News Bits: November 3, 2014


I’ve been trying out different formats for the news lately working towards something that emphasizes our amazing community.  It’s great to see publishers, designers, reviewers, bloggers, and board game enthusiasts alike joining in a global conversation about our hobby.  But this community and its conversation can be a bit scattered around the internet from Twitter to BGG to various blogs.  I’d like to share part of what’s going on each week by presenting it in a conversational approach.  We’ll see how this goes, I’ll turn things over to Andrew reporting from somewhere out there on the internet.


Community Talk

[fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][fifth width=”70px”]Portrait - Andrew[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]Thanks Andrew!  We’ve got some great writers joining us today.  Since we’re already on the topic of community let’s start off by talking about the faces of our hobby and whether our current structure needs to be challenged.[/plain][/three_quarters] [full][/full]

The Confusing Hierarchy of Board Game Community

[fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][three_quarters][plain]This hobby of ours, while great, is backwards. The people who do all the work get very little of the credit. Yeah, people will toss Feld around on the twitter like hotcakes, but if he needed help carrying bags down the street, would you stop to ask him if he needed help? Would you even know it was him? On the flip side, if you saw your favorite reviewer walking out of a convention with bags of games, are you stopping to hold the door for them?[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”][/fifth][fifth width=”100px”]Community (Avatar) - Whose Turn Is It Anyway

Rhiannon Ochs
Whose Turn Is It Anyway?[/fifth]

[full][/full] [fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][fifth width=”70px”]Portrait - Andrew[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]While I understand the concern of “Reviewers > Designers > Publishers” I think that it’s simply a matter of visibility.  In that regard video reviewers are the most likely to be recognized because they put their face out there.  Personally, when I meet a designer I am much more excited than meeting a reviewer (though I have respect for both).  That said, it’s good to get a reminder of how we should be making an extra effort to support those responsible for making our favorite games.

Fortunately both designers and publishers are becoming more active and visible in recent times. Let’s hear from a designer first. Ignacy Trzewiczek who brought us the hot new Imperial Settlers at Gen Con and is perhaps one of the most active and likeable designers out there. And English isn’t even his first language![/plain][/three_quarters] [full][/full]

Designers, Essen and Charity

[fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][three_quarters][plain]Few days before Essen I came up with crazy idea – I will gather “Tips and Tricks” for board games. Ultimate Guide to win! Oh, yeah!

And then I will give it for charity.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”][/fifth][fifth width=”100px”]Community (Avatar) - Board Games That Tell Stories

Ignacy Trzewiczek
Boardgames That Tell Stories[/fifth]

[full][/full] [fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][fifth width=”70px”]Portrait - Andrew[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]Go check out Ignacy’s treasure trove of gaming advise from the pros and support a great cause while you’re at it.  There’s also a great video for anyone that doesn’t have the kind of cash that it’ll take to get your hands on this amazing book.

Next up we’ll hear from a publisher, NSKN Games.  They have a blog where they are active in talking about their own games along with those of other publishers.  This week they take on a hot topic in the board gaming world, integrating technology into games.[/plain][/three_quarters] [full][/full]

Boards Games in Application

[fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][three_quarters][plain]I am not sold on the idea of mandatory application use for my board games. Although I love the social aspect of gaming, I also find the physical aspect of games very appealing. Simply put, I like touching and moving the components, and distancing the player from some of the game elements by putting them behind a touch screen is something I am not crazy about.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”][/fifth][fifth width=”100px”]Community (Avatar) - NSKN Games

NSKN Games[/fifth]

[full][/full] [fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][fifth width=”70px”]Portrait - Andrew[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]They do a great job of taking a balanced look at the pros and cons of using an app with your game.  I think it will come down to individual preference but either way I’m glad people are experimenting with new ways to approach design.

Up next is another designer, Grant Rodiek (Farmageddon).  Each week he shares a bit of his creative process in an entertaining and conversational way.[/plain][/three_quarters] [full][/full]

Self Doubt is my First Teacher

[fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][three_quarters][plain]I have found myself moving through a long marination phase of consideration and introspection before I build the prototype or even build the rules. And lately, I find myself building a prototype, then taking another week or so to think on it further.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”][/fifth][fifth width=”100px”]Community (Avatar) - Hyperbole

Grant Rodiek

[full][/full] [fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][fifth width=”70px”]Portrait - Andrew[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]I love hearing about how different designers approach making their games from different perspectives.  I like Grant’s thoughtful approach especially because he makes a great point about being considerate of your testers.

A recent discovery for me was 3D Total Games’ Greg Carslaw (404: Law Not Found, Wizard’s Academy).  His blog provides an insightful look into different design decisions, this week discussing the impact of using cards in a game.[/plain][/three_quarters] [full][/full]

Cards and Randomness

[fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][three_quarters][plain]Cards are a great way to add randomness to a game, they’re incredibly flexible in terms of what you can do with them…

There’s actually no inherent difference between dice and cards. It’s possibly to simulate a dice using cards and it’s possible to simulate cards using dice. However some uses are more natural than others[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”][/fifth][fifth width=”100px”]Community (Avatar) - 3DTotal Games

Greg Carslaw
3DTotal Games[/fifth]

[full][/full] [fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][fifth width=”70px”]Portrait - Andrew[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]I’ve often thought about the difference between dice and cards in providing randomness.  I find myself drawn to cards over dice an overwhelming percent of the time yet I still have the desire to play a satisfying dice game since I know that each mechanic has its strengths.

