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Hump Day Dump: Unmanly Wargaming, Ranting (again) about Box Inserts, and a Tour of the "Shed" man’s Shed

A mid-week dump of the best blog posts from the last 7 days

It’s been a fantastic pre-GenCon week of great blog posts. From a history of electronics in board games, to a breakdown of D&D’s 5th edition and a walkaround at the World Boardgaming Championships, the past week has informed and amused me.

Herewith are your Four Fab posts of the week!
1. Wargaming is…Unmanly! (Games on Tables)
2. How Electronic Board Games Have Changed Over 100 Years (Clever Move)
3. Ten Things You Might Now Know About D&D 5th Ed Player Handbook (DieHard GameFan)
4. Get Rid of Box Inserts (iSlaytheDragon)

 

THE POST OF THE WEEK

Wargaming is … Unmanly!, by Marshall
Games on Tables, August 6

Interesting correlation between wargaming and church attendance by males. Hmmm…

This is a tongue-in-cheek response to fellow contributor Keith’s post about “Manliness and Boardgaming.”

What would it take for a game to be considered “manly”? Well, for starters…

Spectators. Especially women. Men love competition. A chance to show off publically. Especially in front of females. Men need a chance to compete and prove their power and superiority to everybody. That’s the whole point for men. It’s a shame that jousting is gone.

 

THE REST OF THE BEST

How Electronic Board Games Have Changed Over 100 Years, by Matt M. Casey
Clever Move, August 11

I didn’t even know they had electronic games 100 years ago (Electro, c.1910). The game I was most interested to learn about was Uranium Rush, a game right out of the 50s, when any prospector with a Geiger counter could strike it rich selling uranium to the government.

Ten Things You Might Not Know about D&D 5e Player’s Handbook, by Alex Lucard
DieHard GameFAN, August 11

Yeah, I know what I said about Top Ten lists, but this one is heavy on the text, the only way I like them. Our BGA team is just starting out on a 5th edition adventure, so Alex’s article is a valuable resource.

Something I didn’t realize…

Third level is the sweet spot for your particular class of choice, and determines the path your character will be going down for the long term. For a Fighter, third level is when you pick your fighting style (Champion, Battle Master or Eldritch Knight.) Each of these will give you a very different set of powers or abilities at 3rd, 7th, 10th, 15th and 18th Level. … The same is true about nearly all the classes, although the number of options and the level abilities occur at will vary … (although some get their path choice at second level, so it’s not universal).

Get Rid of Box Inserts, by Jason Meyers
iSlaytheDragon, August 8

This is #9 in the site’s “Why? Why? Why?” series. Jason is not a curmudgeon with a minority opinion, but someone whose views reflect a large part of the gaming community.

I mean, what’s up with all those Box Inserts! What if Seinfeld had been as much into tabletop games as he was with breakfast cereal? He would have had a field day bitching about inserts.

Jason’s best point?

Even with inserts that I may begrudgingly – begrudgingly – agree are half-way useful, an expansion quickly outdates it. Unless you keep all expansions and the base game stored separately. Which is lame.

(The above four blogs earn consideration for the BGA Blog of the Year Award. One point is awarded for inclusion, with an extra point given to the Post of the Week.)

 

8 OTHER POSTS WORTH A READ

How to Upgrade Your Dice-Rolling Game, by Tom Fassbender
Geek Dad, August 8

Casual Gamers don’t need no stinkin’ dice towers! Geed Dad Tom has four easy ways to roll a handful of dice in a small space.

Le Tour De La Cabane, by Tony Boydell
Every Man Needs a Shed, August 11

When you see Tony’s shed, you’ll see why he says every man (read, “gamer”) needs one. Tony takes you through a video tour of his private space. It’s about 7 minutes long, and at around 4:00 he opens up his box of prototypes for a peek.

The Sophomore goes to WBC, by Chris
Games on Tables, August 11

With GenCon holding every one’s attention, it’s easy to overlook the quiet little convention held a couple weeks earlier in Lancaster, Pa. Chris reports on the unique World Boardgaming Championships and their popular Team Tournament.

The Trials and Tribulations of Starting a Gaming Group, by Chris Fenton
Chris Loses At, August 11

The self-deprecating Chris never has an easy time doing anything. Here he reveals the perils of building a gaming group from scratch without using Meetup. But occasionally he was blessed with a little serendipity.

Just as I was beginning to let go of the idea of a local group my wife decided we should join something called Farm Club. This is a little slice of the good life hidden away down one of the roads that seemed to lead nowhere at the edge of the town. As soon as I sat down in their cafe for the first time I knew this was the venue I had been looking for.

Game Gifts Received by the President and Other U.S. Government Employees, by David Miller
Purple Pawn, August 6

A curiosity if there ever was one. Not much to learn here except that a Chess set is pretty much the gold standard in gift giving. However, you’ll spot little known games like The Witcher 2 (a Polish game that’s not on BGG, though the original is); Shut-The-Box, a hundreds-year-old dice game repackaged by Front Porch Classics; and Horse Race Derby, a very rare marble flicking game;

Bait Games, by Jesse (asutbone)
Boards and Bees, August 11

These are the games that are too eye-catching to walk past. Think Tsuro, Animal Upon Animal, Crokinole, Incan Gold, Pitch Car, and the Game-Formerly-Known-As-Rampage. Jesse explains how and why you can use them as bait to draw the casual observer into your gaming group.

Introduction to Game-Defining Concepts, by Matt Pavlovich
Games Precipice, August 8

I just love game design discussions that use lots of real world examples. Matt name-checks dozens of popular games in defining the elements that make games popular in the first place.

The concept that blew me away when I first saw it in a game?

The “cards-as-currency” idea in Race for the Galaxy, San Juan, and Glory to Rome helps to solve a classic problem in card games: what if you get a pile of cards that you want none of? … Spending cards to play cards allows the simplification of both the deck and the flow of play. In addition, it creates a secondary strategic layer: paying a card into the discard pile might allow your opponent to acquire that same card in the future.

Game Design Philosophy, by Ed Marriott
Boards and Barley, August 8

Using examples from the ubiquitous Ticket to Ride and his own Scoville, Ed shares with readers the 5 features he’s learned to include when designing games.

My favorite item from Ed’s list, “Limited Actions or Choices Per Turn.

Limiting the number of actions or the number of choices a player has on their turn also has two notably positive effects:
*Downtime decreases if a player only has a few options to choose from.
*Analysis paralysis, or a player’s inability to make a decision, is limited since there are only so many combinations of things to work through.

 

Which was your favorite post of the week? Did I forget to include it here? Tell us in the Comments section and we’ll compare notes!

  • Drew is a contributor to the Board Gamers Anonymous podcast. He's a curator by nature, compulsively reading and obsessively organizing what he's read. He's also been a gamer since the age of 3, which means he's been playing board games for... let's just say more than 40 years, and leave it at that...

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