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Popular Sci-Fi Board Games (Category)

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Kickstarter Ending (1/24 - 1/31) [It's When ...: The Game As Twisted As You Are, Floral Fantasy ● RPG Dice Sets, Pacific Rails Inc, Ghost Ops - Operation Lone Wolf, Ruins of the Lorn K...]Like| 5 comments | [+]
Kickstarter Ending (12/27 - 1/3) [Creatures and the crawling chaos, "Porcine Stand" Limited Edition Commander's Quarters Playmat, More Than You Know: The Last Trivia Game You'll Ever N...]Like| 1 comment | [+]
Kickstarter Ending (12/13 - 12/20) [TACTIC: board game (2 - 6+ players), Night of the Living Dead: A Zombicide Game, GRADIENT DESCENT: Module for Mothership Sci-Fi Horror RPG, 2GM Pacifi...]Like| 0 comments | [+]
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It seems common that people that like his games have different ones that resonate more or less with them.  Lisboa resonates with me because I always disliked history until eventually I realized that history starts to come alive a bit when the stories become relatable for you.  Playing Lisboa had a bit of that feeling for me as it gives a little bit of a window into what that period may have been like in Lisbon. Mechanically, your options are very open for each turn, which I also enjoy.  I tend to bounce off of games that restrict your decision making such that you don't feel like you have a few viable paths to decide which to go down.  I've only played Lisboa, The Gallerist, and a bit of On Mars, so I don't have a ton of experience with his games, but I think Lisboa appeals to me most of the games I've played.  It's a bit surprising because I generally like sci-fi so I thought On Mars would be the biggest draw for me.  Maybe it will be most appealing to me once I play it more, but I think there's something really unique about Lisboa that I enjoy.

All of the following is since Oct 1st 2020.  Reading and boardgames are my two favorite hobbies and when I get on the reading kick, I can go through a bunch of books.  I've read nearly 60 books so far this year.  Also, apologies for the length of this post.

  1. I'm about 750 pages into A Call to Arms: Mobilizing America for World War II.  I have about 100 pages to go and its been fasinating to look back into the struggles and obstacles that needed overcome in order to get the United States prepared for WW2 and its eventually victory.
  2. Read Washington's Crossing by David Hackett Fisher - which is about Washington's crossing of the Delware river and the actions in late Dec - Jan of 1776/77.    The crew at Little Wars TV did a table top war game play through of some of these combats and those were also interesting. 
  3. I read Napoleon and Wellington: The Battle of WAterloo, and the Great Commanders who Fought It by Andrew Roberts - which is exactly like it sounds like.  Very interesting history and career arcs between the two generals despite the fact that this is the only battle in which they went head to head. 
  4. I read George Washington's Secret Spy War: The Making of America's First Spymaster by John Nagy which is an interesting look into Washington's spy ring and the troubles/double crossing that it under went. 

On the lighter side I've also read:

  1. Crisis Moon by Michael McGruther which is a story about "The United States discovers bootprints on the far side of the Moon and hire a private aerospace firm to investigate".  Turns out the Chinese have built a secert labatory on the far side of the moon to harvest a rare compond that will completely change the energy situation on Earth. 
  2. Book 2 in the Wings of Steele - Flight of Freedom by Jeffrey Burger - A great sci-fi adventure about a couple of US Marine pilots and a couple of avitors who end up captured by an alien cruise ship in the Burmuda triangle (of course), volunteer as pilots for the United Nations space equilivant.  Our hero ends up as Captain of a Battle Cruiser and the trials that come fighting space pirates.  Highly recommend.
  3. The War Revealed by Karl Gallagher - A group of medevial historic re-enactors get transported to a magical kingdom with Orcs, wizards, dragons, etc. 
  4. Staking a Claim by Travis Corcorn - A short story in the Aristillus universe.  I was honestly hoping for more (like the 3rd book in the series) but instead its more of a short (44 pg) story.  A good story in itself. 

 

The Wings of Steele series would make a great campaign style board game.  I'd be interested in a game set in "The War Revealed" universe as well.  The Aristillus universe would be a great setting for a COIN style game. 

