Give and take (Topic Discussion)

I've recently got into heavier games, such as Brass: Birmingham with my games group, because they help me completely focus on a game, allowing my brain to fully put aside my day-to-day worries and thoughts. I've also started to enjoy games with more player interaction, which encourage everyone to stay focussed on what everyone around the table is doing, rather than just doing their own thing and not being part of the group. However, for me, the best type of player interaction is where you don't just put one over on another person, but where everyone gets something out of it, and in this article, I want to look at those types and what it is I enjoy about them.

Easy rules (Topic Discussion)

The holy grail of the perfect rulebook is something that most publishers try to find and is something that we all want. It's no surprise that unboxing videos usually show you what the rulebook of a game looks like and one reason why many publishers allow you to download rulebooks for their games, so you can see for yourself if you'll be able to learn the game from it. I have read quite a few rulebooks over the years and wanted to share my thoughts about what makes for a good rulebook.

Play and learn (Topic Discussion)

The more we play games, the more we learn. We learn better strategies, new mechanisms, how to be a better loser, as well as a better winner, we learn that we don't always have to have the latest games, or that we definitely do, and we learn a few other things besides. In this article, I want to focus on something else though. I want to look at what playing board games has taught me about myself, about the people around me, and how it has changed me over time, if at all.

Sensitive settings (Topic Discussion)

Throughout time, terrible things have happened: plagues, wars, colonialism, genocide, executions, experimentation, extinctions, terrorism, abuse and many other atrocities. Some are still going on, most are condemned and they all evoke strong emotions in us. So when board games, which most of us see as a fun way to spend time, use these terrible events as their background, their setting, it seems to be a contradiction and it becomes very important how the game treats its subject matter. In this article, I want to find out if board games can treat atrocities in a sensitive and respectful manner that allows us to learn about these topics better and grow our understanding.

Min-maxing (Topic Discussion)

When I play board games with my games group, I'm usually more competitive than I would otherwise be. I want to win and try to find the most efficient way to get the most points. However, I know that I'm not usually very good at spotting where the points in a game come from, unless maybe when the theme of the game is really good and guides me to victory. At the same time, others in my games group are usually very good and seem to approach games in a very analytical and victory points focused way. In this article, I want to look at how this type of approach might work and see if it'll help me learn anything from it.

Gamer types (Topic Discussion)

Let's have a little fun and see if we can somehow classify the people we play board games with. Don't worry, the article is tongue-in-cheek. I'm not trying to label people in a certain way. We're all unique and different and we change over time. Yet, I do reckon you will probably see yourself or one of your board game friends in one of the groupings in this article. Oh, and by the way, we're all gamers - whatever games we like to play. We're all here to have fun.

Iacta alea est (Topic Discussion)

Luck, chance, randomness - there are many names for introducing a bit of chaos into a board game. Dice rolling, a deck of cards or maybe a dexterity element can all introduce an unpredictable outcome that makes a game less predictable. In this article, I don't want to investigate at what point randomness becomes too much, or whether chance in games is fun, but instead I want to look at the different forms of randomness you can find in modern board games.

Critical reviews (Topic Discussion)

I always wondered what the difference is between a reviewer and a critic, or even a review and a critique. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, sometimes they're describing two different things, but very often they seem to be used for things that have a lot of overlap and are very similar in many ways. In this article, I'm trying to grapple with those terms and decide for myself what I think they mean.

Complex complexity (Topic Discussion)

Complexity is a fairly vague term. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as "the state of having many parts and being difficult to understand or find an answer to." Yet, it's not clear when parts are considered "many" or at what point something is difficult to understand. Here are my thoughts on complexity in board games and what I think it all means.

Limited components (Topic Discussion)

I have previously written about small box games in my article "Compressed collections" which can create a lot of gameplay with only a few components. However, even larger box, or big box, games are sometimes very inventive when it comes to using components in a clever way to create more gameplay and possibilities than would otherwise be possible. After all, board games have it much harder when you compare them to computer games. They have a limited number of components that come in a box, even in a large box. So I want to look at how the same components can be used in many different ways.