While those of us who avidly play board games know the industry has undergone significant, even revolutionary, change and expansion in the last decade, it’s only recently more mainstream audiences and media outlets have started to take notice of the hobby and realize it’s comprised of infinitely more possibilities than games like Monopoly, Sorry, and Candy Land. Widely played titles like Catan and Ticket to Ride are now staples of big-box retail stores like Target and Wal Mart, and Barnes & Noble stores even offer a surprisingly encompassing selection for something many would still consider a niche market. Board games have started to find their way into pop culture as well, featuring in segments of the popular show Big Bang Theory, and helped along by efforts from celebrity Wil Wheaton and his web show Tabletop on Geek & Sundry. Continue reading
Happy mid-week to everyone! We’re forgoing the normal weekly highlight of a Kickstarter campaign this week, and instead bringing you our top 10 list of upcoming games coming out of the 2015 GAMA trade show. Lots of great announcements, and the games below reflect the ones we’re most excited about seeing this coming year. This isn’t anywhere near all of the great things publishers rolled out, and if you’re interested in reading or watching more from different publishers I’d recommend checking out the Dice Tower News site. Continue reading
Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne. These games are modern classics of the board gaming hobby, and even if people haven’t played designer board games they’re probably familiar with those titles. These, among others including Pandemic and Dominion, are usually people’s go-to suggestions when they’re asked for ideas on which games someone new to the hobby should play. They’re all good recommendations; the games are light, have mechanics that are solid, easy to grasp, and engaging, and they all hit the new gamer sweet-spot playtime of 45 minutes-1 hour.
People who recommend the above titles are absolutely spot on, and I don’t foresee these games getting unseated from their spots as the most highly recommended gateway games for newcomers anytime in the near future. The thing is, I’m tired of hearing about them. Continue reading
For every Kickstarter campaign that succeeds in realizing its creator’s dream, there are many, many more that end up falling short. Some don’t stand a chance, raising little more than a few dollars thanks to uninspired ideas, lack of marketing, or lack of preparation and the proper respect for the kind of work bringing a crowd-sourced campaign to life entails. Others manage to gain a following and raise part of their funds, but ultimately fail to garner the support necessary for success even though they may have put a great deal of effort into realizing their game and researching the campaign. Most creators in the latter group usually call that the end of the road, resulting in a game unrealized, and a project creator that walks away from the table. For some, however, an unsuccessful campaign is an opportunity to step back and reevaluate their project, retool their campaign, and come back for hopefully successful seconds. So it is with Sebastian Bauer and his game, Cyntopia: the Future is Now. Continue reading
Hey Everyone! I’m back after being out of the country for a week on a great Caribbean cruise! Of course, I couldn’t go a whole week without some sort of board-gaming fix, so an entire carry-on suitcase was dedicated to taking board games with me so my wife and I could game while abroad. I had a great time playing around the ship, and figured I’d take the opportunity to write up some suggestions for anyone who is planning on taking board games with them on a cruise. Continue reading
A board game Facebook group I belong to recently hosted a discussion regarding review rubrics. The discussion specifically centered on rubrics with a points system, focusing on how heavily to weigh certain categories over others, and what exactly the specifics of each point should be. People had varying scales in their rubrics, differences in categories, and differences in how heavily they weighed things like art vs. mechanics, components, etc. Even though COG doesn’t currently use a rubric like the ones discussed, it nevertheless got me thinking about the pros and cons of different review systems, and whether there were aspects from other systems COG may be able to use to better our content. Continue reading