Speaking of analyzing game mechanics, I’d highly recommend that everyone check out Dr Wictz’s excellent series on various economic mechanics from a real world perspective.[/plain][/three_quarters] [full][/full]

Market Mechanic Lecture: Retrospective

[fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][three_quarters][plain]The Market Mechanic Lecture series examines different market mechanics to explore how to better use them in board games.  The series makes a point to clarify from an economic perspective what is a market mechanic vs. a market theme. [/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”][/fifth][fifth width=”100px”]Community (Avatar) - Dr Wictz

Dr. Wictz Board Games[/fifth]

[full][/full] [fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][fifth width=”70px”]Portrait - Andrew[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]Titling his series “Market Mechanic Lecture” is particularly fitting because it reflects the comprehensive nature of these articles.  The team of Aaron and Austin that make up Dr Wictz are perhaps my favorite writers for their effort in really digging into what makes the games that we love tick.

Another recent favorite of mine are TGIK Games who keep busy providing plenty of great tips on the design process.  Let’s see what they have for us this week.[/plain][/three_quarters] [full][/full]

How Often Should You Brainstorm?

[fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][three_quarters][plain]You should brainstorm as often as you can and you should challenge yourself to think of at least one new idea everyday.  Even if you are not able to think of a new idea on a daily basis, you should put your brain in a creative state of mind for the sake if game idea generation.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”][/fifth][fifth width=”100px”]Community (Avatar) - TGIK Games

TGIK Games[/fifth]


Another Fix If You’re Stuck

[fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][three_quarters][plain]There are times when you are stuck in the design process and you can’t work your way out of the problem. Maybe the theme is getting in the way or the mechanics you are using might be slightly off for what you want to accomplish.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”][/fifth][fifth width=”100px”]Community (Avatar) - TGIK Games[/fifth]


A Thought To Build On

[fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][three_quarters][plain]When you are building your games, designers need to think about what makes their games different. It could be anything, it could be the art, a neat twist on a mechanic or theme.[/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”][/fifth][fifth width=”100px”]Community (Avatar) - TGIK Games[/fifth]

[full][/full] [fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][fifth width=”70px”]Portrait - Andrew[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]Lots of great and thought provoking tips as always.  I love the short and digestible format that they use to cover a wide variety of design struggles.

Before I wrap things up here’s one of my favorite events that take place on Board Game Geek, the math trade!  If you live in the US go add some of your own games and perhaps check out FarmerLenny’s excellent guide to math trades.[/plain][/three_quarters] [full][/full]

Daylight Savings – A US Only Math Trade

[fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][three_quarters][plain]Key dates (all times are CENTRAL TIME)

Open for posting games: Now until Friday, November 7th (10pm)

Want list submission period: Friday, November 7th (10pm) until Sunday, November 9th (10pm). [/plain][/three_quarters][fifth width=”20px”][/fifth][fifth width=”100px”]Community (Avatar) - BGG

Board Game Geek[/fifth]

[full][/full] [fifth width=”30px”][/fifth][fifth width=”70px”]Portrait - Andrew[/fifth][three_quarters][plain]We’re just about out of time, I hope that everyone enjoyed the new format!  Feel free to let me know what you think (here or on Twitter) and make sure to support all the hard working publishers, designers, and writers that make our hobby possible.[/plain][/three_quarters] [full][/full]


Last Week on iSlayTheDragon







Games On Our Table

Portrait - Andrew Andrew’s Plays

Play 2014-Oct-27 -  oddball aeronauts 2Play 2014-Oct-27 -  oddball aeronauts 2-2oddball aeronauts 2 – I am a big fan of oddball aeronauts for many reasons. There’s the gorgeous and lovable characters, the portability of the game, and the sheer simplicity that lets you play quick and fun matches.  I’ve been itching to see the factions that the maverick:muse team had in store for their expansions and I got a nice little surprise in the mail.  oddball aeronauts 2 adds in the Free Kingdoms and Mechinauts to the mix along with several Mercenaries.  The best part of all was seeing the custom naming that they used for my Free Kingdom’s flagship: The Dragonslayer!  I hear there’s a Kickstarter coming up pretty soon.


Portrait - Jason Jason’s Plays

Builders - ThumbThe Builders: Middle Ages – My 7-year old daughter has now learned this one, so it’s the new thing at our house.  We’ve had several quick games through this past week. She’s got it down as far as basic rules, but of course isn’t yet there as far as longer term, efficient planning. I’m glad she likes it for now, because it’s quick and a good teacher.

Stone Age - ThumbStone Age – One of my son’s all-time favorites  Well, as much as of an all-time as you can get for an 11-year old! My boys and I played a 3-player session and it seemed distinctive in that no one ever increased the size of his tribe.


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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