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age of reprint

The official NSKN Blog chronicled this week on an interesting topic: the increasing prevalence of reprints in the board gaming hobby.

Do you remember that game you played as a kid? The most awesome game ever? The one game you would like to play again, but you can’t because the copy you played wasn’t yours? Or maybe it actually was your copy, but your parents threw it away while cleaning the attic, and now you have to pay an arm and a leg to get off ebay?

I believe many hobby gamers with just a little bit of distance between now and their childhood could admit that they have sought to play these kinds of nostalgic treasures once again.  The blog suggests, however, that though the power of nostalgia is strong, the desire to relive these old games is driven more by the positive memories of them, or “nostalgia goggles”, rather than the actual quality of gameplay.

NSKN also posits the emergence of a new type of game: reimaginings of older games of yore, or perhaps also called “spinoffs”.  These games, while not identical reprints, use the older game as an idea and then create a new game from it.  A good example is the very recent Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game, which uses the classic Warhammer Quest as a basis for a new card game.

To read the article in full, visit the NSKN Blog here.

Gear Patrol has published an article offering up a brief list of board games for the holiday season “that have gotten great reviews, but aren’t as financially successful as the old classics [like Monopoly, The Game of Life and Risk].”  One of the games mentioned in this list was One Night Ultimate Werewolf, with a few comments by its designer, Ted Alspach.

When asked about the old family classics like Monopoly, Alspach offered to explain why those older games are still so prevalent and games published in the last ten years come nowhere close.  “They put a lot of money into those brands to put them on the shelves. Hasbro continues to market them, and they spend more money than any other board game company…If we got to reset right now, those games wouldn’t exist without the history and the marketing.”

It is because of the strong presence of these classic games and the fact that most people already know how to play them that makes them the usual go-to games for the holidays.  However, the article suggests a new lineup of options in various categories, with alternate suggestions for each:

  • One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak

    game of thrones card game

  • A Game of Thrones: The Board Game Second Edition

  • Fire in the Lake

    TERRA-Box-front1000_darljd

  • Terra

    splendor

  • Splendor

    dixit

  • Dixit

  • Coconuts

Each of the above-mentioned games brings with it a similar, alternate suggestion, such as Star Wars: Armada in place of Fire in the Lake.

To read the article in full, visit the Gear Patrol website here.

Courtesy BGG user Kataclysm

 

Keith Burgun has published an article on his personal blog, keithburgun.net: Thoughts on Game Design, in which he presents his perspective on Eurogames–namely, why he believes that many Eurogames are simply better suited as solitaire game experiences.

Burgun begins by defining Eurogame as “a term that loosely refers to a system-oriented, often highly deterministic boardgame, usually coming out of Europe.”  He then describes this type of game as one that, contrasting with the popular term Amerit(h)rash, does not concern itself with a strong theme or storyline.  Instead, it focuses on helping players develop a “machine”, or game engine, that drives the game and presents players with interesting decisions to make.

One reason Burgun believes Eurogames to be a strong solo-player experience is due to a common lack of true player interaction; in short, many Eurogames are often dubbed “multi-player solitaire.”  He goes on to explain that even though it is possible to thwart the progress or limit the decisions of other players in a Eurogame, much of the focus is on one’s own progress, engine-development, and point accumulation.

Burgun points out that one reason for a smaller number of solitaire games on the board game market could be that setting up a board game to play by oneself can seem strange to most people.  He also draws some connections and comparisons to digital versions of board games and how they are used for solo-player gaming experiences.  Burgun finishes his article by encouraging board game designers to focus more on solitaire experiences in their game designs.

To read the article in full, read it here on Keith Burgun’s blog.

magic planeswalkers

In an article recently published by IGN.com, the official title was revealed for the previously announced board game by Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro based on the Magic: the Gathering card game: Magic the Gathering: Arena of the Planeswalkers.  The game is a strategy battle game that features five Planeswalker figures:  Chandra Nalaar, Jace Beleren, Nissa Revane, Liliana Vess, and Gideon.

The game box will include:

  • Six modular board pieces
  • Four plastic terrain pieces
  • Three plastic glyphs
  • Two temple ruins
  • Five painted Planeswalker mini figures
  • 30 squad mini figures
  • One 20-sided die
  • Eight combat dice
  • 30 damage counters
  • 60 spell cards
  • 10 Squad stat cards
  • Five Planeswalker cards

The game is set to release in June of 2015.  For more details on this announcement and to see some of the artwork samples for the game, view the full article here.

Hyperbole

Courtesy Hyperbole!

We all have game mechanisms that we really enjoy, and we will often seek out games that use these mechanisms or rejoice when our favorite mechanisms are used well in a game.

But are there any mechanisms that you DON’T enjoy in a game?  Or outright detest?  That is truly another question entirely.

Grant Rodiek recently published an article for Hyperbole Games in which he discusses mechanisms that perturb.

Do any of the following perturb you:

  • Interrupt Cards, and/or Out of Turn Play
    • “I want to do this.”  “Nope.”  “…Okay.”
  • Worker Placement without Blocking
    • “Worker placement without blocking is like beer without alcohol. It’s lite sour cream. It’s a wolf without teeth. It’s another metaphor.”
  • The Mimic: Choose any card to copy
    • “This card can be anything, just name it.”
  • Complex Line of Sight and Range
    • “Counting around squares constantly is so tedious!”
  • Trading, because sure?
    • “Trading needs to be fully integrated by giving players a reason to trade.”
  • Variable Ending
    • “I prefer games have a set time period, such as a deck running out, a finite number of rounds, or when a nigh guaranteed event will occur.”
  • If the game ends with no winner, Bob wins
    • “It feels like someone’s getting an easy win.”
  • Losing earned points
    • “This just feels nasty.”
  • The Passive Overflow
    • “Remember that players can only track so many things.”

Rodiek wisely allows plenty of room for error and exceptions in his list of annoying mechanisms, but on the whole he give some solid examples of those mechanisms that are annoying and are often not used in a way that betters the game in which it is being employed.

You can read the article in full here.

cheapassjames

Designer James Ernest of Cheapass Games (Pirates of the Spanish Main, Light Speed) provides the basics of probability theory in a recent article, “Probability for Game Designers.”  Ernest goes into some detail on odds, serial probabilities, results, events, and “the gambler’s fallacy,” stating that “a well-known misconception about random events is that their results tend to ‘even out’ over time.

Also, if you’re attending Gen Con, Ernest will be conducting a lecture on probability and basic math on Saturday at 5pm.  The game ID for this event is SEM1465794.