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Around Thanksgiving time I like to reflect on various things in my life, I still do it even though we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in El Salvador. One thing that becomes abundantly clear to me every time is that boardgaming is a luxury hobby. There is an article that I think I have shared here before, but I am going to share it again. I highly recomend that y'all read this article. It is a breakdown of some of the luxury aspects of our hobby by a boardgamer who was living in the U.K. at the time. He breaks down the luxury aspects of this hobby into several aspects.
There is the aspect of cost. He concludes that it isn't as big a deal as many think that it is. If you compare the cost per person-hour of enjoyment, than it actually pencils out pretty favourably compared to eating out, or going to movies, etc.... I do agree with him for the majority of people in the the US or many parts of Europe. But, I do acknowledge that for many people the cost is still prohibitive. If I am a young teen and don't have a job.... than games are expensive. If I am the average person in El Salvador, not only is there no option for good games, but there isn't the money for them.
He also talks about space. This I appreciate in a way that I didn't earlier. My house in Kansas is 2400 square feet. My house in El Salvador is 950 square feet. And, boardgames take up a lot of room. It doesn't take that many before they can start spilling out. I am blessed in that I have a spare bedroom here that I can have a table set up most of the time. But, there is not question that storage is a issue. I don't keep all my games here, partly because of the nuisance of transporting them, but mostly because there just isn't as much space here as I would like. There isn't just the question of storing the games, but of playing the games. Do you have space for a table? or do you have to play on a coffee table? do you have space for friends? or not? I also want to recognize that I am not complaining about having only 950 sqf. I know that that might seem pretty ample compared to where some of the rest of you might live. And, it certainly is a much bigger than many of my neighbors have. I am profoundly grateful for what I have.
The luxury of time. This is pretty self explanatory. Do you even have the time you need to play games? This of course will vary hugely depending on season of life, job, etc.....
Social capital. Do you have people you can play wiith. Some of us don't. This is why I am mostly a social gamer. For many gamers, if they live in a rural area, or in a country where there isn't a big community of gamers, finding people you can play with might be impossible.
These are the four aspects that Mr. Herron talks about. I think that they are very good points. I do believe that we are part of a luxury hobby. I don't say this to make you, or I, feel guilty or anything like that. But, this realization does do several things for me. When I remember that boardgaming is a luxury hobby it helps me:
- Feel more content with the blessing of having the collection I have.
- It helps me feel more grateful for the space I have to game in.
- It helps me feel more grateful for the amount of solo games out there.
- It brings a attitude of contentement to the hobby rather than a attitude of envy.
So, what are your thoughts? Do you think that boardgaming is a luxury hobby? Which aspect of the luxury is the aspect that makes it a luxury for you? Do you think that there are aspects that Mr. Herron missed in his article?
Also, I did give a brief outline of the article. I highly highly recomend that you read it. He is so much more eloquent than I am, and has some very helpful perspectives and thoughts on this subject.
Curious what, if any, game related shopping that you have in mind for today.
I, personally will probably not be doing any black friday shopping. I will probably check out GameNerdz once or twice to see if they have anything I need to do anything I need to buy.
Lists...I like lists and I think many of you do too.
I thought I'd take a few minutes to follow a tradition I see on other sites where top 100 lists are compared.
I did a straight copy paste from the sites and did some excel work to get them in a reasonable format. I'm NOT an expert on data analysis so I won't be doing some fancy analysis to tell you interesting data points. I'm sure there is someone else more capable (and motivated) than me to do that.
If this is something you enjoy, let me know and I'll do it again. (I can't commit to a regular timeline right now however.)
I did do one piece of analysis which is shown below the list. What interesting things do you spot in the data?
