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The Village Square: April 27, 2015

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Spring is in the air and that means one thing…

Enjoying the great outdoors?

I was thinking more along the lines of opening up your windows and enjoying the cool breeze while you play a game. But yes, I suppose you can play games outside too.

Sigh…

Community Talk

Since everyone seems to be staying in to enjoy the beautiful weather I suppose I’ll have to make some home visits. What’s all the chatter about this week?

There are three ways to distinguish your collection:

1. Having a title so new, it’s obscure
2. Having a title so old, it’s obscure
3. Having a title so indie, it’s obscure

Collecting vs Playing
Epic Slant Press

Hi all! Just a quick heads up to let you know that Episode 10 of 3 Minute Game Design is out. Also so are 7 (Hidden Information), 8 (Execution), and 9 (Content).

Against my inner nature, I found myself nodding along with Tom Vassal this week. Promos for boardgames are great. I love promos. I have hate-envy for promos that I can never get my hands on. I don’t think that his discussion of this topic was completely spur-of-the-moment, however. This topic stems from the recent Tabletop Day promo event/fiasco, depending on what side of the line you fall.

There has been some rumblings lately about possibly strengthening copyrights laws in board games to protect game mechanics.  Historically (from my non-lawyer layman perspective) copyright laws in board games have been relatively weak.  I recall Dan Yarrington explaining it like this at an UNPUB panel in Delaware. Devices can be patented, brands trademarked, and rules copyrighted – not mechanics.

See, the conflict I’m talking about isn’t the type where you bash your opponents over the head with clubs (or panzer divisions or spent flamethrower casings – yes Advanced Squad Leader, I’m looking at you). I’m talking about the emotional conflict that every good game is based on.

For some time there had been a certain amusing acronym kicked around BoardGameGeek. Just Another Soulless Euro, or simply JASE, provided a way of expressing the irritation with a certain method of creating Eurogames, or a new and handy way to stick it to the “Eurosnoots”. Regardless of the term’s origin, its first purpose, and how JASE had been used by different gamers, it did pose an interesting question: what provides a board game with a soul?

Cardboard Conarium
NSKN Games

I think two player games definitely have a strong casual audience with couples/roomies looking for a nice way to spend time together. But reaching that audience is definitely different and requires some smart planning.

Make sure to join us again next week. No need to leave your house!

Games On Our Table

Play 2015-Apr-27 - DominionDominion: Adventures – I didn’t actually get to play any games this week but I did do my fair share of opening and drooling all over exciting new games. At the top of my list is the latest entry into my number one played game from the last five years. The full rulebook was up before the release and I decided not to spoil all the cards so I would have something to look forward to when I finally got it. I’m really REALLY excited for this set as it adds a lot of interesting elements (events, reserve, travelers, tokens) as well as revisiting the ever popular duration type. There’s a lot to love here for long time Dominion fans and I’m hoping to get it played in the coming week.

Play 2015-Apr-27 - LanternsLanterns: The Harvest Festival – I kickstarted this game last fall because it looks vibrant and has a very simple and teachable ruleset. I imagined it to be perfect for enjoying with family and friends. My copy arrived on Friday and I shared the unboxing experience with my kids as I have made a habit of doing with all new games that come in the mail. I haven’t gotten a chance to play this one either but I did reflect a bit on how this project idealized what I look for in Kickstarter.

Samurai Spirit – We played a bunch of games this weekend but none worth more mention than this epic 7 player battle. We started off strong, really utilizing the support action effectively to keep people alive and kicking. In the 2nd round I entered BEAST MODE and again we stayed pretty strong, but couldn’t help losing a bit of ground to the invaders. In the final round we scrambled to stay afloat, a couple players got knocked out a bit early, and it all came down to the intruder stack. We dramatically flipped up one card at  a time, and though we were down to 1 farmhouse with 2 cards left, neither had flames, and so we ended in an extremely dramatic victory! Huzzah!

Mysterium – Apparently we don’t NOT play this game at monthly game nights anymore. I redeemed myself from the last game of flubbing the clues by getting almost all of my guesses correct on the first try.

XCOM – Game 9 of #XCOM50 was a successful run on normal difficulty with 4 players. Very telling about this game was how crappily we rolled through most of the game, but we still managed to pull out a win. I barely even got any tech researched but used a boatload of it straight from my hand to achieve victory! Review forthcoming this week.

I love optimization and engine games with tableau builders and card driven ones being my favorite. This usually means medium-heavy euros and medium-light card games.

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