I have no interest or ability in coming up with the necessary mechanics on how any of those ideas would work in practice but there you go.

I'll have to look into Wings of Steele. I love reading books about WWII air combat, and as an avid fan of sci-fi, it looks right up my alley. Added to my Goodreads! Thanks for the recommendation!

I thank each and every one of you who has responded thus far. But, as reminded me yesterday, I asked for your viewpoints without giving ya'll mine. So, I will do so here, now. But, before I give you my answer, I do want to give just a little bit of background.

I am a person who read a LOT growing up. In fact I averaged over well over 200 full length books a year until 2016, which was the year that my son was born. Something I always found very interesting, and even important, in books was to determine the worldview of the author. For me, analyzing the plot, the rising crescendo, the denouement, the whole fabric of the book is and was fascinating. I loved looking at the little literary devices that the author chose to use. But, for me, the most interesting part of reading was trying to determine what the worldview of the author was when he/she wrote the book. Reading does broaden one's horizon, in some very potentially helpful ways. And, it can change the way one thinks. I however have found that if one can identify the worldview, that does tend to armor you a bit against bad worldviews. I think most of us can do this to some point. For example, in my post I mentioned Mein Kampf which is Hitler's famous book wherein he lays out his views on all sorts of stuff. I will further mention The Communist Mannifesto the worldview in this book is super obvious. And, I think that most people with the bare modicum of logical thinking and historical knowledge won't have a problem reading it, they won't be swayed by it. They are aware of the worldview, usually before they even go and read it.

Why do I spend this time talking about books in a post about games? It is because I find many similarities between books and games. I do find that games are often, not always, expressions of a small part of the designers worldview. I think that it is a much more limited medium, but, in great games, there is often some sort of authorial intent behind the game. Again, this is a more limited medium than books, but, it is interesting to think of the authorial biases going into the design. If nothing else, even in the simplest games, there is interesting ideas of what the designer thinks of fun.

 

Why do I spend this time on this preamble? It is to explain why I really cannot seperate the art from the artist. I honestly don't believe that there is such a thing as a neutral medium. Any medium in which one communicates to another, be it books, or speech, or visual arts, or films, or etc.... is inherently subject to the biases and views of the communicator. Even if they are just "writing books for the money" the books that they write do give interesting messages about what they believe the masses want. The same goes for movies, or pictures, or, ..... Games.

 

So, if I cannot, or at the least find it very difficult to, seperate the art from the artist, what is my responsiblity in choosing where to spend my time and money when it comes to games?

  • I agree with that being informed is important. I think it is ok to call out bad stuff. I think it is even important to call out bad stuff. But, far more people pass judgment without understanding, or desiring to understand the context.
  • I will, almost necessarily, at a minimum, engage with people I disagree with in any medium I consume. This includes games. Of course, some games, were designed by people who's actions or worldviews whose views are actually repellent. I will  not find, I doubt that you will, find a game, or any other medium, whose creator(s) line up with your worldview.
  • G.K. Chesterton reminded us that "Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere." I do think that it is ok to draw lines and say that "everything on that side of the line, is something I won't touch." I don't think it is a problem to see cultural appropriation in Tascini's game, for example, and decide that you won't devote time or money to them. I, for example, have decided not to play games by Harry Wu A.K.A. John Bohrer because of the generally despicably way he has treated everybody in the game design industry who has worked with him. It is almost as if he really does see himself as adopting the worldview portrayed in one of his 18xx games.
  • Actively reject the bad. For instance, if you are playing a game by Eklund and you see racism, or you see praises for colonialism, reject it. Reject it personally, if you are playing with someone, point out the problem and dialog with it.
  • I think it disengenious to have huge problems with games that glorify colonial conquest, for example. But, then love a good fantastical or sci-fi 4x game. I recognize that there are some differences, in that in the colonial conquest one, real people were, and continue to be affected. That being said. Both games are representing and fostering the same worldview. I believe that you have a equal responsibilty to call out the problematic issues with the scifi game as with the historical game.