First off, here is the list:
|Rank||Board Game Atlas||Board Game Geek||Reddit r/boardgames|
|1||Scythe||Gloomhaven (2017)||Gloomhaven (2017)|
|2||Gloomhaven||Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 (2015)||Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 (2015)|
|3||Root||Brass: Birmingham (2018)||Brass: Birmingham (2018)|
|4||Wingspan||Terraforming Mars (2016)||Spirit Island (2017)|
|5||Azul||Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition) (2017)||Concordia (2013)|
|6||Terraforming Mars||Through the Ages:
A New Story of Civilization (2015)
|Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition) (2017)|
|7||Viticulture: Essential Edition||Gaia Project (2017)||Food Chain Magnate (2015)|
|8||Spirit Island||Star Wars: Rebellion (2016)||War of the Ring: Second Edition (2012)|
|9||Pandemic||Twilight Struggle (2005)||Gaia Project (2017)|
|10||Codenames||Great Western Trail (2017)||Twilight Struggle (2005)|
|11||7 Wonders||War of the Ring: Second Edition (2012)||Great Western Trail (2016)|
|12||Carcassonne||Scythe (2016)||Through the Ages:
A New Story of Civilization (2015)
|13||7 Wonders Duel||Spirit Island (2017)||A Feast for Odin (2016)|
|14||Pandemic Legacy: Season 1||The Castles of Burgundy (2011)||The Castles of Burgundy (2011)|
|15||The Castles of Burgundy||Terra Mystica (2012)||Terra Mystica (2012)|
|16||Concordia||7 Wonders Duel (2015)||Terraforming Mars (2016)|
|17||Splendor||Concordia (2017)||Pax Pamir (Second Edition) (2019)|
|18||Ticket To Ride||Brass: Lancashire (2018)||Star Wars: Rebellion (2016)|
|19||Race for the Galaxy||Arkham Horror: The Card Game (2016)||Keyflower (2012)|
|20||Santorini||Wingspan (2019)||Brass: Lancashire (2007)|
|21||Patchwork||Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion (2020)||Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 (2017)|
|22||Catan||A Feast for Odin (2016)||Arkham Horror: The Card Game (2016)|
|23||Brass: Birmingham||Viticulture Essential Edition (2015)||7 Wonders Duel (2015)|
|24||Jaipur||Orléans (2014)||Scythe (2016)|
|25||Great Western Trail||Mage Knight Board Game (2011)||Kingdom Death: Monster (2015)|
|26||Love Letter||Puerto Rico (2002)||Root (2018)|
|27||King of Tokyo||The 7th Continent (2017)||Agricola (2007)|
|28||Kingdomino||Caverna: The Cave Farmers (2013)||Orl\u00e9ans (2014)|
|29||Star Realms||Nemesis (2018)||Viticulture Essential Edition (2015)|
|30||Everdell||Food Chain Magnate (2015)||Agricola (Revised Edition) (2016)|
|31||Lords of Waterdeep||Root (2018)||Crokinole (1876)|
|32||Welcome to...||Agricola (2007)||Mage Knight Board Game (2011)|
|33||Architects of the West Kingdom||Mansions of Madness: Second Edition (2016)||Caverna: The Cave Farmers (2013)|
|34||Clank! A Deck-Building Adventure||Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 (2017)||Race for the Galaxy (2007)|
|35||Blood Rage||Blood Rage (2015)||Android: Netrunner (2012)|
|36||Clans of Caledonia||Kingdom Death: Monster (2015)||Mechs vs. Minions (2016)|
|37||The Quacks of Quedlinburg||Everdell (2018)||Clans of Caledonia (2017)|
|38||Small World||Power Grid (2012)||Eclipse (2011)|
|39||Puerto Rico||Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar (2012)||Azul (2017)|
|40||Forbidden Island||Mechs vs. Minions (2017)||Fields of Arle (2014)|
|41||Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game||Star Wars: Imperial Assault (2014)||Le Havre (2008)|
|42||Arkham Horror: The Card Game||Clans of Caledonia (2017)||Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar (2012)|
|43||Five Tribes||Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization (2006)||Power Grid (2004)|
|44||Dominion: Second Edition||Le Havre (2008)||Lisboa (2017)|
|45||Sagrada||Eclipse (2011)||Roll for the Galaxy (2014)|
|46||Roll For The Galaxy||Azul (2017)||Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated (2019)|
|47||Orléans||Maracaibo (2019)||Dominant Species (2010)|
|48||Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar||Anachrony (2017)||The Gallerist (2015)|
|49||Coup||The Voyages of Marco Polo (2015)||Codenames (2015)|
|50||Ticket to Ride: Europe||Underwater Cities (2018)||Indonesia (2005)|
|51||Sushi Go!||Robinson Crusoe:
Adventures on the Cursed Island (2016)
|Blood Rage (2015)|
|52||Lost Cities||Android: Netrunner (2012)||Inis (2016)|
|53||Raiders of the North Sea||Too Many Bones (2017)||Patchwork (2014)|
|54||Power Grid||Marvel Champions: The Card Game (2019)||1830: Railways & Robber Barons (1986)|
|55||Sushi Go Party!||Race for the Galaxy (2007)||The Voyages of Marco Polo (2015)|
|56||Agricola (Revised Edition)||The Gallerist (2015)||Star Wars: Imperial Assault (2014)|
|57||Dixit||7 Wonders (2010)||Age of Steam (2002)|
|58||Star Wars: Rebellion||The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine (2019)||Wingspan (2019)|
Adventures on the Cursed Island
|Fields of Arle (2014)||The Great Zimbabwe (2012)|
|60||Cosmic Encounter||Teotihuacan: City of Gods (2018)||Vinhos Deluxe Edition (2016)|
|61||A Feast For Odin||Dominant Species (2010)||Troyes (2010)|
|62||Hanabi||Five Tribes (2014)||Pandemic: Iberia (2016)|
|63||Terra Mystica||Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure (2016)||Kemet (2012)|
