The Village Square: March 16, 2015


I’m back from IndyCon! Did anything exciting happen while I was gone?

Actually things went pretty smoothly.

Nothing at all? Surely Kenith caused some trouble?

Nope, everything’s fine around here. Nobody got eaten or anything…


Community Talk

Now that we’ve established that absolutely no one important got eaten it’s time to head into town and chat with all our non-eaten citizens.

Games are buy once, use many. Your clients buy a game once and then they get to play it as many times as they want (until they wear it out, but that doesn’t happen nearly as often as you’d like).

Where does that leave you as a seller?

Well, you want to sell your games so you need them to be popular. But once you’ve sold them you don’t really make any money from people playing your games. You don’t care if people play your games as long as they buy them.

I’ve been playing a great deal of Memoir ’44 lately. It’s one of my favorite games and one in which I’ve invested heavily. I own all but one minor expansion for it. Memoir ’44 is a very simple rule set and foundation, but it’s scenario driven and covers the broad scope of World War II. This means there are dozens of tiny one-off exceptions that abstract the variety of the war.

I was struck by how simple many of these are, while at the same time, how great their impact is on the experience. I wanted to talk about these tiny exceptions and how they are tiny rules of significance.

At some point in my adult life time became the resource in shortage. Consequently, I wanted to maximize the enjoyment I could derive out of my limited time for games – fun divided by time – and so I sought out games with high “fun density”. I’m not sure where I first heard the term … but I quickly adopted it as a good measure of a game’s value. If you get the same enjoyment out of two games, but one takes half as long to play then it has higher fun density and it should be the preferred choice.

Fun Density and Colonoscopies
League of Gamemakers

Dealing with different player counts need not always be about eliminating factors that vary by player count. Instead try embracing that different numbers of players might have a different experience and see if there are ways to tool those experiences such that all of the versions of the game are enjoyable in their own way.

Player Count
3DTotal Games

Every Spring, we pit the top 64-seeded teams against each other to crown one game the Geek-Certified Aldie Award winner. This is a single-elimination tournament where the game with the most votes (thumbs) advances to the next round.

Legendary fantasy writer Terry Pratchett passed Thursday March 12 at the age of 66. He left behind an impressive catalogue of novels, but he also had an impact on board games, inspiring at least six titles (so far) published in several languages by many companies.

Thanks for visiting the Village Square! Make sure to check back this week for more great reviews.

Games On Our Table

Play 2015-Mar-16 - IndyConLast weekend I attend a local game convention. I was going to do a recape but I did one last year and didn’t feel there was much left to saw. Instead I’ll just point you to a Geeklist that I made recounting all of my plays from this year’s IndyCon if you’re interested.

Play 2015-Mar-16 - KidCritiquesWhile this doesn’t technically count as a game that I played I have started doing a weekly series on Twitter called #KidCritique where I pull out some of games and have them viciously critiqued by kids. It’s been great fun to see how exciting game boxes lead to unrealistic expectations and disappointment followed by the usual “I don’t like this game”.

Play 2015-Mar-16 - Las VegasLas Vegas – I saw a lot of this game being played during IndyCon and it struck me as the type of game that I wouldn’t like. I showed up late to my game group this weekend just in time to be invited into a game of Las Vegas. I politely accepted and discovered that it indeed is not the type of game for me. I can appreciate the design but I value having meaningful decisions and the concept of a dwindling dice pool as a way to simulate gambling and arouse excitement contrasted poorly with a shrinking decision space. I know, that just sucked all the fun out of a quick and light dice game but it pretty well summed up how little I cared for this game.

Play 2015-Mar-16 - Terra MysticaTerra Mystica – I don’t play a lot of fillers but when I do they get me in the mood for something meatier. I heard someone whisper “Terra Mystica” and my ears perked up. This is one of the three games that I don’t own that are in my top 20 (along with Ginkgopolis and Endeavor) so I never turn down a game. We ended up with only three players and had a very power-lite game after the middle of the board was developed. Although I enjoy the game more with additional players I still had a great time. Fantastic game!

Play 2015-Mar-16 - Fields of ArleFields of Arle – I’ve been slowly introducing this gem to the members of my group one by one. And yes, that’s about how the first play feels. It’s a pretty intimidating and exhausting undertaking (playing for the first time) but I’m hoping to have several seasoned opponents before too long. I’m almost 20 plays and have been enjoying every step of the journey!

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.

Discussion1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Today in Board Games Issue #258 - Hands in the Sea - Today in Board Games

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