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.

Compressed collections (Topic Discussion)

As many of you probably know, I only have limited space for games. That's why I very much like small box games that have a lot of gameplay crammed into a small volume. It's also the reason why I have been reboxing games that come in bigger boxes, compressing them down and getting rid of all the extra air that came with the original packaging. I have written about this in my article "Box clever?" a couple of years ago, and this time I want to give you some concrete examples of small box games crammed to the brim and larger box games that I have shrunk down.

Value for money (Topic Discussion)

The cost of tabletop games is a topic that keeps popping up. There is the question of whether games have now become "overproduced", in the sense that the game components have become more expensive, due to an increase in quantity, an increase in quality or both. There is also the question of whether games have always been sold too cheaply, leaving everyone with tiny margins. There are many reasons that decide the cost of games, but I want to look at the other end of the chain. I want to see how consumers decide when a game is good value for money.

Less is more (Topic Discussion)

As we all know, plastics are the scourge of our planet and can now be found virtually everywhere - from the obvious places like landfill sites to the most unexpected such as in the Arctic. They have invaded the food chain and it is estimated that less than 10% of plastics is recycled each year globally. Some countries have introduced legislation banning certain types of plastics and we each can do our bit to help reduce the use of plastic and thereby reduce plastic waste - and we can try to influence the use of plastics in our hobby.

Collected collections (Topic Discussion)

Different people buy games for different reasons, and many of us will have amassed a little, or not so little, collection that we have at home that we are proud of. Yet, sometimes we're not sure how we got there or how we should continue going forward. So it's often good to re-evaluate the games we've got and think about why we have bought them. Then we can decide how we want to continue in the future, and in this article, I want to look at some of the reasons why people buy games and how they curate their collections.

Oh my word (Topic Discussion)

I often feel that we accept the written word as something that's a given and don't pay much attention to it. We feel that writing isn't hugely important and that it's fine to just jot anything down, without much care or attention. That's often fine and it's great that people give writing a go. In fact, I encourage people to try and express themselves in written form. Keep tweeting, posting, texting and emailing. However, I think that there are times when it's vitally important that the writing is done well and with care - and writing is actually hard if you want to do it well. Yet, in the board game hobby, writing is too often done by the wrong people, which can spoil the game experience.

Calculated victory (Topic Discussion)

If you like competitive games, then you're probably familiar with trying to gauge where in the ranking you currently are during the game. Some games offer score tracks, so it's immediately clear how far ahead or behind you are - or if you're somewhere in the middle. Many games, however, keep the score hidden and it only becomes clear at the end who won. Yet, it can be very important to know if you're in the lead or not, so you can plan accordingly.

Coming around again (Topic Discussion)

There are many reasons why some games are played a couple of times and then put to one side. Often the game just doesn't suit you or your games group or it doesn't meet the expectations you had. However, there are also games that are put to one side, but then get brought back to the table again after some time - and I want to look at what these games are for me and why I put them away for a while before getting them out again.

Graphic games (Topic Discussion)

In the next article in my series about how board games go from an idea to a product, I want to talk about the creative people who are responsible for the graphics and other visual bits that we see when we play games. Very often their work is what we see first and remember vividly afterwards, but very rarely do we remember their names. If done well, the visual elements of a game blend seamlessly and add to the experience but don't detract from the gameplay.