|64||Takenoko||Keyflower (2012)||Puerto Rico (with two expansions) (2011)|
|65||The Resistance||Lords of Waterdeep (2012)||Tigris & Euphrates (1997)|
|66||Star Wars Imperial Assault||Caylus (2005)||Glory to Rome (2005)|
|67||Twilight Struggle||Crokinole (1876)||El Grande (1995)|
|68||Stone Age||Lisboa (2017)||Aeon's End: War Eternal (2017)|
|69||Mysterium||Agricola (Revised Edition) (2016)||Yokohama (2016)|
|70||Sheriff of Nottingham||Aeon's End (2016)||The 7th Continent (2017)|
|71||Forbidden Desert||El Grande (1995)||Decrypto (2018)|
|72||Keyflower||Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) (2005)||Five Tribes (2014)|
|73||Mansions of Madness: Second Edition||The Quacks of Quedlinburg (2018)||Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) (2005)|
|74||Inis||Eldritch Horror (2013)||Galaxy Trucker: Anniversary Edition (2012)|
|75||Betrayal at House on the Hill||On Mars (2020)||Hansa Teutonica (2009)|
|76||Mage Knight||Rising Sun (2018)||Sidereal Confluence:
Trading and Negotiation in the Elysian Quadrant (2017)
|77||Caverna: The Cave Farmers||Architects of the West Kingdom (2018)||Ticket to Ride: 10th Anniversary (2014)|
|78||Gaia Project||Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game (2008)||Forbidden Stars (2015)|
|79||Suburbia||Dominion: Intrigue (2009)||Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective:
The Thames Murders & Other Cases (1981)
|80||Champions of Midgard||Mombasa (2015)||Aeon's End (2016)|
|81||Istanbul||Troyes (2010)||Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game (2008)|
|82||The Mind||Patchwork (2014)||The Resistance: Avalon (2012)|
|83||Deception: Murder in Hong Kong||Paladins of the West Kingdom (2019)||Cosmic Encounter (2008)|
|84||Onitama||Barrage (2019)||Dominion: Intrigue (2009)|
|85||Century: Spice Road||Russian Railroads (2013)||Robinson Crusoe:
Adventures on the Cursed Island (2012)
|86||Hive||Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon (2019)||Mansions of Madness: Second Edition (2016)|
|87||The Resistance: Avalon||Clank! Legacy:
Acquisitions Incorporated (2019)
|Underwater Cities (2018)|
|88||Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King||Codenames (2015)||7 Wonders (2010)|
|89||Arboretum||Raiders of the North Sea (2015)||Tichu (1991)|
|90||Skull||Tigris & Euphrates (1997)||Teotihuacan: City of Gods (2018)|
|91||Food Chain Magnate||Roll for the Galaxy (2014)||Istanbul (2014)|
|92||Captain Sonar||Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective:
The Thames Murders & Other Cases (1982)
|Grand Austria Hotel (2015)|
|93||Galaxy Trucker||Trajan (2011)||Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan (2011)|
|94||For Sale||Dominion (2008)||Maracaibo (2019)|
|95||Magic: The Gathering||The Lord of the Rings:
Journeys in Middle-earth (2019)
|BattleCON: Devastation of Indines (2013)|
|96||One Night Ultimate Werewolf||Grand Austria Hotel (2015)||Mombasa (2015)|
|97||Castles of Mad King Ludwig||Pandemic (2008)||Millennium Blades (2016)|
|98||Bohnanza||Pandemic: Iberia (2016)||Marvel Champions: The Card Game (2019)|
|99||The 7th Continent||Lorenzo il Magnifico (2016)||Hive Pocket (2010)|
|100||Through the Ages:
A New Story of Civilization
|Kemet (2015)||Ora et Labora (2011)|
I did a quick run through the list and I found 41 games in all three lists. So there's a good chance these are all keepers. :)
|7 Wonders Duel||2015|
|A Feast for Odin||2016|
|Agricola (Revised Edition)||2016|
|Arkham Horror: The Card Game||2016|
|Caverna: The Cave Farmers||2013|
|Food Chain Magnate||2015|
|Great Western Trail||2017|
|Mage Knight Board Game||2011|
|Mansions of Madness: Second Edition||2016|
|Pandemic Legacy: Season 1||2015|
|Race for the Galaxy||2007|
|Robinson Crusoe: dventures on the Cursed Island||2016|
|Roll for the Galaxy||2014|
|Star Wars: Imperial Assault||2014|
|Star Wars: Rebellion||2016|
|The 7th Continent||2017|
|The Castles of Burgundy||2011|
|Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization||2015|
|Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar||2012|
|Viticulture Essential Edition||2015|
Edit: I should have probably recorded the time I gathered this data because the list changed quite a bit all of a sudden since this morning.
Is this because we are talking about certain games which bumps up their trending or are people voting up their favourites? I have no idea.
I did a post like this some months ago, but there have been a lot of new users I have been seeing since then. So, I am just dropping this post to give you the chance to introduce yourself in the comments. You can include as much or as little information as you wish.
I'll drop mine in the comments.
Curious what criteria y'all use for focus on games.
For me one of the most important things that I look for is a solo mode. It doesn't have to have it out of the box, but it least has to have a good fan made solo variant that I can make/run fairly easily. I am a sucker for real world themes, historical, scientific, etc...... And, I really like to try to try everything. I don't want just a collection of Euro games, or...... I want a little bit of most facets of gaming.
