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

Tales of Wonder – Tales of the Arabian Nights Review

Arabian Nights

Oh I come from a land, from a faraway place…

I still can’t believe that Z-Man’s reprint of Tales of the Arabian Nights had any impact at all. There’s a market for even the dodgiest games, but this one runs counter to just about every trend I had seen in gaming. It’s far too random to approach anything like strategy, and it makes a mockery of player choice. It’s key mechanic involves passing a huge book around the table while you look up numbers on charts to see what paragraph you have to read. It resembles nothing so much as the world’s most expensive Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book. How could such a game become anything besides an admirable failure? Continue reading

Are You Experienced?

I am experienced...AT ROCKING.“It’s more of an experience game.”

Gamers have heard this phrase many times, which means it might be borderline meaningless. When I hear it, it conjures up a game where the process of playing it is inherently more important than the final result of who wins.  The phrase “experience game” is sometimes used euphemistically for a game that’s a lot of fun but might not meet some nebulous mechanical standard. In that sense it functions as a little of a backhanded compliment, though not necessarily. Continue reading

Another Thing to Chase

stack of games

Image by user Fran_Kubelik on BGG

It was just over nine years ago that my friend introduced me to The Settlers of Catan. As much as any game I’ve played, it was love at first sight, a revelation, an experience like nothing I had before. Strategy, interaction, and wonderful times with my friends all in a one-hour game. I bought a copy, played it to death, and got most of my friends hooked. I assumed that was the end of it, and I never bothered to look further into the hobby. Continue reading

Flying At The Olympics – Magical Athlete Retrospective

Magical Athlete cover

In what sense if “thief” magical?

If I’m really honest with myself, I sometimes resent playing games with non-gamers. That’s not meant as a slight against anyone at all, just the admission of a selfish gamer. I always worry that I’ll pick something complex that they won’t like, or that I’ll have to hold their hand through  the whole experience. The fact that this usually isn’t a problem doesn’t keep the fear from rising up in my throat. I am jealous of my game-playing time these days, so it takes effort to get over myself and just play something. To do that, I keep a stable of standbys handy that I know can be introduced to most people without breaking a sweat. It includes some common games like Settlers of Catan and Acquire, as well as some less usual ones like King of Tokyo and Citadels. But one of my favorites to trot out with non-gamers is Magical Athlete. As it happens, it’s also one of my favorite games to play with regular gamers too. In fact, let’s just stop this awkward segue and say that it’s one of my favorite games, period. Continue reading

It’s Barbaric, But Hey, It’s Home – Tales of the Arabian Nights Review

Good afternoon to you all. I’m a little behind this week, so here’s an older review that was published to Boardgame Geek, but not to my blog. It was originally written in December 2009.

TotAN

More often then not are hotter than hot.

These are golden days for the old guard. Numerous older games with a high pedigree are getting reprinted in special expensive uber-editions, complete with new art, cleaned-up rules, and fancy components. Space Hulk, Cosmic Encounter, Talisman, and Titan have all been given the re-release treatment, and all have been very well-received both by new gamers and by the already-on-board fans of the games. Continue reading

Top 12 Games

There are few things as cliche as a Top X number of games, at least as far as I can see. Still, there is some value in seeing what games someone enjoys. The truth is, there are few ways more effective to learn about a gamer than seeing their top games, assuming you have some reasoning behind what they chose. So here are my Top 12 games, with some logic behind why they are on the list. Why Top 12? Becuase 12 is the new 10.

Continue reading