 

Do I think there is space for morally repungant games in my collection. I think, for me, yes. I cannot answer that question for you. I remember the first time that I toured the holocaust museum in Washington D.C. My overwhelming feeling was that real people, ordinary people, were the perpetrators of this atrocity. Ordinary people, conservative Christians, looked the other way during Hitler's rise to power, and they even enabled him, because he did institute effective economic reform. I was privilaged to speak with a survivor or Auschwitze one time. The stories he told were made even more chilling when I remembered that the horrors he saw and experienced were perpetrated by humans who were "merely doing their job." I do believe that this lesson is important. I don't think we are in some sort of special place in human history. I don't think that we are really at a higher plane than our slave owning ancestors, or our ancestors that enjoyed public executions, or our ancestors who viewed torture as the most expedient ways of arriving at the truth. I believe that when we lose sight of this fact. When we lose sight that we, as humans, are prone to ignore the suffering we are inflicting on others in the pursuit of our own good. For me, if I play a game that I violently disagree with, it does do a valuable service reminding me, that real humans perpetrated the problems I have with the games. We are often reminded that the slave trade was trade in humans. This is a lesson we dare not forget. But, neither dare we forget that this trade in humans was, in fact, perpetrated by humans. And, that, even people who rejected the slave trade, supported it by their tastes for commodities produced by slave trade. So, to the extant that games require me to examine my position, jostle my mind and remind me of a blind spot that I might have, than these games with problematic games can serve as a valuable part of my collection.

That being said, I would hesitate to play a game with problematic issues with, slavery for example, with someone whose life has personally been negatively affected by slavery or the after effects. I however would play it with someone who might be turning a blind eye to the after affects, and engage with them about it afterwards, to try to get them to see if they have some sort of complicity.

Definitely excited about Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition. Space sci-fi is one of my favorite themes and I like what the devs have made so far (including their recent one whose name escapes me atm) so I have high hopes for AE!

In general, I prefer meeples since they're more satisfying to hold. I'm not a painter either so a lot of minis won't look great.

But for games like #Star Wars: Rebellion or any other theme heavy games, minis make more sense and they add to the experience. Your post does make me wonder though if I'd prefer going the meeple route if it's significantly cheaper or well designed. For example, I remember seeing an arctic(?) sci-fi themed Kickstarter last year (or late 2019) where they offered screen printed meeples as an alternative, and those looked perfect!

Edit: Found it! Looked up "meeple" on our search bar. It was this post by where he asked a similar question. That Kickstarter I was referring to was D.E.I.: https://www.boardgameatlas.com/forum/7G9lCT1mCG/another-meeple-or-mini-options

I do wonder how feasible those meeple designs are though. That's quite a lot of tough detail they're asking for, especially with those drones

 

1. Really interested in Glory to Rome but I wouldn't pay $250 for a game that I've never played. Don't think my budget would allow me to spend $250 on any grail game

2. Played much fewer boardgames than normal because of COVID but I enjoyed #Rurik: Dawn of Kiev the most. Still really enjoy the auction programming mechanism and the player interaction as players try and outbid and outwit each other

3. #Bus probably surprised me the most. For a game that first came out in 1999 it's still very enjoyable and stands the test of time

4. My top 5 games would be #Terraforming Mars, #Troyes, #Orléans, #Concordia and #Yokohama  Being a Sci-Fi buff I just like the world and engine building of Terraforming Mars. All the others have a surprising amount of complexity for a reasonably simple ruleset i.e. you get a lot of game for the few rules there are

1. My interest is betwen medium and high. Personally, I'm super interested but from what I've read, people appreciate better with more plays. What that means for me is that it's probably not something I'd feasibly get around to until the holidays. Not even totally sure I'll have time for more than one play of this, sadly. At least not anytime soon.

2. How small is "small"? Maybe 1 expensive game for myself if I can figure out what to pick! And small-ish games for the rest for sure. My immediate family members are casual players for sure. 

3. Probably #Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game. I have never seen this show, and I don't know any of these characters. If they are banking on nostalgia, it's going to get nowhere with me. While I don't mind the sci-fi theme at all, I can't say it's something I gravitate towards to either. If I did win, I'd definitely still try it! If a game is good and fun, then it really doesn't matter what the theme is, so long as the mechanics are solid.