I do really try to read/watch/listen to reviews. But, I also try to keep a fairly open mind about a game, and try not to judge it too much before I actually commit to buying it.
So, what criteria do y'all use to look for games?
As the gaming world is well aware, #frosthaven just finished a massively successful campaign on Kickstarter. But, to get a base copy of that game you had to pay $100 before shipping. There is also the campaign, currently running, for #Ankh: Gods of Egypt, the pledge for the base game is also right at $100. There is, of course, a glut of big, beautiful, bold games that are on Kickstarter or in the retail space. But, most of these few price tags to match.
On the other side of the market are small box games that are often $25 or less. These can be very wonderful, but with a few exceptions, you here a lot less about them. But you can find and pick up real gems in that price range.
Then if course there are some big box games with a pretty "reasonable" price point. By reasonable I mean 30-50 usd. There are a lot of really really good games in this price range.
I guess I am wondering how much would you be willing on spending on a game. I'm keeping this apart from expansions etc.... Just the base range. Is there a price limit at which you will not even consider a grand? If so, what is your price limit? Are people feeling priced out of the hobby when they see these big beautiful games they can't justify.
I think my limit is $100. I haven't broken $100 on a single base game, but I could see myself doing so at some point. What do you think when you see the price for a game?
I'm drop a poll where you can share max price you would consider spending in a perfect circumstance.
So, yesterday I asked y'all to introduce yourselves. Today, I am asking you, what is your favorite game and why?
It has been a while since we have done this. I think @BenjaminK was the one who started this whole deal here on BGA.
Basically list and rank the last five games you played. This is not a ranking of your top 5 games of all time, just the last five games you played. You can give as much or as little explanation as you wish. For me, the last 5 games I have played, ranked in order from best to worst are:
- #Navajo Wars
- #Pax Porfiriana
- #Pax Pamir (Second Edition)
- #1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties
Keep in mind that these are games that are ranked against each other. These are all truly great games. I am not saying root is a bad game by putting it last on the list.
GMT Games, in their last update, announced measures to help those that have suffered because of the COVID-19 situation. I tremendously admire them for taking this step. And, while I can't benefit from it, I do know that my next game purchase(s) will probably be from GMT games to show my support for this initiative.
I encourage you, if you haven't been affected by this Coronavirus, to maybe buy a game or two from GMT. If you have lost your job, than take advantage of this offer.
Here is the fine print from their newsletter.
Doing a Bit to Care for our Customers, Too: The Return of the Tough Economy Special
We know that this virus, in addition to the threat it poses to our collective health, has had a negative economic impact on many of our customers, as well. As with so many social or economic problems, it's not within our power to provide big fixes—to restore lost jobs, retirement funds, or lost earning power. But we've decided, as we did numerous times in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown, that we can show support for those of you who have lost jobs by giving you a free game or two. I know it's not much in the greater scheme of things, but we want you to know that we are thinking of you and that your welfare—including the ability to destress and decompress from the pressures of the world by playing games—is important to us. Here are the details:
Eligibility: If you have lost your job due to shutdown-related layoffs or closings since March 15, 2020, you are eligible to get one (non-US customers) or two (US customers) free games from us, from games that are in stock now. We'd love to give an extra game to international customers as well, but the spiking shipping rates overseas limit our ability to do so.
Process. If you'd like to take advantage of this offer, please drop an email to Tony Curtis, our LLC Manager, at email@example.com. Please include proof or explanation of your job loss and your choice of which in-stock game(s) you'd like us to send. Tony will work with our office folks to take care of getting your game(s) shipped out to you.
So, I thought it might be time to spread some guilt.... What, if any, games have you bought from interacting with others on these forums. I am not talking about GAW wins. I am not talking about games that were merely acquired while you were a member of BGA. I am talking about games that you acquired because of interactions you had on this forum. You can have bought them, traded for them, asked for them for Christmas..... Also, it would be interesting if you would give a brief rundown of why you got the games, who is to blame?
I'll post mine in the comments below.
Some months ago, it might be a year or more by now, I asked y'all how many games you idealize in your collection. I have been thinking more about this, and all at once I realized that I think I approach my collection differently than some people.
I think some people "just collect." They accumulate games and that is a avenue through which they find joy. I think that the Dice Tower's Jason Levine is the beu ideal for this sort of collector. BTW, if you haven't yet watched the tour of Jason's collection you should check it out here. For these people, owning these phyical objects brings a certain amount of joy. And, honestly, I feel this. Before I had to put most of my books into storage I loved just gazing at my multiple bookcases full of books. It made me feel good. And, while I don't have *that* many games, I love looking at what I have.
Others curate a collection. These are people who function more as the curator of a art gallery or museum. They have some sort of goal in mind. They acquire games, and sometimes a *lot* of games. But, they are, generally speaking, striving for some sort of goal. They might want a collection that is representative of something: genres, player types, play lengths, publishers.... They may try to have a complete collection of a certain publisher and/or designer. These collections, while not necessarily readily apparent, generally have a sort of goal.
I identify some with both of these, but, mostly I see myself as a curator.
