. I just wanted to get everything lined up, before returning it all to My Shelfie by Matthew Dunstan and Phil Walker-Harding from Lucky Duck Games.
The discussion about whether board game reviews should be paid for comes up regularly. Arguments can centre on the moral angle, come from a legal viewpoint or be purely personal opinions. More often than not, what is being discussed is not well defined and the discourse starts to drift into different, seemingly opposing, directions. In this article, I want to try and untangle the topic and focus on maybe one or two specific areas.
Fungi have long been misclassified as plants. In reality, they are a whole kingdom of their own. What we call a mushroom is just a fungus's fruit that appears above ground, but a mushroom is just a tiny part of a fungus. It's their underground root system composed of dense masses of fine, thread-like filaments, called hyphae, that makes up the majority of a fungus. Yet, mushrooms are crucial in a fungus's propagation. Mushrooms send out spores, which are carried through the air to new locations. When they eventually germinate they create new Mycelia by J. J. Neville from Split Stone Games.
After talking to Gaiagames at Berlin Brettspiel Con this year, I was impressed by how much they focus on sustainability for their games, not just when it comes to the product itself, but also the gameplay experience. It spurned me on to write about the topic of our hobby's impact on the environment and how that manifests itself in so many different, faceted ways.
The first snow of winter had fallen. Underneath the cosy blanket of snow, new life was stirring. The land was coming alive with creatures trying to carve out a life. It wasn't long until the warm sun melted the snow atop the giant mountain overlooking this realm. A slow trickle soon turned into a stream, which grew and grew and threatened to flood the animals with a giant River Wild by Steven Aramini from Button Shy.