31 December 2016

The Best Games of 2016

So here we are. The last day of 2016. And a few days ago, I found an article on Ars Technica entitled Game on! The Best Board Games of 2016. They list the 20 games that they played most often in this past year.

Sadly, I don't have as much time to play games as I would like. And what time I do get is often spent on older games that I've played before. Which is not a bad thing; getting to play a great game more than once is always a good thing! So before I get to the main part of my article, a quick overview of the games that I played most often in 2016, regardless of when they were first published:

Most of these are because they're games that I own and other people enjoy. When I'm at other people's places, we usually end up playing something I've never played before. Which is also not a bad thing.

17 December 2016

Board Game Review: ...and then we held hands

Most board games fall into one of two categories: fiercely competitive or humorous (sometimes both). Even in the case of co-operative games like Pandemic, Lord of the Rings, Hanabi, or Ghost Stories, there's still a strong component of competition. Although the players are not competing against each another, they are competing rather intently with the game itself, leading to strong feelings of tension. A handful of games are more story-oriented, where players are trying to tell amusing stories rather than to laugh or compete.

Another interesting phenomenon is the scale of how many players can play in a specific game. Seldom do I get to play two-player games any more. The Dork Spouse doesn't generally like the same sort of games I do, so there are few two-player games on which we can agree, and when I'm playing with friends, there's usually more than two of us there. Even on those few occasions in which I am playing with a single other player, we almost always end up playing games designed for 2 to 4, or 2 to 6. So the number of games I have that were designed specifically as two-player games almost never get taken off the shelf.

And when you combine these, the phenomenon gets even more interesting. By which I mean: when's the last time you heard of a two-player co-operative game?

Sure, most of the co-operative board games mentioned above can be played with two players, but they can handle up to 4 (Pandemic, Ghost Stories) or 5 (Lord of the Rings). It seems that co-operative games are not intended to be limited to 2 players.

...and then we held hands turns all of these ideas on their heads.

A game of ...and then we held hands, ready to begin. The board is in the centre, made up of three concentric rings made up of dots in blue, green, black, and red. On each side is a five-space sliding scale of negative two to positive two. There is a red glass bead on the centre space of the left scale, with another red bead on the space of the outermost ring closest to that scale. Two blue beads are arranged in a similar fashion on the right side. On both the right and left side are six emotion cards, each of which covers half of the card below it, and the top card half-covered by a plain white and grey cover card. On the far side of the board are three stacks of eight goal cards, with one card turned face up next to the first stack to show the red 'anger' icon.

10 December 2016

Games Storage

How many games do you own? 10? 20? Are you a semi-serious gamer like me, who owns nearly 100 board games, and several RPGs with supplements? Are you a super-serious gamer like John, who owns somewhere in the area of 800 board games and multiple book shelves laden with nothing but RPG books?

Even if you only own a handful of games, you may struggle not just with how to store the games themselves, but storage of the game components within those games. This is growing to be a major concern in the gaming industry. We're going to talk about about storage of games and game components.

04 December 2016

Collapsed Games

Remember a few months ago, when I mentioned that I was going to be streaming a Changeling campaign over Twitch?

That didn't last very long. We had a total of two actual game sessions. And it became apparent to me during that time that I was the only one actually invested in the game.

I could sit here and wax poetic about the reasons why the other players weren't into it. I could gaze at my navel and ponder whether they really were invested, and I just couldn't tell. But the fact is that gaming is my creative outlet. Especially when I'm GMing. It's not just a hobby for me. It's how I express myself.

I've said it before, but it's very true. Some people paint. Others write. Some compose, perform, and record music. I even know people who express their creative urges through creating board games and card games.

I run game sessions.