I am striving to build a collection that is representatives of different "types" of games. I don't need to have every type of game around. But, I do have "holes" in my collection that I want to fill. I have games I should probably get rid of. There are games that I really honestly want, but, I don't want to get them because it will repeat something that I already have in my collection. That being said, I am partly "just a collector." I have no real desire for #Pax Transhumanity, but it is the Pax game that I don't already have or have coming my way..... SO, I am tempted to buy it, just so that I have them all, in one form or other. There are some games I would like to have, just to have them. Of course, I want to play them too, but just having it would be a great pleasure, #1817 is one such game. It is super expensive, not soloable, and I would be lucky to play it once, but I really want it.
So, are you a collector, a curator, or a hybrid? If you are a curator, what is your goal? How jelous are you of Jason Levin's collection?
P.S. You should also check out Jeroen Doumen's collection on BGG. You can see that here.
I don't get to play board games with my gaming group as often as I like to... (god damn pandemic). So I started to read up on games that i find interesting and later also buying said games. The Dilemma is that I've now have 14 games (and more are on the way) that i want to play as soon as possible.
- Am I the only one that is surrounded by unplayed board games waiting to be played?
All this discussion about how we would restart our collection with $200 got me started thinking about the games that I actually started my collection with. I decided I would list the games I bought in the first 3-6 months of being a active gamer, and give my current impressions of them.
The first hobby game I ever bought was #The Castles of Burgundy. Now, I was not new to gaming at that time. I had played a number of hobby games in an incidental sort of way in the preceeding years. These included games that are quite a bit heavier, games like #Puerto Rico, #Power Grid, and #Fief: France 1429. So, really, COB wasn't really a big step for me in terms of complexity etc... However, for some reason, I bounced off of it, hard. I played it a number of times, I played it at every player count, the people I taught it to liked it. But, I never really did find the fun in it. I finally traded it away to @nealkfrank.
I can see the good in this game, but I never found the fun in it. I ranked it a 4 out of 10. On paper I should like it, but I really didn't. I would however be willing to try it again sometime and see if it is better than I remember.
My second hobby game I literally got 1 or 2 days after I acquired COB. This was #Dominion: Second Edition. And, it was actually a birthday present from my wife. I had actually played Dominion back in 2008 when it first came out, but, it hadn't impressed me that much. However, my wife and I started playing it, and we loved it. We could hammer out two player game in about 15 minutes, and for the first 6-12 months after I got it, we played 1-6 games of Dominion 4-7 nights a week.
Dominion is a great game. I still play it. My wife loves it. I have messed around with several of the expansions. But, I actually prefer the core box. I think that most of the expansions introduce just a little bit too much complexity. If I am playing with an expansion, usually I would prefer to just be playing something else. 10/10.
The next games I bought in one order from Amazon.com. It was a bought with a gift certificate I had gotten for a Christmas present.
The first of these games I will mention is #Race for the Galaxy. There was a little bit of a learning curve for this game. Strangely enough, I didn't think that the symbology was a problem. I thought it was clear and easy to read. Rather, the concept of a tableau builder was a bit of a strange concept for me. But, I grew to love it.
This is a game I still play a fair amount. Today I mostly play the excellent Keldon ai. This is an easy 10/10 for me.
The next game is #Carcassonne. I bought this mostly to engage non gamers (my inlaws) in the hobby. It has been hugely succesful in that role. I explain it as if it is more complex version of dominoes, and alll my inlaws have since bought carcassone and have it in their homes.
While I bought this mostly for others, I myself still quite enjoy it. I love how it can almost be a cooperative experience, but, it can also be a knife fight in a phone booth... It all depends on your mood. 8/10
The last of the group of games I bought from Amazon was #Forbidden Island. It was my first cooperative board game. And, again, I bought it mostly to engage non gaming family. It has mostly been a success in that role.
I really don't enjoy it too much as a group activity. But, I don't really enjoy cooperative games as group activities anyways. I do actually prefer it to #Pandemic, but that is probably a unpopular opinion. I do sometimes play it solo, it is a fun quick solo challange. I also play it with my almost 4 year old son. I let him control a character..... Let us just say, it makes winning much much more difficult. 6\10
Over all I am happy with the group of games with which I started my collection. If I could have, I would have swapped out COB for something else, but, even that taught me some very valuable lessons. All of the other games are still in my collection, and I can't really see them leaving. What started your collection? Do you still play the games with which you started? Do you still enjoy them?
I have been thinking a lot about art in boardgames the last while.
I feel like when I started the hobby, art was very important to me. I wanted luscious art. I wanted animeeples or minis. I wanted the art to grab me and pull me into another world. I wanted games like #Scythe or #Inis or #Rising Sun. I remember when I got #Agricola I found the illustrations with people to be a little strange. But all the other illustrations, and the animeeples/vegimeeples were things that I loved. There was a time in my life when I turned up my nose at #Puerto Rico, not because of the theme or the gameplay, but because I thought it was ugly.
