Best Board Game Blogs of the Week, ft. The Rise of Crowdfunding

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

1. A Foray into Gaming History (Chris Loses At)
2. How One Project Shaped Gaming’s Use of Crowdfunding (The Escapist)
3. Why the World Needs a Breaking Bad Board Game (Clever Move)
4. Yodelling (or Little Old Lady Who?) (Every Man Needs a Shed)

THE POST OF THE WEEK

A Foray into Gaming History, by Chris Fenton
Chris Loses At!, July 16, 2014

Living History rocks! A teacher takes his kids to an old Tudor estate (Kentwell Hall, in England) to experience life as it was in the 16th century.

After the field trip, Chris asked the kids what games they played with the re-enactors there. They had been introduced to a variation of the ancient “Nine Men’s Morris” but in a ‘Three Men’ version. Chris used this, and another Tudor-era game, Nim, to find yet another way to lose – well, that’s the blog’s theme!

THE REST OF THE BEST

How One Project Shaped Gaming’s Use of Crowdfunding, by Matt Morgan
The Escapist, July 16

Sometime after 2010, Kickstarter exploded. Pop culture ezine The Escapist zeroes in on Alien Frontiers and how it kickstarted the board game industry’s incursion into crowdfunding.

It’s typical of Kickstarter’s early history: Great ideas are turned into great games. Then came the flood, as the percentage of unsuccessful and poorly developed game projects grew.

Now, in Kickstarter’s middle age, established designers and publishers are using Kickstarter as a different way to Pre-order games. The homegrown project will likely soon be dying out, choked out by the Establishment that designers were using Kickstarter to circumvent in the first place.

Why the World Needs a Breaking Bad Board Game, by Matt M. Casey
Clever Move, July 22

It’s not the idea itself (I’m sure others have thought of it, too), but the fact that Matt actually sketches out the game for an enterprising designer (possibly with ties to Vince Gilligan) to create.

“On their turn, players would visit locations and take actions to further their mutual meth-dealing empire. … When players pile up enough laundered money, they all win.” Sounds like a Stefan Feld ‘point salad’ game on … meth…

Yodelling (or Little Old Lady Who?), by Tony Boydell
Every Man Needs a Shed, July 21

Design notes are often dry and boring. But Tales of Inspiration, i.e., how a game begins life, can be fascinating… Bad Grandmas first saw the inside of a notebook through Tony’s caricaturing his workmates for an inside-joke card game.

Years later, it changed themes, and the artwork – a series of elderly ladies, reminiscent of Basil Wolverton – is shown to hilarious effect in photos of Tony’s notebook.

5 OTHERS WORTH A READ

Feld Madness, by Tom Rosen
Opinionated Gamers, July 22, 2014

Not a review – which is generally verboten here – but a retrospective look at one man’s compulsive need to put gamers’ math skills to the test.

The blog’s team of 16 writers each weigh in with their likes and dislikes. The Feld games that received the highest aggregate score were Macao and Notre Dame. Scan the article and find out why.

I’ll tease you with some greatly abbreviated snippets, leaving out comments about how Feld’s later games don’t seem to be as strong as his earlier ones.

Larry Levy: “Mechanically, the man is brilliant.”
Mark Jackson: “I feel like a lot of Feld’s work is mechanics with little or no thematic connection.”
Jennifer Geske: “I am not bothered by the point-salad criticism. To me that just gives me more varied strategies to explore.”
Joe Huber: “Nearly all his games cause one to say, ‘Gee, that’s clever.’ … Often, the game feels pasted around the cleverness.”

Breaking D&D 2: Electric Bugaloo, by Shawn Merwin
Critical Hits, July 22

What if the Lego Movie were actually the Dungeons and Dragons Movie? The basic question underlying both ‘toys’ is the same: How far are players allowed to go in altering the original intention of the creator?

Remaking Legos in various ways is not breaking them, but merely breaking down walls. The same could be said for D&D, if a player’s purpose is to explore the possibilities inherent in the game system. Version 5 allows for this, even encourages it, I think.

But trying to ‘break’ the game by finding the cracks between the rules and exploiting them, well, a the D&D community has to come down hard on those players. Shawn makes a valid point, we need more DMs. And it will be hard to recruit them if there are players who are allowed to break the game for their own amusement.

Shawn’s previous post on this topic used … too many words. So, I didn’t include it in the top 4. This follow-up, though, makes his points more accessible, even though the number of words wasn’t reduced. A writer is often clearer when he’s defending his POV from critical attack.

And, Shawn… the word is Boogaloo … unless perhaps you’re referring to a creature from the Monster Manual….

Saturday in Summer Denmark – paradise for solitarists, by Morten Monrad Pedersen
Thematic Solitaires for the Spare Time Challenged, July 19

This is a blog I was told about just a couple days ago. It’s definitely a must-subscribe, as Morten’s unique perspective takes us through his day as a family man, and solo player. Sure, it’s little more than a glorified Session Report, but Morten’s style is personable and a pleasure to read.

Das Spiel, by Mike Fogus
Un Chien Andalou, July 22

I love taking old games and repurposing them. Mike has the bug, too, and he’s determined to find new uses for the pyramid of dice that come with Das Spiel.

Coast-Benefit Analysis, by Tony Boydell
Every Man Needs a Shed, July 21

He says he’s going to leave his notebook home when he heads to the beach. Yeah, right….

If nothing else, it’s a good post for the punny ‘beach-themed’ games Tony (supported by his readers) lists…

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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