Games Of The Years

I got involved in this hobby seven years ago, and I’ve been writing about it pretty steadily for about three, with occasional pieces before that. At some point every board game writer will have to deal with the expectation to crown their “game of the year.” This is tricky for a lot of reasons. Continue reading

Ode to Punching

Duel of Ages cardboard

Yes, all of those cardboard sheets are for punching stuff out.

The board gaming hobby spends a lot of time wondering how we can draw new people into the hobby. There’s discussion about whether one should emphasize the social aspect, accessible game design, or even if this is a hobby where new people belong in the first place. Those are worth discussing, but it seems to me that we’ve overlooked the most obvious draw of the board game hobby: punching out the pieces. Continue reading

All By My Lonesome

Watch your step.

Boy, wish I’d brought a book or something…

Readers who have met me in real life know that I live for social interaction in games. It doesn’t even need to be an element of the mechanics, just present at the table in some form. If you’re the table that’s laughing and cutting up, that’s where I want to be. So I didn’t understand why so many gamers were so taken with playing games solo. On some level it defeats the entire purpose of playing games, which is to spend time with friends. Continue reading

Even I Get Boarded Sometimes – Merchant of Venus Review

Merchant of Venus box cover

That robot was trapped the minute he showed casual interest int whatever that human is hawking.

Let’s take a moment to reflect on the events of a year ago, when both Stronghold Games and Fantasy Flight announced a reprint of Richard Hamblen’s Merchant of Venus. Confused fans had every reason to be pessimistic. The ensuing silence only fed fears that the lawyers had been sent in to do battle. We may never know all of the details of how the whole thing happened or how it was resolved. But what I do know is that the resulting reprint of Merchant of Venus succeeds beyond anything my heart dared to hope for. 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

The Galaxy is Safe for Trade Again

So it looks like FFG and Stronghold have come to an agreement about the future of Merchant of Venus. The two publishers are essentially going in together, each publishing their version of the Avalon Hill classic in the same box. One side of the board will have FFG’s re-imagined version, and the other will have the game as it was originally designed by Richard Hamblin. You can check out the full song and dance over at FFG’s website.

The double-version of the game will necessitate a higher price, but I can live with that for what is likely to be the definitive version of this game. This could have been a very ugly situation, but it looks like both companies thought it best to take the high road and work together to produce what should be something that’s very special.

It also signals what could be a pattern for Fantasy Flight, who are usually associated with reprints that change way too much. Wiz-War’s release earlier this year showed that they could tweak stuff and still leave the original rules as an option. Hopefully this development marks a pattern for them, because they have great resources for bringing old classics to print.

As for Stronghold, it would seem that they are way sharper on the business end than I might have given them credit for. They aren’t some fly-by-night publisher who is looking to just publish vanity projects: they are now a force to be reckoned with. That’s especially true if, as expected, they eventually announce a reprint of another Richard Hamblen classic: Magic Realm.

Whatever the case, I’ll be anxiously awaiting the new version this fall.