Recently I listened to a podcast episode on The Train Rush where they talked about aesthetics and percieved lack thereof present in 18xx games. They were very much of the opinion that the stark, some might say ugly, "art" presentation is what made the 18xx games readable. I feel like they might have overstated their case, but, I don't have enough experience to know for sure. But, that got me started thinking about how I think about art in boardgames today. Following that, I played two games that at one time I would have considered ugly. These games were #1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties and #Pax Porfiriana. Around the same time I played three games that I would have considered beautiful, #Navajo Wars, #Pax Pamir (Second Edition), and #Root. In playing these games I noticed that I didn't notice the art *as much as I used to. In Navajo Wars, PP2E and Root, I noticed the art and enjoyed it. In 1862 I was grateful for the clarity that the stark style provided, and I never once thought about the "lack" of art.
Couple that with the fact that I keep on lusting after games that I used to decry as being aggresively ugly, I speak of games like #The Great Zimbabwe, #Antiquity or #Roads & Boats. These things make me feel like my focus on art has shifted.
I still like a beautiful game, but, I think that that the type of game that it professes to be changes what I expect, or even want, from the art direction.
If I am playing a Euro game I tend to value clarity over art. I am happy to push cubes on a grid. I idealize good quality components: card, cardboard, etc... But, I really don't care about the art the way I used to for these.
If I am playing a game with not theme, once again I value clarity. I love #Innovation. Last year it made my top ten of all time. But, it is, quite frankly, ugly. I have seen and played with the delux edition which actually looks nicer, but I feel to be less playable because of the the distraction that the "art" provides.
If I am playing a historical or thematic game, I still really want art that transports me to that time and/or place. For instance, the art direction in #Pax Porfiriana is busy, and mixed. But, it does very much take me to Northern Mexico at the turn of the century. Of course, #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) I also find very transportive, and it is unquestionably a better and more unified art direction. However, I don't feel any more transported by it than I do by Porf. So, I am actually not sure that I have a clear favorite among those two when it comes to art. They both provide what I am looking for in the art of a historical games.
In financial games I once again want clarity over beauty. #Power Grid, #Acquire, and #1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties are all, at best, plain. But, they do clearly present the information that you need to have. That is what make these games playable, and I worry that to much beautification could mess up the clarity. That being said, I think Power Grid could at least be made to not look ugly....LOL
So, to sum up. I still am interested in art. But, I think I have learned that sometimes art gets in the way of playing the game. I feel like I also have learned that, for me, art is almost not a consideration for me. It is a pleasant surprise when I get good art. Of course, when I am buying games to play with other people, or to try and draw more people into the hobby.... I would probably value art a little higher.
So, where are you? Is good or pretty art a prerequisite before you buy a game? Have your desires in relation to art changed one way or the other in your time gaming? Have you ever played a game so ugly that you would never play it again? Or have you played a game where the art made it harder to play the game? @theDL and @philryuh I want you to tell me how wrong I am. LOL
This is pretty self explanatory. Chime in with your favorite player colour. I could only put four options in the poll, so, I know I left many many player colours out. You can add those in the comments.
My favorite player colour is red. It is certainly not my favorite colour. But, it is my favorite player colour.
Grail games, I expect we all have at least one. I while back the question was asked here on this site, what games would you get if price, player count, time..... were no object? My question today is a little bit different. Today I ask, what is your grail game?
Maybe you don't feel the same way that I do, but there are a bunch of games I want, and can afford, but I will not buy them because I don't have the player count for them. Or maybe I don't have the room for them in the case of the recent #Frosthaven campaign. Some of these games I really want, but it is they are not unobtainable, they are just out of my reach in terms of player count or space. If I wanted to I could buy them, and have them. For me a grail game is a game that you want, and one you would play in your current situation. But, for whatever reason, price, OOP, not available in your language, not available where you are..... you can't get it.
Yesterday I expressed a unpopular opinion about apps in games. @Skurvy5 asked me if I held any other unpopular opinions. I game a list. He further directed me to think about starting a new thread so that my opinions can be more easily refuted. So, @Skurvy5, here's your thread.
All of you, feel free to disagree with what I say, and feel free to comment what you unpopular opinions are.
Also, please remember, these are opinions. These are not truths that were handed down to me from God himself. I won't dislike you because you hold a different opinion. I might even like games that go against my opinion.....
I have been thinking about box sizes lately. And, I have been thinking about it even more after So Very Wrong About Games had a podcast episode yesterday where they briefly discussed box size.
I think my position has changed somewhat over the past months/years.
I think I started very much prefering the "standard" "ticket to ride sized box." This is the size box that, famously, Ticket to Ride came in. It is the size that FFG calls a "medium square." It is a square that is approximately 11.5"x11.5". For a long time I wanted all boxes to be that size, and wished that the manufacturor would just make it as deep as it needed to be. #Gloomhaven??? Yep, just make it 11.5x11.5 than make it 8 or 10 or 11 inches deep. #Twilight Imperium 4th Edition? If you wanted a box with the same amount of cubic inches, you would just need a 11.5x11.5 8 inches thick. This is the position I used to have.
