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.
Starting out in any hobby can be daunting. There is so much to learn and understand. The modern board game hobby is no different. There is terminology that will be unfamiliar to people who have not played much other than Monopoly or The Game of Life. Even the idea that you do anything other than roll and move can be alien and lead to analysis paralysis. So in this article, I want to look at how you can introduce people to our hobby.
It was time for our annual harvest and for the Day of the Dead. We are all looking forward to seeing the souls of our dead loved ones again. There would be dancing, singing, drinking, eating and general merriment. It was going to be our chance to speak with our long-deceased family members again. This year it was going to be different though. We would make a bet with the dead. It would be a race. Whoever made it back to their world again first would control what happened in the other realm for a whole year. We were ready to say ¡Adiós Calavera! by Martin Schlegel from Mücke Spiele.
Chess is one of our oldest games and as with most long-lasting entities, the game has undergone many changes over the years, influenced even by such factors as societal progress and politics. Chess has passed through different societies and cultures and the game has been played and perceived differently in different settings. Today, chess is one of very few board games accorded the status of sport in addition to also being promoted as a hobby that improves players' acuity.
It's lunchtime and the queue outside your cafe is rather long. Everyone wants you to hurry up and make them their favourite sandwich from your hugely popular menu. The pressure is on to line up slices of bread and pile them high with lettuce, tomatoes, eggs, tuna or ham. Some want theirs even toasted. Well... Crumbs!: The Sandwich Filler Game by J. Antscherl from Minerva Tabletop Games.
I always love going to board game conventions, shows, conferences or whatever you want to call them. Just walking into the halls and seeing lots of excited people who share the same hobby is invigorating. The prospect of catching up with friends whom I might not otherwise see is wonderful. Finally meeting the people I only know from social media face-to-face is fabulous. Board game events are always very much like a home from home. Yet, my visit to Berlin Brettspiel Con 2023 and the Spiel des Jahres awards a few weeks ago took this to another level.
Of the over 30 atolls and coral reefs in the Laccadive Sea, off the coast of Kerala, India, only 10 are inhabited. Of those, only a few are open to tourists. To visit the islands you need permission from the nearest customs office in Kochi, which is over 300 miles away. It helps strike the right balance between creating a good income stream for the islands, while also supporting sustainable tourism and preserving the fragile ecosystem of Lakshadweep by Sidhant Chand from Luma World.
Recently at work, we discussed how constantly going from one task to the next or changing from one tool to another is rather draining. This so-called context switching has been shown to reduce productivity. That's when it struck me that some board games suffer from exactly this problem. So in this article, I want to look at how research into the problems of context switching could potentially be applied to board game design.
It is rare that you can combine going to your hometown with attending a board game convention. So when it does happen, you jump at the opportunity. If you're also expecting to see a lot of people you normally only see maybe once a year at another show, as well as people you have so far only "met" on social media, then you know you're onto a winner. Being able to get demos of new and upcoming games is the cherry on top. Berlin Brettspiel Con 2023 was promising to fulfil all of these hopes, which set the bar very high. The question is whether it delivered.