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.

Since it was first introduced at our weekly BoardGame Night, To Court the King has been one of our most-played and most-enjoyed games. My initial impression, like most other players I’ve talked with, was that it provided an interesting way to introduce strategy and control into a dice game, a setting usually dominated by blind luck. The more I’ve played, however, my opinion has begun to change…

It’s almost a cliché these days to say that a game forces you to make “difficult decisions”, but Princes seems to define this whole idea for me. At its core, this game is all about managing limited resources… It requires you to make long-term plans early on, but also forces you to make tactical changes to your strategy based on the actions of your opponents… To me, this is everything that a modern board game should be…

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!

The Pillars of the Earth was released at Essen last year and immediately received fantastic reviews from almost everybody, with several people naming it as the early favorite for several “game of the year” awards. So when the Spiel des Jahres nominations were released last week and it was conspicuously absent from the short list, lots of people were shocked. I thought I’d take a little time to do a full review of the game and discuss my opinions on whether or not it should have received a nomination…

This is a reworking of a review I wrote on BoardGameGeek not too long ago. I hope it can be useful to someone out there.

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…

Tigris & Euphrates was an excellent game to serve as our first Game of the Month. It is a modern boardgame “classic” from one of the most well-respected and prolific game designers in the world, Reiner Knizia. Currently, it holds the #2 spot on the BoardGameGeek with an average rating of 8.3. More than that, the game also has an incredible depth of play, using very simple actions and mechanics but creating a gaming experience that is very entertaining and satisfying.