But, then something happened, I moved to Central America. I don't know how long I will be here. But, I quickly discovered that the "average" game box is a real monster. If I want to ship a game down here, it will usually be $40-$100 depending on game size, insurance, packaging, weight, and a number of other things. So, I have taken to shipping my games to my US address, generally for free, and and then picking them up whenever I go home for vacation or a whatever. I have also had friends and family bring my games to me. These experiences changed me. Do you know how much room a standard sized game box takes up in a suitcase?? It is astonishing. And, if there other special things you want to bring down from the states, room can quickly become tight. So, I quickly changed my tune. I wanted games that filled their boxes. I don't really care as much how big the box is, just that it is well used. I didn't want airspace, I didn't want the boxes to be a bit bigger than they needed to be. Honestly, this is one of things that got me started looking at Sierra Madre games. I mean, just look at #Pax Emancipation. It comes in a box that 5x5x2 and has a big, meaty, heavy game in it??? sign me up.
Now we come to where I am now. I want 3 or so standardized box sizes.
- I want the big, component heavy games to come in TTR sized box that is as deep as it needs to be, in my mind, the only reason to go bigger than this is if it can't physically fit into a 11.5" cube.
- I want the majority of games to come in a GMT sized game box. This is about 12"x9". #Agricola (Revised Edition) comes in a box that is just about a quarter inch or so taller than a GMT box, I don't know if that is a better reference. Again, like the first category, and, further being picky.... If this box needs to be more than 3-4 inches deep step it up to the TTR sized box.
- If you want a smaller box, go to a 7"x7" or a 7"x5". This can be good for roll and writes, smaller games, etc.....
- Artwork: You could probably fit #Scythe in a 11.5x11.5x5 inch box. But, you would need to reformat the art that was designed for a rectangular box. The same is true of #Twilight Imperium 4th Edition and many other games that were designed for rectangular boxes. I am convinced that they could be every bit as beautiful and arresting, but it wouldn't be the exact same art.
- Expansions: I don't buy many expansions. Some people, @Skurvy5, buy all the expansions. I, generally speaking, don't need room in the base box for expansions. Some people will want room in the base box for expansions. Actually, I would like an option to spend a bit more for an expansion, and have it come in a box big enough for it + the base game etc...
- Materials: Cardboard is a suitable material for game boxes, metal is not.
- Storage. I tend to store my games vertically whenever possible. That is one reason I love the GMT sized game boxes. They feel "smaller" than the "normal" box. But, they have a better presence on the shelf because they are a bit taller. The other thing is that I don't have any fancy storage solutions. My games get to live on bookcases, and for some of my bookcases a 11.5" square is sticks out a bit.
- I am ok with some, a few, outliers. I am fine with Button Shy continuing to offer wallet sized games. I am fine with comprehensive storage solutions. For instance, Chip Theory Games have their "Trove Chest" coming out right now. This is a big box, specifically designed to fit into a kallax cube, and it is designed to hold all of the current #Too Many Bones content plus future expansion content. This is bigger than my ideal, but you can choose to buy it or not buy it. I am not forced into it.
So, obviously, this subject may not be that important...LOL. But, these are things that that are sorta pet peeves of mine. I wish we could go to standardized box sizes. But, I don't think it will ever happen. Also, just to be clear, box size is a factor not THE FACTOR in buying a game. I will probably buy #Cloudspire with my latest GAW win. This is a box that is bigger than my ideal, it comes in at 13.4x11.4x5.8. That is a chunky boy, and considerably bigger than my ideal. But, I am interested enough in the game, to not worry as much about the box size.
So,what do you think? Am I to picky? Do you have preferences for box sizes? If you do, do they line up with mine or are they different? I know that in many ways box size is sorta unimportant, but, it is a factor in our hobby. And, quite frankly, the average dwelling size of dwellings in the USA is much larger than most other countries. I think that oversized boxes are, and will become, a bigger problem in some European and/or Asian countries, or in small apartments in the USA.
I have been thinking about the role of games in my life. And, the reason(s) that I am gaming.
I love the act of play. I love playing the games. But, I did start out as a fairly social gamer. My gaming was defined, in many ways, by my relations. I played, yes because I loved the games, but more because I loved my friends.
However, when I moved to El Salvador my friends didn't move with me. I still liked the act of playing games, so turned, slowly, into a solo player. This has been a revealing and transformative process. I still enjoy the social aspect of gaming, when I have the social aspect of gaming. But, now the game itself is the focal point.
That is not too say that the social aspect of gaming has become less important. Far be that from me. It feels more like, for me, the social aspect of gaming and the playing of games have become somewhat seperated. Now, when I am playing the game, my primary focus is the game. But, when I am not playing games, I am still interacting with a community about playing games.
I may not have a game group, but I do have friends and I do interact with them in other ways. I may be a solo gamer, but I do have a outlet, mostly here on BGA, to socialize in my hobby.
So, why am I a Gamer? I am a gamer because I love the games, I love playing them, I love the mental burn, I love the transportive nature of a good game. I am a gamer because I love my community, I love interacting with people who love the same things I do. And, for me, those two reasons are entertwined but not mixed.
