Remembering things is not my strong point. Not because I’m getting a bit older now – I’m only in my 40s – but because I’m relying more heavily on technology to remember things for me. Online spreadsheets tell me what game to review next or what article to write. Oh, speaking of which, articles are made in advance and then scheduled in, along with all the related social media messages. So, no, I don’t need to remember much. Maybe that’s why I don’t like memory elements in games, but let me use this article to go into this in a little more depth.
Nobody likes a game with more rules than necessary. The more rules there are, the longer it takes to learn a game, especially if there are also a lot of edge cases or exceptions. Too many rules can lead to confusion and slow down the flow of a game and consequently increase playing time. In this article, I want to look at streamlining games and how it can affect the playing experience.
I have previously talked about how some games try and tackle a serious topic and treat it with the respect it deserves. Some games also go one step further and try and educate us about the topic as we play the game. My article “Sensitive Settings” tried to look at games that tackle plagues, wars, colonialism, genocide, executions, experimentation, extinctions, terrorism, abuse and death in a sensitive and meaningful way. In this article, I want to look at games that use a specific setting as a backdrop for a fun experience and that make no attempt at treating the serious issues in a serious way – and that setting is Nazi Germany. So, please bear this in mind when you decide if you want to continue reading this article or not.
For many of us, losing a game isn’t much fun – winning is usually much more enjoyable. However, sometimes board games create amazing moments that are more memorable than whether we won or lost and in this article, I want to look at why losing a game can actually feel amazing, or at least be fun.
Games that take less than 30 minutes to play are usually seen as lighter, because they are often less complex than games with a longer playing time. Sometimes these quick, short games are seen as “lesser” in some way or not as “important” as longer and more complex games. Often they are dismissed as party games that no “serious gamer” wants to associate themselves with. In this article, I want to look at short games a bit more closely and compare them in more detail with longer games.
When we play board games together, each of us will have certain expectations, and it’s when our expectations are met, that we feel we’ve had a good time. In this article, I want to talk about what these expectations can be and what we can do, as a group playing together, to enable everyone to enjoy themselves. (This topic was inspired by the always wonderful Bez.)
I know, the term “great”, or even the term “good”, is very subjective and vague. Games can be great for different reasons and to different people, some games that are seen as great by everyone else are not even mediocre. However, I want to look at a number of reasons why I think some games are great. It’s purely my view of the game and I’m sure many of you will disagree with at least some of my suggestions, or you will have games that are even better than the game I think is great. Anyway, here goes…
I love writing reviews, even though that was never the intention with the blog, when I first started. I’ve now written over 135 reviews, which is amazing, given it was something I only started doing once the blog had already been going for a while. There are a lot of things I learned over the years when it comes to writing about board games, but what I knew from the start was that reviews are always just an opinion. Opinions vary from person to person, so chances are that someone reading one of my reviews will disagree with me. Their opinion of a game will be different and in this article, I want to talk about how my opinion might be perceived by others. (This article was inspired by We’re Not Wizards.)
It’s been a question that I’ve tried to tackle a few times before and that has been ongoing in board game circles for decades (probably): whether food and drinks should be allowed at the board game table. There are many different opinions and they range from wanting to keep everything pristine to only caring about having fun with friends. Everyone will have to decide for themselves, but in this article, I want to look at a number of possible approaches. (This article was inspired by a discussion on my Discord.)
When reviewing games, you look at rulebooks, components, complexity, playing time, illustrations, setting and many other things, but ultimately you focus on the experience you got when playing the game. The thing is, what you enjoy playing changes over time. In this article, I want to look at whether we should compare games against our expectations or whether it would make more sense to check them against some other benchmark. (This topic was inspired by the always wonderful Bez.)