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The Village Square: May 11, 2015

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I’ve got a brand new game to try but apparently it’s a little controversial. Is anyone interested?

Sure, what game is it?

It’s called Cubes Against The Humanities. Apparently it’s so dry and sophisticated that some thematic gamers are claiming that it’s sucking all the fun out of our hobby… and society!

Honestly, that doesn’t sound very fun.

Fun in games is overrated! Go along and play one of your mindless party games…

Community Talk

It may seem like everyone was busy discussing the worth of Cubes Against The Humanities but there were other things that happened this week!

How do you decide your game has reach its end point? Do you set a list of goals and when players get there, the game is over? Do you set the end game conditions very early in the design process?

A few days ago I talked on the blog about what to and what not to do with your prototype before sending it to a publisher. This time, I’d like to take a step back and talk a little bit about how to actually make a prototype of your game – or at least give you a few useful tips on making some of the most popular components. With this in mind, let’s talk about cards.

Kill your darlings. That’s the way to make a design tighter, faster and tenser. Kill your darlings. It’s the way to make a story flow better, suck the reader in more, sell. Kill your darlings.

Well, I’ve got a confession to make: I couldn’t do it.

For those of us geeky enough to have played more than our fair share of games (I have logged plays of nearly 500 individual games), you start to get a feel for the kinds of games you like and the kinds you don’t.

Knowing Your Tastes
Giant Fire Breathing Robot

By burning out, by dismissing Kickstarter projects en masse, I feel that I’m letting down a slew of creators that have already been systemically silenced by the industry. At the same time, it’s impossible and disheartening to try to keep up with new launches right now. I’m going to keep pouring through them because, well, that’s my job. If we can’t solve this overall quality/quantity issue, though, I fear that crowdfunding is a sinking ship.

The Crowdfunder’s Dilemma
The Cardboard Republic

See you all next week. Hopefully the whole Cubes controversy will have blown over by then!

Games On Our Table

Play 2015-May 11 - ArboretumArboretum – Jennifer highly recommended this incredibly simple and beautiful card game a couple of months ago but I ran into the problem of no one in my group owning it for me to try out. I saw it in my FLGS when I was picking up Dominion: Adventures and decided to give it a shot based on Jennifer’s recommendation. I’m very glad I did because it reminded of a much better version of Lost Cities (a game that I have long since replaced with Battle Line). Thanks Jennifer!

Play 2015-May 11 - LimesLimes – This is a re-implementation of Cities, a puzzly game that uses the Take It Easy style of challenging players to build a board most efficiently from identical pieces. In many ways Limes has attempted to streamline Cities to make it a smoother and more approachable game. I enjoyed it quite a lot but probably prefer Cities’ more complicated third level. Too bad I could never get anyone to play it with me, simplifying can sometimes be for the best.

Play 2015-May 11 - LanternsLanterns – I backed Lanterns with the hope that it would go over well with my family. We went to visit my wife’s family for Mother’s Day, the perfect opportunity to try it out! I was delighted when someone saw it and asked, “Is that a new game? Can you teach it to us?” It was a big hit and I’ve been instructed to bring it every time I come. Lanterns now has a very safe place in my collection. If only all games could be embraced with that much enthusiasm!

Play 2015-May 11 - DominionDominion: Adventures – I played 7 games of Dominion with mostly or all Adventures cards this week (9 in total) and continue to be very impressed with this set. I want to wait a little while longer before declaring it the best Dominion set but it’s certainly looking very likely at the moment. If you stopped buying Dominion sets long ago I would strongly encourage you to consider Adventures, it’s that good. If you already love Dominion then it’s a no-brainer!

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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