I asked this question here, I think it was a year ago or so. But, I was thinking about this more after my questions about art from a few days ago.
How important is component quality. I have games from Hollandspiele high on my wishlist. Quite frankly, a big reason I haven't gotten any yet is that many of the ones I want sport paper maps. I have a hard time getting excited about a paper map, I know paper maps are common among wargamers, but I am not a wargamer.
Alternatively, I think of those games that have superlative component quality. For years #Scythe was my favorite game. And, Scythe was a blowout hit. It continues to be a evergreen title for Stonemair Games. But, how much of my pleasure came from the tactility pleasure that the game offers? I don't know. The same question could be asked of #Wingspan. How much of its popularity is due to it's gameplay, and how much to it's stunning components?
As far as I can tell, component quality is a very important thing for marketing. And, truthfully, all else being equal, better components can elevate a playing experience. However, I have heard about a number of potential issues with more premium components when not designed with enough care. Some examples include:
- I have heard that the Ever Tree in #Everdell can be a big problem in multiplayer games, it can block view of the cards in the meadow for some players.
- The redesigned water beads in #High Frontier 4 All were designed to look more like water. But, now they roll more and you can't stack them.
- The waterproof cards in chip theory games are supposedly slippier and stacks are more prone to fall.
- The beautiful painted buildings in #Tapestry can make it harder to read the city boards.
To be clear, I don't have personal experience with these games, yet. But, these are complaints I have heard a number of times. And I have wondered if gameplay is helped more or hurt more by the buildings in Tapestry, maybe it would have been better to make them polyominoes. Maybe the Sierra Madre/Ion Game Design should have kept their flat water discs instead of going to beads for HF4E.
I do think that some people buy games for components. I don't have a problem with that, you do you. But, do you agree that there is a general focus on better components than there was 5 or 10 years ago? If so, do you believe that this focus is generally helpful or unhelpful? Do you think that developers/designers are working too hard at selling components at the expense of gameplay?
I think I have been on a bit of a journey as a board gamer. I am less and less interested in how good the components are. And, more and more interested in the gameplay. I am beginning to love cardboard chits, they can carry so much more information than a mini. At the same time, I am happy to pay more for the components that elevate gameplay, i.e. I bought metal coins for #Pax Pamir (Second Edition). But, I am also more impatient with deluxification when it actually obfuscates in some way the gameplay.
Where are you at? How highly do you highly component quality? Is there any game that component quality will make so that you will not buy a game? Would I have liked #The Castles of Burgundy if it had been made by Stonemair or FFG?
So, late last night I returned to El Salvador. I had been on a long deferred trip to the USA, and, a certain number of games had accumulated at my USA address in my absence. Due the the luggage limitations of modern airline travel, the amount of other stuff we needed to bring back, and the size of game boxes.... I was able to bring only 5 games back. However, I am very excited for what I did bring back. These games are:
- #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) This was the first kickstarter I ever backed, and it literally arrived the day before we left. So, I just barely got to bring it back.
- #Pax Porfiriana This is the collectors edition. I am very interested by that period of mexican history.
- #1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties This is my first and only 18xx. I won it in a BGA GAW. It is one of the few 18xx games that you can play solo. I have watched several solo playthroughs and and very excited and a little bit intimidated by it.
- #Root This I plan on playing with the better bot pnp.
- #Navajo Wars This is a solo war(ish) game that looks very good.
I am hoping I might get a chance to try one of these games on Sunday afternoon. I think I will probably play #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) first. But, If I get enough people that think otherwise.... I might change my mind. One thing to keep in mind, I will be playing all these games solo, at least for now.
We have discussed several times genres, themes, mechanism, and etc. which really really peak our interest. This is the opposite question. What popular boardgame types do you tend to steer clear from. You don't even have tried the game type you are steering clear from.
For me there are several things that I tend to steer clear from.
- I avoid all things C'thulu. I have no love for horror in general or Lovecraft in particular. And, while my stance on the propriety of problematic themes in boardgames isn't necessarily popular, I do find it deeply hypocritical when those who are very concerned about problematic themes embrace the Lovecraftian world. The Lovecraftian world is full of explicit and unapologetic racism. I also don't particularly relish the way he treats mental illness.
- I tend to avoid party games. I have one or two that I like. And, I simply want to put my money elsewhere.
- I have avoided high fantasy themes and tropes. This is mostly because the only IP's that use high fantasy that I have any interest in are Lord of the Rings and Gloomhaven. I don't have a particular problem with High Fantasy, but I am think it would probably pale in comparison with the LOTR IP.
- I have avoided all LCG's, TCG's, and the like. I am afraid that I would spend too much money on them.
- I tend to avoid Pick up and Deliver games. I have played some that I really like. But somehow, when I think of it, I am generally not excited enough to pursue it.
- I avoid app integration in games. This is partly because I am worried about the app becoming unsupported before I am done with the game. But, mostly it is because at this point I have no desire to mix screens with my gaming.
So, what do you avoid? and why?