What Games Mean to Me #18 Games Taught Me How to Lose

“…the point of games is to play them and the winning and losing part were the lowest things on the list of why to play a game.”

This is great advice all around and very eloquently puts why I enjoy this cardboard hobby so much!

TGIK Games Blog

I am a terrible gamer. I have a way of using strategies that are good enough not to lose but never good enough to win. I think part of that is I have not played any game enough times (other than my own designs) to get to a point where I have command of the basic strategies and move into the advanced strategies. Unless we are talking trick taking games, I tend to be pretty good at those.

Before I got into regular games nights, my usual gaming was with high school buddies and the only thing that mattered was winning. I hated losing in those situations.

When I got into the regular game nights with people from my meetup group, I learned very quickly that the point of games is to play them and the winning and losing part were the lowest things on the list of why to…

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Aside – Inspiring pictures

I don’t know if anyone else does this (or cares about me doing it), but I keep a folder of images that I pull (typically from BGG) that I think are particularly inspiring or sometimes just plain neat. Many of them just jump out to me with the feeling of “Wow, I wonder how that thing works!” and sometimes they’re not of board games at all. I ended up finding a decent number of new ones this morning, so I figure I’d do an image post and share some of my all-time favourites along with some new ones.

The Gallerist – There’s just something about the colour scheme and the iconography that I just love.
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Tulip Fields – This is a picture I’ve had around for a while now. I love the straight lines and amazing colours. I can’t help but feel there’s a board game in there somewhere.
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Copper Country – I’ve seen better pictures of this game, but for some reason seeing this one mid-game and me having no idea what’s going on is really cool to me.
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Caylus – I love Caylus, I love all the little pieces and knowing what they’re all for makes seeing them all piled up like this very striking to me. So much potential in each of them, if that makes any sense.
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Kingdom Builder – I really like Kingdom Builder and while this particular image isn’t showing off a large number of components, I like how you can take a look at it, see the Settlements on the Plains hexes along with the Plains card and it’s not that hard to figure out how the game plays. Also, I like the textures between the settlements, bonus ability tile and the card when it’s shot at this angle.
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Ophir – I dig variable player powers and although I don’t know much about Ophir as a game, I like the way these cards are laid out. The iconography is clean and simple while the various elements of the card don’t get in the way of the very nice artwork.
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Concordia – I don’t have a clue what’s going on here or why Meeples and wheat can be in similar-looking spots on this player(?) board, but it sure makes me want to find out. Seeing it in isolation like this is really cool, as I’ve seen plenty of shots of the board itself before, seeing this little spot by itself is striking to me.
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Infographic: How to play Settlers of Catan

HowToPlayCatan  CatanSQ

This is what I think all game instructions should be like.

As a long time board game enthusiast I have explained the rules to ‘The Settlers of Catan’ countless times.  The process of bringing new players up to speed takes a lot of time.  In searching for an easier way to explain my favorite board game I decided to put my design skills to work on the problem.

The results were eye opening for me.  So much so that I now thing that all game instructions should come in some form of infographic to shorten the time between you opening the box and playing the game.

Why an infographic?  That’s the easy part.  90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual.  Not only that but visual information is processed by the brain 60,000x faster than text.  When you have to learn something quickly there is no better…

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[Crosspost] Kingdom Builder – Ruling the land one wooden house at a time

Note: Originally written for my FLGS – comichunter.net

Kingdom Builder is an award-winning abstract area control game made by Donald X. Vaccarino, who is probably most famous for designing the pre-eminent deck building game DominionKingdom Builder was released in 2011 by Queen Games, plays 2 to 4 players and takes roughly 45 minutes to play and due to the variable board setup, has a considerable amount of replayability. Being one of my favourite games, I wanted to share why I like Kingdom Builder so much and hopefully try to demonstrate to you that this game is fantastic and well worth your time.

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Image by BGG user binraixhttps://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/1152359/kingdom-builder

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Game Theory: Interesting Choices – Decision versus Selection

Oakleaf Games

One of my key elements of a game is an interesting and meaningful choice. As I continue to play and design games, I have started to see that not all choices are equal. I don’t just mean that some choices are big and some are small, or that some are hard and others are easy, although these are subjects worth discussing. The subject of what makes a choice interesting is very subtle, though. Many things can lead to choices that aren’t interesting, and I think it’s useful to identify some of them and see how they impact the choices in a game.

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Game Design Starter Kit

Boards and Barley

My Game Creation Process Move beyond the Concept phase!

One of the barriers to game design is a lack of components. If you had blank cards sitting around, you would be more likely to start designing a card game. If you had some dice, you might design a dice game. The point is that if you had game design components available to you, then you are much more likely to move your game designs from the Concept phase to the Prototype/Playtesting phase.

Today I am listing some of the items that I find most useful in putting together a prototype. The hope is that you can find what you need to move your game design along.

Getting to the playtesting phase is often the biggest hurdle, but it’s the critical step in determining if your game design has any potential.

Before I get to my recommendations, which are brief, I want to remind you…

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How to Build a Game #58 Break Your Own Games

TGIK Games Blog

This might be a bit obvious, but I believe it is worth stating “out loud.” Learn how to break your own games. Play testing is not only difficult to set up but it takes a long time. Save yourself a ton of time and learn how to break your game as many ways as your can before you put your game in front of play testers. Luckily for us, we have two of us designing our games and for some reason, we both have a talent for breaking our games even during the prototype building process. We both like to play extreme strategies when we first test our games and playing extreme strategies early in the process provides is with a really good guide for the range in which the game can perform the way we intended it to.

If you are in a situation where you have a game…

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