News Bits: 12/17/2012


Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat! … Here’s the news:

The Unpublished Games Festival (Unpub 3) arrives in January [Link] John Moller of Cartrunk Entertainment is the brains behind this operation. I always enjoy reading the session reports, and it has been fun to see some of the games tested at prior Unpub events released by big-name and start-up publishers in the last year.

A new kind of holiday guide: give time [Link] John Moller of Cartrunk Entertainment suggests giving others the gift of time this holiday season rather than giving them another game. This resonates with me, as games are easy to come by but time isn’t.

Christmas promo card released for Ascension [Link] “Samael Claus” lets you give gifts to others but take the best for yourself. An interesting novelty, I suppose, if you like Ascension.

Chess board sells for 600,000 pounds [Link] Only because they don’t know about Agricola and stuff…

Another article informing us that board games aren’t dead! [Link] This one from The Guardian, complete with The Guardian‘s typical brand of snark. I guess these articles are helpful to get the word out, but I wonder when we’ll turn a corner and people will stop treating board games as relics or board games and video games as mutually exclusive propositions. Okay, I’m done.

New games coming in, old(er) ones sold out for Tasty Minstrel Games [Link] Wow! This was a packed newsletter from Tasty Minstrel Games. Of note: Noblemen and Village are sold out at the publisher level (find them in your local stores); Tasty Minstrel is copublishing Il Vecchio and a new game from Stefan Feld, Rialto. I’ll keep you updated as I find out more.

Reiner Knizia (Ra, Tigris and Euphrates) interview, part 2 [Link] This interview continues last week’s interview with Reiner Knizia on MeepleTown. I’m now very curious about Spectaculum…

Takenoko debuts on [Link] Get ready to feed the panda! Takenoko is one of the most beautiful games I’ve played. It’s also pretty fun. (You can check out our review of it here.)

Is The Hobbit simply too long? [Link] This is a movie review–what’s this got to do with board gaming? While it’s true that there doesn’t seem to be a direct link, the critic here gets at one thing that I think is important in game design: does the game fill the time well? A good long movie doesn’t feel long (for me, I think of The Dark Knight or It’s a Wonderful Life), but a bad long movie seems interminably long (I think of Peter Jackson’s King Kong). I think the same principle is true for board games. Kingsburg is a game I might enjoy…if about an hour was lopped off the playing time, whereas Power Grid, which lasts about the same length as Kingsburg, seems just right. I liked the concepts in Barons, but ultimately found it unsatisfying because it ended too quickly, right as it was getting interesting. A game like Carcassonne is great at 30-45 minutes; it is unbearable at two or more hours (see: my first experience with the game. Ugh).

Kickstarters of Note
Again, not many of these. If you know of any that you think I should mention, please let me know in the comments.

  • Candle Quest: This retheme of the game It’s Alive! has players seeking to fill their menorahs with candles. I’ve not played either game, but it involves auctions, and I’ve heard good things about It’s Alive! $25 gets you the game.

Completely Unrelated Awesomeness of the Week
Louis C.K. describes playing Monopoly with his daughters…one of whom is not quite emotionally developed for the game.

I'll try anything once, but my favorite games are generally middleweight Euros.

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