The Group of Ten, 2015-2016 Edition

You may recall that last year I wrote a piece about what games I would keep in my collection if forced to winnow it down to just ten titles. At the time it was just an interesting thought experiment, but it ended up gaining a little traction. My friends at DFW Nerd Nighters ended up doing a whole episode about it, their longest one I believe. This year, Nerd Nighter JR Honeycutt has released an updated version of his list from last year. Continue reading

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Training Wheels

I pledge allegiance to training wheels

Training wheels for America

Being the guy who reviews games means that I’m usually the guy teaching them. This was the case even before I started writing about games regularly, since I was one of the buyers among my friends. I would decide what I wanted to play, buy it if no one had it already, and then teach it to everyone else. Teaching is something that most gamers need to figure out, and I feel like I’ve gotten pretty good at it. But lately I’ve grown weary of being the teacher. I’m not sure if it’s a function of too many games, or a growing sense that more and more games require “training wheels” to enjoy the experience. But either way I’m tired of learning and teaching games. I’d much rather play them. Continue reading

The Rumpus Room Top Twelve – 2013 Edition

This is the fourth year I’ve done a big countdown for my top twelve games, but I still feel like it’s a work in progress. My first installment back in 2010 seemed to assume that these were the twelve “best games EVAR,” like there was a standard that these games were held up to, and they were the ones found to be at the top of a linear list of every game I own. Now that I’m putting together this list for the fourth time, that’s obviously a load of crap. Not that I don’t consider these games among the best ever made, but the list this year is almost totally different from the first one that I published in 2010. I mean, I put Dominion on the first iteration of this list, and Puzzle Strike on the second one. Those might reflect the last time I wrote much positive about either one of those games. One list by itself doesn’t mean much anyway. I’m not the same gamer I was in 2010, and that’s fine. I keep doing these lists because they tell me a lot about where I am right now as a gamer. Consider this a portrait of what I want in a game in December of 2013. Continue reading

The Best Games of 2012

It's a major award.It is the sworn duty of every board game writer to come up with a “best of” article at the end of every year. This is carved in stone, from the beginning of the internet. I’m curious sometimes what would happen if someone were to NOT give their year-in-review article. I suspect that the internet would proceed as it always has, but I worry there’s a slim chance it sends us plummeting to a fiery death. I think it might be better not to risk it. Continue reading

Friday Fallout – January 25, 2013

Hey, what’s going on? It’s been a couple weeks since there’s been fallout on a Friday, but I can be as lazy as I want on my own blog. Not that it’s hurting me too much, since the amount of content on this page actually has very little impact on my life. But I did just score a link from Reddit that you can see here. This kind of thing will stop being a big deal when it happens more often, so if you think it’s pointless to comment on such things, you should link to this blog more often, and it’ll be so boring that I don’t comment on it anymore. So that might work… Continue reading

In Ages Past – Clash of Cultures Review

Clash of Cultures

Best cover image of 2012? MAYBE.

Does the world really need another Civ game? If you had asked me a year ago, I probably would have said no. Not only is it a crowded genre, it’s crowded with classics. There’s the old Francis Tresham game from Avalon Hill, still played by people with more time than I have. Vlaada Chvatil’s Through The Ages is one of the highest-rated games on Boardgame Geek. Kevin Wilson and Fantasy Flight cashed in on the popular computer game license a couple years ago with their own civ game. And I’ve personally always had enormous respect for Serge Laget’s Mare Nostrum. That doesn’t begin to touch on less epic games that incorporate aspects of civ games (like Settlers of Catan and Innovation) or that transport the genre to a more speculative setting (like Eclipse or Runewars). It is into this cramped space that Christian Marcussen felt compelled to launch his sophomore effort, Clash of Cultures.  Continue reading

Friday Fallout – January 4, 2012

The most interesting man in the world uses Google.

Hey, that’s a good idea.

Well, another new year is upon us. Also, should I capitalize New Year every time I write it? I still don’t know! No worries though. Four days in, and 2013 is looking pretty good. I happened to turn 30 on New Year’s Day, which was a time to try to reflect on my life and then forget about it and just play some games. Continue reading