Random Thoughts

Hey everybody! I’ve been taking and uploading gaming images to BGG for a little over six months now, and I recently took a little time to go through them and pick out my favorites…

Since I’m still so new to the hardcore boardgaming community, it’s still really cool to me to play brand new games, especially when they have received as much good press as Notre Dame and Arkadia have. So I thought I’d share my initial impressions of both of these fine games after my first plays of each.

Saturday was my birthday, and today is Gwen’s birthday (that’s my lovely wife, by the way), so I thought I’d talk a little bit about what games we added to our collection this weekend as well as our “gaming-with-nongamers” activity.

I’m a big fan of party games. Especially when you’re with a group of people who would never seek the moniker of “gamer”, these light and fun games can liven a gathering and bring people together in a way that few other activities can. And in my opinion, party games are the red-headed stepchildren of the gaming world. They get little respect, but I think they are a powerful weapon in the arsenal of any game-group organizer who wants to be able to match the right game to any particular group of people. So anyway, here is my opinion of what are the top 10 “must-own” party games!

Just a couple of weeks ago at our boardgame night, I finally had the chance to play El Grande for the first time. That got me thinking about all the fantastic games out there that I still haven’t been able to actually see and play in person. Especially since I consider myself a true gamer, I almost feel a twinge of shame in writing this article, but I wanted to maybe open a dialogue about the “banner” games we haven’t managed to play yet. Plus, I thought it’d be good to spend a little time pondering what games need to be on my “top priority” list to play.

A couple of things I’ve heard and read recently got me thinking about the competition at the core of most games… To me, they both seemed to deal with the same basic idea or concept, which boils down to deciding what the true goal and focus of a game is, either winning (focused on competition) or fun (focused on the whole game experience). I thought I’d take a little time to explore this idea and share my thoughts about it…

As I’ve gotten more and more into the boardgaming hobby, one treasure trove of information and entertainment that I’ve found are the many podcasts floating around out there in the aether of cyberspace. These are some of my favorites, which I’ll give you my own little take on…

What exactly do I mean when I refer to luck and chaos in games? The distinction I tend to draw comes from where the “randomness” originates in the game:
Luck – randomness deriving from some game component itself, such as rolling dice, dealing cards, or blindly pulling tiles.
Chaos – randomness caused by the actions of other players that may or may not be predictable.