Round and Refined – when games are perfectly designed (Topic Discussion)

Games come in all shapes and sizes. Designers create them in different ways and with different intentions. Some games are an interesting mix of mechanisms, others are a passion project that tries to evoke certain emotions when people play them. Games can have simple rules with deep emergent gameplay or they can be rules-heavy. While some games take minutes to play, others can take hours to complete. However games are designed, there are some that feel round and refined, while others seem awkward or overly difficult. So in this article, I want to investigate what it is that makes a game perfectly designed.

Rule Breakers – when breaking the game rules is more fun (Topic Discussion)

Good games will have had a lot of time put into them to ensure they create the experience that the designer wanted. The rules will have been created with intent and purpose. Rules are the skeleton around which the muscles, sinews, skin and the whole living body of the game grows. Games are meant to be played by their rules, or at least that's what we're being told. In this article, I want to look at why rule-breaking can be a better option.

Serious hobbies – “serious” gamers and the mainstream (Topic Discussion)

A "hobby", as defined by Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, is "a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation." So hobby games are all about doing something different to what we usually do and doing it to relax. The definition of "serious", on the other hand, is a bit more complex. One option I found in Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines it as "requiring much thought or work" or "not joking or trifling." So a serious gamer invests a lot of thought and work into their hobby and doesn't want people to make fun of it. It's all a bit confusing and that's why I want to look at the idea of a "serious hobby gamer" in more detail in this article. I also want to look at how hobby games have entered the mainstream and how that relates to the "seriousness" of the hobby.

Teaching games – responsibilities as a learner (Topic Discussion)

Here is another article in my series about teaching games. Last time I spoke about the responsibilities the person has who teaches the game. This time I want to cover what is expected of the people learning the game. After all, the teacher will not get anywhere if no one is willing to actually learn the game. So, as a learner there are certain things you have to try and do to make the rules teach easier for everyone.

Teaching games – responsibilities as a teacher (Topic Discussion)

Continuing my series of articles about teaching games, in this article I want to talk about what responsibilities the teacher has. It's not always obvious, but when you teach a game, you're not done after explaining the rules to the group. You have to continue to keep an eye on things, to make sure everyone plays correctly. You also have to be ready to answer questions during the game. That's a lot of responsibility to shoulder.

Implicit conventions (Topic Discussion)

The longer you have been part of the board game hobby, the more you are used to various terminology and conventions. You will also have become more accustomed to the way rulebooks describe games and how to read them to get the most out of them. However, if you're still new to the hobby then some things may not be obvious. In this article, I want to look at some of these terms and conventions that won't be familiar to people new to our hobby and also touch on whether rulebooks should be expected to describe them in more detail.

Teaching games – learning together (Topic Discussion)

Continuing in my series of articles about how to teach games to others, I want to talk about maybe the best approach - and that is getting your games group to learn a game together. After all, for many of us, playing board games is a social activity and at the very least, it's a hobby we share. So it makes sense to also share the burden of teaching, or rather learning, how to play a new game.

Small and beautiful (Topic Discussion)

If you've been following me for a while, you'll know how much I like small box games. From wallet games to mini mint games to mint tin games to Oink-sized games to a deck of cards to any game that you can repackage into a smaller box and take with you anywhere. The other thing I like are games that are very quick to teach and learn and very quick to play, but still provide a lot of fun and excitement and many small box games provide exactly that. So in this article, I want to discuss why small and quick games are sometimes the better choice than big, heavy and long games.

Wind tunnel (Topic Discussion)

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.

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.