Random Thoughts

From time to time on BGG, a geeklist gets started where people put famous people’s faces into game box covers.  It was Nicolas Cage’s turn this week, and here were […]

I don’t know if you’ve seen it already, but there’s a really cool Geeklist on BGG where people are photoshopping Wil Wheaton into box cover art.  I’m certainly no photoshop expert, but […]

When it comes to evaluating boardgames these days, one of the main aspects that tends to be discussed is replayability. Now, I would argue that unlike movies and books and many other forms of media, games are inherently meant to be played and experienced more than once. Replayability is, therefore, a concept that encapsulates how well a game supports and encourages this repeated play…

Much as with my own podcast, I often run late with my contributions to the main Dice Tower podcast. The main difference, though, is that it gets published anyway, meaning that I’m just left out of the fun. But as they’ve been looking back over their favorite games from 5, 10, and 15 years ago lately, I just couldn’t totally let this go by without getting my opinions out there…

In my review of Terra Mystica on my latest podcast, one thing that I talked quite a bit about was the major influence that the different fantasy races had over play. Players choose one of the races at the start of the game, and the powers, opportunities, and limitations of that race will (sometimes drastically) guide and change the way that they play…

I was reading an excellent article on Lewis Pulsipher’s blog recently about game length, and something he said jumped out at me. In the third paragraph, basically still as part of his introduction, he said, “in a century of many distractions and opportunities for leisure time, and a sharp decrease in attention spans, games are rapidly getting shorter”…

But at the same time, having more complete visibility of and access to all my games also calls more attention to that point of shame for almost everyone with a large collection: unplayed games…

The thing that concerns me a lot more, though, is this idea I seem to encounter from time to time that, essentially, no game is worth the price that’s being asked for it…

No, I’m not dead or anything like that. My absence from this blog (and my poor, long-neglected podcast) over the last couple of weeks has been due to my wife and I taking our little girls (Corinne, age 2, and Samantha, age 4 & a half) to Walt Disney World for 6 amazing days in their various theme parks. Gwen and I had been twice before together, first on our honeymoon and then again 5 years later), but the last was nearly 12 years ago, and never had we gone before with small children. So we went in being reasonably well-informed and making some educated guesses about how the experience would be different with the little ones as our real focus this time around…

PhotobucketSo in the process of the conversation, I essentially called them out and said that they weren’t playing it right, so they didn’t really have grounds to complain about how the game played. The mere mention of the phrase “you’re not playing it right” made one other listener bristle up and push back against me a little. And that small point of contention was interesting enough to me that I thought I’d explore this whole idea of what is the “right” way to play a game…

I’ve been through some periods in my life when gaming was pretty hard to come by. As of right this now, I’m still in the midst of nearly a month where I’ve only played two boardgames (one solo and the other with my wife), and I’m very ready for it to be over. But at some points in my life, I would have felt pretty happy to have one evening of hardcore gaming in a month (let alone 24 hours of it coming up on Saturday), so it’s all a matter of perspective, I suppose…

I’ve continued to read more about the “critical game analysis” movement over the last few weeks, and while I’m not really going to get back into further discussion about game reviews and all right now, one related topic has occurred to me that I want to discuss a little bit…