Demo vs Teach – different types of presenting games (Topic Discussion)

Fresh off the back of demoing games for Asmodee at UK Games Expo 2023, I wanted to share my experiences with introducing people to a new game. I think demoing and teaching games are two similar, but also different approaches. In this article, I want to look at them more closely.

An Ode to Friends (Topic Discussion)

Playing games is often a very social activity, even though I don't want to neglect the many solo gamers that play an important part in our hobby. However, in this article, I want to focus on multiplayer games. I want to talk about what roles friends fulfil in our hobby. I basically want to write an ode to all the friends I have made through board games. See the following as my love letter to friends everywhere.

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.

Digital Supplements – a look at digital accessories for board games (Topic Discussion)

Mixing digital tools with analogue games isn't for everyone. Many of us in the modern hobby games community prefer to switch off our smartphones, get away from our computer monitors or otherwise "disconnect" and instead spend some quality time with people face-to-face, playing together. Some of us are happy to compromise and allow apps or other digital tools to take part in game nights, at least to some extent. In this article, I want to look at some of this new technology and what it can add to the playing experience.

Winning strategies – ideas to help you win (Topic Discussion)

Even if you're not a particularly competitive player, trying to win the game is what you should aim for. You may not care if you do eventually win and prefer to focus on doing better than previously. That's fine and at the end of the day, playing games is about having fun. However, if you do have even a small competitive streak in you, then this article may help you become a better player and win more often.

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.

Family fun – enjoying games as a family (Topic Discussion)

As we know, and as I always say, there are so many games, chances are there is something for everyone. Not only that, there will be games for all sorts of different types and sizes of groups. That has always been true for family games that can be enjoyed by a wide range of ages and interests. In this article, I want to look at what it is I enjoy so much about playing games with my family.

First time teach (Topic Discussion)

I have now spoken quite a bit about how to teach board games to people. Those articles were about teaching games that you have already played yourself and therefore know relatively well. However, when you buy a game, you will be faced with the difficult task of teaching the rules for the first time, before having played it yourself even once.

Player aids (Topic Discussion)

Teaching a game isn't easy and the same is true for learning. The teacher will do their best to explain everything and get everything right, but the first play of a game should always be chalked down to experience. Players should do what they can to help and expect mistakes to creep in. However, there are also things the game itself can do to make learning a new game easier, some of which will also help with playing the game again later.